In receiving recent tragic news such as the boy in Arizona who shot his father, we are tempted to purse our lips, shake our heads, and wonder... Where did the good ol' days go?
Well, before we get ourselves too mired in nostalgia, I will dredge up some unseemly business from January 1903.
Herman Borchers, a young man from Columbus, Nebraska, was brought to trial on charges of murder. Borchers was believed to have shot his father in the back of the head while the family ate supper. His half-brother, Johnnie, testified that Herman rolled the body onto a pile of straw and set it on fire. The younger brother also stated that if he told of the crime, he too would be shot.
Neighbors, however, later found the body and notified authorities. It was the child's uncle, August Johnson, who filed the initial complaint.
Surprisingly, after a trial that lasted four days and included five hours of jury deliberation, the young lad was found not guilty. Given the evidence against him, many were surprised by this outcome, but it seemed the jury sympathized with the boy. Although not overtly stated, it appeared as if the father was someone to make even Huck Finn's dad look good.
Judge A. M. Ratterman sentenced the boy to the Kearney reform school until the age of 21. His brother requested to go as well, although no charges were presented against him. I guess once a tag-along, always a tag-along.