Katsu Goto murder trial, 1890.


The Testimony Given by John Richmond in the Honokaa Murder Case.

John Richmond sworn, stated—My name is J. Richmond and I live in Honokaa. I was stable man for Mr. Overend. I was there in October last; I know defendants; Mr. Steele is luna for Mr. Overend; my house i on the west side of the stable; from Overend’s house it is three or four hundred feet; October 28th last I was there; Mr. Steele came after me sometime after I was in bed and asked me to go to the Jap quarters, and told me to watch for Jap and find out where he went to, and I was to carry the information to the schoolhouse; (map shown and Overend’s house, stables and schoolhouse located. Schoolhouse where he was told to go); I do not know what time it was, I had been asleep and no one was with me; I stood by wood pile watching for Jap about half an hour; I did not know Goto; I did not know who I was watching for; I went up and saw Jap come out and get on horse and then I went up Government road to the schoolhouse; I met Mr. Steele there; I was on foot; I walked as fast as I could going up a hill; took me about ten minutes to go up and I met Steele there; I told him that the Jap had started and went towards big quarters; I then said, I will go back and he said “no, wait awhile, I may need you;” I saw him mount his horse; I stayed by cemetery fence and he told me to stop there till he called for me; I sat down then on the edge of the road; there is grass there and a fence; I could not say how long I stayed there, and I saw Jap coming on horseback. He was walking his horse up the hill; I was on the west side of the road and Jap was near that side; when Jap got there I saw Lala, Blabon and Steele rush out for the horse. Blabon and Steele pulled the man from the horse, and Lala grabbed the horse by the bridle; there was grass there; Steele grabbed the Jap by the head, back of the head and mouth, and Blabon took hold of the man’s body; Jap came off the horse kind of on his knees; he was then taken in to the opposite lot and laid on his face; I could not tell how long he was lying there; Jap in the end was hung; this was all done within an hour. Steele, Blabon Watson and Mills carried him up from the road; after they got there they tied his hands behind his back; Blabon tied his feet; I heard Jap say, Pau, pau; after he was down on his feet I did not hear anything more; heard no groan; and then after he was tied he was carried up to the Government road running through Honokaa; he was carried to the makai side of the road near trail and left; this last place is about 200 feet from telephone post; he was laid down and Mills asked me to go over to telephone post and get a rope; it was a new rope about ¾ inch thick; I found the rope at the telephone post; it lay coiled up in coil, and had a noose made on the end; it was regular hangman’s knot; other end was unrolled and one strand was cut off a short distance up; the rope was a new one. (The rope is brought in and recognized as the rope found at the telephone pole.) I gave the rope to Watson; I was gone a few minutes; I took the rope where man was lying; I gave it to Watson; Then somebody said “My God! He is dead.” I stooped down and put my hand on the man’s heart, but could not feel and pulse; I helped to carry him over; Blabon, Steele and Mills also helped; Watson came with the rope; there was no struggle on the part of the Jap after we got to the telephone pole; the rope was crossed over arm at post; Watson cast the rope; Mill’s raised the body up and cast the rope over Jap’s neck and then we pulled him up; I last saw Lala when he was taking horses up to Lyceum; he was tied to hitching rack inside the Lyceum yard; I did not see Lala any more that night.

By a Juryman—The Jap was carried to the same pole where I found rope.

By the Court—Mr. Mills pointed to the pole and said to go and get that rope.

Examination continued—Steele was on horseback; Steele’s horse was tied by Lala right near the road; tied near gate post; other end of the rope was made fast to the telephone pole; I do not know exactly who made it fast; Mill’s made the remark that they would ask the man some questions, and after they thought he was dead, Mills said: “Well, he will not sell any more goods;” the body was entirely unresisting when we carried him; Steele caught him at the  back of the head and over the mouth; Steele was afoot at the time; Goto the Jap was medium sized; kind of slim built; not a heavy man; the horse I could not say as to his weight, but he was about 14 or 15 hands high; Steele was on the same side of the horse that I was; they stopped the horse and the Jap called “Pau, pau,” and Steele caught him by the mouth; the Jap was leaning over the side a little; after the Jap was hanged we stopped around a few minutes; I was told not to tell any one who had done it; Mills cautioned me: after that I went home; the Jap was dressed in light clothes, shirt and pair of blue overalls; I think dungaree pants; I could not describe the hat; I had hold of the fee when I carried him. [Pants shown and identified as same kind that he wore; as to the shirt it was something like shirt shown.] He did not have stockings on; I did not recollect any shoes at all; hat placed I do not know where; Mills had a cap on; peaks and ear flaps to it, and had on kind of cloak. (Cap shown and identified as cap and cloak shown and identified as cloak). I know Mr. Mills, have known him about eighteen months; I have know Steele and Watson ever since I have been at Overend’s plantation; Blabon I had seen once before; I am in no doubt who the persons were that night; I do not know Lala and I have nothing to do with him, and I did not know who he was till that night; I suppose that Lala was told to told the horse; some one spoke to him; Mills called him and told him something in kanaka and he went and took the horses and tied them; Mills said that we will not say anything about it; I spoke up and said we will know nothing about it at all; others assented; after this I went home and that is all I know; I came home and went to bed; from stable to my room about twenty-five feet; I have a window in my room that I can look right out of to the front of the stable; I was woke up by hearing some talking; I saw Steele and Watson leaving the stable; I could not tell what they were saying; I had gone to bed a few minutes after 8 when Steele came and called me first; my work is to get cane tops and feed horses; I had to take care of seven horses; Mr. Steele’s horse was in the stable; the horse that Steele uses all of the time is a white horse; Lala took Steele’s horse; Overend had one white saddle horse and two black horses; horses are cleaned every night when they get through work, about 7:30; Steele’s and Overend’s horses were groomed and cleaned that night; the next morning they had saddle marks on them; that showed that they had been used during the night.

(Pacific Commercial Advertiser, 5/22/1890, p. 3)


The Pacific Commercial Advertiser, Volume XI, Number 121, Page 3. May 22, 1890.