Tuesday, April 7, 2015

April 7, 1893: Jesus Fuen

Today we learn about a lynching in California. We start with an article describing the crime which led to the lynching. The Daily Capital Journal (Salem, Oregon) dated April 7, 1893:


Two Murdered by a Desperate Spaniard.

SAN BERNARDINO, Cal., April 7.—A horrible butchery took place at 12 o'clock yesterday on Fourth street, near the depot, in which an old man named Goldcoffer, and a woman named Francisca Flores, were killed by a Spaniard named Jesus Fuen. Fuen and Francisca Flores were living together as man and wife, but Fuen had become jealous of her for some reason and threatened to kill any one found in the house. The neighbors were aroused at noon today by the screams of a woman, and Fuen chased Francisca with a butcher knife into the house of a neighbor.

Old man Goldcoffer, who is about 75 years of age and a paralytic, opened the door and let in Francisca, and then attempted to bar the door against Fuen, who battered it down. Goldcoffer tried to shoot Fuen with a shotgun which failed to discharge. Fuen rushed in and stabbed the old man in the neck, cutting his head half off. Fuen then gave chase to Francisca running through the fields about 100 yards before overtaking her, when he stabbed her downward, just above the collarbone, killing her instantly. A house dog that had followed them began to lick the body of the dead woman. Fuen kicked him away, and down to Francisca's arm. Isem Mendibles, a Spaniard, cutting wood near by, came running to the assistance of the screaming woman, when Fuen ran at him with a knife, but Mendibles hit Fuen on the head with a big rock, stunning him until the officers arrived, 10 minutes later.

The next article is about the lynching. It comes to us from the Reno Weekly Gazette and Stockman (Reno, Nevada) dated April 13, 1893:

The San Bernardino Murderer Lynched.

Special to the GAZETTE.

SAN BERNARDINO, April 7.—The horrible butchery which occurred in this city yesterday, resulting in the death of old man Goldkoffer and the woman, Francisca Flores, at the hands of assassin Jesus Fuen, culminated last night in a lynching bee. Fuen and the woman, Flores, were living together as man and wife. Fuen chased Francisca with a butcher knife to the house of old man Goldkoffer, a German 75 years of age who attempted to protect her life, but was himself stabbed. The assassin then killed Francisca the same way. Several hundred people congregated at the scene in a few minutes and was prevented lynching Fuen by the doctors giving it out that Fuen's wound on the head would result in death in a few minutes. Last night it became known that Fuen was practically unhurt, and many friends of Goldkoffer, who was an old and respected citizen, became infuriated.

About 12:30 o'clock this morning about fifty men marched up to the jail on Court street. They called on jailer Brown to produce Fuen, but receiving no response sledge hammers were used to force open the jail doors. At this juncture jailer Brown appeared at a window in the upper story and remonstrated the crowd, but to no effect. He then fired several shots in the air to call the assistance of other officers, who, upon putting in an appearance, could do nothing with the crowd which had swelled to 700. Sledge hammers making no impression on the iron doors a beam weighing several hundred pounds was brought into use as a battering ram by the crowd. Even this ponderous weapon failed to stave in the door. It was then directed against the iron grating of the window which yielded at once and entrance to the jail was obtained. Inside of the jail several doors had to be battered down before the prisoner could be reached. For an hour and a half work went on steadily until the prisoner was at last reached and the mob cut into his steel cage by chisels used in the hands of experts. At last the prisoner was produced and the immense crowd which was continually swelling, directed by the leaders, marched off through the streets to the railroad bridge near First street.

The murderer carelessly asked for cigarettes, which were given him, and he puffed along on his march to death as calmly as though going to his wedding. Before being strung up he was given an opportunity to say his last words. Though often interrupted he said that he was brought to his present condition by whisky, that his wife had wronged him, and he killed her and that he was ready to die. When asked what Goldkoffer had done to him he said that he had shot at him. The end of the rope was then made fast to the bridge and the murderer was swung off into eternity at 2:30 o'clock. The crowd was orderly through the whole transaction. Some one fired a shot at the body as it swung from the bridge, but the leaders of the mob at once put a stop to it by declaring that whoever repeated it would himself be shot. It is stated this morning that the leaders of the mob are known and that an investigation will be had, but at present time no move in that direction has been made.

The coroner's inquest held on the body of Jesus Fuen, the murderer who was lynched by a mob, found that he came to his death by hanging at the hands of parties unknown to the jury. No attempt was made to discover who the leaders of the mob were and it is rumored that two or three of the coroner's jury were participants in the hanging bee. Talk of arrests is dying out, though few of the mob wore masks and are well known to a hundred spectators.

Thank you for joining me and as always, I hope I leave you with something to ponder. 

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