The Daily British Colonist and Victoria Chronicle

Friday Morning, December 17, 1869

A mysterious Murder Case Revived--Remarkable Evidence.

About two years age a well-too Boise miner, named James Smith, was suddenly missed from his lodging house in the city. As he was know to possess a considerable amount of valuables, his disappearance created much remark, and when, after the lapse of two or three months, his remains were found in a piece of woods near Skinner's farm, Esquimalt District, with the head crushed in, the pockets of clothes turned out and presenting other evidence of a foul murder, a thrill if horror ran through the community. The property of the murdered man was taken possession of by the Government. No reward was offered for the apprehension of the murderer, and the circumstance gradually faded from the public mind. On Wednesday, a respectable appearing man giving the Henry Hewitt, presented himself at the Barracks door and informed the officers that he wished to surrender himself to answer a charge of misprison of felony in having party to the murder of James Smith, which charge he said had been made against him publicly by Mrs G Lange. He said he was anxious to clear himself of the charge. Hewitt appeared in Court yesterday morning when

Mrs Lange testified that on Friday morning, Feby 28, 1868 Smith who had a room in her house told her that he was a stranger in Victoria and that he wished to go to Esquimalt, but that as his eyes were bad he would wait for Henry Hewitt--the prisoner--who was at work at Esquimalt to show him the way, on the following Saturday and Sunday morning at 9 o'clock, witness went to collect rent of Smith, and found his door ajar, knocked twice and got no answer pushed the door open and found that Smith was not there, and everything looking as if he had just stepped out for a moment. Witness went away and returned several times but did not see Smith again. Hewitt was stopping in the house, and was an intimate friend of Smith. On the Sunday following, the one on which Smith disappeared, went with her husband ti Hewitt and asked if he had seen Smith. Hewitt answered no, and said Smith told him that whatever property he might have leave behind he {the prisoner} was to have. The room was locked up by Mr Lange for one year, and Hewitt moved out of the house to [as he said] Esquimalt. In about three weeks time Hewitt returned and reengaged his room. two months afterwards the body of Smith was found near Skinner's farm. Hewitt asked witness if she had told anyone that he was acquainted with Smith, witness answered yes, and he said he was sorry, as he didn't want anything to do with the case. Smith and Hewitt were fast friends--always together

To the prisoner--You didn't tell me you were going to work on the ship Nightingale at Esquimalt.

To the Court--Hewitt went to Cariboo and there met a man who stopped in my house at the time Smith disappeared. He said to this man, did you ever tell Mrs. Lange that you saw me and Smith going to Esquimalt together. The man said no. On the Sunday following the one on whom Smith disappeared. Hewitt informed us that Smith had money in the bank and a claim at Cariboo. A check was found in Smith's pocket when his remains were discovered.

Witness here gave the name of an important witness to the Inspector of Police.

David Geer, sworn--Know the prisoner. Have had conversations with him regarding the dead man Smith. I used to live in the same house with them both. Can't remember whether I saw him on Saturday night or Sunday before he was missed. I met Hewitt on the road and he said he and Mr.McKinlay had come to the conclusion that an Irishman who lived in Lange's house had murdered Smith. He asked me if ever I told Mrs Lange that I saw him going to Esquimalt with Smith? I told him no--that I didn't know Smith was missing till Tuesday following his disappearance.

To the prisoner-- I am certain that you said you and McKinlay had come to the conclusion that an Irishman had murdered Smith

Hewitt here made a statement--I knew Smith when he first came to Victoria. he took a room at Mrs Lange's house opposite mine. he told me he came from Boise to get his eyes treated. i recommended him to Dr. Ash He joined the Mechanic's Institute and we had frequent conversation and walks. I got a job at Esquimalt to load the ship Nightingale, and I moved down to Esquimalt, but used to come up every Saturday night and stay over Sunday. One Tuesday night there was an entertainment at the Institute and I cam up to my room. I remarked at not seeing Smith in his room. I went to the Institute but did not see Smith there. I slept in my room all night and went to Esquimalt in the morning, the first or the second Sunday after the dissapearance I came up agian and then I heard Smith had been missing all the week I took an inventory of all the things in Smith's room, with Mr. and Mrs Lange. I never heard any more of the matter until the body was found. The afternoon the body was found I told Geer, the last witness, about it, and he told us there was no use in going down as the officer had the body at the dead house. We never went to see the body. It was buried and I gave evidence at the inquest. This is all I know about it. Some part of Mrs.Lange's evidence is incorrect, but mainly it is true. I deny having told Geer that McKinlay and I had come to the conclusion that a certain Irishman murdered Smith

The prisoner was liberated on his own recognizances to appear on Monday next