[Bismarck Daily Tribune August 22, 1904]
APPLY FOR HABEAS CORPUS
Application will be made to Chief Newton C. Young of the supreme court Y for an order admitting L.S. Hertzell(sic) and E.T. Bascom to bail. The two men are attorneys located at N and are accused of murder in in the third degree for the killing of Byron Stoddard a neighbor, on July 7th.[Bismarck Daily Tribune April 27, 1905]
Judge Kneeshaw of the district court denied a motion made to admit the two men to bail, and they have been in custody in the county jail at Langdon ever since the afternoon of the shooting.
Application to the supreme court for an order of on bail will be on the ground that Stoddard had frequently threatened to kill both of the accused men on sight, that he had made these threats openly and that they had been communicated to both Hertzell and Bascom. These points are set forth in the application in the testimony of Mrs. Cora Stewart and Mrs. Bascom, who feared the threats made by the man who was killed on July 7th.
While Stoddard was very unpopular at Langdon, where he had lived less than two years, there is a strong feeling against the young men. Hertzell shot and killed Stoddard during a dispute over a certain fence and road and Bascom was with him at the time.
Judge Fisk and States Attorney Price have refused to sign the petition of S. L. Hartzell, convicted of the murder of Byron Stoddard at Langdon and sentenced to five years in the penitentiary. Petition is being circulated by E. T. Bascom, business partner of Hartzell, and the grounds stated are that Hartzell has been sufficiently punished for his crime. It would seem to the lay observer that five years imprisonment is a light sentence for homicide where the particulars were such that any conviction at all was had. Hartzell has been in the penitentiary only a few months, and if guilty at all the statement that he had been sufficiently punished seems hardly well-founded. The fact that the trial judge and prosecuting attorney had refused to sign the petition would indicate that the application is not such a one as the board of pardons is likely to look upon with favor.[Bismarck Daily Tribune Monday July 11, 1904 – Front Page]
FARMER-LAWYER MURDER IN LANGDON
Murder Reported From Langdon Where One Farmer Shoots and Another Farmer Dies
Byron Stoddard aged 26 years, a --ing a mile from Langdon, North Dakota and instantly killed by S.L. Hartzell, an attorney. Mrs. Stoddard and their daughter witnessed the killing from their buggy nearby. Mr. Bascom, the business partner of Hartzell, was also a witness of the shooting.[Bismarck Daily Tribune Monday, November 6th 1905]
Stoddard and the firm of Hartzell & Bascom owned adjoining farms, a fence dividing the properties. There was some trouble over a roadway, making it necessary to cross some of the ---d in leaving the Stoddard Saturday afternoon Mr. Stoddard accompanied by his wife and they drove toward Langdon and --o crossed the land owned by -- of lawyers. Mr. Stoddard had a pair of plyers with him and --ved some wires in order to obtain crossing. After driving through the opening he got out of the buggy and repaired the fence, and --- engaged the lawyers drove --utombile. There were some --ssed; between Hartzell and Stoddard, and raising a shotgun to his shoulder Hartzell fired at Stoddard --ge of gunshot took effect. Stoddard died almost instantly. To a suggestion that he be taken to a hospital he said, "Take me home..." which were the last words he spoke. Hartzell claims that Stoddard pointed at him and that he fired the gun in self defense. Mrs. Stoddard denies this and says her husband had no revolver with him, that it was lying in the bottom of --. It was found that two bullets had penetrated Stoddard’s --en had had considerable -- is claimed, and at one time Hartzell is said to have induced Mrs. Stoddard to agree to start an action for divorce against her husband but it is claimed that the action was not started.
Hartzell was given a preliminary hearing and was held to the district court on the charge of murder in the first degree. Stoddard and Hartzell both moved to Langdon about two years ago from Blue Earth county, Minnesota.
Seeks a Pardon – Application has been filed with the board of pardons for the pardon of Seth Leslie Hartzell, who was convicted of manslaughter in the Pembina county district court January 25 last and sentenced by Judge Fisk of Grand Forks to five years in the penitentiary. The application will be considered at a meeting of the board of pardons to be held at Bismarck on December 2. Hartzell, a member of the law firm of Hartzell & Bascom at Langdon, shot and killed Byron Stoddard, a farmer living near Langdon in July of last year.[Bismarck Daily Tribune December 5th 1907]
HARTZELL PARDON DENIED BY BOARD
Young Lawyer Who Took the
Law Into His Own Hands
Sympathy For Aged Father
Insufficient To Overcome
Duty to Society
The state board of pardson has again denied the application of Seth L. Hartzell for a pardon.Trivia:
Hartzell is a young lawyer, formerly a student at the state law school at Grand Forks and a graduate of that institution. He took a homestead in Cavalier county and after some difficulties with Byron Stoaddard, a neighboring homesteader, shot and killed Stoddard, while the latter was on the way to town with his wife.
The trouble that led to the shooting was due to the breaking down of part of a fence by Stoddard. It was claimed for Hartzell that Stoddard was a bad man and that the shooting was done in self-defense. Nevertheless, Hartzell was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to five years in the Penitentiary.
Hartzell’s father has been a persistent applicanet for his son’s pardon. He is an aged man with much love for his son and has been a pathetic figure at sessions of the state board for several years. The board has usually taken the position that no facts had been presented to justify them in overturning The action of the jury that tried Hartzell and fixed the degree of his guilt.
Regarding ND vs Seth Leslie Hartzell and Edward T. Bascom (initially charged with first degree murder of Byron U. Stoddard, with a shotgun), trial was in Pembina because defendents petitioned for change of venue, feeling certain individuals with undue influence would cause prejudice and make a fair trail impossible in the county they were in. Bascom claimed, in a Petition to be Discharged from Custody, that any action against Stoddard was self-defense, that he was in the act of drawing a loaded revolver.
Judge Charles Fisk was the judge in the Hartzell-only trial (Hartzell and Bascom were tried separately...) Jury returned a verdict of guilty of manslaughter in 3rd degree (five year sentence...)
Judge Charles Pollock was the judge in the Bascom-only trial; Bascom was found not guilty on February 21, 1905...