James G. Birney papers  1816-1884 (bulk 1820-1856)
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Collection Scope and Content Note

This volume is attorney Charles H. Barrows's retained copy of transcripts of the "Trial of Edward F. Costello for the Murder of William A. Costello," held in Springfield, Massachusetts, in April 1891. The book begins with Costello's indictment, presented on September 24, 1890, which is followed by arguments and testimony from each of the trial's three days. Each day's transcript begins with an index, and the trial transcripts total 406 pages. The arguments of General Albert E. Pillsbury and District Attorney Charles E. Hibbard present the case against Costello, who shot and killed his son William on June 11, 1890. Costello's lawyers, Charles H. Barrows and Edwin F. Lyford, unsuccessfully attempted an insanity plea. Trial witnesses included Costello, his wife Adelaide, and several of his coworkers. The volume concludes with the closing arguments for the prosecution (Day 3: 13-51) and defense (Day 3: 52-86) and the judge's orders for the jury. The verdict is not recorded.

The following items are enclosed in a pocket inside the book's front cover:

  • A letter from Massachusetts Attorney General George Marston to Charles H. Barrows about Barrows's appointment as assistant attorney general (August 1, 1881)
  • A letter form Dr. Walter Channing to Charles H. Barrows and Edwin F. Lyford about his belief that Edward F. Costello had been legally insane when he shot his son (March 30, 1891)
  • 21 pages of manuscript notes that Charles H. Barrows used during the Costello trial, regarding the legal definition of insanity and its application to Costello's case ([1890-1891])
  • A letter from Edward F. Costello to Charles H. Barrows after Costello's release from prison (March 10, 1913)
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