Recalls the Scannell Trial.
Another murder trial, presenting a striking parallel to that of Harry K. Thaw, was held in New York city in the seventies. On November 2, 1872, John J. Scannell, who for years was fire commissioner of New York city, shot and instantly killed Thomas Donohue in Johnson’s poolroom, Broadway and Twenty-eighth street. The shooting, the outgrowth of a long and bitter political feud, was one of the most sensational in the criminal history of the country. Scannell was immediately arrested, and his first trial, which ended in a disagreement, as did the first Thaw trial, consumed only ten days, from March 9, 1873, to March 19, 1873. It was heard before Judge Barrett, in the court of Oyer and Terminer. In striking similarity to the Thaw trial, also, that of Scannell was heard by a crowd which daily filled the court room. His second trial began on November 19, 1875, lasting nine days, when he was acquitted on the ground of insanity. Attorneys entered the plea of insanity, and each witness they offered, including several medical experts, testified to the belief that Scannell was insane. On December 2, 1875, or five days after he had been acquitted, Scannell was sent to the Utica Insane asylum. Immediately his attorneys began a fight for bis liberation, and on January 24, 1876, be was declared perfectly sane, and discharged from the institution. Returning at once to New York city, Mr. Scannell again entered p. lilies, and from 1891 to 1893 his name was frequently mentioned as that of a Congressional possibility. On January 2, 1898, he was appointed fire commissioner.—New York Herald.