Vermont Bar Journal, Vol. 40, No. 2 Fall 2015, Vol 41, No. 3 - Page 12

Ruminations 12 ed for murder by the grand jury, following an inquest.20 Dennet was killed in Averill, shot by a pistol and then clubbed to death. A jury of inquest found Gaius Kibbe to have “anticipated the victim’s death,” but at trial the petit jury concluded he was not guilty. Alvah Sabins killed Silas Gates in 1813, and a court of inquest determined he had committed murder. Sabins was a member of the Vermont Militia, called to service to Champlain, New York, leaving the frontier without a defense. Many mutinied, and people back home lost confidence in the war and the country. Gates had deserted the U.S. Army and Sabins was in the party of soldiers sent to apprehend him. Gates fled his home and was shot by Sabins as he ran, at a distance of twenty-five yards.21 An inquest was held, and verdict of the jury was willful murder.22 After a grand jury indictment, Sabins was twice tried, but not convicted, due to hung juries. Sabins had a religious conversion the day he returned home to his farm, became a Baptist preacher, Franklin County state senator, secretary of state, Franklin County judge, and was elected to two terms in the U.S. House.23 Betsey Gilson was accused of killing her newborn, illegitimate child, in 1815, and an inquest was held. The baby had been found dead in a “vault of a necessary” near the house of Josiah Perkins. The court of inquest found the child had died “by the visitation of God.” Her friends had suspected she was pregnant, but Betsey said it was only a cold. Selah Hickok killed his father-in-law Isaac Hobbs in 1815, hitting his head with the green cane. The inquest found willful murder. Selah was tried and found guilty of manslaughter, and sentenced to thirteen years hard labor. He was pardoned five years later.24 After Alvira Ayers was drowned in a cistern at the home of her employer, Judge Richard Skinner, in Manchester in 1824, an inquest was held. The verdict was accidental drowning.25 The newspaper called it a suspicious death. The editor of the New Hampshire Patriot noted that the water in the cistern wasn’t deep enough to d