Child Shot After Inviting Death

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The Fort Dodge Messenger: Feb. 16, 1904

Child Shot After Inviting Death

Four-year-old Marshall Hollis Shoots and Kills His brother Leo.

Says “Shoot Me Marshall”

Boy Pulls Trigger Killing His Brother Instantly – Tragedy Occurs in Bed.

“Leo said ‘shoot me Marshall.’ I didn’t do it the first time, but he toldi me to shoot him again and I wasn’t afraid that time. I put the pistol against his face and pulled the trigger and he felled over and blood came out of his mouth,” was the testimony of four-year-old Marshall Hollis as he sat on  Coroner McCreight’s knee this morning and told the coroner’s jury how he had killed his two year old brother, Leo.

The children are the sons of Mr. and Mrs. H.E. Hollis, living at 426 Third avenue south, and it was while playing in their mother’s bed at 8:30 this morning that Marshall, the older, found a 38 caliber revolver between the mattresses and on invitation of his younger brother, pressed the weapon against the child’s face and pulled the trigger, killing him instantly. The bullet entered the head at the junction of the nose and upper lip and tore its way until it lodged against the skull at the base of the brain.

Mother Finds Baby Dead.

The mother, hearing the shot, rushed to the room and found her baby dead lying in the bed in a pool of blood. The face was covered with blood from the wound and blackened by the powder. Marshall, the four-year-old child who had ended his brother’s life was in the same bed suffering from a badly burned hand, caused by the discharge of the weapon, which he had held with his left hand supporting the barrel near the muzzle. Aside from surprise that his brother should lay so quiet and still, the child evinced no sings of having realized what he had done.

H.E. Hollis, the father, had been employed by the Illinois Central in the capacity of brakeman, but on account of light business had been laid off. Monday night he went to Woodbine, where he expected to secure employment with the Northwestern, and Mrs. Hollis being nervous in the absence of her husband had placed the revolver between the mattresses of her bed. This morning she arose and went down stairs to build a fire in the kitchen stove and Marshall had gone from his own bed into the bed in which the younger boy and his mother had been sleeping. After lighting the fire Mrs. Hollis was called out of doors to show the driver of a coal wagon where to unload the coal. As she was returning to the house she heard the report of a revolver and rushing up stairs found the baby dead. She summoned H.H Porter, the teamster who was unloading the coal, who after going up stairs hurried away from medical assistance. The mother meanwhile carried the child downstairs, but death had been instantaneous and the attention of a physician wa of no avail.

Inquest This Morning.

Coroner McCreight held an inquest over the remains at 10:30 this morning and the jury, composed of J.J. Conway, being shot with a revolver in the hands (sic), J.C. Walburger, and C.H. Smith, returned a verdict which in part read:

“That the said Leo M. Hollis came to his death at about 8:30 a.m., February 16, 1904, at No. 426 Third avenue south, First ward, Fort Dodge Iowa, by act of his four-year old brother, Marshall W. Hollis.”

Child Tells the Story.

The boy, in whose hand was the revolver when discharged, not realizing that he had figured in a tragedy two hours before, readily answered all questions and placidly told what had occurred. He said he had “feeled” the revolver between the mattresses and taking it in his hands had pointed it at his brother. The latter said: “shoot me, Marshall.” This the older child declined to do until bidden the second time, when he calmly pressed the muzzle of the revolver just over his brother’s mouth and pulled the trigger. In reply to a question he held up the first finger of his right hand when asked with which finger he had pulled the trigger. He had held the barrel of the revolver with his left hand and in the discharge that hand was badly burned. Although not fully aware of what he had done, the child realized that he had done something wrong, for after shooting his brother, he had shoved the revolver under a pillow.

(Editor’s note: Sometimes complete lines were printed out of place. There are a few words in the list of jury members that are confusing, but I think should fit in this paragraph in this manner: “That the said Leo M. Hollis came to his death at about 8:30 a.m., February 16, 1904, at No. 426 Third avenue south, First ward, Fort Dodge Iowa, by being shot with a revolver in the hands of his four-year old brother, Marshall W. Hollis.” This is not perfect, as the word “act” doesn’t fit, but is one possible explanation.)

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