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Follow the Evidence: The Trial of the Lincoln Conspirators


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John Wilkes Booth

John Wilkes Booth | Evidence | Defense | Verdict |
April 14, 1865 | The Conspirators


Prosecution

Investigators hunted down John Wilkes Booth on April 26, 1865 cornering both Booth and David Herold in a barn on Garrett's farm. The hope of the investigators was to bring Booth back alive so he could stand trial but when Booth refused to come out of the barn, Everton Conver, an investigator, ordered that the barn be set on fire to try and smoke Booth and Herold out. As the fire engulfed the barn, Booth stepped towards the door with his carbine aimed out of a small open section of the barn. As he reached the door he fell to the ground, shot by Sergeant Boston Corbett. Since John Wilkes Booth was the only conspirator never to stand trial this portion is a bit of "what if". If Booth was captured what evidence does the prosecution have to use against him at trial.

It would probably be a safe guess that the other conspirators would agree to testify against Booth to help save them from a death sentence. It is also fairly certain that the commission would hear from Dr. Robert King Stone, Lincoln's family physician and other physicians who attended to the president, especially Dr. Charles A. Leale, who was the first to reach Lincoln after he was shot. Eyewitnesses would also be called to testify such as James Knox, who was seated just below the presidential box at Ford's Theatre. Some background could also be used against Booth such as the photograph of President Lincoln's second inauguration where a visible John Wilkes Booth, Lewis Powell (Payne), George Atzerodt and Dr. Mudd are present. Benjamin Brown French, Commissioner of Public Buildings, could give evidence showing Booth was at the second inauguration.

Lincoln CSI

Lincoln CSI

Lincoln CSI

Lincoln CSI

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