Deseret News, Dec. 9, 1890When trial resumed "Amanda Olson was seated in her accustomed place and occasionally drew out handkerchief and sobbed into it. Her attorney, O.W. (Judge) Powers, would turn toward her and offer some consoling words. The assistant district attorney spoke to the jury.

He commenced by referring to the importance of the case not only to the accused herself, but to the public. Upon counsel for the people in a case of this sort, he said, there rested a solemn and weighty responsibility. The prosecution had no desire to press this case unduly against the defendant, and he would sooner drop dead at that moment than do aught of injustice towards her.

He begged the jury to set aside all popular sentiment and clamor, not to take the law into their own hands, but to administer it upon broad principles . . . .

In one sense this was a cold-blooded murder, and yet in the real aspects of the case it was a murder born of hot blood and passions natural to the human mind. . . . Counsel next insisted that at the time Amanda Olson shot Frank Hall she was a sane person, and nothing had yet been shown to indicate that she was possessed of other than a rational mind.

Coming to the defense of insanity, counsel observed that people with impulsive instincts did not sit down and write long coherent letters, go into gun shops and buy pistols, try to give folks the idea that they were New West teachers, lie in wait at the corner of a street for a man whom he or she was seeking to kill, and then at the last moment, in a freak of insanity, when beyond themselves, kill the very person at whom revenge was pointed at the time . . . .

In conclusion, Mr. Critchlow made an appeal to the jury to do justice towards the orphan children of Hall, who now claimed it at their hands in the name of a murdered father, sent suddenly to his death with all his sins upon his head. Unless they had a reasonable doubt in this case of the guilt of the accused he besought them to stand out for a conviction . . . .

Judge Powers then made an earnest and eloquent appeal to the jury on behalf of the defendant. He said this was a case in which the gravest responsibilities rested upon all concerned. So far as he had been able to learn, this was the first time that a woman had been placed on trial for her life in this court.

It showed that woman's hand was not often stained with the blood of her fellow man, and indicated that when she was placed on trial charged with the gravest crime man or woman could be charged with, that the responsibility upon the court, upon the prosecution, upon the defense, and upon the jury was deeper, broader, and heavier than in any other case that could be placed before twelve men. The jury in this case, however, should feel glad that they had had the opportunity of sitting upon it, and of saying to the world just what value twelve men of Utah placed upon woman's virtue.

He intended to advance two propositions conjointly in the discussion of this case -- first, that the man who seduced an innocent girl earned his death; second, that the hand of Amanda Olson could not have been stayed, even though she herself had tried to stay it.

This was a case where either the highest offense known to the law had been committed or the accused was not guilty morally or legally. She spurned any compromise and demanded of the jury that they should do their duty . . . .

In the history of American jurisprudence a girl had never been convicted for killing her seducer, neither had a man who had killed the destroyer of the happiness of his home and family or the one who had seduced or wronged his sister. We might pass our human laws and pile them high, but in a case of this kind there was something planted in men's hearts which would make them treat and regard it altogether different from a cold-blooded and deliberate murder . . . .

The people clamored that this unfortunate girl should be acquitted, and, after all, the people were pretty good judges as to whether or not the law should be executed.

The former federal judge's summation castigated Frank Hall, "whom society has branded with the terrible word libertine"

And when she passed Hall on C Street "she made a last wild appeal, but the man said nothing and passed on. From that time until after the shot was fired she knew nothing."

He had no doubt about the verdict, because there never was introduced a more perfect defense than in this case. A verdict of not guilty ought to be rendered without the jury leaving the box. It was left for them to say just what value the men of Utah placed upon woman's virtue. It seemed that Amanda Olson's hand was sustained by the Almighty, and the leaden bullet was one of Heaven's thunderbolts.

Into their hands he placed that little girl, and besought them to treat her as they would have their daughters treated.

An outburst of applause followed the conclusion of Judge Powers' eloquent and impressive address. This demonstration was, however, quickly checked, and one man who applauded was brought before the court of Deputy Marshal Bush and fined $10. The amount of the fine was promptly contributed by the crowd as the offender was leaving the room.

With that, the court recessed to the next day and the prosecution prepared its closing arguments.

Deseret News, Dec. 10, 1890

Extraordinary scenes follow the verdict

When court resumed in the morning, District Attorney Charles Varian said the medical community and courts could not agree on the question of sanity.

This doctrine of irresistible impulse was not recognized by the law, and they could readily see the reason therefore. If it were so recognized, they would be putting a cudgel into the hands of every man or woman inclined to commit a murder. . . . The question was, did the defendant, at the time she committed the fatal act, know that she was doing wrong and have the power to restrain herself. He contended that she did, and that at the time she wrote the letter and purchased the pistol, she was in full possession of her faculties.

The defense of insanity seemed to have been presented for the first time at this trial, and it came in such a questionable shape that he would not be doing his duty if he failed to challenge it. The medical witnesses had not stated that this girl was insane; they only assumed it . . . .

Federal Judge Charles Zane's charge was brief, taking up only 15 minutes. The jury retired to make its decision at 11:10. They returned 45 minutes later.

The usual question was put to them by Judge Zane:

"Have you reached a verdict, gentlemen?"

"Yes," readily replied several jurors.

Judge Zane -- Then please pass it to the clerk.

Clerk McMillan received and read it as follows: We, the jury in the case of the People vs. Amanda Olson, find the defendant "not guilty." Instantly there was tremendous shouting, hurrahing, and clapping of hands, and several persons indulged in a shrill whistle accompaniment.

Judge Zane (with anger) -- See who it was that halloed and whistled that way.

An offender was found and fined $5, but the court's officers, even though they dived into the spectators, could not secure another victim.

A singular scene occurred when the foregoing incidents had passed over. Many persons who had hitherto remained behind as spectators elbowed their way to the front, surrounded Judge Powers and the now freed girl who stood by his side, and in a most endearing manner grasped his hands, at the same time showering upon him their hearty congratulations upon having fought so hard for his client's liberty, and with a successful result.

Miss Olson and her parents were also the recipients of warm congratulations, and came in for a liberal share of public sympathy. General approval of the verdict was openly expressed. The ovation continued until the parties reached the street, where a large crowd had congregated to take a glance at the parties as they left the building.

The accused on hearing the words "not guilty" suddenly brightened up, and seemed overcome with thankfulness, while tears of joy coursed down the cheeks of her parents, whose mental anxiety during the trial has been great.

Thus ended one of the most exciting cases that has probably ever come within the jurisdiction of the Third District Court.