Knik Nicoli murders 2 in 1917
THE MURDER OF TALKEETNA STEPAN/STEPHAN
A true story taken from
1917 U. S. District Court Records
Territory of Alaska - 3rd Division
Manslaughter case # 644
U.S. America vs. Knik Nicoli
In the spring of 1917, Talkeetna
Stepan and his wife Nagolia (of Knik) were headed to their hunting camp at
Talkeetna Lake. Traveling with them, was their 11 year old son (Bob) and
Nagolia's daughter Inga, as well as a friend named Knik Nicoli, the step-son
of George W. Palmer, a Knik merchant (a newspaper article described Nicoli
as Nagolia's cousin, but I have not been able to document that).
In route, the group stopped at Old Chief Nicoli's
camp, which was a mile or so below Talkeetna. Nagolia's first husband,
(Tom Stepan) was part of this Tribe. The Stepan's spent about a week at
the Chief's camp before continuing the final 90 miles to Talkeetna Lake.
Once at Talkeetna Lake, the group set
up a single tent and proceeded to
make some "hooch" (as court records called it). After the "hooch" had fermented
for about 3 days, they started drinking it.
By early evening, Stepan and Nicoli started arguing with each other.
When Stepan stood up in the tent, he knocked the
ridge pole down and it hit Nicoli's head which made him very angry. Nicoli
crawled out of the tent, leaving Stepan and Nagolia
Nicoli picked up a 4' long stick of wood and in a drunken rage, began
hitting the collapsed tent with it. When Nagolia saw how badly her husband
was injured, she tried to lift the tent off of him and Nicoli started clubbing
her as well. After repeated bludgeoning, the Stepan's lay motionless and
Nicoli laid down and went to sleep.
The next morning, Nicoli had sobered up. He pulled the
tent off of his friends and found Stepan dead with his face smashed
and bloodied. Nagolia was sitting next to her husband crying; her head
was bloody and her arm was broken. Nicoli washed Stepan's bloody face
and summarily started digging a grave with the help of the dead mans 11
year old son Bob.
Nagolia called her daughter, Inga, over and told her to take her
brother back to Knik...then she said, wherever you decide to go, make sure
you tell the truth about what happened here because I am too injured to go
Inga was not comfortable sitting close to her injured mother
and her step-fathers dead body. I'm sure it brought back memories of seeing
her own father (Tom
Stepan) who was killed 3 years earlier, by Jim Nikita. Inga left her
A short time later, they all heard a gunshot. Nagolia killed herself with
a .22 rifle.
All three of them carried Stepan and Negolia to the grave and laid them
side by side on the tent cloth. On top of the bodies, they laid wooden poles,
then another layer of tent cloth; covering it all with about 3' of dirt.
After the Stepan's were buried, Nicoli burned everything that was inside
the tent, including bloody clothes, belongings, the rest of the tent itself
and the club he had beaten the Stepan's with.
Nicoli and the children left for Talkeetna. After spending two days
there, Nicoli told Inga and Bob to go to Eric Larson's cabin on Fish
Creek. This gave him time to escape the area before authorities came looking
for him. At Fish Creek,the children told Mr. Larson about the death
of their parents and he immediately went to Talkeetna to report
it to U.S. Marshal Healy. The Marshal, along with Bob Stepan, a packer
named G.L. Kennedy and an Indian guide named Pedro, went back to Talkeetna
Lake (90 miles NE) to check out the scene of the crime.
At the Stepan's campsite, the Marshal found a 6' fire
pit where Nicoli had burned the evidence; in the center of the ashes,
he found Stepan's watch; at the edge of the fire pit was Nagolia's dress
and sewing basket as well as Stepan's field glasses and moccasins. Eighteen
feet from the pit, just as Inga had described, the Marshal found the
Stepan's grave, which he partially dug up. Decomposition had begun, so
he just looked at their faces, for identification, and reburied them in
the same grave. He estimated they had been dead almost a month.
Knik Nicoli was captured near Susitna Station on
7/31/1917 and taken back to Talkeetna. The official wording of the charge
against him was: "Knik Nicoli, on the 10th of June 1917,
near Talkeetna Lake, willfully, unlawfully, feloniously and voluntarily
killed Talkeetna Stepan, by beating and striking him, violently and repeatedly
with a certain large club." Nicoli stood trial in Anchorage.
Sixteen year old Inga Stepan and her 11 year
old brother, Bob, were witnesses at the trial. Newspaper articles said
that Inga appeared mature beyond her years, having endured the murder
of her father, Tom Stepan, the murder of her step-father Talkeetna Stepan
and the suicide of her mother Nagolia Stepan; all within a three year
Bob Stepan testified in court with the help of an interpreter,
since he spoke no English. He said that he ran outside of the tent
when the ridge pole fell down because he was afraid and the adults
were trying to "fight with hooch all around". He said that once he
was outside, he watched Nicoli club his parents who were still under
the tent. After recounting the story, the young boy became afraid
and would not answer further questions.
Knik Nicoli was found guilty of manslaughter
and sentenced to three years in Federal Jail on 11/2/1917.
court testimony for Knik Nicoli's
1917 manslaughter trial is
the bottom of this page in BLUE
Knik Nicoli served his time in prison
and was released in late 1920; by 1923 he was living in a cabin at
8th and B Street, in Anchorage, and was well known in the area for being
violent while drinking.
On 1/2/1924, Nicoli's roommate, Polly Rufe, told
police that he was "crazy drunk" and terrorizing her, so Anchorage
Police Chief, Harry Kavanaugh and his deputy Charlie Watson set
out to arrest him.
When the authorities reached Nicoli's cabin, he did not answer the door,
so Kavanaugh went to the rear of the building and climbed a ladder to
the loft area where Nicoli was known to sleep. After calling out Nicoli's
name, a shot was fired from inside the cabin and Kavanaugh yelled to his
deputy, "Look out Charlie, he's got a gun", then took off running towards
8th Street in search of cover.
Deputy Watson ran to the front of the cabin just in time to
see Nicoli shoot at Kavanaugh with a .30-30 Winchester rifle;
one bullet hit Kavanaugh in the back; passing through his body and
exiting his stomach.
With the police chief mortally wounded, Charlie waited
for a safe shot at Nicoli through the window on the east side of
the cabin. When there was no sight of him, Charlie opened the front
door and immediately found himself face to face with Nicoli holding
a rifle; the deputy instinctively fired two shots with his revolver,
killing Nicoli instantly.
Chief Kavanaugh was rushed to the Anchorage Railroad
Hospital and treated by Harry Abercrombie, C.H. Turpin
and Dr. J.H. Romig, but he died about 16 hours after surgery.
On 1/5/1924, Chief Harry C. Kavanaugh's
casket was accompanied to the railroad station by his wife
Stella, Mayor Conroy of Anchorage, the City Council members,
and members of the Odd Fellows Lodge. Anchorage citizens lined the
route from the city morgue to the train depot. Kavanaugh's body was
sent to San Pedro, California for burial; he had only been an Anchorage
police officer for 8 months.
In contrast, Knik Nicoli, the man who murdered Talkeetna
Stepan AND Chief Kavanaugh, was laid to rest in an Anchorage
Cemetery, the same day as Kavanaugh's funeral procession. The only
people in attendance for Nicoli's burial were cemetery employees;
he had no funeral.
Actual Case Testimony
spell the last name Stepan;
other local sources spelled it Stephan
Court records spell the last name Nicoli;
other local sources spelled it Nicholai
District Court Territory
of Alaska Third Division
Case 644 United States of America vs. Knik Nicoli
Witnesses Before the Grand Jury:
M. H. Healy
G. L. Kennedy
CRIMINAL DOCKET NO. 402
Complaint made in writing
and sworn to by Inga Stepan accusing Knik
Nicoli of murder by striking and killing Talkeetna
Stepan with a club.
in the matter of the United States of America versus Knik Nicoli and
before M. J. Conroy, U.S. Commissioner at Anchorage, Alaska 7/31/1917.
Examination of witnesses
conducted by Wm. A. Munly, Asst. U.S. Attorney. Defendant Knik Nicoli
was present in person and
by his attorney, Wm. H. Rager Esq.
QUESTIONS BY WM. A. MUNLY:
Q. What is your name?
A. M. H. Healy.
Q. What is your occupation?
A. Deputy U.S. Marshal at Talkeetna, Alaska.
Q. How long have you held that position?
A. A little over a year.
Q. State whether you were to Talkeetna Lake
A. Yes I was.
Q. What did you see there and what was the
purposes of your visit there?
A. To investigate the death of Talkeetna Stepan
Q. State to the court what you discovered.
A. After we arrived at the camp there we found
the dead bodies of a couple of
persons a man and a woman.
Q. How did you find them?
A. We removed the dirt out of the grave and
found the bodies. The two bodies were
buried in this grave there which
was about three feet deep. The bodies were
side by side in the grave.
Q. How far is that place from Talkeetna?
A. It is about 90 miles north east of Talkeetna.
Q. State how the bodies were in the grave.
A. They were lying side by side in the grave,
but before we reached the bodies
there was a canvas over the bodies;
there were poles over the bodies, then this
canvas over the poles and then
dirt over the canvas. The grave was about four
feet deep, three feet of dirt.
Q. Who were those persons you saw in the grave?
A. Talkeetna Stepan was one and Nagolia Stepan
his wife, the other.
Q. Did you know these people before you saw
A. I did.
Q. Did you recognize them?
Q. How long have you known them Mr. Healy?
A. Close onto 8 or 9 months.
Q. What was the condition of the bodies you
A. The body of the woman, her face was bruised,
her nose appeared to be flattened
on her face, from what cause I
do not know and the mans forehead, blood was
oozing out of his forehead, both
sides of face bloody, covered with blood.
Q. What time did you reach there?
A. We reached there on the 14th day of July.
Q. What was the condition of the bodies, as
to whether or not decomposition had
A. The smell was very bad but their faces appeared
to be all right, the contour of their faces.
Q. What was your opinion about the time they
must be dead?
A. From the condition of the bodies, the fact
that decomposition had set in, and
the odor from the bodies was strong,
I imagine they must be dead a month or
Q. Did you get any articles there?
Q. Have you them here?
A. I have. These articles were picked up at
the camp there, some wearing apparel
and some other stuff. This is a
woman's waist found around near the fire, at the
edge of the fire.
Q. How far from the bodies in the grave?
A. About 18 feet. There was evidence of a camp
there and these articles were picked up there.
This is a woman's dress found in the same
place. This watch was found in the bed of the fire,
right in the center
of the fire.
It is a cheap watch. All of this other
stuff was found on the edge of the fire;
these field glasses and the thermos bottle
were found on the edge of the fire, this
pair of moccasins found in the same place.
Q. You recognized the persons you found in the
A. Yes sir.
Q. Anything further you wish to state?
A. The tent where the fight occurred was burnt
and all the belongings in that tent
where the fight occurred was burnt
and all the belongings in that tent at the
time of the disturbance. This stuff
is all from the edge where this fire was.
Q. Did you arrest the defendant Knik Nicoli?
A. No sir.
BY W. H. RAGER Esq.
How large a space did the remains of that fire cover?
A. The diameter was probably between 5
and 6 feet.
Q. When you saw these glasses found at the edge
of the fire, in what relative
position were they to the fire?
A. Right at the very edge where the fire was.
Q. When did you first get notice of, when were
you first notified of this occurrence?
A. We were notified some time about the 26th
or 28th of June.
Q. When did you leave Talkeetna for Talkeetna
A. On the 14th. To the best of my remembrance
on the day of the 14th of July.
Q. What were the climatic conditions prevailing
at the time?
Q. In what respect?
A. Lots of rain, very wet.
Q. Who, if anybody, was with you on this trip?
A. Mr. Kennedy here, this boy Bob Stepan and
a guide by the name of Pedro.
Q. I will ask you Mr. Healy if these articles
produced here in all the evidence you
have in the matter, other than the
A. It is.
Q. You say you knew these persons for eight or
nine months, is that correct?
Q. What means did you have of knowing them?
A. I have seen them go through the town of Talkeetna
once or twice, I have met them
down Willow Creek here last spring,
some time along in February, they were camped
down at Willow Creek, I was in their
camp at that time, going and coming. They
came to Talkeetna later, sometime
towards spring, and I also met them there at
at Nicoli's camp. They were camped
there for several days.
Q. As I understand this Talkeetna Stepan does
not live in Talkeetna?
A. Not as far as I know.
Q. You met him when you visited in the Willow
A. I met him down there while I was on a business
Q. Then you met him again when Talkeetna Stepan
was going through Talkeetna?
Q. Did you see Talkeetna Stepan leave Talkeetna
for this trip?
A. I did. It appears before he left Talkeetna
he made some hooch at old Nicoli's camp
and Knik Nicoli was with him down there in
the forenoon about 11 o'clock, everything
was very quiet and I started to come back up
home and I heard an awful racket down there,
so I went back down there to the camp and everything
was in an uproar, they were hollering
and this Stepan, he was trying to
beat his wife, he was under the influence of
this hooch that they made in old
Nicoli's camp. The next morning they left
Nicoli's camp and went up the river.
Old Nicoli is Chief there and we call him Nicoli.
Q. Is there a Nicoli up there at Talkeetna?
A. Yes, an old man.
Q. How many graves were there?
A. Just one grave.
Q. Containing two bodies?
A. Yes sir.
Q. How were they buried?
A. Lying side by side.
Q. When did you uncover those bodies?
A. That was on the 14th day of July.
Q. Who was with you at the time you uncovered
A. Mr. Kennedy here.
Q. You say decomposition had set in?
A. Yes some, from the stench of the bodies.
Q. What did you do with the bodies after you
A. We pulled the covering off their faces and
we looked at them so we could recognize them.
Q. Do I understand you that you permitted those
bodies to remain in that grave?
A. Yes sir. We reburied, we refilled that grave.
Q. The bodies were permitted to remain in the
same position as you found them?
A. Yes sir.
Q. You did not handle the bodies?
A. Only just to look at them.
Q. Who notified you in regard to this disturbance?
A. Inga told Mr. Larson about it and he came
down to Talkeetna and notified me of it.
Q. About those two Indians that accompanied you,
this little boy and the other
Indian person, did they see the
bodies in the grave?
A. They would not go over to the grave at all.
Q. So they did not examine the bodies at the
time you did?
A. No, you could not get them to go near the
G. L. KENNEDY WAS SWORN AND TESTIFIED AS FOLLOWS:
Q. What is your name?
A. G. L. Kennedy
Q. Where do you live?
Q. Did you accompany Mr. Healy on his trip to
Talkeetna Lake about the early part of this month?
A. Yes sir.
Q. Were you there at the uncovering of the grave
at that place?
A. Yes sir.
Q. Tell what you saw there.
A. We uncovered it, pulled back the canvas and
looked at the faces.
Q. What was the condition of the faces?
A. What I saw, the woman's face looked to have
a crease down through her nose, bloody face.
Q. What about his face?
A. Blood apparently oozing from his hair down
on his forehead.
Q. What was the condition of the bodies?
A. Smelled too strong for me to monkey around
there very much.
Q. There were two bodies there?
A. Yes, apparently a man and a woman. One had
whiskers, the other did not. They
were lying side by side in the grave.
Q. You did not know these people?
A. No sir.
QUESTIONS BY W. H. RAGER Esq.
Q. What is your business?
Q. Did you accompany Mr. Healy from Talkeetna
to the Lake and return?
A. Yes. I came as far as Indian River with them
on the return and
from Indian River. I came alone with the horses.
Q. You say those bodies were decomposed?
A. Yes sir.
Q. Were the faces marked?
A. Yes, there was a crease or big mark down the
woman's face and her face seemed
very much bloody all over. I only
looked for an instant at their faces. The other
person had blood on his forehead.
Q. In other words you simply glanced at the faces
and they were covered with blood?
A. That is all.
Q. The other person you say had blood on its
forehead? Was it just an accumulation
of blood there?
A. It just seemed to be more or less bloody.
Q. Was it bloody all over the face?
A. The face looked very perfect, the mans face.
Q. After you made an examination you simply covered
the grave with this canvas and dirt?
A. Yes sir.
Q. You never handled the bodies?
INGA STEPAN WAS SWORN AND TESTIFIED AS FOLLOWS:
QUESTIONED BY WM. A. MUNLY:
Q. What is your name?
A. Inga Stepan.
Q. Where is your home?
Q. How old are you?
A. Sixteen years I think.
Q. Did you know Talkeetna Stepan when he was
Q. And Nagolia Stepan?
Q. Who was Nagolia Stepan?
A. My mother.
Q. Who was Talkeetna Stepan?
A. My step-father.
Q. Who is your father?
A. Tom Stepan.
Q. Where did you live last winter, Inga?
A. At Knik last winter.
Q. When did you leave Knik?
A. I do not know what month we left. We left
in the winter, the latter
part of winter or in the early spring.
Q. Where did you go?
A. To Talkeetna.
Q. And then where did you go from Talkeetna?
A. To Talkeetna Lake.
Q. Who was with you?
A. Bob and I, my mother, Talkeetna Stepan and
Q. This boy here is Bob?
Q. Do you remember when you got there to the
A. I do not know.
Q. Did you have a camp at Talkeetna Lake?
Q. How did you live there?
A. We lived in a tent there.
Q. How long did you stay up there, until about
A. Until about a month ago.
Q. Did you see any trouble up there between Knik
Nicoli and Talkeetna Stepan your step-father?
A. Yes. We stayed there at the lake and Talkeetna
Stepan made a barrel of hooch and
Knik Nicoli made a barrel of hooch
and they had it in the barrel for three days
and after that they drank it and
they all got crazy that night, Knik Nicoli was
crazy and the old woman, my mother,
was crazy and it was just getting dark, must
be about eight o'clock at night
when they had the fight and they all sat in the
tent talking and the old man, Talkeetna
Stepan, got up and tried to go outside of
the tent and he knocked the ridge
pole down on Knik Nicoli's face and Knik Nicoli
ran out and got a stick and kept
hitting Talkeetna Stepan through the tent. The
tent, when it fell down, covered
up the old woman and Talkeetna Stepan. Me and Bob
were just a little ways away when
they were fighting there. It was dark a little
but we could see them.
Q. What kind of a stick did Knik Nicoli hit him
A. It was a stick about four feet long and about
2 1/2" round.
Q. What did Talkeetna Stepan do?
A. He fell down. Nagolia and him were both in
Q. Did he talk after that when he hit him?
A. He hit him pretty bad.
Q. How many times did he hit him?
A. We cannot hardly know but he hit him lots
Q. Then what did they do?
A. They was in the tent when he hit them, Nagolia
and Talkeetna Stepan, under the
tent at the time and my mother tried
to lift up the tent and at that time he hit
my mother, he hit her in the back
of the head and arms, her arm was broken and
there was blood on the back of her
Q. What did they do with Talkeetna Stepan?
A. Knik Nicoli got well the next morning and
he took the tent off and looked at him
and he went down after water to
wash the old mans face off, and my mother was
sitting close to the old man and
crying. We went there but did not go close to the body.
Q. What did your mother do then?
A. She sat down there and she turned around to
me and she talked to me and said I
cannot go along with you to Knik,
my head is sore and my hand is sore.
Q. What did she tell you to go to Knik for?
A. If I would go to Knik I would be all right.
Q. What became of your mother?
A. She sat down there crying and Knik Nicoli
dug up the grave and my mother took
the .22 rifle and shot herself.
Me and the boy Bob stayed by the fire and when she
she shot herself she died a little
Q. What did you do then?
A. We helped Knik Nicoli to take the bodies to
Q. How many feet down was the grave dug?
A. It must be about 3 or 4 feet.
Q. Did you put anything on top of the bodies?
A. We put canvas on the bottom and put it around
the top of them and put them down
side by side, both in one grave
and covered it with dirt.
Q. Did you see those things here that were picked
up at the camp there?
Q. Do you recognize them?
Q. Whose dress is that?
A. That is my mothers dress.
Q. And this box?
A. That is my mothers sewing box.
Q. Whose glasses are those?
A. Talkeetna Stepan's glasses.
Q. And this bottle?
A. Talkeetna Stepan's bottle.
Q. Whose moccasins are those?
A. Talkeetna Stepan's moccasins.
Q. Whose watch is this?
A. Talkeetna Stepan's watch.
Q. What did you do then?
A. Knik Nicoli, I and Bob came back to Talkeetna
and we staid at Talkeetna 2 days and
Knik Nicoli told us to go to Fish
Creek where Larson is and we went to Larson's
at Fish Creek and we told Larson
what happened and he came down and told Mr.Healy.
Q. Did Knik Nicoli tell you where he was going?
A. He did not tell us where he was going.
QUESTIONS BY W. H. RAGER Esq.
Q. You say you are 16 years old, have you ever
been to school?
A. I have never been to school. Mrs. Brown at
Knik, she teached me lots of things.
Q. Who were in your party that went to Talkeetna
A. Knik Nicoli, Talkeetna Stepan, Bob, me and
Q. Did you all start out from Knik together?
Q. Did you stop at Talkeetna on your way up?
Q. How long did you stay there at Talkeetna?
A. I do not know, I think about a week.
Q. Were all five of you together there?
Q. Did you have trouble there?
A. They had trouble but I did not know anything
Q. Then you left Talkeetna and went up to Talkeetna
Lake, the same five?
Q. And that was about the month of June, about
a month ago?
Q. How many tents did you have in that party?
A. We had only one tent. All lived in one tent.
I did not live in it.
Q. What kind of weather was it up around the
A. It was warm weather.
Q. Was it raining?
A. Never rained at that time. It was raining
when we were coming back. When we got
to Fish Creek it was raining.
Q. How many days were you there at the lake before
they began to make this hooch?
A. We staid about a month there.
Q. You were there about a month before this hooch
A. The old man Talkeetna Stepan made a barrel
of hooch and Knik Nicoli
made some hooch, made a barrel each.
Q. What size would you say those barrels were?
A. I do not know, about 2 feet high and one foot
wide. One was a candy barrel.
Q. Did you see them drink it?
Q. How long were they drinking this before they
had this fight?
A. I think they had the fight about 8 o'clock
at night. It was dark then.
Q. Before they had this fight they were drinking
Q. You did not see them drink it?
Q. Where were you when you saw Talkeetna Stepan
pull the ridge pole down on Knik Nicoli?
A. I saw him from the outside, I was just a little
ways on the outside of the tent.
Q. The other four were on the inside of the tent
at the time?
A. Bob ran out when the old man got up.
Q. The boy Bob came out when the ridge pole fell,
is that correct?
Q. What did you do then?
A. We just was outside and we ran a little ways
when Knik Nicoli came out
and we stood and looked back.
Q. Were they fighting then?
A. Yes. Nagolia and Talkeetna Stepan were under
the tent and he was hitting
them with the stick.
Q. What kind of a tent was that, did it have
sides to it?
A. Canvas came clear to the ground.
Q. The canvas came clear to the ground?
Q. Then when they were fighting your mother and
Talkeetna Stepan were on the inside
of the tent and this man Nicoli
was outside and you were standing some distance
away, do you know how far?
A. We were some distance away but we could see
some. It was a little dark.
Q. When he hit those persons with the stick,
both were inside of the tent?
A. Yes, my mother and Talkeetna Stepan.
Q. Then you could not see with your own eyes
with the canvas over them, which one he hit?
A. The canvas covered the old man and my mother
and both were inside the tent.
Q. Then you did not see Knik Nicoli strike Stepan
with your own eyes?
A. We saw with our own eyes when he hit the old
Q. The tent fell down on your mother and step-father
and they were inside the tent
and Nicoli was outside with a stick
in his hand and he struck somebody in the tent?
Q. Could you see those persons in the tent or
could you just recognize who they were?
A. I could see.
Q. What started the fight?
A. The ridge pole hit Nicoli when it fell down.
The old man on his way out of the
tent pulled the ridge pole down
and it struck Nicoli.
Q. Was he drunk at the time?
A. He was crazy at the time.
Q. How long had he been drunk?
A. I do not know.
Q. This Nicoli was drinking hooch too?
A. Yes, they all drank the hooch.
Q. Both he and Talkeetna Stepan were drinking
Q. Talkeetna Stepan made a keg of hooch and this
Nicoli made a
keg of hooch?
Q. With what did you dig the grave?
A. With a shovel.
Q. Did you have a shovel with you?
Q. After the bodies were buried how long did
you stay in camp?
A. We went the same day. The three of us left
the lake together and came out to
Fish Creek and he told us to go
to Fish Creek which is about four miles away
from the town of Talkeetna. Knik
Nicoli burned the tent and all the stuff that
was in it after the bodies were
buried and he also burned the stick.
Q. After Knik Nicoli hit them with that club,
what did he do?
A. He lied down.
Q. How long did he lie down?
A. A little while.
Q. Then when he got up what did he do, did he
go to the tent?
A. He pulled the tent off the old man and Nagolia.
The old man was dead, his body
was warm but he was dead. That was
two or three hours after he was hit.
Q. What did your mother say at the time? Did
she say anything to you?
A. She said Knik Nicoli hit her too and broke
her arm and hit her on the head too.
Next day she talked about going
to Knik and she says I cannot go with you to Knik,
but if you go to Knik or some other
place tell the truth about it.
Q. Whose rifle is that?
A. The old mans, Talkeetna Stepan's. They had
another gun, but that 22 gun was the
one my mother shot herself with,
she tied a string around the trigger and killed
herself. When he buried the bodies
he burnt the tent and burnt the stick and he
burned up all but those things in
the sack here.
Q. You say your mother shot herself with that
rifle, did you see her shoot herself?
A. I heard her, I heard the noise when she shot
Q. Did your mother say she shot herself?
A. She did not talk after she shot herself. She
was living but did not talk. Nicoli
was digging the grave at the time
she shot herself.
QUESTIONED BY W. A. MUNLY ASST.
Bob Stepan's testimony
was given through an interpreter named "Jocko". Said Bob Stepan,
asked if he knew what an oath meant, and replying that it meant to tell
the truth, he was sworn and
testified as follows:
Previous to his being sworn, Jocko, the interpreter was also sworn
as an interpreter:
Q. What is your name and what is your age?
A. Bob Stepan, age eleven years.
Q. Who is your father?
A. Talkeetna Stepan.
Q. You live at Knik?
Q. Did you go up to Talkeetna Lake?
Q. When did you go up there?
A. Last winter.
Q. Who went up with you to Talkeetna Lake?
A. Five. Knik Nicoli, Talkeetna Stepan, Nagolia
Stepan, Inga and myself.
Q. Did you see the trouble at Talkeetna Lake?
Q. Did you see Nicoli strike with a club?
Q. How big a club was it?
A. About four feet long and about 3 inches thick.
Q. Where did he strike and who did he strike?
A. I do not know who he struck, Talkeetna Stepan
and Nagolia were under the tent
and Nicoli struck down at the tent.
Q. Who was in the tent at the time?
A. Talkeetna Stepan was in the tent and Nagolia.
Q. And you saw him strike down at the tent when
they were in there?
Q. Were you there when Nicoli raised the tent
Q. Was Talkeetna Stepan alive or dead then?
A. He was dead then.
Q. Was Nagolia Stepan alive or dead then?
A. She was alive.
Q. Did Nagolia say anything to you or to Inga?
A. She talked to Inga.
Q. Did you hear what Nagolia said to Inga?
Q. Did you help dig the grave?
Q. Who did they put down in the grave?
A. Talkeetna Stepan and Nagolia.
Q. Did you hear the shot when Nagolia Stepan
Q. When was that?
A. Next day after the trouble.
Q. Did you see Nicoli burn up the club and the
A. Yes, he burt up the tent.
Q. Did he, Nicoli, burn up all the bloody clothes?
A. He burned up the club and the clothes.
QUESTIONS BY W. H. RAGER Esq.
Q. Ask him how much hooch they made.
A. He say they make two barrels of hooch.
Q. Ask him if Talkeetna Stepan make hooch.
A. He say Talkeetna Stepan make one and Nicoli
make one too.
Q. How big were they?
A. About two feet high.
Q. Did he have any of the hooch?
Q. Ask him if he was in the tent when the ridge
pole fell down.
A. He say yes.
Q. Ask him if he saw the ridge pole hit Nicoli.
A. He say yes he saw him.
Q. Ask him if he saw Talkeetna Stepan when he
pulled the tent down and caused the ridge pole to fall.
A. He say yes.
Q. How long did he, Bob, stay in the tent after
the ridge pole fell down.
A. He say when the tent fell down he ran out.
He was scared, they were trying to
talk fight, hooch all around. Talkeetna
Stepan tried to get out of the tent and
the ridge pole fell down and Nicoli
got up and went outside the tent and got a
club and Talkeetna Stepan and Nagolia
were in the tent and he saw Nicoli hit him with the club.
After this testimony, the boy (Bob Stepan) appeared confused
and would not answer any more questions
and the hearing was closed.
Mr. Munly asked "Jocko" how old a man Talkeetna Stepan was and he
stated he was close to 50 years old.
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