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Confessions of a Convict


State’s Attorney J. B. Wineman of Grand Forks received an interesting affadavit on this day in 1908. The affadavit came from Charles Carlson, at the time an inmate in the State Penitentiary at Bismarck. In it, Carlson attempted to free his partner from the penitentiary, claiming that the man was “too drunk to realize what he was doing.” Carlson and his partner, Ismer Bruce, were charged with highway robbery on December 14, 1904 and given sentences of seventeen years. The two men robbed a general store in Niagara, North Dakota.

Carlson claimed that the two had partnered up in a saloon in East Grand Forks and set their minds to hustling card games, but since neither one of them was any good at cards, they decided to rob a store instead. Bruce lost his nerve in Niagara, but became drunk after consuming a jug of alcohol and was then persuaded by Carlson. The state’s attorney claimed that drunkeness was no excuse for breaking the law.

--Jayme L Job


Fargo Forum and Daily Republican (Evening ed.). May 19, 1908: p. 2.