A Merciful Grand Jury
Kentucky Lad, Who Had Committed Burglary, Treated Very Kindly
Newport, Ky., Nov. 16. – The Grand Jury of Campbell County did a queer thing to-day. The case of Charles W. Shotwell, aged seventeen years, for housebreaking, was heard. The boy had been in jail three months. He was in rags and almost barefoot when brought before the Grand Jury. He said his parents died years ago and he was without home or friends. Driven to desperation, he joined an older person in attempting to break into a house. The other person escaped. Shotwell concealed nothing, and his story was corroborated. The jury found no indictment, but instead made up a purse for Shotwell, procured new clothing for him, and set him free, simply extracting a promise that he would lead a better life.
From the New York Times of November 17, 1897, and likely reprinted from a Cincinnati paper.
Somebody asked us what happened to the young man.
So we've tracked him thru some census records and find him moving from city to city, ie. Detroit and Chicago, and his occupation is listed as Engineer. Information leads us to believe he was either a railroad engineer, or an engineer building structures for the railroad. In any event, the grand jury's faith was well placed.