The indictment ran as follows: On the 17th of January, 18 — in the lodging-house Mauritania, occurred the sudden death of the Second Guild merchant, Therapont Emilianovich Smelkoff, of Kourgan.
The local police doctor of the fourth district certified that death was due to rupture of the heart, owing to the excessive use of alcoholic liquids. The body of the said Smelkoff was interred. After several days had elapsed, the merchant Timokhin, a fellow-townsman and companion of the said Smelkoff, returned from St. Petersburg, and hearing the circumstances that accompanied the death of the latter, notified his suspicions that the death was caused by poison, given with intent to rob the said Smelkoff of his money. This suspicion was corroborated on inquiry, which proved:
1. That shortly before his death the said Smelkoff had received the sum of 3,800 roubles from the bank. When an inventory of the property of the deceased was made, only 312 roubles and 16 copecks were found.
2. The whole day and night preceding his death the said Smelkoff spent with Lubka (alias Katerina Maslova) at her home and in the lodging-house Mauritania, which she also visited at the said Smelkoff’s request during his absence, to get some money, which she took out of his portmanteau in the presence of the servants of the lodging-house Mauritania, Euphemia Botchkova and Simeon Kartinkin, with a key given her by the said Smelkoff. In the portmanteau opened by the said Maslova, the said Botchkova and Kartinkin saw packets of 100-rouble bank-notes.
3. On the said Smelkoff’s return to the lodging-house Mauritania, together with Lubka, the latter, in accordance with the attendant Kartinkin’s advice, gave the said Smelkoff some white powder given to her by the said Kartinkin, dissolved in brandy.
4. The next morning the said Lubka (alias Katerina Maslova) sold to her mistress, the witness Kitaeva, a brothel-keeper, a diamond ring given to her, as she alleged, by the said Smelkoff.
5. The housemaid of the lodging-house Mauritania, Euphemia Botchkova, placed to her account in the local Commercial Bank 1,800 roubles. The postmortem examination of the body of the said Smelkoff and the chemical analysis of his intestines proved beyond doubt the presence of poison in the organism, so that there is reason to believe that the said Smelkoff’s death was caused by poisoning.
When cross-examined, the accused, Maslova, Botchkova, and Kartinkin, pleaded not guilty, deposing — Maslova, that she had really been sent by Smelkoff from the brothel, where she “works,” as she expresses it, to the lodging-house Mauritania to get the merchant some money, and that, having unlocked the portmanteau with a key given her by the merchant, she took out 40 roubles, as she was told to do, and that she had taken nothing more; that Botchkova and Kartinkin, in whose presence she unlocked and locked the portmanteau, could testify to the truth of the statement.
She gave this further evidence — that when she came to the lodging-house for the second time she did, at the instigation of Simeon Kartinkin, give Smelkoff sonic kind of powder, which she thought was a narcotic, in a glass of brandy, hoping he would fall asleep and that she would be able to get away from him; and that Smelkoff, having beaten her, himself gave her the ring when she cried and threatened to go away.
The accused, Euphemia Botchkova, stated that she knew nothing about the missing money, that she had not even gone into Smelkoff’s room, but that Lubka had been busy there all by herself; that if anything had been stolen, it must have been done by Lubka when she came with the merchant’s key to get his money.
At this point Maslova gave a start, opened her mouth, and looked at Botchkova. “When,” continued the secretary, “the receipt for 1,800 roubles from the bank was shown to Botchkova, and she was asked where she had obtained the money, she said that it was her own earnings for 12 years, and those of Simeon, whom she was going to marry. The accused Simeon Kartinkin, when first examined, confessed that he and Botchkova, at the instigation of Maslova, who had come with the key from the brothel, had stolen the money and divided it equally among themselves and Maslova.” Here Maslova again started, half-rose from her seat, and, blushing scarlet, began to say something, but was stopped by the usher. “At last,” the secretary continued, reading, “Kartinkin confessed also that he had supplied the powders in order to get Smelkoff to sleep. When examined the second time he denied having had anything to do with the stealing of the money or giving Maslova the powders, accusing her of having done it alone.”
Concerning the money placed in the bank by Botchkova, he said the same as she, that is, that the money was given to them both by the lodgers in tips during 12 years’ service.
The indictment concluded as follows:
In consequence of the foregoing, the peasant of the village Borki, Simeon Kartinkin, 33 years of age, the meschanka Euphemia Botchkova, 43 years of age, and the meschanka Katerina Maslova, 27 years of age, are accused of having on the 17th day of January, 188 — jointly stolen from the said merchant, Smelkoff, a ring and money, to the value of 2,500 roubles, and of having given the said merchant, Smelkoff, poison to drink, with intent of depriving him of life, and thereby causing his death. This crime is provided for in clause 1,455 of the Penal Code, paragraphs 4 and 5.
Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 12:00