The story, as we learn it, is that Merle Mahler in company with his brother, Carl, and wife went to the lake that evening. Later in the evening Merle left his brother and wife and went to see a friend for a few minutes. When he arrived at his destination McCarty was there, and it is said, under the influence of liquor. Their mutual friend tried to introduce them, but McCarty made a reply that he did not want to meet him. Merle, feeling that their might be trouble, left immediately and went out to his car to go home. The car would not start and about this time he noticed McCarty coming toward the car. McCarty came to the car and called Merle a vile name, Merle replied that he never took that from any man, whereupon McCarty told him he'd have to take it this time, and with this remark he pulled his revolver and deliberately shot Merle. Two bullets entered the body, one of them going through the heart, which caused almost instant death. Mr. Mahler was immediately taken to Crown Point to a doctor, but when he reached there he had passed away. The body was removed to the Lunton morgue and later brought to Lowell by Weaver and Sons.
McCarty lives in Kentland and for some time has been a deputy sheriff and court bailiff in Newton County. It is said that he is a bad actor when under the influence of liquor, and his rash act last Saturday night seems to prove it.
Deputy Sheriff Tom Platt and other deputies came to Cedar Lake at once and took up the trail of the murderer, and he was captured near St. John. He was taken to Crown Point and lodged in jail to await the action of the grand jury. Several witnesses were also taken into custody, but they were later released until the trial comes up.
Probably the only actual witness to the shooting was Albert Reynolds, a friend of Merle's, who was in the car with him when the tragedy occurred.
Merle Mahler was born in Lowell, Ind., March 19, 1895. He was one of nine children of Paul and Nellie Mahler, three of whom have already answered the summons to some fair clime, while the other five are left to mourn the departure of their brother. There are four sisters; Mrs. J.C. Dexter, of Chicago, Ill.; Mrs. Edward Glover, of Crown Point; Mrs. Grover C. Rouse, of Schneider; Miss Vessie Mahler, at home, and Carl Mahler, living near to his father and mother.
Merle Mahler was united in marriage to Blanche Stowell, of St. Joseph, Mich. November 29, 1917, and to this union has been born four children, two boys and two girls, Paul, age 9; Merle, Jr., 7, Edna Louise, 5, and Jacqueline, 22 months. These four children with a loving companion must look to the Father in Heaven now for care and sweet repose. Christ so tenderly stated, "He would be a companion to the compassionless and a father to the fatherless."
Brother Merle heard the call of the Master for his soul and he gave is heart to Christ and became a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Lowell under the ministry of Rev. V.B. Servies in 1914. Merle was a good fellow and he wore a smile which the whole community cherished and that smile shall be held as a memory of him who walked among us. He was a lover of his parents, would do almost anything he was asked to do for them if through the act he could see that he had done something to bring them happiness and joy. What we say in regard to the parents we could say also in regard to his own little family. And the brother and sisters were all tied together with a love of real manifestation, and with hearts that beat as one.
Merle passed away October 13, 1928, aged 33 years, 6 months, and 25 days. Besides his close relatives mentioned he leaves a broken hearted family, loved children, a devoted and much loved companion, and numerous other relatives and friends who will miss him.
Merle, you are gone, but not forgotten.
We wonder why he was taken;
We wonder why we are left;
He had so much to live for -
And of so much we are bereft.
We wonder what task unfinished
He found for our weak hands,
And if all his work was completed
While ran life's golden sands?
Or was it too frail He found him
For life's cold damps and dew -
Too fragile his big large spirit
For the things we must all pass through?
Perhaps he had earned his jewel
In his short span of life,
While we are left to test awhile
Our mettle in the strife.
Funeral services were held at the home of his parents Tuesday at 2 p.m., and were largely attended by sorrowing relatives and friends. Rev. V.V. Hackley was in charge of the services. His Scripture reading was from Joshua 3:4. No songs were sung, but Rev. Hackley at the request of the family, read the words of the following songs: "Some Time We'll Understand," "Beautiful Isle" and "Lead, Kindly Light." Interment was made in the Lowell cemetery with Undertakers Weaver and Son in charge.
McCarty, we understand, has engaged the services of an attorney at Rensselaer to defend him in the case.
McCartney's attorney, J.A. Dunlap, of Rensselaer, appeared in the Criminal court to grant a motion for a change of venue to Porter county on the grounds that the defendant could not get a fair and impartial trial in Lake county. Judge Smith granted the plea for a change of venue, and it is understood that McCartney will stand trial in Valparaiso within a short time.
It is charged that McCartney shot Mahler in a jealous rage following words between the two men at the home of Hattie O'Neil at Cedar Lake.
Trial of the case has been set for December 6 by Judge Grant Crumpacker of the Porter county court.
Much interest is manifested in the outcome of the case here at the home of the young man who lost his life.
On Monday the state had two of their most important witnesses on the stand, Albert Olaf and Miss Grace Celeste, both of Chicago Heights, both of whom were present and saw the shooting. Olaf told a straight forward story and when he was turned over to the defense attorney for cross examination he stuck to his original story, and did not deviate from it in the least, despite efforts of the attorney. Olaf was shown some statements that he was supposed to have made at the inquest but emphatically denied making any such statements and the attorney was unable to shake his evidence in any way. Miss Celeste upheld the evidence of Olaf in every particular.
The following character witnesses from Lowell were at Valpo Tuesday and testified: James Black, Thomas Grant, E.E. Duckworth, Raymond McCarty, Clayton Randolph and Attorney Morris Gilbert.
The defense is trying to prove that the killing of Mahler was done in self defense, and are truing to have the jury bring in a verdict of self defense, and if not that a berdict of manslaughter.
The state has presented a strong case and Prosecutor Starr is asking the jury for a sentence of life imprisonment. The jury is composed of 11 farmers and one business man.
It is expected that the arguments would be finished last evening and that the case would go to the jury last night or this morning.
Judge Crumpacker passed sentence on McCartney Tuesday morning and soon after the sheriff of Porter county started with the gray haired, 55 year old prisoner for Michigan City where he must serve from 2 to 21 years.
Judge Crumpacker remarked to the prisoner the it was a painful duty he had to perform in sending him to prison, but that he approved of the sentence and told the prisoner that he might have fared worse.
McCartney will be eligible to ask for parole in two years under the sentence.
Thus ends one of the very few murder cases ever occurring in the south part of the county.
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