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Or. Comp. Laws Ann. § 26-924 says: When two or more persons are charged in the same indictment, the court may, at any time before the defendant has gone into his defense, on the application of the district attorney, direct any defendant to be discharged from the indictment, so that he may be a witness for the State.
This is an appeal by Gladys Broadhurst from a judgment of the circuit court based upon a verdict which found her guilty of the crime of first-degree murder and which, pursuant to the recommendation of the jury, sentenced her to life imprisonment. The victim of the alleged homicide was one W.D. Broadhurst, to whom the witnesses referred as Dr. Broadhurst. The death, according to the State, resulted from wounds inflicted feloniously by a heavy wrench and a shotgun. Alvin Lee Williams struck the blows and fired the gun. The State did not claim that Gladys was present when the crime was committed, but contended that Williams was her proxy and that she was a principal within the purview of § 23-207, O. C. L. A.
Was Lee competent to testify against Gladys?
Affirming Gladys’ conviction, the court held that Lee was competent under the common law and Or. Comp. Laws Ann. § 3-102 to testify against Gladys because they were indicted separately and neither Or. Comp. Laws Ann. § 26-924, -925 applied to render him incompetent as they were not joint indictees. Next, the court held that Gladys was not entitled to a new trial based on a district attorney's opening remarks referring to proof in certain letters because he had good cause to believe the letters would be admitted under the best evidence rule. Finally, the court held that Gladys was not entitled to a new trial based on the ground that Lee’s testimony against her was uncorroborated because several groups of facts corroborated his testimony, including evidence underlying their relationship, preparation for the crime, and fabrication and destruction of evidence.