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Marcelino Julian kills six men and wounds 13 people during a rampage through Seattle's Chinatown on November 24, 1932.
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On Thanksgiving Day, November 24, 1932, Marcelino Julian, age 30, runs amok in Seattle's International District wielding a bolo knife, killing six men, and wounding 13 people. After a half-hour rampage, he suddenly stops, raises his hands in the air, and surrenders to pursuing Seattle police officers. During a two-week trial in April 1933, Julian is convicted of first-degree murder in King County Superior Court and sentenced to life imprisonment. After three years at the Washington State Penitentiary, he will be transferred to Eastern State Hospital at Medical Lake (Spokane County) for psychiatric evaluation. Julian will be certified legally insane and deported to the Philippine Islands for commitment to a mental institution.
Life Before the Rampage
Marcelino Julian was born in 1902 in Cuyapo, Nuevo Ecija Province, Philippine Islands. He served in the Philippine Constabulary for three years as a soldier and then decided to emigrate to America to earn more money. He left Manila on Saturday, March 30, 1929, aboard the American Mail Line steamship SS President Grant for the three-week voyage to Seattle. After arriving, Julian found employment as a migratory worker, following the seasonal harvests along the Pacific Coast and also worked as a cook in Montana and Wisconsin.
Julian came to Seattle from Tacoma on Wednesday afternoon, November 23, 1932. He had just been released from the Pierce County Jail where he served a nine-day sentence for illegally trapping Chinese pheasants at a hop farm near Graham. Before leaving, Julian withdrew his saving of $300 from a Tacoma bank. In Seattle, he went directly to the Midway Hotel, 518 1/2 6th Avenue S, where his friend and compatriot, Tito Guatlo, age 36, was living. Julian accepted an invitation from Guatlo to stay in his room and left his meager belongings there, which included $100 hidden an a sock. That evening, Julian was walking along King Street when two black males assaulted him and stole $200 from his shirt pocket.
Robbed and Rampaging
On Thursday morning, November 24, Julian went to Harborview Hospital, 325 9th Avenue, to visit his sick cousin and when he returned to the hotel, Guatlo and his nephew, Cristolo Bayada, age 19, were in the room. When Julian found that his remaining $100 was missing, he accused Guatlo of stealing the money. Insulted, Guatlo told Julian to leave and started eyeing a gun and bolo knife laying on the table. Julian grabbed the bolo and stabbed Guatlo in the heart, killing him, and then stabbed Bayada in the chest. As Julian left the room, he encountered Cristolo's brother, Abling Bayada, in the hallway and lunged at him. Abling ducked into a nearby room, locked the door and started shouting for help.
Next, Julian encountered William Tenador, age 26, the hotel janitor, who was ascending the hotel stairway. Julian stabbed Tenador in the left side and he fell, mortally wounded. Tenador was rushed to City Emergency Hospital where he died a hour later. Leaving the Midway Hotel, Julian proceeded north on 6th Avenue S, and at King Street encountered Bernardino Bonita, age 30, and stabbed him in the heart. He then went to a fruit stand outside 424 6th Avenue S to buy an orange with his remaining 15 cents. When the owner, Kaneki Inyoue, age 46, called him a "monkey-faced Filipino," Julian stabbed him in the chest and continued walking up the street.
For the next 20 minutes, he wandered the area, randomly attacking unsuspecting victims. Outside 402 6th Avenue S., Julian attacked Frank Johnson, age 60, chopping him with the bolo twice on the head and stabbing him in the heart. In front of the Bush Hotel, 620 Jackson Street, he stabbed to death Jimmy Jiminez, age 26. Julian's final victim was William J. Morris, age 65, proprietor of Morris' Grocery, 525 6th Avenue S, across from the Midway Hotel.
Meanwhile, Seattle Police Headquarters received a report of stabbings at the Midway Hotel and sent Detectives Lieutenants Theodore G. Montgomery (1880-1937) and William Cronk and Patrolman William Reynolds to investigate. Witnesses at the scene told the officers the killer was out on the street with a bolo knife stabbing people. As the police officers exited the hotel, they saw a lynch mob, armed with billiard cues, clubs and other weapons, moving down 6th Avenue S from Jackson Street and turning onto King Street toward 5th Avenue S.
Capturing the Killer
By happenstance, Seattle Police Patrolman Gordon C. Jensen, off duty and in street clothes, spotted a man crossing King Street, south of 6th Avenue S, wielding a large knife and acting strangely. Jensen jumped from his automobile and attempted to capture him, almost getting stabbed in the process. The man slashed at Jensen with the knife, cutting his coat, and then ran south down the alley toward Weller Street. Jensen, with the mob close behind, followed in hot pursuit.
As Montgomery, Cronk and Reynolds approached the mob, they heard people shouting that Julian was running south, so they backtracked to 6th Street headed toward Weller Street. Arriving at the corner, the officers were surprised to see Julian standing expressionless in front of Morris' Grocery with his hands raised. At the same time, Patrolman Jensen arrived at the scene with at least 25 people following. Everyone stopped as Montgomery and Reynolds cautiously approached with their guns drawn and handcuffed the suspect. Julian, trembling violently and mumbling incoherently, offered no resistance. No one realized that Julian had just been in the grocery store and had stabbed the owner in the right lung or that he lay dying on the floor.
Julian appeared normal and relaxed when questioned by Detective Captain Wesley N. Miller at Seattle Police Headquarters. He claimed he had no recollection of the incident and was horrified to learn he had killed and wounded numerous people during a rampage through Chinatown. Julian told Captain Miller "Better for me to die now. I realize I have done a great wrong. My life is not worth all those lives. I am awfully sorry. I did not intend to kill anybody. My money was not worth causing so much sorrow" (The Seattle Times, November 25, 1932).
The final casualty count was six dead, four Filipino and two white males, and 13 wounded, one Filipino, two black, three white, and six Japanese males, and one Japanese female. All the victims were transported to the nearby City Emergency Hospital, located on the fourth floor of the Public Safety Building (now the Yesler Building) at 4th Avenue and Yesler Way.
On Friday, November 25, 1932, Deputy Prosecutor William J. Wilkins filed a complaint against Marcelino Julian in King County Justice Court for the murder Tito Guatlo. Judge J. William Hoar ordered Julian held without bail and appointed Dr. Donald A. Nicholson, psychiatrist, to determine Julian's sanity. The following day, Dr. Nicholson examined him for two hours in the Seattle City Jail.
On Tuesday, November 29, Dr. Nicholson stated, in an official report to King County Prosecutor Robert M. Burgunder, that Julian was sane when he killed Guatlo and was apparently sane now. His period of derangement occurred after discovering all his money had been stolen, which was exacerbated by being beaten and robbed the previous evening and being insulted by the proprietor of a fruit stand.
On Friday, December 2, 1932, Deputy Prosecutor Wilkins filed an information against Julian in King County Superior Court charging him with the first-degree murder of his first victim, Tito Guatlo, punishable by life imprisonment or death. Judge Robert M. Jones appointed Seattle attorneys H. Sylvester Garvin and George E. Mathieu as his defense counsel. At his arraignment, Julian pleaded not guilty by reason of mental irresponsibility (not criminally responsible for the murder because of mental illness or a mental defect). Trial was scheduled for April 3, 1933 to allow time for additional psychiatric evaluations.
Trial began on Monday morning, April 3, 1933, in King County Superior Court before Judge Malcolm Douglas (1888-1968). Although everyone expected a speedy trial, it took two days to select a jury, which was composed of 10 men and two women. As there was no question that the defendant was guilty of killing six people, the trial developed into a contest between psychiatrists. The state's mental health experts attempted to show Julian was sane when he murdered his first victim, Tito Guatlo, whereas the defense experts maintained he was clearly mentally ill, and had been for some time, the result of being hospitalized with meningitis in 1930. Defense witnesses, who had worked with Julian in the hop fields at Graham (Pierce County) testified he was known as the "wild chicken" because of his often strange and erratic behavior. Julian did not testify in his own defense.
During closing arguments on Wednesday, April 12, Deputy Prosecutor Wilkins asked the jury for a guilty verdict and demanded the death penalty. Defense Attorney Mathieu asked for an acquittal by reason of insanity, referring to the defendant as a "lunatic-eyed slaughterer" and "mad, frenzied mass-murderer."
The case was delivered to the jury late Wednesday afternoon. After 48 hours of deliberation, the jury was still deadlocked. Judge Douglas consulted with the attorneys and submitted a new instruction to the jury, eliminating the necessity to vote on the issue of capital punishment. Everyone hoped this instruction would bring a quick verdict, but it didn't. Judge Douglas issued another instruction asking the jury to address the issue of sanity first and then determine if the defendant was guilty of first-degree murder. If found sane and guilty, then they could decide whether or not to vote on capital punishment issue. On Friday night, April 14, the jury finally returned a verdict, finding Julian sane and guilty of first-degree murder. They voted against imposing the death penalty, making the sentence of life imprisonment automatic.
On Tuesday, April 18, Judge Douglas denied defense motions for a new trial and an arrest of judgment and sentenced Julian to life imprisonment at the Washington State Penitentiary. On Saturday, April 22, he left on a bus with a group of prisoners bound for the penitentiary at Walla Walla. No appeals were filed on Julian's behalf.
Life After Prison
After three years in prison, Julian was transferred to Eastern State Hospital at Medical Lake (Spokane County) for another psychiatric evaluation. On this occasion hospital psychiatrists declared him certifiably insane. On Friday, March 27, 1936, Washington State Governor Clarence D. Martin (1884-1955), upon the recommendation of the state Board of Prison Terms and Paroles, granted Julian a conditional pardon, with the distinct understanding that he be deported to the Philippine Islands and committed to a mental institution. He left Seattle for the Philippines aboard the American Mail Line steamship SS President Grant on Saturday, March 29, 1936. Coincidentally, it was the same ship that had delivered Julian to Seattle exactly seven years previous.
According to crime historian Jay Robert Nash: "It was later reported that Julian found work in Manila and later joined the Philippine Scouts, an army unit that fought against invading Japanese during World War II. Julian survived the Bataan Death March, April 1942, escaping to the hills and, as a guerrilla, constantly attacked occupying Japanese forces. He was credited with killing scores of his nation's enemies. Following the war and establishment of Philippine Independence, Julian vanished."
- Bernardino Bonita, age 30, stabbed in the heart
- Tito Guatlo, age 36, stabbed in the heart
- Jimmy Jiminez, age 26, stabbed in the chest
- Frank Johnson, age 60, stabbed in the heart
- William J. Morris, age 65, stabbed in the right lung
- William Tenador, age 26, stabbed in the left side
- Cristolo Bayada, age 19, chest wounds
- Mrs. Maca Fujita, age 37, shoulder wound
- S. Higashi, age 38, stabbed in the back
- Kaneki Inyoue, age 47, chest wounds
- I. Katimuri, age 35, chest wounds
- K. Nakano, age 48, chest wounds
- Yoshio Oya, age 52, shoulder wounds
- Antone Schuele, age 73, chest wounds
- Hans Sjogren, age 56, stabbed in right shoulder
- Harold Stallworth, age 48, stabbed in the shoulder
- Robert Sinclair, age 47, chest wounds
- Thomas Takoff, age 47, chest wounds
- K. Yasuda, age 50, chest wounds
Jay Robert Nash, Great Pictorial History of World Crime: Murder (Wilmet, IL: History Inc., 2004) vol. 2, pp. 949-951; Senate Journal of the Twenty-Fifth Legislature of the State of Washington (Olympia: State Printing Plant, 1937), p. 52; Dorothy B. Fujita-Rony, American Workers, Colonial Powers: Philippine Seattle and the Transpacific West 1919-1941 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003), pp. 142-144; Notes on Pages 142-144, and 256-257; "Murderer of 6 'Feels Fine,' But Is Sorry," The Seattle Times, November 25, 1932, p. 1; "Grocer's Jibe Began It All, Says Slayer," Ibid., November 25, 1932, p. 1; "Detective Tell How He Clamped Irons on Killer," Ibid., November 25, 1932, p. 8; "Marcelino Loses First round in Battle for Life," Ibid., December 7, 1932, p. 11; "Marcelino Asks Hospital Record," Ibid., December 11, 1932, p. 3; "Trial Set For Filipino Slayer," Ibid., January 29, 1933, p. 3; "Filipino slayer Ready for Trial," Ibid., April 2, 1933, p. 5; "Julian Is Unmoved as Case Gets Under Way," Ibid., April 3, 1933, p. 1; Leland Hannum, "Women forced Off Julian Jury by Their Qualms," Ibid., April 4, 1933, p. 12; "Two Slayers: Evan Natty, Handsome, Brilliant; Julian Seedy, Uncombed and Dull," Ibid., April 10, 1933, p. 1; "Julian won't Eat Gravy; Is He Insane?." Ibid., April 10, 1933, p. 3; "Both Sides Rest in Julian Case; Court Recessed," Ibid., April 11, 1933, p. 11; "Julian trial Is Nearing Its End," Ibid., April 12, 1933, p. 3; "Julian Jury Blocked on Verdict," Ibid., April 13, 1933, p. 1; "Julian Jurors Still at Odds After 48 Hours," Ibid., April 14, 1933, p. 1; "Attorneys for Julian May Ask Second Trial," Ibid., April 15, 1933, p. 12; "Slayer Rejects Food, Wants to Die," Ibid., April 16, 1933, p. 1; "Julian Breaks Hunger Strike After 3 Days," Ibid., April 17, 1933, p. 1; "Julian Receives Life Sentence," Ibid., April 18, 1933, p. 9; "Julian, Weak, On Way to Prison," Ibid., April 23, 1933, p. 3; "Slayer of Six Returned to Philippines," Ibid., March 29, 1936, p. 1; "Slayer Says He Was Funny in the Head," Seattle Post-Intelligencer, November 25, 1932, p. 1; "6 Killed, 12 Wounded as Crazed Filipino Runs Amuck with Knife in South End," Ibid., November 25, 1932, p. 1; "Trail of Dead and Wounded Marks Killer's Mad Flight," Ibid., November 25, 1932, p. 2; "Killer's Victim Tells Own Story," Ibid., November 25, 1932, p. 2; "Death Count Filed Against Knife Wielder," Ibid., November 26, 1932, p. 1; "State Battles Insanity Plea," Ibid., April 11, 1933, p. 1; "Julian Jury in Deadlock," Ibid., April 13, 1933, p. 1; "Jury Still at Odds in Julian Frenzy," Ibid., April 14, 1933, p. 1; "Julian Given Life Sentence," Ibid., April 15, 1933, p. 1; "Slayer Goes on Hunger Strike," Ibid., April 16, 1933, p. 1;"Julian Given Life in Prison," Ibid., April 19, 1933, p. 1.
Note: This essay was emended on January 25, 2012, to correct the birthdate of Clarence D. Martin.
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Marcelino Julian, Seattle City Jail, Seattle, November 25, 1932
Courtesy The Seattle Times
Artist's rendering of Marcelino Julian's rampage through Seattle's Chinatown on November 24, 1932
Courtesy The Seattle Times
City Hall/ Public Safety Building (aka Yesler Building), 400 Yesler Way, Seattle
Postcard Courtesy Seattle Public Library
Seattle Post-Intelligencer, November 25, 1932, front page
Marcelino Julian, Washington State Penitentiary, Walla Walla, April 22, 1933
Courtesy Washington State Archives
Eastern State Hospital, Medical Lake, Spokane County
Courtesy Washington State Department of Social and Health Services