WHITEHORSE, Y.T., (CP) - The widow of a gold rush veteran will face trial for the murder of her husband following a preliminary hearing at which she and her 15-year-old son told the court how she shot the 80-year-old man when she feared her life was in danger.
Magistrate Aubrey Simmons committed 60-year-old Mrs. Annie Hayden for trial Thursday, 24 hours after the 15-year-old son, Eddie, told Royal Canadian Mounted Police of the death of his father, John Hayden at their cabin at Silver City, 130 miles northwest of Whitehorse.
"I got scared," the Indian wife of the veteran trapper and Yukon guide told Magistrate Simmons. "He was going to kill me - that's why I shot him."
The mother and son told the court Mrs, Hayden grabbed a rifle and shot her husband after he had beaten and kicked her when she claimed an arm injury made it impossible for her to do the household chores.
The son added that he had been forced to hide all the firearms around the cabin to prevent his mother from killing herself while he notified police of the shooting.
They testified that the father, always a sternly religious man, had become an unreasonable disciplinarian shortly before his death.
According to their evidence, John Hayden became enraged when his wife told him of her injury and knocked her to the floor, dragged her around the cabin by her bracelets, kicked and otherwise abused her.
When he left the cabin momentarily, the woman, fearing for her life, seized a rifle and shot him as he returned.
Formerly a miner at Kalamazoo, Mich., Hayden had been a respected citizen of the territory since he came north in 1829 and helped pioneer the Yukon in the years preceding the gold rush of 1898.