From the Richmond Dispatch, 2/2/1864, p. 1, c. 5
Trial of Forde — Conviction of the Prisoner. –The trial of Robert S. Forde, of Kentucky, for the murder, in April last, of Robert Emmet Dixon, of Georgia, Clerk of the C. S. House of Representatives, which has been going on in Judge Lyons’s Court for the past ten days, was yesterday brought to a close. The attendance of spectators was even larger than that of any previous day, and each one seemed to have his own views of the verdict which would be rendered by the jury. Mrs. Forde and a female relative appeared in the Court-room at an early hour, and continued by the side of the prisoner till the close of the afternoon session, at which time the case was given to the jury, when the ladies retired to their home, and did not again return. Gen. Geo. W. Randolph took the floor about ten o’clock, and continued to speak in defence of the prisoner till a few minutes to one o’clock, at the conclusion of which he was followed for the prosecution by Littleton Tazewell, Esq., in a speech of three hours and forty minutes length. There seems to be but one opinion of the effort which was made by Mr. Tazewell, and that was that he made one of the most powerful arguments ever made for the prosecution before any tribunal in this city. At the conclusion of his remarks the cause was surrendered to the jury, who retired to the Sergeant’s room, when the Court took a recess till half-past 5 o’clock. Precisely at that hour a message was received from the Jury, that in half an hour they would be ready for their verdict. During the interval between this announcement and the reassembling of the Court, Forde was seated in the enclosure for the counsel and prisoner with his hat on in conversation with a few of his friends, the crowd in the meantime moving in and out of the Court-room, interchanging remarks in connection with the all absorbing subject of the evening.--Exactly at half past 6 o’clock the signal was given that the jury had agreed, when the Judge and counsel for both sides resumed their seats. The jury were then escorted into the Court by Sergeant Dudley and took their usual position. Upon the usual inquiry from the Clerk if they had agreed upon their verdict, the foreman of the jury handed him their decision, which was “guilty of murder in the second degree,” and sentencing him to the penitentiary for eighteen years. Owing to a previous announcement from Judge Lyons that the first manifestation of applause or disapprobation would be met by an immediate and peremptory order for incarceration, no demonstration was made by the dense crowd assembled, and the composure of the prisoner was equally as marked as it had been during the whole of the examination. In a few minutes after the rendition of the verdict Forde, who had been handcuffed, left the Court-room under the charge of Jailor Hall and an assistant, to be taken to the city jail, where he will remain till the time appointed for transferring him to the State’s prison.
The Court then adjourned till this morning, at 11 o’clock, and the crowd dispersed to their homes.