The Coroner’s Court is a now rarely used legal procedure used to investigate a death under mysteries circumstances. The County Coroner, or medical examiner, would impanel a jury, usually six men, who would view the remains, hear witnesses and study the evidence. This was not a trial, as no one was then accused of a crime. The jury was to determine, first, if the person was dead, and if dead, was the cause of death due to, natural causes, accident, suicide or murder. When the jury determined the cause of death was due to accident or murder, then, if possible, name the one most likely to have caused the death. Sometimes the jury returned a verdict of: “due to person or persons unknown to us at this time.”
About James Mann:
James Mann is a local historian and the author of eight published books on local history. His books include Wicked Washtenaw County, Wicked Ann Arbor and Wicked Ypsilanti. He hosts Lantern Tours of Highland Cemetery, in Ypsilanti, the last two weeks of October.