From the Record (txt):

Two Students Admit Coffin Shotgunning

by John D. Phillips

The students responsible for last Saturday’s shotgun attack on the home of Chaplain William S. Coffin have been apprehended.

Williamstown Police Chief John D. Courtney, Jr., announced last night that two Williams students had signed confessions to the shooting, and implied that a third student might be involved.

The students were released On $50 bail and tried in the Williamstown District Court this morning on the double charge of malicious damage to property and carrying a loaded firearm in an automobile. They pleaded guilty and were fined $125. When asked in court why they chose Chaplain Coffin’s house for their action, they refused to answer.

This afternoon at 2 o’clock they will face the Student-Faculty Discipline Committee with the possibility of expulsion from college.

The case was handled by the Williamstown police force in co-operation with college authorities and RECORD staff members. This combined effort to track down the attackers began early Sunday when police pinpointed the time of the shooting and began investigating college shotgun registrations.

On the basis of this preliminary information, plus fragmentary knowledge received from Williams students, the police were led to believe that the attacker was a student. Several suspects were rigorously interrogated. That was Tuesday night.

On Wednesday, police inquiries in the Southworth Street area uncovered evidence of more than one student involved in the case. Both Mrs. Coffin and her neighbors said that they recalled seeing a dark bronze car passing slowly in front of the Coffin home at least three times during the day on Saturday.

One man stated to police that at 10:30 Saturday night, while standing in his driveway, he heard a shot and saw a car roaring up the street from the direction of the Coffin residence. He described the vehicle as a dark bronze Pontiac or Chevrolet of late forties or early fifties vintage. Police concluded from this evidence that at least one student besides the gunman was involved.

Still, authorities lacked evidence pointing conclusively to any particular students. Finally, on Thursday, they uncovered information on several students which checked with the circumstantial facts of the case.

They were immediately questioned by local police, and by late yesterday afternoon the confessions were secured.


1) Why didn’t the Record print the names of the students? I suspect that today’s Record would. But would today’s Record help out the police? I doubt it.

2) Which house did Coffin live in? Who lives there now?

3) How did police crack the case?

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