Polk County, Florida
Crime News

In the Toils.

Just as the GAZETTE goes to press we learn of the arrest of Dr. J. R. Folsom, postmaster at Cecil, by an United States' officer and carried to Macon upon the charge of forging affidavits to a pension application of a Mrs. Roberts, who claims to be the widow of a survivor of the Mexican war. It seems that the woman's husband is alive and a resident of Polk county, Florida. This fact places the accused under the ban of suspicion, if nothing more. We shall believe him innocent of the charge until the contrary appears by competent testimony. The preliminary hearing will be had to-day or to-morrow.

[Source: Tifton Gazette, Friday, July 6, 1894 -- Page 1.] Transcribed and submitted by Sheila Pitts Massie.


A Georgia Postmaster Who Must Answer for Alleged Forgery.

MACON, July 6,---Mr. J. B. Folsom of Berrien county, has been arrested and brought to Macon by revenue officers on a serious charge of offense against the government. Folsom is the postmaster of Cecil, is 68 years old, and has prominent family connections in the state.

He is charged with forging affidavits to a pension application of a widow in Berrien, and the case has been made against him by the pension department of Washington where Special Examiner Davis was given charge of it to work up.

The result of the examiner's investigation was Folsom's arrest, based upon evidence which the pension department thinks will secure his conviction, though the case has not yeat been sifted by the commissioners here, who postponed the hearing on account of absent witnesses.

According to the case made out against him by the pension bureau's examiner, Mr. Folsom, some time ago, secured forged affidavits to the pension application of a Mrs. Sarah Roberts. The charges recite that some time ago Mrs. Roberts came to Folsom, and claiming that her husband was dead, or that he was, to the best of her belief, said that he was a survivor of the Mexican war and that she wanted him to put the application of her dead husband's pension through to the department at Washington, the understanding being that she would divide up the money with the postmaster in payment for his trouble.

Folsom agreed and went to work at once to secure affidavits as to the woman's title to the pension, necessary to accompany the application, such as to the death of her husband and all the other formalities which have to be gone through with. The batch of papers were sent on to Washington. By looking over their roll of pension drawers the authorities in the department found out that Mrs. Power's husband was not dead, but that he was living in Polk county, Florida, and regularly drawing his pension there. This put a cloudy veil over the whole business, and Special Examiner Davis was put on to the case.

He came down to the little town of Cecil and opened a further investigation into the affidavits. He found, so he claims in his charges, that the men whom Folsom had down as authors of the accompanying affidavits knew nothing about them, and disclaimed their authorship.

[Source: Tifton Gazette, Friday, July 6, 1894 -- Page 1.] Transcribed and submitted by Sheila Pitts Massie.



(By Associated Press.)

Lakeland, Fla., April 9.---The charred body of Joseph Wread, an aged recluse of Nichols, was found in the ruins of his home this morning. The police theory of the old man's death is that burglars killed him to obtain $17,000, and then set fire to the house to hide the crime.

[Source: Daily Times Enterprise, Apr. 9, 1913 -- Page 1.] Transcribed and submitted by Sheila Pitts Massie.


Evening Telegram Bureau Bartow, Nov. 1—Ben Hale was arraigned yesterday and interposed a plea of not guilty. Senator Dayton, who is representing Hale, made a motion for a continuance of the case to the next term. After argument by Senator Dayton and by State Attorney Singletary, the motion was denied, and the trial set for next Saturday, Nov. 4. Several witnesses for the defense have been subpoenaed and the case promises to be hard fought. Hale, it will be remembered, killed Floyd Carter, near Kathleen, some time last summer, and has been in jail since then. He will be represented by Dayton & Dayton, of Dade City. Senator Dayton is here now looking after Hale's interests. Date of the trial has not yet been set. We understand that the grand jury is still considering the charge against Martin, growing out of the killing for which Hale is held.

Source: The Lakeland Evening Telegram, November 1, 1911, Image 1; The Lakeland Evening Telegram. (Lakeland, Fla.) 1911-1922.

Transcribed and submitted by Sheila Pitts Massie.


Evening Telegram Bureau, Bartow, Nov. 1.-Yesterday John Howard Barker plead quilty to the charge of larceny of a horse from J. K. Futch, and through his and his attorney's plea was able to get off with the minimum sentence for this offense, namely, two years in the State prison. Barker, by appointment of the Judge, was represented by R. B. Huffaker

Source: The Lakeland Evening Telegram, November 1, 1911, Image 1; The Lakeland Evening Telegram. (Lakeland, Fla.) 1911-1922.

Transcribed and submitted by Sheila Pitts Massie.

Detailed Report of Cases Disposed of During the First Week

The fall term of the Circuit Court of the Tenth Judicial Circuit of Florida met at the court house on Monday, Oct. 23. The court was called to order by Sheriff John Logan. Our new and able Judge, Hon. F. A. Whitney, was on the bench and present assisting him was the new and efficient State Attorney Hon. John B. Singletary, Circuit Court Clerk A. B. Ferguson was at his usual post of duty.

Our New Judge and Prosecuting Attorney.

Judge Whitney by his clear and impartial charges to the juries and by his fair decisions on points of law and his evident desire to dispatch business as rapidly as possible, soon showed that he is the right man in the right place. He will not be able to catch up with the business of the Court in Polk county at this term, but it is easy to be seen that he will soon, by having special terms and by utilizing all of the time in the regular terms, soon have the business of the court in this county in good condition. Mr. Singletary, while not a brilliant lawyer, is an able one, a hard worker, and his uncompromising attitude toward law breakers will be greatly appreciated by all good citizens. We predict that these two officers of the law will give entire satisfaction to the entire circuit.

The Judge in his talk to the jurors, both before the drawing of the grand jurors and in his charge to the grand jury gave it to be understood that when a man is selected to serve on a jury in his court he must serve unless he can show under oath that he or some one depending on his is seriously sick or that his business will be jeopardized thereby. He said that no one would be excused as a juror on account of his business if to serve merely inconvenienced him and inconvenienced his business. It is the firm belief of Judge Whitney that the jury system is the greatest institution ever invented for the administration of justice, and that if it is properly administered there will not be any complaints on account of the miscarriage of justice. In other words, he believes that its abuses and not its use is the case of the frequent miscarriage of justice. He wants it understood in Polk county and in the other counties of his circuit that when a man is subpoened to serve on a jury in his court he is expected to serve.

The Grand Jurors.

The grand jury, composed of the following men: H. W. Hines, C. G. Fletcher, John D. Moore, James D. Dossey, Harley B. Moore, W. R. Hutchinson, Phillip Hicks, G. W. Anderson, C. C. Gresham, W. J. Davis, B. L. Heap, J. E. McGraw, Wm. H. Chestnut, L. Glover, -, C. Ferrell, W. R. Claxton, W. T. Denham, R. E. Grandy, met and organized by electing Mr. W. T. Denham, of Homeland as chairman, and Mr. Harry Heim, of Bartow, as clerk. Mr. J. H. Griffin was sworn in as bailiff.

The grand jury has been grinding steadily ever since its organization, but despite the amount of work done by that body, at this writing (Monday,) there are a great many cases yet to be investigated. The jail is full of prisoners, some of whom have been indicted, while others are waiting investigation at the hands of the grand jury, and there are a number of persons out on bond who are yet awaiting their turn at the hands of the grand jury.

Indictments Returned.

At this writing, the following indictments have been returned:

State vs. Frank McHenry, colored, assault with intent to murder. Frank was too free with a gun while on a spree at Swift's mine a few weeks ago. He plead guilty and the judge gave him five years in the State prison.

State vs. Will Brown and Grant Moore, breaking and entering. They each plead guilty, and were each given one year in the State prison.

State vs. M. F. Johnson and W. F. Robertson; manslaughter. Trial at special term.

State vs. Amos Waters, assault with intent to murder. Trial to be at the special term.

State vs. Tom Harden, larceny of a horse. To be tried this term.

State vs. Frank McHenry, carrying concealed weapons. Certified to county court.

State vs. Raymond Brooks, murder. Brooks is the half-breed who killed a negro near Lakeland several years ago and whom Sheriff Logan captured in Louisian the past summer. He plead guilty and as it appeared that there was some evidence that Brooks killed his man becaused the deceased had killed his, (Brooks') wife, the judge was lenient and gave him only five years in State's prison.

State vs. Jim Corbett, larceny of a horse. To be tried.

State vs. Malvina Brown, murder. Malvina, who is a negro, killed a negro woman by stabbing her while both were at a church in Winter Haven a week ago. She will be tried this week. Wilson & Boswell represent her.

State vs. Monroe King, assault with intent to murder. To be tried.

State vs. William Howard Baker, larceny of a horse.

State vs. John O'Berry, for having carnal intercourse with a female under 18 years. This was a hard case. The girl in the case is blind, and on O'Berry's promis to marry and take care of the girl, the judge married them, and dismissed O'Berry on condition that he behaves himself and in all respects comports himself as a dutiful husband.

The Petit Jury.

The following persons served as petit jurors the first week: J. M. Reynolds, Harmon Carol, E. D. Dishong, B. B. Mitchell, G. W. Wheeler, W. J. Parker, David Lancaster, G. V. Tillman, W. P. Ellett, Robert Feeddern, W. A. Hull, D. M. Pipkin, H. L. Finney and V. W. Stephenson, and at the end of the week they were discharged by the judge with the thanks of the court. The following jury cases were disposed of:

Mann Gets Damages.

Wesley H. Mann, vs. A. C. L. R. R. Co., civil action, damages $5,000. J. W. Brady represented the plaintiff and Sparkman & Carter, the defendant. On Christmas Day several years ago, Mr. Mann was put off the train between Bartow and Lakeland, and he alleged that is was done willfully after he had paid his fare. He recovered $1,000 damages. The defendant has made a motion for a new trial.

Sam Whitney vs. A. C. L. R. R. Co., civil action, damages $1,000.00. J. W. Brady represented the plaintiff and Sparkman and Carter the defendant. The plaintiff failed to make out his case, and it was dismissed.

J. W. Walston vs. W. F. Sneed, malicious prosecution, damages $3,000. The plaintiff, represented by Eppes Tucker, Jr., failed to make out his case, and he was allowed until the next term to do so provided that he pays costs to date. The defendant was represented by Wilson & Boswell.

S. H. Sweat vs. A. C. L. R. R. Co., civil action, damages $2,000. The plaintiff was represented by H. K. Olipant and the defendant by Sparkman & Carter. After hearing evidence in the case all day, the lawyers got together and agreed on $400 damages, the defendant to pay all costs.

State vs. R. B. Bradford, assault with intent to murder. Bradford shot Luther Austin while engaged in a difficulty at a saw mill in 1909 east of Fort Meade. The defendant plead self-defence, and the jury acquitted him. The defendant was represented by Wilson & Boswell.

State vs. Albertus Vogt, uttering forged instrument. Plead guilty at spring term. Defendant ordered to pay all costs of the case.

Source: The Lakeland Evening Telegram, November 1, 1911, Image 1; The Lakeland Evening Telegram. (Lakeland, Fla.) 1911-1922.

Transcribed and submitted by Sheila Pitts Massie.


The court is still engaged in the trial of Melvina Brown on the charge of murder. The following men were elected to serve on the jury: R. M. Every, M. G. Merritt, R. V. Bryant, J. K. Futch, W. T. Wright, Jeff Crews, H. Carter, J. A. Williams, Jesse Stephens, John W. Miles, J. W. Durrance, and A. H. Robertson.

The killing by Melvina Brown of Adalaide Macon at Winter Haven, on Oct. 22, was not denied, and therefore, the State soon presented its case. The Brown woman walked up to the Macon woman in a church yard at Winter Haven and stabbed here twice in the breast from which wounds Adalaide died. The state contends that this was a cold blooded murder.

The defense claims that Melvina is not guilty because she is insane, and, furthermore, that she should not be convicted because she committed the crime. If crime it was, in defense of the honor of her husband and home. She is pleading the unwritten law. Witnesses were put on the stand by the defense to prove that Melvina has always been subject to fits, and that her mother, grandmother and sisters were subject to fits. One of Melvina's neighbors, a negro, of Winter Haven, testified that the defendant is "mooneyfied," that she has fits on "de waste of de moon." The defense will finish the introduction of testimony this morning (Thursday,) by putting medical experts on the stand, after which will follow argument of counsel and the verdict. The State is ably represented by State Attorney J. B. Singletary and the defendant by Wilson & Boswell.

Source: The Lakeland Evening Telegram, November 1, 1911, Image 1; The Lakeland Evening Telegram. (Lakeland, Fla.) 1911-1922.

Transcribed and submitted by Sheila Pitts Massie.


Evening Telegram Bureau. Bartow, Nov. 1.-Court convened at eight o'clock Wednesday morning. The first thing taken up was to receive the report of the grand jury. The following indictments were returned:

State vs. John Henry Brown; breaking and entering with the intent to commit a felony.
State vs. Robert Martin; breaking and entering with the intent to commit a misdemeanor.
State vs. Richard Wear; having carnal intercourse with an unmarried female under the age of eighteen years.
State vs. Sandy McCoy; petit larceny; certified to County Court.

The court took up for today the trial of Melvina Brown, a negro woman, for the killing at Winter Haven on October 23 of one Adaline Macon, another negro woman. The jury is being selected this morning. From the questions being asked the jurors by the defense, it appears that the defense will appeal to the unwritten law and will also depend upon a plea of insanity. The killing took place in a church and was effected by the Brown woman stabbing the Macon woman twice in the breast with a sharp file. It is likely that the court will be engaged all day in the trial of this case, and it may take longer than one day to dispose of it.

Grand Jury
Probably Complete
Labors Tomorrow.

Source: The Lakeland Evening Telegram, November 2, 1911, Image 1; The Lakeland Evening Telegram. (Lakeland, Fla.) 1911-1922.

Transcribed and submitted by Sheila Pitts Massie.


Evening Telegram Bureau. Bartow, Nov. 2.-All of today has been spent in the trial of Melvina Brown for the murder of Adelaide Macon. The introduction of evidence was concluded late in the afternoon, and before adjournment Mr. J. B. Singletary, for the State, had made his opening address and Mr. S. G. Wilson had made the first speech for defense. There will be a night session at which Judge Boswell will address the jury in behalf of the defendant and Mr. Singletary will conclude for the State. A verdict will hardly be rendered before tomorrow. After proving yesterday that Melvina's whole family from grandmother down to Melvina herself have been subject to epileptic fits, the defense today put on the stand several physicians to testify to the effect upon one's mind that epiletic fits have. Drs. Wilson, Garrard, Oglesby, and Smith all appeared on the stand, and their evidence, on the hypotheical question asked them, was favorable to the defense. The grand jury is still in session and still investigating crimes, but the foreman states that he is quite sure that they will be able to conclude their labors by Saturday. The grand jury has had an immense amount of work before it to be disposed of. Murder in Second Degree. As we go to press, information is received that Melvina Brown is found guilty of murder in the second degree.

Source: The Lakeland Evening Telegram, November 3, 1911, Image 1; The Lakeland Evening Telegram. (Lakeland, Fla.) 1911-1922.

Transcribed and submitted by Sheila Pitts Massie.


Trial of Lakeland Boys Charged With Illegal Fishing.

Evening Telegram Bureau, Bartow, Nov. 4.—During the August term of the county court, J. W. and Archie McLeod and the negro, Charley Gilmore, were convicted on the charge of seining in Lake Hancock. D. A. DeVane, of Tampa, represented the defendants at the trial of the case, and after conviction and judgment, he appealed the case to the Circuit Court. Judge Whitney has just handed down the opinion in the case reversing the judgment of the county court on the ground of an erroneous instruction by County Judge Preston, and sending the case back for another trial.

Evening Telegram Bureau. Bartow, Nov. 4.—Yesterday, Friday, was a light day for the court. Three cases of minor importance were disposed of and the jury in the Melvina Brown case returned a verdict.

The three cases tried were the State vs. Richard Ware, colored, charged with having carnal intercourse with an unmarried female under the age of 18 years. He was found guilty and sentenced to a term of five years in state prison. The State was represented by Judge Boswell and the defense by R. B. Huffaker. The second case was State vs. Robert Martin, colored, charged with breaking and entering. He was also found guilty and sentenced to a term of 12 months in the county jail. The third case was State vs. Richard Brown, colored, charged with breaking and entering. He was represented by R. B. Huffaker and the State by Judge Boswell. Verdict, not guilty.

As told in yesterday's paper the verdict in the Melvina Brown case was murder in the second degree, and the punishment for this degree of murder is imprisionment in the State prison for life. Judge Whitney has not passed sentence in any of the above named cases.

Source: The Lakeland Evening Telegram, November 5, 1911, Image 1; The Lakeland Evening Telegram. (Lakeland, Fla.) 1911-1922.

Transcribed and submitted by Sheila Pitts Massie.


In Saturday's issue of the Telegram we gave an account of the killing at Plant City of John Aiken. It is rumored that he at one time lived in Lakeland, but this we have been unable to verify. The latest particulars in regard to the case are in this morning's Tampa Tribune, which we produce:

Who killed John Aiken at Plant City is today as much a mystery as it was last Friday at 8 p. m., when the man was found unconscious at the back of the C. M. Sparkman saloon in Plant City. Three hours later, never regaining consciousness, he died. Three physicians were unable to do anything for him.

Then it was apparent that he had been hit in the back of the head with a blunt instrument. There is no justice of the peace at Plant City, so Justice T. L. James, of Tampa, was summoned. He impaneled a coroner's jury, but this jury, with Representative R. R. Tomlin, of the Florida Legislanture as its foreman knew no more at the end of the inquest than was known before the jury was inpaneled.

Two white men were arrested in order to assure them giving evidence, but their testimony was worth no more than that of any one else. The jury brought in a verdict that "Aiken came to his death from a blow delivered from a blunt instrument held by some one unknown to the jury."

Officers continue hunting for a clue but thus far no success has attended their efforts. Aiken was forty years old and is only known to have two relatives. These are two nephews, one, Luther Aiken, resident of Tampa, and the other said to be employed at Bradley Junction, ten miles from Plant City, on the Charlotte Harbor & Northern Railroad.

Source: The Lakeland Evening Telegram, November 6, 1911, Image 1; The Lakeland Evening Telegram. (Lakeland, Fla.) 1911-1922.

Transcribed and submitted by Sheila Pitts Massie.



Jury Secured Saturday and Case Being Considered Today.

The jury in the Ben Hale case was completed today, the two additional jurymen having been secured. The completed list is as follows: Henry Tandy, R. H. Peeples, B. H. Gray, M. G. Merritt, J. K. Futch, Jesse Stevens, T. E. Hays, S. F. Parker, J. A. Hicks, ----- Hancock, (of Kathleen), A. O. Graddy, and Man Raulerson.

Testimony in this case is being taken at the hour of going to press.


The following indictments have been returned by the grand jury during the last few days of its labors:

State vs. Samuel N. Powell, for unlawfully taking and using the vehicle of another.

Frank Jones, assault with intent to commit murder of Julian Williams.

John Taylor, assault with intent to murder one John Reed.

There were several other indictments returned which we are not at liberty to give on account of the fact that the ones indicted have not yet been apprehended. A few persons in jail and a few out on bond were not indicted because of the inability of the sheriff to get witnesses.

The court spent all of Saturday in trying to get a jury in the Ben Hale case, and at the close of the day ten men had been accepted on both sides. These men will be required to stay here together under an officer.

In selecting the jury, most of the regular and special venire for this week were challenged for cause, and on Saturday afternoon a second special venire was summoned and exhausted. Most of the jurors on the special venire for the week were from Lakeland and vicinity, and on that account had heard all about the case, and having formed an opinion, were challenged and excused for case. Then, too, quite a few expressed themselves as opposed to capital punishment upon circumstantial evidence, and for that reason were excused.

This case will be very hard fought, Dayton & Dayton, of Dade City, represent the defendant, and it appears from their questions addressed to jurors that they will rely on the plea of insanity, and if they can keep out Hales confession, on the slight circumstantial evidence connecting Hale with the crime. The State will be represented by State Attorney Boswell.

The following men have been drawn to serve on the regular venire for the third week of court: Will Kinney, J. P. Combee, W. S. Clark, John Bishop, Bentley Lantz, E. G. Gardner, Harvey N. Powell, Hampton H. Fortner, W. P. Daugherty, T. A. Goode, C. L. Morrison, A. H. Sloan, J. P. Costline, A. B. Godwin, C. E. McMullen, J. W. Willis, D. L. Merek, and M. A. Dossey.

Source: The Lakeland Evening Telegram, November 6, 1911, Image 1; The Lakeland Evening Telegram. (Lakeland, Fla.) 1911-1922.

Transcribed and submitted by Sheila Pitts Massie.



Testimony All In and Case Goes to Jury This Afternoon.

Evening Telegram Bureau, Bartow, Fla, Nov. 7.

The examination of witnesses in the Ben Hale case, came to an abrupt close soon after the convening of court this morning. The State was allowed to recall Mr. J. B. Galloway who testified that the shells found by him near the scene of the killing were New Club Shells, number 12. And then the State re-called John Logan for further cross examination. Mr. Logan was questioned closely as to his connection with Hale's confession, but nothing improper was shown.

After the defendant had retired with his attorney for consultation, and had returned into the court room, Senator Dayton announced. "The defense rests, too, Your Honor."

This was quite a surprise, for it is known that there have been ten or twelve witnesses summoned here for the defendant. This move by counsel for the defendant gives the attorneys for the defense the opening and closing arguments. Mr. O. L. Dayton made the opening argument for the defense, and he was followed by Judge Boswell for the State. Both men made short arguments.

The jury will next be addressed by States Attorney Singletary. Senator George W. Dayton and his brother, O. I. Dayton, will both make closing arguments, after which will follow the charge of the court. More than likely a verdict will be returned today. During the arguments, Hale sits stolid as an ex, apparently unconcerned as in his fate. Mrs. Hale is the picture of the deepest sorrow—the real sufferer.

The Trial in Detail

Circuit Court re-convened at 11 o'clock today. The names of members of regular venire summoned for this week were called, all answering, and they were qualified as jurors. The attitude of Judge Whitney toward jury duty is becoming generally known in the county, and for this reason it is noticeable that not a man asked to be excused from duty. The judge remarked to the jury, as he has remarked to others previously during this term of court, that their fellow citizens have a right to their services and that he will not excuse jurors unless not to do so will jeopardize their business or endanger their health or the health of their families.

By 12:30, the jury in the Ben Hale case was completed by the selection of two additional jurors to complete the panel, at which time court recessed until two o'clock.

It will be remembered that the State is trying Ben Hale for the killing of Floyd Carter, July 15 last, on the road between Galloway and Kathleen. Carter was shot dead in his wagon by some one in or near the road, and soon after the killing Ben Hale was arrested for the murder and has since been in jail, from which he is now being taken daily to stand trial on an indictment for murder recently returned by the Grand Jury. There were no eye witnesses to the tragedy, and unless Hale's confessions made to the officers and others after he was arrested, are admissible in evidence, the State will have to depend upon circumstantial evidence, and circumstances in this case furnish but slight evidence.

The State began its case by putting J. B. Gallowy on the stand. Witness testified that he reached the scene of the tragedy soon after the killing, and noticing branches had been shot away, went in direction shots apparently had come from and picked up two empty shot gun shells. He followed tracks of a man from the place where shells were found for about 100 yards and then desisted, sending to Lakeland for blood hounds. When the hounds came, they took up the trail at a point in the field where witness and others had stopped following it and followed the trail to Mr. Martin's house, and thence on to Hale's house, where the dogs were chained becaused Hale's dogs ran out to interfere. Witness said that they found Hale's boat gone from his landing place, but after circling the lake with the dogs, they failed to take up any trail.

Dr. E. M. McMurray, of Kathleen, testified as to nature of Carter's wounds. He said that the right coratid artery was severed and the transverse processes of the fourth and fifth cervical vertebrae were shattered with fragments of bone driven into the spinal cord and canal. Wounds appeared to have been made by buckshot.

A. A. Lewis and W. A. Ross testified to practically same thing that J. B. Galloway testified to. Mr. Lewis said that the shells were picked up 15 or 20 steps from the road.

Mr. Williford being sworn, said that he lived on the main road about one quarter of a mile south of where the killing took place. Was sitting on his porch, and about ten minutes before he heard two shots fired in rapid succession, he saw a man driving a two-mule team and going in the direction of Kathleen. The man in the wagon was Floyd Carter. About the same time, he saw Ben Hale on a dim road, which leads diagonally into the main road, going in the direction of Kathleen. Hale had a gun. In about 10 minutes after he saw Hale pass, he heard from direction in which the men had gone two shots fired in rapid succession.

J. P. Murdaugh, superintendent of county convicts, and Dan Marshall, deputy sheriff, testified the first as the character and ability of the dogs used—as man trailers, and the second witness described the actions of the dogs in following the trail from the scene of the killing.

Charley Robins testified to actions of dogs in following the trail, and added that when they took the dogs back south of where the killing took place they took up a trail which led to where the shells were picked up and on over the same tracks and trail previously followed. The witness attempted to say that the track made by the party whom the dogs trailed was identical with a track of Hale's he examined at the inquest, but the court permitted him only to state the similarity of the two tracks.

Mrs. Martin said that she saw Hale pass her house on the day of the killing, about two hours before the sheriff with his dogs passed on the trail of some one. Hale spoke to her and she spoke to him. Saw nothing in Hale's hands.

John Logan, sheriff, was put on the stand to make a diagram of the road from Lakeland to Galloway to Kathleen.

J. E. Harrelson was working at Galloway on the day of the killing. He stated that about twelve-thirty Ben Hale asked him to sell him some shot gun shells. He sold defendant 3 shells, and defendant showed him 3 other shells he already had, defendant remarking that he guessed he had enough shells to last him. The shells pulled out by Hale were New Club shells.

At this point, court adjourned until after supper. The State has made rapid progress in getting its case to the jury. In all, the State has about 20 witnesses and the defendant 10.

Ben Hale, the defendant, apparently 55 or 60 years old and frail looking, sits between his lawyers, Dayton & Dayton, while his wife sits directly behind him. Hale is pale from long confinement. He sits with his legs crossed and his hands clasped in his lap, and he apparently taken very little interest in the shrewd legal battle now being fought over his life. He turns his head slowly from side to side occasionally to watch the proceedings and licks his lips as if they were dry and parched. Lines of sorrow furrow deeply the face of Mrs. Hale. She looks ready to weep, and occasionally she caresses the shoulders of her husband and holds a whispered conservation with him, doubtless encouraging him. She is the one who will suffer or rejoice over the verdict ten times more than he.

Monday Night.

The most dramatic stage of the Hale case so far was last night. So far the State had made out a weak case. The strongest testimony for the State was to be the confessions made by Hale, and the State knew that the introduction of these would be objected by the defense.

Mr. W. M. Grier, manager of the Courier-Informant was first put on the stand. After the answering of the usual preliminary questions, Mr. Grier was asked to relate a conversation had by him with Hale in the county jail soon after the defendant was put in jail here. The witness testified, in substance, that Hale told him that he shot Carter with his shot gun because he (Carter) had threatened to kill him and two of his kinsmen.

Sheriff John Logan then took the stand and testified as to Hale's confession made to him while confined in the jail at Lakeland. Witness said that Hale told him that Carter had threatened to take his (Hale's) life and the lives of others dear to him; that Carter had killed his hogs and knocked of the horns of one of his cows; that on Saturday, the day of the killing, he went to Galloway and purchased some shells, and went back up the road; that he met Carter and they spoke to each other; that after passing Carter, he cut across country and came back to the road facing Carter, and after speaking to him shot him sitting in his wagon after he had thrown up his hand to his face.

Before and during the giving of these confessions by the witnesses, the defendant's attorneys fought hard to keep them out of the evidence. The defendant claimed, and tried to show, that the confessions were not freely and voluntarily given, and were given with the hope of reward, or without warning to the defendant that anything he might say would be used against him, and consequently inadmissible as evidence, but Judge Whitney ruled against defendant's contentions, citing several decisions by the Supreme court of Florida to sustain him in his decision. The defendant's attorneys noted many exceptions to be used upon appeal if they lose in the Circuit Court.

During the givinnng of these confessions, the court room was hushed and quiet, the listeners realizing that the present testimony might mean the death of one of their fellows. The defendant's poor wife looked sadder than ever and picked up her husband's heavy hat and fanned herself and husband with it. The defendant lowered his head a little; chewed upon his toothless gums, licked his dry and hardened lips, and batted his eyes a little more than usual. One could not but feel sorry for the wretched couple.

After the giving of the testimony noted above, court adjourned until 8 o'clock in the morning.

Source: The Lakeland Evening Telegram, November 7, 1911, Image 1; The Lakeland Evening Telegram. (Lakeland, Fla.) 1911-1922.

Transcribed and submitted by Sheila Pitts Massie.

Herbert Lane Sent To Convict Camp For One Year.


Evening Telegram Bureau. Bartow, Nov. 8.—Herbert Lane, the white boy, who was tried at the last term of court for assault with intent to murder and which resulted in a mistrial, plead quilty and was given a 12 month's sentence in the county jail.

Young Lane, it will be remembered, formerly lived in Lakeland, and became involved in a quarrel with the Carters over the ownership of a seine in Lake Gibson during which Lane fired at Gib Carter, who escaped however without injury.

Source: The Lakeland Evening Telegram, November 8, 1911, Image 1; The Lakeland Evening Telegram. (Lakeland, Fla.) 1911-1922.

Transcribed and submitted by Sheila Pitts Massie.

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