BROTHER TELLS STORY; MURDER CHARGE FILED
James Litteral, 42, is Under Arrest at Baker, Oregon, Telegram States
By C.H. Bartlett, Messenger Staff Writer
Nelsonville, Nov 7 .- Charged with the murder on October 2nd of Harry Green, Kimberly miner and shell-shocked veteran
of the World War, James Litteral, 42, is under arrest at Baker, Oregon, according to a telegram received yesterday
by R.D. Williams, prosecuting attorney of Athens County.
A warrant charging first degree murder was filed against Litteral in the court of Mayor L.J. Eberle at Nelsonville
last Saturday after a brother, Henry Litteral, Nelsonville, had made important disclosures which, according to
officers, implicated James Litteral in the crime. A copy of the warrant was wired immediately to the sheriff's
office at Baker. Acting Police Chief George Bateman, Nelsonville, and Special Officer Peter Barrows of the
county prosecutor's office, left this morning for Oregon and expect to reach their destination late Saturday night.
Litteral will be returned to Nelsonville for preliminary arraignment within the week, officers say.
The murder and robbery of Harry Green, which occurred at Kimberly on Wednesday, October 2, is viewed generally
as one of the most atrocious crimes in local history. Green returned from service overseas at the close of
the World War, shell-shocked and despondent. He had worked at Kimberly for several years, lodging at the
home of Alfred Wolf. A harmless and inoffensive type of citizen, in his melancholy periods he wandered alone
about the Kimberly hills. It seemed to be common knowledge that he carried about his person several hundreds
of dollars. When he failed to return to his lodging place on the day of his disappearance, searching parties
were organized and the bullet-riddled body was found about 9 o'clock at night in a ravine, where apparently it
had been ruthlessly thrown after being dragged a considerable distance.
With several others, James and Henry Litteral, brothers, were detained by county officers on the Friday following
the crime and held several days for questioning. They were released subsequently and James Litteral, who
with his wife and two children, had arrived here by automobile from Oregon on September 9, the first day of the
Nelsonville Home-Coming, is said by officers to have started on the return trip to Oregon on the day he was released.
Officers say that Henry Litteral, who resides in Parkdale, Nelsonville, had planned to return West with his brother,
but following his release gave up the trip. James Litteral is a former resident of Snake Hollow, near this
city, and has been in Oregon for about eight years. He worked formerly at the Snake Hollow Mine. He
is a son of Henry Litteral, Sr., of this vicinity.
Local and county officers have been very active and persistent in their efforts to clear up the Green case.
About ten days ago, Mayor L.J. Eberle and Police Chief George Bateman attacked the problem with renewed interest
when it was learned that a Kimberly resident who had lodged at Alfred Wolf's home with Green, had had occasion
to have changed a $50 bill at a local store. The prosecutor's office and the sheriff's office cooperated
with the Nelsonville authorities and the lead was followed closely for several days, resulting however, in the
suspect being released after much of his story had been verified.
Repeated questionings along this line are said to have so aroused Kimberly citizens that certain new information,
which the officers decline to discuss was received, it is stated, and last Friday night Henry Litteral again was
called to the City Building to repeat the story of his and his brother's actions on the day of the Green murder.
Litteral was held here over night and on Saturday morning was taken to Athens and in the presence of Prosecutor
Williams, Officer Barrows, Mayor Eberle and Chief Bateman, is declared by the officers to have made startling disclosures
which apparently justified the authorities in issuing a first degree murder warrant for the arrest of James Litteral.
Much of the story of Henry Litteral, who is held at Athens as an important witness, had been corroborated officers
say. It is believed that approximately $900 was removed fro Green's body after the killing. The telegram
received yesterday from Baker, Oregon, signed by Henry McKinney, sheriff, was worded as follows: "I
hold James Litteral who says he will return without extradition papers provided you return him to Baker.
He does not act guilty. Maintains innocence and seems to bear a good reputation."
Officers Barrows and Bateman expected to arrange for extradition papers, however, as they passed through Columbus
[The Athens Messenger, November 8, 1929]
JAMES LITTERAL HAS CONFESSED TO MURDER OF GREEN, WIRE SAYS
Man being brought back from Baker, Oregon, Admits Killing, According to Telegram Sent to Eberle by Nelsonville
Nelsonville, Nov 12 - James Litteral, in custody of Acting Police Chief George Bateman, Nelsonville, and Peter
Barrows, special county officers, now enroute to Athens County from Baker, Ore., has confessed, it is reported.
Litteral is charged with the first degree murder on a warrant issued from the court of Mayor L.J. Eberle, Nelsonville,
in connection with the killing and robbery of Harry Green at Kimberly, Wednesday, October 2. News of the
reported confession is contained in a telegram received just yesterday afternoon by Mayor Eberle from Chief Bateman.
The message, filed at Glenn's Ferry, Idaho, was as follows: "Jim has confessed. Everything going
fine. Notify R.D. Williams."
[The Athens Messenger, November 12, 1929]
LITTERAL IN DAZE WHILE 10 OF STATE WITNESSES TESTIFY
Defense Counsel attempts to Prove Green Murder Had been Suggested to Litteral - Henry Litteral Relates in Detail
of Defendant's Need for Money Before Slaying. - Litteral was indicted for first degree murder by a special session
of the October Grand Jury. When arraigned following the return of true -?-, he entered a plea of guilty.
This is the first instance of such a plea being entered into a murder charge in Athens county. Instead of
pronouncing the sentence after the arraignment as is customary when pleas of guilty are entered, Judge Worstell
ordered a hearing for the purpose of getting testimony to determine Litteral's guilt. Penalties of death
or life imprisonment may be imposed, it is said.
[The Athens Messenger, December 10, 1929]
MURDERER OF YORK MINER IS EXECUTED
LITTERAL WAS SMILING AS HE FACED DEATH
RESIGNS SELF TO FATE AFTER ALL PLEAS FAIL
James Litteral First Athens County Man to Meet Death for Crime
By C.H. Bartlett, Messenger Staff Correspondent and Witness to Litteral Execution
James E. Litteral, 43, murderer of Harry Green, Kimberly, World War veteran and miner, smilingly resigned himself
to his fate of death in the electric hair at the Ohio State Penitentiary, Columbus, Friday night, and after shaking
hands with all witnesses in the prison, was electrocuted.
Thirty minutes before he died, Litteral was baptized by immersion in the prison chapel by the Rev. Willis Stump,
pastor of a Columbus Pentecostal Church, and made a member of the pastor's church. Litteral was the first
man to be sentenced in the Athens County common Pleas Court to death by execution.
Litteral entered the death chamber shortly after 9 o'clock. His request to be permitted to shake hands with
all the witnesses was granted by Warden P.E. Thomas. To each of the witnesses he said "God bless you."
He then seated himself in the death chair and before the electric current was turned on, he said, "Lord have
mercy." The first charge was applied at 9:03 o'clock, another a minute later, and at 9:10 o'clock, Litteral
was pronounced dead by an attending physician.
Hundreds of persons viewed the body Saturday after it was brought to the mortuary of C.L. Stout, Nelsonville, where
simple funeral services were held at 2 o'clock Saturday afternoon. Burial was in Greenlawn Cemetery.
Litteral, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Sanford Litteral, living in Snake Hollow, near Nelsonville, was born in Greenup
County, Ky. He never attended public schools, except for two or three months when he was six years old.
When 17 years old he was married to Hulda Keltey. In Kentucky he labored in clay mines and in forests as
a lumberman. He then went to Michigan, where he worked in various factories, later coming to Nelsonville,
where he spent several years working in the Snake Hollow Mine. Nine years ago, he and his family moved to
Baker, Ore., where he was employed as a lumberman and a washer in gold mines. It was while visiting with relatives
here early last fall that he planned the murder of Green.
FATHER WAS TWELFTH MEMBER OF HIS FAMILY TO ANSWER DEATH CALL
When James E. Litteral was electrocuted Friday night at the Ohio Penitentiary for the murder of Harry Green, Kimberly,
death made its twelfth visit to his family. Eleven of Litteral's children are dead. A son, James Jr., born
while he was in the state prison, died about two months ago.
Suffering with a cancerous growth in a hospital at Baker, Ore., Mrs. Litteral is expected to live only a few months.
She had planned to visit her husband shortly before the execution, but was prevented by her illness.
[The Sunday Messenger, Athens, Ohio Sunday June 22, 1930 - transcribed by Sandra Cummins]