CORONER'S INQUISITION, 1967-1980
Book 6
NEWBERRY COUNTY, SOUTH CAROLINA
Transcribed and contributed by Edith Greisser

The dead body of Lizzie Cunningham
April 20, 1943

NEWBERRY COUNTY COURT HOUSE

NEWBERRY, SOUTH CAROLINA

INQUISITION held by Coroner I. H. Wilson

LIZZIE RICHARDSON, being duly sworn testified as follows:

Q.    What was your mama’s name?

A.    Lizzie Cunningham.

Q.    What is your stepfather’s name?

A.    Efe.

Q.    What is your father’s name, the one that lived with your mother? Was it John Cook?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    Tell the Jury what happened on Saturday night.

A.    She was telling me to go to the kitchen to get the water to boil to put my meat in and then he hauled away and shot her.

Q.    What did you say happened?

A.    Then he shot her.

Q.    Who shot her?

A.    John Cook.

Q.    Who did John Cook shoot?

A.    Lizzie Cunningham.

Q.    Lizzie Cunningham?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    Did he say anything before he shot her?

A.    He told her to shut her mouth up, that was all.

Q.    He told her to shut her mouth up?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    Whose house were they in when he shot her?

A.    Mr. Robert Cunningham’s.

Q.    You were living in Mr. Robert Cunningham’s house with John and Lizzie?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    He shot her in the kitchen?

A.    No, we was in the back part of the house.

MR. CHAPMAN:

Q.    Was she standing or sitting when he shot her?

A.    Standing up.

Q.    Where did he shoot her, in the front or the back?

A.    In the arm.

Q.    What was she doing before he shot her?

A.    Not anything but telling me to go in there and see about the meat because she wanted some of it when it

        got done.

Q.    What time of night was this?

A.    It was not late.

Q.    It was not late?

A.    No sir.

Q.    Where did that happen?

A.    At home.

Q.    At your home?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    You live in Newberry County?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    Did you see Lizzie trying to cut John with a knife?

A.    No sir. He had knife cutting meat and she said she was going to put it up and she walked back toward the kitchen to put the meat in boiler and he shot her.

MR. WILSON:

Q.    What did he use to shoot her with, a pistol or shotgun?

A.    Shot gun.

Q.    One or two barrel?

A.    One barrel.

MR. LOMINACK:

Q.    Had they been fussing before this took place?

A.    No sir.
Q.    Whose gun was it?

A.    His.

MR. HUB QUATTLEBUM, being duly sworn testified as follows:

Q.    What position do you hold?

A.    Deputy Sheriff of Newberry County.
Q.    Were you called out on last Saturday night for any purpose and if so, what?

A.    About 1:30 I was called out to Mr. Bob Livingston’s place by Mr. Livingston where he said that a Negro had
        been killed. I immediately left and went to his home and from information I received John Cook had killed his
        wife or the woman he was living with.
Q.    Did you go to the house?

A.    Yes sir.
Q.    What did you find?

A.    When I opened the door I walked in and found Lizzie Cunningham lying on her stomach on her face and I could see that she had been shot in the left arm right at the shoulder. The wound went all the way through and had torn off skin on the left breast. The floor was covered with blood. John was there and I asked him if he shot this woman and he said yes sir. I went to where the body lay and rolled it over and picked up a pearl handle pocket knife. It was closed at the time I picked it up.

Q.    Was she dead when you got there?

A.    Yes sir, she was. I told John Cook that this knife had not been opened. He did not say anything. I asked him where he got the gun and he pointed up over the door. I went across there to get a shell and had to come back 8 or ten feet to get the shot gun. From where he said he was when he shot her I would say it was probably 6 or 8 feet from her.

Q.    He admitted shooting her?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    He admitted this to you and made a free and voluntary statement?
A.    Yes sir.

MR. LOMINACK:

Q.    Was she shot from the back Mr. Quattlebaum?

A.    Yes sir.

L.C. GARY being duly sworn says:

Q.    Tell the Jury what you know about this?

A.    I do not know much about it. I had just come from town and was fixing to go over to Brooks Wise’s. John Cook and Lizzie Cunningham were passing my house and I asked him where they were going and he said down to Jessie’s. I told them they could ride with me and they decided to go up to Brooks’ with me. We went up there and stayed awhile and come back to the store and stopped there for a few minutes and left there and went to Mr. Munson Buford’s place to Odell Suber’s house. When we got to Odell Suber’s we all got out of the car but Lizzie Cunningham. She did not get out. We all went on in the house. Shortly after that me and another fellow that lives on Mr. Cliff’s place, Lomas Alfred, we walked out the door and she was still sitting in the car and I heard John Cook tell her to get out of the car right now and lets walk home and she told him that she would not; that they come over in the car and they would go back in the car. I went on the house and did not hear anymore from them then.  I carried them back to my house and we all got out of the car and everybody said goodnight and went home. I was fixing to go to bed when a gun shot. I heard a child squeal and I said I would see what it is in a few minutes and dressed and started out that way. I gets out and go on down road and meet John Cook. He had one sheet of paper and envelope in his pocket. It had not writing on it. He handed it to me. He told me to write to his mother that he was in trouble. I asked him what was the matter. He told me that he had killed Lizzie and that he was going to tell Mr. Rob. I did not believe he had done it. I goes on and when I walk up on the porch I see the lamp sitting on the table. She was lying on the floor. I set the lamp down and saw she was dead. I went up to Mr. Livingston’s and he was getting up and putting on his clothes and I told him she was dead.

Q.    In his talk with you did he give any reason for shooting her?

A.    No sir, just said he killed her.

Q.    When you were driving them around was any of them drinking whiskey?

A.    If they was I never knowed it.

Q.    Do you know of any difficulty between these two people prior to this time?

A.    No sir. As far as I know they got along lovely. When they left my car they looked friendly.
Q.    How far is his house from yours?
A.    Just about the distance from here to Mr. Johnson’s place --- his blacksmith shop.
Q.    About 150 yards?
A.    Yes sir.

JOHN GARY, being duly sworn testified as follows:

Q.    Where were you last Saturday night?

A.    With John Mayer Cook.
Q.    Lizzie Cunningham with you?
A.    Yes sir. Us went to the store and had a flat tire. When we came on back they started talking about buying an   automobile. He told her he did not want her to help him buy the automobile. They fussed all the way down the road. He told me to sit next to her. I told him no. They were still fussing.
Q.    That all you know?
A.    Yes sir.
Q.    You did not go to their house after shooting?
A.    No sir.
Q.    How far do you live from John Mayer Cook?
A.    About as far as Mr. Johnson-McCrackin’s store.
Q.    Do you live with Lizzie Cunningham?

A.    No sir.
Q.    Did you hear shot?

A.    No sir.
Q.    You did not go to the house after shooting occurred?

A.    No sir.
Q.    Do you know of any trouble before this time between these two people?

A.    No sir.
Q.    That all you know?

A.    Yes sir.
Q.    I believe you said they had been fussing on way down road?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    What about?

A.    Arguing about an automobile.

Q.    Who was doing fussing?

A.    John Mayer Cook. He said he did not want her to help him to buy a car that he could buy it himself.

Q.    How long have you been living on Mr. Livingston’s place?

A.    A good many years.
Q.    About how long have Cook and Lizzie Cunningham been living there?

A.    This year

Q.    Where did they come from before they came there, do you know?

A.    I do not know. I think from Mr. Reeder Workman’s.

Q.    Were they living together when they came there or did they take up?

A.    He moved first and about a week or two later he went and moved her down here.

Q.    Do you know whether or not they were living together on Mr. Workman’s place?

A.    No sir.

NOTHING FOLLOWED


THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA, COUNTY OF NEWBERRY

AN INQUISITION, indented, taken at Newberry in the County and State aforesaid, the 29th day of December A. D., one thousand nine hundred and sixty-seven before GEORGE R. SUMMER, Coroner, upon view of the body of Forest York Griffith, then and there being dead by the oaths of W. H. Nobles, Jr., Frank B. Leopard, Marion K. Wicker, William E. Bowers, Roy C. Bishop and J. R. Brasington Jr., being a lawful jury of inquest who being charged and sworn to inquire, for the state of South Carolina, where and by what means the said Forest York Griffith came to his death, upon their oaths, do say, Forest York Griffith came to his death as the result of injuries received when struck by a pick-up truck. We do not recommend Grand Jury investigation. And so the said jurors aforesaid, upon their oaths aforesaid, do say, that the aforesaid Forest York Griffith came to his death in the manner aforesaid.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I, GEORGE R. SUMMER, Coroner aforesaid, and the juror aforesaid, to this inquisition, have set our hands and seals, the day and year aforesaid.

/s/ George R. Summer, Coroner (L.S.)

/s/ W. H. Nobles, Jr. (L.S.)

/s/ Frank B. Leopard (L.S.)

/s/ Marion K. Wicker (L.S.)          /s/ Roy C. Bishop (L.S.)

/s/ William E. Bowers (L.S.)       /s/ J. R. Brasington, Jr. (L.S.)

PROCEEDINGS

CORONER SUMMER: Will the Foreman of the Jury stand and be sworn? (Whereupon, the Foreman of the Jury, and members of the Jury, were duly sworn.)

CORONER SUMMER: Mr. Foreman and Gentlemen of the Jury, this is an inquisition into the death of 1ittle Forest York Griffith. It is your duty now to listen to the testimony we have to offer in this case, and from this testimony, you will arrive at how this child came to his death. In this verdict, you will put whether someone else is responsible for his death and if they are responsible for his death in a negligent way, you will recom­mend they be held for Grand Jury investigation.

J. C. WOODARD, being first duly sworn, was examined and testified as follows by Coroner Summer:

Q.    What is your full name?

A.    J. C. Woodard, that’s all I got.

Q.    Just J. C.   All right, on the afternoon of December 14 of this year, were you riding in a pick-up truck
        with Willie Mack Thomas?

A.    Yes, sir.

        Q.    Just in your own words, J. C., just tell these gentlemen of the Jury, just what happened at approximately 5:45 or 6:00 o' clock that afternoon.

A.    I was coming home from work that evening. The child was coming up the road. When I saw him, we was right up on him, right up on him when I saw him. He hit the brakes and pulled to the right.

Q.    Which way were you coming, toward Newberry?

A.    Yes, coming toward Newberry.

Q.    Who else was in the front of the pick-up with you?

A.    Ted Crosby.

Q.    And who else?

A.    Willie Mack Thomas.

Q.    Which side of the road was the little child on, or was he in the middle of the road or on the side or how was he?

A.    We were meeting a car at the same time.

Q.    How did the little child get in front of you?

A.    We were coming towards Newberry. The other car was coming that way. He was in our lane. He hit the brakes.     ­

Q.    Was the child on your side of the road?

A.    Yes, sir.

Q.    And he came across the road toward the house?

A.    Yes sir, he was coming.

Q.    Was he on your side of the road?

A.    No, sir, he was coming straight in front of the pickup.

Q.    Was he on your side of the road?
A.    Yes.

Q.    Going toward the house?

A.    He was on the right hand side of the road in our lane. We was meeting another car.

Q.    Was he in the middle of the road?

A.    Right in the middle of the road. The line was here and he was right there. He hit the brakes to try to

        miss him.

Q.       Is there anything else you can tell these gentlemen?

A.    No, sir.

CORONER SUMMER: Any questions you gentlemen want to ask?

JUROR: Was he walking toward you all or coming away? Was he going straight toward you?

THE WITNESS: He was coming right straight to us.

CORONER SUMMER: Did you see any other children with him?

THE WITNESS: No, I didn't.

CORONER SUNMER: Or close by?

THE WITNESS: No, I ain't saw none.

CORONER SUMMER: You just saw that one child?

THE WITNESS: Yes.

CORONER SUMMER: Anything else you can tell us?

THE WITNESS: That's all.

CORONER SUMMER: All right, you may be excused.

(Witness Excused.)

TED CROSBY, being first duly sworn, was examined by Coroner Summer and testified as follows:

Q.    Your full name, is Ted Crosby?

A.    Yes, sir, that’s right.

Q.    Ted, on December 14 this year, were you riding in a truck with Willie Mack Thomas?

A.    Yes, sir.

Q.    Where were you riding?

A.    On the right side over there.

Q.    J. C. Woodard who just made the statement was in the middle of the truck?

A.    Yes, sir.

Q.    What kind of truck is this, Ted?

A.    '67.

Q.    Is this a pick-up with a body?

A.    Yes, sir, pick-up with a body.

Q.    It has sides on the body?

A.    Yes, sir.

Q.    Does anybody ride in the back of this pick-up?

A.    Yes, sir.

Q.    On that day, was anybody riding in the back there?

A.    Yes, sir.

Q.    Who was riding in the back of the pick-up?

A.    Two or three more fellows.

Q.    Where they were sitting, could they see out of the truck at all?

A.    No, sir, couldn't see out at all.

Q.    They were in the back, the sides and top were closed in?

A.    Yes, sir.

Q.    In your own words, Ted, just tell these gentlemen what you saw?

A.    I ain't saw no child at all that night.

Q.    You never did see the child?

A.    No, sir, 'til he hit him.

Q.    Did you see the child after it hit the car?

A.    Yes, sir.

Q.    Were you all meeting another car at that time?

A.    I don't know. I didn't pay no attention to nary other car.

Q.    You were coming toward Newberry?

A.    Yes, sir, on our way home.

Q.    About how fast were you driving at that time?

A.    I don't know.

Q.    Approximately; you don't have to be exact.

A.    No, sir, I don't know exactly how fast.

Q.    Was it a moderate rate of speed?

A.    Yes, sir, low speed.

Q.    Is there my thing else you can tell us about this?

A.    No, sir, that's all.

Q.    You didn't see the child until after it was hit?

A.    No, sir, I didn't see it at all.

CORONER SUMMER: Any questions?

JUROR: Was it dark?

THE WITNESS: Yes, sir, it was about dark.

By Coroner Summer:

Q.    About what time do you think it was?

A.    I don't know, sir. I don't know exactly what time it was.

Q.    What time do you knock off work?

A.    Around about six o'clock, I reckon.

Q.    Where were you working that day?

A.    Working back over yonder side of Silverstreet.

Q.    Kind of close to where the accident happened?

A.    No, sir.

Q.    About how many miles from there?

A.    Pretty good piece before the accident happened, but I don't know exactly how many miles it was.

JUROR: How far did he slide his brakes?

THE WITNESS: He slid them a pretty good little piece.

JUROR: About how far?

THE WITNESS: Pretty good long way.

CORONER SUMMER: All right, thank you.                 (Witness Excused.)

WILLIE MACK THOMAS, having been advised of his rights to make a statement or not to make a statement having been advised that whatever he said could be used for or against him in the event of further proceedings, volunteered to make a statement, was duly sworn, examined and testified as follows:

By Coroner Summer:

Q.   Willie Mack, on December 14 this year, in your own words, just tell these gentlemen just what happened that day or that afternoon late?

A.    We was hauling wood next to Chappells. We left the woods just about dark. I come on, we left the woods and were coming on home and just as I passed by, I forget the man's name, the store, I was meeting a

car. Just as I got parallel with the car, I could see a little baby, little child about that high (indicating) walking in the middle of the lane. Time I could make out his face, I hit the brakes and pulled over on the shoulder of the road, pulled down the shoulder. When I stopped, I jumped out and run and seen the baby laying on the side of the road. I seen that man, from the store lights, I could see him walking on the other side. I called him. He come across the road. I run back to the store, I forget that man's name, and told him to call the police and the ambulance.

Q.    Do you think this was the little boy's father?

A.    I think so.

Q.    Is he in the courtroom?

A.    Yes, sir, that is him with the glasses on.

Q.    Mr. Griffith?

A.    Yes, sir.

Q.    He was on the opposite side of the road coming down?

A.    I was coming toward Silverstreet and the little child, he was about as far as from me to you when I
        could make out what it was. The only thing I could see was his face. About time I hit the brakes he
        was headed in.

Q.   He had already crossed into your lane?

A.    Yes, sir, he had already crossed into my lane.

Q.   Did you see any other children?

A.    No, I didn't see nobody but him. He was walking on the other side of the road.

Q.   Was that on the side going the way you were going?

A.    He was on the opposite side going towards Chappells.

Q.   He was going toward the store on the opposite side of the road?

A.    Yes, sir.

Q.   About how fast were you driving, Thomas?

A.    I don't remember. About 45 or 50, somewhere like that.

Q.   Was it real dark at that time?

A.    Yes, sir, as far as I know it was.

Q.   Did you have on your lights?

A.    Yes, sir.

Q.    This other car you say you met, did it have on lights, too?

A.    Yes, sir, I don't think he seen it. He didn't brake.

Q.    About how far did you go after you hit the child until you stopped?

A.    I thought he was still up under there. I went as far as from here to the courthouse. I eased out. I

        thought he was still hanging up there. I jumped out and went back. I knocked him from about here to
        you. He went under the truck. The only thing I could make out what he was, was just his face. About

        time I seen his face, he was heading in. From the time I seen him, I snatched over to my side of the

        road and hit the shoulder trying to miss him.

Q.    When he hit your truck, could you tell what part of the truck he hit? Was it the center, or could you

        tell by the lick?

A.    I could just see him like he was in the middle of the road. When I could see him, he was about as far

        as from me to you. The only thing I could see was his face.

Q.    Is there anything else you can tell us?

A.    That's all I can tell you. It happened so quick.

CORONER SUMMER: All right, thank you.          (Witness Excused)

MARLER JOHN HOOPER, being first duly sworn, was examined and testified as follows:

By Coroner Summer:

Q.    State your full name, please, sir?

A.    Marler John Hooper.

Q.    What position do you hold, Mr. Hooper?

A.    Highway patrolman with the South Carolina Highway Department.

Q.    Just in your own words, Mr. Hooper, go ahead and tell these gentlemen what your investigation was?

A.    Gentlemen, I hope you will bear with me because I have a chest cold and find it quite difficult to do
       much talking, but we will try to cover this as far as possible, if you bear with me.

On the evening of December I4 at approximately six 0' clock, I was down at Prosperity and was making a case against another vehicle for violation. I received a call to proceed to Silverstreet, South Carolina,
that there had been a wreck involving a pedestrian and it was feared the pedestrian had expired. I proceeded on to the scene of the accident and I come upon the scene and the location where this accident occurred was 200 feet from Secondary 36-49,7.2 miles from the city limits of Newberry, which is the closest city. Upon arriving at the scene, through investigation I established that the approximate time of this accident was 5:45 and it was very fast ap­proaching darkness, total darkness. On the way to the scene I had to use my head lights at all times. It was dark when I received the call.

At the scene of the accident, I observed a 1967 Ford pick-up truck and it was resting in the eastbound lane of Highway 34. I continued the investigation by talking to the parties involved and Mr. Willie Mack Thomas was pointed out to me as the driver of the truck. He was very upset, but he was able to give me a statement. He said he was coming down the road and suddenly he saw a little child right out in front of his truck. He said, "I swerved to the right and tried to avoid hitting the child but I hit him" and he said, “I rode on down the road a little ways because I thought the child was still on the bumper”.

Further investigation showed that there were no skid marks left before the established point of impact or after. The truck was approximately l34 feet from the debris in the road that indicated the point of impact. I investigated Mr. Thomas' truck and found his truck had a dent in his grill approximately six inches left of the center of the grill on the truck. At the point of impact, the roadway is 20 feet wide. On the side of the pedestrian's residence there is an improved shoulder. On the side of the road, which is eastbound toward Newberry, there is an unimproved shoulder of eight feet. The point of impact was established by some debris there in the road. That was measured to be five and a half feet into the eastbound lane of South Carolina 34. The debris was measured to be five and a half feet into the lane Mr. Thomas was traveling.

The position of the truck and all did not indicate to me any excessive speed. The speed limit in that area is 55 miles per hour. As I say, the truck came to a stop on the shoulder of the road, approximately 134 feet from the point of impact. That is all I have.

Q.    The road in this particular area is in good condition?

A.    Yes, the location of this accident, there is no defect in the high­way. It was dry. It is on a straight level
       plane and the weather at the time was clear.

Q.    Did you smell any alcohol or anything at the scene of this accident?

A.    No, sir, I did not.

Q.    Did you ask Mr. Thomas what speed he might have been driving at that time?

A.    I asked him about how fast he was going. He could not give me a definite speed he was traveling. I
        made my estimation from the speed ac­cording to the information he gave me, approximately 40, 45 and
        the distance his vehicle traveled making no skid marks after the point of impact.

Q.    This happened in Newberry County?

A.    Yes, sir, it happened in Newberry County, State of South Carolina.
CORONER SUMMER: Any questions you Gentlemen would like cleared up? That will be all. (Witness Excused)

CORONER SUMMER: This is the doctor's statement:

"This is to certify that I saw young Boy Griffin (sic) in the Newberry County Memorial Hospital emergency room at 6:30 p.m. on 12/14/67 and pronounced him dead. In my opinion, death was caused by skull fracture (with brain miss­ing) and numerous fractures of the neck and spine."         /s/ Sydney E. Carter, M.D.

Gentlemen, you had your charge at the beginning of this inquisition. It is now your duty to retire to the jury room to pass your verdict on how this child came to his death.

JUROR: May I ask a question? How old was the child?

CORONER SUMMER: Twenty months.

 (Whereupon, the Jury retired, and after deliberation, returned to the courtroom and delivered the following verdict, concurred in by all jurors:)

"Forest York Griffith came to his death as the result of injuries received when struck by a pick-up truck. We do not recommend Grand Jury investigation."        

(Whereupon, the inquisition in the above-styled matter was concluded.)

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA, COUNTY OF' NEWBERRY

AN INQUISITION indented taken at Newberry in the County and State aforesaid, the 29th day of December A. D. one thousand nine hundred and sixty-seven before GEORGE R. SUMMER, Coroner, upon view of the body of Adonis Shells, then and there being dead by the oaths of Fred K. Moon, Carroll Bouknight, William E. Bowers, Coleman Bishop, W. H. Nobles, Jr., and W. T. Boozer, being a lawful jury of inquest who being charged and sworn to inquire for the State of South Carolina where and by what means the said Adonis Shells came to his death, upon their oaths, do say he came to his death due to injuries received as a result of being struck by an automobile. And so the said jurors aforesaid, upon their oaths aforesaid, do say, that the aforesaid Adonis Shells came to his death in the manner aforesaid.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF', I, GEORGE R. SUMMER, Coroner aforesaid, and the jurors aforesaid, to this inquisition, have set our hands and seals, the day and year aforesaid.

                  /s/ George R. Summer, Coroner (L.S.)
           /s/ Fred K. Moon, Foreman (L.S.)

/s/ Carroll Bouknight (L.S.)          
/s/ William E. Bowers (L.S.)          /s/ W. H. Nobles, Jr. (L.S.)
/s/ Coleman Bishop (L.S.)      /s/ W. T. Boozer (L.S.)

PROCEEDINGS

CORONER SUMMER: will the Foreman of the jury stand and be sworn? (Whereupon the Foreman of the Jury and the members of the Jury were duly sworn.)
CORONER SUMMER:       Mr. Foreman and Gentlemen of the Jury, this is an ­inquisition into the death of little Boy Shells. It is your duty now to listen to the testimony we have to offer in this case, and from this testi­mony you will arrive at how this child came to his death. If you find someone is responsible for his death in a negligent way, you will recommend in your verdict that they be held for Grand Jury investigation.

MRS. KATIE SHELLS, being first duly sworn, was examined and testified as follows:

By Coroner Summer:

Q.    Mrs. Shells, on 11-27 this year, just go ahead in your own words and tell these gentlemen just what
        happened on that day.

A.    Well, on November 27, about five o'clock p.m., I took my little girl out to find a variety of rocks for class the
        next day. They were studying a unit in rocks, so as we drove along the road to see if we could find a rock bed. I
said I would stop when we found suitable rocks and we would get out and pick up a few. I did spot some. I stopped. My little boy was with me. I pulled over as far as space would allow me off the pavement and parked. I got out and went across to my left and I told my little girl to get out on the other side and pick up a few on that side of the road, and I left my little boy in the car. The doors were closed, and as I picked the rocks, I looked up at the car and thought about the same thing would happen. He was sitting so content in the middle of the seat. I knew if he had attempted to get out I would have been across the road before anything could have happened, but as I bent to pick the rock up, my little girl ran across on my side. I stooped down to pick up a couple more rocks. Before I could even look up, I guess he had gotten out of the car and started around from the back. My litt1e girl was standing, she wasn't picking up rocks. She saw more than I did. I didn't hear the car, didn't see anything until she yelled, "Adonis" to my little boy. She saw him coming and saw the car. Then she looked toward my car. At that time she said he made a start backwards. I assume he started to come toward us. She said he made a step backwards, but before he could get back, I didn't see him. I heard the impact. She yelled and I looked up. I did see my baby rolling down the road. I don't know, he rolled quite a distance. I ran to pick him up. That is all I could tell you. He was not hit head-on. He was hit from the side. He was knocked out from her car. Mrs. Kibler was headed toward Newberry and he was knocked from the side, therefore kind of thrown over to the left coming toward New­berry. All I could see, he was ro1ling down the road. He rolled quite a distance. I was able to pick him up. He was dead when I picked him up. That is all I can tell you. My little girl could probably give more details. I didn’t see him. I heard the impact and looked up when she yelled, “Adonis”.

Q.    How old was your little boy?

A.    Two years and eight months.

Q.    You had told him to stay in the car?

A.    Yes, he was sitting in the middle of the seat just as content. I knew before I could pick up a couple of
        rocks, I don't see how he got out so quickly and got around the car. Before I could bend over and pick

        up two or three rocks, she yelled, “Adonis”.

Q.    Your car was headed the opposite way?

A.    Toward the Belfast highway, yes, sir.

Q.    I believe you stated you pulled over off the road?

A.    As far as space would allow. My little girl said when she got out she stepped in the ditch. I was as far
       over as I could get.

Q.    Was it about dark?

A.    No, it was light enough. I went out there first. I think the next day was the parade or the next day, I don't know. I had her Girl Scout uniform. I said we could clean these clothes later, pick up the rocks while you could tell, then go put the dress in the cleaners. It was still light enough to see.

Q.    Is there anything else, Mrs. Shells that you can tell us?

A.    No, that is all I can tell you.

Q.    After you picked your child up, did the ambulance come and take the child to the hospital?

               A.    No, I was frantic. I knew he was dead. The only thing that came to me was that the next place was the undertaker. Mrs. Kibler suggested that we take him to the hospital. We got in her car and I held my baby and we took him to the hospital.

CORONER SUMMER: Any questions?

JUROR: You say your child came out from the rear of your car?

THE WITNESS: Yes, he got out on the side of the ditch, on the right.

JUROR: Opposite from the driver's side?    ­

THE WITNESS: Yes.

CORONER SUMMER: I believe you drive a Plymouth station wagon?

THE WITNESS: Yes.

CORONER SUMMER: Is that all you can tell us, Mrs. Shells?

THE WITNESS: That is all I know.

CORONER SUMMER: Thank you.        (Witness Excused.)

MRS. LAVONNE KIBLER, being first advised of her rights to make a statement or not to make a statement, being advised that whatever she said could be used for or against her in the event of further proceedings, volunteered to make a statement, was duly sworn, examined and testified as follows:

By Coroner Summer:

Q.    What is your full name?

A.    Lavonne Kibler.

Q.    Mrs. Kibler, on the 11th month, 27th day of this year, go ahead and tell these gentlemen of the jury

        what you know about that incident?

        A.    I left my home to go to work around, I guess ten after five on November 27, and approximately about 5:20, 5:25, around there, I saw the station wagon on the left hand side and as I was going up the road, I didn't see anybody, right up until I got right there, then I saw a child sitting in the car. I thought it was a little girl but undoubtedly it wasn't. I guess it must have been the two-year-old boy.

As I approached her car I didn't see anyone until I saw him come from around the back of her car and when I saw him, I guess I was right there when the child stepped out in front of my car. He hit my left two headlights, on the left. That is all I knew and I went quite a distance. I don’t know exactly how far, until I had sense enough to realize I had hit the child and I stopped. I got out of the car to go help the child but the mother had already picked the child up. I told her please come on, let’s go to the hospital. She asked me if I would take her home. I said, “No, the best place is to go to the hospital,” and I had I time, of course both of us were very upset, shock or something. So I finally got her and the child and the little girl in my car and took them out to the hospital and that is where we went. How I got there I don’t know. I just did I guess.

Q.        How fast were you driving Mrs. Kibler?

A.         Approximately about fifty.

Q.    This road along right there before you came up on this car, is it straight or a curve or anything there?

A.    Well, where she was sitting, it’s a small curve, I mean it’s not a real sharp curve.
Q.    You could see around it all right?
A.    Yes.
Q.    I believe her car was parked toward the Belfast Road and you were coming towards Newberry to the
        egg plant where you work?
A.    That’s right.
Q.    Is there anything else you can tell us Mrs. Kibler?
A.    That is the only thing I can tell you.
CORONER SUMMER:       Any questions?       That will be all.        (Witness Excused.)

MARLER JOHN HOOPER, being first duly sworn, was examined and testified as follows:

By Coroner Summer:

Q.    Just for the record, will you state your full name?

A.    My name is Marler John Hooper, Patrolman, South Carolina Highway Department.

Q.    Mr. Hooper, on 11-27 this year, did you get a call to go investi­gate where a child got hit by an
       automobile?

A.    Yes, I did.

Q.    In your own words, just tell these gentlemen what your investigation was?

A.    Gentlemen, on November 27th, approximately 5:40, I received a call by radio to proceed to the Newberry County
        Hospital. A child had been run over and had expired. Upon arriving at the hospital, I encountered Mrs. Lavonne Kibler who just testified, and her brother. I talked with Mrs. Kibler and she made the statement much as she made it to you, that she was coming down the road and there was a station wagon parked on her left facing back toward the Belfast road. She was going to work at the egg plant and was heading down the road.

As she approached the station wagon, a child darted out from behind it and she ran over it. Mrs. Kibler was very upset, really in not too good a condition to make a statement, but she did. Her car was parked at the emer­gency ramp of the hospital. Investigation showed the car was damaged about the head lights. It is a two-door hard top Ford coupe '63 model and the dam­age was on the head lights. The headlights were bursted and the metal part of the body around the headlights had slight dents. That was the extent of the damage. I proceeded then on out to the scene of the accident. Mrs. Kibler's brother, I believe he said, went out to show me where this accident had oc­curred and one mile from the Newberry city limits on Secondary 36-348, one tenth of a mile west of secondary 36-91 we found a 1960 Plymouth station wagon parked just past an unimproved dirt road. The right front wheel and the right back wheel were sitting on the shoulder just next to the pavement. The car measured six and a half feet wide. Approximately six feet of this car was sitting in the roadway. Further investigating at the scene, the roadway at the particular point was 20 feet in width. On the east-bound side the shoulder is four feet wide. On the west-bound side the shoulder is four feet wide. On the west-bound side of that road it is five feet wide, the shoulder. One hundred forty-five feet approximately from the station wagon, headed back in the east direction toward Newberry, we found debris, broken head­light glass and blood. This blood was situated eight feet, the blood and debris were situated eight feet from the westbound side of the road, if you are familiar with this particular section at Helena, Secondary 348 joins Secondary 56 and Secondary 58 goes in through Helena there. This debris and blood was located coming back towards Newberry from the position of the auto­mobile, so from the distance, we surmised that the body of this child and the car approximately traveled 145 feet from the impact. Upon further questioning of Mrs. Kibler, she stated her speed was ap­proximately 40,45, maybe 50 miles per hour. The speed limit in this loca­tion is 55 miles per hour. The distance traveled by the car from the point of impact was 145 feet which indicated, because there were no skid marks, that this was a fairly true and accurate estimate of Mrs. Kibler' s speed. I went in to talk to Mrs. Shells after I returned to the hospital and of course she was quite upset. I needed some information and the children and I learned that the accident occurred when she and another child had gone out there looking for some rocks. Gentlemen, I found about five rocks not quite as big as your fist lying on the south side of the road, which would be the east-bound side parallel with the Plymouth station wagon, Which indicated to me that was the point where Mrs. Shells and her daughter were collecting rocks, and would indicate to me that that would be approximately the point in the road where this little child was coming towards its mother and sister. She said at the time I was in the room with her that she knew it wasn't this other lady's fault. She didn't want to persecute her and be any trouble to anyone. Since she was as upset as she was, I excused myself and went out­side and was asked to try to contact the child's father down at White Rock. I believe it is and I believe they were finally able to get in touch with the child's father. I learned that the child was named Adonis Shells, two years old, and lived at 1726 Drayton Street in Newberry. This did occur in the County of Newberry, State of South Carolina.

CORONER SUMMER: Any questions? Thank you, sir.       (Witness Excused.)

CORONER SUMMER:       This is the doctor’s statement:

12/28/67 – To whom it may concern: This is to certify that Adonis Shells came to his death as a result of a fractured neck.  nbsp;  bsp;     /s/ E. J. Dickert MD

Mr. Foreman and Gentleman of the jury, you received your charge at the beginning of this inquisition. It is now your duty to retire to the jury room and pass your verdict on how this child came to his death. (Whereupon the jury retired and after deliberation, returned to the courtroom and delivered the following verdict, concurred in by all jurors)

 “Adonis Shells came to his death due to injuries received as a result of being struck by an automobile.”

(Whereupon the hearing in the above styled matter was concluded.)
 

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