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

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA, COUNTY OF NEWBERRY

AN INQUISITION, indented, taken at Newberry in the County and State afore­said, the 18th day of September A.D., one thousand nine hundred and seventy eight before Leroy Wilson, Coroner, upon view of the body of Elberta Morris Brock then and there being dead by the oaths of Ricky Bedenbaugh, Woodrow Merchant, David H. Long, Jr., Cecil V. McRacken, Hugh G. Bouknight, Marvin C. Eaves 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 Elberta Morris Brock came to her death, upon their oaths, do say Elberta Morris Brock came to her death by cardio respiratory arrest as the result of an.automobi1e accident, and do not recommend grand jury action in this case. And so the said jurors aforesaid, do say, that the aforesaid Elberta Morris Brock came to her death in the manner aforesaid.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I, LEROY WILSON, Coroner aforesaid, and the jurors aforesaid, to this inquisition, have set our hands and seals, the day and year aforesaid.

                                                                                          /s/ D. Leroy Wilson, Coroner (L.S.)

                                                                                          /s/ Ricky Bedenbaugh, Foreman (L.S.)

/s/ Hugh G. Bouknight (L.S.)

/s/ Marvin C. Eaves (L.S.)                                                              /s/ David H. Long, Jr. (L.S.)

/s/ Woodrow Merchant (L.S.)                                                         /s/ Cecil V. McRacken (L.S.)

PROCEEDINGS

CLIFTON E. DORN, being first duly sworn, was examined and testified as follows:

GENE GRIFFITH, ATTORNEY: Your Honor, I represent Mr. Dorn, and he wishes to not testify in this matter.

COR:   May I ask why?                                  .

GRIFFITH: Well, I believe that's his right. He was one of those involved in the wreck. The matter is something that he is very emotional about it. It's not that he has anything to hide. He certainly does not want anybody punished or prosecuted. He would simply like to be excused from testifying.

COR: You wouldn't want him to tell that he was involved in a wreck with Mr. J. B. Brock?

GRIFFITH: Everybody knows that. He certainly is not seeking to have Mr. Brock or anybody else bound over for any kind of punishment.

COR: Would it be alright with you (directed to jury) to excuse this witness? How about it, Mr. Foreman?      ­

Foreman: I guess so.

COR: Is that alright with you, Mr. Brock?

Mr. BROCK: Yes sir

GRIFFITH: Then may we be excused?

COR: Yes sir                               (Witness Excused)

HOYT E. MORRIS, being first duly sworn, was examined and testified as follows:

BY CORONER WILSON:

Q.    Mr. Morris, were you involved in a wreck?

A.    Yes sir

Q.    On Counts Sausage Road, isn't it near Prosperity?

A.    Yes, right,

Q.    Would you tell these jurymen what happened, please sir.

A.    There ain't nothing I can tell because I don't remember anything. I donít actually remember actually coming to the crossroads. The only thing I can remember is coming approximately an eighth mile of the crossroads. That's the last thing I remember.

Q.    Do you know whether it was raining or the sun was shining?

A.    No sir, it was snowing, and I think it was raining just a little bit, wind was blowing terribly hard.

Q.    Who were you riding in the car with, do you remember that, sir?

A.    Yes sir, my brother-in-law, J. B. Brock, my wife and his wife.

Q.    Mrs. Brock was your sister, wasn't she?

A.    That's correct.

Q.    Do you remember whether you were running fast or slow, or you were talking?

A.    Well, we was talking, but we was not running fast, no sir.

Q.    Do you know whether you stopped for that stop sign or not?

A.    I don't ever remember getting there. I canít remember to save my soul ever getting there.

Q.    Were you injured in the wreck,

A.    Yes sir

Q.    And carried to the Newberry Hospital or a hospital?

A.    Yes sir, Newberry and then to Columbia.

Q.    But after the collision, you don't remember anything?

A.    Not a thing until I was in the Richland Memorial Hospital and woke up.

Q.    You remember which way you were traveling?

A.    Going from my house to Prosperity, yes sir.

Q.    That would be from west to east?

A.    I guess now that's what you would call it.

Q.    And you and the rest of the passengers in this car were going to Columbia to visit somebody, weren't you?

A.    My Mother, she was to be operated on. Yes sir, that's right.

Q.    You weren't running fast?

A.    No sir, I know we weren't running fast. I can truthfully say that.

Q.    You don't know whether you stopped for the crossing or not?

A.    I don't remember ever getting there, no sir.

Q.    Where were you riding in the car?

A.    Behind the driver's seat, in the back.

Q.    And where was Mrs. Morris?

A.    She was in the back seat on the right hand side.

Q.    Mr. J. B. Brock was driving?

A.    Yes sir, that's right.

Q.    Any questions from the jury?

Juror: Where was Mrs. Brock riding?

A.    Mrs. Brock?

Juror: Yes sir

A.    Mrs. Brock, in the front seat with her husband.

Cor: You don't know anything about it other than that, Mr. Morris?

A.    I have never -- Do you know where Mr. Monroe Dominick lives, about 1/8 of a mile back this sides. That's the last thing I remember. I told my brother Ė ­in -law to blow the horn at him, he's my best friend and neighbor down there. That's the last thing I can actually remember. I cannot remember coming to that crossroads. I cannot. I have tried and it just won't come to me.

Cor: Any questions?

Juror: At the crossroads you were approaching, was there a stop sign?

A.    There is a stop sign there. Whether it was there that day, I cannot tell you, I don't know. But there is a stop sign there.

Q. Any further questions? (No questions) That will be all, Mr. Morris.                 (Witness Excused)

Mrs. MARGARET E. MORRIS, being first duly sworn, was examined and testified as follows:

BY CORONER WILSON:

Q.    Were you involved in this collision with Mr. Morris?

A.    Yes sir, I was sitting behind Elberta.

Q.    Would you tell us what you remember about it, please.

A.    I don't remember a thing, don't remember 'em putting me in the ambulance. I don't remember one thing.

Q.    You remember before the collision, don't you?

A.    I remember telling at Monroe Dominick to blow there. That's all I remember.

Q.    Do you know what time of day it was?

A.    It was about 10:00, somewhere around 10:00. We left the house, I think around 10:00. Somewhere close to 10:00.

Q.    Was Mr. Brock driving normal or slow or was he reckless?

A.    I'm not going to say because I don't remember, I don't remember.

Q.    Were you injured in the wreck also?

A.    Yes sir, I had a compound broke leg, with two bones out and a fractured skull and a gash on this leg.

Q.    It was about 10:00 in the morning?

A.    We left the house around 10, close to 10.

Q.    You don't, do you remember the lick when the wreck happened?

A.    No sir, I don't remember nothing. All I remember, I looked around, I saw blood coming out of my husband's face and my lap, and that's all I remember. I don't remember a thing else, not nothing.

Q.    Any questions from the jury?

Juror: Mr. Coroner, what time of day, what time of year was it?

A.    January 26,1978. The reason it has been so long was the people have been in the hospital, and Mr. Dorn has been in and out. It was scheduled for one time, and I did that. I made that mistake. I scheduled it for Election Day and then I postponed it.

Q.    What time of day was it?

A.    10:00 a.m.

Q.    January 26?

A.    Correct

Q.    Mrs. Morris, do you remember being at a stop sign?

A.    No sir, I didn't see a stop sign.

Q.    Was there a hill or straight road or going up a hill?

A.    I don't remember, I don't remember. I don't even know the man that ran into us. I don't remember the car or nothing. I don't remember a thing. I didn't even see him, I don't remember, so I don't know. I ain't going to say cause I don't know. . I don't remember.

Q.    Did the collision occur in the cross roads or before the cross roads?

A.    I ain't going to say cause I don't know, I don't know.

Coroner: At the cross roads

Q.    At the cross roads?

Coroner: Yes

A.    I don't know.

Juror: They went through the cross roads, as they were going crossing the cross roads, another car hit them?

Coroner: The car they were riding in hit the other car.

Q.    Hit the other car?

A.    I don't know cause I don't remember nothing. What I told you, that's all I remember.

Coroner: The roads, the one Sausage Counts Road, if any of you are familiar with it, it comes from Prosperity back this a way. Of course, it happened down there going west. The road that Mr. Dorn was traveling on, he was going from north to south. Now Mr. Brock was traveling from the west to east. He was going this way, Mr. Dorn was coming this way (gesture). Mr. Dorn going north to south, and Mr. Brock coming from west to east. He was headed to Prosperity.
Juror: Dorn's automobile had the right of way at the cross roads, a four-way stop?

Coroner: Mr. Brock had the stop sign. He is the one who had the stop sign.

Juror: You don't remember stopping, I mean you didn't stop?

A.    No sir, I don't really remember getting in the ambulance. I don't remember one thing, I don't. I would tell the truth if I remembered, but I don't remember nothing, but what I told you, that's all I remember.

Coroner: Any further questions? That will be all, thank you, Míam.             (Witness Excused)

J. B. BROCK

Partridge: Mr. Brock elects not to testify under his duly legal rights, your Honor. The fact that he lost his wife in this accident, he has the right not to testify, No inference can be drawn, either way from it.

Cor: Is that all right with the jury?

Juror: I have a question. Are there any witnesses other than the people involved in the collision?

Cor: Not any except the Highway Patrol. Nobody saw it. Now you know, Mr. Brock had a right to testify if he would want to, but he doesn't have to because anything he would say on that witness stand can be used for or against him in a court of law. Isn't that right, Mr. Partridge?

Partridge: Yes sir

Cor: Well, he don't have to.

Partridge: No inference, good or bad, can be drawn from it. He has that con­stitutional right as we all do.

Cor: (Witness Excused)

Coroner: The next one, witness is Patrolman D. W. Williams. Patrolman D. W. Williams is on special assignment at Hilton Head this weekend. I checked with the County Attorney to take his written report as his testimony. He told me I

would have to get permission from Mr. Brock and Mr. Dorn to do that, which I did, and they said it was okay for Sgt. Inman of the Highway Patrol to read Mr. Williams' accident report. Mr. Williams left a sworn statement so         Sgt. Inman will read it to you.

SGT. INMAN, being first duly sworn, read the statement:

Corporal Williams drew a diagram of this accident, which I will try to explain to you. If there are any questions, I have studied, I know the location, I have studied the accident report, and I feel that I am qualified to answer most questions you would like to know on this. On this statement from Corporal Williams, and I quote:

ďOn January 26,1978, Thursday, at approximately 10:20 a.m., I received a radio dispatched message that there had been an automobile accident on Secondary 244 out of Prosperity. I arrived on the scene of the accident at approximately 10:33 a.m. The weather was clear and the visibility was good. I found two vehicles in a pasture that had come through a pasture fence at the intersection Secondary 244 and Secondary 315,  1.8 miles west of Prosperity. I found a 1973 Oldsmobile with extensive damage to the front and right side and a 1976 Ford with front and left side, extensive damage. I found through investigation that Mr. Clifton Earl Dorn was the driver and alone in the 1973 Oldsmobile. I found that Mr. Joseph Blease Brock was driving the 1976 Ford. Mr. Brock was still pinned behind the steering wheel at the scene. The deceased, Mrs. Joseph Blease Brock was a passenger in the right front of the 1976 Ford. Also Mr. and Mrs. Hoyt Morris were passengers in the rear of the 1976 Ford. I found that the Brock vehicle was driving east on Secondary 244, and the Dorn vehicle was driving south on Secondary 315. The Brock vehicle struck the Dorn vehicle in the right front at the intersection of Secondary 244 and Secondary 315.Ē

Of course, this was signed by Corporal D. W. Williams of the South Carolina Highway Patrol. Then I will give you a little background on the location and the circumstances.

It was daylight, it was clear. This is in the open rural country. The road characteristic is straight and level, the construction is asphalt, commonly known as tar and gravel. The road condition was dry. There were no defects present. The traffic control present was a stop sign. It was functioning. There was also a stop ahead sign .1 of a mile prior to the intersection. This is a two-lane road. There is no division. The vision was not obscured by either driver. Secondary 244 is the stop road. Sec­ondary 315 has the right of way. There were approximately 5 feet of skid marks prior to the lateral lines of the intersection and 5 more feet to the point of impact. The Brock vehicle traveled 28 feet to the edge of

the road. It went 32 more feet into the pasture. The Dorn vehicle traveled the same distance plus 103 feet into the same pasture. Both Secondary roads are 18 feet wide. Mr. Brock was taken to the hospital, that's Mr. Joseph Brock. The wife, Mrs. Brock was taken to Richland Memorial, Mr. Morris was taken to Richland Memorial. Margaret Elizabeth Morris was taken to Richland Memorial, and Mr. Clifton Dorn was taken to Richland Memorial Hospital for treatment.

Cor: Any questions from the jury?

Juror: I got two questions. I just want to clear something up in my mind. The -- Mr. Inman could you tell me again, please sir, which car had to stop at the stop sign?

A.    The Brock vehicle

Juror: Right, uh, you said it was daylight, or course, but it was daytime?

A.    Yes sir

Juror: It was clear?

A.    Yes sir

Juror: The road was straight, tar and gravel road?

A.    Yes sir

Juror: You said the road was dry?

A.    Yes sir

Juror: Well, I was just looking at some notes I made just a minute ago. May I go back to my notes, Mr. Coroner?

Cor: Yes sir

Juror: Mr. Morris when he was testifying, he said that, Mr. H. E. Morris said when he was testifying said it was snowing and raining and wind blowing, and the statement that Patrolman Inman just read that it was clear, the road was straight and level, it was tar and gravel and the road was dry. It seems we have a conflict of statements.

Juror: I think it needs to be cleared up.

Cor: Mr. Morris, would you come back around, please sir.

A.    Yes sir

Cor: You may stand right there, it will be fine, you have already been sworn in. What time was it snowing and raining that morning?

A.    Time I crawled in Mr. Brock's automobile. It was not fairing off, but it was still snowing a little, and the wind was blowing, terribly, and it was a misting rain, a little when I got into his automobile, yes sir.

Cor: How far did you travel from the time you got into the car until the accident, wreck happened?

A.    I would say it was a mile and a maybe an eighth, I don't think it would be    any more than that from my house to the crossroads.

Cor: And you don't remember what the weather was when you got to the crossing?

        A.         No sir, I cannot tell you that now, it was fairing off, I could see the sun coming through, but it still was snowing just a little bit and raining just a little, and the wind was blowing hard yet, yes sir, that's correct.

Juror: Do you remember before the wreck, was everything wet?

A.    Now, I'm not going to say whether it was wet or not, I really can't, because the wind was blowing, and I didnít see whether it was wet or not. That's right. But the wind was still blowing hard when I got into the automobile.

Cor: From the time you got into the car until the accident happened; it could have quit snowing and raining.

A.    It possibly could have been snowing, possibly could.

Cor: You live that far from the crossing?

A.    About a mile, maybe a fracture over that.

Juror: I've got a question.

A.    Yes sir

Juror: Does the county maintain road records?

A.    It was a terrible night. I stayed up at my house half of that night. The wind was blowing, snowing that night. You can check the weather and find, I think you will find out the weather­

Juror: We have a conflict on this.

Inman: Well, maybe this will clear up the conflict. The accident happened at 10:00 as best as we could pin it down. Now, the officer arrived on the scene at 10:33, which was a half an hour's difference in the time it happened until the time the officer arrived. I believe he said it           was beginning to clear up so possibly it could have been.

Morris: The sun was coming through and shining when I left the house.

Juror: Well, if the wind was blowing and all, it would have a tendency to dry the road.

Morris: Well, that's what I say too. It could have a tendency to dry.

Juror: But the point I'm trying to get at is the condition of the road at the time of the accident.

Inman: Well, the only thing we would have is when we got there, we have to base it on that.

Juror: Okay

Cor: That's all. Any further questions for Sgt. Inman?

Juror: Could he tell us how far the cars traveled after impact again, please sir?

Cor: I believe he told you, but he will tell you again.

Inman: The car traveled, and I'm, both of them had to go in the same direction, but the Brock vehicle from the point of impact to the edge of the pavement was 28 feet. From the edge of the pavement to where it stopped was 32 feet, which would have put 60 feet all total. The Dorn vehicle went from the resting point of the Brock vehicle, was 103 feet further down into the pasture.

Juror: Well, evidently someone was going pretty fast.

Inman: Not necessarily. It would be hard to judge on that because if the wheels wasn't damaged, knocked a loose from the brakes, if nobody put on brakes.

Juror: Were there any skid marks from, were there any skid marks in the direction of the Dorn, Mr. Dorn was going?

Inman: No skid marks. Of course, naturally you would have the side marks after the point of impact not prior to the collision.

Juror: There weren't any skid marks prior to impact?

Inman: No

Juror: And how many feet did you say of skid marks were there the way the Brock vehicle was going?  .

Inman: In other words, there were 10 feet all total.

Juror: Yes sir

Inman: Now, 5 of it was prior to getting to the lateral lines of the intersection and 5 after.

Juror: Okay

Inman: In other words, the amount of 10 feet all total.

Cor: Any further questions? That's all, Sgt.

This is the Death Certificate on Mrs. Brock. The immediate cause was cardio respiratory arrest and signed by Clyde J. Gwinn, M. D., Richland Memorial Hospital.

Mr. Foreman and Gentlemen, you received your charge at the beginning of this inquest. You have heard the testimony concerning this matter. Insert in your verdict the name of the party killed, the instrument with which killed and by whose hands she met death. If you find from this testimony that some party or parties other than the deceased was responsible for her death, you will recommend in your verdict that such party or parties be held for Grand Jury investigation.

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

"Mrs. Elberta Morris Brock came to her death by cardio respiratory arrest as the result of an automobile accident, and we do not recommend grand jury action in this case.Ē

 (At approximately 8:00 p.m., the inquest was concluded.)

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA, COUNTY OF NEWBERRY

AN INQUISITION, indented, taken at Newberry in the County and State aforesaid, the 12th day of February A. D., one thousand nine hundred and seventy nine before Leroy Wilson, Coroner, upon view of the body of Rosa W. Gambrell then and there being dead by the oaths of Lin Slaton, Malcolm Kibler, Woodrow Merchant, Chester

Hawkins, James V. Clamp, Sr., Jerry Kneece 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 Rosa W. Gambrell came to her death, upon their oaths, do say Rosa W. Gambrell came to her death as the result of a gunshot wound caused by a .38 caliber pistol and recommend that the Grand Jury investigate this matter further. And so the said jurors aforesaid, do say, that the aforesaid Rosa W. Gambrell came to her death in the manner aforesaid.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I, LEROY WILSON, Coroner aforesaid, and the jurors aforesaid, to this inquisition, have set our hands and seals, the day and year aforesaid.

                                                                                /s/ D. Leroy Wilson, Coroner (L.S.)

                                                                                /s/ Lin Slaton, Foreman (L.S.)

/s/ Malcolm Kibler (L.S.)

/s/ Woodrow Merchant (L.S.)                                               /s/ James V. Clamp, Sr. (L.S.)

/s/ Chester Hawkins (L.S.)                                                   /s/ Jerry Kneece (LS.)

PROCEEDINGS

AUDREY NELSON, being first duly sworn, was examined and testified as follows:

CORONER WILSON:

Q.    Mrs. Nelson, where do you live?

A.    Route 3, Box 73A

Q.    Did you know Mrs. Rosa Gambrell?

A.    Yes

Q.    Were you a neighbor of hers?

A.    Yes

Q.    Tell us what happened on October 24th of 1978, about quarter til eleven, please.

A.    That night, I was in the other end of the trailer, from the back door, and someone came and pounded on the back door, and my husband went to the door and asked, ďWho was thereĒ, and Carl said, ďCall the ambulanceĒ, that Rosa had shot herself. He immediately ran away. I heard what he said, so I went to the phone and caller the ambulance. Then I took my little granddaughter down to her house, and then I went over to Carl's house, to Rosa's house.

Q.    You said Carl came to your house. Carl who?

A.    Carl Gambrell.

Q.    Thatís the husband of Rosa Gambrell?

A.    Yes

Q.    How long have you been living close to the Gambrells?

A.    Twelve years

Q.    Do you know of any family problems they have had since you have been their neighbor?

A.    Yes

Q.    Tell us about them.

A.    When I first met Rosa, was the winter after we moved here, in November, was having problems getting clothes

        line up. We immediately became good friends, so good that she called me her adopted sister. I thought an awful lot of Rosa. At first, things would happen, and she would make excuses, she had fallen or something. Then she got to know me better, she would tell of abuses in her home. She would tell me not to tell anybody. I kept still because she had asked me to. I did not see any abuses, but I saw many bruises.  I know there were times when things went along very nicely, and there were times when things went very bad. I don't know if you mean specific incidences to tell about because­ - -

Q.    You mentioned abuses, did she say who abused her?

A.    Yes, Carl would get mad, I don't know why, he seemed to have a short temper. I don't know what went wrong,
        and he would beat her up. And when it came time to send Christmas presents to her daughters and their families, she would bring the money over to me and have me send it to them in my name with my address because she felt Carl would be mad at her if he knew she was sending it. And she was afraid to drive her car because if something would happen to the car, he would scold her. One night, she said he hollered all night at her. When anything like that happened, she was just a bundle of nerves, she would just shake and tremble all over. She was so afraid of him. I didn't know what to do about it. I talked to her, we prayed about the situation, and we wanted things better for her because she was a wonderful woman. She, I think she tried to please Carl, she went out of her way to do what he wanted her to do. She didn't have any money for herself. She said she paid all the bills. All I'm doing is telling what she told me. She told me a lot, and she told me different things at different times. She doesn't lie. She would buy things from the grocery store, and think Carl would be mad about it and bring it over to my house. She would come and get it later, so he wouldn't be mad at her about that. Another thing that kind of upset me, Carl paints beautiful pictures. He would hang them on the wall. She had beautiful pictures too, but she couldn't put them up, that were things of hers that she wanted to put up. It seemed like, there were times that things she especially liked, I don't know why, but he would destroy them for her. These things upset me very much. I didn't know what to do about it. When she would come over to my house occasionally during the day, she would constantly look out the window and watch to see Carl coming home. He would come home, and he was a good painter. He would come home from work at different times. You never knew exactly when he was coming. She would run home because she didn't 'want him to be upset if she wasn't there when he got home. He criticized her housekeeping. Her housekeeping was much better than mine. He said her house would look like a whorehouse. Many times in her cooking she did, he, a lot of times it would be good. Sometimes they would have a fight over that. Sometimes it would be thrown on the wall. She would have to clean it up. She waited on him, he would sit outside, want a glass a water or a cup of coffee, she would get it for him. I really think she tried to be a good wife. I don't know why there was all this trouble. I saw many bruises, she used to make excuses and say she had fallen.

She would have broken ribs, and she used to say, make all kinds of excuses to pro­tect Carl. The last two or three years, she had been afraid. She has been telling me what has been going on, but she would still tell me not to tell anybody. He would kick her, and kicks hurt. There was much abuse that she would tell me about.

I saw many bruises, broken ribs, and nobody else has fallen in other - she didn't fall anywhere else. She would fall and get hurt at home. Things just didn't add up. I'm sorry, but that' s - -I was very disturbed. I don't know why things were like that, but she did try. She was one of the sweetest neighbors I have had.

Q.    Did she ever mention anything about leaving Mr. Gambrell? If she did, explain it please.

A.    She was saying this summer, this past summer, she had said since I have known her, at different times, that she
        didn't know how she was going to put up with it. This summer in June, she said, I've got to leave Carl. Staying here, the house was in her name. And she said, she wouldn't leave because of the house, and she offered Carl if he would divide half and half, she would leave. So this summer, she said it wasn't worth staying, to give her life for the house. So she was making plans to leave. She was packing some things, she sent some things home with her daughter. She said, come after the 4th. I won't be here. And I asked her, told her if she needed me to take her somewhere, I would take her. But she said she was going to call somebody to take her one of these days. She said, I'll be gone when Carl comes home. And she knew I would take her if she had wanted me to. But she said she was going to call somebody else. I asked, then if you do it that way, I would just as soon not know where you are so I can't be made to tell it, because I felt very important that her life be saved. She was really afraid.

Q.    This was July 4th of 1978?

A.    She said sometime after the 4th, she had planned to leave, but she didn't go. She was working at the Convalescent

        Center, and she was very happy with her work. She ­then this summer, after she had made plans to leave, something happened. Some ribs got broken, she was all bruised up again. She had to quit She had to quit work for awhile. Then she went back to work with the idea of saving up some money so that she was working to leave. Thatís what I understood. So that night, she was planning to go to work and she was happy about going. She was making plans for Christmas and she was Ė I had saw her a little bit Monday morning and I saw her a little bit Monday night, but I didnít see her Tuesday at all, the 24th. She seemed to be very happy and planning ahead on what she was going to be doing. This was a terrible shock.

Q.    Did you go down to the house after Mr. Gambrell came to yours?

A.    I went to the house and went in the back door, and I went to Carl.  I didn't know what to do. It was such a shock.
        I went to find her then hoping maybe there was something I could do for her. I got as far as the hallway where I could see into the bedroom, and they told us everybody had to get out. So from then on, I was outside. I donít know if thereís anything else.

Q.    How about weapons being fired at other times? Had you ever heard any weapons fired before?

A.    Yes, I know that Carl didnít like stray dogs around. I know that he would shoot at them and sometimes, I had not

        seen him kill any, but I had heard that he had killed them. I had not seen it done. It was about five or six years ago that I did hear a gunshot in the morning on a Saturday morning, in the summertime. I went on the back steps and I saw Carl standing on his back porch shoot at a dog down in the woods. The dog ran across his back yard toward the highway and he shot again. I thought he was shooting further away, but he missed the dog. The dog went on. We have no proof of this either, but the next day, I saw something on the floor. I didnít pay any attention to it, so Monday I picked it up. When Harry came home I asked what it was, cause I didnít know what it was. He said, that was a bullet. So we started looking around, it made a dent in the wall, the inside wall of the bedroom. It had come through the end of the trailer, it had come through the corner of my brand new clothes hamper I had just put there. It through one corner and out the other corner. If Harry had been up, going to, getting ready for work, any other morning, it might have gone through his leg, cause that is where he would have been sitting about that time. I took the bullet downtown and they said it looked like a .38. At that time Carl said he didnít have a 38, and it wasnít his gun, and a bullet can come a long way and so on. We didn't do anymore about it. The police told me to tell Carl to come down and have his gun tested with this bullet, but I didn't bother cause it was a possibility that it wasn't from his gun. There is a possibility that it was. Of course, we've always felt like it probably was. Now he was just mad at that dog, he wasn't trying to get,  cause I was standing on the back steps. He could have shot me too, I was that close.

Q.    Have you ever seen this bullet before? Is that the one you gave to the Sheriff?

A.    That is the one.

Q.    Now, that's the one that went through your clothes hamper?

A.    Through the end of our trailer, clothes hamper, and put a dent in the wall.

A.    He got very angry at the children playing. They would get over in the garden or get close to the garden, or the
        ball would get there. We had to have the children play up in front. And he got so angry one day cause the ball went into the garden, he chopped it up with an axe. The ball wasn't that important. It was one I had given the kids. I said I would give them another one, and Rosa said no, because Carl would just make it hard on me, just don't do that. So I didn't get them another ball. So it was a lot of little things like that that has happened at different times that has been disturbing.

Q.    How long has Mrs. Gambrell been telling you about being abused by Mr. Gambrell?

A.    Probably the last three or four years. Before that, she would always make some excuse for what had happened, and I would question it in my mind because it just didn't add up how somebody would get bruised or beat up like that falling at home. She didn't, she always stood up for Carl and wouldn't own up that Carl had abused her until just the last three or four years. Then this last year, she was really afraid and telling me a lot of things.

Q.    Was he know by you to have a violent temper?

A.    He has never shown any violent temper towards me, only toward her. He came in one day while I was there, and he called her a heifer, and I was glad he didn't call her any worse. When I had been there, he was very nice. There was no problem at all, in front of me.

Q.    Any questions from the jury? Thatís all you know about it then, Mrs. Nelson?

A.    That's all I can think of at the moment.

A.    Okay, thank you, Míam. That will be all, thank you.                  (Witness Excused)

KATHERINE SHEALY, being first duly sworn, was examined and testified as follows:

CORONER WILSON:

Q.    Mrs. Shealy, Where do you live?

A.    I live right in front of him, down from him, kind of that way from him on the curve.

Q.    That's in front of Mrs. Gambrell's house?

A.    The Meeks live right in front, and I live down below them.

Q.    Same street?

A.    Yeh

Q.    Were you home the night of October 24, 1978?

A.    Yes sir

Q.    Did Mr. Gambrell come to your house?

A.    Yes sir

Q.    Would you tell us why, and what he said?

A.    Well, it was sometime about quarter til eleven, I reckon cause my husband was fixing to go to bed. I was already in bed, and I heard him come to the door and say, come quick. Rosa had shot herself. At that time, I jumped out of bed and put my clothes on, and my husband and I took off on over there. Of course, I stayed in the yard. He started in the house, he got there before I did. They backed him out, said nobody was allowed in the house. I never did go in the house.

Q.    Who wouldn't let Mr. Shealy go in the house?

A.    One of the cops was there, I don't know which one. They had got there.

Q.    How long have you known Mr. and Mrs. Gambrell?

A.    Well, I've been there twenty years, and they moved there, I'd say about a year after we did. I'd say about eighteen or nineteen years.

Q.    Did Mrs. Gambrell ever talk to you about Mr. Gambrell abusing her?

A.    Yes sir

Q.    Would you tell us what it was, please?

A.    Well, she would come over and tell me about it. She would say, you see my two black eyes. I said, yeh I do. She

         said, well, that's what I got tonight, or this afternoon, a lot of times she would have makeup on, and she would wipe it off and show it to me, and it would be blue and black. I tried to get her to go to the Sheriff and talk to him and tell him what was going on so she could get some help. She said, ďIf I go to the Sheriff, he'd probably kill me if I did, when he found it outĒ. I said, well, it wasn't no need in wasting my breath trying to help her if she wouldn't help herself. She has told me things, like Mrs. Nelson said, she'd tell me things and tell me not to tell it. You know, things like that.

Q.    Did you talk to Mrs. Gambrell approximately a week before this incident?

A.    She was over at my house on Saturday afternoon, and she stood up there in my carport and told me, I've had all
        just about I can take. She said, I'm going to kill Carl Gambrell, or either he's going to kill me one. She left and went home. I told her, Rosa, don't do anything drastic. I said this world's too big and too wide, I said, to do anything like that. I said, you can get some help if you would go for it. We went on talking, then she went home. Sunday morning, she came back over there with her daughter, Lorraine, which I was doing some work for her, and she come to pick it up. Rosa didn't have too much to say. Looked like something had happened on Saturday night, I don't know. She didn't say nothing. But anyway they left and went home. Lorraine left and went home. She come back over there late that evening. My children was all there, and we was in the yard. She told me then that she was just fed up. She said Carl was laying up there in the bed, the dog wasn't attended to, and he hadn't fed the dog and cleaned out the pen, and she wasn't going to do it. That was the last time I saw her, was that Sunday evening.

Q.    Did she ever mention to you about leaving Mr. Gambrell after July 4th of 1978?

A.    Well, she had mentioned about leaving, but she never did go into detail when. She had said something about she was going to leave, but that's all she told me.

Q.    Any questions from the jury? (None) That's all you know about it, Mrs. Shealy?

A.    Yes sir, that's all I know.

Q.    Okay, thank you, míam.                 (Witness Excused)

REV. CHARLES MOORE, being first duly sworn, was examined and testified as follows:

CORONER WILSON:

Q.    Rev. Moore, where to you live?

A.    On Pope Street, 821 Pope Street

Q.    Were Mr. and Hrs. Gambrell members of your church?

A.    Rosa was a member, Carl was not.

Q.    Did Mrs. Gambrell talk about you, to you about Mr. Gambrell abusing her?

A.    Well, yes, on several occasions. She told me that her home life could best be described as hell. She said that she tried to do her very best, but nothing that she did was good enough. And I was aware of bruises that she had received and a1so broken ribs she had. She told me that those injuries come about because Carl had beat on her.

Q.    How many occasions did she talk to you about the abuse?

A.    Seven or eight times

Q.    Do you remember the last time?

A.    I remember the last conversation I had with her was the day of her death. She called me that morning, about 8: 30

        in the morning, and she told me she wanted me to come over to the house the next morning because she had some cans of salmon she wanted to give me for my family to use. She said she found some at bargain in the grocery store, and some were dented. She said she felt Carl wouldn't want any if they had been dented. She said she wanted to give me some so she asked me to come by the next morning about 9:00, and she was very cheerful. This was on the morning of the night that she died. She was very cheerful. She was also talking about her plans for the future, about what she was going to do. She was talking about what she was making for her daughters for Christmas, and what she was going to give them. She was optimistic about the future, about her plans and what she was going to do. There were a number of things that Carl did that made her upset.

He resented visits to their house by her children or by her grandchildren. Children and grandchildren by a previous marriage. He resented them, and she told me about one day, the grandchildren were coming to the house. They were on their way. Carl said to her, here come those god damn buzzards. He said, I hate them with a purple passion. Of course, he knew that making statements like this about her family would just break her heart. He knew that this was an excessively cruel thing for him to say but he was given to saying cruel things to her to upset her. We have a

Wednesday Bible Study and Prayer Meeting at a home and she asked us to pray one night that something would happen to Carl and I told her we couldnít do that. I told her there was certainly hope for everybody. She said that she wished he was dead, because of the way he treated her, and she wondered how she was going to hold out. She said she was determined to hold out, she was not going to give up. The house was in her name and she was hoping to outlive Carl. That was the thing she had going for her at one time she was hoping to outlive Carl, then finally have some peace and some happiness and be able to live her own life.

Q.        Did she give to your church regularly?

A.    Yes she did. I guess sheís be there three Sundays out of four. When she placed her membership with our church, she did not want a public announcement to be made about it because she did not want Carl to know she had joined our church. She was afraid he would be abusive to her if he learned that.

Q.    Did she give to your church regularly?

A.    Yes.

Q.    Did you ever talk to both of them together? At the same time?

A.    No. Iíve been in the home, and both of them were there. I spoke to both of them.

Q.    Any questions from the jury?

Juror: Was any abusive language used in your presence?

A.    No sir.

Q.    Juror: Did either one of them drink?

A.    I canít say from first hand knowledge. I can say what I suspect, but I canít say from first hand knowledge. Indications that I heard were that Rose drank some, to a certain extent, and Carl drank heavily. I had heard that, but that is just hear say. I have no first hand knowledge of it.

Q.    You donít know that to be truth then do you?

A.    No, I do not.

Q.    Any further questions?

(None)  Thatís all you know about it then, Reverend?

Yes, and I do want to say, I considered to be, I considered her to be very fine person, and her death, was a loss to the people who knew her.

Q.      That's all, thank you, sir.              (Witness Excused)

TED FISHER, being first duly sworn, was examined and testified as follows:

BY CORONER WILSON:

Q.      Mr. Fisher, state your name, address and occupation.

A.       Ted Fisher, Apartment  S-3, Charleston Road, Columbia, South Carolina, and Iím employed by State Law Enforcement Division, better known as S. L.E.D.

Q.      Did you assist the Sheriff and his department on this investigation?

A.       Yes sir, on the early morning of the 25th, I was called to Newberry to process the paraffin cast off the body of Mrs. Rosa Gambrell.

Q.      Go ahead and tell us what it proved out, sir.

A.    The paraffin cast was taken off the hands, both hands and both wrists. The hand came up, no nitrates or nitrites found, which would be found in gunpowder residue. But the wrist did show up traces of nitrates and nitrites in a pattern across each wrist, which would indicate the firing of a weapon or the flash gap of a weapon coming across the wrist.

Q.    Would you tell us how you think she might have got it on both wrists and hands?

A.    Uh, the weapon would have had to have been inverted in such a manner, if the Sheriff will allow Ö you can see
        it better. I'm going to hold the cylinder open so y'all can see. This is better known as the flash gap. It is the end of the cylinder and the beginning of the forcing cone of the back end of the muzzle. Now, as the gun is held in this direction, the flash gap comes across the wrist. Of course, as the gun would be held, I'm pointing it up instead of out at you, the flash gap would come across the finger and down through here, depending on the largeness of the person's hands. In this direction, the flash gap would have to be pointed back toward the person.     

Q.    Did you check that gun for fingerprints?

A.    No sir, I did not personally, but I took it, I personally took the weapon back to S.L.E.D Headquarters and was present when it was dusted for prints, and there was none on it.

Q.    Is it normal for a gun not to have fingerprints on 'em after being used?

A.    It is possible after a crime for a gun not to have fingerprints, yes sir, it is possible.       .        

Q.   Mr. Fisher, did you check Mrs. Gambrell's clothing?                                        

A.    Yes sir, a Greiss Test, spelled G-r-e-i-s-s Test was run with the same weapon and, same type ammunition

        against similar cloth. In this test we started contact with the muzzle up against the cloth and go back several inches, three inches, four inches, back two feet, which is the limit of the spray out of the muzzle of this type weapon. The patterns that we developed off her cloth, off her pajama top, where the entrance wound was, and the patterns we ourselves produced in the laboratory were similar to close contact, which would be right up on the cloth or back approximately one inch.  So the end of the muzzle of the gun was right up close to her cloth when it went off. Whether the cloth was flush, close to the body or was billowed out a little bit, have no way of knowing, but it was very close to the cloth when it went off.

Q.      How far do you think that gun would go when it was fired? At Mrs. Gambrell?

A.       You talking about the­ - -

Q.      The distance from her hand

A.       As far she could hold it out?

Q.      No sir, how far the gun would go after it was fired.

A.       How far it would jump?

Q.      Yes sir

A.    I'd have to give a personal opinion on that because I've seen instances where it left the person's hand, and it was a

        .44 magnum and where it was a .25 auto, and it jumped across the room. It would depend on the person's   reflexes, and I think you probably would need a pathologist to examined her dexterity on that. In my personal opinion, and this is my personal opinion, I would probably say it would have jumped out of her hand and probably several feet across the floor. I was not present at crime scene. I was present only at the funeral parlor to take the paraffin cast.

Q.     Any questions from the jury?

Juror: Holding a pistol that close, could muzzle velocity have got across her hand?

A.       Holding a pistol that close?

Juror: Yeh, you said it had to be close.

A.    Well, there's no way she could have shot herself with one hand is what I'm trying to point out. She would have to had to hold it close like this.

Juror: Then it wouldn't have sprayed your arm, would it?

A.    That's what I'm trying to show right now. A woman's joints are different from men. If we could get a female volunteer, she could hold the gun, but most of them don't want to do it. Their joints are slightly bent at a different angle, but as you can see, even with me holding it, and I have small hands, you can see the flash gap is still coming across that wrist and this wrist, and the paraffin cast were taken of that part of the wrist.

Juror: That would indicate that she was the person holding the gun?

A.    No, that indicates that the gun was pointed at her.

Juror: She could have grabbed his hand or something? She could have grabbed Ė

A.    ­Is that a question?

Juror: Yeh, could she?

A.    That's a possibility, she could have been pushing away.

Juror: Were tests made on. any others?

A.    Paraffin tests were not made on any other subjects. They were not requested at the time.

Juror: Was there any sign of a struggle?

A.    Like I said, I was not at the crime scene. I was only at the funeral home to take the tests off the hands of the
        corpse.

Q.    Would the gun powder get on her wrist if she was pushing the gun away from her body if someone else was holding it against her?

A.    Yes sir, it's quite possible. If someone else was holding it and she was pushing away, again her wrists are going
        to come within this area. She's going to be grabbing at the butt or pushing or she may be pushing up in here. It will come across the wrists instead of across this area in which the normal paraffin test is run as because the man's hand in this area back to this area is slightly different. It depends on the man's hands. I have small hands. If she was pushing the gun away it would still come across the wrist, the same if she holding it herself.

Q.    Is the angle a woman would hold a gun different from a man?

A.    Yes, it is slightly different. A woman, depending on the position in which she is sitting, her joints, like I say, her

        joints are different from mine. From cases I have had with Dr. Sexton, of the Medical College down at Charleston, would tend to slightly tilt the barrel down just a tad. Depending on the woman and her age, it would tend to slightly tilt the barrel down. You would need a pathologist in here to go over her joints, structure and everything. From what I understand from him in cases I have worked with him, they tend to point down because their joints are bent at different angles, just as their hips are bent at different angles. That's why they carry babies that way.

Q.    I believe you stated that the shot would be at close range, about one inch?

A.    One inch, yes sir.

Juror: How far would that bullet travel?

A.    It would depend on what organs and what bone it hit going through the body. This is a .38 Special. I would say,

        more than likely, unless it hit a major struction such as the femur, like in the leg, it would probably go on through the chest cavity. She was a fairly frail woman, not a very big woman. There was an exit wound in the back. It would probably go, embed itself in something like plywood board in the house or probably bury itself in a pillow or mattress. It would not have a whole lot of velocity.

Juror: Was the gun in her hand?

A.    Sir, I was not at the crime scene. I was only at the funeral parlor.

Q.    Could she handle the gun with one hand or would it have took both? Mrs. Gambrell?
A.    To get the powder marks on both wrists, it would have to have both, yes sir.

Q.        Any further questions from the jury?
Juror: Do you have the bullet?

A.         The bullet was retained by the Sheriffís Department, for comparison.

Q.    Any further questions? (None)  Thatís all, Mr. Fisher.  (Witness Excused)

MARVIN MILLER, being first duly sworn, was examined and testified as follows:

CORONER WILSON:

Q.    Mr. Miller, you are a Deputy Sheriff in Newberry County?

A.    Yes sir

Q.    Did you have a call to Mrs. Rosa W. Gambrellís house the night of October 24, 1978?

A.    Yes sir

Q.    When you arrived, what did you find?

A.    We arrived and saw Mr. Gambrell standing at the front door. He asked us to hurry that his wife had shot herself. We rushed on in the house. The ambulance attendants came on in behind us. We let them go over the body, check the body, and they said she was dead. So I went out and asked Deputy Worthy to get all the people out and tried to calm Mr. Gambrell. Then I went out and called for the Coroner and the Sheriff.   

Q.    Did you see Mrs. Gambrell lying in bed?

A.    Yes sir, I took the photos of the scene.

Q.    Mr. Miller, are these the photos you made?

A.    Yes sir

Q.    Mr. Miller, was Mr. Gambrell drinking, or did you smell any kind of alcohol or liquor on his breath at the scene?

A.    No sir, I didnít have that much contact with Mr. Gambrell. I called for the Sheriff to bring the camera. When he did, I was more involved in taking the pictures. Another Deputy was doing the investigation.

Q.    Mr. Miller, this happened in Newberry County, didnít it?

A.    Yes sir

Q.    Any questions from the jury? (None)         Thatís all, Mr. Miller, thank you.         (Witness Excused)

LORRAINE HALL, being first duly sworn, was examined and testified as follows:

CORONER WILSON:

Q.    Mrs. Hall, where do you live?

A.    I live in Lancaster, South Carolina.

Q.    And you are Mrs. Rosa W. Gambrell's daughter, right?

A.    Yes sir

Q.    Did you talk to Mrs. Gambrell that day by telephone?

A.    Not the day she died.

Q.    How about the day before?  .

A.    No, I spent all day Sunday with Mother before she died that Tuesday.

Q.    Would you tell us what you know about Mr. and Mrs. Gambrell's troubles?

A.    Where do you want me to start?

Q.    Just wherever you feel like starting.

A.    Well, see I used to live with them when I was small. I know what kind of fear Mama felt because when I was a little girl, I shared a whole lot of that. So I know how my Mother felt. She was scared of Carl, he was mean to her. He mis­treated her, and he knows it. God in heaven knows, and that's the important thing.

Q.    Did Mrs. Gambrell call you by telephone on Monday or Tuesday?

A.    She called my sister the Tuesday, the same day she died, that morning.

Q.    That was on Tuesday morning she called your sister?

A.    Yes sir

Q.    Did your know that Mr. Gambrell bad been abusing your mother?

A.    Yes sir, I do.

Q.    Did your mother ever show you any marks or bruises on her body where Mr. Gambrell had done it?

A.    Yes sir, she did.

Q.    She told you Mr. Gambrell did it?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    How many times?

A.    Many, many of times

Q.    Well, how long then, put it that way?

A.    Hell, he's mistreated my Mother ever since I was a little girl. Now, it got worse this last couple of weeks. Mama, would call me, she called me about twelve times in July and August, and you know, would be telling me about Carl. He would be mean to her and things he had done to her.

Q.    How long had your Mother and Mr. Gambrell been married?

A.    Twenty nine years, I think.

Q.    How old were you when they married?

A.    About nine, I think, eight or nine.­

Q.    Did you ever see Mr. Gambrell abuse your mother?

A.    Yes sir, when I was little and at home.

Q.    Now, you say little, what age were you at that time?

A.    About nine, somewhere around there. Just let me put it plain to you.

Q.    Alright

A.    Before my mother married Carl, I was sitting in a chair like this when I was a little girl. I threw my knees across the arm of it. You know how a child will do. Fe didn't say anything right then, but the next day when him and mother got married, he beat me for having my legs throwed across the chair before he married her.

Q.    He beat you?

A.    Yes sir

Q.    Any times after that?

A.    Did he beat me?

Q.    Yes

A.    Oh, yes sir, he done a lot worse than beat me.

Q.    Mrs. Hall, would you explain to us what youíre talking about?

A.    About him doing a lot worse?

Q.    Yes.

A.    All right, right after Carl and Mama got married, I guess I was about nine years old, he would come into my  room at night naked, no clothes on and stand beside my bed. My mother worked third shift, and I told Carl that if he didn't leave my room, I was going to tell Mama. So he come in there one night, and he got in bed with me. He knew better to sexually do something like that. Instead of doing that, believe me this is hard to say, he just, what a man does, you know, in between my legs. He told we if I told Mama, he would kill her. That's not the only time. When I was thirteen, he tried to rape me again. He beat me, tore my clothes off of me, and he told me he fed me, and I had to give him something in return. My next door neighbor, we lived at 120 Liberty Street, Ninety Six, South Carolina, she heard me screaming, and come got me. That was the only thing that saved me. Carl knows that's the truth.

Q.    Did he ever try that anymore?

A.    No, I left home. I didn't live there anymore after that, not at that time anyway. I went back one time after that, but_ I was big enough then, he knew' not to mess with me. I was big enough to defend myself then.

Q.    I've heard several times, not several times, but a few times that Mr. Gambrell pushed your mother out of the car on a trip to North Carolina, is that correct?

A.    Yes sir, he pushed her out on the highway next to Shelby, North Carolina, and they were near a hospital. He  drove a hundred miles back to Newberry, and my mother, from what I understand, was unconscious and bleeding out her ears and mouth. I didnít see her. A neighbor called me. I think it was Mrs. Nelson. Iím not going to say for sure. It scared me so bad, you know. I told them to tell Carl I was on my way down there and that my mother better be in a hospital. When I got, they already had took her to Newberry and the ambulance was on the way to Columbia.

Q.    Did you ask Mr. Gambrell about that?

A.    No sir, I didnít because at the time I was too worried about my mother. Thatís all I cared about and to find out if she was all right.

Q.    Did you see Mr. Gambrell after your mother died?

A.    Yes.

Q.    Did you ask him if he killed her?

A.    Yes sir.

Q.    What did he tell you?

A.    He said he didnít. He also said he didnít beat on her or argue with her that night, but from what I understand, he admitted to doing that.

Q.    Your mother admitted to you that he pushed her out of the car up in North Carolina?
A.    My mother was scared of Carl. She said he was trying to kill her. She was too scared to leave. She called me,
        she was going to leave him though. Because she had already starting making plans. She said she couldn't live with Carl. He was getting worse. She said she believed that alcohol had affected his mind and that he was getting unbearable to 1ive with. I bought her a house trailer, and she was saving up some money because she said she told Carl that if he would give her $10,000 she would give him everything else. She said he wouldn't do it. So, she started sending me a little bit of money, and she went back to work. She said she didn't want to leave completely broke. She wanted to save her up a little bit of money, which I told her she didn't have to have it. She said, you know how Mothers are, she just didn't want to come up completely broke. My children, they never got to go to Grandmother's like normal children. Most children, when they go to Grandma' s and Granddaddy's, they get out and run in the house, you know.... They hug around the neck, glad to see you, Grandma, I  want a cookie, or a cold biscuit. But my children couldn't ever do that because from the time they was big enough to understand, they had to be cautioned every step of the way. Don't touch nothing, don't talk loud, don't do this, and don't do that because if you do, your grandmother will get beat up when you leave. She couldn't even as much as buy them a Christmas present or a birthday present and give it to them in front of him.

She always had to sneak it. That lady you had up here while ago has got presents out there in her car right now my Mama bought my children for Christmas and couldnít even give them to them. And another thing too, my mother told me it was alright for dogs to be in the house but not for children to be in there. She called me, and she was crying. I asked her ' what was wrong with her. She said that she was in bed asleep until time for her to go to work. She said the dog had been in the house and messed. There were several piles on the floor, and she thought she had got them all up, but she didn't. She said Carl woke up and rammed one of those piles of dog mess in her mouth. And that's when she told me she had to get out. She couldn't live in it anymore. My children have never spent the night with their grandmother, not in the house. The only time they got to do it was last several months we got a bus, camper, and we went and stayed out in the yard so Mama could see her grandchildren.

Q.    When was the last time you were at Mr. And Mrs. Gambrell's house?

A.    The last time I was there before she died?

Q.    Yes

A.    I spent all day Sunday with her before she died on Tuesday.

Q.    Was Hr. Gambrell there?

A.    Yes sir

Q.    Any questions from the Jury?

Juror: When was she pushed out of the car?

A.    I think about two years, Iím not sure. I know it was in July because we was off on vacation and I was canning tomatoes and someone called me.

Juror: Do you know if there was an investigation made?

A.    No sir, because my mother was scared to do anything or say anything against Carl.

Juror: You say you bought your mother a trailer?

A.    Yes.

Q.    Was she planning on leaving him?

A.    Yes.

Q.    He must have been a mean father, wasnít it?

A.    Well, I can tell you, when I was a little girl, this might be immaterial now, but it means to met to show you what

        kind of a person he is. When I was a little girl, I had to wear dresses that had sashes on them. Itís just like I told my attorney, I couldnít tie them, I didnít know how. Heís take scissors and cut his old holds in the side of my dress, and I had to wear them to school like that. If a spoon got missing or something, Iíd have to sit at the table and eat with my fingers. If I got a present from my daddy or any of my daddyís people, heíd burn it in front of me.

We forgot to take a pone of cornbread out of the oven one day. You know what he done with it? He crumbled it up behind the stove, then told us if we didn't get up every crumb up, that heíd beat us half to death. That's what kind of man he is.

Juror: You say he wouldn't let her buy Christmas presents?

A.    No, my Mother, well, she could go buy like a pair of socks, you know, something real cheap, nothing that didn't
        cost much. She was allowed to give them that in front of him. You know Grandmas is going to buy for their grandchildren, and thereís not too many people in this room right now that lives next to Mother that hadn't hid stuff and mailed stuff for her, Christmas presents and birthday presents, even for me and my sister.

Juror: And there are presents outside you are just now getting?

A.    Wel1, one neighbor has mine and my sister's. That neighbor over there brought my children's.

Q.    Did Mr. Gambrell drink a lot?

A.    My mother told me she could take his liquor bill and buy her younguns groceries with it. She said he spent about $55.00 a week for liquor.

Q.    Could you tell us about the broken ribs, and did she wear a rib cage?

A.    Yes sir, my mother, she told me that Carl jumped on her one day because she didn't get something cooked right. She said he kicked her in her ribs, and she had to go to the doctor. She had to quit work at the Convalescent Center on account of it. She said she couldn't hardly sit up to drive her car.

Q.    Would your mother kill herself?

A.    No sir, my mother would not kill herself. I'll tell you, in my mamaís own words, she said she had me, my sister, and her grand-younguns and two of the finest son-in-­laws God ever give anybody. That's what she lived for.

Juror: Did she ever shoot a gun that you know of?

A.    No sir, mother was scared to death of guns

Q.    Any further questions? (None) That's all, Mrs. Hall, thank you.           (Witness Excused)

CAROLYN PHILLIPS, being first duly sworn, was examined and testified as follows:

Q.    You are Mrs. Carolyn Phillips?

A.    Yes sir

Q.    Where do you live?

A.    5715 Green View Drive, Greensboro, North Carolina

Q.    You are the daughter of Mrs. Rosa Gambrell?

A.    Yes sir

Q.    Go ahead and tell us what you want to tell us.

A.     Mama called me Tuesday and told me what she wanted me to get her for Christmas. She was talking about she liked so many more rows on getting her new Grandson's blanket finished. She even told me what to buy Carl for Christmas. She seemed fine and good, and I know my mama didn't do that. Can't nobody make me believe it.

Q.    You were' doing the Christmas shopping for your Mother? Is that correct?

A.    Yes, she was telling me that she had already got mine -and Lorraine's Christmas present, and she told me what she wanted me to buy her. She told me what to buy Carl for Christmas, you know, my present to him.

Q.    Did you buy them?

A.    No sir, I didn't. I thought about it.

Q.    You didn't buy any of the presents? At that time?

A.    No sir

Q.    And she talked to you on Tuesday morning?

A.    Yes sir

Q.    The same day she died that night?

A.    Yes sir

Q.    What was she telling you?

A.    She told me about Lorraine coming down, and she was going to come up and see me and stay a while before too long. Talking about how much she loved us and how much she loved the grandchildren.

Q.    Did Mr. Gambrell ever mistreat you?

A.    Well, I've done forgot how old I was, but at one time, he did beat me, which I carried bruises for three weeks or longer. And if it hadn't been for mama and Mrs. Foster, his Mother, and his sister, I would have had a warrant taken out on him. But that was the one and only time he ever put his hands on me. He also made us eat stuff we didn't like.

Q.    Did you ever see him abuse your Mother?

A.    No sir, I can say that. I never saw him hit Mama, but the day I'm talking about, he said I wasnít sitting up at the table straight enough to suit him. He whipped me. He kept on and on and on, and I didn't cry, and Mama come in and said Carl, that's enough.  He said, Rosa get the Ďhí out of here, or I'll give you some.

Q.    But you never saw him abuse your Mother?

A.    No sir, I can tell the truth on that. It's not that he didn't do, but I never saw him do it.

Q.    Any questions from the jury?

Juror: You older than your sister?

A.    Yes sir, I got married when I was 16 years old. I didn't stay with mama and Carl long.

Juror: How old were you when he beat you?

A.     Think I was, I'm not real sure, between 14 and 16.

Juror: You didn't stay long after that?

A.    No sir, my children never stayed the night at Mama's house either, unless I was with them. We did stay a few times, in the twenty something years they were married.

Q.    Did your Mother tell you about the abuse on her body that Carl did?

A.    Did mama tell me what?

Q.    Did your mother tell you about the abuse on her body that Carl did? In other words, did she show you any bruises or, tell you about any bruises on her body that he did it?

A.    Now she told me about him hitting her a lot. But on her broken ribs, she didnít tell me that part.

Q.    Did Mrs. Gambrell ever own a gun while you stayed with Mr. and Mrs. Gambrell?

A.    They have had a gun - -­

Q.    Mrs. Gambrell ?

A.    Now, Carlís gun, he had a gun when we lived on Sims Street in Whitmire, right after they got married. I don't know what kind of gun. It was in the top chest 'of drawers.

Q.    Did you ever see your mother fire a gun?

A.    No sir, I havení.

Q.    Do you know whether she could or not?

A.    I don't believe she could. Mama had surgery back in 1960, and she had her right breast removed, and they went in and took all the muscles out, you know going into her arm so she could have good use in her right hand.

Q.    Any questions from the jury? (None) That's all, Mrs. Phillips, thank you. (Witness Excused)

CARL GAMBRELL

Gene Griffith: Your Honor, he will not testify on advise from Counsel.

Mr. Gambrell will have to be sworn in and seated.

Griffith: No sir, he will not testify.

Coroner: I didn't say testify.

Griffith: He will not be sworn nor testify. That's his right.

Coroner: Well, the Solicitor told me that he could be sworn, but I couldn't make him talk. He could be seated, but I couldn't make him talk.

Griffith: I'm going to say this. This has been as big a spectacle as I have ever seen. And I do not intend to have this gentleman embarrassed any further.

Coroner: Lawyer Griffith, I got my information from the Solicitor. That's where I got mine. He can be sworn and seated, but he didn't have to talk.

Griffith: Well, I am telling you, he will not take the stand.

Coroner: Title 16 to 20, Code of Laws of South Carolina, 1976, 177190,  ďCoroner may punish for contempt whenever any person shall willfully disturb or impede the proceedings of a jury or inquest while inquiring in the case of any death or shall offer any contempt to the person or authority of the Coroner while so engaged in the Coroner may commit such person to the common jail in the county for a time not exceeding 24 hours. Any person who shall have been at any time duly summoned to attend and serve upon a Coronerís jury who shall neglect or refuse to attend and serve without proper excuse shall be liable and punishable for contempt, and the Coroner may punish also such contempt by a fine not exceeding $20.00 or imprisonment not more than 24 hours or both as his discretion. We are going to call a recess for about 10 minutes.    

(RECESS)

Coroner: Mr. Gambrell, will you stand up and be sworn in, please? Do you solemnly swear that the evidence you give in this case be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the Truth, so help you God?

Griffith: At this point, I want to impose our objection. This man is not required to testify, and I have instructed him not to testify. I have instructed him not to answer any questions that he is asked.

Coroner: He is excused.              (Witness Excused)

AUDREY NELSON, already sworn, recalled to stand:

BY CORONER WILSON:

Q.    Mrs. Nelson, please tell about the time you asked Rosa to sing at the church and what Carl did to her.

A.    I think it was early summer of last year, spring, I don't remember exactly when it was. Rosa had one of the most
        beautiful voices you ever heard sing. She sang low alto voice. She could sing, and if would just move everybody. We had her, she was going to sing a song for church one Sunday. I didn't call her every day. I usually waited for her to call me. I didn't want to co anything to make any trouble, any more trouble in their home. But she talked to me, she could hardly talk. She couldn't sing, and her voice never did come completely back, so we never got that solo sung in church. She had said that they had some trouble again, and Carl pad rammed his fingers down her throat, and she said she saw death staring her in the face at that time. There has been many instances, I can't begin to re­member them, all the things she has told me.

Coroner: Okay, thank you, Míam.           (Witness Excused)

Juror: One question. It never was established where they found that bullet. Was she standing or lying in bed. Come around, Sheriff Roton.

SHERIFF ROTON, being first duly sworn, was examined and testified as follows

BY CORONER WILSON:

Q.    Sheriff Roton, would you tell us what you know about this?

A.    Let me read the incident report on any case we work on. We fill out an incident report for our own records and

        records to use in the future. On 10-24-78, on Tuesday night, about 10:52, County Control received a call from Newberry County Hospital that an ambulance had been dispatched to the above address, which is Route 1, Box 346B, Newberry to the home of Carl and Rosa Gambrell, concerning a shooting incident. Deputies Miller and Worthy arrived at the scene at 10: 59 p.m. Newberry ambulance arrived there a couple of minutes before them, I think about 10:56, according to  what theyíve got on here. Deputy Dawkins, Wertz and Whitsell came the scene about 11:02 p.m. When they got there, the victim showed no signs of life. Coroner Wilson and myself was called, we got to the scene there a few minutes later. Coroner Wilson looked at the body. We began our investigation. Mr.  Miller made photographs of the scene. In answer to your question, the bullet that was found went through Mrs. Gambrellís body. It was about 6 or 8 inches from the far side of the bed from where she was lying, and on the pictures, it canít show you the holes in the mattress, but it was about 2 1/2 feet from the end of the bed, the far side from where she was sitting, where she was laying, I'm sorry.

Juror: The angle, could it have indicated that she would have already been lying on the bed, standing or sitting?         .

A.    From the angle of the bullet, she would have had to be sitting or leaning against the side of the bed, in my opinion.

Juror: Is there any way to tell whether that bullet was fired from the same gun of that one went through the trailer'?

A.    I do have the Ballistics Test there, and Ted Fisher, the SLED Agent that testified, stood and watched the Ballistics Test, and it had the same characteristics as the weapon that was fired.

Juror: Through the trailer?

A.    During the testing of this weapon.

Juror: Was the gun in her hand?

A.    No sir, the gun was lying on the floor. When I talked to Mr. Gambrell, let me make this clear to you. After I went in and looked, the Coroner and myself came back and talked to Mr. Gambrell. He told me that he picked up the weapon when he walked into the room, just not thinking. Of course, it could have very easily have happened, and laid it, back down. Then he looked at Mrs. Gambrell to see what had happened He said he saw that there was, he pulled back her pajama top and saw the bullet hole. That's when he ran out and called for help.

Juror: Had the Sheriff's Department previously answered any calls to this address?

A.    I only remember one eal1, but by the time I got there, from what the Deputies told me, the incident was over with. They told them when they got there, they didn't need any help, they didn't have any problems.

Juror: Sheriff, did it look like there might have been some scuffling or anything?

A.    No sir, there, was no sign of a scuffle whatsoever.

Juror: Any bruises on the body?                                                                .

A.    None that we could detect, I'm talking about fresh bruises. There might have been some bruises, like most women bump against a table or something and get bruised.

Q.    Sheriff Roton, did you smell beer or liquor on Mr. Gambrell that night?

A.    Yes, there was an odor of alcohol on Mr. Gambrell. I asked Mr. Gambrell if he had been drinking, and he said yes, before he went to bed, he had two or three drinks before he went to bed.         .

Juror: Did they sleep in separate bedrooms?

A.    Yes, there is a little hall between Mr. Gambrell's bedroom and Mrs. Gambrell's bedroom, and the bathroom is in this hall, a portion of the hall there.  .

Juror: Where did Hr. Gambrell say he was when this happened'?

A.    Mr. Gambrell said he had gone to bed early. He said he had a habit of going to bed about 7:00 or 7:30, and he
        said he went to bed and turned on television to watch the news at 7: 30, and he went to sleep. He woke up a couple of times after he went to sleep. Once he got up and went in and talked to Mrs. Gambrell and asked her; she was going to get ready to go to bed, go to work. She told him that she was going to take another nap, and he said that seemingly to him around 11:00, five or ten minutes til eleven, he woke up again and looked at the clock, and he though itís five or ten minutes til eleven. He didn't hear her, but he looked across the hall and under the door, he could see the light coming from her room. He said he got up and goes over, thatís when he finds Mrs. Gambrell. I asked him if he heard any shots, or a shot, and he said he did not.

Juror: And you couldn't get any prints off the gun, you said?

A.    SLED said they were unable to get fingerprints off the weapon, that's not unusual:

Q.    Sheriff Roton, has Mr. Gambrell been convicted of DUI in the past?

A.    I havenít checked that, Mr. Coroner.

Coroner: Alright. Any further questions?

Q.    Did Mr. Gambrell have a door on his bedroom?

A.    Yes, he did.

Q.    Did he tell you where the gun was usually kept in the house?

A.    Yes sir, he told me that it was usually kept in the chest of drawers in his room.

Q.    Any further questions? (None) Thatís all, Sheriff Roton, thank you. (Witness Excused)

Coroner: Mrs. Rosa Wi1banks Gambrell, female, died October 24th, 1978, died of gunshot wounds to the chest. Mr. Foreman and Gentlemen, you received your charge at the beginning of this inquest. You have heard the testimony concerning this matter. Insert in your verdict the name of the party killed, the instrument with which killed and by whose hands she met death. If you find from this testimony that some party or parties other than the deceased was responsible for her death, you will recommend in your verdict that such party or parties be held for Grand Jury investigation. (Whereupon, the jury retired, and after deliberation, returned to the courtroom and delivered the following verdict, con­curred in by all jurors:)

 ďMrs. Rosa Gambrell died as the result of a gunshot wound caused by a .38 caliber pistol. We recommend that the Grand Jury investigate this matter furtherĒ.

At approximately 9 :00 p.m., the inquest was concluded.

 

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