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Blog Contents, (not the book)

These are the stories included in this blog. They are listed in order of latest to earliest added. You can either enter a search in the provided space, or scroll to the bottom to find the earlier posts. I hope you enjoy reading these as much as I enjoy researching and writing about this aspect of our local history.

The Gainer / Collins Murders
The Infamous Coldest Case
The Treachery of Mrs. Vann
Husband believed in her innocence
Area War Dead
One small portion of a much too long list
Killer on the Road
Robbery, Kidnapping, Murder
Burden of Guilt
Solution to a Cold Case
A Killing, A Brothel and ....
The Armantrouts of Pensacola
A Very Tragic Chain of Events
A very sad tale
Murder on South Palafox
Workplace violence in 1905
The Tragic Death of Big Ed Morris
Fight at a Fatal Fish Fry
The Curious Killing of Charles Sudmall
Successful Russian Businessman killed in town
Tale of a Lynching
Prisoner J.C. Evans, left dead on the side of the road
Sheriff McDaniel of Jackson County
Shootout in his Driveway
The 1915 Wyman Murders
Home invasion and killing of Elderly Couple
The Kidnapping of Mrs. Phelps
Holmes County 77 year old widow kidnapped and beaten.
The Mulat Murders
Murder of Julian, and Mae Edwards
Bank of Jay Part II
Were the robbers Pensacola Police Officers?
The Jay Bank Robbery
January 1963 Bank Heist
Killing in Crestview

Was there really Justice for Lester Wilson's death?

The Phantom Ghoul of Whitmire

Grave desecration at the Roberts, and Whitmire cemeteries

Tragedy Near McLellan

The murder of Daisy Locklin Padgett

The Turpentine Feud of 1911

The Cooley family ambush and events leading up to it.

The Allen-Whitmire Shootout

Articles about the shootout at the L&N Depot in Milton

The Acreman Family Murder

The murders and arson of an entire family near Allentown

Retired School Teacher Kills Three Police Officers

Happened in Ocala, Florida

Unsolved Pensacola Axe Murder

Family attacked as they slept

Unsolved Murder of Henry Hicks Moore

Pensacola Lovers lane murder

Unsolved Hinote/Byers Murder

Young couple killed

The Short Life and Fast Times of Frank Penton

Chief Deputy and local Gunslinger

The Fate of Judge Trueman

Killed in Ogden, Utah

The Killing of John Wesley Penton

Shot down in the street in Milton

The Trial of C. B. Penton

Suspected of killing S.G. "Babe" Collins

The 1931 Pursuit and Capture of Criminals Near Milton

Captured in Mulat swamp



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Sunday, January 22, 2023

Lester and George

 Lester Pooley and George Wallace

Lester Pooley, older brother of Ben Henry Pooley of Bagdad, Florida had more than 300 pro, and amateur fights. He lost only 9. He fought as a 112-pound flyweight. It was said that he was, “Quick on his legs, fast with his fists.” And “rugged, cunning, and tough.”

In 1935 he won the southeast AAU championship at 16 years old. While still an amateur he would use a false identity to fight professional bouts. The sawmill in Bagdad had shut down so he fought against professionals to support himself.

He defeated Joe Dan Trotman who later became a Judge in DeFuniak Springs. He also knocked out Lew Jenkins, a future lightweight world champ in a Bogalusa, Louisiana fight.

On Feb. 12, 1936 in a Golden Gloves semi-final bout in Nashville, Tenn., he fought future Alabama Governor George C. Wallace and won by unanimous decision.

Many years later at an airport press conference during his presidential campaign Wallace said, “I’m sure glad to see this outpouring of support for my campaign and I’m certainly glad to see my old friend Lester Pooley. You know, Lester whipped me once in a Golden Gloves competition, and he did a pretty good job of it. I’m glad to see he’s on my side now.”

On more than one occasion, Wallace asked Pooley to join his staff as a bodyguard. Pooley always refused. He told the Governor he had a drinking problem, “I might stay sober for a time, but if I took the notion to get juiced-up, I’d do it.” I told him I might help him, but I believe I’d hurt him.

Nov. 30, 1975, Pensacola News-Journal

             

                                                                          Feb. 23, 1936, Pensacola Journal

Monday, January 9, 2023

Death in a Turnip Field

            

             Mrs. Estelle Phillips, a 32-year-old mother of six children, was working in a 40-acre turnup field one day near Robertsdale, Alabama in late March 1941, when an airplane swooped down and sliced her head off. The aircraft left a 6-inch-deep furrow in the ground from a wingtip and a small boy was also injured. Later folks in an adjoining field reported that the aircraft had made dives at them too.

            The police were called to the scene and took eyewitness reports and it wasn’t long before their investigation crossed paths with an investigation out of Corry Field in Pensacola concerning a Boeing Stearman trainer aircraft that had returned to base with damage. Two Naval Ensigns who had just recently graduated flight training and were named instructor pilots were taken into custody.

            Ensign Paul C. Brown, from Chicago, who was the pilot that day, and Ensign Joseph C. Thompson, from Healdsburg California, were court-martialed. They were convicted of Involuntary Manslaughter. Brown was sentenced to 24 months, and Thompson got a 12-month sentence. Both were to be served at the prison in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

            The Federal Government gave $5000 to Mrs. Phillips’s husband and six children for compensation which even though it was 1941, doesn’t seem nearly enough.

            The two culprits in this case only served 5 months and Brown got married four days after he was released in New York City. In a newspaper from December 1942, I found an article saying that Thompson had a job instructing Naval Cadets at Plumas County airport near Beckwith, California.

            Hopefully, Mr. Thompson taught the young cadets about the fatal consequences of childish displays of bravado when your ego outweighs your talent. 



Friday, November 18, 2022

The Killing of 2nd Lt. Allman

     Second Lt. Willis T. Allman was a veteran of the Omaha Beach landing during the D-Day invasion of Normandy. By December 1949 he had served thirteen years in service. On December 26, while his wife and two sons were in Rocky Mount, NC, visiting her family, Allman was playing shuffleboard at the Oriental Gardens in Norfolk with his friend Lt. Robert Buchanan. They were joined there by a guy they didn't know who was also playing shuffleboard in the club named Michael R. "Buddy" Green. After playing a few games Green left for a short time and upon his return to the club, he asked the two if they would take him to another club to play some more shuffleboard. 

    While riding in the backseat, Green produced a revolver and ordered them to pull the car over. He took their wallets with the $4.85 they had between them and made them lie down in a muddy field. Buchanan later testified that he said, "Don't shoot us, Buddy", and Green replied, "Too bad for you because you know my name". With that, Allman lunged at the gunman, and Buchanan ran to find help. He heard two gunshots and not finding anyone to help, returned to the field and saw Green driving away and Allman with a fatal chest wound. Allman died soon after, and in a very short time, Green was arrested at his home in Ocean View. Ironically, the two victims had no idea Green's nickname was Buddy. It was just what Buchanan used because he didn't know his name. 

    Green was found guilty of murder with Buchanan returning from his assignment in Korea to testify. He was sentenced to death, but on the eve of his execution, Governor John Battle commuted his sentence to life. The Governor consulted with mental health experts and felt Green was temporarily insane due to his combat experience in WWII. Green spent the rest of his life in prison.

    Willis T. Allman left a legacy, however. His two sons were Duane, and Gregg Allman of the Southern Rock, and Blues band, The Allman Brothers. They had no memory of their father and were raised by their mother Geraldine Allman. Their father was robbed and murdered by a fellow veteran for $4.85. Sometimes this world just makes no sense. 



Monday, November 7, 2022

The Sad Story of Evelyn Crutchfield

 

           Evelyn was from Allentown and was the youngest child, and only daughter of Augustus, and Eula Crutchfield. In 1942 when she was 20 years old, World War II was raging and with her desire to help her country she became the first in Santa Rosa County to enlist as a Navy WAVE. (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service.)

            She completed her primary testing and examinations in Birmingham in October 1942, then went to the University of Indiana in Bloomington for four months of training before assigned to duty as a Storekeeper at NAS Millington, located just northeast of Memphis, Tenn.

            Around 12:30 pm on July 13, 1943 Evelyn was standing near the door of the armory at the Naval Air Tech Training Center, when she was accidently shot by Pfc. Frank L. Richmond. Some newspaper articles I found and her death certificate state it was a machine gun. She received an abdomen wound that severed her spine. She lived long enough to make it to the base hospital, but died soon after.

            I can only imagine the effect her death had on her family. Her body was shipped back home and she was buried on July 16, 1943 at the Calvary Baptist Church Cemetery in Allentown. Two Reverend’s officiated her service, Rev. E.R. Vincent, and Rev. R.G. Key. Her pallbearers were, Jim Leonard, Mac Mclaughlin, Jean Wilson, J.T. Wiggins, Thomas Allen, and Earl Wolfe. Her honorary pallbearers were, Dr. Rufus Thames, Earl Lewis, D.P. McLaughlin, Joe Wilson, Raymond Dozier, L.H. Dondall, E.H. Lundy, Louis Manning, Charles Morris, Cary Phillips, Roy Oglesby, and Joe T. Allen.

            You can tell how well someone is thought of in a community by seeing who was honored by attending them at their funeral. These names are like a “Who’s Who” from the surrounding area.

            I don’t know if Pfc. Richmond was held accountable. I cannot find out if there was any punishment. I also don’t really know what occurred that caused him to discharge a loaded weapon in an unsafe environment.

            In February of 1963 Frank Richmond was working for the Pure Oil Company. He was in Madison, Tennessee scouting locations for future service stations. He was riding in a car with Leon Beard, a real estate salesman, when Beard swerved to avoid hitting a dog. The car crashed into one driven by Mrs. Lola Davenport, 59 who was a secretary for the Guaranty Realty Company. Beard and Davenport survived the crash, but Richmond was dead on arrival. The county Medical Examiner said Richmond died from a broken neck, and fractured skull. At the time of his death his residence was Center Point, Alabama, but he grew up in Memphis.


Evelyn Crutchfield

Sunday, November 6, 2022

A New Group for Writers

     I started a new Facebook Group called, "Bards and Scribes of Santa Rosa County". The location is flexible. It's not really restricted to Santa Rosa County. Hopefully we get many members, and help each other to create, and to let our creations escape our inhibitions.

    Georgia beat Tennessee yesterday so I'm happy. 

    There is a murder mystery that happened in Dahlonega, Georgia in 1973. The Mayor, Fred Jones either committed suicide, or was murdered in his Chevy dealership early one morning. A friend of mine is writing a book about the case. I cannot wait until it is finished. 

    For no particular reason, here is a picture:



Yeah, that's me on a John Deere. Near Somerville, Tenn. on Grandpa's farm.

Thursday, November 3, 2022

Book Release news.

 Hello everybody, 

I'm going to change this blog up a little bit going forward. I will still post some vintage crime stories on here for sure, but also will include other more current news. I published my book a couple of weeks ago and I seem to be getting some good feedback so far. 

I self-published through Lulu.com, and I am pretty satisfied, but I think my next one will be through KDP on Amazon. I've heard good things about it. 



My Book, Not too bad for first effort.

I had an informal, little advertised book signing at our Genealogical Society meeting and sold 5, or 6 books. A few days ago I had a book signing at the Jay Museum during their Halloween festivities, and had a really good turnout. I sold maybe 25, but probably would have been more if I had displayed better. On that note, I have received my posters, and new business cards in the mail today. I'm also thinking about ordering a "sandwich board" type sign for future signings.

Heather, from Heatha Featha barbershop offered to have a book signing there at her shop, and I think I will take her up on that. 
I have had quite a few book orders I filled at home and sent personally, and there have been quite a few orders on Amazon, but I will not know how that is doing for another month or so. 

So, in closing for today, I expect to be much more active on here in the future. I'm still having some health issues, especially with my mobility, but hopefully I will get that fixed soon. Stay tuned....

Lulu Bookstore:





Saturday, September 25, 2021

Death of a Hitchhiker

 

Ova Budd Roe

            On the afternoon of December 29, 1947, two young men, Glen Williams, and Alex Williams, (Newspaper accounts did not say if they were related), were traveling westbound toward Pensacola on the Gulf Coast Highway. They were traveling from Ft. Walton Beach to Pensacola. When they were about ten miles east of the Pensacola Bay bridge, they saw a body lying off the side of the road in, or near a borrow pit. One article stated that they left to find a phone, and another said they flagged down a passing motorist. Either way they summoned help.

            The first lawman on the scene was Highway Patrolman M.K. Hackle, and soon after, Sheriff Marshall Hayes, Deputy Harvell Enfinger, and County Judge William Bonifay arrived. They called on Dr. Rufus Thames, and he determined the victim had been dead 3 to 4 hours. A teenager named Harold Lowery lived about 300 yards away and he told the investigators that he heard gunshots about one pm, but assumed someone was shooting game. They victim was identified by a bracelet he was wearing, and a tattoo. His name was Ova Budd Roe.

            Some witnesses found later thought the victim was someone who was seen getting into a car with two other men the night before at a roadhouse back toward Pensacola.

            Ova Roe, was a 22-year-old Army veteran who was from Middletown, Ohio. At the time of his death, he was hitchhiking from Denver, Colorado where he had been visiting his brother, to Miami, Florida where he wanted to celebrate the new year. His mother told authorities that he would ship a trunk to his destination, and carry a small case with him. Some reports claimed he was a deserter from the Army, but one claimed he had been a prisoner of war. His mother stated that he kept his discharge papers with him, or shipped them with his trunk.

            Roe had been shot three times, twice in the head, and once in the abdomen. He also had a gash on his head. In a surprising newspaper article, it was published that through ballistic matching, the .32 caliber bullets that killed Roe were fired from the same gun used in two recent unsolved murders in Mississippi.

(I inquired if there were any records left in Santa Rosa County pertaining to the murder investigation, and were assured there were not. I then did a Freedom of Information request with the State, and was informed no records existed.)

            The investigation continued for a while with no solid leads. A toxicologist from Alabama, Dr. Nelson E. Grubbs was brought in to assist, and later he published a newspaper article about four unsolved murders along the Gulf Coast and how they could be solved if only the public would cooperate with authorities. Dr. Grubbs investigated 40,000 cases in this long career with the state of Alabama, and there was even a May 1961 article in Reader’s Digest about him in a “Most Unforgettable Character” story.


The Mississippi Killings

At 4:45 in the morning of December 18, 1947, (eleven days before the Roe killing), the Billups Service Station on Highway 90 in Ocean Springs, Mississippi was robbed of $93. During the robbery, Mark Neal, Jr. was shot four times in the side and died at the scene. E.F. Smith, the station manager, lived in an apartment connected to the station with his wife. He said they heard 3, or 4 shots and a car speed off toward Pascagoula. The station had also been robbed on August 1, of $100. The Billups Petroleum Co. offered a $100 reward for capture and conviction of the robber.

            Mark Neal, Jr. was only in his third week of working at the station. Before that he was a Merchant Seaman working for the War Shipping Administration. He registered for the draft in New Orleans on his 18th birthday in 1946, and it was from New Orleans that he arrived to work in Ocean Springs. His murder is still officially unsolved.

            Robert Lee Ward, a wealthy rancher who lived in Agricola, Miss., near Lucedale, was found murdered in an abandoned pick-up truck three miles north of Pascagoula, on Bayou Cassotte rd. It is believed that he was killed in a home invasion and his body transported to where he was found. He was known to carry around $2000 at all times, and there was no money found on his body. There were suspects arrested who were eventually released, and the case was cold until 1966.

            Roe, Neal, and Ward were the three murders supposedly connected by the same .32 caliber weapon, but I can’t find anything else other than a newspaper article, so it may not be true.

The 1966 developments in the case of R. L. Ward

In July 1966, J.L. Williams was arrested in Marion County, Mississippi for Public Drunkenness. When in jail, he asked to speak to Judge Sebe Dale. The Judge arrived and Williams confessed to the murder of robbery of Mr. Ward back in 1947. He told Judge Dale, “I just can’t get away from that fellow. That bugger has been running me ever since. He gets into bed with me, gets in the truck with me, gets on my shoulder. That’s why I stay drunk.”  In his confession, Williams stated that he and two other men had gone to Ward’s home to rob him, and while he waited outside, the other two were fighting with Ward. Williams said he took a gun, went inside the house, and shot Mr. Ward twice. He was arrested for robbery, and murder. However, on August 25, Williams pleaded innocent to the charges and was sent to the state hospital in Whitfield for psychiatric evaluation to see if he could stand trial. During his confession to Judge Dale, Williams implicated a woman named Alice Ferrill of Biloxi. On July 12 the District Attorney announced he would be filing charges against Ferrill in connection to the Ward murder too.

The D.A. stated in the press that Williams, Ferrill, and another man who was since deceased, had been suspects back in 1948, and Ferrill had been questioned for 28 days. Eventually, all were released due to lack of evidence. No money from the robbery was ever recovered. On September 3, Ferrill pleaded innocent and was released on $5000 bond.

Williams eventually stood trial and he stated that he did not remember talking to Judge Dale, and that he did not willingly, or intentionally waive his right to a lawyer or his right to remain silent. Judge Darwin Maples agreed with him, and ruled his confession inadmissible. The District Attorney, Donald Cumbest appealed Judge Maples decision to the Mississippi Supreme Court, and Williams was released on bond in February, pending the court’s decision.  

In April, Williams was again arrested for threatening the life of D.A. Cumbest. The arresting officer, Howard Ellzey said that on the ride to the Jackson Co., jail, Williams repeatedly threatened his life too. Judge Maples ruled that Williams was to be held without bond pending the outcome of the appeal on the murder case. On Sunday night, August 13, Williams escaped from the jail in Lucedale. He was captured the next day near the city limits and returned to jail. Williams sat in jail until March of 1968 when the Supreme Court upheld his acquittal in the Ward case. Alice Ferrill was to be tried after Williams, but since his confession implicating her was inadmissible, she was never brought to trial.

There was a third person arrested back in 1948 for Ward’s murder. Bruce Thompson, which may have been an alias, was reported to have died before Williams’ 1966 arrest. His role in the crime is not clear. In Williams statement, he claimed he was with two men who went into the house while he waited outside. In any case, Thompson was never prosecuted either.

A further note, there was a fourth murder during this same time period that remains unsolved. Ulysses Lauzon, a Canadian criminal who was on the run from authorities, was found shot to death on the side of Highway 90 near Pascagoula. The 26-year-old armed robber was identified by the New Orleans police department from a 1945 circular from the Ottawa Police. His body was found on July 19, and there were two suspects wanted for questioning. Lauzon had escaped from an Ontario, Canada prison in August of 1947. It is not believed that his murder is connected to the others mentioned earlier.

 

Well, that’s about it. All these killings with no official conclusion. I would like to know what ballistic evidence, if any, actually connected three of the murders. I feel that Williams was involved in killing Mr. Ward. But, while he was drunkenly confessing, I think he would have spilled the beans about any other murder he was involved in. The gun “could” have been used in more than one crime, but there is little if any chance to determine that at this stage.

I think that Mr. Roe’s parents must have had a strange sense of humor. Ova, is the Latin word for egg, and Roe, is a mass of eggs contained in the ovaries of a female fish. The things we do to our children….