The Courant American
March 24, 1892, page 1
A Man Caught
On Sunday morning last there came a telegram from Cave Spring to Sheriff Franklin asking if there was a reward for Bill Dutton. The response went back that there was and another telegram soon came to the sheriff that the man was under arrest.
The reward was two hundred dollars and was for the arrest of the murderer of Sallie Mobbs, with evidence sufficient to convict.
Constable Hort Franklin, accompanied by Mr. Nat Baker, who it was believed could identify Dutton, proceeded Saturday evening to Cave Spring and Mr. Baker believing him to be the right party, Sunday they brought the arrested man over to this city and he is now in jail.
The arrest was made by W. A. Weatherby, assisted by T. N. Mullinax. Dutton had been seen about Cave Spring several times and it was believed by those who knew of the Mobbs killing that he was the party who was suspicioned of the crime and whose person was wanted. When arrested, he gave his name as Jones, but he has since admitted that his name is Dutton, but John Dutton, and that he has a brother named Bill.
Since Dutton has been in jail a number of persons that knew Bill Dutton when he worked near Stilesboro have been sent for and called to see the prisoner, and while none of them positively pronounce him to be Bill Dutton, they are almost sure in their belief that he is. Bill Dutton, when he left Bartow county seventeen months ago, was clean shaven. The man who has just been arrested has a fuzzy beard three or four inches long all over his face and concealing largely his features. Dutton’s giving his name first as Jones, his nervousness and general conduct since his arrest and the readiness those who knew him venture their belief that he is the right man, together with the fact that he reposes (sic) to allow himself shaved, leads the general public largely to suspect that he is really Bill Dutton and if he is not the slayer of Sallie Mobbs he has something in his history that he wants concealed.
The Mobbs Killing.
A year ago last October, on the 30th day of the month, near Stilesboro, Mrs. Sallie Mobbs was waylaid while on her way to the field to carry dinner to the cotton picking hands, and killed by being beaten and horribly butchered with a knife. Her body was found a short while after the murder where the fiendish assassin had dragged it and half hid it under the decaying boughs in an old tree top. The body bore wounds as follows: Wounded in the back of the head and back of the neck; had one stab that entered the windpipe with small bladed knife; had three other straight cuts in the front of the neck; and two larger gashes in the neck; on the left side, running from under the ear to the middle of windpipe, one of them dividing the jugular vein and large carotid artery of the neck; one light cut on finger and slight wounds on arm with knife, and bruises on her back and near hips.
The Probable Perpetrator.
The crime seemed well covered up by the one who committed it. At first suspicion pointed to strolling negroes, who were pursued and arrested at Canton, but subsequently it was shown that they had been discharged by Mr. R. H. Cooper and left his employ too late in the day for it to have been possible for them to have been at the scene of the crime.
A white man living on the place of Mr. Joe Forrester, was the next man on whom suspicion rested. It was affirmed that Dutton had soon after the killing appeared in new clothes, that tracks seen near the scene of the killing would match a pair of old run down shoes worn by Dutton. It was also stated that he had rather vaguely expressed certain intentions which it was thought had a bearing on the crime. He carried a pair of officer’s nippers, which he called his “girl catchers.” The body was found to bear slight marks that looked like scars that might have been made by the application of the nippers on the arms. Dutton was arrested and had a preliminary trial before Justice C. W. Jones, but on the lack of any substantial proof against him, he was released. Immediately after his release, Dutton left with his family in the night and hasn’t since been heard from by people of the Stilesboro neighborhood unless the man now in jail is Bill Dutton.
The Prisoner’s Story.
A Courant American man called at the jail Tuesday and was courteously conducted in to where the prisoners were by deputy sheriff Burrough. Dutton was easily singled out, through previous descriptions, from among the dozen prisoners, black and white, in the jail.
If Dutton is the wrong man and wrongfully held it is supposed to be a very easy matter for him to establish his identity and secure his early release. If he fails, and it is clearly proven he is Bill Dutton, there is to say the least, a strong chain of circumstantial evidence connecting him to this crime.
The grand jury at the January term, 1891, of the Superior court found a true bill against Bill Dutton for murder.
There was a little colored child found dead in bed last Saturday morning on Mr. Ed Jones farm.
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Last modified: August 28, 2006