John A. Owens

The Free Press
Cartersville, Georgia
November 22, 1883, page 3
Transcribed and submitted by:  

Willful Murder.

Such is the Verdict of the Coronerís Jury Over the Body of John A. Owens.

It seems that Bartow county is still pushing her claims as the banner county when it comes to crime, which is a sad fact, greatly to be deplored by all our more law abiding citizens. We have now two unfortunates in our jail charged with the grave crime of murder, while only a few months ago Dave Grogan was charged with the same offense but convicted of involuntary manslaughter. Right upon the heels of the horrible Plattor-Suggs tragedy here comes another, which, according to the evidence at the coronerís inquest, is equally as horrible.

Thursday night of last week, John Owens and his son, John A., went, in an intoxicated condition, to the house of William Lawrence Simpson, and asked for permission to warm by their fire, which request was readily granted. Simpson, his wife and his mother were in the house at the time and were witnesses to the tragedy soon to follow. It seems that a grudge existed between Jno. Owens, Jr., and Simpson, and the former being intoxicated, of course, matters began to look favorable for a row. Owens talked loud, threw the cat in the fire, knocked off the mantel and acted disorderly generally.

He was rebuked by Simpson and warned to behave. This seemed to have the desired effect in quieting Owens, who sat down, but after a few minutes, Simpson, who was exasperated, struck him on the left side of the head with a piece of split pine three feet long, crushing the skull. The unfortunate man lingered in an unconscious condition until Saturday morning at 3 oíclock, when he expired.

Sunday morning Coroner Willingham held an inquest, only two witnesses (John Owen, Sr., and Simpsonís mother) being examined. The jury after hearing the evidence, rendered the following verdict:

We, the jury, upon our oaths say that John A. Owen came to his death from a wound inflicted by some blunt instrument in the hands of William Lawrence Simpson, taking effect over the left eye. Also, we make it a case of willful murder. [Signed] C. Dodd, foreman; J. K. Freeman, T. B. Meeks, J. S. Johnson, H. J. Wade, Bartow Jenkins.

Soon after the difficulty Simpson left for parts unknown. His wife left for her fatherís, John Hardy, in Cherokee county, Alabama, the following day.


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