Thursday, February 07, 2008

Caswell Murder Case (1929)

The Bee (Danville, Virginia) 19 October 1929
Saul Is Held Without Bail
2 Witnesses Say Accused Made Threats
Man Charged With Killing Gordon Slayton Held for December Grand Jury
(Special to The Bee)

Yanceyville, N. C. Oct 19 – A. C. Saul, Schoolfield textile mill operative accused of slaying Gordon Slayton was in jail here today awaiting the convening of the Caswell county superior court grand jury on the first Monday in December, when it will act on his indictment. He was held for grand jury action last night after evidence against him had been voiced by two witnesses, both of whom told E. H. Turner, the magistrate, that Saul shortly before he killed Slayton expressed his intention of killing a man and begged from them a weapon with which to accomplish his end.

The hearing drew a record crowd of 500 people, half of whom were from the Virginia side. The Kentuck neighborhood, whence come the Slayton family, was well evidenced. E. F. Upchurch and M. C. Winstead conducted the prosecution and Powell W. Glidewell represented Saul. The hearing was marked by no disorder despite reports of hard feeling generated by the slaying near Schoolfield about a week ago.

The first witness was Dr. S. A. Malloy, who established the corpus delicti, describing how he found the body with the skull crushed in by a blow from a piece of heavy metal. The two surprise witnesses next were offered.

Mrs. E. C. Bray moved into a house 25 paces from the scene of the alleged killing just the day before the occurrence. She saw Slayton and Saul in the yard during the evening just before dark and said the two men then went to some woods. At about 7:30 o’clock Saul came to her house bearing scars about the face indicating that he had been in a fight and said that he wanted a weapon to kill a man. She described then how he picked up a two foot piece of iron used to secure a door and then made off to where a knot of men were standing. She could not say what the quarrel was about and this was at no time brought out, but probably will be developed at trial should the indictment be returned.

Joseph Bray’s testimony was viewed as more telling than that of his mother. He quoted Saul as saying that he wanted a sawed-off shotgun, a revolver or a knife, adding that he wanted to kill a man he designated by a foul word. Bray testified that he actually saw the killing, stating that Saul struck Slayton two blows to the head with the piece of iron causing almost instant death. After the killing Saul is quoted as saying “Take care of my baby,” addressing his remark to a friend. The witness identified Miss Ruth Hill, of North Danville, as the person indicated by Saul.

After the testimony had been given Attorney Glidewell asked for a recess and adjourned to a nearby room with his client and Miss Hill, emerging later and expressing a desire to offer no defense testimony. The magistrate then sent the case to the grand jury and held Saul without bail.


1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this wonderful site. We are about to post a law book on eBay, (inscribed) from the library of Atty. E.F. Upchurch, Jr. who is almost certainly the attorney mentioned in the 1929 Caswell murder case.
    Enquiries may be directed to, Heather Masterton, Barn Swallow Antques (802) 236-3230,, eBay ID: mastertonh