Monday, November 22, 2010

Mary Molly DeJarnette Murder (1880)


Danville, Virginia
July 9, 1880

Last night about midnight Thomas D. Dejarnette enterred a building [brothel] here inuiring for Mollie Dejarnette, an inmate thereof. The girl appeared, recognized the young man as her brother, and as this request went with him to a private room. A few minutes afterward repeated pistol shots were heard from the room. The police were called in and found the door fastened. They broke it down and discovered the girl lying on the floor watered in blood, her brother standing by with a pistol in his hand.

He immediately confessed to the shooting, and averred he had done it to wipe out the disgrace of the family by his sister's conduct. He surrendered himself to the officers, has been committed to jail and declares his willingness to accept the penalty of the law. A medical examination showed that the girl was shot in five places, two at least necessarily fatal, and cannot survive. She protests that her brother was right in taking her life, and begs that he not be punished. On separation after the tragedy, brother and sister embraced with mutual forgiveness and tears of grief. The girl is only seventeen years old, went wrong a few months since, is remarkably pretty, intelligent and fine looking. Her brother is about tweny years of age, a railroad agent and telegraph operator at Browns Summit, N.C. The girl's family live[s] in Caswell County, N.C., near Danville, and are very poor, but the family connections are highly respectable, and were rich before the war.

The brother apparently actually was named James Thomas Dejarnette (1861-1935). The father, James Patten Dejarnette (1822-1873), died in Pelham, Caswell County, North Carolina, and may be buried there.

Here is another report, which is undocumented:

Mary Molly Dejarnette was shot 5 times by her brother in the "Blonde Hall," a house of ill repute after she sent him a letter asking him [her brother] to come and get her; he apparently thought to save the family reputation by shooting her, she lived a few days; he was found to be insane. [He may have died institutionalized in Kansas.]



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