Long Forgotten Logan County West Virginia Murder- Hawkins Bishop- solved, or ........
Was it ever REALLY solved? Does Anyone Out There Know
Submitted by Nancy B
The following transcription is directly from the microfilmed records of the Tuesday November 10, 1933 edition of the Logan Banner, the local newspaper of Logan, West Virginia.
Notes added by myself are in the underlined italic type, and were not in the original newspaper article.
Tuesday November 10, 1933- The Logan Banner-
Front Page Headlines: (Logan, Logan County, West Virginia)
Murder of Hawkins Bishop on Harts Creek Road Stirs Officers to Vigorous Activity
Prominent Local Democrat Slain in Cold Blood Sunday Night Near Joseph Blair Home on Harts Creek
Jesse and Carey Blair Jailed
State Police and Sheriff’s Force are determined to make every effort to get Assassin
The cold blooded murder of a well known Logan citizen, in a section of the county that has an unenviable record for homicides, shootings and stabbing affrays, has stirred the state and county peace officers to a determination to find and punish the slayer if it is possible.
Hawkins Bishop, age 51 (typographical error here by the newspaper- he was 60-61) for 22 years a resident of Logan, one of the leaders of the Democratic party in the county, and a man highly regarded by a large coterie of friends, was shot down shortly after 8 o’clock Sunday evening, on the Harts Creek road, near Mullins store and the Bulwark post office. A 45-caliber bullet was fired into Mr. Bishop’s chest, at the left side, the weapon being held so close that the victim’s coat was burned for about two inches about the area where the bullet entered, and leaving powder burn marks on his flesh. The bullet passed entirely through the body of Mr. Bishop, and his death must have been instantaneous. Two residents of the vicinity, Jesse and Carey Blair, sons of Joseph Blair, were arrested a short time after the murder and brought to the county jail, where they are held “for investigation”.
A number of deputy sheriffs and members of the state police force spent the entire day on Monday investigating the crime and combing the countryside for any evidence that might throw light on the tragedy. Meantime, the body of Mr. Bishop was brought to Harris Funeral Home in Logan, where it was viewed by a constant stream of friends during the entire day. It was the comment of every citizen that nothing must be left undone to bring his murderer to justice. It was stated on every side that “Hawk” Bishop did not have an enemy who would have cause to seek his death. He was known as a peace-loving citizen, and a firm friend. He was an ardent Democrat partisan and while always free to express his political convictions in unmistakable language, that he had ever aroused antagonism of a serious nature was generally said to be unbelievable. There was none to suggest a possible motive for his killing unless it was some passion aroused on the instant.
As far as the officers have revealed there was only one person who was an eyewitness of the tragedy. Jesse Blair acknowledged that he was in Mr. Bishop’s automobile when the tragedy occurred, but did not see the assailant plainly enough to be able to describe or identify him. The story told by Jesse Blair, as given out by the officials, was the Bishop had visited the home of Joseph Blair on Harts Creek on Saturday to go squirrel hunting with Mr. Blair, a long time friend whom he frequently visited, in hunting season particularly. Sunday night, Mr. Bishop and Jesse Blair, it is alleged the latter stated, were driving near the Mullins store, when they almost struck a man walking along the road. The man resented being thus endangered, the officers quote Jesse as saying, and a dispute arose, whereupon Bishop stepped out of the car, declaring he “would see who owned the road.” Almost immediately there was a shot and Mr. Bishop fell in his tracks. Several persons heard the shot, it is stated, and “Pastor” David Fry, a resident of the Mud Fork section, reported the tragedy to the authorities. State police and deputy sheriffs rushed to the scene and found the body of Mr. Bishop at the edge of the road, almost falling over an embankment. County Coroner R.B. Harris viewed the body and decided the cause of death was so apparent that it was not necessary to empanel a jury and hold an inquest.
Officers found one housewife in the vicinity who stated that she had heard a quarrel as the car passed, saw it stop, and heard a shot, but she could not identify any of the persons in the car. It is said there were other important witnesses who would be heard when Prosecuting Attorney Joyce held a hearing and interrogated the Blair brothers, which the prosecuting attorney said he would do as soon as the officials had presented the matter to him with the evidence they had secured. It was expected this would be done some time on Tuesday.
Hawkins Bishop was born in Pike county Kentucky, and came to Logan 22 years ago as a salesman for the Ben Williamson Hardware Company of Ashland. He covered this territory for several years, and later was a salesman for the Ford representatives in this section. More recently, he had been employed as a salesman for the Logan Coca-Cola Bottling Works. He is survived by five children: Miss Stella Bishop, of Charleston; Mrs. James Layne of Logan; Mrs. Luther Gilmore of Williamson; Mrs. W. A. Mitchell of Logan; Warren Bishop of Logan. Also three brothers and one sister: Alexander Bishop of Williamson, former sheriff of Mingo county; Roland Bishop of Pikeville; Sidney Bishop of Iowa; and Mrs. Mary Rose of Kentucky.
NOTE- THIS IS ALSO A TYPOGRAPHICAL ERROR BY THE NEWSPAPER, POSSIBLY, OR IT MAY BE POSSIBLE THAT HAWKINS TRULY EITHER WAS NOT AWARE OF HIS YOUNGER SIBLINGS, HAVING FELL OUT OF TOUCH WITH HIS FAMILY FROM KENTUCKY, OR SIMPLY DID NOT ACKNOWLEDGE THEM.
OTHER SURVIVING SIBLINGS OF HAWKINS BISHOP WERE:
LOUISE BISHOP, b. 1874, Pike County Kentucky; d. June 21, 1949.
NELSON BISHOP, b. May 1876, Pike County Kentucky;
FLORA BISHOP, b. April 20, 1878, Pike County Kentucky.
HESTER O. BISHOP, b. April 1880.
SIDNEY BISHOP, b. 1884, Pike County Kentucky.
DONSON BISHOP, b. March 14, 1886, Pike County Kentucky
LAWRENCE DOW BISHOP9, b. August 1889
GRACIE BISHOP, b. October 1891, Morgan County Kentucky
ROSCOE BISHOP, b. March 22, 1893, Mize, Morgan County Kentucky;
JULIA BISHOP, b. June 1895.
Hawkins parents were Miles Bishop and Nancy Jane (Matney) Bishop.
Please see the following website for further information:
Funeral services were held at the home of his son, Warren Bishop of Stratton street, on Tuesday morning Rev. M.R. Atkinson officiating. The body was taken to Ashland, Kentucky, for interment Tuesday afternoon.
The following photos were taken at the Ashland Cemetery, in Ashland, Kentucky (Boyd County), on December 21, 2006. Hawkins interment is listed as Section 11, Lot# 127 ½, the funeral home listed as Harris, and the year 1933.
The following photos were taken on December 20, 2006, at, or near the location that we believe the murder occurred.
Note from the opening lines of the newspaper article: on Harts Creek Road; near Mullins store, and Bulwark post office.
After much research and asking questions, talking to many people, we learned that if there ever was an actual post office at Bulwark, it has been gone from the area for many years, and the same applies to “Mullins store”. We were able to pinpoint Bulwark area, as well as Whirlwind- (Hawkins death certificate states homicide occurred at “Whirlwind”) and Harts Creek. The photos below show the old buildings at the center of those locations, it is not clear what was a store, or a post office. We simply shot photos of everything in the immediate vicinity.
Hawkins Death Cert. Joseph Blair Death Cert. Kyle Blair on left, son of Jesse Blair
All of the photos included on this page are online in a public photo album, along with others, at the Webshots website- The photo album is titled Hawkins Bishop's Murder. Please contact me if you'd like the exact URL.
The following information is the remainder of the transcription directly from the newspaper archives on microfilm:
Thursday, October 12, 1933 edition of the Logan Banner, Logan County, West Virginia- Front Page
Blair Boys are Still Held in County Jail
Officers have spent entire week seeking evidence in the Bishop murder
Hearing Next Week
Sheriff and Prosecutor Feel They Have Evidence to Hold One or Both
The investigation by the staff of Sheriff Sherman Smith, and Prosecuting Attorney C.A. Joyceinto the circumstances surrounding the cold blooded murder of Hawkins Bishop on Harts Run on Sunday night, has been in progress without letup throughout the week.
The officers now are of the belief that they have secured sufficient evidence to warrant the holding for examination of Jesse and Carey Blair, the two men arrested on Sunday night, who are still in the county jail without a formal charge having been lodged against them.
Prosecuting Attorney Joyce states that a warrant will be issued the first of the week without a doubt, and that Jesse and Carey will be taken before a justice of the peace and formally arraigned.
Joseph Blair, father of the boys, and at whose home Hawkins Bishop had been visiting from Saturday night until about the time of the tragedy, has retained Attorney E. F. Scaggs and Charles L. Estep to protect the interest of his sons, and they have held a conference with the men in the county jail to outline their plans for defense.
Card of Thanks:
We wish to take this means of expressing our deep appreciation to our friends who were so kind and considerate to us during the bereavement of our beloved father, Hawk Bishop Sr., and to especially thank everyone for their floral offerings.
THE BISHOP FAMILY
Blair Boys Are Held To Grand Jury
Jesse and Carey Blair Given Hearing in Presence of a Large Crowd
Jesse and Carey Blair, the Harts Creek men who have been in jail since the murder of Hawkins Bishop on Sunday
October 8, were placed on preliminary hearing before Justice of the Peace Elbert Smith on Tuesday afternoon.
The crowd was so large that the hearing was held in the court-room, with a crowd that filled the entire seating space and the jury box.
The Blair’s were represented by Attorneys Scaggs and Estep.
Following the hearing, Squire Smith announced that he would order the two men to be held to the grand
Jury, with privilege of bail, Judge Jackson fixed the bond at $5000.00 each.
The shortest grand jury session probably in the history of Logan County courts, resulting in eleven indictments against ten persons, was held on Monday morning under the orders Judge Naaman Jackson issued last Thursday following the capture of Ora Conley….
Jesse Blair and Cary Blair indicted for the murder of Hawkins Bishop entered pleas of "not guilty" and their trials are set for next Tuesday, November 7. Their bonds of $5000.00 each were continued until the trial date.
First Degree Verdict for Blair Boys
Trial for Murder of Hawk Bishop Occupied Three Days
New Trial is Asked
Judge Jackson to hear Arguments on Motion Monday morning
The jury in the trial of Jesse and Cary Blair, indicted for the murder of Hawkins Bishop, on Friday morning at 9"30 returned a verdict of guilty of murder in the first degree and recommended the mercy of the court.
Attorney Estep made a motion for the court to set aside the verdict and grant a new trial. Judge Jackson set Monday morning 9 o’clock to hear the arguments on this motion. A similar motion by attorneys Estep and Chafin in the case of Eustace Adams in the murder of Frank Carter will be heard at the same time.
The last of the murder trials before Judge Naaman Jackson in this special term of court called last week was completed about 9:15 Thursday night when the jury reviewed the case of Cary and Jesse Blair, sons of Joe Blair of Harts Creek, who were indicted on the charge of murdering Hawkins Bishop of Logan on the night of Sunday, October 8, on Harts Creek. The accused young men elected to be tried together.
The trial of the Blair brothers began on Tuesday morning, the jury selected being J.W. Williamson, Anthony Miller, Stuart Hunter, Eugene Eagan, H.C. Varney, Frank Kitchen, John Elkins, H.N. Clenenning, J. W. McColgan, W. E. Shrewsbury, Ernest Shuff and Howard Hout.
Presentation of testimony by some 40 witnesses occupied all of Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, being finished at 5:30 Thursday evening. Judge Jackson recessed court until 6:45, when the arguments of the attorneys and the charge of the court was completed at 9:15. The jury retired to consider the law and evidence, but when there was no sign from the jury room at 10:15 that there was prospect of a decision, Judge Jackson had the jury brought into court and after advising them that they would have to remain another night "incommunicado" court was recessed until 9:15 Friday morning.
The prosecution was conducted by Prosecuting attorney C.A. Joyce, assisted by former judge Robert Bland and C.C. Chambers as special council. The defense attorneys were Charles L. Estep and E.F. Scaggs.
The courtroom was crowded throughout the trial, and particularly on Thursday afternoon and night. The evidence presented by the state was mostly circumstantial, there having been no eyewitnesses produced. There were few unusual or sensational features. The defense was an effort to prove an alibi for Cary Blair, with a large number of relatives appearing in his behalf, including Joe Blair, father of the boys.
A little stir was caused when Attorney Chambers, who conducted most of the questioning, charged Joe Blair with having attempted to influence some of the witnesses, and one in particular trying to have her step aside in the witness room and hold a whispered conversation with him. When the witness, a young woman, refused to talk to him privately, Blair is alleged to have directed her "You needn’t tell a blankety blank thing that you don’t want to."
Juries Convict Four Murderers in Four Days Special Term
Carey and Jesse Blair Now on Trial Charged with Killing Hawkins Bishop on Harts Creek
Charley and Eustace Adams, Guilty in Carter Murder, and Ora Conley, Await their Sentences.
The special term of circuit court called by Judge Jackson and which began the trials o several murder cases last Thursday, has been making a record of one conviction each of the four days it has been in session.
SECTION OF MICROFILM IS MISSING HERE
Arguments heard by Judge Jackson to Set Aside Verdict and Grant a New Trial FIRST DEGREE IN BLAIR CASE MAKES COURT SECOND COUSIN TO THE MOB, SAYS ATTY. ESTEP
ASKS SECOND DEGREE
State Insists Trial was Eminently Fair and Verdict Just- Court to Give Opinion Friday
Judge Jackson on Monday
Judge Jackson on Monday morning heard the arguments of council for the defense and of the prosecution in the case of Jesse and Cary Blair, against whom the jury on Friday had returned a verdict of guilty in the first degree in the killing of Hawkins Bishop on Harts Creek on Sunday, October 8.
Following the verdict Attorney Charles Estep had presented a motion that the findings of the jury be set aside by the court and a new trial ordered offering three grounds on which the motion was based. Judge Jackson had then set 9 o’clock Monday morning to hear the arguments.
Former Judge Estep stated that the verdict was contrary to the law and evidence and without evidence to support it; that the defendants had been abused, that the court erred in improperly admitting evidence by the prosecution over objections; and that the court erred in giving the jury instructions for the state over the objections for the defense, and listed seven of the eight points of the instructions as coming under that category.
Attorney Estep presented a lengthy argument Monday morning, occupying two hours being entrenched behind a veritable breadworks of law books and reports from which he read numerous and voluminous excerpts to support his various contentions. He said he spent all of Armistics Day and Sunday just in collating his references and authorities, stating that he realized under the rule of court in asking that a verdict be set aside he must make a convincing showing. He well understood the appellate court rule that the arguments must be presented first to the circuit court before going to the higher court, but recognized fully that willingness of the local court to grant a new trial. If convinced by the arguments that their contentions were proper and well founded in law.
Mr. Estep indicated that is the motion for new trial was not granted by Judge Jackson, an appeal would be taken to the supreme court, and the heavy expense of this appeal should be saved for his clients if possible for the defense to make a convincing presentation here.
The Defense Arguments
Among other points offered in support of the motion, Mr. Estep stated that the state had produced no evidence showing that Carey Blair was within a half mile of scene of Hawkins Bishop’s slaying. The only direct evidence on the murder, he insisted, was by Jesse Blair, who testified that he did not recognize the man who fired the fatal shot. One witness had heard Cary Blair’s name called during the quarrel which resulted in the tragedy, but did not know whether it was "to" Cary or "about" him that his name was called for. A young woman had seen a man leaving the scene immediately after the shooting, but she thought it might have been Jesse until she saw Cary later. Under the evidence presented the verdict should not have been more than second-degree murder, insisted the attorney. As to any direct evidence, the prosecution was "as silent as the antediluvian days." It was necessary, council contended, to present proof of provocation and the verdict overlooks the fact that the evidence was silent as to provocation.
Attorney Estep made objections to the court’s instructions on "aiding and abetting" declaring that the evidence was silent on that also, saying that the jury could not be left to merely guess on that characteristic of evidence. He referred to the case of a few years ago of the state versus Reidy in the killing of Dr. Shreve, in which the higher court had ordered the case returned to Login County because of faulty instructions. The eighth point of instructions taken up was that of the "alibi" the objection of council being that the court erred in that, and asserted that the defense must be given the benefit of any doubt as to alibi evidence. "Any evidence which tends to disparage an alibi is erroneous" Council Estep contended, supporting his statement with numerous quotes from his array of law literature.
Then taking up his summary of the points presented, Mr. Estep declaimed that to permit any verdict higher than murder in the second degree would be to "convert the court into the second cousin to the mob, when the prosecution comes here and takes away the liberty of the defendants. No court can view this case without agreeing that the instructions were prejudicial. The court must be more than an umpire. It must insist upon compliance with the law of evidence and facts."
The State Replies
Attorney C.C. Chambers, special council for the prosecution, made a brief reply to the allegations of an unfair trial, saying that in all of his experience, he had never heard a case more fairly tried. The defense had been permitted, without objections, to present any kind of evidence under the sun, he said. The court had been, eminently fair in conducting the case, and in its instructions and the jury had been as good a jury as he had ever seen. He denied that there had been any abuse of witnesses, and if there had been it would have been justified. The defense counsel’s contention that provocation had not been proven was not well taken, and he referred to the case of Clarence Stephenson. As to the Reidy case, he, Mr. Chambers, had assisted in the prosecution of that case, and prepared the instructions presented to the court, but there was no parallel between that and the present Blair case. As a matter of fact, said Attorney Chambers, "in this case the state would have been justified under the evidence of taking the lives of these two defendants."
Prosecuting Attorney C.A. Joyce took up the defense arguments regarding the alibi evidence, declaring the instructions of the court were amply justified by law and evidenced by precedent. Evidence or belief that an alibi was a fabrication or untruth was evidence of guilt of the accused, and was so held by the courts, he said, and he read a number of authorities on the point.
The arguments were not complete until 12:30, and after consultation between the court and attorneys, Judge Jackson announced that he would need ample time to study and review. The arguments presented and the points of law and higher court decisions and on Friday at 9 o’clock would hand down his decision, with either the sentencing of the Blair brothers or setting the verdict aside and granting a new trial.
FOUR MURDERERS ARE GIVEN SENTENCES OF LIFE IMPRISONMENT
Charley Adams, Confessed slayer of Frank Carter Saved from Gallows by Jury Verdict on Eustace Adams in Same Case
JUDGE JACKSON FIRM
Found that Blair Boys were Properly Convicted for Killing of Hawkins Bishop- All Get Stay of Execution of Sentence
Judge Naaman Jackson pronounced sentences to life imprisonment on four young men from Harts Creek, in a special session of circuit court on Friday morning.
The four murderers were:
Charley Adams, age 25, who confessed to the killing of Frank Carter on Saturday night, October 14, and implicated his brother Eustace Adams.
Eustace Adams, age 23, convicted by a jury after a trial lasting three days, for complicity in the murder of Carter, the verdict being with a plea for mercy at the hands of the court.
Carey and Jesse Blair, brothers convicted together by jury of the murder of Hawkins Bishop of Logan on Sunday night, October 8, near the Bulwark post-office on Harts Creek. The jury had recommended mercy.
Last week, Judge Jackson had heard arguments on motions to set aside the verdicts of the jury and grant new trials to Eustice Adams and the Blair boys. The Friday morning session of court was for the court to hand down the decisions on these motions.
The Blair brothers were brought into court first, but because of the delay of attorney Charles L. Estep in returning from Huntington, they were returned to the county jail and the Adams boys were brought before the court.
….Jesse and Carey Blair were then brought into court, and after Attorney Estep said he had nothing more to say beyond the arguments presented last week and the brief filed with the court, Judge Jackson reviewed the record of the case at length and discussed the various points made by the defense attorneys in their argument.
Summing up his decision, Judge Jackson said, "The court is of the opinion that the instructions to the jury were not prejudicial to the interests of the defendants. The motion to set aside the verdict and grant a new trial is denied.
Jesse Blair and Cary Blair, stand up and receive your sentences. Have you anything to say at this time?"
Jesse Blair responded "Your Honor, you are sentencing two of the most honest men to Moundsville prison."
Cary Blair: "Only that you are sentencing two honest men."
STAY OF EXECUTION
The court expressed regret that it had fallen to him to have to pass judgement on the two young men and then pronounced the sentence of life imprisonment in the state penitentiary for each.
Attorney Estep asked for a stay of execution for 90 days to try to arrange for an appeal to the supreme court if the relatives of the convicted men could arrange the finances for it.
The four men will remain in the county jail until the matter of appeal has been definitely decided.
With the conviction of the Blair boys and the Adams boys, the special term of court called by Judge Jackson last month has resulted in the conviction of six men charged with murders….
The remaining information here is from a search done on Google News Archives. Most of the search results turned up only gave the first sentence, to see more, you'd have to pay- all results were this way with the exception of the first part - transcribed here.
West Virginia Supreme Court Reports - STATE v. BLAIR, 115 W. Va. 549 (1934)
STATE v. BLAIR, 115 W. Va. 549
(1934) 177 S.E. 807
STATE OF WEST VIRGINIA v. JESSE BLAIR and CARY BLAIR
Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia.
Submitted October 9, 1934.
Decided November 20, 1934.
CRIMINAL LAW — It is error to give an instruction which tells the jury that an unsuccessful attempt to prove an alibi, "not interposed in good faith", is a discrediting circumstance to be considered in connection with all other evidence in determining the guilt or innocence of the defendant.
Error to Circuit Court, Logan County.
Jesse Blair and Cary Blair were convicted of murder, and they bring error.
Judgment reversed; verdict set aside; new trial awarded.
E. F. Scaggs and Chas. L. Estep, for plaintiffs in error.
Homer A. Holt, Attorney General, and Kenneth E. Hines, Assistant Attorney General, for the State.
Defendants, Jesse Blair and Cary Blair (brothers), were tried, convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment, upon a joint indictment charging them with the murder of Hawk Bishop. The prosecution contends that defendants left the home of their father, Joe Blair, on Harts Creek, Logan County, in company with Bishop about five-thirty P. M., October 8, 1933, going down the creek in an automobile owned and driven by Bishop; that all three were drinking and quarreling; that the car was stopped numerous times enroute for the purpose of obtaining liquor or for other reasons before reaching the point (two and one-half miles from the Blair home), where, about seven-thirty, Bishop was shot and instantly killed in the road
Page 550 by one of defendants, aided and abetted by the other. Defendants deny that Cary Blair accompanied Jesse and Bishop, or that Jesse was drinking, and insist that immediately before the tragedy, Bishop stopped the automobile to avoid striking an unidentified pedestrian who promptly censured him for negligent driving; whereupon, Bishop alighted from the car with a knife in his hand as if to attack the stranger and was shot by the latter before Jesse could reach the ground.
Briefly stated, Cary Blair relies upon an alibi, and Jesse avers that the crime was committed by an unknown person whom he was unable definitely to describe. The evidence of the state, indicating the number and conduct of the parties in the car and at the scene of the crime, follows:
John Dalton, who lived one-half mile below the Blairs, testified that the automobile stopped in the road about 26 steps from his house; that he observed Jesse, Cary and Bishop in the car; that they were arguing about who should drive and impressed him as being intoxicated.
Mrs. Ike Collins, who lived about one mile below the Blair home, says the automobile stopped in front of her house while she was milking; that Jesse got out, but Cary and Bishop remained in, arguing as to which should drive; and that, after finishing milking she returned to her house, and, fearing they were drunk and would attempt to come in, turned the lights out.
Mrs. W. M. Tomblin, who lived a short distance above the scene of the tragedy, testified that soon after the car stopped, she heard an argument and saw one man knocked down before the shot was fired; that three men were at the car, and she recognized the voice of Jesse Blair; that after the shooting one of the men went up, and another down, the creek; and that Jesse came to her house about fifteen minutes later inquiring for her husband. Mrs. Jim Mullins, who lived along the road just below the place of the crime, testified that she went to her back
Page 551 door when the car stopped; that she heard arguing and recognized the voice of Jesse Blair, who came soon after to her home, requesting her opinion as to whether he was drunk.
Eloise Webb, traveling in an automobile behind the Bishop car, testified that she saw a man in front of the latter car who disappeared at her approach; and that Jesse Blair stopped the automobile in which she was riding a short distance beyond the Bishop car, at which time she realized the first man she had observed was Cary Blair.
Having concluded, after a thorough consideration of the record, that the issues of fact were justifiably submitted to the jury, no useful purpose can be served by further detail of the evidence for the state, or the testimony relied on by defendants, which consists mainly of the testimony of Jesse Blair and a number of other witnesses tending to establish an alibi for Cary Blair.
Counsel for defendants asserts that the evidence, though sufficient to convict them, does not warrant a finding of murder in the first degree. This argument is predicated principally upon the fact that an open knife belonging to deceased with blood on the back of the blade was found in his partly closed right hand some time after the tragedy. The jury may have concluded, from the evidence, that the knife had been removed, after the homicide, from his pocket where it might have come in contact with blood from the gunshot wound.
The point most seriously stressed for reversal involves the giving of an instruction for the state, as follows:
"The court instructs the jury that if you believe from the evidence in this case beyond a reasonable doubt that the defense of an alibi was not interposed in good faith, or that the evidence to sustain it is simulated, false and fraudulent, then this is a discrediting circumstance to which you may look, in connection with all other evidence in determining the guilt or innocence of the defendant."
Opposing counsel would justify and condemn the instruction by decisions of other states, many of which are annotated in 14 A.L.R. 1426, and 67 A.L.R. 122. Page 552 Whether it tends to disparage the defense of alibi, as urged by counsel for defendants, it does, in our opinion, violate the rule, firmly established in this state, strictly limiting the consideration of the evidence to the province of the jury. "The law is peculiarly jealous of any encroachment by a trial court on the province of the jury, who are the exclusive judges of the weight to be attached to the evidence of any witness, and it is error for a court in the trial of the case to intimate any opinion in reference to matters of fact which might in any degree influence the verdict. State v. Thompson, 21 W. Va. 741; State v. Austin, 93 W. Va. 704, 117 S.E. 607." Ball v. Wilson, 98 W. Va. 211, 127 S.E. 22. "It has been held proper to instruct the jury that an unsuccessful attempt to prove an alibi, in a criminal case, is a circumstance to be weighed against the defendant. The propriety of such an instruction, especially in those jurisdictions which scrupulously uphold the independence of juries, may be doubted; since the weight to be attached to this circumstance is exclusively for the jury, and where they receive such an admonition from the bench, they are liable to give undue weight to it." Thompson on Trials, section 2442. The instruction is also erroneous in that it does not restrict the effect of an unsuccessful attempt to prove an alibi to the charge against Cary Blair.
The judgment of the circuit court is reversed, the verdict of the jury set aside and a new trial awarded.
Judgment reversed; verdict set aside; new trial awarded. Page 553
Charleston Gazette, The (Newspaper) - June 12, 1935, Charleston ... Subscription - Charleston Gazette, The - NewspaperArchive - Jun 12, 1935 Largest Circulation in West Virginia Charleston Gazette The State of The Associated ... Sentencing of Cary Blair for second degree murder was deferred. ... Related web pages
The Charleston Daily Mail (Newspaper) - September 18, 1935 ... Subscription - The Charleston Daily Mail - NewspaperArchive - Sep 18, 1935 Preston, chairman of the public service commiFslon of West Virginia. ... Blair's Trial On Murder Postponed LOGAN, Sept. IB Logan county circuit court ... Related web pages
The Charleston Daily Mail (Newspaper) - January 26, 1936 ... Subscription - The Charleston Daily Mail - NewspaperArchive - Jan 26, 1936... 193G NEWS OF CITIES AND COMMUNITIES IN SOUTHERN WEST VIRGINIA COLLEGE TO BE ... The case of Jesse Blair, charged with the murder of Hawk Bishop ... Related web pages
We politely request that if you are related to Hawkins, or the Blair's, and can provide any additional information, or pictures, please- contact us.
We can be reached by mail at P.O. Box 19, Willshire, Ohio 45898 or by email at