Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Coroner's Jury Finds Walter Tyler Lynched by Persons Unknown, Aug. 28, 1919

From the Franklin Times, Louisburg, N.C., Aug. 28, 1919

Coroner’s Jury Completes Investigation of Lynching of Walter Tyler Last Week. . . Solicitor Norris Performs Duty Well. . . Jury Finds “That Walter Tyler Came to His Death From Hanging and Gun Shot Wounds at the Hand of Parties Unknown to Them”

The Coroner’s Jury, which was empaneled on Thursday of last week at the request of Solicitor Norris, which action a special Statute makes compulsory upon the part of the Solicitor, came to an end Wednesday afternoon when the jury returned a verdict “That Walter Tyler came to his death on Aug. 20, 1919, from hanging and gunshot wounds at the hands of parties unknown to the jury.” This was the culmination of three days setting and the examination of about 50 witnesses, which produced evidence to show that there was hardly any doubt as to Tyler’s guilt. Among the large number of witnesses examined was three colored witnesses whose evidence was notable. Joe and Sallie Harris gave valuable assistance in ferreting out the criminal in giving freely and voluntarily evidence they had in regard to the movements of Tyler and also rendered other assistance to the family and friends of Mr. Medlin that showed they wanted the law to take its course and the guilty party punished. Also the evidence of Shook Tyler, an uncle of the dead negro, who stated that during the conversation at Hagwood’s Store the evening Tyler was arrested he told Tyler that he had been talked to enough and if he had taken the advice of himself and his father he would not be where he was. He told him good-bye and was satisfied that from what he had heard the evidence that Tyler was guilty and should be punished. It was for that reason they did not want his body.

There was no evidence developed that tended to show any responsibility on anyone and the jury had no trouble coming to a verdict.

The evidence showed that Officer King in the discharge of his duty as he saw it to be best, started to Louisburg to place his prisoner in jail for safe keeping. He deputized sufficient force to accomplish the objective under the circumstances, but just as they were reaching their destination they encountered a car across the road and had to stop when they were held up by masked men at the point of pistols and guns with a demand of hands up, lights out, give us the d—m negro. The next thing the officer knew was when the guns fired and he was allowed to move off with lights cut off. He came on to Louisburg and made reports of what had happened and what he thought was the results. Later a crowd from town went to the scene and found that Tyler had been lynched and shot. The body was removed to New Hope church yard that night and rehanged where it was found the next afternoon by the Coroner and Solicitor, who immediately began the investigation, according to (??).

The officers stated they could not recognize any one on account of masks and darkness and there was no evidence as to threats at Hagwood’s store nor no one seen following the officers car.

Solicitor Norris performed his duties well in conducting a strict examination of all witnesses he could secure but no light could be thrown on the guilty parties.

Where there is a general regret that the law was not allowed to take its course it is pretty generally agreed by both white and black that Tyler got no more than he deserved. The attitude of the better class of negroes in the matter is to be commended, practically all of whom are free to say that a person committing such a heinous crime should not expect anything more than Tyler got.

The jury who assisted the Coroner and the Solicitor in the investigation was composed of Messrs. E.M. Wheeler, R.B. Roberts, Joe J. Young, O.C. Hill, P.J. Brown, and A.U. Ashley.

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