28 January 1925
BELL SET FREE BY RECORDER AFTER MURDER HEARING
EVIDENCE NOT SUFFICIENT TO HOLD HIM IN M’ALLISTER SLAYING
DEFENDANT GIVES RECORDER STATEMENT
William R. Bell, charged in a warrant with the murder of Edward L. McAllister, was dismissed by Judge Schwarz following a preliminary hearing in police court this morning. The recorder held that the evidence presented against Mr. Bell was not sufficient to hold him on a charge of murder, and he was accordingly set free. Col. Shelby Myrick, attorney, was in charge of the defendant’s case.
Making his statement to the court. Bell said on December 10 he got paid off in the morning. “Mr, McAllister told me he expected me to pay $5 on the amount I owed him that, pay-day. I told him it was Christmas and I wanted to buy a few thing for my wife and child. I told him. I had an insurance policy and that I intended to borrow some money on it and pay all 1 owed him,” he said. To this, Bell said, McAllister replied: “Bell, when I loaned you boys money I did not intend to punish you, but I want you to pay up, because I may not be abound here long.” In reference to the alleged charge that he carried a weapon after McAllister’s death, Bell said: “I had a pistol, but it was in the pawnshop.”
Preliminary to discharging the prisoner, Judge Schwarz commended the county police for the zeal they had shown in trying to solve a very difficult case, and said there was no reflection on the officers because of his Judgment dismissing the case.
Mr. McAllister was found murdered in his home on Thirty-ninth street near Ash a fortnight ago. He had been brutally slain with a hatchet. County police investigated and several days after the discovery of the murder Mr. Bell was arrested on a warrant sworn out by Joseph McAllister, of Pittsburg [sic], a brother of the dead man.
Showed No Apprehension.
As soon as he was set free Bell shook hands with his counsel, Colonel Myrick, and then went over to where his wife was sitting, just in front of the desk of J. F. Bernhardt, clerk of court. Mrs. Bell arose to greet her husband and the couple locked arms, in a loving embrace.
During the trial of the case Bell was alert, and at times prompted his counsel in an audible voice. When a telling point was made by Colonel Myrick in drawing out testimony favorable to him from a witness, Bell would smile and glance knowingly at Judge Schwarz. At times Belt seemed to enjoy the trial and at no time was any nervousness or apprehension apparent.
Chief of Detectives McCarthy, the first witness in the case, told about finding McAllister’s body In the kitchen of his residence. The body was in a sitting posture, with the shoulders against the partition wall and the dead man’s head was leaning to one side. A bloody hatchet was on the kitchen table, A dish of rice and a bowl of coffee, without cream, but with the cream pitcher near, was on the table. McAllister had a fork or spoon in one hand, he said. After finding that McAllister’s house was outside the city limits, Chief McCarthy said he turned the case over to the county policy.
Brown Repeats Story
H. B. Brown told about the same story that he told before the coroner’s Jury. He said he and his wife went to McAllister’s home on the Tuesday the body was found. Looking through the window at the front of the house, he saw McAllister’s bed had been used. He then went around to the, rear of the housed and was then joined by a Mr. Carr, who asked them what they were looking for, and on being told, joined them in looking through the kitchen window. He saw McAllister’s legs. The window was not latched and they raised it up and saw that McAllister was dead, he said. He reiterated his evidence as to finding the hatchet and the position of the body.
Dr. George H. Johnson, the coroner told about visiting the house and examining McAllister’s body. His other evidence was confined to the statement that he found the dead man’s watch was running, and that it continued to run until the next night at 8:45 p. m. Based on this evidence, be gave it as his opinion that McAllister was killed between 8 and 9 o’clock the morning prior to the finding of the body.
M. H. Bagwell of 1911 Price street, who worked at the Atlantic Coast Line shops with Bell and the dead man, testified that Bell owed McAllister money and that on December 24, when the force was about to be paid off he (Bagwell) laughingly said: “Boys, you are not going to get any money today, I see McAllister here.” Bell replied, he said: “if the D — – – – ties up my money I’ll kill him.” The witness said that McAllister had loaned money to the men at the shops but had never garnisheed him, (Bagwell) and it was also admitted that he did not “tie up” the prisoner’s money.
Evidence intended to show that there may have been trouble between the dead man and Bell was limited to a remark. Bagwell said Bell made, to the effect that if McAllister broke up his home he would kill him.
Mr. McCain of 203 York street, east, testified that he was present when Bagwell made the remark about the boys not getting any money and heard the defendant make the remark that he’d kill McAllister if he tied up his money. He said McAllister loaned money to the men at the shops. Asked by the recorder if McAllister charged them interest, the witness said he did not charge him any.
Lived in Macon
Bell resided in Macon about four years ago. He was married to Miss Lillian Lucile McClain on June 19, 1918. Miss McClain resided at Cross Keys at Macon, Prior to her marriage she was employed as a stenographer in Macon. At the time of his marriage Bell was a soldier at Camp Wheeler. He and his wife both have relatives in Macon.
Savannah Press (Savannah, GA) January 28, 1925 – Pages 14 & 8 – microfilm via University of Georgia Libraries.