Mr. Bell is held incommunicado in Chatham jail on a charge of slaying Edward L. McAllister, who was found dead a week ago. His wife stoutly maintains his innocence and is preparing to go to work to earn money that he may be given every advantage in his defense. Mr. Bell was in the army during the war. He served for a time at Camp Wheeler, Macon.
Mrs. Lillian Bell, wife of William Robert Bell, who was jailed late yesterday on the charge of murdering Edward L. McAllister, does not know “how they can say Mr. Bell killed ‘Mac.'” and traces the movements of her husband on Monday night, the time the police believe Mr. McAllister was killed with a hatchet in his home on Thirty-ninth street, near Ash.
A Press representative called on Mrs. Bell this morning and, although busily engaged in cooking breakfast when the newspaper man arrived. Mrs. Bell, rather frail but very attractive little woman with bronze hair and brown eyes, talked about the case very freely.
“I don’t know how they can say Mr. Bell killed ‘Mac.’ I know they say he was late going to work that Monday night, but I can show you the bottle of medicine he got for the baby. She was well all afternoon, but about 8 o’clock she became ill and Mr. Bell said he did not intend to go to work. I told him I thought he could go to work, but he is simply foolish about Dolores and said he did not intend to leave her ill. He ﬁnally made up his mind to go down to yard on Liberty street and ask Mr. Ferguson to tell his leader, Mr. Champion, that his baby was ill and he would not be at work.”
Went to Drug Store
Continuing her story of her husband’s movements on the Monday night in question, Mrs. Bell said: “When Mr. Bell came back from the yard, he went to Norwood’s drug store to get some medicine but it was closed. He then went to the other drug store down on East Broad, but It was also closed. Mr. Bell then came back, put up his, car and went to work.”
When asked if her husband and McAllister had been on good terms lately, Mrs. Bell hesitated a little before replying, but finally said: Well, yes, I think so. I know Mr. Bell told me he and “Mac” walked out together on Saturday the latter part of December when they were paid off. Asked if they came off together the Saturday just prior to the killing, Mrs. Bell said Mr. Bell was paid off in the morning while McAllister was paid off Saturday afternoon.
Married in Macon
From the talk with Mrs. Bell, it developed that the couple were married in Macon – about seven years ago. Later they went to Florida, returning to Georgia about two years ago, she said.
A Good Man
In this connection Mrs. Bell said: “I can say this for Mr. McAllister, He was one of the best men I ever saw. He certainly was good to us. When my baby was ill at the hospital he used to go there nearly every day.”
When the interviewer was going, little Dolores, six-year-old daughter of the prisoner was playing with her big doll. She insisted on showing the reporter her “Mama Doll” as she called it. Later when her mother gave her a nickel she wanted the Press man to “go out and get her some ice cream” with it.
Efforts of the county police to solve the McAllister mystery culminated late yesterday in the arrest of
Mr. Bell, who lives at 111 East Broad Street, and who was a co-employee, [sic] working on an alternative shift, with with the late Edward L. Mc-
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BELL’S WIFE TRACES HIS MOVEMENT IN
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Allister at the Atlantic Coast Line car repair department at Southover Junction.
After chcecking [sic] up all the evidence obtainable in the case Chief Chapman, and Officers Umbach, Sheppard, and Henderson, went to Bell’s residence on East Broad between Broughton and State streets and arrested him on a warrant issued by Judge John E. Schwarz, recorder. Joseph McAllister, a brother of the dead man, swore out the warrant.
Bell was placed in the car with the group of ofﬁcers and taken to county police headquarters. He was
taken into the private office of Chief Chapman where he was kept for about an hour and questioned before being locked up in the county jail. The prisoner, however, was said by the police to be in a semi-intoxicated condition and their efforts to get a coherent statement from him did not result in anything tangible.
When taken to the jail Bell was dressed in the clothes in which he was accustomed to work. He is a small man and rather thin. He has dark eyes and hair and appears to be about 30 years old. After he was locked up orders were given that no one be allowed to interview the prisoner.
While the county police were not willing to divulge all the clues they claim to have in their possession
relatives to the murder, it is claimed that Bell owed the dead man considerable money, and that the relations between the two for several months past had not been agreeable. The county police also understood to have evidence that Mr. Bell made a remark indicating that he and Mr. McAllister were not on good terms. On what the police believe the fatal night, ‘Bell is said to have reported to work on the night shift at the car repair shops an hour late.
Mr: McAllister, the police believe, was murdered on Monday night. He was found dead on Tuesday morning, his head having been mutilated with a hatchet.
Never Saw Hatchet.
When shown a picture of the hatchet with which McAllister is believed to have been killed, Mrs. Bell said she did nont [sic] remember ever having seen it at the McAllister residence. “We only live at Mr. McAllister’s house about a month, and I don’t think it was there. Mr. McAllister always split the wood in the yard with an ax,” she said.
Early this afternoon, Mrs. Bell called on Col. Shelby Myrick, who she said had been retained to represent her husband. she called at the county jail this morning to see her husband, but under orders from Chief Chapman she was not permitted to do so.
In the neighborhood it was at stated today that Mrs. Bell is a native of Virginia. She is said to he an efficient stenographer and, in case her husband is kept in jail, intends to get a position in order to support herself and her little girl. Several of the neighbors have assured her that they would take care of the child while she is at work, it was stated.
Savannah Press (Savannah, GA) January 20, 1925 – Pages 16 & 7 – microfilm via University of Georgia Libraries.