MURDER OF W. B. HUMPHRIES
Walter Berry Humphries was shot to death in 1945 in his automobile
while parked in the garage of his home in Corsicana, Texas.
A friend, Sam Allen, was convicted of murder without malice
for the shooting. Below are news articles about the death and trial.
W. B. HUMPHRIES IS FATALLY SHOT AT HIS HOME SUNDAY
SAM ALLEN AT LIBERTY ON BOND TO AWAIT ACTION OF GRAND JURY
W. B. Humphries, 36, is dead and Sam Allen, Corsicana, is at liberty on bond of $2,500 to await the action of the Navarro county grand jury as a result of a shooting scrape at the garage at the Humphries' residence, 3106 West Sixth avenue, Sunday night [4 Nov 1945] about 9 o'clock.
An investigation was inaugurated into circumstances surrounding the trouble immediately by Sheriff Cap Curington and David Ralston, assistant county attorney in charge of the county attorney's office. The investigations were continuing Monday.
Body In Automobile.
The officers said that Humphries's body was found in the front seat of his automobile and that six empty shotgun shells ([word illegible] gauge) were discovered about the garage. Humphries had been shot once in the left breast, once about the belt line and another wound was found below the belt line on the left side.
Allen declined to make a statement to officers concerning the trouble, they stated.
Murder Complaint Filed.
The formal complaint for murder was signed by Sheriff Cap Curington, was accepted by Ralston and filed before Judge A. E. Foster, who set bond after the defendant waived examining trial.
Officers had not decided at noon Monday when the grand jury would be re-summoned to investigate the matter. The grand jury is in recess, subject to call.
Both are well-known Corsicana residents.
Funeral Services Tuesday.
Funeral services for Humphries will be held from the Corley Funeral Chapel Tuesday afternoon at 4 o'clock with burial in Oakwood cemetery. The rites will be conducted by Rev. Jared I. Cartlldge [sic], pastor of the First Baptist church, and Rev. Erwin F. Bohmfalk, pastor of the First Methodist church.
Surviving are his wife, a daughter, Sybil; mother, Mrs. Josie Humphries; five brothers, Cecil, Sam, Ray, Homer, U.S. Army, and Joe Humphries; and three sisters, Mrs. R. D. Beauchamp; Mrs. V. W. Sumerall and Miss Marie Humphries, all of Corsicana.
Pallbearers will be Fred Marberry, Joe B. Fortson, Leo Palmer, Bill Brown, Allyn Gordon, R. M. Cooksey and John H. Brown.
[Corsicana Daily Sun, Monday, November 5, 1945, p. 1, col. 5, reprinted here with consent of the Corsicana Daily Sun, with obvious typographical errors corrected]
SELECTION OF JURY SCHEDULED TUESDAY IN SAM ALLEN CASE
DEFENSE MOTION TO QUASH INDICTMENT OVERRULED BY JUDGE MAYS
Trial of Sam Allen on an indictment for murder in connection with the fatal shooting of W. B. Humphries here Nov. 4 will get under way Tuesday morning at 10 o'clock in the Thirteenth Judicial District court before Judge A. P. Mays. Selection of a jury from a special venire of 100 and regular jury panel will begin at that time. Following the calling of a list of witnesses, the State announced ready. The defendant filed a motion to quash the indictment in connection with the failure to record the Court's order in the July term of court criminal minutes, calling the jury commission into session to select a grand and petit jury lists for the October term of Court. District Clerk E. B. Dawson testified the order was recorded in the civil minutes but not in the criminal minutes. District Judge Mays testified that he had not signed and closed the minutes of the July and October terms of court for 1945, ordered the re3cording of the jury commission order in the criminal minutes of the court, and over-ruled the defense motion to quash, with a defense bill of exception being taken. The defense did not call a list of witnesses before making announcement of ready. The prosecution will be handled by J. C. Roe, county attorney, David Ralston, assistant county attorney, and Norris W. Lovett, special prosecutor. The defendant is being represented by Doyle Pevehouse, Tyson, Dawson and Dawson, all of Corsicana, and C. C. McDonald, Wichita Falls.
[Corsicana Daily Sun, Monday, February 25, 1946, p. 1, col. 4, reprinted here with consent of the Corsicana Daily Sun, with obvious typographical errors corrected]
JURY SELECTION GETS UNDER WAY DISTRICT COURT
INDICATED PLEA OF SELF DEFENSE TO BE ENTERED BY DEFENDANT
Self-defense will be plead by Sam Allen when arraigned on an indictment for murder in connection with the fatal shooting of W. B. Humphries here Nov. 4, 1945, it was indicated by questioning of prospective jurors by the defendant's attorney Tuesday morning in district court. Announcement of ready was made Monday when the case was called by A. P. Mays, district judge, after the court had overruled a defense motion to quash the indictment. The motion to quash came as the court's order calling the jury commission to select grand and petit jury lists had not been recorded in the criminal minutes. Judge Mays ordered the recording of the order in question.
The state apparently will not seek the death penalty as prospective jurors were not questioned on that matter.
First Juror Selected.
J. C. Easterling of Chatfield, the second man called on the special venire, was the first man taken as a juror.
There were a total of 72 of the special venire of 100 present, with one or more coming later, and 29 of the regular panel present after sick and similar excuses were received and determined by the court and attorneys. Purely business excuses were ruled out in advance by Judge Mays.
One coincidence was noted in that J. C. Allen of Angus, a brother of the defendant, was called on the regular jury panel for the week. The panel was selected by a jury commission in December before the cases for the week were set. He was excused by the court.
Scores of interested spectators were present for the opening session of court Tuesday morning.
The prosecution is being handled by J. C. Roe, David Ralston, county attorney and assistant, respectively, and Norris W. Lovett, special prosecutor.
The defendant is being represented by the firm of Tyson, Dawson and Dawson, Corsicana; Doyle Pevehouse, Corsicana, and C. C. McDonald, Wichita Falls.
[Corsicana Daily Sun, Tuesday, November 6, 1945, p. 1, col. 7, and p. 3, col. 1, reprinted here with consent of the Corsicana Daily Sun, with obvious typographical errors corrected]
NOT GUILTY PLEA ENTERED BY ALLEN TO MURDER CHARGE
JURY COMPLETED WEDNESDAY MORNING; STATE'S WITNESSES ON STAND
By PAUL MOORE
Daily Sun Staff.
Sam Allen plead “not guilty” when arraigned in district court Wednesday morning on a murder indictment in connection with the fatal shooting of W. B. Humphries here November 4, 1945. The jury was completed at 10:50 a. m. after the state had exercised 12 challenges and the defense 11. A total of 27 were challenged for cause during the selection of the 12 men to try the case. District Judge A. P. Mays stated before the jury was brought in after the twelfth man had been selected that the trial was open and spectators were welcome, but that the responsibility of passing on the case was in the hands of the jury and declared that approbation or dislike of any testimony could not be tolerated.
State Witnesses Testify.
Several witnesses testified at the morning session and state testimony was resumed at the afternoon session.
The rule keeping witnesses out of the courtroom was invoked.
J. C. Easterling, Chatfield.
T. L. Rogers, Purdon.
W. A. Hopkins, Corsicana.
J. A. Fowler, Chatfield.
Willie Johnson, Emhouse.
H. H. Hollingsworth, Frost.
Weldon Reed, Barry.
J. F. McMinn, Frost.
Joe Brown, Barry.
Harold Dozier, Blooming Grove.
Jules J. Kelt, Chatfield.
J. J. Nation, Chatfield.
Roe Read Indictment.
After the defendant was arraigned by J. C. Roe, county attorney, who then read the indictment to the jury, Doyle Pevehouse, defense attorney, read an application for a suspended sentence in the event of conviction.
A. A. Daniel, 1329 West Thirteenth avenue, Corsicana, junk dealer, was the first witness called by the state. He said he had known both Humphries and the defendant about 12 years and was a friend to both men. In testifying about incidents occurring on Nov. 4, last, the witness said the deceased picked him up at his (the witness') home about 3 or 3:30 p. m., picked up Johnny Brown and went to Humphries' farm one mile south of Old Mildred. He described the three-room house on the farm, said that Allen was there, that beer was drunk, and that a dice game was indulged in at the place. He said the dice used had previously been secured at Louis Hashop's place before going to the Humphries farm.
Tells of Argument.
Daniel testified that he (Daniel) and Humphries argued over whether or not he (Daniel) had made a previous point, and that Allen said he (Daniel) was right. The witness quoted Humphries as remarking to Allen “It's funny to me you are taking up for Daniel,” and then continued that Allen assured Humphries he was not taking sides, but that Daniel was right in his assertion. He said the two men argued, and quoted Allen as asking Brown if he was ready to go to town and walked out on a porch.
The witness later testified that Humphries followed Allen to the porch, that he (Daniel) heard a commotion but could not distinguish anything that was said. Daniel said that when Humphries returned to the room where he (Daniel) was staying, he had blood on his hand and quoted him as stating:
“I got blood from the — — —.”
A short time later Daniel and Humphries returned to town, he testified, and said he did not see any gun or knife on the person or in the possession of Humphries. He estimated the “row” between the men occurred about 8 p. m., and that Humphries let him (Daniel) out of the car at his (Daniel's) home about 8:30 p. m. He said Humphries told him he (Humphries) was going home, and denied that they had discussed the trouble en route to Corsicana from the farm.
None Was Drunk.
Daniel testified that he, Allen and Brown also drank a pint of blended whiskey during the afternoon, while Humphries drank gin, but that he knew when a man was drunk and none of the four were in that condition.
The witness testified that Allen came to his place of business early the morning following the trouble and remarked that he (Allen) guessed that he (Daniel) knew about the trouble of the previous night. He quoted Allen as saying:
“I killed the — — — —,” and that the defendant further said that he had always said he would kill anyone who beat him up. A shotgun was in Allen's car the next day, Daniel said.
Under cross-examination conducted by Defense Attorney C. C. McDonald, the witness said the beer mentioned was in the ice box and that the other drinks and “mixings” were brought there. He said that Allen was already at the house when the trio arrived.
The witness admitted that Humphries had called Allen “a damned liar” about the disputed point in the dice game. The attorney elicited from the witness that Humphries weighed about 200 pounds, that he was a strong man and younger than the defendant. The witness said Brown returned to town with Allen.
Widow on Stand.
The widow of the deceased, the former Miss Sybil Carter, testified as to when she and W. B. Humphries were married, that they lived in their home, 2105 West Sixth avenue, and that there was one child, a daughter, Sybil, aged eight years.
Mrs. Humphries testified that on the night her husband was slain, she was lying in bed reading to her daughter and heard the car drive into the connected garage. She said she heard her husband say:
“Don't do that, Sam!”
After hearing a volley of shots, Mrs. Humphries added that Sam Allen said:
“Now what can you say.”
Mrs. Humphries testified that the garage is attached to the house and that she was about 20 feet away with a screen window open toward the garage. She said she heard rapid steps leaving the premises via the front walk. She said she heard a shotgun, and further testified that she had known the defendant for years, that the two couples (Allens and Humphries) were intimate friends, visited in the others' home, and that she knew the defendant's voice. The widow under further questioning, said she saw her husband dead in the car.
Gives Time of Shooting.
The witness said that the shooting happened after 8:30 p. m. She said her husband owned a shotgun but that it was in the closet in the house at the time of the trouble and that he did not own a pistol or other gun.
Mrs. Humphries said that the defendant had been at their (Humphries) home earlier in the day to return a borrowed ladder, that he stayed for some time and when he left was given a jar of peppers and a jar of chow-chow by her husband.
Under cross-examination Mrs. Humphries denied her husband owned a sawed-off shot gun.
W. H. Brown, 119 South Thirteenth street, neighbor of the Humphries, said he heard noises like explosions, firecrackers, or backfire shortly after he and his family returned home from church. He placed the time at 16 minutes before 9 o'clock.
Under cross-examination conducted by McDonald, Brown denied that he had ever sold slot and marble machines, and reiterated he was a farmer. Under re-direct questioning, Brown said he did not know where Sam Allen lived.
Cap Curington, sheriff of Navarro county, told the jury of the arrangement of the house and the garage with reference to a bedroom, of a call to the Humphries residence, his examination of the body in the car and later at the morgue, etc. He said he did not find any weapons in the car or on the person of the deceased other than a small unopened knife in a shirt pocket. He said Dr. Carter was present.
The sheriff testified he later telephoned the defendant and he (Allen) came to the jail and that he brought a shotgun. The sheriff said the shotgun was an automatic one, 20 gauge, and would shoot three times. Six pictures taken recently by Alva Taylor, photographer, were entered by the state, and the sheriff detailed the finding of a number of shotgun shells on the floor of the garage, of shots in the door of the car, at the west wall, instrument panel, and also the finding of the keys to the Humphries car between the seats.
The officer further testified as to the position of the deceased in the automobile, how he was dressed and where the wounds were found. He said one was near the armpit on the left side of the chest below the shoulder, another was above the belt line on the left side and the third was about two inches below the belt line on the left side. The sheriff said that Humphries was dead when he (the sheriff) arrived.
Court recessed when the officer completed his direct testimony at 12:12 p. m. Wednesday.
Attorneys in Case.
The prosecution is being conducted by J. C. Roe and David Ralston, county attorney and assistant, respectively, and Norris W. Lovett, special prosecutor.
The defendant is being represented by C. C. McDonald, Wichita Falls; Doyle Pevehouse, Corsicana, and Tyson, Dawson and Dawson, Corsicana.
The courtroom was practically filled with interested spectators at the Wednesday morning session.
The remainder of the jury for the week was finally excused by Judge Mays when the jury was completed.
[Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas, Wednesday, February 27, 1946, p. 1, col. 5, and p. 4, cols. 3-4, reprinted here with consent of the Corsicana Daily Sun, with obvious typographical errors corrected]
JURY DELIBERATES VERDICT IN ALLEN TRIAL FOR MURDER
ATTORNEYS COMPLETED ARGUMENTS SHORTLY AFTER NOON THURSDAY
BY PAUL MOORE
Daily Sun Staff
Final phrase of the trial of Sam Allen, charged by indictment with murder in connection with the fatal shooting of W. B. Humphries, Nov. 4, 1945, was taken up Thursday afternoon following the completion of arguments of attorneys. The jury started deliberations after hearing three hours of arguments.
Evidence was completed Wednesday afternoon, including the defendant testifying in his own behalf. Self defense was the plea of the defense. Allen plead innocence when arraigned on the indictment Wednesday morning following the completion of the jury.
Charge to Jury
District Judge A. P. Mays dictated his charge to the jury late Wednesday and delivered copies to the attorneys Wednesday night with the instruction that the lawyers be on hand with objections and special charges at 9 a. m. Thursday. No objections or special charges were leveled at the Court's original charge, defense attorneys stated. Judge Mays delivered his charge to the jury and David Ralston, assistant county attorney, opened the arguments for the prosecution at 9:30 o'clock.
Attorneys agreed on one and one-half hours of arguments to the side and that the case would be handed the jury before a noon recess was taken.
The courtroom was packed with interested spectators Wednesday and Thursday morning.
Sheriff Cap Curington continued his testimony at the opening of the Wednesday afternoon session of court.
The officer said that he found six or seven shotgun shells on the floor of the Humphries garage and that he smelled them and judged from the smell that they had recently been fired. The sheriff testified about the hedges located in the vicinity of the garage where the shooting occurred. He answered yes to a question propounded him by Norris Lovett as to whether a man could conceal himself behind the thick hedge. He also testified he found three or four pieces of gun wadding in the automobile.
Under cross-examination conducted by Tom Tyson of the defense attorneys, the sheriff said that he took a gun from the defendant and had it in custody since that time. He said it was a .20-gauge gun and expressed belief the shot used were known as bird shot. Under questioning the officer said he believed Humphries was 10 or 12 years younger than Allen, was a bigger man, was stronger and appeared more active.
Dr. Carter on Stand.
Dr. W. W. Carter, well known physician of Corsicana and Navarro county for more than 40 years, father of the widow of the deceased, said his home was about two blocks from that of his son-in-law and daughter, Mr. and Mrs. W. B. Humphries. He explained the plan of the house and connected garage, and about his being called about 9 p. m. on the night of the trouble after he had retired. A brother of his son-in-law, Ray Humphries, called Dr. Carter, he said, and testified he found his son-in-law dead with his body in the front seat of a car, with his head resting on the right front door and his feet extending through the open door on the south side of the car. The doctor stated that when he (Dr. Carter) arrived at the Humphries residence, Ray Humphries and another whom he later learned was Dock Allen, a brother of the defendant, were present. He said W. B. Humphries was dead that that he (Dr. Carter) examined the body at the garage and later again at Corley's Funeral Home. He outlined three definite holes in the body of the deceased, on near the left chest and shoulder, one above the belt and one almost in the groin, all on the left wide, with powder burns at the last described wound. He said that in his opinion either of the three wounds would have caused death. The witness then said that one charge went through a ventilator glass in the left door of the car and one struck between the dash and the body. He said that in his opinion another charge entered by body of Humphries in one of the three wounds referred to previously in his testimony. Dr. Carter said he did not find any type of weapon in the garage or car upon investigation. He was not asked any questions by the defense.
Ray Humphries' Testimony.
Ray Humphries, brother of the deceased, and at the time of the trouble the partner of the defendant in the operation of the Business Men's Recreation Club, said that since Nov. 12, 1945, he (Ray Humphries) had operated the club without a partner.
The witness testified that the defendant left the club about 1 p. m. Sunday, Nov. 4, 1945, with the announced intention of returning a step ladder to W. B. Humphries. (The ladder had been borrowed for use in some work at the club.) Allen left the club with the ladder, Humphries testified.
Turning to another portion of his testimony, the brother of the deceased said that he was called by Mrs. W. B. Humphries shortly before 9 p. m. and he spoke of his arrival and entering the living room with his brother-in-law, Ted Deskin, of this later going to the garage where he discovered the body of his brother, of touching him on the leg, raising his hat and seeing his eyes. Humphries said he did not see any type of weapon and that he believed he (Ray Humphries) was the first person to go to the body. Deskin, he said, was in the house. Humphries continued that he did not pick up anything, but called an ambulance, the sheriff and Dr. Carter. He said that later the sheriff, Dr. Carter, Dock Allen, brother of the defendant, and others arrived. He also discussed the height and width of hedges near the garage. No questions were asked him by the defense.
The state rested its case at 2:06 p. m., and the defense called Dr. Will Miller as its first witness at 4:25 p. m.
Dr. Miller Witness.
Dr. Miller, county health officer and acting director of the Corsicana-Navarro County Health Unit, said he was called to the county jail on the night of Nov. 4 by the sheriff to examine a man. He said Sam Allen was examined and that his face and nose were bruised. His gums were bleeding as were his lips, a small cut was noted on the forehead, and he was generally bruised about the face. The physician said he was called after 10 p. m. and had retired. The doctor said that he had practiced for Allen prior to that time and that four or five years ago he (Allen) was sent to Dallas for an operation for a skin cancer on the lip. He said that Allen had been warned not to bruise or irritate the place on the lip. He said that the defendant had mentioned to him (Dr. Miller) two or three times a month about the cancer and that his lip was still bothering him. He said under defense questioning that he (Dr. Miller) had treated mental and nervous cases after he outlined his college career and post-graduate schools attended. The physician said that a severe beating including injury to the lip mentioned would “naturally upset him,” referring to the defendant, and that persons would become wrought up and be “besides themselves” after such an experience.
Under cross-examination conducted by Lovett, the physician said that a person would get angry and upset in a fight and that some would commit murder as a result. Dr. Miller admitted that Allen was talking normal and that he examined him carefully. He testified that sometimes skin cancers were not confined to the skin, but ordinarily are easily controlled if attended to in early stages. He later said the defendant acted like anyone who had been in a fight under further questioning by Lovett.
J. H. Brown Testified.
John H. Brown, 2005 West Collin street, bank teller for 16 years, testified of going to the farm with Humphries and A. A. Daniel on the afternoon before the trouble, and that Allen was present when they arrived at the club house. He said there were intoxicants and that the four took drinks and later began a dice game.
Brown outlined an argument or misunderstanding involving the purported making of a point by Daniel during the dice game, and later that Allen counted his money, was a few dollars in the hole and stated that he believed he (Allen) would go home. Brown said he (Brown) went into the kitchen for a drink of water and the defendant asked if he (Brown) was ready to go home and then he (Brown) went out at the back door. He testified he heard feet running and that Humphries caught up with Allen near the kitchen stove. He testified that Humphries slapped Allen and hit him hard.
Judge Warned Spectators.
Judge Mays threatened to clear the spectators from the courtroom after laughter greeted the witness' statement of his getting out of the house. The witness continued that the deceased shoved Allen and said ugly words but he did not recall the exact words, admitting he was considerably excited, and explained how Allen was knocked over several soda water and beer bottle containers.
Brown quoted the defendant as stating to Humphries:
“Red, all I want is to go home,” in a low voice, and that the deceased again used ugly words.
Brown said that Humphries “hauled off and hit him again,” sending him into a corner, and after stating that Allen did not strike a blow during the encounter, quoted Humphries as stating:
“You — — —, don't you pull that knife or I'll kill you.”
Brown said he did not see any knife, and that later Humphries warned Allen not to pick up an ice pick.
The witness further stated that the defendant was knocked through a screen door into the yard, turning “a flip” into the yard after being struck again by the deceased.
Ran From Clubhouse.
Brown said he ran to the road, about 100 yards, where he was picked up by Allen in a car and proceeded on to Corsicana, got out of Allen's car at the Harry Brown hamburger stand, and the defendant then proceeded north on Beaton street. He said that Allen drove back to Corsicana fast and speeded up on the pavement after looking back.
The witness admitted that he was scared and that he told the defendant:
“Red was wrong.”
Brown said Allen had told him he was not going to let him (Brown) out of the car “tonight” en route to Corsicana. The witness then went to Jack Humphries' where he secured some ice cream, and later caught a bus home.
Under cross-examination the bank employee admitted that he and the defendant were close friends and had worked together at the First National Bank about 15 years.
Brown admitted that he (Brown) wanted to do “everything I can in this case” to help Allen. He said he didn't see a hunting knife on the person of the defendant the night of the trouble at the Humphries clubhouse and also that he did not hear anything that might have been said between the two men at the time the trouble started.
The witness testified that he (Brown) had advised the defendant to get away from Humphries and never go around him again. He said he testified before the grand jury. He denied telling anyone about the fight that night and that he did not remember anything about saying that before the grand jury.
Brown said that there had been stag parties at the club house, that Allen had leased a pool hall from the deceased, and that Allen left the employ of the bank in June, 1945. Brown said he won $47 in the crap game and estimated that Humphries lost about $50. He identified a check from the state comptroller payable to W. H. Humphries in the sum of $87.33 he cashed Monday morning following the shooting. He said he (Brown) cashed the check for Humphries that Sunday afternoon with money he (Brown) had with him at the time. Later he said he supposed Humphries lost the entire amount as only $7 were found on him unless some of the money went in some other manner.
Under re-direct questioning, Brown said he once saw Humphries six months or a year previous, with a double-barrel shotgun at the clubhouse, but did not remember whether the defendant was present at that time.
A. G. Elliott, vice president and trust officer of the First National Bank, former president of the Corsicana National Bank, chairman of the Navarro Community Foundation; C. A. Middleton, Earl Easterling of Chatfield, R. L. Harris, Corsicana, former tax collector, banker and secretary of a farm loan association; H. T. Braselton of the Oil City Iron Works; Fred D. Prince, city police and fire commissioner; Roy Bristow of the Southland Cotton Oil Company; Tom Eady, Earl Presley and J. L. Baker of Drane, all testified they had known the defendant for a number of years, and that his reputation was good in the community.
Following a recess, the defendant was called to the stand at 4 p. m. and was interrogated until 4:35 p. m.
Allen said he was 46 years old, married, father of a six-year old daughter. His mother and other relatives reside here. The defendant said he had known Humphries all of his life, that they were “very friendly,” their wives were the closest of friends, and that they had never had any disagreements or trouble prior to Nov. 4. He said he took the step-ladder home shortly after noon, and that Humphries invited him (Allen) to his clubhouse that afternoon. Allen said he accepted the invitation and came back that way after taking his mother home to her farm, arriving at the clubhouse about 4:30 or 5 p. m. He said that the colored boy was there and that Brown, Humphries and Daniel arrived 15 or 20 minutes later.
The argument about the point between Daniel and Humphries came up about two or two and a half hours after the men arrived there, according to Allen and that he (Allen) and Brown had told Humphries that Daniel was right about the dice shot.
Decided to Go Home.
The defendant stated that he decided to go home and that there had not been a cross word before he received a hard blow from Humphries in his (Allen's) mouth. He said the second “lick” was on his (Allen's) nose, breaking the cartilage. He then outlined abusive language directed at him by the deceased while hitting the defendant, of how he (the defendant) jerked the hand of Humphries from his (Allen's) shirt, and his (Allen's) appealing to Humphries:
“Red, all I want to do is go home.”
Knocked Through Door.
The defendant then testified that he was knocked through the screen door and the door fell on him out in the yard. He said Humphries then cursed him and threatened to kill him.
Allen testified that he had seen a shotgun at the clubhouse four or five months before, and quoted W. B. Humphries as saying:
“This is the way old Humphries takes care of his business,” when he exhibited the shotgun.
The defendant further testified that he saw lights in a car behind he and Brown en route home and thought it was Humphries' car. He said after Johnny Brown got out of his car, he (Allen) went home. The defendant said that his lip was cut by a tooth and that he was suffering from a terrific headache when he arrived home, and later decided to go over and see Humphries. He said he parked his car on Thirty-First street and walked to the vicinity of the front door of the Humphries residence when he saw the deceased “whip into the garage” in the car.
Thought Had Gun.
He said he asked Humphries what he (Allen) ever done to him, and that Red cursed him and started to reach into the car, he said, when the trouble started. He said Humphries was standing by the car when the trouble started as he (Allen) thought he had a shotgun in the car and was to shoot him.
“I shot him because I thought he was going to kill me,” the defendant testified, and denied seeing Daniel the following morning or having a gun in his car. He told of Dr. Shellmire, Dallas specialist, warning him after the skin cancer operation not to allow sunburn or bruises if he expected the tip to heal, and referred to a conversation with Humphries earlier in the day as he (Humphries) was worried about a place on his (Humphries) face.
The defendant said he was in bad physical and mental condition following the trouble at the clubhouse, and termed Humphries his best friend, one whom he loved. Allen said he was afraid of Humphries that night, although he never had thought that they would have trouble. He said he (Allen) weighed 158 pounds at the time while Humphries weighed about 210 pounds.
Under a grueling cross-examination at the hands of Special Prosecutor Norris Lovett, the defendant said he stopped his car almost a block away after he realized he had driven by the front of the house. He admitted that the shotgun he carried with him on the night of the slaying was loaded with three shells and that he carried three or four additional ones. He reiterated his intention of “patching up” and being friends with the deceased when he went to the Humphries residence that night, denied he was behind the hedge when the car arrived, and maintained he had almost reached the front door when the car was driven into the garage.
Allen said he did not know how many shots were fired, but that Humphries was standing up when the first shot was fired. He said he did not know whether Humphries had a gun or not, and again denied he went to the house to “murder Humphries.” He maintained he desired to talk to Humphries to find out why he apparently wanted to kill him. He didn't remember reloading the gun or shooting after three shots.
Denied Daniel Statement.
The defendant denied talking with Daniel the following day but talked one day with Kenneth May, and that he had an automatic .22 rifle. He said he went home after the trouble, walking casually. He admitted he did not telephone the officers and said he had a bad headache.
Lovett questioned the defendant closely about how the deceased was standing facing him turned to reach for something in the car when the shooting started. The special prosecutor wanted to know if he shot curves with the shotgun since the charges had struck Humphries in the left side of the body.
He denied a question to the effect that he was just mad, made up his mind to kill him (Humphries) and did it.
Allen said that Daniel misrepresented some of his evidence given earlier in the trial about Humphries calling him (Allen) a “damned liar,” and other matters of the evidence. He said that he secured the shells from one of the boxes in his home.
Lovett questioned him whether or not he (Allen) had made the statement many times that he would kill anyone who brought blood from him. He said that he had not made the statement many times, but said he didn't know but wouldn't deny ever making such a statement.
Perry on Stand.
Frank L. Perry, 56, manager of the Corsicana Recreation Club, testified that in January, 1945, Humphries knocked him (Perry) down on Beaton street after accusing him (Perry) of trying to hire his (Humphries) negro. Perry said he had not tried to hire the negro. He denied cursing Humphries at the time and admitted he had had five or six fights. He said he got his gun following the trouble but didn't use it.
Roy Sharrer, 816 South Seventh street, now an employee of Fred M. Allison, said he worked for Humphries from September, 1944, to July, 1945, and he had seen a sawed-off shotgun. Under cross-examination he said he never saw Humphries use the gun on anyone, and that the only time he ever saw it was in a closet. After the defense rested, the state was given five minutes for a conference and David Ralston, assistant county attorney, announced the state closed.
[Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas, Thursday, February 28, 1946, p. 1, col. 6, and p. 3, cols. 1-8, reprinted here with consent of the Corsicana Daily Sun, with obvious typographical errors corrected]
5 Year Suspended Sentence Verdict Sam Allen Case
Five years suspended sentence was recommended by a jury in Thirteenth Judicial District court Friday morning for Sam Allen on trial on an indictment for murder in connection with the fatal shooting of W. B. Humphries here, Nov. 4, 1945. The jury returned its verdict to District Judge A. P. Mays shortly after 10 o'clock Friday morning, after having deliberated since 12:30 p. m. Thursday, when arguments of attorneys were concluded. The verdict was murder without malice and with the suspended sentence recommendation.
The spectators were warned by Judge Mays before the verdict was received against any kind of demonstration and added that he had directed the officers stationed throughout the courtroom to see that the order was observed. There was no demonstration.
J. J. Kelt of Chatfield, a former member of the Texas legislature, was foreman of the jury. Evidence was completed Wednesday. The jury was selected Tuesday, with the last two being secured Wednesday morning before the opening of the evidence.
Allen plead innocent when arraigned Wednesday morning and filed a motion for a suspended sentence in the event of conviction.
The courtroom was packed with interested spectators at the various sessions of the trial.
The state was represented by J. C. Roe and David Ralston, county attorney and assistant, respectively, and Norris W. Lovett, special prosecutor. The defendant was represented by Doyle Pevehouse, Tyson, Dawson and Dawson, all of Corsicana, and C. C. McDonald, Wichita Falls.
Judge Mays said he planned to pass formal sentence on the defendant during the day.
[Corsicana Daily Sun, Friday, March 1, 1946, p. 1, col. 6, and p. 2, col. 4, reprinted here with consent of the Corsicana Daily Sun, with obvious typographical errors corrected]