Gene Notes

Some random and some not-so-random thoughts on family history.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Thriller Thursday - The Murder of Addison Ball Chinn continued . . .


Grass Found on Socks of Prisoners; Thompson Suffers Much From Wound.

Police Confident the Right Men Are Under Arrest; Daughter Arrives; Men Will Be Taken Before Mrs. Chinn for Identification; Yesterday's Developments in Chinn Murder Case.

Lexington continued to stand agape yesterday at the horrible tragedy committed Friday night. The first words at greetings were expressions of opinions as to the guilt of the two men arrested. The police are confident that the guilty men are in custody.

The most important development of yesterday was the discovery by Capt. Stough of clots of blood in a chicken shed adjoining the Chinn home. The shed is in the rear of an unoccupied house owned by Mr. George Ott. The discovery of this blood lends strength to the theory that one of the murderers at least was wounded. The police believe that the burglars entered this shed and removed their shoes, that they walked to the Chinn house barefoot in order to make no noise and thus to enter the house. The theory is that one was shot, and after making their escape through the window, they went to the shed after their shoes and a few drops of blood dripped on the floor. The blood, however, may not be human blood or it may be much older than is supposed.

Grass on Socks

This discovery adds strength to the incriminating evidence against Thompson and O'Brien. When Thompson's* shoes were removed at the station house, his socks were found to be not only badly soiled, but muddy. Spanish needles were adhering to them and on the bottom of one of the socks was a stick weed, a grass resembling Timothy. These stick weeds and Spanish needles are found in the path leading to the chicken shed. It is known that the burglars that entered the house an hour previous on the same night entered in their sock feet. This was apparent from the muddy imprints on the bare floor where the burglar had overstepped the rug.

Difference in Bullets.

Another important development was the discovery upon closer inspection that the bullet extracted from Thompson's leg is identical with the bullets fired from Asa Chinn's pistol, which were found on the floor and in the door. All the bullets connected with the case are 38-caliber, but one of the bullets picked up off the floor and the part of the bullet which was found and which was believed to have been the one that fractured Asa's jaw is hollowed at the butt end, just as are the bullets in Mr. Slade's pistol. The police believe the burglars that entered the Slade home and stole a pistol also went to the Chinn home and committed the murder with this pistol.

Thompson Suffers From Wound.

Thompson says he was shot by a negro last Wednesday. Jailer Wallace says that when he visited the men in the jail suspected of breaking into Van Deren's Hardware store, Thompson did not limp. He limped very slightly Friday morning when arrested. He could not walk without assistance when he was taken to the jail Saturday night. He did not leave his bed yesterday. He was kept away by the pain all Saturday night and when the wound was dressed yesterday afternoon the leg was badly swollen and more inflammation had set in. An opiate was given him last night to make him sleep. Had he been shot Wednesday, as he says, the police and doctors reason that he would have been unable to walk by Thursday night.

Upward Course of Bullet

Besides the bullet entered his leg at a distance of 20-1/2 inches from the ground and was cut out an inch and three quarters higher. That is. It too a decidedly upward range, such as it would have taken had he been shot by Asa Chinn when the latter was on the floor. If he had been shot by the negro in the position  he indicated, it would have taken a downward course. the bullet did not strike a bone and thus was not deflected. Thompsons made conflicting statements to reporters Saturday as to the manner in which the difficulty between him and the alleged negro arose.

The other evidence against them was the fact that the clothes of both boys were saturated when arrested. They stated that they entered the car at midnight, at which case their clothing would have been dry, for it did not begin to rain until about half past two o'clock Saturday morning.

Fatal Mark on Trousers

The trousers which Thompson wore had no bullet hole to mark the entrance of the bullet. He says that he destroyed the trousers he had on at the time the negro shot him and purchased a pair of second-hand ones.  The ones he now wears bear the mark of "Lowenstein, Nashville." O'Brien's trousers have a hole in them at the knee which corresponds to Thompson's wound and the police believe that they exchanged trousers with the idea that if they were arrested the wound would escape detection. However, O'Brien's trousers are rather small for Thompson, and vice versa. The police are unable to find the local dealer whom Thompson says sold him the trousers.

No incriminating evidence was found on the men when they were arrested nor after a thorough search of the car. If they are guilty, their pistols and masks have been done away with. The police made a thorough but futile search for the pistols and masks on the route from the Chinn premises to the railroad yard.

Citizens Asked to Search

Chief Reagan requests the residents of Lexington, and especially of the southern portion, to make a search of their premises for these articles and to have their boys search vacant lots and other places where the articles may have been thrown or concealed. If anything is found it should be reported immediately to the police.

A Mrs. Chisholm, living in Adamstown, near Lexington avenue, says she heard the volley of shots and in a few minutes heard two men running south on Lexington avenue. This clue indicates that the murderers ran in that direction after the tragedy.

Just as soon as Mrs. Chinn is able to withstand the ordeal and Thompson's wound will permit him to walk, the prisoners will be taken before her for identification. They will also be taken before Asa Chinn. Mrs. Chinn stated to a relative that she believed she would recognize the men whose forms she saw and whose voices she heard on the fatal night. It will be remembered that the men struck a match on entering the room, and though they were masked, she observed their stature, etc.

How Prisoners Spent the Day.

Throngs of visitors were attracted to the jail yesterday, but very few were admitted to see Thompson and O'Brien as they insist on calling themselves. Perhaps no one will now be admitted without the permission of Chief Reagan.

Thompson, the wounded man, is occupying the topmost cell, known as the hospital. A prisoner named Morris keeps him company. He suffered a great deal from his wound Saturday night and yesterday and it was necessary to give him an opiate to make him sleep last night after his wound was dressed in the afternoon. He ate very little and was not inclined to talk.

Neither prisoner was allowed to read the newspapers.

O'Brien is the only prisoner on the ground floor. It was in one of the eight cells on this floor that Axline was kept in confinement for a long time. It is on this floor that the old scaffold is stored. Neither of the prisoners appeared to worry over his predicament. O'Brien ate both meals heartily and was by no means reticent, though very few people were given access to him. Capt. Stough had a long talk with him in the afternoon, but he still sticks to his first story. Thompson did not get out of his bed yesterday. O'Brien has no one to talk to except the guards when they bring his meals.

Tell-tale Course of Bullet.

It appears almost providential that the bullet in Thompson's leg did not pass through it, but spent its force before it reached the outer skin. Had it passed on through, it could not be told definitely at which end of the wound the bullet entered, and it could not be discerned whether the bullet ranged upward or downward. As it is, there is no question that the range was upward. There are only three possible explanations of this. He might have been standing in an elevated position when shot, which is unlikely. He may have been recumbent or his assailant was recumbent. He says that he and the alleged negro were standing. Had this been so, the bullet would have taken a downward course. The range is just such a one as would result from a wound inflicted by Asa Chinn, who was prostrate on the floor when he shot.

The Daughter Arrives.

Miss Eleanor Chinn arrived from New York with her uncle, Mr. Charles Runyon, on the Q & C train last night. She was met at the depot by her uncle, Mr. James Runyon, and Dr. Coleman. The party drove to the Good Samaritan Hospital. The meeting between mother and daughter was an affecting one. Clasped in each other's arms, their heart throbs beat in unison and their tears flowed together in a common grief. The young woman had left father and brother in happiness, in perfect health, in all the comforts of security. In a brief while she returned. The father was dead and the brother dangerously wounded. She was not taken to see her wounded brother, as he was sleeping. Mother and daughter remained at the hospital last night. Miss Chinn stood the journey in the shadow of the awful tragedy remarkably well. Mrs. Chinn was much more composed today.

May Have Been In Tyrone.

The police received a telephone message from a man in Tyrone yesterday that he believed from the description of the suspects he saw them in that place Wednesday. He will be here today to identify them. If they prove to be the men he has in mind, they could not have been a Williamstown Wednesday, where Thompsons says he was shot by a negro.

No Clue to Others.

No word has been received concerning the two suspicious looking white men Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Graves met nine miles from the city on the Winchester pike early Saturday morning. The police are still desirous of finding these men and learning their story. Although the police believe the guilty parties have been captured, they have not relinquished their efforts to "round up" all the suspicious characters. Every clue possible will be run down.

The Jail Guarded.

Guards remained at the jail Saturday night until three o'clock and remained until midnight last night. They usually lock the jail about ten o'clock. One man is left at the jail, but the keys are not in his possession.

The Fayette county jail is one of the most secure in the country. Entrance can not possibly be gained except through the front door. It would require hours of work to break this open without the keys. One man on the first landing could keep a regiment out. If the keys were given to a mob it is doubtful if they could get to the prisoners, so complicated are the locks.

It is impossible to burn the building. On account of the arrangement of the street, a few policemen could keep a mob from off the street.

Asa Chinn Doing Well.

At the hospital it was reported that Asa passed a very quiet day and rested easy last night. His physicians are sanguine of his recovery, but the marks of that awful night will go with him to his grave. His face will not be very much disfigured, but the scars will always remain. The wounds in the nose and lips may become almost indistinct. The fractured jawbone will always be more or less prominent and a scar will always remain on his cheek.

Diagram of the House.

A brief word diagram of the Chinn home in which the murder was committed will suffice to give a general impression of the desperate encounter. The house is a two-story frame on the south side of Maxwell street, beyond Lexington avenue. On the east is the vacant house belonging to Mr. Ott, and on the west the home of Mrs. Thompson, Both of these houses are close. The driveway to the Chinn home is on the east side of the house under Mrs. Runyon's window. The front door opens into a hall. On the east side of the hall is the parlor and in the rear of this, Mrs. Runyon's room. Just beyond her door is the bottom of the stairs running up from the hall. The front room on the west side of the hall is Asa's room and at its rear is the family room. Asa's room door and the parlor door are directly opposite. The family door opening into the hall and Mrs. Runyon's door are directly opposite.

When Asa was awakened by his mother's screams of murder, he secured pistol and rifle, stepped out of his room and went to the family door, about twelve feet away. A confused idea is prevalent as to who fired the first shot. Asa and Mrs. Chinn agree that the burglars heard Asa in the hall and fired. One of them had his pistol pressed against Mr. Chinn's breast, which was powder burned. The burglar shot was the signal for Asa to open fire. He emptied his revolver of five chambers. Three of his bullets struck the door. The bullet which penetrated the door showed the elevation. He was in a prostrate position. Perhaps one of the bullets which did not strike the door struck a burglar, and Thompson's wound corresponds to one made by a ball that he may have fired.

A desperate encounter evidently ensued in this terrible hand-to-hand battle at the door. Bullets flew thick and fast. Asa was shot to floor as the burglars came out of the room. That he was lying on the floor is apparent from the range of the bullets in the door and from the fact that one of the burglar bullets tipped his nose and went through his lips and into the floor. Otherwise it would have entered his breast.

Mr. Chinn tottered out of his bed and fell to the floor of the hall lifeless, his feet almost inside the family room. It was then that Mr. Runyon aroused the neighbors and called the police. Many of the neighbors had already been awakened by the peal of the shots.

Groundless Rumors

A great many groundless rumors were afloat yesterday. One stated that a pistol had been found near the Chinn home, and that it had been identified as belonging to a man who was held up and robbed Friday night. This report is groundless, and as far as the police have learned, no man was held up Friday night. Other reports gained currency which were found to be groundless. One reported stated that confessions had been obtained, which was without foundation.

The Funeral Today

The funeral services of Mr. A. B. Chinn will take place at the family residence, No. 248 East Maxwell street, at 2:30 o'clock this afternoon. The services will be conducted by Rev. I. J. Spencer of the Central Christian Church.

The honorary pallbearers are Major R. S. Bullock, Messrs. Cicero Coleman, R. P. Eastin, Albert Allen, R. C. Morgan, C. F. Estill and Thomas F. Cassell.

The active pallbearers are Profs. James G. White and A. Fairhurst, Judge Matt Walton, Dr. B. L. Coleman, Messrs. Jacob Graves, James A. Todd, G. A. DeLong and William F. Price.

The burial will be in Lexington Cemetery.

{*Blogger's note:  It was a few days before it was discovered"Thompson" was an alias and he was correctly identified as Earl Whitney.}

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

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