Davis January and Miss Texana Hall Murders 1931
Athens Daily Review, Athens Henderson County, Texas

April 16, 1931, Front page

Two Killed in Tragedy At Hall farm Near Athens Sunday

Formal charges of murder were filed Monday against Charlie Douglas, about 40, in the court of Justice of Peace D. B. Hall. Douglas was formally charged with the fatal shooting of his son-in-law, Davis January, 24 and his sister-in-law, Miss Tex Hall, 46, at the H. M. Hall farm home Sunday night. The shooting occurred shortly after nine o’clock. The Hall farm home is located about a half mile northeast of the Athens Fish & Game Club house.

The accused man surrendered to Ernest Hood, a farmer of that community, shortly after the shooting and Hood brought him to Athens where he was lodged in the county jail about an hour after the shooting. With feeling running high here last night Sheriff Baker had the prisoner removed to a nearby town, the name of which he did not disclose.

Mrs. Douglas, wife of the accused man, has been living with her father, H. M. Hall, since the separation of she and her husband. Mrs. January, wife of the slain man, is a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Douglas. Mr. and Mrs. January had spent Sunday at the Hall home visiting Mrs. Douglas and the other relatives and were preparing to return to their home when the fatal shooting occurred. According to a story told to a member of the Sheriff’s department, January got into his car and started to start the motor, but found that his keys had been taken from the car. He called to those in the house to ask if the children had carried off the keys and as he did he heard something moving about in the nearby field. Informed that there was no stock in the field he started out into the field to investigate and was shot down by Douglas who fired at close range with a single barrel shot gun loaded with buck shot. The charge tore away the left side of January’s face bringing instant death. Hearing the noise Miss Hall ran from the house into the field and was shot down as she stood looking at the body of January. She was killed almost instantly by a charge from the shot gun at close range. Douglas fled from the scene of the shooting and a short time later surrendered to Ernest Hood and asked that he be brought to jail here.

The bodies of the two victims of the tragedy were brought to Athens Sunday night and prepared for burial. Miss Hall was buried Monday afternoon at Ash and January was buried at Payne Springs (sic) Tuesday afternoon.

Charlie Douglas, who is charged with the shooting is a brother of I. L. Douglas, now in Baylor Hospital at Dallas suffering from injuries received when a Cotton Belt motor car crashed into his car.

January and Miss Inez Douglas were married only last December. Douglas and his wife had been married nineteen years. They have four children.

J. Hall, of Akron, Ohio, and H. W. Hall of Waxahachie, brothers of Miss Texana Hall, were here Saturday visiting and had just returned to Waxahachie. The former had planned to return to his home in Ohio today but on receipt of the message Sunday night he and his brother returned here Monday morning.

Charlie Douglas, charged with the fatal shooting of Davis January and Miss Texana Hall Sunday night at the H. M. Hall farm near Athens, was brought back from Tyler Tuesday and lodged in the Henderson county jail. The accused man apparently was not greatly depressed and talked freely although he would not discuss the tragedy for which he is being held. Sheriff Baker stated this morning that the prisoner has made no statement but that he had been making efforts to employ a local law firm to handle his defense.

County Attorney Hobson Green had taken no action in the case but was emphatic in saying that he would oppose any effort made on the part of defense attorneys to secure a bond for the prisoner. “This is not a bondable case,” Green said in commenting on the case. “I certainly do not believe there is sufficient evidence on which to grant the release of Douglas on bond.”

Sheriff Joel Baker, who was one of the first to go to the scene of the tragedy, revealed this morning that a .32 caliber gun, believed to have been the property of January, was found about five feet from January’s body. Sheriff Baker would neither verify or discredit reports’ circulated here that he had received an anonymous letter three weeks ago telling him that January was carrying a pistol and that unless it was taken from him “there is likely to be trouble.”

A quarrel of long standing between January and Douglas which culminated in a fight about eighteen months ago and ill feeling between Douglas and his wife since their separation have been assigned as motives in the fatal shooting although Douglas had made no statement that would tend to verify either of these theories.

A theory advanced here that Douglas was drunk when the shooting occurred was discounted this morning by Sheriff Baker who said: “When placed in jail here the prisoner’s conduct was certainly not that of a drunk man and I have found no evidence to verify such a report.”

April 16, 1931

Overcrowded Jail Causes Return of Douglas Here

Tyler, Texas, April 13.—Charlie Douglas, 40, who was brought to Tyler and placed in the Smith county jail early Monday morning by Sheriff Baker and Deputy Sheriff Sweeten of Henderson county, following the filing of two murder charges against him in Henderson county Sunday night, was returned “presumably” to Athens Monday night by Sheriff Baker. It was necessary to move the man from the jail here because of over-crowded condition and it was also stated by local authorities that feeling, which ran high for a few hours after the double-murder, had died down in Athens.

Davis January, 24, and Miss Tex Hall, 46, were shot by Douglas Sunday night, the charges alleged.

April 16, 1931

Funeral Services For Tragedy Victims Held

Funeral services for Miss Texana Hall, 46, one of the victims of the tragedy of Sunday night, were held Monday afternoon with burial at Ash. Rev. R.O. Seaman conducted the services. A large number of friends and relatives including a good number of Athens’ citizens attended the funeral.

Funeral services for Davis January, 24, the other victim of the tragedy were held this afternoon at 2 o’clock at the Payne graveyard nine miles northwest of Athens on the old Eustace-Athens highway. Many persons from Athens attended the services.

Miss Hall and January were killed Sunday night at the H. M. Hall farm home near Athens. Charlie Douglas, father-in-law of January and a brother-in-law of Miss Hall, has been charged with their murder.

April 16, 1931

News Kept From Him, He Reads of Tragedy In Papers

After relatives had kept the news of the arrest of his brother, Charlie, for murder here Sunday night, from him; I. L. Douglas, confined in Baylor Hospital at Dallas, received his first information about his brother’s arrest when he was handed a Dallas newspaper this morning. Douglas, who is believed by hospital attaches to be gradually recovering form injuries received when his car was struck by a Cotton Belt motor car here, was able to read a newspaper for the first time this morning and the first thing that caught his attention was a streaming headline telling of the double killing here with which his brother, Charlie, has been charged.

Relatives and attendants had carefully kept the news from him believing that it might have a fatal effect. The patient, however, received the news with little comment and read thoroughly the account of the tragedy as printed in the Dallas paper and asked for other details.

April 16, 1931

Date of Examining Trial For Charlie Douglas Not Set

Date for the examining trial of Charlie Douglas, charged with the killing of Davis January and Miss Texana Hall, had not been set this morning, Hobson Green, county attorney stated.

Back in the Henderson county jail after having spent sleepless night in the jail at Tyler, Douglas talked freely with those who visited him Tuesday. One of the few requests he made to the jailer was one for copies of the Athens Review containing accounts of the tragedy.

He told friends that he had slept little the night he spent in the jail at Tyler since he was forced to sleep on the floor with only a blanket as bedding because of the crowded condition of the jail.

Douglas has been conferring with the local law form of Justice & Sigler relative to handling his [article cut off.]

April 16, 1931

Flat Creek, April 14.—Our community was saddened Monday morning when the news spread of the death of Miss Texana Hall of this place and Davis January of Pickens Spur. Miss Hall has lived here since she was a small child and has many friends who mourn her death. Mr. January has been a groom of only four months and leaves his young bride who was Miss Inez Douglas before her marriage and had lived in this community most of her life.

April 16, 1931

Date For Douglas’ Trial Not Yet Set

Charlie Douglas, charged with the fatal shooting of Miss Texana Hall and Davis January, is still in the county jail here with no date set for his examining trial set. Reports from the sheriff’s office here this morning were to the effect that the accused man had not yet employed a lawyer to defend him. He received visitors in his cell for the first time Saturday when two of his brothers talked with him.

No intimation as to when action would be taken in the case was made today by County Attorney Hobson Green who was occupied with the work of getting the criminal week proceedings of county court under way.

April 30, 1931

Douglas Says He Is In No Hurry For Examining Trial

Ask this morning whether or not he desired to have an examining trial or to waive it, Charlie Douglas, charged with the fatal shooting of Miss Texana Hall and Davis January, replied that he “was in no hurry”. He requested Sheriff Joel Baker to have two local attorneys sent to see him, saying that he would have nothing to say in regard to the examining trial until he talked with them.

Douglas, who has been in jail since Sunday, April 12th, is said not to be taking his predicament as seriously as he did when first arrested. He now talks freely with visitors and with the other prisoners..

April 30, 1931

Douglas Hearty Eater But Nights Are Sleepless

Although he eats heartily, Charlie Douglas, who is in jail has [been] charged with the fatal shooting of Miss Texana Hall and Davis January, finds it hard to go to sleep at night, an attendant at the jail said this morning.

The prisoner has asked for no examining trial and many now believe that the status of the case will remain as it is until the grand jury meets in June. It is said that Douglas has not hired any counsel although he had several conferences in his cell with the members of a local law firm. Authorities here have stated definitely that they would oppose the prisoner’s release on bond.

May 7, 1931

Douglas Examining Trial Tomorrow

The time for the examining trial of Charlie Douglas has been definitely set for Thursday morning at ten o’clock, it was announced by County Attorney Hobson Green. The hearing will be before Justice of the Peace B. C. Hall at a place not decided this morning. B. Greenwood, district attorney, will be here to assist in the trial.

May 14, 1931, Front page

C. Douglas Is Refused Bond After Hearing

With damaging testimony being offered by his own fifteen year old son, Charlie Douglas, charged with the fatal shooting of Davis January and Miss Texana Hall on the night of April 12th, was remanded to jail without bond after an examining trial that consummated nearly two hours in an empty room on the second floor of the Henderson county jail Thursday afternoon.

In refusing bail, B. C. Hall, Justice of the Peace said: “I believe that it is to the best interests of the defendant, for the best interests of the relatives of the deceased and for the best interests of the citizenship of Henderson county that bond in this case be refused.”

Judge Hall’s decision came after District Attorney Ben Greenwood and County Attorney Hobson Green for the State and Richard Sigler, representing the defendant, had questioned three witnesses and presented their arguments in the case. Despite his failure to secure bond for his client Sigler made a determined effort in behalf of Douglas.

Ferrell Douglas, 15, son of the accused man, was the chief witness and he was questioned at length by both sides. He recounted details of the night of the tragedy and told how both of the deceased were killed. The witness said, “When Davis January started home he went outside with me and my mother and my sister, Inez. He found that his car keys were gone. He heard a noise in the field nearby and after asking if there were any cows in the field he started over to investigate. From the car to the field it was a distance of about fifty years. About thirty seconds later a shot was fired and Davis fell. After the shot was fired I went into the house and then came back to the scene with my mother, my aunt, my sister, Inez and Curtis Green. My aunt was Miss Texana Hall. We all went to Davis’ body. As my aunt started back to the house and just a moment after she had handed a lamp to Curtis Green a second shot was fired and my aunt fell.” The witness then told how he had helped carry the bodies of the two victims to the house.

On cross-examination he told the court that he was mad at his father now but was not mad at him before the shooting.

Frank Parmer, night watchman, was put on the stand and said that Douglas said to him after being brought here by Ernest Hood: “Here’s the gun. I am ready to in”.

As the last witness examined, Ernest Hood, related details of the late hour when Douglas came to his house and asked him to take him to Tyler, stating that he had shot January.

In his plea for a bond for his client, Sigler cited the fact that the killing occurred on land under least to Douglas, that Davis January had, in July, 1929, shot the defendant twice and that January was advancing toward Douglas at the time he was shot, presumably with a pistol that was found nearby. He also cited evidence to show that January had threatened to kill Douglas and that the had made such a statement to Ernest Hood who had told Douglas what January had said.

Robert January, father of the deceased youth, showed much interest in the proceedings, frequently consulting with District Attorney Greenwood during the taking of the testimony.

The defendant smoked incessantly throughout the hearing but exhibited interest in the hearing only while his fifteen year old son was on the stand when he frequently consulted with his attorney.

 

June 11, 1931

Judge Remands Douglas To Jail Without Bond

After a Habeas Corpus hearing that occupied the attention of Judge Dent in district court all day Monday, Charlie Douglas, charged with the fatal shooting of Miss Texana Hall and Davis January, was remanded to jail without bond. Judge Dent’s decision came promptly after the last witness had left the stand shortly before five o’clock.

The day’s proceedings attracted a crowd that partially filled the large court room. Ten witnesses were put on the stand. County Attorney Hobson Green and District Attorney Ben Greenwood for the prosecution were assisted by Clay Cotton, Palestine attorney, employed by Robert January, father of Davis January, to assist in the prosecution. The father of the dead youth frequently consulted with Attorney Cotton during the hearing. The defendant, Charlie Douglas, sat through the entire proceedings watching the witnesses closely as they took the stand but otherwise showing little interest. The firm of Justice and Sigler represented the defendant.

Only two witnesses, John Lehr, Undertaker, and Curtis green, were examined in the morning. In the afternoon, however, eight witnesses were placed on the stand. This group included Hobson Green, county attorney; Earnest Hood, Albert Hood, Mrs. S. J. Hood, Frank Parmer, Burt Hodge, Robert Featherston and Homer Hall.

In remanding Douglas to jail without bond Judge Dent upheld the decision of Justice of the Peace B. C. Hall who on May 7th refused the accused man bond following an examining trial in the Henderson county jail. Attorneys Justice and Sigler have made a determined effort to effect the release of their client on bond.

June 11, 1931

Douglas Case Transferred To Navarro County

The case of the State of Texas versus Charlie Douglas for the fatal shooting of Miss Texana Hall and Davis January will be tried in Navarro county at a date yet to be set, it was announced here shortly after six o’clock Monday evening when a venire of 141 men had been exhausted and only five jurors had been selected. The case was transferred to Corsicana on a change of venue and District Attorney Ben Greenwood went to that city Tuesday to confer with authorities relative to the setting of the case on the district court docket there.

Questioning of jurors revealed that a very large percentage of the veniremen and read of the Douglas case in the Athens Review and that all but a very few had formed an opinion as to the guilt or innocence of the accused man. It was found that with few exceptions the prospective jurors who had been summoned from all parts of Henderson county had read of the fatal shooting in the Review. “Men who had not read of the case in the Review were so few that when one said that he had not read the details of the case in the Review we began to suspect that he was anxious to get on the jury,” County Attorney Hobson Green said this morning. A few veniremen were rejected as jurors when they admitted that they had conscientious scruples against assessing the death penalty.

The five jurors selected before it was decided to move the case to Navarro county were chosen only after prolonged questioning by both the state and defense. Two of them, A. B. Holman of route one, Athens, and H. S. Brooks of Trinidad, were selected during the morning session.

During the afternoon session which lasted until six o’clock the other three jurors were selected. They were W. H. McKinney of Chandler; H. L. McGee of Trinidad and I. B. Irons of Athens. With the venire exhausted and with the court having experienced extreme difficulty in getting the first five jurors it was apparent that the task of getting a jury in this county was a big one. A conference followed and the case was transferred to the neighboring county.

With the transfer of the case to Navarro county a member of the sheriff’s force said this morning that Douglas was again hopeful of getting his release on bond. The prisoner seemed to believe that the transfer of the case to Navarro county would react to his benefit.

District Attorney Ben Greenwood returned form Corsicana shortly before noon. He stated that he had had a conference with authorities there and that it was probable that the Douglas case would be tried in Corsicana on July 12th. The exact date, however, will not be known until later this week.

July 9, 1931

Douglas Moved To Jail At Corsicana

Charlie Douglas, who will be tried in Corsicana on July 13th, was taken to that city Wednesday afternoon and placed in the Navarro county jail to await trial. Douglas was taken to Corsicana be Sheriff Joel Baker who was accompanied by Will Faulk.

Douglas had been in the Henderson county jail continuously since the night of April 13th when he surrendered to Sheriff Baker a few hours after he had shot and killed Miss Texana Hall and Davis January.

July 9, 1931

Douglas Writes For Letter To Avoid Trial In Kangaroo Court

That Charlie Douglas, awaiting trial for murder in the Navarro county jail at Corsicana, was well like by prisoners while confined in the Henderson county bastile (sic) is attested to by a letter written from the Athens jail to the prisoners at Corsicana.

Gilbert Green, awaiting trial here on a forgery charge, wrote the letter stating that Douglas “had been duly initiated as a jail bird” and that he should be spared the usual initiation given a new man upon entering a jail. Green’s letter was prompted by one from Douglas who wished to be spared the usual trial of a new prisoner before a kangaroo court in the jail.

Whether or not Green’s letter kept Douglas form being tried by the Navarro county prisoners has not been learned here.

Douglas will face trial at Corsicana July 13th for the murder of Davis January and Miss Texana Hall.

July 23, 1931

Testimony In Douglas Trial Is Being Heard

Corsicana, Texas, July 14.—The jury in the case of State vs Charlie Douglas, charged with the murder of Texana Hall, was completed Tuesday morning and when court adjourned Tuesday evening several witnesses had been heard. Mrs. Davis January was on the stand when court adjourned. She fainted after being asked a few questions by Defense Attorney Will Justice and court was adjourned till Wednesday morning. She was due to resume her testimony Wednesday morning.

The jury was completed Tuesday morning and is composed of the following men: G. W. Shelton, Currie Fred White, Retreat; Frank Harris, Black Hills; W. D. Nolen, Corsicana; Ira T. Kent, Corsicana; B. A. Inmon, Kerens; H. H. Hodge, Eureka; Sam Armstrong, Pursley; Paul Bruce, Corsicana; R. L. Crider, Dawson; J. E. Downing, Purdon and J. L. (sic), Dawson.

Attorneys interested in the case were of the opinion that testimony would be completed Thursday. The State is expected to conclude its testimony Wednesday morning. The defense will likely use the balance of the day with its testimony with rebuttal testimony coming on Thursday.

When arraigned by Cleo G. Miller, Navarro county attorney, the defendant entered a plea of “not guilty.”

The special venire of fifty men, less those excused, summoned in the case was exhausted Tuesday morning. The first man on the second venire list of fifty men was taken as the twelfth juror and the remaining were excused.

Fourteen challenges were used by the defense and ten by the state attorneys. Nineteen were excused by District Judge Hawkins Scarbrough, seventeen for conscientious scruples, and two for opinions.

From the line of questioning of prospective jurors, the State will ask for the death penalty while the defense is to ask for a suspended sentence in the event of conviction with a penalty of five years or less.

Douglas is being tried on an indictment for murder in connection with the fatal shooting of Texana Hall, about 40, sister-in-law of the defendant, at the home of Miss Hall’s father, seven miles from Athens in Henderson county April 12, 1931. Davis January, son-in-law of Douglas, also was shot on the same night at the same site. Douglas was indicted in Henderson county on the two charges but when the cases were called for trial in district court in Athens, June 22, the cases were transferred to Navarro county on a change of venue upon the motion of District Judge Ben F. Dent.

Robert January of Henderson county, father of Davis January, was in almost continual conference with the State attorneys and took an active and keen interest in the process of selecting the jury. The courtroom was comfortably filled by interested spectators at the Tuesday morning session.

Lehr Is Witness.

John Lehr, Athens undertaker, was the first witness called by the state. He testified that he was called to the Hall home about 11 o’clock and found the body of Texana Hall on the front porch. He said there were about ten wounds in the abdomen, buck shot, number 6. He said that Miss Hall was dead when he arrived and that the wounds were sufficient to have caused death. He said there were no powder burns on the body. The direct examination was conducted by Cleo Miller, who also took the lead in the selection of the jury. The cross-examination of witnesses as well as the examination of prospective jurors was conducted by W. D. Justice, defense attorney.

Dr. A. H. Easterling, Athens physician for the past 34 years testified that he examined the body of Miss Hall at her home at the same time that the undertaker did, but that he arrived at the Hall home first. He testified that Miss Hall was dead when he arrived. Dr. Easterling testified that there were about fifteen wounds in the front of the body, with the highest wound about the third rib. He said he did not probe the wounds and that he did not see any of the shots.

Doctor Cross Examined.

Under cross-examination by the defense, Dr. Easterling testified that there were “plenty” of wounds above the waist line and [rest of sentence cut off] cient to have caused death. Undertaker Lehr had previously testified that there were no wounds in the upper part of the body.

Ferrell Douglas, son of the defendant was called to the witness stand and his testimony was substantially the same as that which he gave at the examining trial in Athens.

Corsicana, Texas, July 13. After taking up the entire morning arguing a motion attacking the legality of orders form the district court of Henderson county in transferring of the case of the State of Texas vs Charlie Douglas, for the murder in connection with the fatal shooting of Miss Texana Hall, his sister-in-law in Henderson county last April, Judge Hawkins Scarbrough of the Thirteenth Judicial District overruled the motion and ordered the trial to proceed.

Selection of the jury did not commence until 2:45 but when court adjourned for the evening six jurors had been selected and it was expected the jury would be completed Tuesday morning.

Douglas was indicted in Henderson county on two indictments for murder in connection with the fatal shooting of Texana Hall and Davis January, his son-in-law. It is alleged that the shooting occurred within five minutes’ time and within 15 feet distance.

The special venires and regular jury panel were excused during the hearing conducted by the defense. The defense maintained that the hearings and change of venue preceding were in the Davis January slaying case and not in the Texana Hall case.

The two cases were transferred to Navarro county from Henderson county June 22 by District Judge Ben F. Dent upon the motion of the court.

W. D. Justice, Athens attorney, one of the counsel for the defendant, testified that no veniremen had been examined in Henderson county district court with reference to the case in which Texana Hall was slain, and he denied that he had agreed to the transferring of the cases, but admitted that he did tell the court that he had rather the January case be transferred to Navarro than to Smith or Van Zandt counties.

It was brought out that only five jurors had been procured when 110 special veniremen had been examined at Athens.

Veniremen Had Opinions.

District Attorney Ben Greenwood also testified that 65of the 110 veniremen were disqualified because of opinions. He said that the understood at the time the cases were transferred that the defense had no objections. He said there were no written or oral protests made at the time of the transferring of the cases by the defense.

Greenwood was queried at length relative to the preparing of the papers on the change of venue and the judgement entered. Justice said he refused to write up the judgment as he thought he might want to protest and attack it later, and that he said that if the court transferred the case anyway, he wanted it sent to Corsicana.

The State is being represented by Cleo G. Miller, Navarro county attorney; Chris L. Knox, assistant Navarro county attorney; Ben Greenwood district attorney, Athens and Special Prosecutor Clay Cotton.

The defense is being conducted by Justice & Sigler, Athens attorneys.

A number of relatives conferred with the defendant during the morning at one time his wife and a small son and daughter were seated with him at the counsel table. Douglas is the father of five children. He has been in the Navarro county jail since a short time after the cases were transferred to this county.

When court opened Monday afternoon, Judge Scarbrough overruled a defense motion for a severance to try the case in which Davis January was alleged to have been fatally shot, and the defense called names of 21 witnesses. Seventeen answered present and it was stated two of those missing had been excused. Attachments for Dr. Harris and T. B. Stone were issued for Tuesday morning and the case went to trial.

Douglas is being tried for the fatal shooting of Texana Hall.

From the line of questioning the State will ask for the death penalty while defense will likely ask for a suspended sentence in the event of conviction.

Defense is expected to claim shooting of Miss Hall was accidental.

July 23, 1931, Front page

Murder Trial Is Postponed After Douglas Tries to Take Own Life

Corsicana, Texas, July 17.—While Charlie Douglas lay in a weakened condition in a hospital here this morning suffering from the loss of much blood through self-inflicted wounds to his throat and arms made by a safety razor blade, Judge Hawkins Scarbrough postponed the continuance of his trial for the murder of Miss Texana Hall until nine o’clock Saturday morning.

The jailer at the Navarro county jail found Douglas in an unconscious condition from the loss of blood when he visited the cell block at five o’clock this morning. Physicians at the hospital believe that ht e accused man had slashed his throat and arms sometime between the hours of three and four o’clock this morning. Douglas had apparently made an earnest attempt to end his life as he barely missed the jugular vein when he slashed his throat. The wounds on his arms were long and deep cuts through which the blood flowed freely.

Shortly before noon today, however, physicians at the hospital reported that the patient had regained consciousness and had a good chance to recover unless new complications developed.

The decision to postpone the trial came after a long conference at the Navarro county court house. The trial of Douglas was to have drawn to a close this morning when Clay Cotton, special prosecutor, and Will Justice, defense counsel, were scheduled to make the last two arguments before the jury.

Corsicana, Texas, July 18.—As the defendant, Charlie Douglas, lay on a stretcher before the jury in the court room here this morning, Judge Hawkins Scarbrough accepted a plea made by defense attorneys that a mistrial should be declared and a continuance granted. Judge Scarbrough announced his decision at 10:30 o’clock and the jury was excused. The effect that the injured man might have upon the jurors was cited as one reason for the judge’s decision to continue the case.

Although still very week from the loss of blood doctors at the P. & S. Hospital where Douglas was under the care of physicians believe that the man has a good chance to recover.

Corsicana, Texas, July 16.—Testimony in the case of Charlie Douglas, charged by indictment with the killing of Texana Hall, was completed shortly after court opened this morning. Only two witnesses were placed on the stand this morning following their testimony Judge Hawkins Scarbrough recessed court to prepare his charge. The charge was read at 1 o’clock and arguments by attorneys started immediately afterward. Two hours has been allotted to each side and the case should reach the jury about 6:00 o’clock.

Wednesday afternoon, Mrs. Charlie Douglas, wife of the defendant was called as a witness for the defense. Mrs. Douglas was previously listed as a state witness. She testified that she went into the yard after the shooting and say (sic) a pistol a short distance form Davis January’s hand. State attorneys did not cross examine her.

Defendant Testifies.

The defendant took the stand in his own behalf late Wednesday evening. He testified that on the night of the fatal shooting he had been over watering his tomato plants north of the Hall home. He said that he had started home from the tomato bed and was going down a lane that led a little east of the Hall home. He testified that when he got down by the house he saw some folks running out to where he was. He said he recognized Davis January one of the party and that he had a pistol in his hands holding it in front of him. He said that he believed his life was in danger and when he got within fifteen yards of him that he sot him with a shot-gun. He testified that after he shot January he turned around to go south and that the shot-gun was accidentally fired again. On further examination he replied to questions by say that he did not remember what happened after that.

On cross-examination by Attorney Cleo Miller, Douglas was closely questioned as to the position he was in and the position he was holding the gun.

The defense rested after the testimony of Douglas.

Witnesses for the State testifying late Wednesday were Bert Hodge, Mrs. Hodge, Robert January and Albert Hood.

When Mrs. Inez January was recalled Wednesday morning, she testified under cross-examination by defense attorneys, that she remembered the shooting of her father in 1929 by her husband. She said she had previously been at the mail box talking to Davis January for about 30 minutes but denied that she knew her father objected to her talking to January. She said she had a bad feeling against her father at the present time, but had not had a bad feeling against him previous to the shootings, and that she tried to respect him.

Saw Husband Leave Car.

Mrs. January admitted that she saw her husband leave his car on the night of the shooting, but denied he left with a pistol. She also denied a conversation purported to have been made with her mother relative to a statement that Davis January had said he would not shoot her father the next time with a popgun.

Under re-direct examination by County Attorney Cleo G. Miller, Mrs. January said she was under the care of a physician at the present time.

Ferrell Douglas, 15-year-old son of the defendant, a state witness, was recalled. The youth testified that he had overheard a conversation between his father and mother relative to Texana Hall, and that his father said that Texana Hall must have been telling lies on him. He testified that his father cursed and bemeaned Texana Hall, but it was later developed that the boy was not in the room during the conversation and District Judge Hawkins Scarborough ordered the testimony stricken out and not be considered for any purpose.

Admitted He Saw Pistol.

Ferrell Douglas was queried at length by the defense relative to certain portions of his previous testimony. The youth admitted that he saw a pistol after Davis January’s body had been moved. He said Sheriff Baker was present when he saw the pistol, about six feet from where the body had fallen.

He denied being present when the map was made by the county engineer, or that he had pointed out any of the objects noted on the sketch.

He said the last time he saw his Aunt Texana, she was turning to go toward the house, and that he was looking at January’s body when the second shot was fired.

The change of venue orders were introduced in evidence for jurisdictional purposes only.

It was reported that Oscar Harris of Henderson county, for whom an attachment was issued, had been located in Austin early Wednesday morning where he is undergoing the Pasteur treatment for rabies. He was bitten by a dog a few days ago.

Doctor Testifies.

Dr. R. E. Henderson testified he treated Charlie Douglas for a gunshot wound in the right shoulder in the summer of 1929. He said it was such a shot that could not have been inflicted by the defendant. He said there were no powder burns, and that it was not a serious wound. The physician testified that Douglas told him (the doctor) that he didn’t want to tell who shot him, as he didn’t want any trouble about it.

Joel Baker, Sheriff of Henderson county, said that the went to the scene of the shooting a short time after the occurrence. The bodies had been moved, but their locations on the ground were pointed out to him by Ferrell Douglas. He said that a Smith & Wesson .38 calibre pistol was found near where the youth said the body of January was located. The sheriff testified to stepping off the distances between the bodies, and also with reference to the house and surroundings. He testified the pistol had five cartridges in it and one chamber empty.

The sheriff also said two shotgun shells were found the following morning. He said there were no uneven places, vines, etc., in the vicinity which would cause a person to trip or stumble. (Continued On Page 3)

(Page 3) Robert Featherston testified to talking with Ferrell Douglas the following night and that Douglas had told him that when Davis January was shot, his hat went one way and his pistol the other. He recounted two other conversations at a later time, in which he said Ferrell Douglas asked him not to tell about what he had been told about a pistol, etc. He said Ferrell told him Robert January, father of Davis January did not want that portion told.

Under cross-examination, the witness testified that he was a good friend of Charles Douglas and had worked for him. He admitted he had visited the defendant in jail several times.

When questioned by defense attorneys, the youth said he was looking after Douglas’ tomato patch, and also that he had not talked to Douglas except when an officer was present.

Another Boy Testifies.

Jeter Featherston, 15, testified he had known Ferrell Douglas for five years. He corroborated the previous testimony of conversations by Ferrell Douglas. Under questioning by state attorneys, the boy said that it was brought out that a noise was heard at a window and later the keys from the Davis January car were gone – that Davis January raised the seat of his car, procured a pistol and started out to the field. He related that Ferrell Douglas told him that he dragged January’s body to the fence. He said Ferrell Douglas said he thought his aunt was shot by Charlie Douglas.

Ernest Hood testified that he talked with Davis January about Charles Douglas several months previous to the trouble and that Davis January told him (Ernest Hood) that he (January) would kill Douglas if it was the last thing that he ever did. Hood stated he conveyed the remarks to Charles Douglas. He said that after the shootings, Charlie Douglas came to his (Hood’s) house and that he accompanied him to Athens to surrender to officers.

Had Trouble With January.

On cross-examination by Cleo Miller, Hood admitted having had previous trouble with January, and that he had threatened to kill January. He admitted that after having trouble with January, he and Charles Douglas went to Eustace, the community where Davis January lived.

Hood stated that Douglas threw away four shotgun shells just before they reached the jail on the night of the shooting, and that he later found three of them in the grass. He said the shells were 12-gauge and buckshot. He testified that Douglas had a 12-gauge double barrel shotgun. He admitted that Douglas wanted to go to Tyler to surrender to officers rather than at Athens. Hood testified that Douglas told him that he thought he had shot “that old maid.”

Douglas Excited.

Under defense questioning, Hood said that Douglas was worried and excited, and that Douglas told him the shooting of Texana Hall was accidental. The witness recounted the meetings with January and the trouble mentioned. He said Douglas had talked about the Hall family to him and thought that the family had caused his (Douglas’) children to turn against him, but did not mention Texana’s name. He said that Douglas had made threats against January. Under defense queries, the witness quoted Douglas as saying”

“Looks like I will have to do something with that boy”, referring to January.

Albert Douglas, brother of the defendant, testifies relative to a conversation with January in Athens year before last, when January had torn his trousers in running away form the January house. He said January told him he was always prepared for trouble, but the witness said he did not tell his brother about it. Dewey Douglas, another brother, said he talked with January in Athens last fall and that January proposed that he (Dewey) aid him in stealing Inez Douglas, the defendant’s daughter, to marry, and that January told him he (January) was going to marry Inez if he had to kill Charlie Douglas. The witness declared that January cursed Charlie Douglas and that when he remonstrated with him about cursing his brother, was told that Charles Douglas was not a brother to anybody, and when January picked up a pistol, he (Dewey) left that scene. He said he told his brother a few days later.

Dewey stated that he refused to testify in the court of inquiry soon after the shooting because he didn’t have to, didn’t think it was necessary and not fair.

Tuesday Afternoon’s Session.

Dramatic incidents and testimony featured the Tuesday afternoon session in the trial of Charlie Douglas, 40, Henderson county, on an indictment for murder in connection with the fatal shooting of Texana Hall, his sister-in-law, aged 44 years, April 12, about five miles east of Athens, when two of the defendant’s children testified.

Mrs. Inez January, 18, daughter of the defendant and the wife of one of the victims of the double-shooting, fainted while on the witness stand and later was carried from the courtroom after being revived. Ferrell Douglas, 15, a son of the defendant, testified for the State and upon examination by defense counsel denied that he hated his father, but admitted that he was “mad at him for killing his brother-in-law and aunt”, and also said he did “not love him now”, speaking of his father.

Mrs. Inez January, 18, wife of Davis January testified that she was married December 18, 1930, and that she was living at the January home. She said that she and her husband went to her grandfather’s home, on the night of April 12, leaving home about sundown and arriving at the home of Henry Hall, her grandfather, about an hour later. She said her mother, Mrs. Clemmie Douglas; grandfather, Henry Hall; Texana Hall, her aunt; and her brothers and sisters were present. She admitted that her parents were separated and that her mother had lived at the Hall home since November, 1930.

Relates Incidents of Killing.

Mrs. January testified that she and her husband got ready to go home about 9 o’clock, and went to their car. She said she, her husband and her brother, Douglas Ferrell (sic), went to the car. She said Davis January remarked that the keys of the car were gone, and a light was brought form the house.

The witness testified that a noise was heard in the filed nearby and that her husband asked if there were any cows in the field, and someone said, “no”.

Mrs. January testified that her husband started toward where the noise was heard and that she heard a shot. The witness said she went to her husband, a distance of about 19 or 20 feet away, where he was lying on his face. The dead man did not say anything, the witness said.

Woman Is Shot.

Continuing, the young girl aid that her mother and Aunt Texana later came out near where her husband’s body lay. She said her aunt started after some water, and when she (Texana Hall) was 9 or 10 feet away from her (Mrs. January), a second shot was fired.

“I saw Charlie Douglas with a shotgun as the shot was fired”, Mrs. January said. The witness said she went to the home of a neighbor, Mr. Hood, to get someone to stay with them at the Hall home, and that when she returned, found the body of her husband and aunt on the front porch and both were dead. She said she did not examine the bodies.

Mrs. January said that Texana Hall gave the lamp to Curtis Green, and that Green and Ferrell Douglas moved the body of her husband.

Girl Cross-Examined.

On cross-examination by W. D. Justice, defense attorney, Mrs. January said that it was a dark night and that her father was about 15 feet away from her. She said that her father did not have a light out where he was standing. The witness fainted and the jury was quickly excluded from the court room. After being revived, Mrs. January was excused from the stand, but was recalled at a later time.

Frank Palmer, Athens, night-watchman, testified that Charlie Douglas, surrendered to him on the night of April 12, this year, between 11 and 12 o’clock, and that he lodged him in the county jail. He said that Douglas handed him a gun similar to a single-barrel shotgun exhibited by County Attorney Cloe G. Miller. No defense questions were asked the witness.

The shotgun exhibited by County Attorney Miller was introduced in evidence by the State. The defense objected.

Aged Man On Stand.

Henry Hall, aged 71 years, father of Texana Hall and Mrs. Clemmie Douglas, wife of the defendant, was called and said that Texana Hall was 44 years old. He said that his family consisted of Mrs. Clemmie Douglas and four children, Miss Texana Hall, and a grandson, Curtis Green, on April 12.

Mr. Hall said that the first shot awakened him. He said he was in bed at the time, and that while he was attempting to find his clothes, probably three or five minutes later, he heard the second shot. He said, that he did not see the bodies of Davis January and Texana Hall until they had been prepared for burial. He said that Mrs. Douglas and her five children came to his home in November, 1930, and that Inez January was living there when she was married. He said he had known Charlie Douglas for about 18 years, and that he had made his home at his (Hall’s) home and had visited there.

Mr. Hall testified relative to a rock being hurled into a window in Texana Hall’s room, shattering the glass, three years ago.

On cross-examination by the defense, he said that the Douglas family had resided at his home during the latter part of 1929 and the early part of 1930, and that Charlie Douglas was there a portion of the time and that after Douglas had returned from West Texas, had moved the family to a farm about three-quarters of a mile from the Hall farm.

Neighbor Testifies.

Albert Hood, a neighbor, said he lived about 300 years from the Hall home. He testified that he heard the two shots between 8 and 9 o’clock on April 12, and that Inez January came to his house. Hood said he later went to the Hall home. He said he had talked to Douglas concerning the throwing of a rock into Texana Hall’s window.

Under a rigid cross-examination, relative to testimony given at the habeas corpus hearing, he said he said he had talked with Douglas. He also testified that he (Douglas) had lived in the same house with Texana Hall after the rock-throwing incident.

Ben Wathen, Athens, Henderson county surveyor for the last four years, testified concerning a map or sketch of the Hall home and its surroundings and was aided in the determining certain points by Roy Campbell, Inez January and others. The map was introduced in evidence. Under cross-examination. Wathen testified that Joe A. Johnson and Robert January, father of Davis January, had asked him to prepare the sketch.

Found Shotgun Shell.

Roy Campbell, Athens, a night-watchman for the First National Bank there, said he went to the Hall home about 5 o’clock the morning following the shootings. He said he found two small pools of blood about 11 feet apart, and that he found one shotgun shell about 20 feet away. He said the shell was a 12-gauge buckshot.

Under cross-examination the witness testified that he made his investigations about daylight. He admitted that the two bodies had been moved and that the sheriff of Henderson county had already visited the scene.

Son of Defendant Heard.

After a short recess, Ferrell Douglas, 15-year-old son of the defendant, was called by the state. He testified that when Davis January left the house on the night of his death that he (Ferrell) and Inez accompanied him to get some bundles out of the car to carry into the house. He said that he and his sister carried the bundles into the house. He said that January remarked that the keys of the car were missing and he (January) go into the Ford car and turned the lights on and got out of the car, walked in front of the car, and walked toward the field after hearing a noise and after having been advised by him (Ferrell) that there were no cows in the field.

“I heard a racket like someone walking in leaves”, the youth testified. He said his brother-in-law crawled over the fence and that he (Ferrell) heard a shot about 30 seconds or one minute later. He said he saw the flash and heard the report of the gun. He said that he (Ferrell) went into the house and procured a 12-gauge shotgun and went to the fence where he laid the gun on the ground and went to the body of Davis January. He said Inez January was at her husband’s side when he arrived.

Aunt Is Killed.

The boy said he heard another shot, and that his aunt, Texana Hall, fell as she turned back to go for water. He testified that he did not see any kind of weapon in the hands of his aunt, Texana Hall. He said that Texana Hall had just handed a kerosene lamp to Curtis Green when she was shot.

He said Curtis Green later picked up the shotgun near the fence.

Ferrell Douglas, under a rigid cross-examination by the defense, testified that he did not see who shot his aunt and that he did not see anyone in that direction. He said he did not see Davis January with a gun in his hands or in his pocket. He admitted discussing the happenings with several boys in the community later, but denied that he had said that when Davis January was shot, his (January’s) hat went one way and his gun the other, and also denied telling Bert Hodge to forget what he (Ferrell) had told him. He said the sheriff found a pistol near the body.

Night Was Dark.

Ferrell said that he stayed with his sister, but did not see anyone, and that it was a dark night. He said he glanced up as the shot was fired, but did not see anyone. He said he had not spoken to his father since the shootings, and denied hating his father, but admitted that he was mad at him for tis (sic) trouble. He admitted that January raised up the car seat, but said he did not see him get anything out.

The youth testified that he did not know whether Douglas was out in the field that night or not. He said he was “mad” at his daddy for killing his brother-in-law and aunt, and remarked:

Doesn’t Love Father Now.

“I don’t love him now”, when queried by the defense counsel.

On re-direct examination, the lad said he did not see a gun on Davis January, and that no one left the house on the night of the shootings until Davis January and wife prepared to go home.

Ferrell testified as far as he knew, the keys were never found. He said he knew his father had a gun, but did not know what kind it was.

When queried on re-cross-examination, the youth admitted that his father was shot twice by Davis January in the late summer of 1929, and that his father left the community without gathering his crop. Douglas was shot in the shoulder, the evidence showed.

 

January 21, 1932, Front page

Douglas Trial At Corsicana February 8

Although the date for the trial of Charlie Douglas on a murder charge has been set for February 8th before Judge Hawkins Scarborough at Corsicana, court attaches here believe that the trial date might be changed because it conflicts with district proceedings here. The February term of court will be underway here at that time and many of the witnesses summoned to Corsicana for the Douglas trial are among those summoned either as witnesses or petit jurors in district court cases here. Thus far, however, court house officials here have received no indication that the date of the Douglas trial at Corsicana would be changed.

January 21, 1932

Douglas Trial Date Is Definitely Set For February 1st

Speculation as to when the trial of Charlie Douglas would be held in Corsicana has been ended here by the receipt of court summons by a number of witnesses in this county. They were summoned to appear at Corsicana for the opening of the trial on February 1st. Since this also is the date for the opening of the February term of court here it was believed my many that the trial date at Corsicana would be changed.

February 4, 1932.

Selection Of Jury Begins In Douglas Case

Corsicana, Texas, Feb. 1.—The questioning of prospective jurors began in the Thirteenth judicial district court Monday morning at 10 o’clock in the cases of the State of Texas vs Charlie Douglas, Henderson county farmer on an indictment of murder in connection with the fatal shooting of Miss Texana Hall, the defendant’s sister-in-law, in Henderson county, early in 1931.

The State announced ready for trial when the case was called and the defense conditionally announced ready in the event it is learned several witnesses would be available. It is expected definite announcement will be made at the afternoon session of court.

State’s attorneys are Cleo G. Miller, criminal district attorney; Chris L. Know, assistant criminal district attorney; and Clay Cotton, special prosecutor, Palestine. Justice and Sigler, Athens attorneys, are conducting the defense.

Seventy-five special veniremen were summoned for this case in addition to the regular panel for the week.

One Mistrial.

This case was transferred to Navarro county from Henderson county last year on a change of venue by District Judge Ben F. Dent. A mistrial resulted during the 1931 July term of court here when the trial was near completion. The defendant was found seriously slashed in his cell in the county jail and it was necessary to halt the trial due to his condition. The case was continued at the October term of court due to illness of witnesses.

A number of state and defense witnesses not present Monday were reported planning to be on hand

At the previous trial, the court room was crowded to capacity with interested spectators from Henderson and Navarro counties. The courtroom was practically filled at Monday morning’s session, but the large number of special veniremen and regular jurymen occupied the majority of the seats.

Douglas has been in the Navarro county jail since he was transferred here form Henderson county.

February 11, 1932, Front page

Douglas Given 23 Year Term In First Trial

After deliberating since 9:00 o’clock Thursday night the jury in the trial of Charlie Douglas for the murder of Miss Texana Hall returned a verdict of sentencing the defendant to twenty-three years in the penitentiary. The verdict was returned at 2:30 o’clock Friday afternoon.

In a telephone conversation with the county attorney’s office at Corsicana at 2:45 Friday afternoon, employees of the office said that at that time no motion for a new trial or appeal had been filed.

Corsicana, Tex., Feb. 5.—After testimony had been completed during the afternoon and arguments for attorneys on both sides had been presented in the trial of Charlie Douglas, the case went to the jury at 9:00 o’clock Thursday night.

Interest in the progress of the trial continued with the court room packed to capacity.

The defendant took the stand Wednesday afternoon in his own behalf and related the incidents and happenings of April 12, 1931, when Davis January, his son-in-law, and Miss Texana Hall, a sister-in-law, were slain. She (sic) testified he shot January because he January because he believed his life to be in danger, and that the shooting of Miss Hall was accidental.

Mrs. Clemmie Douglas, wife of the defendant, was the first witness called Thursday morning by the defense. She stated her husband had been shot and went to West Texas, later returning to her father’s farm where they resided for some time. She said her sister, Texana Hall, for whose death her husband is being tried, was living at the family home and denied there had been any ill feeling between her husband and sister. Mrs. Douglas said she talked with her husband near her father’s house on the night of the fatal shooting. She said Davis January went out to his car and said the keys were gone. She testified January went toward the field and said she heard a gun shot. She went to the body of January, and said she stumbled over a gun. She said she was going for a doctor when she heard the second shot.

Mrs. Douglas said her daughter, Inez January, wife of Davis January, had ill feeling toward her (Mrs. January’s) father, the defendant, since January shot Douglas.

Dewey Douglas, brother of the defendant, testified Davis January had threatened to kill the defendant and he (Dewey) had told Charlie about the threats.

Lee Baker, son of Sheriff Baker of Henderson county, said Mrs. Inez January told him her father had killed Davis January and Miss Hall. He said a pistol was found about five feet from the place where January fell. With the completion of the testimony of this witness, the defense rested.

Bert Hodge was called by the state as the first rebuttal witness. Other state rebuttal witnesses included Robert Featherston, W. E. Hinkle and Henry Hall.

The state is asking the death penalty. The defendant entered a plea of guilty (sic) and filed a motion for a suspended sentence in the event of conviction.

The case for the slaying of Davis January was not set for trial this term of court. The case for the fatal shooting of Miss Hall started here Monday morning.

Witnesses testifying Wednesday afternoon included Mrs. Inez January, Curtis Green, Houston Green, all for the state, and Mrs. Inez January, Sheriff Joel Baker, Victor Baker, Albert Douglas, Ernest Hood, Mrs. Clemmie Douglas and the defendant for the defense.

Corsicana, Texas, Feb. 3—Twelve witnesses had testified for the state in the trial of Charlie Douglas in the Thirteenth judicial district court Wednesday at noon when court recessed. The jury in whose hands the case will rest after testimony has been completed, was selected Tuesday afternoon and the testimony was started after the defendant had been arraigned and had entered a plea of not guilty. The defense, however, filed a motion for a suspended sentence in the event of conviction.

The court room again was packed to capacity Wednesday morning.

Corsicana, Texas, Feb. 5.—A formal motion for a new trial was filed in the local District Court Friday afternoon by counsel for Charlie Douglas, Henderson county farmer, who was given twenty-three years in the penitentiary by a jury Friday in a trial for the fatal shooting of his sister-in-law, Miss Texana Hall, in Henderson county, April 12, 1931.

It is likely the case will be appealed if the motion for new trial is overruled.

Douglas also still faces an indictment for murder in connection with the fatal shooting of Davis January, the defendant’s son-in-law, on the same night of the slaying of Miss Hall.

March 31, 1932, Front page

Two Witnesses Refute Testimony In Douglas Trial

After a motion for a new trial for Charlie Douglas had been denied Friday at Corsicana, Attorney Will Justice announced that an appeal from the 23 year sentence given him last month would be made to the Court of Criminal Appeals at Austin. Douglas was convicted for the fatal shooting of Miss Texana Hall. Testimony given at the hearing at Corsicana Friday morning by the defense was made in an effort to convince the court that certain portions of the testimony given during the trial was incorrect.

Changes Testimony.

Ferrell Douglas, son of the accused and one of the principal state’s witnesses at the first trial here last July but who did not testify at the trial February last, changed some of his testimony in the previous trial. He admitted he denied telling two boys about his brother-in-law, Davis January, going to his car and getting something and also admitted he had told the boys, a Hodge and Featherston boy, about the gun. He had denied this conversation before. He said he told the two boys they might get into trouble about the transaction. He said he was changing his testimony because “I think I ought to tell the truth,” he continued.

Inez January, daughter of the defendant, who was slain at the same time Miss Texana Hall, a sister-in-law of Douglas, last April, was shot [to] death, repudiated her testimony given in the two previous trials relative to that portion in which she testified she saw her father raise his gun to his shoulder at the time Miss Hall was fatally shot. She said she was sitting on the ground with the head of her husband, D. January, in her lap, at the time the shot was fired which is alleged to have slain Miss Hall, and that she did not see her father, a gun, or anything at all. She said she testified before like she did “because I was mad at him,” and that she was telling it different at the present time because she had done wrong and wanted to tell the truth about the occurrence.

February 2, 1933, Front page

Four Surrender After Two Are Wounded on Dallas Highway

Four men, Loyce Gregg, Robert January, Derious January and Brown L. Hughes, surrendered to Sheriff Jess Sweeten and Deputy Lee Wright at Kirby’s stone at Malakoff Friday shortly before 11:00 o’clock, nearly an hour after Charlie Douglas and his brother, Dewey (Fate) Douglas were found bleeding from buck shot wounds in a cotton field just this side of the Henry Larkin store, about 3 miles from Athens on the Dallas highway.

Bill Larkin, one of the first to be informed of the shooting, rushed to the scene to find the two Douglas brothers prostrate on the ground and bleeding freely. Larkin had been called to the cotton field where the men lay by Melvin Douglas, 8, son of Charlie Douglas. The boy told Larkin that “someone is shooting at my daddy.” Larkin immediately summoned aid.

Sheriff Jess Sweeten and Deputies rushed to the scene but found that the men accused of the shooting, had gone. Shortly afterward they called the sheriff’s office and told officers to come to Kirby’s store at Malakoff and arrest them.

Each Have Many Wounds.

The two wounded men were rushed to Athens and taken immediately to the office of Dr. R. E. Henderson in the Palace Drug store where Dr. Henderson and Dr. N. D. Geddie dressed their wounds. Both had received numerous wounds about their bodies. The wounds received by Charlie Douglas included one shot in the center of the lower part of the back, one or more in the left arm, wounds in the left wrist and in the left leg. The wound in the back appeared to be the most serious.

Dewey (Fate) Douglas received wounds in the groin, one shot in the right side of the neck, and wounds in the upper part of the right arm, back of the right shoulder, between the left knee and ankle. The latter’s wounds are such that it appears that he was running and looking back at the time he was injured.

Albert Douglas and Charlie Douglas’ small son, did not flee from the car with the other two and were not fired upon. Albert however, is reported to have sought shelter after the shooting began.

Tells of Shooting.

While physicians dressed his wounds, Dewey Douglas told his version of the shooting. He said that he, Charlie Douglas, Albert Douglas and Charlie’s small son, Melvin, were driving down the Dallas highway toward Pickens Spur when they passed a car occupied by the four accused men. “Shortly afterward,” he continued the car drove by us and stopped up the road some distance and some of the men got out of the car with guns in their hands. Sensing trouble we stopped our car and made a break down the highway dump and across a cotton field but were hit about the time we reached the middle of the cotton field. Several shots were fired.”

Douglas named Loyce Gregg as the man who shot him, stating that Gregg fired twice.

When questioned by County Attorney A. D. Boyd the four men accused in the shooting refused to talk stating that they would “see a lawyer before doing any talking.” Shortly before noon they were removed to the county jail, being placed upstairs with the other prisoners.

Many Visit Scene.

The call that sent Sheriff Jess Sweeten to the scene of the shooting also attracted the attention of scores of local citizens who drove out to the cotton field to view the spot where the men fell. Two pools of blood, one much larger than the other, showed where the two men had fallen in their flight across the field. The ground about the two pools of blood was badly torn up. It appeared as though both of the men had made strenuous efforts to get up after falling.

Boy Is Questioned.

Melvin Douglas, who was in the car with his father just before the shooting, was questioned by County Attorney Boyd Friday morning. Not in the least excited by the events of the morning he told how he had gone to the Larkin house for aid and gave other information not revealed by Mr.. Boyd.

Previous Trouble.

The trouble is an aftermath of the killing by Charlie Douglas of Davis January, 24, and Miss Texana Hall, 46, at the H. M. Hall farm one half mile northeast of the Athens Fish and Game Club on April 12, 1931. Douglas was indicted in this county and the case later carried to Navarro county on a change of venue. During his first trial there Douglas cut himself after the case was under way and a mistrial was granted. In the second trial he was given twenty-three years in the Hall case but the case was reversed when attorneys for the defense introduced an affidavit in the higher court producing new evidence. Douglas is now out on bond of $6,000 in one case and $4,000 in the other.

Bond of $2,000 each were posted Saturday afternoon at 3:00 o’clock by the four men charged with assault and attempt to murder following the wounding of Charlie and Dewey (Fate) Douglas Friday morning near Larkin’s store on the Dallas highway. Each of the four men posted two $1,000 bonds. Each faces two charges of assault and attempt to murder.

The men, Robert January, Derious January, Brown L. Hughes and Loyce Gregg, waived examining trial on the charges.

Clay Cotton, of Palestine, attorney for the men, made a hurried trip from Houston Saturday to confer with the men.

February 2, 1933

Loyce Gregg Is Indicted In Shooting Here

It became known here shortly after noon Saturday that members of the sheriff’s force had orders to arrest Loyce Gregg on an indictment returned by the grand jury Friday charging him with “Assault to murder Dewey Douglas.”

Gregg, Robert January, Derious January and Brown L. Hughes, recently were released from custody on bonds totaling $2,000 each, on charges filed after Charlie Douglas and Dewey (Fate) Douglas were found wounded on the morning of Friday, January 27 in a cotton field on the Dallas highway.

November 16, 1933

To Seek Change Of Venue In Douglas Murder Trial

Attorney W. D. Justice said Monday that he would ask a change of venue in the Charlie Douglas case, which was tried twice at Corsicana. Justice will ask that the case be removed to the district court at Palestine. Douglas, who was given a 23 year sentence at Corsicana when tried for the murder of Miss Texana Hall, of Henderson county, has been free on bond since securing a new trial . He has lately been picking cotton in West Texas.

Douglas was first indicted in Henderson county in the murders of Davis January, his son-in-law, and Miss Hall, his sister-in-law. The fatal shooting occurred on the H. M. Hall farm in the Flat Creek community East of Athens.

September 27, 1934

Flat Creek, Sept. 24.—Raymond Hood and Mrs. Inez January, who will be remembered as Miss Douglas, before her marriage, both of this place were united in marriage Saturday night at Brownsboro, the groom being the eldest son of Mrs. Albert Hood and the bride the oldest daughter of Mrs. Clemmie Douglas. Everyone wish them much happiness and prosperity.

August 15, 1935

Robert January Dies At Home West of Athens

Robert January, 54, lifelong resident of Henderson county, and a well known farmer of the Pickens Spur area, died at his home in that community Friday morning following a serious illness of several weeks.

He recently had returned to his home after undergoing treatment at a hospital, where physicians are reported to have despaired of efforts to prolong his life.

Funeral services were held at the Payne Cemetery Sunday morning at 10 o’clock, the services being under the direction of Carroll & Lehr Funeral Home of Athens. They were conducted by Rev. J. W. Williford, well known minister of Eustace.

The deceased was born at Old Goshen in this county and the major part of his life was spent in farming in the Pickens Spur area. He was reared by Mr. and Mrs. H. D. Pickens, prominent citizens of the Pickens Spur community. He was a nephew of Mrs. Pickens.

Mr. January is survived by his wife and four children; one son, Derious, who lives at home; three daughters, Miss Annie January, New York City; Mrs. Minnie Armstrong, Pickens Spur; Mrs. Elsie Warren, of near Eustace.

Other survivors include two sisters, Miss Cassie January of Los Angeles, Calif., now a visitor at Pickens Spur, and Mrs. Amanda Davis, Miles, Texas; two brothers, Derious and Mitchell January, both of Canton.

January 2, 1936, Front page

County Man to Be Tried January 2nd At Palestine

The murder trial of Charlie Douglas, Henderson county farmer has been set for January 2nd in the district court at Palestine, it has been announced here.

Douglas will go to trial for the slaying of his sister-in-law, Texana Hall.

A special venire of one hundred men has been drawn for the trial which will see Attorney Will Justice of Athens as chief defense counsel.

September 2, 1937

Douglas Gets Three Years On Agreed Verdict

Charlie Douglass, who went to trial at Palestine on Monday on a murder charge, accepted a three year sentence on an agreed verdict in 87th district court at Palestine Tuesday.

Earlier in the trial prosecuting attorneys had agreed to a five year sentence but defense attorneys would not accept it. After the jury had been completed Tuesday attorneys again got together and agreed on a three year sentence.

Attorneys w. D. Justice and Richard Sigler of Athens were defending Douglass. Senator Clay Cotton was employed as special prosecutor.

December 10, 1959

Funeral Held Wednesday for Charlie Douglas

Charlie Douglas, 68, died at 2:05 p.m., Tuesday in a local hospital after a lengthy illness.

He had lived in Henderson County for 61 years, and was a retired carpenter and farmer. He was born in Johnson County May 17, 1891.

Mr. Douglas is survived by three sons, Melvin Douglas of Murchison, Ferrell Douglas of Dallas, and Earl Douglas of San Bernardino, Calif.; two daughters, Mrs. Raymond Hood of Corsicana and Mrs. Darrell Snowden of Sweeney; two brothers, Fate Douglas of Athens and Albert Douglas of Dallas; two sisters, Mrs. John Wheeler of Athens and Mrs. Homer Williams of Freeport, and 14 grandchildren.

Funeral services were held Wednesday at 3 p.m. from Carroll and Lehr Memory Chapel with the Rev. J. W. Williford of Eustace officiating, and interment was made in Athens City Cemetery.

Submitted by Janet Cook

Crimes & Punishments
The New Henderson Co. TX TXGenWeb

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