The Death of Ben Allen
Notes from submitter of the above
The attached story & newspaper clipping
tell of the
death of Ben Onie Allen of Mills River, Henderson County, North
Carolina. It is thought that Ben Allen is buried in the Poe Mill
Cemetery in Greenville, South Carolina. The cemetery no longer exists.
I have researched out each of the people involved in the following
story except J. G. Lindley. Would be interested in finding more about
Co-host notes: In 1910, J.G. Lindley was related to Newport, Cocke
County residents, O.G. Lindley and Ed Lindley, his father and brother.
Elijah Benoni (Ben Oney) Allen was born May 13, 1878
at Mills River, Henderson County, North Carolina, the son of Rev.
William Martin & Mary
Matilda Justus Allen. He died April 14, 1910 at Poe Mill in Greenville
County, South Carolina. He married December 4, 1897, McDowell County, North Carolina to Artie Ella Mae Dalton, born 1882, McDowell County, North Carolina.
Artie Dalton's parents were William Bailey Dalton
and Margaret M. Davis, both of the Crooked Creek area of McDowell Co.
Ben and Artie Allen had four children:
1. Fairy Matilda Allen, born January 31, 1899, died October 31, 1947,
She married Allen Andrew Vess; she is buried at Davistown Cemetery in
2. Oscar Lee Oney Allen, born October 13, 1900, McDowell County, North
Carolina, died September 17, 1987, Laurens County, South Carolina. He
married Vergia Melissa Davis.
3. Clarence Allen born about 1903.
4. Clyde Allen born about 1906.
Artie Dalton Allen married Noah Merlin Vess of McDowell Co. N.C. after
the death of Ben Allen. Artie died in 1945 and is buried at
Bethel-Cherry Springs Cemetery in McDowell Co. N.C.
Ben Allen had a sister named Arminta Lena "Minte" Allen that
married James Logan Davis of McDowell Co. N.C. His Parents were John Wesley Davis and Rhoda Dalton. Rhoda Dalton and William Bailey Dalton were brother and sister.
The following Newspaper clippings are about the death of Ben
Allen and the man who shot him.
The Greenville Daily News, April 15, 1910
Mystery shrouds the death of Ben Allen, a white man of
201 Hammett Street, Poe
Mill, who either committed suicide or was murdered yesterday morning at
his home at 1:00 o'clock.
SHROUDS THE KILLING OF BEN ALLEN
Did Mill man commit suicide or was he Murdered?
MAN ARRESTED AND NOW IN JAIL
J.C. Lindley, who boarded at the dead man's home, 204 Hammett Street, Poe Mill, arrested by Deputy Sheriff John Hunsinger and will be held on murder charge --
Though it was rumored that Allen's wife was intimate with Lindsey, he refused
to believe that she was untrue.
J.G. Lindley is now in jail, having been arrested
Deputy Sheriff Hunsinger late yesterday because a high feeling against
him existed among the neighbors
near the home and it was thought that possibly he would have been
roughly by the people. He will be held in connection with the
affair. When taken to the jail he refused to talk of the matter.
About one thirty o'clock yesterday morning the
villagers of Poe Mill were
disturbed by the clear report of a revolver firing, and upon
was found that Allen was lying on a bed with a bullet wound in his
right temple. Death was evidently quick, for the missile ploughed its
through the brain.
Coroner Batson was summoned about daylight and he
took charge of the case. A
jury was selected and inquest was held over the body at - o'clock, and
about two hours of deliberation the jury returned a verdict "that the
came to his death from a gunshot wound at hands unknown to the
jury." The jury was divided in its opinion. Some thought it was just a
of suicide, while others held out that he was killed by some
body. Perhaps the most starling testimony taken was that of Allen's
father, who said that
been with his son the evening before and that he was cheerful, and that
not believe his son committed suicide and that he met with foul play.
He objected to telling who he suspected of having killed his son, but
coroner clearing the room of spectators, Mr. Allen said he suspected a
man, and when pressed for a direct answer, said he believed the man was
Lindley, and when asked why he suspictioned Lindley Mr. Allen said that
because there had been a good deal of talk about Lindley being intimate
his son's wife while they lived in North Carolina and also since they
in Greenville. He added that his son wouldn't believe that his wife was
to her sacred vows, and for this reason alone he said his son did not
reason why he should take his life. Lindley boarded at the house and at
the time of the shooting, claims he was sleeping in the other room on a
the floor. This room was also occupied by Allen's wife, who was there
four children who were sick with measles. It was said that Lindley
stay up at night and attend to the children while the husband slept.
In testifying Lindley said he did not know
of the shooting till Mrs. Lindley woke him up by saying that she had
heard a shot and thought the sound came from the next room. Lindley
said he went to the door and saw a
bullet hole in Allen's head. This statement caused some comment, for
spectators wanted to know how in the dark he could see a bullet hole in
man's head when he was lying on a bed several yards from the door.
One point that puzzled the jury mostly, and which
doubt caused it to reach the verdict above instead of saying that the
dead man came to his death
by gunshot wounds in his own hands, was the position in which the
was lying. It was but a few inches from the man's head and the muzzle
pointed toward the wound. According to the laws of nature a pistol when
in such close proximity to a person's head will not drop in a perfect
but will fall with the head, possibly going several feet from the body
barrel pointing in another direction. Another point which directed the
too was the fact that the dead man's eyes were closed as if in perfect
It is said that when a person commits suicide, especially inflicting a
in the head, that the eyes will not close entirely. Some even thought
was shot while sleeping and that the pistol was laid close to his head
as a bluff.
The dead man's father said reports as to the woman's
intimacy with Lindley
often reached his son but the son loved his wife and wouldn't listen to
of scandal and shame, believing that she was true to her vows. He said
saw no reason for his son to commit suicide, and believed that he was
The Greenville Daily News, April 1910
J.G. Lindley, the young white man held in connection with the
death of Ben Allen, who either committed suicide or was murdered
nights ago will demand a preliminary hearing one day this week before
the local magistrates to know upon what grounds the state is holding
connection with this killing. He has employed Attorney Jas. H. Price to
WILL ASK FOR PRELIMINARY
J.G. Lindley, held in connection with killing of Ben Allen,
The Greenville Daily News, April 29, 1910
Sensational developments have come to light in the recent
mysterious death of Ben Allen, the white man who was found dead at his
home on Hammett street, Poe Mill, over a week ago with a bullet in his
right temple. The man's wife has revealed some startling facts that may tend to make
it go hard with J.G. Lindley, the boarder in the house, who has been held in
jail under suspicion.
MURDER THE THEORY ADVANCED BY WIFE
Mrs. Ben Allen makes sensational statement to Coroner Batson,
says her husband was killed.
Wife of Poe Mill man, who was recently found dead in
bed says she believes Lindley shot her husband --
She now says she
heard shot and hurrying
footsteps afterward in same room --
Claims Lindley and her husband had
on best of terms --
Also says suspected man had asked her to leave her
Yesterday morning Coroner Batson and Deputy Sheriff Hunsinger visited the
Allen woman at her home and obtained what is said to be a confession
from her. Last night Sheriff Poole also called on the woman and she talked to
him. The officers say that Mrs. Allen said that prior to the death of her
husband that Lindley and her husband had been at outs with each other and that
Lindley had often told her he intended to kill her husband. Though Mrs.
Lindley did not say so, she left the officers to think that it was understood between
her and Lindley that they would live together after Allen was out of the way,
skipping out to North Carolina or some other state.
It will be remembered that Ben Allen was found
dead at his home with a bullet
wound in his head. A pistol shot was heard about two o'clock one
morning and upon investigation it was found that Allen was dead.
Coroner Batson held an inquest the next morning
and for a while it looked as though it was a case of suicide, but a News reporter insisted that it was not suicide but murder, and after some talk with Coroner Batson and the jury a verdict was rendered that the deceased came to his death from a gunshot wound in the hands of an unknown person. Had the jury returned a verdict that Allen came to his death from a gunshot wound in his own hands, the case would
have ended, but after working out a few theories the jury returned the
verdict which left the case open for the law.
Perhaps the most interesting testimony given was
that of the father of Allen. With tears in his eyes the gray-haired veteran said that he suspected foul play and when pressed by the coroner to give the name of the person he suspected, he mentioned Lindley. He said that the report was current in
North Carolina, when his son lived there that Mrs. Allen and Lindley were
intimate and that the same tales were spread around since they moved to
Greenville. Lindley boarded at the Allen home and while the children were sick with
measles he agreed to stay up at night and give them medication. He
slept in Mrs. Allen's room on a pallet on the floor, while Mr. Allen slept in
When Mr. Allen was found dead his body was in the
attitude of perfect sleep, the eyes being shut peacefully, and there was not even a sign on his face that he had died hard. A pistol was found a few inches from his head, the muzzle pointing toward the wound. The position of the revolver was what
attracted the newspaper man's attention and he called the coroner's notice to it.
Nine times out of ten when a man commits suicide and puts the muzzle of a gun to
his head the gun after being discharged will not fall perfectly straight, but
through kicking will hurl over and the muzzle point in another direction.
In the course of her story to the officers it is
said that Mrs. Allen said that about one o'clock Lindley was talking to her and said that she had better go to sleep as she needed some rest. She said that a lantern was
burning in a little room adjoining and that Lindley got up and put this lantern out.
She says she heard the report of a revolver and the noise of a man's feet
stepping quickly across the room. She said she got up and went over to
the hearth where Lindley generally slept and that he had his head wrapped up in a
quilt and pretended to be sound asleep.
According to the officers she gave as her reason
for not testifying this way at the inquest that she was afraid and did not care to tell.
While the woman told nothing of any real
understanding between her and Lindley about leaving Greenville together, the officers picked from her conversation that Lindley was madly infatuated with her and that he had made overtures to her to dispose of all her goods and get ready to leave
with him. The officers say that Mrs. Allen said that Lindley and her husband had
been good friends up until a few weeks before his death and for a while
almost daily disputes and angry words passed between the two. The
woman says she had no part in the killing of her husband and did not conspire with Lindley for his death. She denied being intimate with Lindley but did not deny she
did not intend leaving with him after the death of her husband. Lindley has
claimed his innocence all along and even yesterday _______.
The Greenville Daily News, April 30, 1910
J.G. Lindley, the young white man held on the
charge of murdering Ben Allen at his home on Hammett Street, Poe Mill, one night about ten days ago, will be given a preliminary hearing today at noon before Magistrate Stridley, his attorneys Messier Jas. W. Price and George M. Pritchard having demanded that he be given a preliminary hearing.
ALLEN'S ALLEGED SLAYER GETS PRELIMINARY TODAY
J.G. Lindley, held on murder charge will be examined at noon.
MRS. ALLEN GIVES INTERVIEW
But conversation was suddenly stopped by her father-in-law
who ordered reporter out of the house, however she talked enough to fully
corroborate statements given to county officers the day before --
something of the
woman and her children.
When seen at the jail yesterday Lindley seemed not
to be unnerved by the confession of Mrs. Allen, in which she claims her husband met with foul play, and he stoutly protested his innocence. However, he refused to give out an interview, saying that he cared not to talk until his trial.
A News reporter called on Mrs. Allen at the home
of her Father-in-law at Poe Mill yesterday and obtained a partial confession from her, but before the conversation was complete the old man interfered by ordering the
newspaper man from his home, saying that he did not propose to have the matter aired in the newspapers and charging the reporter with being in league with his
brother who is one of the attorney's representing the defendant.
When the reporter first called Mr. Allen invited
him in the house and seemed to be quite civil. Mrs Allen the wife of the dead man, was in the kitchen and it was while in this room that the father of the dead man suddenly changed his mind about allowing his daughter-in-law to talk about the matter and ordered the reporter out of his home with practically threats of violence. When assured of the fact that the reporter wanted a clear-cut story from
Mrs. Allen regardless of whether it was favorable to his brother's client or not.
Mr. Allen wouldn't listen and was even more insulting. Mrs. Allen dictated
a partial confession to the reporter, but he was forced to put the writing in
the stove, but he did not forget what was told him nevertheless.
Mrs Allen seemed anxious to tell the story of the
shooting and no doubt would have given a more complete confession than the ones given to the county officials, had she not been interrupted by her father-in-law.
Mrs. Allen said that about one o'clock on the
night of the killing she had about dozed off to sleep when she heard a pistol shot in the adjoining room where her husband was sleeping and also heard her little girl scream. She said that Lindley slept on a pallet in her room, not another bed and not
close to her bed. She said upon the report of the pistol she awoke and saw
Lindley fall down on his pallet. She said she got up and went over to where he was
and pushed him on the shoulder a couple of times before he would raise up.
She said she asked him what the firing of the pistol meant and he told her
he didn't know. About this time Mr. Allen came in the room and
the interview was broken into. However, The News exclusive story yesterday was
right to the point according to Deputy Sheriff Hunsinger, Coroner Batson and Sheriff
Poole, all of whom talked to the woman, and claim she told them enough to make
it warm for Lindley.
In calling on Mrs. Allen yesterday The News
reporter could not help but feel a touch of sympathy for the four little children of the dead man. Around the table they were seated in the kitchen eating their dinner not realizing the great _ _ _ _ that would follow them to think to _ _ _ _ that of their
mother being talked of as being a woman untrue to her marriage vows. Mrs.
Allen is not an ugly woman, neither is she a pretty woman. Her complexion is
clear, her hair dark, her eyes brown and even frank, and by looking into them one
would not suspect that she could be treacherous to the man she was supposed
to love and honor. She was courteous too and she seemed to regret that her
father-in-law saw it to order her not to talk for publication. A large crowd no
doubt will be present today at the preliminary hearing in Magistrate
Stradley's court. There is hardly any doubt but that the case will be sent to the
higher court for trial at the coming term of the court, though the _ _ _ _ _
of having the preliminary ordered according to the defendant's attorneys
is simply to _ _ _ _ _the exact nature of the charge of murder against
Lindley and weather or not the alleged proof of the shooting is sufficient to
Note: the following is only the part of the
that pertains to Ben Allen.
The Greenville Daily News, May 2, 1910
Perhaps the two most interesting jail cases that no doubt
will come up are
the Liddell and Allen Murders. Mystery surrounds both the killings and
the outcome of these two trials will be watched with interest. Liddell was
brutally murdered and for his murder three men have been arrested. They
each claim their innocence and have retained prominent lawyers to defend
them. Mr. Ed Pepper, brother of Jim Pepper has retained McCoullough and Blythe to
defend his brother and will fight for his freedom until the last. Fuller's
friends have retained Mr. Jas. H. Price and M. George M. Pritchard to defend
him, and Mr. T.K. Earle will represent Joe Barker.
CRIMINAL COURT WILL CONVENE TODAY
Grand Jury indicted J.G. Lindley for the murder of Ben Allen.
The mere fact that a mystery surrounds the death
of Ben Allen makes the case of J.G. Lindley all the more interesting.
Lindley's brother and father have come to his rescue. They live in Newport, Tenn. and the brother has already arrived in the city to be with his brother during trial. Sensational developments have recently come to light in the Allen case, and they
may have some bearing on the outcome of the trial. However Lindley Stoutly
denies his guilt and is anxious for a trial. He is represented by Price and
The Greenville Daily News, May, 1910
Nothing more than what was printed in the news
exclusive stories of Thursday and Friday morning about the confession of Mrs. Ben Allen as to the killing of her husband came out yesterday at noon at the preliminary hearing of J.G. Lindley, the white man held on the charge of murdering Allen. After
hearing the case Magistrate Stradley ordered that Lindley be sent to the
criminal court for trial. It will be remembered that on Thursday morning The News carried a story to the effect that Mrs. Allen had given a confession to
the county officials in which she says she believes her husband was murdered by
Lindley. At the trial yesterday nothing more than what has been printed
in these columns before came up.
LINDLEY'S CASE SENT UP TO HIGHER COURT
White man held for murder of Ben Allen at Poe Mill given
preliminary yesterday at noon before magistrate Stradley --
Big crowd was present to hear interesting case.
A great crowd was in the court room to hear the
preliminary. In fact the halls in the building were packed, everybody curious to get a glimpse at the woman in the case. She sat there with head bowed and fingers nervously twisting between the others. Near her sit her father-in-law, who though
she has been the recipient of a lot of talk of scandal, seemed to want to
shield her character from anything that might develop in the trial.
The defendant is represented by Mr. Jas. H. Price
and Mr. George M. Pritchard and they closely questioned the witnesses in the case.
The Greenville Daily News, Thursday Morning, May
Today a jury of twelve good men will decide the
fate of J.G. Lindley, who is being tried for the murder of Ben Allen at Poe Mill over two weeks ago.
LINDLEY'S FATE RESTS WITH THE JURY TODAY.
CHARGED WITH THE MURDER OF BEN ALLEN ABOUT TWO WEEKS AGO.
MUST BE ACQUITTED OR HANGED.
Most unique case in criminal annals of Greenville County in the fact that the
jury must return a verdict of either Guilty without mercy or not Guilty --
was started at noon yesterday and testimony was in by five o'clock.
The case was begun at twelve o'clock yesterday
after the jury in the case of the State against Ernest Gowens had returned a verdict of guilty of murder in the first degree with recommendation to mercy. Gowens shot and killed Warren Mason at Paris Station about two weeks ago and must serve a life
sentence in the penitentiary.
The Lindley case is perhaps the most unique and
interesting of any case ever tried in the criminal court of Greenville, and perhaps the fastest case ever heard in the general session. The case was started at noon and by five o'clock practically all the evidence was in.
It will be remembered that Ben Allen was found
dead in his bed at his home about one o'clock at night and Lindley was arrested charged with his murder though the coroner's jury at first wanted to return a verdict of
suicide by Allen, but in order to leave the case open for investigation a verdict
was rendered that the deceased came to his death from a gunshot wounds in
the hands of an unknown party.
The uniqueness of the case lies in the fact that
the jury can only render two verdicts, either guilty of murder without recommendation to mercy or not guilty. The state charges that Lindley murdered Allen while he slept,
while the defendant claims his innocence.
The main grounds upon which Lindley is being tried
is upon a recent statement by Mrs. Allen that she heard the pistol shot and saw Lindley drop to his cot in her room a few seconds later. It is an admitted fact that as three of the children in the Allen family were sick with measles. Lindley had agreed
to sleep in Mrs. Allen's room to look after the children at night, while Allen slept in an adjoining room. Mrs. Allen has told two stories about the death of her husband. At the coroner's inquest she testified that she did not even hear the pistol shot and knew nothing of the shooting. Later she gave out a statement to the coroner, Sheriff Poole and Deputy Sheriff Hunsinger and part of one to a News reporter -- Whose interview was ended abruptly by being ordered out of the house by the father of the dead man -- in which she claims she heard the pistol shot and that she saw Lindley fall to his cot. It is upon this evidence that the state expects to win its case.
Attorneys Jas. H. Price and George M. Pritchard
representing the defendant feel that the jury will give a verdict of not guilty because of two conflicting tales told by Mrs. Lindley.
They bought it out in the trial yesterday that one of the
two stories must have been a falsehood and that under such circumstances the jury could hardly afford to convict a man of murder in the first degree, for which he
would hang. Mrs. Allen explained yesterday on the witness stand that the
reason she did not give this statement at the inquest was that she was frightened. It
took some time yesterday to draw the jury for the defense, Objected to
ten jurors and the state excused five. For a while It was thought that it
would be necessary to draw an extra venire of jurors to get a jury, but the jury
in the case of Ernest Gowans came out about this time and four jurors were
selected from this . He will complete his argument this morning and Solicitor
Bonham will close for the state.
JuryThe following is the jury in the Lindley case: Robert
Turner, J.C. Mitchell, A.S. Agnew, John Griffith, Clarence Watson, W.E. Mackey, J.S.
Hill, L.C. Coker, L.R. Henderson Forman, T.B. Barton and W.R. Golightly.
There were not many witnesses in the case. The
state put up Dr. Wright, who examined the body of Ben Allen; W.M. Allen, The father of the dead man; Miss Mettie Beaver, Sister-in-law of Ben Allen; Mrs. C.E. Allen and Coroner Batson.
Mrs. Allen on the stand repeated the confession she
made to the coroner, the sheriff and the deputy sheriff. She said that Lindley had boarded at her home for almost a year, he first coming to their home in North Carolina. They moved here and first went to the Woodside Mill, but afterwards moved to Poe Mill and had been there but about two weeks when Allen's death
occurred. The woman was cross examined severely by Attorney Price.
Only two witnesses were put up by the defense.
Lindley himself testified, claiming his innocence stoutly. Lindley's brother, Ed Lindley, who came here from his home in Tennessee to be with his brother during his trial,
testified that he knew Allen and not long ago heard him say that he was of a
"good mind to end it all." Mrs Allen admitted on the stand that her husband had
been under treatment of a physician before he came to Greenville and was
still sick. The object of the defense was to show that there were reasons for
Allen to commit suicide.
As stated above this is perhaps one of the most
unique cases on record in Greenville County. It is unique in the fact that it is the shortest big murder case on trial, that is in the length of time occupied in its hearing,
and too in the fact that the jury must return either a verdict of not guilty or
guilty. If he is found guilty he must hang, for in such a case there
can be no recommendation of mercy by the court for the state alleges that the man
was shot in cold blood while sleeping. This prevents the jury if it finds a
verdict of guilty from recommending mercy or returning a verdict of manslaughter. Then the other verdict is not guilty.
Mr. George M. Pritchard made the opening argument
for the defense. Mr. Price then followed, but not only part the way through his argument as the court adjourned at 6:30 o'clock. The case is of unusual interest and the mere fact that the jury can return but a verdict of either not guilty or guilty,
makes the trial doubly interesting. Mr. Pritchard made a fine plea for the defense, and Mr. Price's speech as _ _ as he spoke was well directed. The Solicitor, who has a fine delivery of speech and a man of good address to a jury, will make the only argument for the state this morning and he will endeavor to impress it upon the jury that Lindley is guilty.
Judge Watts will charge the jury immediately upon
the close of arguments by Mr. Price and Mr. Bonham and Lindley's fate will rest in the hands of the jury.
A little human interest story came out in the trial yesterday and those who know it were greatly touched. Ed Lindley a young brother of the man
on trial, sat in the court room and from the beginning of the trial until court adjourned at 6:30 o'clock, tear after tear flowed down his youthful cheeks and as his attorneys would make a good move he would exclaim in a meek voice "thank God." He is nothing but a youth, about eighteen years and when asked why his father could not come from his home in Tennessee to be at his brother's trial, he said with tears in his eyes that his father was very sick and could not come.
No doubt a big crowd will be in the court room
to hear the arguments of
Mr. Price and Mr. Bonham and will wait with breathless silence the
announcement of the jury's verdict which will be either condemn Lindley
death on the gallows or will make him a free man.
The Greenville Daily News, Friday Morning, May
A great crowd packed into the court room yesterday
morning to hear the arguments in the case. The testimony taken on Wednesday was purely circumstantial, but it seems to be connecting and strong and though his
attorneys Messes Jas. H. Price and George M. Pritchard made pleas for his
freedom, the jury returned a verdict of guilty of murder in the first degree
without mercy. His attorneys gave notice of a motion of a new trial and Judge
Watts did not set the day for the execution. The motion will be heard
tomorrow. If a new trial is granted it means that Lindley will have a better
chance for his life, but if not he must pay the penalty as prescribed by law,
death by strangulation on the gallows.
J.G. LINDLEY CONVICTED OF MURDER OF ALLEN
Must pay penalty if other developments do not arise.
NEW TRIAL ASKED BY ATTORNEYS
Evidence was circumstantial but convinced jury.
Jury had to either convict or acquit.
Case attracted much interest and many made inquiries as to finding of the Jury.
Matter may be carried to the supreme court of the state if a new trial is not granted.
Unless Judge Watts will grant the motion of his
attorneys for a new trial, J.G. Lindley charged with the murder of Ben Allen at Poe Mill about two weeks ago, must hang, thereby paying for the penalty of the crime the State alleges he has committed.
All during the trial Lindley sat there unmoved while
his youthful brother shed tears. Even when the verdict of the jury was read to him, Lindley did not seem to pale one bit but his faithful little brother took the court's
decision to heart and left the court room in tears, while the officers conducted
his brother to prison to await the final disposition of his case.
The arguments for the defense and for the state
were brilliant in the
extreme. Mr. Pritchard made a splendid plea for Lindly which was
an impressive address by Mr. Price. Then Solicitor Bonham spoke for the
Judge Watts charged the jury as in the law in the
case and said he was going to leave the evidence entirely in their hands.
As was announced in the News yesterday the case
was such that the jury could bring in but a verdict of either guilty or not guilty. In other words if Lindley did kill Allen while the unfortunate man lay sleeping what
could the offense be but cold blooded murder. Then if the jury felt that Allen
had committed suicide or that he was shot by other parties then Lindley's
acquittal was necessary, so the jury could only bring in either one of the two
It was upon circumstantial evidence that Lindley was
convicted mainly and it might be said exclusively on the testimony of Mrs. Allen, who said that she heard a shot fired and in a few seconds saw Lindley drop to his cot. It
was partly upon this testimony that Lindley was convicted.
The Allen case has attracted perhaps more attention
than even the Liddell case, and the case is perhaps the shortest one on record for the time occupied in trying it. Owing to the shortness of time the defendant was unable
to get any witnesses and only he and his brother testified in his behalf. Four
or five witnesses testified for the state.
The real truth in the matter may never be known or
if Lindley pays the death penalty, that is if he is guilty, he might give out some information that would forever set at rest whether or not Allen committed suicide or was shot. Who knows but that Lindley is either a most diabolical criminal or else
an innocent who must give his life to law for the alleged murder of Allen.
Back up in Tennessee Lindley has one true friend, though the fingers of illness are gripping his very vitals, who is perhaps heartbroken over
the news that Lindley must hang. This friend is Lindley's father.
As the attorneys in the case made their arguments
they would frequently pick up the pistol with which it is thought Allen either committed suicide or was murdered and would speak of its deadly mission. Perhaps when the
reporter for the News looked in the end of the barrel of that pistol while it lay on
the court stenographer's desk, a great story could be unfuried if that piece of cold steel could only speak. It could tell a story that would either send Lindley's soul into torment as murder of the meanest type or would release him as an innocent man.
If Lindley is guilty and the death sentence is placed upon him he no doubt will issue a statement before the sheriff leads him to the rear yard of
the county jail where the old gallows, which has ended the lives of many men,
telling the absolute truth in the matter.
The Greenville Daily News, May 1910
This morning attorneys Jas. H. Price and George M.
Pritchard will make a motion before Judge Watts for a new trial in the case of J.G. Lindley, who was convicted on Thursday of the murder of Ben Allen at Poe Mill two or
three weeks ago.
LINDLEY'S CASE TO JUDGE TODAY
Judge Watts will hear motion for new trial in Mysterious murder case.
Great crowds no doubt will be in court room to hear motion.
It will be remembered that Allen was found dead in
his bed about one o'clock at night. The theories were advanced at the coroner's inquest, one being that he committed suicide, blooding over ill health and at hearing stories as to his wife's unfaithfulness to her marriage vows, and the other was that
he was murdered by Lindley, who was a boarder in the house.
Lindley was given a trial Thursday and was found
guilty on a chain of circumstantial evidence. The jury did not recommend mercy, for if Allen was murdered as the State charges, the case would be so brutal that the
jury could not feel disposed to give mercy, and unless a new trial is granted by
the judge, Lindley must hang.
Great interest has been manifested in this case and
it is indeed a mysterious one. There are those who believe Lindley guilty, while as many stick to the belief that Allen committed suicide.
The motion will be argued the first thing today
and no doubt the court room will be packed to hear the trial.
The Greenville Daily
News,Sunday Morning, May 15, 1910
Another lease on life has been given J.G. Lindley,
who was on last Thursday convicted in the general sessions court of the alleged murder of Ben Allen. Yesterday his attorneys, Messrs. Jas. H. Price and George M. Pritchard, argued their motion for a new trial before Judge Watts and the judge ordered that the defendant be given a new trial.
LINDLEY IS GIVEN NEW TRIAL BY JUDGE WATTS
Attorneys Made Able Arguments Yesterday in Convicted Man's Behalf
ON GROUNDS OF NEW EVIDENCE
Judge rules that the attorneys have right to bring witnesses here from North
Carolina, Former home of Ben Allen the dead man, to testify as to the
character of Mrs. Allen, upon whose testimony Lindley was convicted.
Attorneys have put up hard fight for man's life.
Most peculiar case
ever tryed in criminal court here.
It was hardly thought by the people of the city that
a new trial would be given Lindley, but his attorneys put up an able argument for him and won their fight on the grounds of after discovered evidence. However the case was really sent back for trial on the fact that the case was called so hurriedly
the attorneys for the defendant could not summon witnesses from North
Carolina to testify as to the character of the woman.
Lindley's attorneys tried to have the case postponed
before the trial, but the solicitor insisted on it being tried. Lindley was convicted of
murder in the first degree, which meant if he didn't get a new trial he would
meet death on the gallows.
Immediately upon the announcement of the verdict
of the court on Thursday, Messrs. Price and Pritchard worked hard and on Friday succeeded in getting the affidavits of several members of the coroner's jury in the Allen case who said that they had heard Allen say that he intended to end his life. They also secured the affidavit of Mr. Brookshire, a man living near the Allen
home, who went into the room with Allen's father, directly after the shooting.
Mr. Brookshire says in his affidavit that Allen's arms were not folded across his
breast as was testified in Lindley's trial by Allen's father, who said his
son's arms were folded and that the pistol was laying on his breast.
But the judge's ruling was that the attorneys had a
right to bring witnesses here from North Carolina, where Allen and his wife lived prior to coming to Greenville, to testify as to Mrs. Allens character.
Mrs. Allen told on the witness stand at the trial on
Wednesday that she heard the shot and saw Lindley come back in her room where he was sleeping and lay back down on his cot. It is said that as three of the Allen children were sick Lindley slept in the room where Mrs. Allen and the children were as to give them medicine during the night and Allen would look after the children during
the early hours of the morning and let Lindley get some sleep.
At the coroner's inquest Mrs. Allen swore she did
not hear the pistol shot and did not know anything of the shooting. It was upon the
two conflicting stories that the attorneys in the case tried to impress it upon the
jury that the testimony of the woman was incompetent. However the jury convicted
Lindley because the chain of circumstantial evidence seemed pretty well
Lindley's attorneys now feel that with an extension
of time they can bring several witnesses here from North Carolina to testify as to the womans character and especially as to her reputation for truth and veracity.
There has perhaps never been a case tried in the
criminal courts here that has attracted more attention. Public sentiment seemed divided on the matter. Some believed that Lindley really killed Allen while others believed that Allen committed suicide.
Technically the jury could only return a verdict of
either guilty or not guilty, though if the jury saw fit it could have recommended mercy or even made it manslaughter. But if Lindley is guilty of killing Allen it can be
nothing but cold blooded murder and therefore the jury can hardly return a
verdict of not guilty. On the other hand if the circumstantial evidence is not
sufficient to convict there would be nothing left but to return a verdict of not guilty.
The Greenville Daily News, Tuesday Morning, June 14, 1910
Through the honesty of a prisoner in the county jail, Sheriff Poole and his deputies were able yesterday to nip in the bud a plan that has been
carefully laid by a prisoner for a delivery from the county jail. In their discovery of
seven steel saws in the cell occupied by J.G. Lindley, the white man charged
with the murder of Ben Allen at Poe Mill not long ago.
PRISONERS PLANNED A DARING JAIL ESCAPE
But Sheriff Poole and his Deputies nipped scheme into the head before it could be carried out.
Seven steel saws were found in cell of J.G. Lindley.
No doubt a jail delivery was planned and the officers believe it was originated by Lindley, assisted by Fred Curlee, a white man also in jail,
charged with having some connection with the big robbery of the Kendricks-
Walker store in Taylors several months ago, but it would have taken months of
hard labor for any man to cut his way to freedom from the county jail and then
his escape can only be effected through his own cell door and through the
corridor door, as it is utterly impossible for a human being to get through
the tiny windows at the county jail.
To effect an escape from the county jail by the use
of steel saws, it would be necessary to cut the bars of the inside cells into and then cut the bars of the outer door. This would take a long time and he no doubt would be
easily caught in the act.
Upon information furnished the sheriff by a prisoner
in the jail, the cell in which Lindley stays was searched. Seven Blue fine steel saws, which are about twelve inches long were found in a crack in the wall and after some
search the handle to the saw was found hanging down from this crack in the floor
next to the wall held up by a string. It was so arranged that when ever needed it
could be drawn back into the cell and one of saws fastened onto it.
Of course a delivery could be made from the county jail in the manner that "Tennessee Dutch" and George Barton made their escape, by the use of nitro glycerin on the floor, but nitro glycerin in the hands of inexperienced
men is dangerous.
Sheriff Poole is investigating the matter thoroughly.
The Greenville Daily News, September 15, 1910
The following jury were chosen for the case of the State vs
J.G. Lindley, who is charged with the murder of Ben Allen: Ed Walker, A.G. Howell, S.J. Hunt, J.G. Smith, Oscar Barton, J.A. McKinley, W.L. Morgan, Ed Noe, John
Freeman, C.D. West, R.H. Lupo and J.F. Loftis. The examination of the witnesses
for the state was carried on by Solicitor Bonham and Price & Pritchard
were the attorneys for the defense.
Trial of J.G. Lindley, murder commenced yesterday afternoon.
LINDLEY CASE CALLED
Only three of the witnesses, all for the State were
examined before adjournment of the court. Dr. Wright, Coroner Batson and Mrs. Ben
Allen. It seemed very difficult for the attorneys to get Mrs. Allen to make any
definite statements and a great deal of time was consumed to getting her to answer
questions put by attorneys for either side.
The Greenville Daily News, Friday Morning, September 16,
Found guilty of murder with recommendation to mercy after a trial of a day and a half. J.G. Lindley was late yesterday afternoon sentenced to life
imprisonment at hard labor by Judge Gary. The jury remained out on the verdict
only a half hour. Messrs. Price and Pritchard conducted the defense.
LIFE SENTENCE FOR J.G. LINDLEY
Alleged Slayer of Ben Allen convicted of murder in Yesterday's court.
Jury made Quick Decision.
After a trial lasting a day and a half, Lindley was
convicted of murder with recommendation to mercy of the court, and
Judge Gary imposed sentence of Life-time imprisonment at hard labor.
Case will probley come up for trial.
Lindley is charged with the murder of Ben Allen near the city, during last April. He was convicted of murder at the last term of the court, but
was granted a new trial on the grounds that he had not had sufficient time to get
together his witnesses. The trial has excited considerable interest throughout. A large number of witnesses were brought up by both the defense and the prosecution, among them was the wife of Ben Allen.
After the jury was selected Wednesday afternoon,
three State witnesses were heard before court adjourned for the day. Dr. Wright, Coroner Eugene Batson and Mrs. Ben Allen. Yesterday morning the examination of the States witnesses continued the following were put on the stand, Dr. J.B. Earle, W.M. Allen and W.P. Brookshire. The defendant's witnesses were Dr. G.P. Walker, W.W. Greer, Albert Belt, J. Burgin, L.C. Blackwelder, J.W. Reed, Sam Thomason, O.G. Lindley, J.S. Price, Geo. Illnes, P.C. Harman and W.C. Allison. One more witness was sworn by the State, L.P. Crawford.
About three quarters of an hour before the time for adjournment the jury was sent out, and the supposition was that it would take some time for a
verdict to be reached, the judge adjourned court. The jury arrived at their decision
in half an hour and the sheriff summoned the judge and attorneys, all of whom
came but Solicitor Bonham. The verdict of the jury was guilty with recommendation to mercy, was then read, together with the indictment. The defendant had nothing to say why he should or should not be sentenced and his attorneys stated that while they would not make a motion for a new trial, if they found any technicality they would make an appeal to the supreme court. Before imposing the sentence Judge Gary made a few remarks appropriate in the case and to the purpose that Lindley was fortunate that the attorneys had put up an excellent fight but were unable to get around the facts in the case, that the verdict of two juries had found him guilty though the last verdict was the lightest, that he had committed one of the baset of acts, to
have murdered Allen after having been invited as the deceased's close friend to
live with him and help take care of the children while Allen was at work or at
home resting, exhausted by his hard labor; and that whiskey and women had been
the cause of all the cases brought up in the present term of court. Judge Gary
expressed the hope that this case would be taken as an example by those who
needed it. The sentence was that, you be confined to the State penitentiary at
hard labor for the entire period of your life.
From the evidence it seemed that J.G. Lindley had
been invited by Ben Allen to come and live with him and his family and to make their house his home. Lindley had done this and had become infatuated with Mrs. Allen to the extent of making the statement that if Mrs. Allen outlived Ben, he intended to
make her his wife. They were living at the Poe Mill and one of the children was
sick last April when the act was committed. Mrs. Allen heard a pistol shot about twelve o'clock and she and Lindley found Allen in the bed with a bullet in his brain.