Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Murderers Still at Liberty

Nothing definite has yet developed in the case of the strange Italians who were so cruelly butchered near Salters last week. As to who the murderers are, and their present whereabouts, is now just as much a mystery as it was when the crime was first discovered. Suspicion still points to the Davis negroes, but nothing has yet been seen or heard of them. Even if they were caught, it would be a hard matter to fasten the murder upon them as no one knows anything about the men who were murdered, and, therefore could not identify any article that may be found in the possession of the supposed murderers as belonging the the Italians.
The three negroes who were arrested at Lake City last week were given a hearing before magistrate J.G. Lifrage last Thursday and set free. Jailer Britton, in the absence of the sheriff, telegraphed the Charleston authorities that if the negroes were wanted there to wire him, and they would be held; not having heard from there, the deputy let the boys go Thursday evening.
Three negroes were arrested Thursday at Fayetteville, N.C. on suspicion of being the murderers. They were on their way from Timmonsville, this State, to Selma, N.C., and were "nabbed" en route. Sheriff Daniel and Mr. Cannon of Strawberry, in whose store the Davis negroes did so much firing about about two weeks ago, went up to Fayetteville Saturday, but Mr. Cannon failed to identify the prisoners as the Davises. In fact, the negroes proved where they were on the night of the tenth, when the shooting at Strawberry occurred, and on the seventeenth, the night of the murder.
Three other negroes were arrested at Lanes and locked up all night in the box car but were set at liberty.
While looking over the field of the murder last Sunday, some Salters gentlemen discovered some clothing hanging on a tree and some on the ground only a short distance from where the murdered men's bodies were found. There was also a kind of a camp, at least, the ashes from a fire and chicken bones near the clothing, indicating that a camp had been made there. This discovery only adds mystery to the whereabouts of the real murderers, as this woodland was every bit searched last week, and these things were no seen. Among the articles found on the ground was a white shirt, bosom upwards which was not soiled in the least. This indicates that the articles were placed there Sunday morning, for had the shirt been exposed to the night air, the dew would have left marks on the stiff bosom. Then, too, there are numbers of hogs in the woods, and it stands to reason that, had this shirt been on the ground for any great while, the hogs would have soiled it. 
A careful survey of the immediate vicinity of the murder was made, and two empty shells from a Winchester rifle were found. One of these was mashed as if someone has stepped upon it or a hog had bit it. These shells are now in the possession of a Kingstree gentleman, but nothing is proved by them as they will fit any Winchester of a .32 calibre.
The County Record, April 29, 1897

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