December 3, 2013

Fatal Gunfight During Session of Livingston Police Court, Rockcastle, 1922



[April 19, 1922] -

Double Killing Under Unusual Circumstances At Livingston

Town Marshal Shoots Two Mullins Men After One Had Hit Blind Police Judge, Says Judge Chenault

J. C. Chenault returned Wednesday from Livingston where he had been with a gentleman from Pittsburg, Pa., whom he was trying to interest in some coal lands.  He says that just as he returned to Livingston from an inspection of the coal lands, he and his friend saw that police court was in session and they started to enter the court room and in that way pass the time until their train for Richmond arrived.  Just as they were about to enter, shooting began in the court room.  Judge Chenault says that as soon as the shooting ceased he went in and saw two men lying on the floor, one dead; the other appeared to be dying.

The man killed was Obe Mullins, 45. The other man was Charles Mullins, 48.

The cause of the shooting as near as Judge Chenault could learn occurred in this way:  Some boy who had been summoned to appear in court come about an hour sooner than the time the trial in which he was to testify would be heard.  Charles Mullins said to the boy, "You could have spent an hour at home."

The police judge, Bob Ford, who is blind, stated "I fine you $5 for contempt of court."  Mullins said "All right, judge.  I hope you will look after my wife and children while I am in jail, I am unable to pay the fine."  The judge said, "I fine you $3 for that speech."

Mullins then struck the judge with a stick.  The judge began to say, "Shoot him."  The town marshal, Bill Gillis, opened up on Mullins and in a few seconds the court house was cleared of all spectators and litigants except the two Mullins. [1]


[April 20, 1922] -


MT. VERNON, Ky., April 19.-- In a fight which started in the courthouse at Livingston during a session of police court today, Joe Mullins, 27, was instantly killed and Charles Mullins was fatally wounded.  William Gilins, marshal, and J. W. Baker, Jr., merchant, are under arrest, accused of the shooting. [2]


[April 20, 1922] -


One Man Killed, Another Wounded, Perhaps Fatally

Charlie Mullins, a Rockcastle man of about 50, was brought to the Robison Clinic here this afternoon with a bullet in his back and his head badly bruised as a result of a pistol fight which took place in the court house at Livingston today.  The wounded man's brother, one Mullins, was shot to death in the battle and others may have been wounded, tho[ugh] definite reports have not been received. 

According to a statement made by M. H. Mullins, cousin of the wounded man, who accompanied him here, the shooting grew out of an altercation between the Mullins brothers and Gillas, policeman, J. M. Fore, police judge, and a merchant by the name of Baker.  The reports as to the quarrel which led to the shooting have been conflicting.

Charlie Mullins was brought here by his cousin, M. H. Mullins, a conductor on the L. & N. Railroad, and his brother, Elmer Mullins, a farmer, in Rockcastle county. [3]


[April 24, 1922] -


The Mt. Vernon Signal has this version of the shooting at Livingston the other day to which Judge John C. Chenault, of this city, was almost an eye witness:

In a shooting affray at Livingston Wednesday morning, just before the noon hour. Obe Mullins was killed and Charles Red Mullins is said to be fatally wounded. Charlie Red Mullins had been tried and fined by the Police Judge Foure. Incensed over the fine, he struck Judge Foure with a stick, and when he did this Marshal Gillis, of Livingston, struck him.  Obe Mullins then knocked the marshal down and drew his pistol and flourished it in the marshal's face.  Gillis then shot him dead.  Some two or three persons were shooting, and it is claimed that a bullet from a pistol in the hand of J. W. Baker, Jr., is the one that wounded Charlie Mullins.

Marshal Gillis and Baker immediately came to Mt. Vernon and surrendered.  They were placed under guard and the examining trial set for today. [4]


[April 19, 1922] -

Death Record of Overton Mullins (click to enlarge). [5]


[1] "Double Killing Under Unusual Circumstances At Livingston." Richmond Daily Register, Richmond, KY. April 19, 1922. Page 1. LOC.

[2] "One Killed, One Fatally Wounded In Gun Fight." Lexington Herald, Lexington, KY. April 20, 1922. Page 7.

[3] "Shooting in Livingston Court House." The Citizen, Berea, KY. April 20, 1922. Page 1. LOC.

[4] "Another Story of Livingston Affair." Richmond Daily Register, Richmond, KY. April 24, 1922. Page 4. LOC.

[5] Death Record of Overton Mullins. Kentucky, Death Records, 1852-1953 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2007.


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