May 23, 2015

Man Kills Another Following Argument Over Injured Horse, Lincoln, 1896


Click here for a list of my other Pulaski/Rockcastle/Laurel County KY articles


[November 3, 1896] -

KILLING AT CRAB ORCHARD -- Frank Brooks shot and killed John Nevels in Edmiston's store at Crab Orchard at 5 o'clock Saturday, from the effects of which he died Sunday afternoon about 3 o'clock.  It seems that Brooks had a horse injured by a railroad train and he was trying to get the company to pay him for it.  He accused Nevels, who was section boss, of having written to the company that Brooks continued to use the horse, which was not much hurt.  Saturday afternoon Nevels went into Edmiston's store and was eating some oysters, when Brooks came in.  Nevels asked him to join him, when Brooks ripped out: "Go to h--l, God d--n you," and Nevels is said to have responded rather jocularly, "Go there yourself." Brooks rushed out to the buggy, in which he and Jim Fish had come, and getting a pistol, went back into the store and striking Nevels over the head with it, knocked him to his knees, when he fired the shot that resulted in his death.  Brooks must have fired several times, as Lige Bastin and Jim Fish were both shot slightly in the arms.  He is himself slightly wounded in the arm and claims that Nevels shot him, but this is not believed.  Immediately after the shooting Brooks skipped out and D. K. Farris, constable, and posse started in pursuit.  They followed him all night and next day captured him in Rockcastle.  Sheriff T. D. Newland and posse were also out in search of him.  It was said that Brooks, who is reported to be a desperate man, would fight to the death before he would submit to capture, but when Constable Farris told him to surrender he did so without a murmur.  Sheriff Newland brought the prisoner here Sudnay night and yesterday his trial was continued till Thursday to await the action of the grand jury.  He is now in jail and will not vote for McKinley today. [1]


[December 25, 1896] -

After a Strong Tussle of Four Days.

After numerous and sundry delays because of the absence of alleged important witnesses, the defense in the case of Frank Brooks, for the murder of John Nevels, only introduced him in his behalf.  He testified that Nevels shot at him first, the ball grazing his arm.  A very bad case was made out against Brooks, being in substance the same as published by us at the time of the commission of the crime.  Messrs. R. C. Warren, Harvey Helm and Robert Harding spoke for him and C. C. Williams, Col. Welch and J. S. Owsley, Jr., for the prosecution.

The case was given to the jury at noon yesterday, who reported after an hour's consultation that they could not agree Judge Saufley sent them back to try it again and at 4 o'clock sent for them, when they still reported their inability to agree and were discharged.

It is understood that they stood 10 for murder and two for acquittal. Application for bail will be made Saturday. [2]


[March 2, 1897] -

Mr. Singleton Nevels, of Wheelers, Va., is here to attend the trial of Frank Brooks for killing John Nevels. [3]


[March 2, 1897] -

CIRCUIT COURT. -- There were six speeches in the Brooks case for the murder of Nevels, ranging from one to two or three hours and all are said to have been good, that of Casper C. Williams, Esq., of Mt. Vernon, for the prosecution, of being especially so. In fact there are those who say they have never heard a stronger effort in this or any other court-house. It was late Saturday afternoon before the case was given to the jury and it being unable to agree after an hour's consultation, they were held till yesterday. This is the second trial of the case within three months, the first jury standing 10 for murder, one for acquittal and one for a penitentiary term.

Yesterday morning, the jury reported that they had agreed and their verdict of 21 years was read. Brooks didn't seem to be affected at all, not a muscle of his face seeming to relax. It is understood that on the first ballot 10 of the jury were for murder, nine believing that the death penalty ought to be inflicted. All, however, finally came to the two who stood for 21 years, and in doing so they did well. It ends a very costly case and gives Brooks the benefit of any doubt that a heavier punishment would have been too severe. 

The condemned is a remarkably tall man, being about 6 1/2 feet high. He is not over 35 but has been married three times, the last time about eight months ago to Mrs. Nell, the widow of a brother of the late warden of the Frankfort penitentiary. He has three children and she three. His lawyers will move for a new trial. [4]


[March 5, 1897] -

A new trial was refused Frank Brooks, convicted of the murder of John Nevels and sentenced to 21 years, and an appeal was taken to the court of appeals. [5]


[November 13, 1900] -

PAROLED -- Frank Brooks, who killed John Nevels at Crab Orchard and was given a 21-year sentence in 1897, has been paroled.  A petition signed by hundreds of the best citizens in the county, including nine or 10 of the jurors who tried him, was sent to the prison commissioners. [6]


[November 16, 1900] -

PAROLED.-- Frank Brooks who has been serving a twenty one year sentence in the pen for killing Mr. Nevells at Crab Orchard a few years ago, has been paroled and returned home Sunday night.  We understand he is in very poor health one reason why he was released. [7]


[1] "Killing at Crab Orchard." Semi-Weekly Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. November 3, 1896. Page 5. LOC.

[2] "Hung Jury in Brooks' Case." Semi-Weekly Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. December 25, 1896. Page 3. LOC.

[3] Excerpt from "Crab Orchard." Semi-Weekly Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. March 2, 1897. Page 1. LOC.

[4] Excerpt from "Home News." Semi-Weekly Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. March 2, 1897. Page 5. LOC.

[5] Excerpt from "Home News." Semi-Weekly Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. March 5, 1897. Page 3. LOC.

[6] "Paroled." Semi-Weekly Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. November 13, 1900. Page 4. LOC.

[7] "Paroled." Mount Vernon Signal, Mount Vernon, KY. November 16, 1900. Page 3. LOC.


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