July 31, 2015

Wyatt Norfleet Kills John Hooker Frye, Wayne, 1893

Previously:

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

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[December 6, 1893] -

Wyatt Norfleet got a package under his belt at Somerset and stuffed his pockets full of shooting irons. He then went to hunt Hooker Fry, and he found him and unlimbered his artillery, making a coffee-strainer out of Hooker. [1]





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[December 8, 1893] -


Wyatt Norfleet shot and killed Hooker Fry in a drunken row in Pulaski. [2]





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[1893] -

Hooker Fry's gravestone in Pottershop Cemetery, Russell County states "Killed 1893." No day or month listed. [3]


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[June 23, 1895] -

MISTRIAL AND AN ACQUITTAL. 

Two Murder Cases Heard in the Monticello Circuit Court. 

MONTICELLO, Ky.. June 21. (Special Correspondence.) The Circuit Court for the last few days has had under consideration two murder cases which have been on the docket for some months past. The first case tried was that of Wyatt Norfleet for the murder of John Hooker Fry, in Pulaski county, last December, one year ago. Prominent counsel had been employed on both sides, and the case was stubbornly fought. After being out several hours the jury reported to the court that three of their number were for acquittal and nine for conviction, whereupon Wyatt Norfleet gave bond for his appearance at the next term of the court. The other case was that of Doc. Coffey, colored, for the killing of William Bates in Monticello last October. The case was submitted to the jury this morning, which brought in a verdict of not guilty. [4]


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[January 22, 1896] -

NORFLEET v. COMMONWEALTH.

(Court of Appeals of Kentucky. Jan. 22, 1896.)

CRIMINAL LAW -- RES GESTAE -- DYING DELCARATIONS.

1. Where, in the course of a quarrel, defendant said to deceased, "Don't kick me," and deceased said, "I did not kick you; but I can kick you, or do anything else with you I please," and defendant thereupon shot deceased, declarations made by deceased, immediately after he was shot, that defendant shot him without cause, and that he would not recover, and admissible as res gestae.

2. As it did not appear that deceased expressed any other opinion since the shooting, as to his recovery, said statements were also admissible as dying declarations.

Appeal from circuit court, Wayne county. 

"Not to be officially reported."

Wyatt Norfleet was convicted of manslaughter in the second degree, and appeals. Affirmed.

W. A. Morrow, G. W. Shadoan, and Jos. E. Bertram, for appellant. William J. Hendrick, for the Commonwealth.

GRACE, J. This is an appeal by Wyatt Norfleet from an order of the Wayne circuit court overruling his motion for a new trial in said court, wherein he had been found guilty by a jury of manslaughter in the killing of John Hooker Frye, and his punishment fixed at two years' confinement in the state penitentiary. In this case there is no denial of the killing, which occurred December 2, 1893, at the front gate, near the residence, of James Ard, in Wayne county. The chief matter relied upon by counsel for accused, as error in the court below, is that they say certain statements made by deceased after he was shot were not admissible as evidence. These statements are testified to by James Ard and Van Ard. Van Ard says that he was 20 steps away, and heard the parties cursing; that he heard Wyatt Norfleet say, "Don't kick me, Hooker," and Hooker said, "Damn you, I did not kick you; but I can kick you, damn you, or do anything else with you I please." "Immediately after this, the pistol fired. I helped carry him (Frye) in the house. Hooker said, 'I am shot, and can't get over it; Wyatt shot me, without a cause.'" James Ard testifies that, hearing the shot at his gate, near by his house, he wet out, found Frye lying on his back, and he said then that Wyatt shot him. "Frye made a statement that he could not get well. He said he did not know Wyatt had anything against him, as he had done nothing to him, and that he (Wyatt) had shot him without a cause. Frye stated to me at the gate that the shooting was for nothing." These statements were made immediately after the killing, and are so certainly and so clearly connected with certain expressions used by both parties during the quarrel at the gate as to be fairly deemed and held a part of the res gestae. In addition to that, they are accompanied by a statement by Frye "that he could not get well." The same statement in reference to the killing was made by Frye to Dr. Kelly, who came during the night, and who, on examining the wound, describes it as being a shot through the upper part of the body, near the center line, coming out behind something higher than it entered. The record does not show that Frye repeated to Kelly his same opinion that he would die; but there is no evidence showing that at that time, or at any other intervening time since his injury, did Frye express any other opinion as to his condition than that quoted before, --that he could not get well. Besides, the wound showed that a recovery was scarcely possible. We think the evidence brings all these statements fairly within the rule that they were made by Frye at a time, and under a well-grounded belief, that he would not recover. He died soon after, the exact time not being stated. We have examined the cases cited by counsel for accused, and think the facts of this case fairly distinguish it from those relied upon. Surely, in this case, Frye was giving facts that occurred at the time, and not merely expressing an opinion. We perceive no error in the ruling of the court on this evidence. Neither is there any complaint of the instruction given. Judgment affirmed. [5]


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[1] Excerpt from Column 4. The Public Ledger, Maysville, KY. December 6, 1893. Page 1. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86069117/1893-12-06/ed-1/seq-1/

[2] Excerpt from Column 3. Semi-Weekly Interior Journal, Stanford, KY. December 8, 1893. Page 1. LOC. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85052020/1893-12-08/ed-1/seq-1/

[3] Findagrave.com Pottershop Cemetery, Russell County, Kentucky. Entry for Hooker Fry.

[4] "Mistrial and an Acquittal." The Courier Journal, Louisville, KY. June 23, 1895. Page 9. Newspapers.com.

[5] Norfleet v. Commonwealth, 33 S.W. 938 (1896). Retrieved from Googlebooks.

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