Newspaper Page Text
BKjHAM AND AVANT
FOLND GUILTY OF
(Continued from page one.)
w tuld have been necessarily so If
Avant bad stood up when he shot Mrs.
Bighaui, sitting on the beac h. Then
they had the man croueh down and,
s tot at a reed, the height of the wo
man; this shot ranged upward. The
ground on that spot is a steady de
clivity toward the beach. Mrs. Big
ham was lower than her slayers; so
by these tests it seemed to be proved
th<:: she was standing and Avant was
crouching or kneeling in the mass.
Mrs. Blgham was on the clear part
of .he beach, about feet from the
water; Avant was back up in the
g sy part of the beach.
"ben the state proved that this
crowd of men. on Saturday aftcrnoou
ho . gone to Sunny8ide. some sat on
the porch where Avant and BighatU
Sat. and others Walked around the
same path that Mrs. Bighorn is said
to have trod when she passed the
house. The men changed coats and
hats, but the men cn the, porch recog
nized each of them without any trou
ble: and Mr. Murchison testified that
the He tests were made at an hour
when it was possibly a little darker
than when the shooting took place.
On cross examination Attorney
Ragsdole sought to prove by witness
th. ? the people had lighted lamps in
?e ir houses; but witness said it was
certainly lighter on beach than in the
houses. He said thai the body was
about the high water mark oil the
beach where people were no ustomed
to V ;il|<
Henry Buck, of .Marion.
The star witness for the state was
;\lr. Henry Muck, a lawyer from Mar
ion. His mother had once owned the
whole of .Muriel s Inlet, and the Sun
nyxWle house, where the Avants lived,
lie torroborated all Mr. Mtirchisou's
testimony about the tests and about
time of evening, and about recogniz
ing the negro In tin- boat. Had
he; d the cries about "killing a man"'
etc. When he arrived on the scene,
he sslsted with the body; found it
no' dead, bill dying. Kelt pulse.
Helped cany body to tlie house and
laid it out in front room of Sunn; side,
"Alter we had placed the body on a
cot. I Walked out in the hall ami
there, saw \vnnl crying;" said witness;
Will there on the - Nmiids . :' Stthnji -
sirn tin- iwb tili h ibid the' story c
the killing to Mr. Henry Buck, while
others stood around anil liitened.
And it was this story Mult the witness
OS ' >ld in ? nuri . defendant l.n
con.-- opened not (heir ihoullis.
,\>ant said: "Hr. liigluun ami I
wer? sitting on the froiil porch after
slipper." tlie witness told in even,
clet ? tones while quiet mid stillness
reigned in the conn boa.- ', "and we
,;:n\ an object pass from behind the
bou-". .uoinn on do? n the little path,
aro nd a bend and toward the bench.
Th es somebody to devilment.
s?k. he. Maybe thai woman is trylllg
to '.-coy us from the house'' Wt!
Wei ' in the house and pot a gun. fol
low* I the object to the bench "
"tVhat was she dolli^ when you
shot?" asked Mr. Buck.
"Sitting down." said Avant
"Then in Cod's iintne. man. If you
kll< ? it was a woman why did you
shoot?" asked Henry Buck.
"We hailed her two or three times,
nnd she did not answer." said Avant.
Thi.- answer constituted the defense
of the two men. Witness ..aid that
Biel am had said he though! his wife
Was in her room, when they lefl to
follow the object In fact, he had
Called to her. and tllOUgltl he heard
her answer. Then Avant, according
to Mr. Buck, told thai on (be way
back to the house after the shooting
line) said to lllgham, i believe thai
was your wile I shot." Whereupon
Bighnm said. "No. my wife Is in hei
room." They hurried on to the
house made search tor Mrs IJighath
and not finding her called for a light
and returned to the beach Here
they met the other men who were at
ri\ lug on the seen ?
.Sir. Ibick said lie hid heard no
statement nbotii ghosts, identified
Hi" coat! said it then had bill one
ho!-' in the hack: now ii lias four.
Possibly rats bad gnawed other bob-;,
sine.- coal has been left in room III
Sunnysldo since shooting. Mr Buck
salt! that he was told ilia I Mrs Kin
ham had had Oil her hath In ! SUll
nearly all day. ||C had loan ell Big
? ham $:!<? to help bear burial expense^
since he was wlthotii fund ill th*'
time, He bad heard no o u'l vernal Ion
prior to Shooting, nor any hailing.
He aid thlil there was no . \ Idem if "i
a scuffle, tbal Mrs Bighorn'* hair was
not disarranged. Mrs. Bighiim w a -
possibly ? feet. Inches tall, we gliln*"
1 10 pounds.
?)i cross oxrtnilnaiion .\: . I'"'11< b
tlfled thai the path lb rough Shit
fid" yard in ll..? | each was :?"
i hill a private |>ntli. dial th
v grass about II feel pai k fil wll ?' 'be
body was; that bench wn Of yellow
sand. Being fitiefllloned, Vr- t\\ '<??
Bfttd he w oni,i eon ?Ider II
"w?lk in this path a " ? dal'I
On re-direct, ho said that Avant had
asked Blghatn, "Must I shoot" and
Bighorn said. "Yes, shoot;" that
neither Bighain or Avant or Mrs.
Avant had given any assistance in
On re.cross examination, Attorney
Ragsdale asked why Mrs. Avant did
llOt help, to whieh witness said that
she was in delicate condition, about
to be confined.
W. Nichols, of Newberry.
Mr. G. W.Nichols of Newberry was .
at Muriel's Inlet on the afternoon of
tin' tragedy, had heard the cries for
a light, etc. Going toward the scene
he recognized Mr. Curry about 40
yards away; this was after shooting.
Heard the story of Shooting us told
Puck by Avant and Blgham.
tin cross examination, he said that
in' heard Bighnm say that that tin'
figure looked too tal' for Mrs. Digham,
having on the long rain coat.
After Mr. Nichols' testimony tin*
court adjourned at 7 o'clock to re
convene, on Friday morning.
(.', I". Curry, of Marion.
Mr. f. 1*. Curry of Marion was also
at Murrol's Inlet the day of tin; trag
edy; heard the cries, rushed to the
spot and in going recognized K. ('..
Smith yards away. It was mere
ly Kray dusk, not dark.
(. A. I.cimord, off Mini el's Inlet.
Mr. Leanord lives at Murel's inlet:
in* was on the boat to Georgetown the
next day. when Avant and Bigham
took body to the undertaker. Heard
Avant say: "It was a sad occurrence.
hut I believe anybody would have
?Ion-- the sann? under the excitement
ami fright. Dr. Bigham told me to
shoot an 1 he doesn't blame me: 1
don't see why l should Ii.? |>rosoeuted".
M. .1. 1'earce of Waterloo.
The only Lauren.-, COUtlty witness
was m. .1. Penree of Waterloo, a first
cousin of Mrs. Bigham, at whose home
she visited in August of this year
about a month befoiv the tragedy,
She received several letters while
theic which witness had delivered.
"I .-aw o:i" letter that she got about
August 1st. which when sin* redd it.
mail" her cry. I asked what was
lite matter am! she gave me the letter.
Site dlskj u.it a telegram tVbiu hbr
husband", sold witness.
Wine-.-.- testified thai Mrs. Bigham
was nervous tnu) nfruM 10 to into
dark by herself.
Attorney Itagsdnhi in <u>-< ex ?m
lilghum's liiilidwrliijig. which he did
: this ? itH . \ .-d"!!tiy 10 got Into
ovldei it |?osl riil'd. which deceased
had written to I?- lliuiiain. Attorney
iiti'iupted lo tliscredil Witness. Asked
if he knew thai Mi\ >l. i. Crisp Was
did no' lionw.
lull a hint sol foi Hi b> the State thai
tiiei'i! w.: :.!i unhnpp.i condition in
the marriage relations 1 i llio couple.
The letter, in tpieStion, Is supposed
to he III I ?r. Bighorn's possession;
Defense Offers No Testimony.
Quito a surprise was sprung at |0
o'clock Kridny morning when counsel
for tii" defense ntinouncod thai it
would offer no testimony; this was
niter a brief consultation between
Messrs. Ilogsdnle and Wlngnte. Mr.
Itagsdale nnnotinced that the defense
would Ii.- based on St'ctloil - of the
criminal code, which allowed a per
t?oii lo arrest or shoot a trespasser on
Ills premise- after dark. The section
Is as follow.-:
it shall be lawful for any citizen
to arrest any person in the night
lime, by such oltlclenl menus as the
darkness and probability of his escape
should be thereby taken, in cases
where he has committed a felony or
has entered a dwelling house with
"\ii Intent, or has broken or Is break
ing Into nu out house, with n view to
plunder, or has in Iiis possession
stolen properly, or being under cir
cittnsllinces w hich raise just suspicion
ui his design lo steal or < ommil some
felony. Hees when hailed."
Attorney .1. W. Wiim.il" of Ceorge
lown opened for the defense, making
:i si.mi speech, possibly ten minutes,
in Whli h he urged the .jury to do
their duty. He nt'glied tiiat l>> the
tesiltnouy it was sulllclently dark to
render recognition impossible.
Following, Solicitor Cooper <>f Lau
ren., mnde what was comment.? I on
iis (he most powerful, logical argil
lUenl of llio day. |Ic drew Hie lines
CletU'b ami com lusi? ely on Ihn legal
I'ighl to shoot a Ii" pilHSCr. and when
conditions do not warrant it II"
^;.-1i< 1 that it was not too dark or the
(noii to recognize Mrs. Bighnm; bill
even If I hey did not. Ihe.V knew it was
.1 p.-ison. a woman, somebody's wife,
oi mother or dftughlei', lie tirrnlgned
I he cow ardice of I he I wb (Hell for |?ur
snini: w'iuil (hey knew to In* :i woman.
nid (he shooting her in the iiuv'k. as
die s|ll iplietly on the beach.
? \\ l.y did tili y hoi uulj in"- as she
. oil (he hou ie, gblhg toward the
Hinted .<> flee, and If li !in?! be 'h dark.
woman Is trying to decoy
hotl -" ' iid yet they walk
th ? imaginary ti an; they
? ??I s"!\16 b-' d-- oj 6d:
house?" Mr. Cooper was given close
and earnest attention.
Solicitor Wells of the 12th circuit,
followed Mr. Cooper. He spoke for
an hour and a half, dealing thorough
ly with the law on trespass. He
said that since the defense was based
on a specific plea, it was accessary
that it then establish the plea beyond
reasonable doubt: the burden was on
them. He said that because the'tuen
were frightened was not sufficient ex
cuse; the law doesn't exempt them
from blame because they are arrant
cowards. Mr. Wells went over all
the testimony and made a convincing
Attorney .1. Willard Ragsdale had
the reply, because according to court
rules, when the defense does not offer
any testimony, its advocates are al
lowed the last speech. Kur nearly
two hours Mr. Ragsdale plead in be
half of his clients, and earnestly did
he beg their release. There are few
speakers in the state more gifted than
this lawyer from Florence. His well
modulated voice rose and fell in most
telling and effective cadences as he
endeavored to show the utter guilt
lessness of his clients. And yet. Mr.
Ragsdule's speech was. while a fine
piece of oratory, scarcely more than
an appeal to the sympathies of the
jury. He called attention to the aged
mother of Righam, then seated iu the
court room, to Avant's wife and baby,
etc. He attempted to say that it was
testified that the men did hail the ob
ject as il passed the corner of the
house, but Solicitor Wells called him
down. He made some rather un
ethical allusions to Solicitor Cooper
coming down from l.aurens for a fee.
During many parts of Ml'. I lags,
dale's speech, the defendants and Mrs.
Righam ami Mrs. .\vanl were moved
to tears, ami sat. their faces buried
in their hand.-.
Mr. Ragsdale showed the failure of
tin- prosecution to establish any tub
the whatever for the killing.
The Judge's Charge.
Judge Watts Charged the jury very
briefly, though fully and clearly, set
ting forth the conditions that consti
tute the various degrees of homicides,
drawing the distinctions between
murder, manslaughter ami an acci
dental killing. Interpreting the word
"ileelng/" Judge Watts said that flee
ing did not necessarily mean running
. away, bin any effort to escape of u>-t
away m> am fleeing. lie said thai ilie
two (iefendaiita Wet'" aimed as prin
cipals i.i the killing. "So iniitte?;"
i ? ? ?
act. if i
I 1.- I I I
cotist it tiled manslaughter.
The Jiir)'s Deliberation.
Immediately after eoiirt re-convea '.i
at :: o'clock, the Jury returned to the
court room and through the foreman,
questioned the judge if it wen- allow
able io return a verdh i of manslaugh
ter with a recommendation to mercy.
Judge Waits replied that such could
be doii<> if so desired but thai il would
in nowise bind him iu determining the
sentence. The jury again retired and
at i: I o'clock returned a verdlci of
guilty of manslaughter. According
to the statement of one of the jurors,
there were only two ballots taken; on
the flrsi some stood for manslaughter,
others for manslaughter with a rec
ommendation tor mercy, None stood
for acquittal, and none for murder.
One juror said he would not siun any
petition for a pardon.
When the verdict was rendered, At
torney Ragsdale at onco (nude mo
tlon for a m-w trial, declaring thai
there was not sufficient testimony to
convict. This was over-ruled and
the defendants wer.- (old so Stand up
and receive sentence.
In passing tin- sentence Judge Waits
declared that he hail had much C.vpci
lence in criminal cases but this Wtlfl
the most unsatisfactory he had ever
heard, lie would noi have been sur
prised if the defendants had been ac
quitted or convicted, "I am
Of the opinion." said lie. "that
there was mi Intention to
shoot Mis. Righam; bin gl'Olil care
lessness was snow a. ami the juiy in
Unding a verdict oi manslaughter had
perfect right so to .- iy, declaring it
an unintentional killing in the pursuit
of an Unlawful HCl. I do no( be
lieve it was a malicious killing; you
must have I.n frightened or rattled,
ami I am poing to give yriu Ihe belie,
fit of the doubt: ihe killing was pure
reeuiessness. The sentence of
court is that each of you !?? Confined
at hard labor in (!:?? Stdie penitentiary
for a period of three yenrs am! si.-.
itclcas -.1 nn itou.i.
been passed the two meu were reieas- |
od on bond pending an appeal to the I
supreme court. Hail was fixed ut'
$l,r<00 each. On Dr. Bighorn's bond
are Mrs. M, M. Big ham and I., s. Pin- '
ham, Ins brother. Messrs. Brickmnn
and II I'. Carson and i M Ringel are
signers on .Want's bond.
I n (be Conrl Room.
Among those preseni throughout the
first day of tho trial wer.?: Mr M. lt. !
('ri>;j of Mountvllle, I.aureus county. ]
rather of Mrs. Bigham. tho slain wo
man; Mr. \ B, Crisp of lleardmont.
tin., ami Rugene Crisp of Clinton. Mr
Sidney Crisp ol Orover. N C. Mr. M
I.. Crisp of Whitiniro. all brothers ol
the deceased; Messrs. I. .1. Bendy, It
A. Whnrton. s. m. Penrce. s. R. Boney
.1. C, Loner an.I S I), Chlldress of Lau
rens: Messrs. L. S. und R. 1?. Bighorn
of Florence county; Mrs. Bigham. the
mother of Dr. Bigham; and the si\
witnesses from Marion county, who
were at Murrel's Inlet on tin- day ol
Both the defendants are rather
young and boyish in their appearance.
Dr. Bigham Is small of statue, rather
heavy set. auburn hair. full, round
face, apparently about 28 years of ago
Mr. Avant is still younger, possibly 26,
taller, light-haired, ami of medium
build. Both deported themselves
with apparent realization of tin* seri
ousness of their situation During
most of the day they leaned to one
side, head and face in band, some
what dejected. Neither showed an>
particular emotion at any lime, not
even during Mr. Buck's graphic ami
realistic picture of the dead woman
1 on the bench and in the room of the
Mrs Avant was in court during the
second ami sal beside her hus
band: she looked somewhat older than
Murrel's inlet is a resort about L'".
miles up ihe coast from Georgetown.
I Here a great many people, particu
lar1:, residents of Marion own cot
tage*! and (hero reside during the sum
mer months Many 01 1 hem " run
down" for :> few days ami as it hap
pen.', most ?;! the witness.-.- to the
Shocking tragedy had jusl arrived ,,ti
Sat 11 :?'.!?> tiftei'ttooii. Se,,i,;aibe! 1.
1 1; n II ? I
. eoi\ or
ban ? ?
I house.-; built facing the boa.h. Down
where the title water routes and goes
i.< a yellow stretch of sand, buck of
which toward the bouses is a growth
of grass, a tool possibly in height.
Prom the sides of "Sunnyslde" run
two fences, reaching the water's edge,
there is now no nubile road along the
beach, although many walk up and
down, climbing over the fences, which
are not high. When .Mrs. Hlghnm, or
the "thing" passed round the corner
rof "Sunnyslde" and went tovsu I tie
bench, she was on what was termed u
Mrs. Until Crisp ItlgllilUl.
Mrs. HighaiU, the deceased, was the'
daughter of Mr. M. It Crisp of Mount
vllle. I.aureus county. In I'-'i'T she
graduated frotU Chleoril college, a
bright, attractive, pretty little woman,
about live feet, three or four inches,
lall, weighing possibly 110 pounds.'
aged '_':'. years She was lull of life, !
Hue company, though somewhat shy 1
llcturuing to her home ;k Mountville,
alter leaving college, she met ami soon
alter wedded Dl ('.. ('. HightUtl, who
was at the time practicing his profes
sion in her home community, The
marriage took place ul Mouutvllle; the
couple soon returned to Dr. Ilighaiu':
former home in Florence county.
In the summer just past. Mrs. Ilig
jljaiii visited her old home, the scenes
of her girlhood, I'pon requests from
her husband she returned to Florence
COUIIty; soon they together went on
the ill-fated visit to Muriel'. Inlet.
They were guests of the Avtltlls and
had been there live days.
""i> hv Dili You Slinnl r
And the ipiestlon is still unanswer
ed, Seated beneath an old cedar tree
in the yard surrounding Sunnyslde, on
that fatal Saturday night. Dr Itighuiu.
sobbing as if his heart would break,
ami Avail) in the same humor, were
asked: "Why did you shoot0" to Mr
Hour) Duck, who had acted the wise
general of affairs alter the deed. I hp)
told their story. "Why did you shoot
a woman, sitting on (he beach?" he
"We i.aibd it two or three limes
and received no response." Wa- that
all? Did the men know it vvn a Ao
man? Did they know it Was I,lie wife
, of OIIC? I ?i'l ' be) sit ????< ! a pioi? I ?id
' the) hav ? i to shoot ? Whv diil
' ? ? ?
I'lli 11 ?
peated call? Mysterj enshrouds the^
whole affair. No reasons, causes
motives ha\e been shown, and niayH^
never he shown. Mrs IxUth C'rispi
Rlghnill is dead: W. R. Avant tired tbojp
shot. Why? Was the empt; bottle of >
Shaw s mailed whiskey the cause? Or Ik
was it t>ut the result of innate vicious- ^
ness? Was Avant simply Lllgham'ti
tool? Rlghum's father, brother and I
grandfather have all beeu Indicted for |*
The Rathing Suit. V
And w h> did Mrs. DighntU have on ^
her bathing suit, which she had worn
almost all day. over which was thrown
Mr. Avatlt's long rain coal? Would a
woman of Mrs Itlgham's modesty and
retinement appear in the dining room
and halls of the hoarding house, where
there was a man. other that) her bus
hand, attired in such a manner, unless
forced to do so? Those who Know her
best, think not Does the empty bot
tle of Shaw's iualt tell a stor> of mal?
I real meni ami tibuso?
Nil) Was She There!
Why did Mrs. Rig hit tU walk down
to the beach on that fatal aflernoon,
in the gray dusk of evening? Ami
alone? Mr. l'earce s.iys she was too
timid to venture out of the house,
alone, after the shades of nighl begin
lo fall Was she forced lo leave the
house because the conduct of the two
men hail become unbearable? Some
think so. Hid she seek the peaceful
shore, wln-re the calm ami serenity of
eventide might assuage a sorrow that
was breaking her heart? Or was she
decoyed ii> the spot ami purposely
IV A 111. SH'OAI.S STOCK IIOI.DKUN.
Mcctiiiu Mon(hi* Vftcrmion Nen
I'eetors Vic Klct'tcil,
Tin' annual meeting of tie stock
holders oi the Ware Shoal. Manufact
uring company was held til the mitt
on Momhi.v afternoon of tula week,
the principal feature of which was the
i election oi three m-w directors in
place ol Me i> ,|, () (' Kloillihg and
N. P. I ?i.d of ill) I eit.v n)ld Him. ,103.
T .1 ihiisoti of Spartaubiirg These
three ilireetOI's represented what is
jmw known as tin1 "njiluorlty" in tii i
!. .Ii'.; t . l.i I l.ai has he. \\ .r.- d t lip
Riegel the "Inajoi iiy." In jilaCe of
il ? 1 in <?>? vv, 1 eb<eld 1 ii i.illow in",:
l) 1: Simmon of .?iirnh . I !?: Kntgiit
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?>^0?^&*XK&?^ X X XXX ?eoe-txxx K