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SUPREME COURT WILL CONSIDER
BIGHAM-AVANT CASE AFTER HOLIDAYS
The Questions "Where is Dr. Bigham" and "Why Has
He Not Been Arrested" and "What Is Going to Be
Done" May Soon Be Settled by Highest Court.
Columbia, Dec. 20. The mystery or I
"Where 1h Dr. Bigham" may soon b?
solved. It is understood that within
u few days the mutter of the appeal
that is now pending may come hefore
the supreme court for consideration.
"Where is Dr. Dlghnm?" is question
No. 1. It lias been stated by relatives
ttint lie is in Greenville and is not
trying to evade the law. That he was
seen walking the streets of that city
a few days ago Is a Statement that
was made In Florence and published
in the pocal paper.
"Why has be not been arreste?"
This question has perhaps caused more
discussion than any matter arising out
of a trial in many years in this state.
Nearly, every county paper and the
state papers have been asking this
question and seeking an answer there
to for the past several months.
To reply to this question, it will bo
necessary to go back to the events Im
mediately following tiie trial. (J. C.
Bigham and W. B. Avant, found gull
to of manslaughter, were sentenced to
three years and a half in the state
penitentiary. A new trial having been
refused, Mr. Kagsdale gave notice of
an appeal and asked Judge Watts to
fix ball, which was done. Fifteen hun
dred dollars was the amount of bail
named and it was furnished both by
Bigham and Avant. When Mr. Rags
dale handed up the order Judge Watts
asked him if he had given notice of in
tention to appeal, and Mr. Itagsdale
replied that ho had. Then Judge Watts
inserted In the order "that notice of
intention to appeal having been given,
etc," and he then signed the order for
After this was done by Judge Watts,
according to the circuit court rules,
and bond had been given, his Jurlsic
tlon over the case ceased.
APPEAL NOT PERFECTED.
Tho situation now appears to be
that tho appeal has not been perfect
ed. This is a matter for supreme
court to settle. If the appeal has not
been perfected, as it is claimed, then
a motion should have been made be
fore the clerk of the supreme court to
dismiss it. Until that order Is passed
upon by the supreme court, the appeal
is pending, and no circuit judge has
any Jurisdiction in the matter. It
is now in the power of the supreme
court either to dismiss the appeal for
failure to perfect same or to hear the
case on Its merits.
it is understood that Solicitor Wells
has said that no written notice of in
tention to appeal was given. If this is
the case, then if Solicitor Wells should
make a motion before the supreme
court to dismiss tho appeal and if
the court so decided then the ottlcers
would have authority to make the ar
It is not known what agreement was
made between counsel, if any. Time
has been given the stenographer to
transcribe his notes on the case until
January 20. This is, however, without
prejudice to the solicitor to dismiss
the appeal on any grounds he thinks
ho has for this motion.
Those In a position to know say that
if Blgham's appeal is dismissed there
Is no doubt but that ho will bo ar
rested at once, as it is very hard to
escape tho sentence of the law. Until
that !h done, the only competent au
thority is the supreme court. Accord
ing to interpreters of the law Higham
cannot now be arrested lawfully. Su
premo court rulo no. 1 and circuit
court, rule no. r.O uphold this position.
As far as Judge Watts Is concerned hip
Jurisdiction ceased when he left cir
"1 think there is much ado about
nothing," said one in touch with the
case "and when matters get before the
supreme court, which will be soon,
they will straighten out and pass the
necessary orders, and either dismiss
the appeal for Irregularities in tho ap
peal or hear tho case on Its merits."
Rule BO: "In every appeal to the su
preme court from matter appealable,
the appellant, or his attorney, shall,
within ten days after tho written no
tice of the filing of such matter ap
pealable or, if filed within term time,
within ten days after the rising of the
circuit COUrti g've written notice to
the opposing party or Mb attorney of
his intention to appeal therefrom, and
within thirty dayB after such notice the
appellant or his attorney shall pre
pare a case of exceptions, or a case
containing exceptions (which excep
tions shall have been taken and serv
ed within the time prescribed by law)
and serve them on the opposite party,
or his attorneys within such further
time as. upon ten (10) days' notice to
the opposito party or his attorney the
Judge who tried the case may for
good cause grant. But should the par
ties within the time above named, be
unable to agree upon a case, then the
proposed case, with the proposed
amendments and allowances and dis
allowances, shall be, within ten days
after falling; to agree referred for set
tlement to the circuit judge who heard
the cause who shall settle the same
within the timo and in the manner
provided for settling a case in rule
17. The parties If they agree on a
case, or the circuit judge who may
settle the same must see that the case
shall, as to the requirements of the
rules of the supreme court in regard
to the form and substance of a case for
hearing before that court.
Sullivan vs. Thomas. 'A S. C, B48 and
Gibson vs. Gibson, 7 S. C.Hful. lay
down the rule that "the circuit judge
has jurisdiction until the return has
been tiled in the supreme court."
Rule 1. of the supreme court, lays
down the rule, under certain cases,
that a motion to dismiss an appeal
may be made If same Is not duly til
Apparently, Dr. Bighani has been ap
prised of the provisions of law that
leave him free to go where he pleases.
Hut his friend Avant was not so for
tunate as to be able to remain out of
prison so long, for he was brought
here and lodged in the penitentiary,
shortly after the trial.
When the supreme court settles this
case will be closed one of the most
mystifying happenings known in this
state. The crime for which Dr. Hig
ham and .Mr. Avant are under sentence
Is the killing of Mrs. Ruth Crisp Rig
ham, the young wife of Dr. Higham.
The killing took place in September,
out on Murrell's Inlet, twenty-five
miles from Georgetown. The killing
was not explained at the trial, but
the jury took the position that no
malice was in the hearts of the two
men, and brought In a verdict of man
slaughter, and the sentence of the
court was three and a half years for
each of the defendants.
It was just at the close of day?the
question came up at the trial as to the
exact hour?that Mrs. Higham was kill
ed. The state made out a case against
the defendants, that Avant had killed
Mrs. Higham and that Dr. Higham
was present. The two men were walk
ing on the beach at the Inlet when
they saw an "object" so they claimed,
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and Avant fired. It was Mrs. nighnni
who was on the boncli and tin- shol
took ci't'cct in In r body, killing her
almost instantly. No one else was
present at the shooting. Afterwards
tests were made to determine wheth
er, a! the time of day at which Mrs.
Blgham wan shot a person could he
recognized. The tests said ?'yes."
Tests as to sound were also made,
and. apparently, UtO state has a clear
case ngalnst the two defendants. Mow
ever, no malice could lie shown, or
reason for the killing, and the Jury
took the charitable view.
Since the trial Dlghain has been out.
and many people have wondered why
he has not been arrested. The solution
appears to be on the technicalities of
law pointed out above.
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Bell Phone No. 75 CLINTON, South Carolina
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