evidence showed that on 11 May 1991 Tonia Isenhour,
who is defendant's ex-wife's cousin, and Michael
Lafone went to a party at Cindy Lineberger's
trailer. Also present were defendant, Melvin Anthony
Hester, and his girlfriend, Michelle.
there for approximately thirty minutes, Tonia and
Michael decided to leave and started walking
toward their car. Defendant/Hester and
Michelle, who were standing at the other side of
Cindy's driveway, yelled derogatory comments to
them, but Tonia and Michael did not
respond. Defendant began following them as they
continued walking to the car. Tonia unlocked the
driver's side door, got in, and leaned across to unlock
the passenger door for Michael who was waiting
beside the vehicle. Defendant was then
approaching the rear of the vehicle on the same side
where Michael stood. Tonia heard
defendant ask Michael if he knew who
defendant was, and when Michael replied in
the negative, defendant said "I am the meanest M.F. in
Catawba County." Tonia then heard a loud noise
"like a board hitting the car or something" and felt the
automobile move. She looked out the window and could no
longer see Michael, but realized that
defendant was coming around the back of the car to
the driver's side. She locked her door, and defendant
stood beside it for a few seconds before walking to the
front of the vehicle. As defendant passed,
Tonia could see him putting something down inside
his pants, but was unable to identify the object.
returned to the passenger side of the automobile and
nudged Michael, who was on the ground, with his
foot, telling him "get up man, you are all right."
RickLoftin, also at the party, appeared at
that point and Tonia heard defendant say "I hit
him." Rick testified that defendant's
comment was "I think that I hurt him, man." After
defendant spoke to Rick, the latter looked
down and saw Michael in convulsions on the
ground. In stooping to help Michael, Rick
noticed that his head was bleeding and attempted to
carry him to the porch of the trailer for assistance.
Tonia, unaware of the type of injury Michael
had sustained, was advised to leave the party and did
so. She telephoned 911 from her cousin's house to report
the incident. Approximately thirty minutes later, she
went to the hospital where she was told Michael
had been shot in the head. He died from his injury
within a few hours.
The day after the
party, Cindy Lineberger went to defendant's
home to tell him Michael was dead. Defendant
admitted to her he had used a gun, but stated he had
lost it and did not know where it was. Other people who
had attended the party found a gun in the field behind
Cindy's trailer, where defendant had
parked his motorcycle. Cindy identified the gun
as being one she had seen in defendant's
possession three or four days before the party. Forensic
firearm identification expert Ronald Marrs expressed the
opinion that a bullet removed from the deceased was
fired from the weapon found behind Cindy's
trailer. The physician who performed the autopsy
on Michael determined the cause of death to be a
gunshot wound to the head.
first asserts the trial court erred by denying his
motion to suppress evidence of three prior convictions,
later relied upon by the court as aggravating factors to
support sentencing defendant to a term greater
than the presumptive. We find this argument
court found as an
"has a prior
punishable by more
than 60 days
convictions on pleas
of guilty for
assault on a female,
damage to real
delaying a public
maintains that, because
the record before
the court did not
establish that his
earlier guilty pleas
were voluntarily and
rights were violated
by the court's
these convictions in
In his second
assignment of error, defendant alleges the court
erred in allowing members of the jury to take written
instructions into the jury room. Defendant concedes a
lack of support for this contention in North Carolina,
and we have consistently held to the contrary. "A trial
court has inherent authority, in its discretion, to
submit its instructions on the law to the jury in
final assignment of
maintains the court
erred in denying
his motions to
dismiss the charge
of second degree
Defendant/Melvin Anthony Hester was convicted of the
offense of second degree murder. "Murder in the second
degree is the unlawful killing of a human being with
malice but without premeditation and deliberation."
Moreover, "malice may be presumed upon proof beyond a
reasonable doubt of a killing by the intentional use of
a deadly weapon ... absent any contrary evidence."
Therefore, if the State proves that a defendant
intentionally inflicted a wound upon a victim with a
deadly weapon, proximately resulting in the victim's
death, and no evidence is presented to the contrary, a
presumption arises that the killing was done unlawfully
and with malice.
contends there was insufficient evidence that he
inflicted the fatal gunshot wound. This argument is
In summary, the defendant tried to provoke a
response from Michael by yelling at him as he
left the party; defendant followed Michael
to his car; did something to Michael that
made a loud noise, whereupon Michael fell to the
ground; the first person on the scene observed blood
flowing from Michael's head; Tonia saw
defendant put an object down inside his pants;
defendant admitted to CindyLineberger
that he had used a gun, and a gun linked to defendant
and identified as the weapon used in the killing was
found the next day in a nearby field; and Michael
died of a gunshot wound to the head a couple of hours
after the incident at the car. The court committed no
error in denying defendant's motion.
For the foregoing
reasons, we find defendant received a fair trial,
free from prejudicial error.
Man Captured Here
Returned to Raleigh to Finish Term in Penitentiary
Before Answering Other Charges
Loftin, escaped convict from the state prison, Raleigh,
also escaped convict from the chain gang of
Bennettsville, S.S., and successful check flasher in
Statesville, Mount Airy, Hamlet, Salisbury, and other
North Carolina towns, who had been in the Iredell County
Jail for several days, was taken back to Raleigh Tuesday
morning to take up his duties in the state prison.
Loftin is wanted in Bennettsville, S.C. to finish out a
four-year term on the chain gang, but he will not be
turned over to the South Carolina authorities until
after he completes the term in Raleigh, according to
information given out by George Ross Pou, Superintendent
of the State Prison.
The young offender's journey back to Raleigh began
about 4 o'clock Tuesday morning, when Policemen Gilbert
and Mills and "Red" Alexander called him out of his
berth in the county jail and started on the trip by
In the book "Appalachia
Crossroads" by Clayton Cox, there is an intriguing story about
Christopher Goble. Christopher is in the German Goble tree
and was the son of Jacob and Catherine "Kitty" (Ward)
married ArillaEllender "Ellen"
Sellards (b. Oct. 18,
1834, d Jan 2, 1889, buried Goble Cemetery, Buffalo Creek, Floyd
Co., KY) on 15 May 1853 in Floyd County, Kentucky. They
owned a farm there and had nine children.
Children of Christopher Goble Sr.
and Arilla Ellender "Ellen" Sellards
Garrett S. Goble
Lydia Rebecca Goble
Peter Bell McCoy
Joseph D. Goble
death, Christopher married ElizaThompson in 1892.
At that same time, WillSkeens was a boarder with
and ElizaGoble but Christopher died unexpectedly around 1900.
Eliza later married WillSkeens who raised the
Mary, Wahnetta, Roland and JohnWesley.
Children of Christopher Goble Sr.
and Eliza Thompson
Floyd Co, KY
26 May 1901
Roland Lee Goble
8 Feb 1896
John Wesley Goble
3 Mar 1898
Floyd Co, KY
12 Jun 1988
According to ClaytonCox, at one point Eliza and
were charged in court for the murder of Christopher by
It has been verified that WilliamSkeen lived in Floyd County,
Kentucky in 1880. He was listed a 63-year-old widower with
7 children. There is also a marriage record in
Floyd County for WilliamSkeans and ElizaGoble dated 02 May
2011 Update from Kathryn
I received a great email from Kathryn Sanders who descends from
ChristopherGoble in Feb 2011. Thanks Kathryn for the
was RolandLeeGoebel. Grandpa seldom said
anything about his family. The only thing he ever
said to me was that his father had keeled over dead
after lunch one day and some people thought his mother
had poisoned him. He was shaking his head as if he
couldn't believe anybody could believe that."
"He also told us
that he had run away from home. According to him,
as a child his stepfather beat him and when Grandpa got
old enough he fought back and must have knocked his
stepfather out. Thinking he'd killed his
stepfather, he ran away from home across the river into
Mingo County, WV. He changed the spelling of his
name to Goebel on the advise of someone. After
some time had passed, Grandpa went to answer a knock at
the door one day and found his stepfather on the porch.
Surprise! He was probably pretty happy about that
because influenced by my GrandmaGoebel,
become a preacher."
wasn't Wanetta. Other places have it spelled
but that's flat out wrong. Depending on who was
doing the talking it was pronounced 'Wha-eat-ah' or
sometimes Grandpa pronounced it 'Wha-etta' and my mother
called her 'Aunt Wha-eat' for short."
"It was my understanding that
Grandpa was around 8-years-old when his father died and
Grandpa was born in either 1896 or 1898. Waeta was
born in 1902."
"ElizaThompson was born in Jan
1873 in KY. She married ChristopherGoebel Sr. in
Daniel Goble (son of ThomasGoble
and AliceBrookman), his brother Thomas and his nephew
StephenGoble (son of Thomas), were in King Philip's War, which began in
1671. This was the first and only major Indian war in the 17th
century and it decided the fate of New England's Indians.
DanielGoble fought against the
Indians in Captain Manning's company; his brother ThomasGoble
fought in Captain Prentice's company; and StephenGoble fought
in Captain Wheeler's company. CaptainManning commanded a
contingent in the Battle of Great Swamp Fort on December 19,
1675. It was the most massive military action initiated by the
colonists during the war.
Villages were burned and many
people were captured or scalped. As the battles continued, great
losses were accounted for by the English and the Indians.
After the war ended, the
colonists feared the killing of Indians would throw them back
into fierce fighting. The court records of 1676 state: DanielGoble, StephenGoble, NathanielWilde, and
indicted, tried and found guilty for the "wanton" murders of
three Indian women and three Indian children - all of whom were
Christian. The killings took place on or about August 7, 1676.
This was just five days before King Philip's war ended.
Daniel pleaded "not guilty", but
the Goble men were yeomen (farmers) and both received the
prescribed punishment. DanielHoare and NathanielWilde, being
from more affluent families and having connections with the
clergy, presented a petition to the court begging pardon for
their lives, which the court granted. The court fined them and
they were discharged.
DanielGoble (age 35) and StephenGoble were hanged.
David Vanderford Fulbright,
the son of
David James Fulbright and Sarah Jane Fulp, died 28 May 1934
at the age of 34 from a gunshot wound to the stomach and spinal
chord. His Death Certificate has his name
incorrectly listed as David B. Fulbright. His
death was listed as homicide and it took place "on the street"
in Statesville, NC.
David was married to VestaScott. DavidJamesFulbright
was the half-brother of
Frances Elizabeth Douglas Goble.
of North Iredell, and JuneHuffman, of Statesville, who
had a wreck Sunday morning about 2 o'clock, on the Turnersburg Road, five miles from Statesville, were
apprehended by DeputySheriff R. G. Watts for being
intoxicated. The officer was called in immediately
after the car crashed into a car standing near a filling
station, just off the hard surface road. Fink appeared before SquireGeorgeAnderson this
morning and paid a fine of $5 and the costs. Huffman, charged with driving the car while
intoxicated, was bound to Recorder's Court under a $150
Little is known about
Amanda "Mandy" Leslie. She is, however,
mentioned in the book The Confessions of Edward Isham - A
Poor White Life of the Old South.
Edward Isham, alias HardawayBone, was born around 1827 in
Jackson County, GA, where he grew up poor and with little education.
As a child, Edward learned that the best way to settle an argument was through physical combat.
He got into his first fight after attending school for only five
days and was in numerous fights throughout his life.
Edward used his fists, rocks, knives, guns, or whatever was
As a young man Edward earned money by working as a (gold) miner,
working for the railroad, digging ditches, as a gambler, as well
as any other type of work he could acquire.
Over his life, EdwardIsham was involved with a large number of
women, and was even married several times (including RachelWebb, by whom he had a son named James). He just walking
away from the marriage when he was ready to move one.
In 1858 EdwardIshamcame to North Carolina looking for work and
settled near Statesville, taking the alias HardawayBone.
Edward was described by those who knew him as being a
32-year-old man, standing five feet ten inches
tall, having light hair, a fair complexion with a smooth bony face,
and blue/gray eyes. He was further described as being
"well-formed and rather good looking", having "mild eyes" that
conveyed a "bold look".
Edward had hoped to get a job with the railroad, but instead
found work on the farm of
James Lesley/Leslie, who hired him to dig a well.
EdwardIsham married JamesLesley/Leslie's daughter, Mandy
bought ten acres of land, planning to start a family on his own
farm. Unfortunately, Mandy died after
the birth of their daughter, Margaret, and Edward started
EdwardIsham (HardawayBone) was hired by
wealthy slave-holding farmer in Catawba County, to dig some
ditches. When Edward completed the work, he demanded $8 -
more than JamesCornelius was willing to pay.
Cornelius in court and eventually won a compromise judgment of $5, but
Cornelius had the judgment "stayed" and never paid him.
On Saturday, 07 May 1859, SusanReed (at whose house he had left
his infant child Margaret) heard Edward say that if
"don't pay me my money, I will cut his bowels out".
In his autobiography, EdwardIsham said that when he went to
Cornelius' house that the encounter between he and JamesCornelius began
peaceably. He said that after exchanging greetings,
even invited him inside the house. Edward demanded the
money that Cornelius owed him - saying that he'd settle for $4. When
Cornelius told him that he only had 25 cents in the house, the
two men got into a fight. Edward eventually struck
Cornelius with a stick and then stabbed him.
James' nephew, found his uncle covered in blood and carried his uncle to his father's
They dressed his wound, but due to the large gash on his left
side (three inches long and six inches deep), they feared he
On 21 May 1859, JamesCornelius dictated his last will and
testament and died later that day - 14 days after the original
On Sunday evening (08 May 1859), after his fight with JamesCornelius,
drinking heavily and depressed over the death of his wife,
Mandy, EdwardIsham ate supper at
Daniel Fink's farmhouse in Iredell County.
As soon as the moon went down, Edward fled the area. He attempted
to get back to Georgia and the protection of his family, but the
Cornelius family had offered
a $500 reward for his capture, and he only managed to get
as far as Tennessee.
EdwardIsham was eventually captured and attorney
DavidSchenck was appointed as
his lawyer. As Edward shared the story of his
life, Schenck transcribed his life history into a
leather-bound notebook. Edward claimed that JamesCornelius'
death was not premeditated.
Edward sat in the Newton, NC, jail through the summer of
1859. He claimed
that he could not receive a fair trial in Catawba County because
of prejudice against him, so the judge ordered that the trial be moved to
Gaston County. On 26 Oct 1859 - five months after
Cornelius' death - EdwardIsham (HardawayBone) went on trial for
In the fall of 1859 the jury returned a guilty verdict and
ordered EdwardIsham to be hanged for the murder of
On 25 May 1860, EdwardIsham was hanged in Newton, NC. He made
no remarks at the gallows and received a pauper's burial.
His infant child, a daughter called MargaretBone from his brief
marriage to MandyLasley/Leslie, survived - growing to
JamesCornelius was buried on
his farm in Catawba County. When Duke Power formed Lake
Norman in the Catawba River valley area, the Cornelius family
headstones (including that of James & his brother Austin) were
There are several males named
John in the Lewis family, but one particular JonathanLewis is
remembered because he was accused of murdering Omie (Naomi)
Wise. Jonathan was born 23 Apr 1783 in Randolph County,
NC, the second child of RichardLewis and LydiaField.
Little is know about the real
OmieWise, but records indicate that she was an orphan girl who
was taken in by WilliamAdams and his wife Mary in Randolph
County, NC. Omie met JonathanLewis and the two quickly
became lovers. Jonathan was advised by his mother to
pursue another girl whose family was "in good standing" both
socially and financially. Omie found out about Jonathan's
courtship, and although jilted, she did not stop their affair.
The day itself can not be
determined, but it is said that in April 1808 Omie went missing.
Mr. Adams gathered a search party and followed the horse tracks
to Asheboro, NC, where they found her body in the river.
Mrs. AnnDavis, a resident close to the water, confirmed that
she had heard a woman screaming the night before. The
coroner from Asheboro examined the drowned and battered body of
Naomi and found that she was pregnant.
JonathanLewis was found and
brought to jail, where he escaped a month later. Several men,
including the Sheriff (IsaacLane) were arrested for aiding
Jonathan's escape. The sheriff was cleared of guilt
because he was instrumental in returning Jonathan to jail
in the fall of 1811.
Jonathan remained in jail from
his recapture in the fall of 1811 until 20 Nov 1813.
Records show that he was in the custody of the Orange County
Jailer and eventually transferred to Randolph County.
A year later on 04 Oct 1813,
JonathanLewis finally went to trial - for escaping jail - not
the murder of NaomiWise. The jury delivered a verdict
against ; it found "The Defendant guilty of breaking jail and
rescuing himself as charged in the bill of Indictment, but not
guilty as to the rescuing of MosesSmith (a fellow prisoner)
from legal confinement. Judgment of the Court that the
Defendant pay a fine of Ten Pounds and costs and be imprisoned
Jonathan actually spent 47 days
in jail because he was unable to pay the fine and court costs.
On 20 Nov 1813 he was issued the Oath of an Insolvent Debtor,
relieved of his debt and set free.
McCainin Clark County, Indiana, on 30 Mar 1811. They had
two children: Priscilla, born 04 Mar 1812, and ThomasWillis,
born Sep 1816. Jonathan died of unknown causes on 25 Apr
1817 at the age of 34.
Lyrics to the original version of
the song were written shortly after the murder of Omie.
The first recorded version of the song was performed by G. B.
Grayson, who recorded the song in 1927 in Atlanta, GA.
OmieWise's death became the subject of a traditional American
Ballad. One version opens:
"Oh, listen to my story, I'll tell you
How JohnLewis did murder poor little
The song was also performed by
BobDylan as well as DocWatson.
DocWatson learned the
song from his mother.
Oh, listen to my story, I'll
tell you no lies,
How John Lewis did murder poor little Omie Wise.
He told her to meet him at Adams' Springs.
He promised her money and other fine things.
So, fool-like she met him at Adams' Springs.
No money he brought her nor other fine things.
"Go with me, little Omie, and away we will go.
We'll go and get married and no one will know."
She climbed up behind him and away they did go,
But off to the river where deep waters flow.
"John Lewis, John Lewis, will you tell me your mind?
Do you intend to marry me or leave me behind?"
"Little Omie, little Omie, I'll tell you my mind.
My mind is to drown you and leave you behind."
"Have mercy on my baby and spare me my life,
I'll go home as a beggar and never be your wife."
He kissed her and hugged her and turned her around,
Then pushed her in deep waters where he knew that she would
He got on his pony and away he did ride,
As the screams of little Omie went down by his side.
T'was on a Thursday morning, the rain was pouring down,
When the people searched for Omie but she could not be found.
Two boys went a-fishin' one fine summer day,
And saw little Omie's body go floating away.
They threw their net around her and drew her to the bank.
Her clothes all wet and muddy, they laid her on a plank.
Then sent for John Lewis to come to that place --
And brought her out before him so that he might see her face.
He made no confession but they carried him to jail,
No friends or relations would go on his bail
Mothers of illegitimate children
had no expectation of marriage. They would, however,
agree to name a man responsible for a pregnancy in
court as required by the laws governing bastardy bonds. A
gift of money and/or other "fine things" (as promised by John
Lewis according to the song) was expected.
The first written account of the murder story was by
Braxton Craven, under the pen name of CharlieVernon. It
first appeared in two installments of the January and February,
1851, editions of the Evergreen Newspaper in North Carolina.
It was reprinted several times until 1962. Folks came from
miles around to visit Naomi's grave and the city of Randleman
which named streets, churches, mills and manufacturing plants
In recent years an early 19th century document has
been discovered in the Special Collections of the UCLA Library
which is the only contemporary account of the event. Entitled “A
true account of NayomyWise,” it is a lengthy poem found in a
penmanship copybook belonging to MaryWoody and her brother
RobertWoody. Local historian CalvinHinshaw says that he
was told back in the 1950s by New Salem resident GeorgeNewmanHinshaw that the narrative poem first printed by
was written by LeviBeeson
and his mother soon after the event.
"To Such as here (hear) and Wants to know
A Woman Came Some years ago
Then from a Cuntry (Country) named by hid (Hyde Co, NC)
In Randolph after did reside
And by Some person was defil'd
As So brought forth a bastard Child
She Told her name NeomyWise
Her carnal Conduct Some did despise
It was not long till She'd another
That might be Call'd a basturd's Brother"
The actual story appears to be that unmarried Naomi Wise
was in 1807 already the mother of Nancy (b. 1799) and HenryWise
(b. 1804) and was probably pregnant by JonathanLewis, a
well-to-do store clerk employed by BenjaminElliott, the Clerk
of Superior Court and future owner of the Cedar Falls Cotton
Factory. The "Bastardy Bonds" for Nancy and
Henry can be
found in the Randolph County papers at the NC State Archives
(for years they were hidden by local historian LauraWorth, who
disapproved of the facts). Following the child support law
of the time, Naomi charged each father with "begetting a child
on her body;" each man then posted a bond publicly insuring that
the county would never have to pay to support their children.
Apparently the argument between NaomiWise and JonathanLewis
arose when she revealed her pregnancy, but demanded that Lewis
marry her rather than post a Bastardy Bond. Lewis was in
fact charged with her murder, jailed after the inquest, but
escaped before trial. He fled to Elk Creek, Indiana, where
he was eventually re-arrested and extradited back to Randolph
County, NC. JonathanLewis was tried and acquitted for the
murder of NaomiWise in 1811 (all of these records are in the
Whenever we think of the "good
ole days" we tend to forget that some of the horrors we
associate with today’s world sometimes happened back then too.
The story of Lydia Allred is one such case.
Lydia was born in Orange County,
North Carolina in 1770. She was one of the younger children of
JohnAllred who settled in North Carolina in the 1750’s.
was raised on the family farm located near today’s Patterson
Grove community just north of Franklinville, NC. In 1779 this
same land became part of the newly formed Randolph County.
Most of the time Lydia’s
neighbors were law abiding. Court documents from that time
period show that there were occasional visits to court to
complain about a missing cow or hog and a few accusations of
theft of farm equipment, but, for the most part, life was
peaceful. One important exception to that rule was the Lewis
John and PriscillaLewis raised a
large family on their land located just north of today’s
Franklinville, NC. This family, especially the boys and men, were
well known as mean, tough, belligerent bullies. They made their
own rules, followed no laws but their own and beat or killed
anyone who made them mad. One account taken from the book "The
Randolph Story" on file in the Randolph Room, Asheboro Public
The Randolph Story
The Lewises were tall, broad,
muscular and very powerful men. The family were the lions of the
country. Their character was eminently pugnacious. Nearly all of
them drank to intoxication; aware of power, they insulted whom
they listed; they sought occasions of quarrel as a Yankee does
gold in California. They rode through plantations; killed their
neighbor’s cattle; took fish from other men’s traps; said what
they pleased; all more for contention than gain. Though the
opposed had power, they were afraid to prosecute them, they knew
these human hydras had no mercy; they dreaded their retaliating
vengeance. Anything, man or beast, that crossed their path
periled it’s life. The neither sheltered themselves under the
strong arm of the law nor permitted others to do so, they
neither gave nor asked mercy. Their pledge was sure as anything
human could be. If they threatened death or torture, those
threatened always thought it prudent to retire to the very
uttermost part of the earth.
StephenLewis, the fifth child of
John and Priscilla, was born June 4, 1757. Per
documents, he fought and bullied his way into adulthood. In the
1770’s he began appearing in court, charged with a variety of
theft, assaults and battery. More times, than not, the court
found him not-guilty, no doubt fearing retaliation from him or
his family. On the few occasions he was found guilty, he was
usually fined some small amount which was never collected.
This pattern continued on into
the mid 1780’s. Between March and October 1786, Stephen and his
brother, John, had been in court 11 different times
answering a variety of charges. One of those charges was brought
by Lydia’s father, John, who accused JohnLewis of assault in
June 1786. JohnLewis was found innocent and JohnAllred
became the target of some vicious retaliation.
The Allredfamily found
themselves confronted by the Lewisfamily over the next few
months. Farm equipment disappeared. Farm animals were
slaughtered. When the family members went to visit neighbors,
they were followed and taunted. Finally, on a sunny afternoon in
October, it all came "to a head".
October 30th no doubt began as a
normal day on the farm. Chores were performed, meals were cooked
and served by the women while the men worked in the fields. The
colorful fall leaves were falling and the weather had a slight
"nip in the air". When her chores were finished, Lydia decided
to walk the well worn wagon path to her sister and
brother-in-law’s home, Barbara and WilliamYork. Barbara was 17,
only one year older than Lydia and a newly wed. The sisters were
close and no doubt missing each other’s daily company. A visit
would be welcome.
The court document filed November
6, 1786 tells the story in chilling detail.
Lydia was walking
along the path when StephenLewis rode up on his horse. He, no
doubt, recognized her as one of John Allred’s daughters.
got off of his horse and grabbed Lydia, pulling her to him
roughly and forcing her onto his lap as he sat down on a log.
Holding her tightly, he asked her to have "carnal knowledge"
with him. She refused, telling him she would rather die and
tried to fight her way free of his clutches. Angered, he forced
his hand under her skirt and "placed his hand on her privates
and forced his fingers into her body". She fought valiantly, but
he was bigger and stronger than the frightened 16 year old girl.
He pushed her to the ground and violently beat and raped her.
When finished, Lewis left
lying on the path and rode off. She pulled herself together and
somehow managed to get to her sister’s home. As you can imagine,
the family reacted in horror and demanded justice. On November
6, Lydia’s father, brothers and brother-in-laws came to court to
file charges against StephenLewis.
Unfortunately, as in the past,
the court continued to be reluctant to indict or convict anyone
in the Lewis family of anything - even something as horrible as
rape. Court records show that although the Allred family
presented overwhelming evidence and Lydia herself was forced to
testify in detail about the rape, little was done to StephenLewis. Finally, in December, the court agrees to indict
StephenLewis and hold a trial. However, the intimidated jurors and court
officials, fearing reprisals from the Lewis family, vote to
post-pone the trial until Spring 1787. They were probably hoping
that, with the new court session, they would not be chosen as
jurors and would escape the Lewis family wrath.
On February 1, 1787, StephenLewis was back in court accused of threatening the life of
Lydia’s father, John. He had already beat John, breaking his
nose, and continued to harass the family every chance he got.
John asked the court for protection. It wasn’t awarded until
another week passed. In response, Stephen and his family
increased their campaign of harassment and terror.
Finally, in March 1787, the court
imposes a 100 pound bond on StephenLewis to guarantee his
appearance in court for trial. But, the trial was postponed once
again as the Lewis family’s threats scare the jurors. By June,
Lydia’s father had reached his limit and begins fighting back.
He accomplishes nothing except getting himself arrested
for "profane swearing in public". The humiliation must have
been unbearable as John is arrested for "swearing" while his
daughter’s rapist still roamed free. While in court facing the
original "swearing" charge, John loses his temper again and
swears at the court officials. Again he is charged and fined.
The rape trial is postponed again and again as the jurors and
court officials were harassed by the Lewis family. Court
documents also show that the Lewis brothers were in court many
times over the next 4 years as they continued to wreak
havoc in Randolph County. But, as we’ve all heard, "you reap
what you sow" and eventually everyone pays for the evil they do.
When Stephen raped Lydia, he was married. Lewis family records
show that he beat his wife on a regular basis, treating her no
better than he did his neighbors. Finally, in 1791, Stephen’s
brother, Richard, helped Stephen’s wife escape and hid her
outside of the county at the home of a friend. Richard was no
better than Stephen, so this unusual act of kindness was rare.
Stephen and Richard argued violently about the beatings, and
finally Richard agreed to return Stephen’s wife if he would
promise to quit beating her. Stephen refused. Eventually he
found his wife and dragged her back home, beating her severally.
Stephen then went to his brother’s home intending to kill him.
Richard, seeing Stephen approach, grabbed his shot gun and ran
upstairs. As Stephen climbed the stairs looking for Richard,
Richard shot and wounded him. The family gathered around and
soon Stephen was sent back home patched up, but very angry.
As Stephen laid at home recovering from the gun-shot wound, he
swore to everyone in hearing distance that he would kill his
brother as soon as he was healed. Richard, knowing Stephen fully
intended to carry out this threat, finally decided to end the
feud once and for all. He rode to Stephen’s house, crept quietly
to the back of the house where he knew Stephen was recovering.
As he looked through a crack in the wall, he could see Stephen
sitting up in bed having his wound dressed. Richard stuck the
barrel of the gun through the crack in the wall and shot his
brother through the heart, killing him instantly.
Lydia, in the meantime, never recovered emotionally from the
rape. She became a recluse, painfully shy, never wanting to go
out in public or leave the confines of home. Her father, John,
died in 1792 knowing that his daughter’s rapist had finally paid
for his crimes. After John died, Lydia moved in with her sister,
Barbara, and her family where she lived until her death.
The Murder of Michael Dale
Lafone - State vs. Hester -