Sentence Reported in Tuscaloosa

Source Type: Newspaper
Publisher: The Tuskaloosa Gazette
Place of publication: Tuscaloosa, AL
Date of publication: Apr 26, 1888 12:00 am
Source URL: View Source

Guilty of Murder in the First Degree-Sentenced to be Hung on Friday, June First. From Daily Gazette, April 21. The time of the court was occupied during the greater part of the day yesterday, in the trial of the negro Jim Seams, who killed deputy sheriff Autry, of this county, in January last. The court appointed W. C. Fitts, Esq., and Gen. Wood, to defend him. As we stated yesterday, the trial commenced the evening before, and the work of empannelling the jury was in progress at the time of going to press. The jury was completed by 10 a. m., yesterday, and the trial proceeded. The testimony was short but clear, positive and convincing against the prisoner. The argument was made before the jury by H. B. Foster, Esq., and Solicitor A. G. Smith in behalf of the State, and by W. C. Fitts, Esq., and Col. Powell in behalf of the defendant. The court instructed the jury and gave the case into their hands. After deliberating about two and a half hours, they returned their verdict, which was “we the jury find the defendant guilty of murder in the first degree, and say that he shall suffer death.” The jury returned their verdict about 3 o’clock p. m. About half- past three, the sentence of the court was passed upon him. When asked by Judge Sprott what he had to say why sentence of death should not be pronounced against him, his only reply was that he wanted his case tried in the U. S. outside of Alabama, where they knew so much about it. Evidently meaning that he wanted it taken to the U. S. Court. The judge told him that he had had a fair trial by a good jury, that he could appeal the case, but that that was a matter that his lawyers would look after. The Judge then proceeded to pronounce the death sentence upon him. The sentence being that the Sheriff of Tuskaloosa county should take him and hang him by the neck until he was dead, dead, on Friday the 1st day of June 1888, in the jail yard of Tuskaloosa county, or within some other inclosure near by, provided for the purpose. A large crowd of our citizens were present to hear the verdict of the jury and the sentence of the court. Jim Seams appeared altogether unmoved and manifested no special concern. He was given a fair and impartial trial, and able counsel defended him, and did all that it was possible to do for him, but the law and the evidence demanded that he should pay the penalty of his crime, and that penalty is death. The verdict of the jury was a righteous one and meets the approval of this entire people. The murder was a most willful and inexcusable one, and the murdered man was one of our best citizens, and in the discharge of his duty as an officer when murdered. The prisoner was remanded to jail to await the day of his execution.