“The Pity of it All”

Source Type: Newspaper
Publisher: The Montgomery Times
Place of publication: Montgomery, Alabama
Date of publication: 7/1/1904 0:00

THE PITY OF IT ALL. White Men Killed Wrong Negro. A Fatal Case of Mistaken w m Identity. WILL TAYLOR SHOT BY FIREMAN AND ENGINEER. The Unfortunate Disclosure in Evidence Before Jefferson County’s Coroner and What it Led to. [Special Telegram to The Times.] Birmingham, Ala., July 1.—From the evidence before Coroner Paris Will R. Adams and Walter C. Wright, fireman and engineer, respectively, on the Frisco, killed the wrong man Wednesday night or rather not the man they were after when they shot and killed Will Taylor, a negro, at Ninth avenue and Twenty-fifth street. The two men say they were looking for Ed Bennings, another negro, and it was he whom they sought to kill and thought they had killed. Coroner Paris started an investigation of the case early yesterday morning, and as a result the two white men are in the county jail on warrants sworn out by Coroner Paris before Judge Benners of the inferior court, charging them with murder. Yesterday morning Adams was seen to by Coroner Paris and admitted that he and Wright were together when the shooting occurred. He stated that Wright had the pistol and shot the negro. He stated, however, that he himself had a pick in his hands, and that he went to his engine and got the pick after he had the previous difficulty with the negro, Ed Bennings. Adams said that he had the trouble with Bennings, then went back to his engine is and got this pick which he used for breaking coal, and also got Engineer Wright, who brought a pistol with him. Wright stated to the coroner that he did the shooting, and that he shot four times. His testimony, however, conflicts with that of Adams, and other witnesses, in that he states when he arrived at the house where the shooting took place two negroes had Adams down beating him, and that he shot to help Adams. The circumstances of the shooting as obtained from the witnesses before the coroner are that Lafrankie Butler, a negro girl 13 years old, and herr brother, Willie Butler, were going through the railroad yards when Adams called the little girl and gave her 50 cents. She ran to the house of her in brother-in-law, Ed Bennings, and Adams followed her. When he got there Bennings asked him what he wanted, and he demanded the 50 cents. Bennings told him he was drunk and put him out of the house, saying to Adams that he did not wish to have anything more to do with him. Adams went back to the engine, got Wright and they went to the wrong house looking for Bennings. They broke open the front door of a house in the same yard as the Bennings house, but occupied, by John and Ella Alexander and Will Taylor, the negro boy killed.