Shifflett Family Genealogy

 

            Before reading the following newspaper articles on the murder of Lula Frazer Shiflett, I would like to point out some discrepancies listed in the newspaper.  These errors were pointed out to me by Lula’s granddaughter.

 

            1.  Battle was not related to Lula, he was however; the second cousin once removed of her husband Thomas.

            2.  Lula Shiflett had three children.  The articles mention her having 2 small children many times.  Her children were Noah abt 16 yrs, Gladys 14 yrs and Russell 12 yrs old at the time of her death.

            3.  Lula’s parents were listed as Mr. and Mr. William Shiflett, it is not clear where this came from because Lula’s father was Noah Herring and her mother was Martha Frazier, they never married and that is probably why she used the last name of Frazier.

 

Battle Shiflett was released from prison in the early 70’s and died in the 1976

 

Photo of Battle Shiflett (man on the left) sent in by Olen Morris who found it among his grandmother's pictures.  Take notice of the bandage over his eye.  He is also handcuffed to Detective Ship.

This picture of Battle Shiflett appeared on the front page of the Daily Progress in August 27, 1931
The caption under the picture in the newspaper reads:

"Battle Shiflet (left) handcuffed to Detective Ship.  Photo taken on arrival of the prisoner from Peoria, Ill.  Monday,  Shiflett waived preliminary hearing in police court this morning on the charge of murdering Mrs. Lula Shiflett, his cousin, August 8"

 

Tom & Lula

Thomas Lewis Shifflett and wife Lulu V. Frazier

The Lula Frazier Shiflett Murder

 

SATURDAY AUGUST 8, 1931

THE DAILY PROGRESS, CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA

 

BATTLE SHIFLETT WOUNDS WOMAN; MAKES ESCAPE

BULLET FIRED AT CLOSE RANGE; IS LODGED IN SPINE

Mrs. Thomas Shiflett has Remote Chance of Recovering; Is Mother of Two Children

 

ASSAILANT LEAPS INTO WAITING CAR

Shooting Occurs In Rear of Local Café; Officers On Trail

 

            Authorities were preparing to scour Albemarle County this afternoon for Battle Shiflett, thirty-five, of Blackwell’s Hollow, who this morning critically wounded the young mother of two small children by pouring a fusillade of pistol slugs at her in the kitchen of a West Main Street café.  Four bullets took effect, one entering near the ear, causing total paralysis from the neck down.  The other three wounds were in the groin, the right flank and the right arm.

            The woman, Mrs. Thomas Shiflett, aged about thirty, hovers between life and death at University Hospital, where physicians are trying to save her from the effects of a bullet that entered behind her left ear and lodged in the spinal column.  Attaches could not estimate her chances for recovery but described her condition as grave.

Assailant Escapes

            Meanwhile, officers here will probably shortly communicate with authorities in nearby towns and counties asking their aid for the capture for the capture of the man responsible for the shooting.  Shiflett killed a man by the name of Morris about ten years ago, but was acquitted on the grounds of self-defense.

            The wounding this morning occurred in the kitchen of the Jefferson Café, Tenth and West Main Street, about 11 O’clock.  According to witnesses Shiflett had been engaged in a length conversation with the woman.  At its termination she went into the kitchen and he followed.  There followed five shots in quick succession.  Employees rushed into the rear room and found the woman lying on the floor, able to talk but otherwise completely paralyzed.

Leaves in Car

            Shifflett had rushed out of the back door.  The information given police was that he ran down an alley and behind a nearby apartment.  Then an unidentified man drove up in an automobile and blew the horn, apparently as a prearranged signal.  Shiflett ran from behind the apartment and leaped into the car as it sped out West Main Street.  Police were notified in a few moments.  The call was answered by Acting Chief of Police O. M. Wood and Motorcycle Officer J. E. Adams, who went to the hospital where the victim had been taken by M. W. Willis, who chanced to be passing by the place at the time of the shooting.

Retains Consciousness

            At the infirmary the women talked intelligibly, and inquired about her chances for recovery.  Physicians told her they were unable to tell, and she left the request that in event she died her children would be taken care of.  Her husband is thought to be in Baltimore working.

            Police Lieutenant B. A. Shipp, followed closely Officers Wood and Adams to the scene, and upon learning the manner of Shiflett’s escape, gave pursuit out the Georgetown road.  He sped over nearby roads for a half hour or more but gained so sight of the fleeing automobile.

            Mr. Wood was still busy this afternoon investigating the motive for the shooting.  The incident has aroused more indignation than any other crime here in recent months.  A number of persons on the street were bitter in their denunciation of the brutal attack, and this bitterness was heightened when authorities learned Shiflett about an hour before the shooting had purchased a revolver at a downtown hardware store, giving credence to the belief that the affair was cold-bloodedly premeditated.

            Shiflett was described as a Shifting individual, who moves from place to place at frequent intervals.  Some of his time has been spent in Maryland and West Virginia, but most of his life has been lived in the Blue Ridge Mountains, where he killed Morris ten years ago.  There was a good deal of conjecture as to his present whereabouts, some believing he had returned to his old haunts around the coal mines in West Virginia.


MONDAY AUGUST 10, 1931

THE DAILY PROGRESS, CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA

 

MRS. SHIFLETT DIES, ASSAILANT REMAINS AT LARGE

ELWOOD GARRISON ALLEGED HELP IN ESCAPE, CAPTURED

Police, Scouring Mountain District For Killer, Spread Search Into Two States

 

MANHUNT NETS ALSO SMALL LIQUOR HAUL

Motive of Inhuman Crime Said To Have Been Unrequited Affection

 

            Acting Chief of Police O. M. Wood had a long distance telephone call this afternoon from the chief of detectives of the Harrisburg, Penn, police department telling him that Elwood Garrison accused of aiding and abetting in the escape of Battle Shiflett, after the later committed a murder here Saturday, is being held by authorities there.

            Garrison, so the Pennsylvania detective said, readily admitted his identity, but declared he would fight extradition.  Arrangements are being made here this afternoon to secure extradition papers.

Think Shiflett Hiding

            Shiflett who killed his cousin, Mrs. Lula Shiflett, by shooting her five times at close range is thought to be hiding somewhere in the Blue Ridge Mountains, where he was born and raised, and where once before he took the life of a human being.

            Mrs. Shiflett thirty-three years of old, the mother of two children and described as being more than commonly pretty, died at University Hospital at 1 o’clock yesterday morning, the victim of one bullet that penetrated her spinal column and lodged in the head.  An autopsy revealed that four other bullets had taken effect in the body.

Establishes Motive

            Acting Chief of Police Wood said this morning he had been able to establish a motive for the hideous attack that has shocked this community probably more than any crime in years.  He stated it was unrequited affection, but declined to discuss the background of the case

            The case was reconstructed today by authorities somewhat as follows:  Mrs. Shiflett, who had been separated for some years from her husband, Thomas L. Shiflett, of Pirkeysville, had been living here for several months.  She had a room in the home of E. F. Ward on Elsom Street.  Before coming here she was in Hershey, Penn., where her cousin, Battle, Also worked.  Officers mentioned there had been correspondence between the pair after the woman came here.

            Shiflett, so authorities say arrived here early Saturday Morning.  About 10 o’clock he bought a cheap pistol at a downtown hardware store.  With this in his pocket, he went to the Jefferson Restaurant, where the woman had been employed for about four months, and became engaged in a controversy with her.  When she went into kitchen on some duty he followed.  People nearby heard five shots in rapid succession.  Shiflett ran out of the back door, hid behind an apartment house until a car -- operated by Elwood Garrison, officers said – drove up in front of the place and gave a signal.  The machine containing the two men was last seen speeding out West Main Street.

Scour Mountain District

            A squad of city and county officers spent the entire night in the mountain section Saturday.  The officers in the man hunt were; Sheriff J. Mason Smith, Deputy Sheriffs W. Abbott Smith and E. M. Powell, Police Lieutenant B. A. Shipp, Special Officer J. J. Buck, and Patrolman W. H. Mayo and V. J. Kirby.  At one village they were told that Shiflett had passed through only a short time before, but no trace could be found of either the killer or his companion.

            The search did net, incidentally, two gallons of liquor that Chap Wood was bringing out of Blackwell’s Hollow.  The posse happened to run into Chap and summoned him to appear here for a magisterial trial.  He is now under bond in Federal court for moon shinning and has been convicted in county courts before.

Known as Bad Man

            The officers searched through Blackwell’s Hollow, Boonesville, Mount Fair and the surrounding territory.  Shiflett’s mother lives in Blackwell’s Hollow and it is there he makes his home when in this section of the country and not dodging the law.  But Shiflett is of a roving nature, and has spent a great deal of time in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Maryland.

            Authorities think he may be hiding temporarily in the mountains around home.  They believe that he plans to skip out at the first chance and make for some of his old haunts.

            The acting chief of police said today Shiflett is known as a chronic “gun toter” and willing to use his weapons when under the influence of liquor.  He was said to have been somewhat under the influence of drink when he perpetrated Saturday’s grim act.

Broad Net is Spread

            Not only is the chase being carried on in Albemarle County, but is spreading to other cities and counties, and even to other states.  Officials are determined to bring to justice the slayer.  Police here have communicated with authorities in a wide surrounding area and two warrants have been forward to the chief of police of Hershey, Penn., where both Garrison and Shiflett used to spend a great deal of time.

            Shifflett is about thirty years old.  He was described as being a man short in stature, having a prominent hooked nose, several gold teeth which he displays, and beady shifty eyes.  Mr. Wood said he seldom worked but eked a living by bootlegging and gambling.  About ten years ago he had a quarrel with a man by the name of Lomis Morris in Blackwell’s Hollow.  Morris was shot to death and an Albemarle County jury set Shiflett free on the grounds of self-defense.  Since that time, officials stated, he has been roving back and forth from his mother’s home to various industrial cities in four or five states.

Leaves Two Children

            The victim of what many residents have no hesitancy in branding as one of the most dastardly and vicious in the history of the city leaves behind her two small children.  On her deathbed she made requests to have them safely cared for.  At present they are in the Blue Ridge Industrial School.  Her husband is thought to be living in Baltimore.

            Mrs. Shiflett is survived also by her parents, Mr. and Mrs. William Shiflett.  She also leaves one sister, Mrs. William Frazier of Orange County and two brothers, James, of Charlottesville, and David, Waynesboro.  There are four half brothers, named Frazier, and three half sisters, most of them residents of Hershey, Pa.


TUESDAY AUGUST 11, 1931

THE DAILY PROGRESS, CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA

 

PREPARE PAPERS FOR RETURN OF ELWOOD GARRISON

POSSE CONTINUES ACTIVE HUNT FOR BATTLE SHIFLETT

Man Alleged to Have Aided Escape of Killer Is Expected to Fight Extradition

 

OFFICERS COMBING MOUNTAIN HAUNTS

Theories Differ On Route Taken By Shiflett After Fatal Shooting

 

            Acting Commonwealth’s Attorney R. L. Jackson last night forwarded to Governor John Garland Pollard the necessary papers petitioning him to ask Governor Gifford Pinchot of Pennsylvania for the extradition of Elwood Garrison, who is wanted here to stand trail as an accessory to Battle Shiflett in the murder of Mrs. Lula Shiflett, Saturday morning.

            Garrison was arrested in Harrisburg, Penn., yesterday morning and said he would at least require extradition papers before he would submit to being brought here.  It is expected that all of the procedure incident to his transfer will have been completed within three or four days, and the police department will probably send a representative to Harrisburg about the last of this week.

Scoured Mountain Districts

            Meanwhile, city officers are scouring through the wet brush around Blackwell’s Hollow and Brown’s Cove in a search for Shiflett.  Some Authorities have been on the watch in the section around the home of his mother in Blackwell’s Hollow practically every minute since noon Saturday.  They have received varying accounts about Shiflett’s movements, but no trace of him has been obtained.  Some believe he is still in hiding in the mountainous region, but others believe he has skipped out to some of his old haunts in West Virginia or Pennsylvania.

Feeling At High Pitch

            The murder of Mrs. Shiflett, estranged wife of Thomas Shiflett, and mother of two infant children, has been considered one of the most vicious crimes ever committed in this section.  Feeling has been at a high pitch for the past three days.  The killer bought a revolver at a downtown hardware store and proceeded to the West Main Street café, where the woman was employed, and fired five shots at her at close range.  Accounts told of how he pursued her, firing as she screamed and tried to flee to safety.

Funeral Today

            The victim’s funeral was held at 2 o’clock this afternoon from the Mission Home, the services were conducted by Rev. Roy Mason, of the Episcopal Church.  The woman’s two children, pupils at the Blue Ridge Industrial School, were present, as was her husband, who has been making his home in Baltimore.

            Garrison is wanted as the driver of the car in which Shiflett made his daring escape.  The getaway was said by authorities to have been apparently prearranged, and worked out as if it had been well rehearsed.  The motive for the killing was described by Acting Chief of Police O. M. Wood as unreturned love.


WEDNESDAY AUGUST 12, 1931

THE DAILY PROGRESS, CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA

           

SEE NO TRACE OF SHIFLETT KILLER

 

Authorities Hunt Without Working Out Any of Several Clues

 

            Battle Shiflett, killer of his cousin. Mrs. Lula Shiflett, here Saturday, was still at liberty today and authorities were frank enough to confess they have no definite information on his whereabouts, but they are doing everything possible to overturn clues.

            His companion, however, Elwood Garrison, who is alleged to have been the driver of the car in which the slayer effected his daring escape after shooting the woman as she pleaded for mercy, is under arrest in Harrisburg, Penn., and arrangements are being made to have him extradited to face trial here on charges of abetting in the escape.  The exact nature of the charges no doubt will be determined by the grand jury that considers his case.  Some believe he will be tried for being an accessory after the fact, but others are inclined to think evidence will be brought out to show he was an accessory both before and after the crime.

Can find No Trace

            Mrs. Shiflett was shot to death as she cowered and cried for mercy in the kitchen of the Jefferson Café on West Main Street.  Acting Chief of Police O. M. Wood stated Witnesses have divulged that Shiflett deliberately walked in and, heedless of the woman’s pleas, calmly directed the fusillade at her.  Then, they related, he walked out of the back door and hid behind an apartment building until Garrison drove up Main Street in Shiflett’s car and honked the horn as a signal.

            For the past three days posses have been scouring the mountainous section around the Blackwell’s Hollow home of the slayer’s mother, but they have obtained no trace of the fugitive.  It is thought likely that he has now fled the mountains and is in hiding in another state.  Authorities in a number if cities are keeping close check on all railway and bus stations.


THURSDAY AUGUST 13, 1931

THE DAILY PROGRESS, CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA

 

POLICE LOCATE TRACE OF SHIFLETT IN VALLEY

AUTHORITIES FIND SLENDER CLUE IN HUNT FOR KILLER

Man Answering Description Spent Night at Shenandoah Y.M.C.A Monday

 

MEAGER TRAIL ENDS THERE FOR PRESENT

Police Believe Alleged Murderer is Headed Northward

 

            Authorities are now firmly convinced that Battle Shiflett, who last Saturday mortally wounded Mrs. Lula Shiflett in a restaurant here by firing a volley of revolver slugs into her body, has effected his escape from Virginia and is in hiding somewhere in Maryland or Pennsylvania, where he is familiar with the underworlds of several cities in both states.

            These were the conclusions arrived at last night from reports made by two Charlottesville plainclothes men who spent yesterday running down clues in towns west of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Stops at Shenandoah

            The officers --- Police lieutenants Charles H. Yowell and B. A. Shipp --- reported to Acting Chief of Police O. M. Wood they were positive Shiflett spent Monday night in Shenandoah, a small town on the western side of the Blue Ridge, and probably headed northward by train early Tuesday morning.  Farther than that point, the killer’s movements are unknown to officials.

            The two detectives said they were informed by the management of the Shenandoah Y.M.C.A. that a man tallying almost exactly to Shiflett’s description rented a room there Monday night.  They said he was in company of another man, a younger man who is supposed to have been his brother.  The pair arrived by automobile, and the one supposed to have been Battle Shiflett inquired about northbound train schedules.  The next morning he was not to be seen, leading to the supposition he boarded a late Norfolk and Western train during the night.

            The men registered at the Y.M.C.A. as E. T. Miller and G. D. Miller, but the descriptions given by the management were sufficient to convince the officers that the men were the fugitive and his brother.

Net Tightens On Garrison

            Authorities have also been able to reconstruct what they believe is an account odf Shiflett’s movements from the time he sped out of this city in an automobile with another man on the morning of the killing until his disappearance.  They base their conclusions on evidence gathered while searching through the mountainous section around Blackwell’s Hollow where Shiflett’s mother lives.

            The authorities are agreed that the man who helped the slayer get out of Charlottesville was Elwood Garrison, now under arrest in Harrisburg, Penn., as an accessory to the crime.  The pair, according to the police reconstruction, headed straightaway for the mountains, where Shiflett is familiar with every hollow and convenient hideaway.  He is alleged to have spent his first night on what is known as Fox’s Mountain.  The next night, they believe, he still hid out in the woods, but moved some distance westward.  They by arrangement, authorities think, he was met by a confederate, probably his brother who took him to Shenandoah.

Prepare For Long Hunt

            Officers are prepared for what may prove to be a nation-wide man hunt; for Shiflett has traveled through a number of states, especially in the East, and has spent a good deal of time in several industrial cities.  He is known to police as a roving gambler and bootlegger, who is dangerous when under the influence of liquor.  He is said to be armed most of the time, and has been involved in two previous shooting scrapes.  He killed a kinsman, Lomis Morris; ten years ago and later shot Edmund Shiflett in the leg during a quarrel.  He was freed in the killing case on the ground of self-defense.

            Meanwhile, Commonwealth’s Attorney L. W. Wood returned here shortly before noon today from a short vacation and was preparing to delve into the case.  Extradition proceedings have already been started by Acting Commonwealth’s Attorney R. L. Jackson, with the view of getting Garrison back here to stand trail on the accessory count.  Garrison is fighting extradition, and a good deal of technicalities must be ironed out before Pennsylvania authorities will turn him over to this State.  Mr. Wood was expected this afternoon to begin work immediately.


FRIDAY AUGUST 14, 1931

THE DAILY PROGRESS, CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA

 

SHIFLETT SMILED, EYEWITNESS SAYS, AND FIRED VOLLEY

 

Colored Employe Tells Vivid Story of Tragedy Enacted in Tiny Restaurant

 

            Battle Shiflett’s face glowed with a sardonic smile as he pumped a volley of slugs into the cowering and defenseless form of his cousin, Mrs. Lula Shiflett in the kitchen of the Jefferson Café last Saturday, according to an account given this morning by the sole eyewitness, Willie Porter, Negro cook in the West Main Street restaurant.

            According to Porter’s version, Shiflett appeared to take a fiendish delight in pouring the fusillade of lead into the body of the woman as she cried piteously for mercy.

Begged Protection

            The Negro said he was working in the kitchen, when the swinging door suddenly flew open and Mrs. Shiflett burst in and begged him to save her.  A moment later, he said, Shiflett appeared at the doorway and stood there pointing the gun menacingly and smiling.  He said nothing.  Porter said he was frightened so badly he could not reconstruct the scene clearly, but he remembered the woman’s pleas and the shots in rapid succession.  The kitchen is small and the woman had no chance of escape.  After the first two bullets had struck her, the man stated, Mrs. Shiflett turned and crouched over a stove, sobbing desperately, while the killer continued to fire at her back.  Her hands clutched her head wildly, and she slumped to the floor as the last shot was fired.  Shiflett walked calmly out of the back door.

No More Clues

            Authorities this morning were still virtually without clues as to the slayer’s whereabouts.  He is alleged to have been traced to Shenandoah, small Shenandoah Valley town, where he is supposed to have spent Monday.  There the trail --- if it is the right one --- stops.  But a close lookout is being kept in all towns where officials think it is likely Shiflett may go in hiding.

            Meanwhile, Commonwealth’s Attorney L. W. Wood, who returned yesterday from a short vacation, immediately went into the case and completed all local details in connection with the extradition from Pennsylvania of Elwood Garrison, wanted here for helping the killer escape.  He was arrested in Harrisburg.  Monday of this week, and probably will be returned here within the next few days.  Certificates were dispatched last night to Governor John Garland Pollard, which he will send to Governor Gifford Pinchot, of Pennsylvania, to have Garrison extradited.


SATURDAY AUGUST 15, 1931

THE DAILY PROGRESS, CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA

 

POLICE AND DAILY PROGRESS JOINED BY UNNAMED MAN

Circular, Broadly Distributed Broadcasts Offer of $150 For Battle Shiflett

 

EXPECT CITIZENS TO RAISE AMOUNT

Search For Alleged Murderer Goes on With Unabated Zeal

                                                                  

            Rewards amounting to $150 have been offered for the arrest, or for information that will lead to the arrest of Battle Shiflett, who a week ago today walked into the Jefferson Café on West Main Street, and shot to death his cousin, Mrs. Lula Shiflett, while she begged for mercy.

            Mayor Fred L. Walton, with the consent of the other commissioners, has authorized the police department to offer a reward of $50.  The Daily progress has posted a similar sum; and a third $50 has been put up by an individual, whose identity authorities are withholding for fear he may be placed in personal jeopardy by friends the slayer.

Distributing Circular

            Announcement of the rewards is made on a circular, which Acting Chief of Police O. M. Wood today is sending to officials in a score of cities where there is any possibility of Shiflett going.  The circular describes the killer as being between thirty-five and thirty-eight years old, five feet and five inches in height, weighing about 150 pounds.  He is clean-shaven, has two gold teeth, a prominent hooked nose, an old scar on the cheek and a new operation scar near the top of the head.  The middle finger on the right hand is stiff and partly perished.  There is an old scar on the left wrist.  The card asks that informants notify Chief of Police Maurice F. Greaver.

Clues Still Lacking

            Where Shiflett is now apparently still remains a matter of deep mystery to officials.  They believe that he sped out of here in an automobile driven by Elwood Garrison immediately after the killing, and headed for his home in Blackwell’s Hollow.  He is supposed to have spent two nights in that mountain section and to have turned up in Shenandoah, west of the Blue Ridge Mountain, on the Norfolk and Western Railway, Monday night.  From there the trail becomes largely a matter of guesswork.

            There are those who cling to the belief that Shiflett is still in hiding in the rugged section where he was raised, and where he is familiar with every trail and crevice.  What heightens the mystery is that authorities have been unable to find one individual who will say he has seen the slayer since he escaped this city.

            Still others are convinced that he has fled to West Virginia, Pennsylvania or one of the other several states in which he spent a good deal of his life.

To Extradite Garrison

            His alleged confederate, Elwood Garrison, who officials say helped him make his escape so complete, is now under arrest in Harrisburg, Penn., and is fighting extradition.  Governor John Garland Pollard by Commonwealth’s Attorney L. W. Wood has requested Requistion papers, and some word is expected from Governor Pinchot of Pennsylvania about the first of next week.  Officials hope to have Garrison brought to Charlottesville within the next four or five days.

Always Carries Gun

            Authorities agree that Shiflett is a dangerous character, who may fight to the death before submitting to capture.  They say he goes habitually armed and is considered a good revolver marksman.  About ten years ago he shot and killed his uncle, Lomis Morris, in Blackwell’s Hollow, and was acquitted on the grounds of self-defense.  Seven years after he wounded another uncle Edmund Shiflett, in a quarrel.  Friends say he bears a bullet would, supposed to have been inflicted in a brawl while he was in Florida.  There is a report to the effect that he has bragged to intimates that he also did some shooting in Florida, but the authenticity of this has not been vouched for.  Police here said last night that to their knowledge he has been arrested four times with the last year and each time they have found him with a gun on his person.

 


MONDAY AUGUST 17, 1931

THE DAILY PROGRESS, CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA

 

RUMOR HAS SHIFLETT KILLING FOUR OFFICERS IN ONE DAY; STORY FALSE

 

Reports Circulated to Effect That Slayer Shot Sheriff Malone, a Deputy, Constable Haney and Officer Kirby in Crowed Afternoon

 

            Beginning Saturday shortly afternoon rumors became rampant about Battle Shiflett fugitive slayer, having gone into Greene County and killed three or four officers.  City and County authorities were busy over the weekend informing dozens of enquirers that there was no truth in any of the reports.  Shiflett, who killed his cousin, Mrs. Lula Shiflett, in a restaurant here ten days ago, has not been seen by officers since that time.

            The most imaginative report was to the effect that the escaped slayer suddenly appeared in Stanardsville about noon Saturday and shot to death Sheriff Malone, one of his deputies, and Constable H. J. Haney, an Albemarle County officer.  One version even went so far as to include Policeman V. J. Kirby on the list of casualties.  Authorities naturally, ran down each of the reports as fast as they came in and found all of them without any basis in fact.

Made Threats

            The only foundation that can be found for the beginning of these stories was that Shiflett is alleged to have made threats against Constable Haney and Patrolman Kirby, both of whom have arrested him for minor crimes.

            City and County officers continued their hunt for the fugitive over the weekend.  A posse of eight or ten went into the mountains of green and Rockingham counties Saturday night, but returned empty-handed Sunday morning, as mystified as ever concerning Shifflett’s whereabouts.

            Meanwhile, Governor John Garland Pollard has requested Governor Gifford Pinchot, of Pennsylvania, for the return of Elwood Garrison, who is alleged to have assisted Shiflett in his spectacular escape.  Local officials are expected further word from the governor this afternoon.


 

TUESDAY AUGUST 18, 1931

THE DAILY PROGRESS, CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA

 

MRS. SHIFLETT LEAVES MEAGRE INSURANCE TO SMALL CHILDREN

COMPANIES PREPARED TO PAY POLICES AMOUNTING TO $325; SEARCH FOR SLAYER CONTINUES WITH OFFICERS FINDING LITTLE TO GO ON

 

            Insurance companies had practically completed all the arrangements today incidental to the payment of two small policies on the life of Mrs. Lula Shiflett, who was shot to death here Aug. 8 by her cousin, Battle Shiflett, for whom a search throughout the entire East has been instituted.

            One of the policies, taken out five days before she met death in the kitchen of the Jefferson Café on West Main Street, was left to her small estate.  The amount of the policy was $75.  Another, for $250, named her infant daughter, a student in the Blue Ridge Industrial School, as beneficiary.

Wall of Silence

            A relentless search for the killer continues, despite the fact that officials were greeted with an obstinate wall of silence wherever they went in the mountainous section around Shiflett’s Blackwell’s Hollow home, and that the trial from there apparently does not exist.  Officers have no doubt that the slayer, accompanied by Elwood Garrison, held in Pennsylvania as an accessory, headed straightway for the Blue Ridge Mountains after the crime, but they can find no one there who will admit having seen the fugitive.

            Practically all of the Shifletts in that section are kin, and officials feel that some of them may know more than they are willing to tell.  They believe that blood ties prevent some of them from divulging valuable information while others may keep their lips sealed because of fear of vengeance, if not by the killer himself, then by some of his friends.

Awaiting Garrison

            Authorities, however, do not take this to mean that Shiflett is still in the mountains.  This is held possible, but it is considered more likely that he has fled to some other State.  It is largely a matter of conjecture, and officers concede that one guess seems as good as another.

            Commonwealth’s Attorney L. W. Wood this afternoon was expecting momentarily to hear from Harrisburg, Penn., concerning a request for the extradition of Garrison to face trail here as an accessory.  Governor John Garland Pollard has already asked Governor Pinchot, of Pennsylvania, for the return of the fugitive, who is fighting extradition.


 

 

 

WEDNESDAY AUGUST 19, 1931

THE DAILY PROGRESS, CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA

 

RETURN OF GARRISON HERE FOR HEARING

 

ALLEGED ACCOMPLICE IN MURDER OF MRS. SHIFLETT EXPECTED HERE THIS AFTERNOON TO STAND TRIAL FOR AIDING BATTLE SHIFFLETT

 

            Police Lieutenant B. A. Shipp is expected back here on a late afternoon train with Elwood Garrison, who waged an unsuccessful fight against extradition from Harrisburg, Penn., to face trial here as an accessory with Battle Shiflett, Aug. 8.

            Lieutenant Shipp left here at 5 o’clock yesterday afternoon; a short time after Commonwealth’s Attorney L. W. Wood received a message from the office of Governor John Garland Pollard had forwarded requisition papers to the Harrisburg police department.  Garrison has been held there since his capture two days after the murder.  He was picked up on a general alarm sent out by the police department

Drove Escape Car

            It was Garrison, authorities allege, who was the driver of the car in which Shiflett made a spectacular escape after spraying the body of his cousin with a volley of revolver slugs in the kitchen of the Jefferson Café, West Main Street.  The pair, according to a reconstruction made by police, went from here to Blackwell’s Hollow, Shiflett’s home, where they probably separated.  Garrison is then thought to have started immediately for Pennsylvania, where both he and Shiflett were working together until a short time before the murder.  They had jobs in Hershey, small industrial town.  It was there, authorities believe, that the friend-ship between Shiflett and his pretty cousin began which eventually ended in the killing.  Police believe Shiflett shot the woman when she spurned his affections.

Feared Shiflett

            A member of the police force yesterday said for several months Mrs. Shiflett had lived in fear of death at the hands of Battle Shiflett.  He said that while she was employed in a downtown restaurant she told him repeatedly she was afraid to be on the streets alone lest Shiflett would kill her.

No trace has yet been found of the slayer.  Dozens of clues have been run down in the ten days since the killing but none of them has brought any trace of the fugitive.


THURSDAY AUGUST 20, 1931

THE DAILY PROGRESS, CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA

 

ELWOOD GARRISON STOUTLY MAINTAINS INNOCENSE

FLATLY DECLARES HE DID NOT HELP SHIFLETT ESCAPE

Young Defendant Scheduled to Face Preliminary Hearing in Police Court Tomorrow

 

BROUGHT HERE FROM HARRISBURG, PENNA.

Father Will Employ Attorney and Make Application For Bail

 

            Brought back here yesterday afternoon from Harrisburg, Penn., Elwood Garrison, twenty-one, of Hershey, Penn., was expected to go on preliminary trial tomorrow morning on a charge of being an accessory after the fact to Battle Shiflett, wanted for murder of Mrs. Lula Shiflett in a restaurant here Aug. 8.

            It was young Garrison, police charge who was the driver of an automobile in which the slayer made his escape to the Blue Ridge Mountains.  The former was returned here at 5 P. M. yesterday by Police Lieutenant B. A. Shipp after an unsuccessful ten-day fight against extradition.  Garrison’s extradition was granted by Governor Gifford Pinchot, of Pennsylvania, at the request of Governor John Garland Pollard.

Will Apply For Bail

            Garrison was arrested two days after the slaying at Hershey, Penn., a suburb of Harrisburg, where his family moved from Albemarle County nine years ago.  His father was expected here this afternoon to retain attorneys and to apply for bail.

            The alleged accomplice will probably face a preliminary hearing before Justice J. Callan Brooks in police court.  Trial was postponed today to allow police an opportunity to round up Commonwealth witnesses.  Authorities stated Garrison stubbornly denies any participation in Shiflett’s escape.  He admitted, they said, coming here from Pennsylvania with Shiflett and bringing him to Charlottesville from Blackwell’s Hollow the morning of the slaying.  He denied seeing Shiflett again after the killing, but declared he took the killer’s automobile back to his mother’s home and left it there before going to Pennsylvania.  The State this far has carefully guarded its evidence against Garrison.

Shiflett Bought Gun

            Mrs. Shiflett, with whom the slayer was said to have been infatuated, was killed by five bullets from a small caliber revolver which Shiflett bought at a downtown hardware store only a short time before he loosed the fatal fusillade.  She is survived by her parent’s, her estranged husband, Thomas Shiflett, who has been employed by the Columbia Gas and Electric Company in building a natural gas line across the state, and by two infant children, both students in the Blue Ridge Industrial School.

Battle Shiflett, her cousin is known to authorities as a roving desperate character, who goes habitually armed.  He is known to have killed one man and to have wounded at least one or two others.  He was acquitted on the charge of killing his uncle, Lomis Morris, in a fight in Blackwell’s Hollow ten years ago.

Escaped From Back Door

            After slaying the women as she screamed and pleaded for mercy he walked out of the back door of the small West Main Street restaurant.  Police claim Garrison came by in an automobile a few moments later and gave a signal at which Shiflett emerged from his hiding place behind a nearby apartment and jumped into the machine.  The pair, so authorities are convinced, was seen speeding out of town.  Little trace of the killer has been picked up since that time, although posses have been scouring the mountains near his home and authorities in cities throughout the East have joined in the search for him. A reward of $150 has been posted for information leading to his capture.


FRIDAY AUGUST 21, 1931

THE DAILY PROGRESS, CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA

 

GARRISON TRIAL SET FOR MONDAY

State Will Oppose Release On Bail Until After Preliminary Hearing

 

            Trial of Elwood Garrison, Charged with being an accessory to Battle Shiflett after the murder of Mrs. Lula Shiflett here Aug. 8, which was scheduled to be held Monday. 

            Chief of Police Maurice Greaver said today postponement was made because Police Justice J. Callan Brooks will be out of town for the remainder of the week.  Authorities are convinced they will eventually capture the slayer and they want to have both cases tried by the same justice in order to have him familiar with both.

Will Oppose Bail

            Garrison’s father, Wilse Garrison, arrived here early this morning to employ counsel for his son.  He had been expected to attempt to secure bail, but said this morning he would not.  Commonwealth’s Attorney L. W. Wood said last night he would oppose any attempt to have the prisoner released on bail until after the preliminary hearing at least.

            The Garrisons live in Hershey, Penn., not far from Harrisburg, where Garrison was arrested two days after the killing here.  The family moved to Pennsylvania from Albemarle County nine years ago.

Executor Named

            Thomas Shiflett, husband of the slain woman, today was named executor of her small estate.  It consists of a bank account, a diamond ring, two small insurance polices and personal effects.  The woman is also survived by two infant children, who have been students in the Blue Ridge Industrial School, but who it is understood, are now at the home of her father in Shiflett’s Hollow, Greene County.

            Officials today were still without clues in their search for Battle Shiflett.  The only trace they have is to his home in Blackwell’s Hollow, were they believe he went immediately after the killing and to Shenandoah where he is supposed to have caught a northbound train.


SATURDAY AUGUST 22, 1931

THE DAILY PROGRESS, CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA

 

BATTLE SHIFLETT CAPTURED IN ILLINOIS TOWN

ADMITS IDENTITY AND WILL RETURN WITHOUT CONTEST

Slayer of Mrs. Lula Shiflett Apprehended After Receipt of Letter From Greaver

 

RESISTS OFFICERS EFFECTING ARREST

Prisoner Expected to Return Here Probably By Tuesday Afternoon

 

            Through the cooperation of police in three states Battle Shiflett has been captured.  The man wanted here for the murder of his cousin, Mrs. Lula Shiflett, in the Jefferson Café the morning of Aug. 8, was taken into custody by a city detective and a state motorcycle policeman in Peoria, ILL., late yesterday afternoon.

Arranges For Return

            Chief of Police Maurice Greaver was advised of the arrest by telegram shortly after 4 o’clock, and immediately began making arrangements for the killer’s return.  Police Lieutenant B. A. Shipp was in Richmond early this morning to get requisition papers from the office of Governor John Garland Pollard, and he and Detective O. M. Wood left here on the Chesapeake and Ohio’s “Sportsman” at 2:30 o’clock this afternoon for Illinois.  They will arrive there tomorrow afternoon and will start on the return trip Monday morning, landing them here Tuesday morning.  Shiflett has already signed an extradition waiver but the officers are taking along requisition papers as a matter of precaution.

Trooper Given Tip

            A Pennsylvania State Trooper is given credit for the information that led to Shiflett’s capture.  The slayer had been working in Hershey, Penn., about thirty miles from Harrisburg previous to the crime here.  When informed of the killing, Pennsylvania state police went through his personal effects there and found a letter from a kinsman, S. E. Bruce, near Peoria, Ill., inviting Shiflett to visit him.  This information was communicated to Chief of Police Greaver.

            At the time of the slaying the chief of police was on his annual vacation.  He returned on Aug. 19, and on that day he wrote the following letter to the chief of police at Peoria.  “This is to inform you that we hold a felony warrant for one Battle C. Shiflett, wanted for murdering Mrs. Lula Shiflett in this city on Aug. 8, 1931.

            “I am informed that Shiflett is expected to visit his cousin, Mr. S. E. Bruce, Rural Route No. 3, Peoria, Illinois.

            “We are offering $150 reward for the apprehension of Battle Shiflett and the reward will be paid when he is turned over to an officer of this department.

            “I am enclosing a photograph of the fugitive which is a good picture of him.  I will appreciate it if you will do all in your power to arrest Shiflett.  If Mr. Bruce does not live within your jurisdiction please cooperate with the sheriff of your county in this arrest.

            “Enclosed you will find a card with a good description of Shiflett.  Tell your officers to keep their eyes open when they go to arrest this man.  He has a revolver and will shoot if crowded.

            “Hoping you will be successful in arresting this cold blooded murderer, and if you are, please notify me by wire at my expense and if he fights extradition advise me and we will get the proper papers and come right after him.”

Resisted Arrest

            The Peoria authorities apparently attached significance to Chief Greaver’s statement that Shiflett “will shoot if crowded.” For this morning the Daily Progress received telegrams from them saying the killer had “to be subdued with violence” and that he said “I am in too much pain to say anything now.”

            According to the information wired here today the slayer was arrested as he slept in a public park in Yates City, small suburb of Peoria.  For two days authorities had kept a constant vigil over the home of Bruce.  Shiflett at first refused to give his name and resisted arrest until he was subdued with violence.

            When Shiflett arrives here Tuesday he will join his alleged confederate, Elwood Garrison, who is being held in jail as an accessory after the fact of the murder.  He is accused by officials of being the driver of the automobile in which Shiflett made his escape.

            Shiflett bought the gun with which he did the killing at a hardware store downtown.  He walked into the restaurant and pumped five slugs into the body of the defenseless woman.  Immediately afterwards he calmly walked out the back door and had momentarily hid behind the Oliver Apartments.  Then, so authorities charge, Garrison by arrangement drove by in Shiflett’s car and gave a signal whereby the killer ran to the machine.  They sped out West Main Street.  From their Shiflett’s trail apparently vanished.  Two days later Garrison was picked in Harrisburg, Penn., but no trace of Shiflett could be obtained.  For a week or more posses from the city police department and from the office of County Sheriff J. Mason Smith kept combing the hills around Shiflett’s home in Blackwell’s Hollow but the mountainous areas divulged no secrets.

Killed Uncle

            It was in Blackwell’s Hollow that Shiflett also killed his uncle.  Lomis Morris about ten years ago.  It was there too that he shot another uncle, Edmund Shiflett, seven years later.  Shiflett spent several months in Florida during the real estate boom there and came back with a bullet in one --------reputation of having --------- in the handle of the gun he always carried.

            Police regarded Shiflett, even before the most recent killing, as a dangerous man.  He has been arrested in the city four times for minor offenses and each time officers have taken a gun off his person.  Associates have said that as long as he was armed he would resist any sort of authority.

            It is probable that the killer will be given a hearing in the regular September term of Corporation Court.  Meanwhile, Garrison is scheduled to go on preliminary trial before Justice Brooks in police court Monday morning.


MONDAY AUGUST 24, 1931

THE DAILY PROGRESS, CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA

 

SCHEDULE KILLER FOR PRELIMINARY TRAIL ON FRIDAY

Detectives Expected to Arrive Here With Prisoner About Mid-Day Tomorrow

 

STATION WILL BE CLOSELY GUARDED

Garrison Charged As Accessory, Will Also Be Heard This Week

 

            Battle Shiflett, who killed Mrs. Lula Shiflett, his cousin, in a café here Aug. 8 is being brought back to Charlottesville and will face a preliminary hearing Friday before Justice brooks in police court along with his alleged confederate, Elwood Garrison, being held here as an accessory after the fact.

            Shiflett was captured in Yates City, Ill., Friday afternoon and is being returned by Detective O. M. Wood and Lieutenant B. A. Shipp.  They are expected to arrive at the Chesapeake and Ohio station at 11:55 o’clock tomorrow morning.  This hour, however, is not definite and the time of their arrival will not be known here until they send a telegram from Clifton Forge to Chief of Police Maurice F. Greaver.

Will Be Guarded

            The train will probably be met by a police escort and Shiflett will then immediately be transferred to the city and county jail.  The chief of police said he anticipated no violence.

            The killer, who also has more than this one notch on the handle of his gun will probably be tried in the regular term of Corporation Court in September.  The court convenes on the third Monday in the month. Until then he will be under guard in jail, for Commonwealth’s Attorney L. W. Wood has asserted he will oppose vigorously any move to obtain bail.

Garrison Trail Postponed

            Garrison, who was arrested in Harrisburg, Penn., two days after the crime, is accused by authorities of being the driver of the automobile in which Shiflett made good his escape.  He fought extradition from Pennsylvania and denied being implicated.  Evidence against Garrison is being closely guarded by police.  His trial was scheduled for this morning but was naturally postponed upon receipt of the information that Shiflett had been capture.


TUESDAY AUGUST 25, 1931

THE DAILY PROGRESS, CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA

 

BATTLE SHIFLETT LOCKED BEHIND WALLS OF JAIL

CROWD STANDS BY AS ACCUSED GOES QUICKLY TO CELL

Fugitive of Fortnight Unmoved As Transfer To Jail is Made Through Jam

 

BEARS WOUND MADE AT TIME OF ARREST

Reported Nervous on Trip and Fearing Mob Violence on Arrival

 

            Battle Shiflett, thirty-five, was returned here today to face trail on a murder charge for killing his cousin, Mrs. Lula Shiflett, in the Jefferson Café, on West Main Street, the morning of Aug. 8.

            He was brought in on a Chesapeake and Ohio passenger train at exactly noon, and three minutes later he was in a private cell in the city and county jail.  The slayer was returned here from Yates City, Ill., where he was captured Friday of last week.

            A crowd, variously estimated at between 500 and 1,000 was at the Main Street station when Detectives O. M. Wood and B. A. Shipp stepped off the train with the short, stumpy killer.  They were met by Chief of Police Maurice F. Greaver and a dozen uniformed patrolmen, who had to shove their way through the crowds to automobiles in front of the station.  The throng was so dense that the train stopped before coming into the station to allow police to clear the tracks.

Shiflett Smiles

            Shiflett, wearing a dull gray suit and cap, smiled once and appeared quite nonchalant as officers spirited him through the mob of curious.  In spite of his appearance, he was extremely nervous, his escorts said.  They stated he first lost his reserve when a tremendous crowd was at the station at, Waynesboro.  He feared violence at the hands of an incensed mob, and this fear was heightened as each mile brought him closer to the city, where he calmly poured a fusillade of shots into the body of the pleading woman, Detective Shipp stated.

Absolves Garrison

            On the return trip, Officers Wood and Shipp said, Shiflett made no attempts to escape.  But he had little opportunity, being handcuffed to one of the officers all of the way.  He would make only cautious statements concerning the crime.  He did, however, completely absolve Elwood Garrison being held as an accessory, of any connection with his escape.  Garrison was arrested in Harrisburg, Penn., two days after the killing and is going on trail in police court Friday morning on a charge of being the driver of the car in which Shiflett is alleged to have made his get away.

            Shiflett contends that after shooting the woman he escaped by foot out of the city to Rio,?????, where he went to the home of a friend.  His movements after that have not been reconstructed.  The only statement he consented to make to the officers concerned a motive was that “when you get into a mess like that it is liable to end bad.” Evidently referring to the passion, which he is supposed to have had for his pretty cousin.

Closely Guarded

            A court order was entered today by Police Justice J. O. Brooks, at the request of the commonwealth’s Attorney L. W. Wood, to have the slayer under constant guard until his trial.  It is also presumed that he will be held in communicado.  If he is certified to Friday’s preliminary hearing before Justice Brooks he will face indictment by a Corporate Court grand jury.  A special grand jury is expected to be called next month by Corporation Court Judge A. D. Dabney.

            Not only did large crowds assemble at the station but a line of cars followed the police patrol down Seventh and Eighth Streets to the jail where it became necessary for the officers to stop traffic.

            The throng could not exactly be described as a reception composed of friends of the killer and three were frequent questions of “what will they do with him” With the interest that has been made in this case here, there have been a number of wagers as to the Slayer’s fate.  Some are betting he is given life imprisonment or that he will be sentenced to the electric chair and others that he will fight the case on the reason of insanity.

Crowd Orderly

            Although feeling has been at a high pitch, the crowds, which gathered today, exhibited no hostility and police had no thoughts on that score.  Shiflett’s capture resulted in the work of police in three states.  A Pennsylvania State Trooper found a letter in his room at Hershey written by a kinsman from Peoria, Ill., inviting him to come there for a visit.  This information was sent to Chief of Police Greaver here, who immediately communicated with Illinois authorities.


WEDNESDAY AUGUST 26, 1931

THE DAILY PROGRESS, CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA

 

BROOKS SETS SHIFLETT HEARING FOR TOMORROW MORNING; GUARD ON CONTINOUS WATCH AT CELL

 

Belief Exists That Killer Will Waive Preliminary

Hearing When Arraigned Before Police Justice;

Garrison Will Also Be Heard On

Charge of Being Accessory

 

            Unless he desires to waive preliminary hearing, Battle Shiflett, Killer of Mrs. Lula Shiflett here Aug. 8, will face his first trial tomorrow morning in police court, according to a statement made today by Police Justice J. Callan Brooks.

            The police justice said he wanted to avoid delay and was prompted to move up the trail because crowds from all over the county will flock in here Friday, the original date set for the hearing, to attend a circus.  This may eliminate some of the hundreds of curious that attend such trials.

            But there is reason to believe Shiflett will waive preliminary hearing.  At least he indicated as much to Detectives O. M. Wood and B. A. Shipp, who returned him here yesterday from Yates City, Ill., where Friday he was captured.

Hear Garrison Also

            At any rate Elwood Garrison is expected to stand Preliminary trial as an accessory after the fact.  Garrison was arrested in Harrisburg, Penn., and is accused of being the driver of the automobile in which Shiflett is alleged to have made good his escape after firing five bullets into the body of the woman in the kitchen of a small restaurant on West Main Street.

Under Constant Watch

            This morning an order was issued by Judge A. D. Dabney of the Corporation Court for the placing of guards over Shiflett’s solitary cell.  He will be watched constantly throughout the twenty-four hours of each day to prevent any possible chances of escape.  The guards were deemed necessary for a number of reasons.  It was pointed out that the city and county jail is more than usually crowded at this time, and there might be an opportunity for some of the prisoners, and incidentally, several of them are relatives of his, to relay saws or weapons to him.

Swears Vengeance

            A vivid description of Shiflett’s oath of vengeance upon the Illinois detective who arrested him was given here this morning by Officers Wood and Shipp, who heard the prisoner swear he would kill the officer “if I get out of this trouble in Virginia.”

            They said the fugitive  was outraged because he was knocked down twice by Yates City Detective Fred Montgomery when the arrest was somewhat as follows.

            When Yates City authorities received a special delivery letter of information from Chief of Police Maurice F. Greaver they immediately threw a cordon around the home and store of S. E. Bruce, kinsman of Shiflett, whom the slayer was supposed to visit.

Found Asleep

            Friday afternoon they learned that Shiflett was in that city.  After further investigation they came upon him asleep in a public park near Mr. Bruce’s store.  He was surprised before he awakened by the plainclothesman and an Illinois State Trooper.  At first he refused to admit his identity and profanely demanded what “it was to them” what his name was.  They covered him with their guns and ordered him to submit to arrest.  When he made as if to resist, the detective knocked him down, rendering a wound that required several stitches.  Shiflett asserted he was still half asleep and branded the blow as “not fair.”

Will “Have It Out”

            Twice, so the local officers stated, Shiflett told detectives “If I get out of this trouble in Virginia, I am going to have the same thing on my hip you got on yours.  Then you and I are going to have this thing out.”  They said he informed the detective that “this town is the first place I’m coming to when I get out of Virginia, and you’re the first man I’m going to get.”

            They also stated that the slayer resented the large crowd that assembled at the station yesterday and the newspaper attention he has received since the killing.


THURSDAY AUGUST 27, 1931

THE DAILY PROGRESS, CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA

 

 

BATTLE SHIFLETT WAIVES PRELIMINARY HEARING

IS SENT TO GRAND JURY, ACCUSED OF COUSIN’S MURDER

Elwood Garrison is Heard and Also Certified As Accessory In Killing Of Mrs. Shiflett

 

LOCK COURTROOM TO HOLD BACK THRONGS

Principal Is Calm As He Enters First Stage of Trail For Life

 

            Battle C. Shiflett, thirty-five, of Blackwell’s Hollow, was certified by Police Justice Brooks this morning to the Corporation Court grand jury after he had waived preliminary hearing on a charge of murdering his cousin, Mrs. Lula Shiflett, here Aug. 8.

            Elwood Garrison, twenty-one, of Hershey, Penn., was also certified to the grand jury but consented to stand preliminary trial as an accessory after the fact in the killing.  He denied point blank taking Shiflett away in an automobile immediately after the fatal volley was loosed in the kitchen of a West Main Street restaurant.

Asks For Attorney

            Shiflett coatless and with a battered left eye, asked as soon as he was arraigned that the State provide him an attorney, stating he was without funds.  When informed by Commonwealth’s Attorney L. W. Wood that the State does not provide defense counsel at preliminary hearings, he then said he wanted to waive the lower court trial.

            His voice was entirely calm, and he exhibited none of the nervousness that officers said he showed when an enormous crowd met the train on which he was brought back here from Illinois, Monday.  His appearance today lasted less than ten minutes, and he was escorted back to his solitary cell in the city and county jail by his special guard and several policemen.

Coat Enters Evidence

            The State is basing its case on circumstantial evidence, a good deal of which centers around the killer’s coat.  This was in the automobile when Garrison drove out of town, alone, he contends but was on Shiflett’s person when he was arrested by officials in Yates City, Ill.  The Commonwealth’s attorney questioned Garrison closely as to how the coat again came into Shiflett’s possession.

            The first witness was Detective O. M. Wood who answered the call to the restaurant after the shooting and who, with Lieutenant B. A. Shipp, brought the slayer back from Illinois.  He said Garrison told him after being extradited from Harrisburg, Penn., that as soon as he heard the shots he ran around to the back door and met Shiflett coming out with the smoking gun in his hand.  According to Mr. Wood, Garrison said he was threatened by the slayer at that juncture and saw him no more until after both had been arrested.

            R. Watson Sadler was called to testify that he viewed the victim’s body as acting coroner.

Shiflett and Garrison together

            Jim Shiflett, a half brother of the murdered woman took the stand as one of the three or four principal witnesses for the State.  He said he went to the restaurant where his sister was employed, and met Battle Shiflett and Garrison there both having recently arrived here from Hershey, Penn., where they had been working together.  He said his sister was singing as she went about her work, and Battle Shiflett remarked, “somebody must be damned happy this morning.”  Both laughed, he said.  After an exchange of inconsequential remarks, he continued, Battle Shiflett suggested that Garrison, Stanley Bishop and Jim Shiflett take a ride.  They went to Georgetown, he related, but Battle Shiflett remained in town.  When the trio returned, he went on, they saw Battle Shiflett come up the street and enter the café.  It is supposed that during the interim the three were in Georgetown, Shiflett talked with the woman and later came downtown, where he purchased a revolver at a hardware store.  Jim Shiflett continued that Battle Shiflett stalked into the front door of the café and quickly perpetrated the killing, later fleeing out of the back door.  He said they gave a short chase but later directed their efforts to get the fatally wounded woman to the hospital.

Saw Coat in Car

            He stated that at the first shot Garrison ran out of the restaurant and ran up and down in front of the place two or three times, before going to the car which was parked a short distance up the street.  He could not say that Battle Shiflett also boarded the car.  Asked by Commonwealth’s Attorney Wood, he answered that he had seen Battle Shiflett’s coat in the machine.

            T. L Moore, attendant at a filling station, testified that after he had heard shots he saw “a medium-sized man” come out of an alley and get into an automobile.  He said he did not realize what had happened and therefore did not make close observations.  He was unable to give a definite description of the man or of the automobile.

Charles Zehab, proprietor of the café, said he gave chase to the killer for some distance but was outrun.  He stated he did not see Garrison after the shooting.

            Lieutenant B. A. Shipp testified Shiflett now has in his possession the coat which was supposed to have been in the automobile at the time of killing.

Saw Garrison at café

            The last witness for the Commonwealth was Stanley Bishop, who went to the restaurant with Jim Shiflett.  He related having seen Garrison nervously running up and down in front of the place and jumping into the car.  He could not state that Battle Shiflett fled in the same machine.

            Garrison was the only witness in his own behalf.  He told of driving Battle Shiflett’s automobile up into Blackwell’s Hollow section and turning it over to Delmar Shiflett brother of Battle.  He admitted seeing the coat in the machine both before and after the killing and declared it was still there when he abandoned the car at the Shiflett home.

            Questioned by both the Commonwealth’s attorney and the police justice, he denied that Shiflett rode away with him.  Asked why he did not help get the victim to the hospital or report the matter to the police, he declared he was “dumb and scared.”

Garrison Threatened

            Garrison, a rather handsome dark-complexioned youth, said he is no kin to the killer and merely came with him here because “it was a cheap ride.”  The Garrisons moved from Albemarle County to Hershey, Penn., about nine years ago.

            He insisted that immediately after he saw the first shot fired he became excited and ran around to the back of the restaurant.  Here, he continued, he met Battle Shiflett and demanded what he had done.  “Damm you don’t you bother me or I’ll shoot you,” he said Shiflett told him.  He said that at this point he ran to the machine and sped away.  He stated he told relatives about the matter and also informed a justice of the peace when he got back to Pennsylvania the following Monday morning


FRIDAY AUGUST 28, 1931

THE DAILY PROGRESS, CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA

 

WAS NOT DODGING SHIFLETT DECLARES

Young Slayer of Woman Says He “Had It In His Mind”

To Surrender To Authorities

He Refuses To Discuss Tragedy

 

            Battle Shiflett “wasn’t particularly dodging” authorities when he was arrested in Yates City, Ill., two weeks after he had killed his cousin, Mrs. Lula Shiflett, here on Aug. 8, he stated this morning.

            He “had it on his mind all along” to come back and report the matter to local authorities, was the statement he gave out from behind the bars in his solitary cell on the second floor of the city and county jail.

            Shiflett talked willingly and pleasantly about any subject that came up with the exception of the one that is of most interest, why he fired five bullets into the body of the woman.

Exonerated Garrison

            Elwood Garrison, twenty-one, of Hershey, Penn., who yesterday was certified to the Corporation Court grand jury as an accessory at the same time the slayer was certified for the murder, was completely exonerated in the interview the slayer gave out today.  In fact, the desire to see Garrison freed seemed the thought uppermost in his mind.

            “That boy they accuse of taking me away did not have anything to do with it,” was the limit of his statement.  Further than that, he maintained absolute silence concerning any phase of the killing.  Garrison is accused of being the driver of an automobile in which Shiflett is alleged to have affected his baffling escape after firing the fatal volley in the kitchen of a West Main Street restaurant.

“False Statements” Made

            The only other thing that seemed to be worrying him in the least was the fact that certain “false statements have been made on me.”  These concerned newspaper accounts of other troubles he has been.  In a dispassionate way he charged the press with presenting only one side of the various encounters with the law.

            He is really not as dangerous a character as the press makes him out, he would have the public know.  In the first place, he maintained, he did not kill anyone in Florida.  In the second, he was acquitted on the grounds of self defense in the slaying of his uncle Lomes Morris, near his Blackwell’s Hollow home, ten years ago, and the charge of shooting another uncle, Edmund Shiflett, some time later was dropped when it got to the grand jury.  As to the most recent shooting episode, he “will tell that in due time.”

Resents Treatment

            The only other thing he resents, according to his conversation, is what he describes as ill treatment at the hands of Detective Fred Montgomery, of the Yates City, Ill, police department.  He charges that the officer hit him on the head with the butt of a gun, when he was handcuffed, “just because I wouldn’t admit I had murdered my wife – and I hadn’t.”

            To illustrate that he wasn’t particularly dodging” authorities, he said he spent a couple of nights after the killing with his cousin, Detective Melvin Bruce on the Peoria, Ill., police force.  He point blank denied he was headed for Canada, and said he “had it on his mind to come back and give up.”

            Asked why he didn’t surrender here immediately after the shooting, he asserted he was “excited and scared – you know how you get.


SATURDAY AUGUST 29, 1931

THE DAILY PROGRESS, CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA

 

COURT WILL RUSH SHIFFLETT’S TRAIL

In Event of Indictment By Grand Jury Hearing To Begin at Once

 

            If Battle Shiflett is indicted by this special grand jury which is to be called September 21 to consider the charge that he murdered his cousin, Mrs. Lula Shiflett, he will go on trial the same day, according to a statement made this morning by Judge A. D. Dabney, of the Corporation Court.

            Judge Dabney said additionally in this connection: “I hope the prospective jurors of this community will refrain from expressing or forming a decided opinion from mere rumors or newspaper reports.  If it should become necessary to send to a distant city or county for a jury it would entail an enormous expense which would have to be borne by the taxpayer of this city.

Much Public Interest

            This statement falls upon a widespread discussion of the case in which numerous speculations have been made as to Shiflett’s fate.  As evidenced by the throngs which greeted him upon his arrival here Monday from Illinois, where he was captured after two weeks of freedom, and the crowds that lined the sidewalks from the jail to the police court when he came out to waive preliminary hearing yesterday, this case has probably aroused more public interest that any other here in many years.

            Mrs. Shiflett succumbed to five bullet wounds in University Hospital several hours after the volley had been fired upon her.

            After the shooting Shiflett made a mysterious escape and left behind him a baffling trail that it took police in three states to pick up.  It was through the efforts of a Pennsylvania State Trooper, Chief of Police Maurice Greaver here, and Yates City, Ill., authorities that two detectives in that city were enabled to nab him, as he lay asleep in a public park.


TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 1, 1931

THE DAILY PROGRESS, CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA

 

INSISTS GARRISON IS NOT INVOLVED

Battle Shiflett Repeats Statement He Was Not Aided in Escape

 

Battle Shiflett, slayer of his cousin, Mrs. Lula Shiflett, insisted again this morning that Elwood Garrison, who has been certified to the Corporation grand jury along with him is entirely innocent of aiding him to escape after the shooting in a West Main Street restaurant the morning of August 8.  Although refusing to discuss any other phase of the killing, he declared he has not seen since a coat which he left in his automobile that Garrison drove out of town a few minutes after the woman had slumped to the floor with five bullet wounds in her body

Left Car At Home

            It is upon this coat that the Commonwealth’s bases a good deal of its circumstantial evidence against Garrison.  Both the automobile and the coat belonged to Shiflett.  Garrison came here with Shiflett from Hershey, Penn.  He declares he became excited after the shooting and jumped into the machine and fled to Shiflett’s home in Blackwell’s hollow.  He said he then turned the machine, with the coat in it, over to Delmar Shiflett, brother of Battle.

Denies Testimony

            All this was brought out at a preliminary trial before Police Justice Brooks last week.  At that time Police Lieutenant B. A. Shipp testified, when called to the stand by Commonwealth’s Attorney L. W. Wood, that when Shiflett was brought back here from Yates City, Ill., he was wearing the same coat that was in his automobile at the time of the killing.  Shiflett denied this point blank when seen in the jail today.  He said the suit he had on now was purchased in a second hand store in Pittsburgh, after he left here.  He said the other coat has his name and the trademark of a Waynesboro, Penn., store in it, and that he has not seen it since he disappeared from here.  He stated that both suits are light in color but not of the same material.

            Shiflett has been transferred from his previous cell to another that appears just as secure.  It is one especially constructed to hold persons accused of serious crimes.  He also continues under constant guard.  There will be a special grand jury on Sept. 27, and Judge A. D. Dabney has already stated the preliminaries incident to the trial will begin a few minutes after the indictment if the grand jury returns a true bill.

            The prisoner said today he has not retained an attorney.  He stated he has no funds and expects the State to provide him with legal counsel


MONDAY SEPTEMBER 21, 1931

THE DAILY PROGRESS, CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA

 

BATTLE SHIFLETT INDICTED FOR MURDER OF COUSIN

HEARING IS SET BY JUDGE DABNEY TO BEGIN TOMORROW

Courtroom Crowded As Special Grand Jury Returns True Bill For Woman’s Death

 

EXPECT DEFENSE WILL BE INSANITY

Elwood Garrison, Charged As Accessory After the Fact Goes Free

 

            Battle C. Shiflett, thirty-five, of Blackwell’s Hollow, was indicted on a charge of first degree murder of his cousin, Mrs. Lula Shiflett, here Aug. 8, by a Corporation Court special grand jury, which at the same time returned not a true bill against Elwood Garrison, who was being held in jail as an accessory both before and after the fact.

            Judge A. D. Dabney had the prisoner brought from his solitary cell in the city and county jail and trial was set for 10 o’clock tomorrow morning.  Garrison was recognized in the sum of $100 to appear as a witness when Shiflett is arraigned. 

Insanity, in all probability, is to be the plea that C. E. Wingfield, J. D. Burch, and R. G. Allman will put up for Shiflett.  They have not said so positively but have intimated this ever since they were appointed by Judge Dabney to defend the prisoner.

Accused Stoical

            Wingfield has practiced for eight years in Roanoke, and recently opened an office here.  Neither Burch nor Allman has had much court work and this case is considered an exceptional legal experience for them.  Coincidentally, all three are alumni of the University law school, which is within hearing distance of the small West Main Street, restaurant where Shiflett poured five pistol bullets into the body of the woman.

Shiflett appeared today in his usual stoical manner.  His countenance undergoes little change.  In fact, he has what is known as a typical “poker face.”  But his movements are sudden and catlike.  The courtroom was crowded downstairs at 10 o’clock when the special grand jurors were handed the Commonwealth’s accusations against Shiflett and five others.

Wounds Improved

            The prisoner wore a neat gray suit, with a black bow tie.  His right eye, which was nearly closed by the effects of a wound inflicted by a detective in Yates City, Ill., two weeks after the slaying, had cleared up, and the bandages had been removed from his face.

            The grand jury returned at noon, with true bills in all of the cases except Garrison’s.

            Shiflett was indicted for first-degree murder; William Hunter was indicted on two felony counts; J. W. Chandler and Bernard Quisenbury on one theft charge each; and L. C Byrd on five counts of forgery, for which he has already served a long term on the State road forces.

            The grand jury was composed of the following: Forman, A. V. Brechin, F. H. Calhoun, Webb Minor, and C. Pace Bailey, and A. C. Gouchnauer.

Witnesses Examined

            The witnesses they examined in the Shiflett case included Jim Shiflett, half-brother of the slain woman, and Thomas L. Shiflett, her husband.  The former was near the restaurant at the time of the shooting.  Other eye-witnesses were Charles Zehab, owner of the café, and Willie Porter, a colored cook in the place.  When Shiflett began firing the woman ran into the kitchen and sought protection from the colored man.  He was forced to stand by and watch the gunman fire four bullets into the woman.

            These will be the principal witnesses whom Commonwealth’s Attorney L. W. Wood will call tomorrow.  It is expected that the defense will have a number of the slayers friends testify on his behalf.


 

TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 22, 1931

THE DAILY PROGRESS, CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA

 

 SHIFLETT GOES BEFORE JURY IN FIGHT FOR HIS LIFE

EXTREME PENALTY ASKED BY STATE; PLEA OF INSANITY

Counsel For Defendant Declare He is Suffering Results of Mental Derangement

 

PREVIOUS LAPSES TOLD BEFORE JURY

Witnesses Tell of Circumstances Attending Woman’s Death

 

            Battle C. Shiflett, thirty-five went on trial for his life in Corporation Court this morning for the murder of Mrs. Lula Shiflett, here Aug. 8, and entered a plea of not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity.

            All of the preliminaries were shoved off at a fast rate, and when court adjourned at 1 o’clock this afternoon for luncheon seven of the Commonwealth’s witnesses had already given their testimony.  This followed the selection of the jury and opening statements of counsel on both sides.

            Commonwealth’s Attorney L. W. Wood, who is conducting the case alone for the state, said in his opening statement that he would show the murder was “premeditated and without any excuse whatsoever.”  He said, “I see no reason why the State of Virginia should not demand the life of this man for this act.”

Shiflett’s Defense

            The opening for this defense was made by E. C. Wingfield, who is being assisted by J. D. Burch and R. G. Allman.  Wingfield declared that the evidence will bring out the fact that Shiflett was under a spell of Hysteric amnesia and had no knowledge of what he was doing when he purchased a revolver, went to another hardware store and bought bullets, then returned to the restaurant on West Main Street and emptied the gun into the woman’s body.

            The chief defense lawyer went on to say that testimony would be produced to show Shiflett has been abnormal since childhood.  He had several immediate relatives, Wingfield stated, who are irrational, Shiflett, the attorney continued spent eight years in school and got as high as the fourth grade.  Ten years ago, while trying to separate two disputants he was struck in the head with a bottle, and a portion of his skull was crashed onto his brain.  “From that period on,” Wingfield declared, “he has been suffering from hysteric amnesia or psychic epilepsy.”  Still later, said the attorney, Shiflett sustained a severe head wound when knocked in the head with a board, which is alleged to have been an accidental wound.  Sometime this spring, according to the opening statement , the defendant was treated at University Hospital and was diagnosed as a mental epileptic.

Struck by Spell

            One of these spells, which Wingfield explained left its victim in a mental trance, struck Shiflett in that restaurant shortly before he shot the woman.  Throughout the entire grim tragedy, so the defense contends, Shiflett remained in this trance, and awakened from it in a cornfield in some unidentified place back of the restaurant, that afternoon.  He is then alleged to have gone to the home of his sister at Rio and remained there until the following night.  He did not surrender, so the argument went, because he feared being lynched.  These were the two conflicting views offered as the case went into trial.

Jim Shiflett’s Testimony

            The first witness for the State was Jim Shiflett, brother of the slain woman.  He told of being in the restaurant on the morning of the killing, and of seeing Battle Shiflett there for the first time in several months.  They exchanged greetings, he said, and Battle Shiflett suggested to his companion Elwood Garrison, that the latter take Jim Shiflett “out for some fresh air.”  Jim Shiflett, Garrison and Stanley Bishop went to Georgetown for about an hour.  A few minutes after they returned Battle Shiflett came up Main Street, coatless and with his hand in his right trousers pocket.  When he got to the restaurant door, he pulled the gun from the pocket and begin firing.  Jim Shiflett said he and Bishop tried to get into the place to save his sister, but that Garrison ran out and they were struck by the door.  Then it was to late to intercede, for by the time Battle Shiflett had chased the woman into the kitchen and there finished firing the fatal volley he had begun in the dining room.  He ended by telling of taking his sister to the University Hospital, where she succumbed late that night.

            He was followed by Robert S. Allegree, clerk at the Charlottesville Hardware Company, who told of selling Shiflett a thirty-two caliber revolver a short time before the killing.  He said Shiflett was apparently normal at the time of the purchase.

            Charles Zehab, owner of the restaurant, was called to tell practically the same story as Jim Shiflett.  A clerk from the Martin Hardware Company identified Shiflett as a man who purchased six bullets, which would fit a thirty-two caliber gun only a short time before the slaying.

            John H. Mingee, construction company superintendent, who was in the company of Mrs. Shiflett a few minutes before the shooting, was cross-questioned closely by Wingfield about his relationship with the woman.  After a number of intimations, the attorney asked point blank: “Did you ever ask Mrs. Shiflett to marry you?”  Mingees’ answer was “God no.”

            Dr. J. H. Shearer, of the University Hospital staff, told of performing the autopsy and said the woman died of the bullet wounds.

            Willie Porter, colored cook in the restaurant, said the killer was smiling when he came to the back door and deliberately fired three shots as the woman screamed and prayed.

            Porter was the last witness before adjournment until 2 o’clock.  All day crowds have been milling about the courtroom.  The main floor of the place has been crowded and several times Judge Dabney had to order windows and doors cleared of spectators.


 

           

           

WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 23, 1931

THE DAILY PROGRESS, CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA

 

SHIFLETT’S LETTER SHOWS HE THREATENED VICTIM

WARNS WOMAN HE KILLED OF DEATH SHE FINALLY MET

Missive Introduced In Rebuttal By State Indicates Motive for Cousin’s Death

 

DOES NOT REMEMBER SHOOTING HE STATES

Nerve Specialist Testifies Defendant Is of Sound Mind

 

Battle C. Shiflett testified in Corporation Court here this afternoon that he has no recollection of slaying Mrs. Lula Shiflett in a West Main Street restaurant, Aug. 8, the crime for which he is now on trial for his life.

The statement of his follows the testimony of Dr. David C. Wilson, specialist on nervous and mental disorders for the University Hospital, that the accused is sane and was so at the time the act was committed.  The ????? stated that in his opinion Shiflett is a man of “fair intelligence,” able to distinguish between right and wrong and capable of controlling his impulses.  He also declared that he did not believe that Shiflett could have worked with such precision had he been under one of the “spells” which the defense is trying to show he is a victim of.

Completes Testimony

            Shiflett had just completed his direct testimony when Judge A. D. Dabney declared the recess period at 1 o’clock.  He will be cross-questioned this afternoon by Commonwealth’s Attorney L. W. later in the afternoon.  This will no doubt end the evidence for the defense.

            The State established for the first time this morning a motive for the crime in a sensational manner, when the commonwealth’s attorney introduced in rebuttal evidence letters written from Shiflett to the woman in which he reiterated his love for her and declared he would kill her if she did not reciprocate his affections.

            The group of letters was uncovered in the slain woman’s possessions by Detective O. M. Wood, who made a through investigation of the case while acting as chief of police.

Expressed Jealousy

            In one letter, written from Hershey, Penn., June 4, Shiflett declared his love for the woman and pleaded with her to live with him.  He expressed jealousy that she was “riding around with somebody else” and said it would be “a sad story for somebody if we can’t be together on this earth.”

            “Dearest one” he began the missive, “you are on my mind all of the time.”  During the letter he repeated such phrases as “love” and “true love” and said, “I have made up my mind to take you and your kids and treat you right.  And if you don’t accept this it will be a sad story for somebody.  For if we can’t be together on this earth I won’t let anybody else have you.”

            This stroke climaxed an accumulation of incriminating evidence brought out since yesterday morning when Shiflett stood before the court and announced, “I plead not guilty, and not guilty by reason of insanity.”

            C. E. Wingfield, chief counsel for the defense, announced in his opening statement that evidence would prove Shiflett the victim of “hysteric amnesia or psychic epilepsy, “ occasions on which he would have no knowledge of his own actions.

Physicians’ Testimony

            This largely collapsed when Dr. Wilson and Dr. E. R. Lehman both asserted that in their opinion there is nothing wrong with Shiflett’s brain, that he is not a mental epileptic, and that even if he is a victim of hysteric amnesia, and conceding further that he had one of the attacks Aug. 8, he would still know what he was doing, and the blankness of mind would occur after the killing and not at the actual time of the shooting.

            Practically all of yesterday afternoon was taken up with the testimony of medical experts, who had examined Shiflett at the University Hospital.  In this way the defense hoped to prove that the defendant was mentally deranged by two serious head wounds.  But the surgeons stated they found no chronic brain disorder.

Defense Insanity

            There was a great deal of technical testimony Judge Dabney gave Dr. Wilson the legal definition of insanity and then asked, “Under the legal definition of insanity, do you consider this man insane.”  Dr. Wilson’s answer was “no.  He also stated that he believed Shiflett was of sound mind when he committed the crime.

            Shiflett testified he is thirty-four years old, born in Albemarle County, near Boonesville, the son of John Shiflett.  According to his statement, he entered school at the age of seven.  He remained eight years and finished the fourth grade.  At the age of sixteen he left home and worked from place to place,  “and never got into any trouble.”  About ten years ago he was knocked in the head with a bottle by a man named Betters, and since that time, he insisted he has been having “spells,” periods of unconsciousness.  As examples of these he told of buying a ticket in Baltimore for Charlottesville and finding himself a day later in Winchester, of “waking up in bed with a strange man.”  Once, of a fight with his brother, Delmar, while in a trance, of several other fights and of chasing all of his relatives out of the house and killing a chicken.

            Shiflett avoided any reference to his killing of an uncle, Lomis Morris, of the wounding of another uncle Edmund Shiflett, and of a bullet wound he is carrying in his leg.  It is presumed that these episodes will be gone into more fully when the Commonwealth takes hold of the questioning.

            The jury is composed of the following: W. E. Blackburn, S. M. Rothwell, L. A. Martin, S. V. Jones, L. F. Hankins, George W. Gay, Carroll Clarke, John A. Hughes, Charles R. Pace, D. W. Thomasson, A. C. Burgess, and W. R. Housley


THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 24, 1931

THE DAILY PROGRESS, CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA

 

BATTLE SHIFLETT CONVICTED; GETS LIFE SENTENCE

RECEIVES VERDICT WITHOUT VISIBLE SHOW OF EMOTION

Decision Is Reached After Deliberation of One and One Half Hours at 9:30 O’clock

 

DECLARES HE DOES NOT REMEBER ACT

Sentence Carries Provision That Convicted Man Cannot Be Pardoned

 

            Today Battle C. Shiflett began serving behind prison bars the remainder of his life, the sentence given him by a jury in Corporation Court last night for the murder of Mrs. Lula Shiflett, here Aug. 8.  The jury specifically stipulated that he never should be eligible for pardon.

            The verdict was returned at 9:30 o’clock after the jurors had deliberated one and one half hours.  Asked by Judge A. D. Dabney if there was any reason why sentence should not be pronounced, Shiflett, asserted calmly, “I positively do not remember killing that woman.”

            This ended a two-day fight for an acquittal on the grounds of insanity.  He insisted he was in a complete trance the day of the shooting and had no knowledge of what transpired until in the afternoon, when he awoke in a corn patch near the city limits with an empty revolver in his pocket.

Motion Overruled

            C. E. Wingfield, who with R. C. Allman and J. D. Burch represented the slayer, asked that the verdict be set aside as contrary to the law and evidence.

            After overruling the motion and imposing sentence, Judge Dabney gave Shiflett as eloquently simple lecture, stating “in the opinion of this court you are receiving a sentence worse for you than the death penalty.  And that is just what you deserve – the highest form of punishment the State of Virginia can impose upon you.  In my opinion you were neither drunk nor insane when you committed this crime.”

            Judge Dabney stated that the punishment was not in the form of vengeance, but simply the natural course of the law, which was framed by society for the protection of its members “against people, like you.”  He went on to say “I hope this will be a lesson to you and to others like you.

Asserts Relationship

His alleged relationship with the woman was described by him as follows.  About two years ago they lived together in Baltimore.  This was after she became estranged from her husband, Thomas L. Shiflett.  She offered to buy a gun and assume responsibility for the murder of her husband if Battle Shiflett would do the actual killing.  It was about this time that she instituted divorce proceedings, and Shiflett testified she wanted him to help her poison her husband so they could collect his insurance and marry.

            At this point the commonwealth’s Attorney asked the witness: “Didn’t you know that Thomas Shiflett has no insurance now and never has had any insurance.”  The question was answered evasively.

Concerning Threats

            Mr. Wood then interrogated him about threats concerning the woman and why he actually killed her.  Shiflett replied: “I wouldn’t have done it for anything on earth if I had been in my right mind.  I thought too much of her.”

            The basis of this line of questioning was laid in a sensational manner when Mr. Wood introduced in rebuttal evidence letters written by Shiflett from Hershey, Penn., last June, in which he declared his love for the woman and asserted it would be “a sad story for somebody to read” if she did not return to him.  “For,” he wrote, “if we can’t be together on this earth nobody else is going to have you.  All of this was brought in to test Shiflett’s sanity and to show he had deliberated on the killing, which the Commonwealth’s Attorney described as “premeditated” and deserving the supreme penalty, that of death in the electric chair.

Mrs. Frazier’s Testimony

            Also incriminating was the late evidence given by Mrs. Jennie Frazier, an aged mountain woman who moved here last spring.  She declared Shiflett had been to her home at the foot of Vinegar Hill on two occasions and had watched Mrs. Shiflett leave a restaurant across the street, where she was employed at that time.  This was before she went to work in the West Main Street Café where she was felled by the fatal volley.

            On one of these occasions, Mrs. Frazier said, Shiflett told her  “if Lula leaves there with anybody I am going to kill her.”  Previously Shiflett had denied ever being at the Frazier home.

Physicians’ Statements

            Dr. J. S. Dejarnette, superintendent of the Western State Hospital at Staunton, had been called by the defense to examine the defendant yesterday but was unable to be present.  Both sides agreed, however, to introduce testimony to the effect that if the psychiatrist had been present he would have described Shiflett as the victim of periodic “psychic epilepsy.”

            On Tuesday both Dr. David C. Wilson and Dr. E. P Lehman, both of the University medical school declared in their opinion that Shiflett was of sound mind and able to distinguish between right and wrong at the time of the shooting.

            The jury is composed of the following: W. E. Blackburn, S. M. Rothwell, L. A. Martin, S. V. Jones, L. F. Hankins, George W. Gay, Carroll Clarke, John A. Hughes, Charles R. Pace, D. W. Thomasson, A. C. Burgess, and W. R. Housley.

 


SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 26, 1931

THE DAILY PROGRESS, CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA

 

SHIFLETT CENSURES PRESS AND PUBLIC

With Life Term Before Him, Murderer Of Mrs. Shiflett Writes Letter

Bitterly Assailing Attitude Taken Toward Him

 

            Battle Shiflett’s narrow escape from the electric chair and his sentence of life imprisonment for the murder of his alleged former mistress, Mrs. Lula Shiflett is felt by him to be the result of persecution from the press and the public.

            Today he gave a newspaper reporter a written account of his reactions concerning the trial and his punishment.  The letter, which the prisoner explained he had given a good deal of thought to is published below exactly as it was written with the exception of certain corrections in spelling.  His reference to the “writer” is not himself but to the authors of articles appearing in the newspaper.

Test of Letter

            The Letter:

            “I have been sent to prison the rest of my life.”  Yet, the public doesn’t seem to be satisfied, from what I read in the Progress:  If I had been given the extreme penalty, as the writer required, I wonder what they would of wanted next.  I don’t think they would of yet been satisfied.

            I wonder if they wouldn’t have wanted the Almighty Power to judge me and to rush me right on into the depths of Hell, before judgment day just as I was rushed all the way through my trial.

            “I want to ask the writer what should be done with Lula Shiflett and I if we had killed her husband (Thomas L. Shiflett) like she planned to do in Smith?????, Md.?  She almost persuaded me to do it.  I loved her as dear as life itself.

Law of Moses

            “The writer still believes in the old law of Moses.  Do they know that Christ died to save sinners like myself, and perhaps them too?  Unfortunately, I’m the one that has to set an example for the rest of the people in this community.  Dr. Wilson (Dr. David C. Wilson neurologist, and a court’s witness) must have used me for the same thing at the hospital when he cut open my skull and examined the brain.  It was an operation that was almost death, saving me with a partly numbed hand and a lost grip in my fingers from a stroke of paralysis suffered while on the operating table.  I am in a worse condition now than I was before.  Now Dr. Wilson tells the jury that I am a sane man at all times.

Doesn’t Feel Guilty

            “It seems to me he was using me for an example too.  The reason I haven’t ever showed any signs of nervousness, is because I don’t feel guilty of the crime, although I must have done it.

            God only knows why I did do it.  I don’t remember the act.  If I had planned to do it like the jury thought I would have got her all alone to do it.  I wouldn’t of walked into a public place and done it where there was a half dozen men around.  I would have brought the gun with me.  I left my clothes and also a pay envelope which was due me from where I worked (in Pennsylvania).  I brought her step-father and brother here with me and was to take her sister back with us.  Yet they say it was planned.  They say she was conscious and talked until she went on the operating table.  I haven’t heard a word she said against me and why I did it.

            She knew I loved her and had supported her and her two kids for almost two years.  If she had of lived I don’t have the least idea she would of wanted me prosecuted.

As To Letters

            Speaking of the threatening letter.  If some of the letters I had from her could have been read I don’t think I would have a life sentence in prison.  But the police searched my suitcase in Pennsylvania, and they were destroyed.  I could have proved by them that she had helped to get me in the condition I was in.  I was handicapped all the way through the trial by not having any money.  I had no one to help or do anything for me.  I have worked hard for the last two-years, gave all my labor to her and her kids, and was paying for her divorce, expecting to get married and have a home.  Now she is gone, forever.  I’m to spend the rest of my life in prison.

Loved the Children

            I have loved her kids as good as if they were my own.  I do hope they will live a different life from what their mother and I did.  My worst worry is about my aged mother and my sister that did all they could for me.  I still have hopes that something will turn up in the future, and I will be a free man once more.  I don’t believe God will let me be punished the rest of my life for something I did while I was out of my mind.

            The wages of sin is death.  But there is a life of everlasting for those who seaketh it.  I’ve had faith all the way through.  I believe God is just.  I’ve prayed each night since this happened that my life would be saved; and it was.  I’m going to put all my trust in God and live by the prison rules.

            I loved Lula with a true devoted love and I pray for her soul to be saved, and hope to meet her in Heaven, where there will be no sorrows.  And I hope God will forgive the three that made false statements about me in my trial.

            The letter was composed by the prisoner in his solitary cell and was given to the reporter there.  It was read aloud in the presence of Jailer J. H. Jones.


TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 29, 1931

THE DAILY PROGRESS, CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA

 

Shiflett Goes to Penitentiary For Life; End of Grim Tragedy

 

Murderer of Mrs. Lula Shiflett, Never To Be Free Again, Expresses

Intention of Obeying Rules and Making Something of Life

 

            Resigned to his fate of life imprisonment behind barred doors Battle C. Shiflett, thirty-four, convicted of the murder of Mrs. Lula Shiflett, left here in a prison wagon this afternoon for the State Penitentiary at Richmond. 

            A few moments before leaving he repeated his intention of “obeying the prison rules and making as much of life as I can.”

            Asked if he had anything to say for the public, which has watched his sensational case since the slaying in a West Main Street restaurant Aug. 8, he answered simply: “ Christ gave a man a chance to reform I don’t see why the law couldn’t.”

To Get No Clemency

            This statement referred to the written recommendation of the jury that he never be given executive clemency.  This was concurred in by Judge A. D. Dabney, who stated he would “strongly urge the present Governor and all succeeding governors” that the murderer never be pardoned.

            In the same prison van with Shiflett was taken William “Buscake” Hunter, Negro housebreaker, who is serving a two and one-half year sentence.  Jailer J. H. Jones was serving the noon meal when the two guards arrived from the penitentiary.  Shiflett drank a bottle of chocolate and ate some breed before leaving.

            He then gave out the short interview and made a few private statements, which he asked not to be published.  Each time the short, stocky killer has been seen in his cell he has been extremely courteous and willing to talk, except when interrogated about the actual slaying.

Regrets Public Attitude

            He regretted the attitude the public has taken toward him, and expressed the hope that “this attitude will turn the other way when more is learned about the case.”

            “I have few friends.” Shiflett stated, “and the ones I have don’t have much money.  I don’t suppose I will take an appeal.”  The slayer was captured two weeks after he had shot the woman in Yates City, Ill., by two detectives who acted on information supplied them by police here.  First investigations of the case were made bt Detective O. M. Wood and Lieutenant B. A. Shipp.  Both Chief of Police Maurice M. Greaver and Commonwealth’s Attorney L. W. Wood were on their annual vacations when the murder occurred, and when they returned both immediately went into the case.

Fair Trial

            Shiflett was convicted in Corporation Court last Wednesday night after a two-day trial in which he pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.  He was defended by E. C. Wingfield, R. G. Allman and J. D. Burch.  It was the first criminal trial for Burch and Allman.

            Judge Dabney from the bench than ked attorneys on both sides for “the splendid manner” in which they had handled the case.

            The Corporation Court judge told Shiflett he believed he had an exceedingly fair trial and that in his opinion the verdict was a just one.

           

 Rewards totaling $150 have been posted for information leading to the capture of Battle Shiflett, who last Saturday murdered Mrs. Lula Shiflett by firing a volley of pistol slugs into her defenseless body.
Feeling that interest in this gruesome case is so widespread that individuals or organizations will want to do everything possible to aid in the arrest of the slayer, The Daily Progress takes this occasion to announce that it will accept any contributions toward increasing the reward.  All sums received will be turned over to the Police Department.  The rewards offered at present are as follows:
From City of Charlottesville          $50
From The Daily Progress              $50
From an Individual                        $50

 


This page is part of the Shiflet Family Genealogy Website and is maintained by:
Bob Klein / Pasadena MD /