The German Murder CaseThis is a featured page

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Deputy Elton Corley, Elmer Pruitt & Jess Elmer Pruitt Captured And Confesses Double Murder

March 4, 1936

Jess Sweeten’s Persistence Rewarded as Negro Fugitive Nabbed.

Elmer Pruitt, 23-year old Henderson County Negro, whose arrest in Dallas Wednesday night climaxed one of the most intensive manhunts in Texas history, will not be brought back to Athens until the date of his trial is set, Sheriff Sweeten said Thursday morning as he prepared to return to Dallas to question the Negro again about details of the crime that cost the lives of Mr. And Mrs. W. T. German on the night of September 25, 1934. Mr. William Turner German 74, and his wife, Martha Jane, 73 were slain and their bodies burned beyond recognition when their farm home in the Stockard area near Athens, was destroyed by fire after Pruitt had staged a robbery.

Feeling High
“Feeling in this case is too high and I have heard too many express themselves to make it safe for me to bring Pruitt to jail here,:” Sheriff Sweeten told the Review. A ten-months vigil at the home of the killer’s uncle in South Dallas ended in Pruitt’s capture by M. L. Miller, special investigator for the District Attorney’s office in Dallas who had been cooperating with Sheriff Sweeten in this case. A Negro tipster who had patiently watched for months for Pruitt’s appearance at the house saw his long vigil rewarded when the fugitive, in town from Tulsa, Oklahoma for a brief visit, appeared at his uncle’s residence Wednesday evening. His arrest followed within thirty minutes. Sheriff Jess Sweeten reached the scene shortly afterward. The ruse, which resulted in Pruitt’s capture had been arranged by Sheriff Sweeten and officer Miller in the sheriff’s determined hunt for the killer.
Makes Statement
Following his capture, Pruitt first said that he had staged the double murder after two white men had approached him to ask if he wanted to “make some easy money,” later retracting this version to implicate two other Negro accomplices in the crime. Sheriff Sweeten, however, doubts this story, still believing it was a “one-man job.” As to the actual slaying, Pruitt said that he shot both Mr. and Mrs. German with a rifle, then staged the robbery before setting the farmhouse in flames. He told Sheriff Sweeten that after finding a five-gallon kerosene can empty, he scattered burning sheets of newspapers throughout the house. He said that his part of the loot was $145.00, claiming that his accomplices had secured shares in things stolen during the robbery.
Home Totally Destroyed
The German home, occupied by the couple for many years, was totally destroyed as the flames quickly swept through its six rooms. Only the two chimneys of the comfortable dwelling were still standing the morning after the brutal murders and fire. The body of Mr. German was found near a fireplace where he had usually slept on a cot. Mrs. German’s body was found near the center of the room. The bodies were lying within three feet of each other. Mr. German’s Colt pistol of high caliber was found near his body. It was thought, however, that the pistol, which was usually kept in a nearby trunk, had been left where it was found after the flames had consumed the trunk and its flammable contents. There was no way of telling whether the pistol had been in or out of the trunk at the time it started.
Bodies Brought Here
John Lehr, Athens undertaker drove to the scene of the crime at 12 o’clock (midnight) shortly after it had been reported by Hughey Fulton, colored. Lehr found that the bodies could not be properly removed from the debris before daylight and it was the next morning before they were brought to Athens. The heads, hands arms and legs of each body had been completely burned away, leaving only the torsos.
Buried In Single Grave
Funeral services for the slain couple were held three days later on Friday, September 28, when an unusually large crowd attended services at the First Baptist Church here, the rites being conducted by Rev. M. L. Fuller. Internment was in the city cemetery. The coffin, which contained the bodies, was never opened.

Pruitt Appears Two Days After Crime
The long search for Elmer Pruitt began two days after the crime when he appeared in the Stockard community in a secondhand automobile, which he abandoned and fled into the woods when a posse of officers approached a house where the car was parked. So hurried was his departure from the scene that the car’s motor was found running when Deputies Cramer and Corley reached it. An intensive manhunt followed but Pruitt successfully evaded all efforts to capture him.
Knife Identified
In the top upholstering of the automobile abandoned by Pruitt officers found a knife, which was identified by Turner German as one bought by him for his father.
Blood Spattered Trousers Found
The net of circumstantial evidence against Pruitt was woven still tighter five days after the crime on Sunday, September 31st, when a pair of blood-spattered trousers believed to have been worn by the killer were found at the home of his mother ten miles North of Athens. The spots had been hastily rubbed with dirt.

Taken To Dallas
Mack Harris, Athens Negro, later told officers how Pruitt came to him about midnight on the night of the crime and asked to be carried to Dallas to the “bedside of a sick aunt.” Harris said that when he and Pruitt arrived in Dallas he wanted to be let out at the Lincoln Hotel, Negro boarding house. Harris, who said he was paid $6.00 for the trip, then returned to Athens, he told officers. In route to Dallas he had taken the fugitive by the home of Artie Cook, Stockard Negro, where Pruitt changed clothes. The fugitive’s discarded clothing was left in Harris’ car and brought back to Athens. The clothes were later reported to have been claimed by a relative of the fugitive who took them into possession.
Saw Fugitive In Dallas
G. W. Tucker, Athens Negro undertaker, came into the case later when he admitted to officers that he had borrowed $6.00 from Pruitt when the latter was shopping at the Lincoln Hotel on the night of the crime. He revealed that Pruitt had a receipt showing that he had deposited the sum of $115.00 with the Hotel’s cashier for safe keeping. It was shortly after Tucker had secured the loan from Pruitt that the latter appeared at the Treadway Motor Company in Dallas, buying a second-hand Chrysler roadster car and paying $85.00 in cash for it. He bought the car in the name of “A. Q. Brown.”
Indicted By Grand Jury
Formal murder charges were filed here against Pruitt and he later was formally indicted by the grand jury for the double slaying. It was then that Sheriff Jess Sweeten, aided and financed partly by Turner German and other relatives of the deceased couple, launched one of the most intensive manhunts ever staged by a peace officer. Photographs of Pruitt’s brother were broadcast over the nation when all efforts to get a picture of the killer proved fruitless.
Mail Campaign
Hundreds of cards, circulars and letters were mailed out and on seven different occasions Pruitt was reported captured at widely separated points. Each of these reports was discredited when officers and citizens went to identify prisoners held as Pruitt.
“Sixth Finger” Misleading
The fact that the killer, earlier in his life, had dwarfed sixth fingers removed from both hands caused a number of arrests in various sections of the country. “At least seven Negroes from Phoenix, Arizona, to Charleston, West Virginia, were jailed when officers made arrests after noting such deformities on youthful Negroes,” Sheriff Sweeten recalled. “I learned that this ‘sixth finger business is rather common among the colored population in this country,” he said. The relentless chase was an intensive 17-months manhunt conducted and pushed vigorously by Sheriff Sweeten ended successfully Wednesday night with the capture of Elmer Pruitt, the long sought fugitive, for the double murder of Mr. And Mrs. W. T. German. “Boy what a job it has been, and I am relived that we at last have that man behind bars,” said Sheriff Sweeten Thursday morning as he related details of the manhunt. “Now I can give my time toward the end of clearing up another Henderson County mystery—the disappearance of the J. W. McGehee family of four persons. From now on my spare time will be devoted to that case.
Not To Get Reward
Although he worked tirelessly and is given credit for the capture of the elusive Pruitt, Sheriff Sweeten will not receive the $755.00 reward money, which had been posted for the killer’s capture. This money will go to M. L. Miller, special investigator for the Dallas District Attorney’s office, who made the actual arrest.

“Miller has been a great help to me in this case and I am very satisfied that it turned out this way,” Sweeten said. “The thing I was interested in was getting that killer and having this case cleared up.”

Turner German, (son of Mr. And Mrs. German) who had spent much additional money in the intensive manhunt had posted the sum of $500.00 of the reward money. Governor Allred, while the remaining $55.00 had been subscribed by citizens here posted a total of $200.00. Appreciative of the successful work done by Sheriff Sweeten, a group of Athens Citizens Thursday morning were contemplating plans to present him with a suitable reward.
Blood-Spattered Trousers Worn By Fugitive Killer, Are Added To Evidence In Probe of Murders
March 5, 1936
The blood-spattered trousers which Elmer Pruitt, 25-year old Negro killer, wore from the scene of the double murder of Mr. And Mrs. W. T. German at their home on the night of September 25th, were added Sunday to the mounting evidence being collected against the fugitive by Sheriff Jess Sweeten and members of his force. The trousers with blood spots hastily rubbed with dirt, were found at the home of the Negro’s mother, ten miles north of Athens. They had been left there the day after the murders. Still free after being the object of a wide spread search for five days, the Negro was armed with a .30-30 rifle according to Sheriff Sweeten who received word from undercover workers in the case.
Pruitt Changes Confession; Another Negro Admits His Part in Crime and The Two Now Implicate A Third Man
March 6, 1936 Sheriff Jess Sweeten telephoned Deputy Elton Corley at 2:00 o’clock this afternoon to meet him at Stockard in connection with the Elmer Pruitt case. New developments in the investigation, following the confession of Pruitt and one other Negro, switched the officers to a new angle of the case at Stockard.
Solution of the mystery killing of Mr. And Mrs. German on the night of September 25, 1934, when the aged couple were shot and their bodies cremated, was nearing solution today with the confession of a second Negro to a part in the crime. Athens officers went to the home of a third suspect today and found the rifle used in the crime.

To a Review reporter who interviewed him on the sixth floor of the Dallas jail Thursday afternoon, Pruitt talked freely. He gave details of the crime, telling the same identical story that he repeated to the officers some ten or fifteen times. Each time he related that the other Negro did the actual shooting, and said his only part in the crime was to strike Mr. German over the head after he had been shot. Saturday morning, however, Pruitt told Sheriff Sweeten a different story and admitted that he did the shooting.

Pruitt told of two different occasions when the other Negro threatened his life, telling him that “dead men tell no tales.” Both times Pruitt said he begged the other Negro to spare his life and that he finally consented to do so, if he (Pruitt) would get out of the country.

Pruitt, a small black Negro, talked freely and claims that the idea of the robbery was hatched by the other Negro who had worked for the Germans and who was acquainted with where the money was kept. The Negro said that one time after the crime when he and the other Negro were talking that a white man drove up and inquired if Pruitt had been caught and the other Negro replied that he hadn’t.

Spoils of the robbery were divided by moonlight, not far from the scene of the crime according to Pruitt. The captured Negro admitted that he went to the home of a third Negro who has been implicated and changed his clothes. He admitted that he told the Negro of his crime. It developed today that the gun used was the property of this Negro and it is believed that he will be caught in a net of circumstantial evidence. All three Negroes are now being held in the Dallas jail in separate cells.

Dallas Morning News Article:
Jess Sweeten, sheriff of Henderson County, has at last landed the Pruitt Negro, who killed and burned the couple near Athens, Texas two years ago. He deserves a great amount of credit, for he has tailed him over several states and landed him in Dallas the latter part of last week. He will be tried and the electrocution, of everyone who had anything to do with the crime should be speeded. Juneteenth Celebration
Jess said that Friday was the quietest and most peaceful Juneteenth he has experienced in years. Judge Nolan Williams of Dallas, who will preside Monday at the trial of Elmer Pruitt, announced for Governor a number of weeks ago but later retired from the race.

Pruitt Tells of Double Slaying; Story That Another Negro is Implicated Doubted By Officers
March 6, 1936 Admitting his guilt but pointing an accusing finger toward an accomplice on the German farm, Elmer Pruitt Thursday afternoon related to Sheriff Jess Sweeten, County Attorney Miles B. Smith, and Chief of Police Homer Williams the details of the double murder of Mr. And Mrs. W. T. German on the night of September 25, 1934. The confession, obtained at the Dallas County jail, in the presence of three officers, was six pages in length, each page being signed by the youthful killer.
Sheriff Doubts Story
“I am staying with my story that the double murder was a ‘one man’ proposition; Pruitt is a shrewd man and he is lying when he says that another Negro fired the shots that killed Mr. And Mrs. German,” Sheriff Sweeten said Friday morning. He had just returned from Dallas where he and the other officers had grilled the accused man for 24 consecutive hours. “Until I am more certain of his guilt I don’t want the accused brought too prominently in this case. It appears that Pruitt is simply trying to shift a large share of the blame for the murders.”
Pruitt Tells of Crime
Pruitt, in relating the details of the crime said: “Along towards the last part of September, 1934, this Negro, who was working on the German farm, came to me and told me about knowing where we could get some money and proposed that we hold up and rob Mr. German, the man he worked for.” After discussing the matter for a week Pruitt said that he and the other Negro went to the house on the night of September 25th, the second man carrying a rifle with him. “We went into the German house, then to a door leading into the room on the east side, where we knocked on the door,” recounted the accused killer. “We went on in and it was dark, the other Negro saying to Mr. German, ‘I want to borrow some money from you.” Mr. German said, “I can’t let you have any tonight,” calling the Negro by name. “I want some now!” Pruitt said his accomplice said. The other Negro went toward a trunk and Mr. German said: “I’ll die before I’ll let you get it,” the second Negro saying, ‘I know where you money it at!’” related Pruitt.
Rifle Used
Pruitt then said that the second Negro pointed his rifle at Mr. German and fired when Mr. German started to go after his gun, which was standing by the radio. Mrs. German was shot soon afterward when she jumped out of bed after Mr. German fell. “Meanwhile I was searching a trunk which was not the right one,” Pruitt said. “Mr. German who was leaning against the wall started to fall and I took an iron bar and hit him with it,” the killer related. Pruitt then told how they got things out of a cigar box; it being a money bag with a purse in it
Charges Are Filed Against Trio of Negroes in German Double Murder as Third Member Makes Confession
March 10, 1936 The last barrier toward a complete solution of the brutal murder of Mr. And Mrs. German of near Athens on the night of September 24, 1934, was solved Tuesday when Sheriff Jess Sweeten obtained a written confession from Artie Cook, third member of the trio implicated in the crime by Elmer Pruitt. Pruitt, 23, had previously been charged with the murder and Tuesday similar charges were placed against Artie Cook, 32, and Hughey Fulton, 34.

Both Cook and Fulton had remained in Henderson County during the countrywide search for Pruitt under the belief that it was a single-handed job. Following the arrest last week of Pruitt when he returned to Dallas after a long absence, he implicated Fulton. Fulton in turn implicated Cook, but it was several days before officers could get Cook to admit his part in the crime.

Co-inciting with the statements of Pruitt and Fulton, Cook said the crime was planned for two weeks in advance. Cook said that Pruitt did the actual shooting of the aged couple. Fulton had previously said that Pruitt did the shooting but Pruitt tried to pin the shooting on Fulton in an earlier statement. Cook also admitted that he warned Pruitt to leave the country when officers got hot on his trail.

All three Negroes will remain in the Dallas jail until their cases are called for trial here. Special investigator M. L. Miller of the District Attorney’s office of Dallas will get the reward for the arrest of Pruitt. Miller has been working on the case for many months at the solicitation of Sheriff Sweeten. He has connection with the Negro underworld in Dallas that no other officer has, Sweeten said. Miller has been able to clear up most of the mystery cases where Negroes were involved in crimes.

Negro Killers Returned Here Monday Evening
Mar 15, 1936
Elmer Pruitt, Artie Cook and Hughey Fulton, Negroes, confessed slayers of Mr. and Mrs. William Turner German are back on Henderson County soil for the first time since their arrest and confession of the crime. Sheriff Jess Sweeten went to Dallas Monday and returned the trio here about 8:00 o’clock.

Artie Cook, craftiest of the three, was carried on to Palestine and lodged in the jail there. Sweeten thought it best to keep them apart until the grand jury meets in June. Pruitt was arrested after a long search over the country and was trapped in Dallas after Sheriff Sweeten had made arrangements with special investigator M. L. Miller to watch the house of a relative of Pruitt. Sheriff Sweeten gave Miller the $535 reward after the relatives of the Mr. and Mrs. German turned over the check to him.

Following his arrest Pruitt made a confession implicating Fulton. Later he denied it and told a different story. Sweeten immediately arrested both Fulton and Cook and County Attorney Miles B. Smith got a confession from both of them. Cook has hired a Dallas attorney to defend him. It is believed the officers have an air tight case against all three. The murder and burning of Mr. and Mrs. German occurred in September 1934.

Pruitt was suspected in the crime after he fled to Dallas, flashed a roll of bills and purchased a car. Later he fled to Oklahoma, Kansas and many other small towns, but was spotted in Dallas where he was arrested.

County Gathers Much Evidence to Convict Three Negroes In German Murder Case
Mar 16, 1936
Here printed for the first time the three suspects implicated in the ghastly murders of Mr. and Mrs. W. T. German on the night of September 25, 1934, when they were robbed and then burned. Pruitt was apprehended through the efforts of Sheriff Jess Sweeten after trailing him through other officers for more than a year.

While Sweeten was not present when the actual arrest was made he was in touch with the situation through the many months that the fugitive was being trailed. Shortly after Pruitt’s arrest he made a statement implicating Artie Cook and Hughey Fulton. Subsequently both Cook and Fulton made written statements admitting their part in the crime.

But realizing that written statements are often repudiated County Attorney Miles B. Smith is determined to thwart every alibi that might be offered once the trio comes to trial. Smith has the rifle used by the trio in shooting the aged couple. It has been positively identified as the property of Artie Cook and its purchase was traced to Montgomery Ward & Company.

Cook purchased the rifle as a Christmas present for his son. The varnish is washed from the stock of the gun and Smith has located the exact spot where he buried it. Likewise he has a written confession from Cook that he found the gun where Pruitt had hid it.

Damaging evidence against Hughey Fulton, third member of the trio has been secured by Smith. “This is the shirt that Fulton wore the night of the crime. It is blood stained and badly torn. The garment was found hidden in a crevice in the Fulton home,” said Smith.

Other evidence includes the five-gallon oil can used in saturating the house before it was set fire. They had found the can behind the Negro church and purchase of two gallons of kerosene by Cook at a country store has been traced. The can was left in the burning embers of the German home.

While the county attorney feels that the written statements will prove sufficient to convict the trio, he is taking no chances. Besides the above evidence he has secured corroborative evidence that none of the trio were at home at the time the crime was committed.

All three Negroes are now in the Dallas County jail and will remain there until the June grand jury meets. Pruitt has already been indicted for the crime and the cases of Cook and Fulton will be presented to the body as soon as they meet. County Attorney Smith hopes to get an early trial for all three immediately after the indictments are returned. Negroes in the Stockard community are offering every aid to the county attorney.

Pruitt Pleads “Not Guilty” as Jury Completed
March 17, 1936
The twelve men chosen to try Elmer Pruitt for the murder of Mrs. Martha Jane German are as follows: W. J. McMullen, Eustace. L. J. Arnold, Eustace. Jerome Turlington, Cross Roads. Tom Kale, Modoc. W. E. Stegall, Eustace. T. R. Chitty, Payne Springs. G. R. Forester, New York. W. O. Wood, LaRue. Bill Walker, LaRue. D. T. Gauntt, New York. Jess Glasgow, Walnut Creek. Jack Nicholson, Trinidad.

“Not Guilty” was the answer of Elmer Pruitt, charged with the slaying of Mrs. Martha Jane German, when District Attorney Tom Pickett completed the reading of the indictment to him shortly after the last juror had been selected to try him. The stocky Negro answered audibly and without a quiver to the District Attorney’s question, “are you guilty or not guilty?”

A murmur ran through the large crowd in the courtroom as Pruitt answered.

A few minutes later, Judge Rawlins recessed court until two o’clock this afternoon when the State will put their first witness on the stand. Final selection of the jury was not made until the entire special venire of one hundred men had been exhausted and twenty additional men were summoned. It required the examination of sixteen of the twenty before the final two jurors could be secured. Attorney H. C. Mosley for the defense had already used up his fifteen preemptory challenges and it was strictly up to the State attorneys to select the last two jurors.

The state used only six of their challenges. It required the entire morning session to secure the final two jurors. In calling the recess until two o’clock Judge Rawlins warned the jurors not to discuss the case with each other.

Pruitt Trial Halted Temporarily When State Offers Written Confession
March 18, 1936
The written confession of Elmer Pruitt was admitted as testimony in the trial at 2:30 after Attorney Mosley had questioned Special officer M. L. Miller at length. When the jury is brought back to the courtroom, District Attorney Pickett offered the confession for the record. Mosley objected but Judge Rawlins overruled. Pickett then began to read the gruesome details of the crime, which was printed in the Review shortly after Pruitt’s arrest. Witnesses to the confession were as follows: County Attorney Miles B. Smith, special Officer E. S. McGuire of Dallas and Sheriff Sweeten.

The case of State vs. Elmer Pruitt, charged by indictment with the murder of Mrs. Martha Jane German on the night of September 25th, 1934, got underway at 2:00 o’clock Tuesday. Every available space in the courtroom, both lower and upper floor and gallery was crowded to capacity.

Judge John A. Rawlins of Dallas ordered that every spectator be seated; and as a result many were unable to get in the courtroom. Pruitt was occupying his customary seat just in front of the bench and just behind his attorney, H. C. Mosley. Frequently while the state witnesses were giving testimony he would lean over and whisper to his council. The Negro sat almost across the table from the German family. He listened closely to the testimony of witnesses and frequently his eyes would shift from the witness to the District Attorney, as he would ask a pointed question. Pruitt did not seem alarmed.

Mrs. Pace First Witness
The first witness called to the stand was Mrs. Earl Pace, daughter of Mrs. German. Mrs. Pace said she and Mr. Pace had been married for 24 years. She said her parents had lived for 33 years on the farm seven miles northwest of Athens in the Stockard community and had been married for 48 years.

His farm consisted of 400 acres. He farmed on a small scale and rented to others. She named Hughey Fulton, one of those charged jointly with Pruitt in the murder and Bert Davis, a White man, as tenants on her father’s farm.

States attorneys had her go into detail in describing the house, the number of rooms and general lay of the roads and gates leading to the house. She likewise testified at length on the location of articles of furniture and other household effects.

The small trunk, which figured in the early confession of Pruitt was also described at length. Her parents, she said slept in the southwest room. It was in this room that the torsos of Mr. and Mrs. German were found on the night of the fire.

Mrs. Pace related that her last visit to her parents was on September 11th, about two weeks before the tragedy. She said they had lived there alone for approximately 10 years. “Did Mr. German keep sums of money at his house?” asked District Attorney Pickett. Mrs. Pace replied that he always kept a small amount, but not a great deal. She testified that the night of the tragedy she was at the First Christian Church with her husband and son and that she went out to the scene about 10 o’clock.

Answering questions of States attorneys she said she found the house burned down. A large crowd was there and they kept coming. She said she saw only the remains of the two bodies in the southeast room. She stayed there until about 2:00 a.m. Her mother, she said, was 72 and her father 73.

Asked what kind of clothes her father wore she testified that during the week he wore striped overalls and a gray shirt. District Attorney Pickett showed her a small piece of cloth and asked her if she had ever seen it before. I certainly have—it’s a piece of father’s overalls,” she replied.

She said that her brother, R. T. German, showed it to her. Mrs. Pace also identified some teeth found in the embers of the burned home. Her mother, she said had worn false teeth for 30 years and she recognized them. She said she had seen them daily for almost twenty-eight years. “How can you know them?” She was asked.

“They are just as familiar as always,” she said. She testified that her son found the teeth some two days after the tragedy. Mrs. Pace also identified a pocketknife as that belonging to her father and said she had had it in her hand two weeks before his death. The knife was a large one with white handles.

Hughey FultonA five-gallon oilcan, taken from the fire was also shown to Mrs. Pace but she said it was not the property of her parents. It was apparently an old can while the can owned by her parents was practically new, she said.A wire had been inserted to replace the original handle. For the first time during the trial, Mosley turned to confer with his client while the can was being offered as evidence.

Mrs. Pace also testified that her father owned a pistol but said she said she could not describe it. She testified that her father kept money and important papers in a trunk in the living room. He had some mortgages in the trunk but did not know whether he had any notes. Both her father and mother, she testified were active for their age. On cross examination by Mosley, Mrs. Pace said that Hughey Fulton lived about 100 yards west of her parents and had lived there for about 9 years.

Fulton, she said, sharecropped the land with her father furnishing him. “Do you know where Hughey Fulton is today?” asked Mosley. Pickett objected to the question but was overruled by Judge Rawlins. She said he was in the Palestine jail. Mosley asked her if she knew Artie Cook.

This was the first mention of Fulton or Cook in the trial. Both are charged jointly with Pruitt in the crime. Mrs. Pace replied that she knew of Cook but had seen him only one time. She said Cook owed her father about $500. Mosley asked her if the loan was secured, but before she could answer Pickett objected. Mosley withdrew the question and then asked her if she knew where Artie Cook was. She replied that he was in the Palestine jail.

James Pace Testifies
Elmer PruittJames Pace, 22, son of Mr. and Mrs. Earl Pace was the next witness. He testified that he had lived here all his life and had visited his grandmother many times. He said that he stayed there at night many times. He told of being at the Christian Church with his parents the night of the crime and said he went from there to the scene of the fire. He remained there until 12: or 1:00 o’clock, he said and went back the next morning. He saw the bodies but couldn’t say positive they were human bodies. He told of finding his grandmother’s teeth some two days after the fire and also the fire poker. Both were offered as evidence after Pace had identified them as the ones he found. He testified that he also found the buckles that belonged to his grandfather’s overalls. Mosley did not question the witness.
Pace Saw Couple Day of Tragedy
Earl Pace was the next witness. He testified that he had been a mail carrier for 24 years and that the German home was on his route. He stopped there daily and had stopped at 10:00 o’clock the morning of the tragedy. He testified that he remained there for about twenty-five minutes.

Asked how he was dressed he described the stripped overalls and gray shirt. He said they were white with a green stripe. He was shown the sample of cloth and identified it as worn by Mr. German. His testimony regarding the layout of the land was similar to that given by Mrs. Pace. The witness said he knew Elmer Pruitt and had known him for a couple of years and that he had been living on the W. J. Benge place.

He wasn’t living there in September 1934, he said. He testified that the last time he had seen Pruitt was on the day prior to the tragedy, about one-fourth mile east of Stockard on the highway, about a mile from the German home. He said he was driving east and the two tried to hide from him. The witness identified the pocketknife and a small pocketbook belonging to Mr. German. He told in detail of going from the Christian Church to the burned home and his testimony of what he saw was similar to that given by Mrs. Pace. He also described in detail the roads leading to and from the premises.

Special Venire to Be Called In Elmer Pruitt Case
June 11, 1936
Elmer Pruitt, Negro under indictment for the deaths of Mr. and Mrs. W. T. German at their farm home near Athens on September 25th, 1934 was brought into the district courtroom at 7:30 o’clock Thursday morning to be present when Judge Ben F. Dent ordered a special venire called for his trial on Monday, June 22nd. Deputy Sheriff Elton Corley brought the Negro, who is being held in the Henderson county jail, to the courthouse.

Mrs. Kate Nowlin, district clerk, was the only other person in the courtroom when the Negro was brought in. One hundred names are on the special venire list, which will supplement the third week petit jury of forty prospective jurors.

Four More Are Indicted Here on Murder Charges
June 9, 1936
Four more murder indictments were returned by the Henderson County Grand Jury Tuesday morning shortly before noon following deliberations of a day and a half. M. B. (Bab) Coker was indicted on two counts growing out of the deaths of Mrs. Coker and George Wills last March. Bill Warren, Negro, who had been charged with aggravated assault following the death of Sam Johnson, another Negro, was indicted for murder after new evidence had been introduced.

Albert Jones, Negro, was indicted for the recent fatal slashing of Henry Shannon, also colored, in the “Pea Ridge” settlement of North Athens. A total of thirty-two indictments for the present term have been returned to date, it was revealed although details on most were withheld pending arrests yet to be made in the cases. This list of 32 indictments included seven murder charges, two each against George Patton and Elmer Pruitt having been previously returned last week.

Jammie Lewis, Athens High School football player, was indicted for the burglary of the Ollie Wells drug store at Murchison it was learned here. Officers said that he signed a statement admitting that he was the accomplice of Herman Hood, also indicted in the robbery.

Special Venire to be Called in Elmer Pruitt Case
June 11, 1936
Elmer Pruitt, Negro under indictment for the deaths of Mr. and Mrs. W. T. German at their farm home near Athens on September 25th, 1934, was brought into the district courtroom at 7:30 o’clock Thursday morning to be present when Judge Ben F. Dent ordered a special venire called for his trial on Monday, June 22nd.

Deputy Sheriff Elton Corley brought the Negro, who is being held in the Henderson County jail, to the courthouse. Mrs. Kate Nowlin, district clerk, was the only other person in the courtroom when the Negro was brought in. One hundred names are on the special venire list, which will supplement the third week petit jury of forty prospective jurors.

Elmer Pruitt to Face Trial Here Monday Morning

June 20, 1936 Elmer Pruitt, twenty-three year old Henderson County Negro charged jointly with Artie Cook, and Hughey Fulton, in the murder of Mr. and Mrs. W. T. German, aged Henderson County couple, will go to trial in district court here Monday morning, with Judge Nolan G. Williams of Dallas sitting as special judge in the case.

Pruitt is the only one of the trio that has been indicted, the grand jury returning a bill against him at the present session of court Mr. German, 74, and his wife, 73, were slain and their bodies burned beyond recognition when their farm home in the Stockard area was destroyed by fire after Pruitt and his confederates had staged a robbery.

It was more than a year after the crime that Pruitt was arrested in Dallas on one of his infrequent returns from Oklahoma. His arrest occurred on March 11 of this year and it required only a short time for officers to obtain a confession and later changed them. The Negroes were kept in the Dallas jail for some time following their confession.

Later they were brought to Athens and taken thence to Palestine. When the case comes up for trial Monday morning a special venire of 100 men will be on hand from which to select a jury. Attorney H. C. Mosley was recently appointed by the court to defend Pruitt. Mr. Mosley has not indicated whether he is ready for trial or will ask a continuance. He did say that he would not seek a change of venue.

County Man, Who Once Faced Death Penalty Himself, Was Maker of The Electric Chair at State Penitentiary
June 30, 1936
The man who built the electric chair at Huntsville, which may claim the life of, Elmer Pruitt as its second Henderson County victim, was himself a Henderson County man, who remained under the shadow of the death penalty for eight long months until a higher court reversed a death sentence given him by a jury here. He was Belton Harris, now deceased, who’s sensational trial here in 1914 was widely quoted in the state newspapers and who later served 15 years of an indeterminate sentence of five years to life, for the murder of his wife.

The family lived in Payne Springs community. Attorney E. A. Landman, employed to represent Harris, fought the case through the higher courts to gain a new trial for his client, successfully basing his fight for a reversal on an error in the judge’s charge. Joe Bishop, deceased, then district attorney; Earl Adams, acting as special prosecutor, and Defense Attorney Landman were the principals in a bitter court fight here. Landman then took his cause to the higher courts, won a reversal, and later saw his client escape the death penalty.

The defendant Harris, a highly skilled mechanic, quickly gained recognition for his ability within the walls of Huntsville and when the electric chair was adopted as a means of administering the death penalty in Texas, he was selected to construct the chair which still remains in use. Asked Tuesday morning for details of the Belton Harris case, Mr. Landman quickly recalled the trial, now forgotten, but which then was quoted in state newspapers.

A lengthy account of the trial and the Athens lawyer’s long fight in behalf of his client is preserved in copies of the Southwestern Law Reporter for the years 1914 and 1915, the reversal in the death penalty having come in January of the latter year. Freed after serving 15 years of the sentence imposed at a second trial, Harris accepted employment at a sawmill near Huntsville. There he found an outlet for the mechanical skill, which had caused him to be selected as the maker of the States electric chair. He died two years ago, (1934,) while working at the mill in Walker County.

Motion For New Trial for Elmer Pruitt is Overturned
July 2, 1936
Judge John A. Rawlins, of Dallas, who last week saw Elmer Pruitt, Athens Negro, sentenced to death for the slaying of Mrs. Martha Jane German, Thursday morning overruled a motion for a new trial presented by the defendant’s attorney H. C. Mosley. The decision of the judge, who returned to Athens to hear the motion, followed the examination of the four jurors who condemned the Negro and Deputy Sheriff John Karnes who had been entrusted with the jury’s care after it had been impaneled.

Gordon Forester, eighth juror selected;
W. O. Wood, the ninth juror accepted;
Jess Glasgow eleventh juror, and Jack Nicholson, the final juror accepted for the trial, were placed on the witness stand.

Each denied that he had been influenced while in the jury box or had been seen or approached by any one either in the courtroom or the jury room after going there. Other members of the twelve-man jury were in the courtroom but were not called to the stand. Attorney Mosley questioned some of the jurors briefly.

When Judge Rawlins overruled the motion for a new trial Mosley gave notice of appeal to the Court of Criminal Appeals. He is given sixty days within which to prepare his appeal and Judge Rawlins will withhold sentence until the higher court finally passes on the case. Sheriff Jess Sweeten had planned to take Pruitt to the penitentiary pending appeal of the case but officials there refused to accept him as a prisoner until he has been sentenced.

He will remain in the Athens jail until this case is disposed of. Change of Venue is Sought For FultonSeptember 21, 1936 A motion for a change of venue in the case of the State vs Hughey Fulton, Negro, was filed by Fulton’s Attorney, Hobson Green, when the case was called this morning. Judge W. L. Wray, of Hillsboro, is presiding in the case. Judge Wray dismissed the special venire until 9:00 o’clock Tuesday morning and witnesses on the motion for a change of venue were being heard this afternoon.

R. T. Craig, editor of the Review was the first witness called by Green. He testified as to the wide publicity given the case in the Review and also the publicity given prior to the trial and also reference to Fulton, was introduced into the record. Asked regarding sentiment in the county, the witness said it was against the Negro. When District Attorney Pickett asked him if he thought Fulton could get a fair trial the answer was that he was not prepared to say.

Campaign Issue
Kirksey Davis was the next witness called by Attorney Green. Davis admitted under questioning by Green that the case against the three Negroes was a campaign issue and that it was discussed all over the county both in the sheriff’s race and the county attorney’s race. He said he believed the Negro could get a fair and impartial trial notwithstanding the wide discussion. Davis was a candidate against Sheriff Jess Sweeten in the election.
Landman Testifies
Just at press time, Green called attorney Bonner Landman, candidate against County Attorney Miles B. Smith, to the stand as a witness. He was still on the stand at press time. It was apparent that all witnesses for the change of venue motion would be heard this afternoon and Judge Wray will likely announce his decision before the day is over. Of the one hundred and twenty-five men summoned on the special venire thirty-six were excused or absent when the roll was called.

After Attorney Green submitted his motion for a change of venue, Judge Wray recessed court until 11:00 o’clock. District Attorney Pickett required more time to file an answer to the application and court was recessed again until 1:30. The venire men were then excused until Tuesday morning.

Negro Very Nervous
Fulton was brought into court at 9:15. He was extremely nervous awaiting the proceedings to get underway and continually rubbed the palm of his hands across the top of the table. His feet were in rhythm with his hands and when Judge Wray recessed court to allow prosecuting attorneys to prepare an answer for a change of venue, the Negro finally broke into a wailing song. “I’m going to Heaben today,” was the theme of his melody.

Officers twice removed Fulton from the courtroom in an effort to quiet him, but each time he returned to start again his rhythmic rubbing of hands and shuffling of feet. Great beads of perspiration continually fell from his face and he appeared to be under a great strain. His own attorney, Hobson Green, attempted to quiet him without avail.

The crowd in the courtroom was exceedingly small compared to that which appeared for the Pruitt trial. Other than witnesses and special venire men, there were not over fifty spectators. The fact that full particulars of the case had been brought out in the Pruitt case probably led spectators to believe that the testimony would be a repetition.

Change of Venue Sought in Artie Cook Murder Case
October 8, 1936
A change of venue for Artie Cook, third member of the trio of Negroes to go to trial in connection with the brutal slaying of Mr. W. T. German, was being sought in district court this morning. Judge Ernest A. Landman, special judge of the local court called the case for trial and will preside in place of Judge Nowland G. Williams, originally scheduled to try the case and who last week granted a change of venue in the Patton case. Cook is being represented by attorney Ray Holder of Dallas, member of the law firm of Holder and Savage. He is being assisted by Mrs. Lillian Reynolds Oatis, associate member of the firm. Holder’s firm has handled twenty murder cases in the Dallas county courts this year.

List of Jurors Whittled Down
The special venire of 200 men summoned for the case had dwindled to 94 when legal excuses had been granted. Forty-one of the venire men said they had fixed opinions in the case that could not be changed. Three were opposed to the death penalty while seventy-one were excused for various legal causes.

Motion For Change
When court opened Attorney Holder presented his motion for a change of venue and Judge Landman recessed court until 11:30 o’clock so that the district attorney could file an answer. Evidence on this motion for the change was then started and court adjourned at 12:35 after R. T. Craig of the Athens Review had been on the stand for an hour identifying copies of the Review carrying accounts of the murder and trials of Pruitt and Fulton. Attorneys for both sides were contesting every point in the hearing and there were frequent objections. A large number of witnesses were summoned for both sides and Judge Landman dismissed the special venire until three o’clock this afternoon. Action on the motion will be taken at that hour.

Cook Confession is Admitted; Trial Continues
October 9, 1936
An attempt on the part of the State council to offer the confession of Artie Cook in the trial now in progress in district court an equally strong effort on the part of council for Cook to prevent its introduction caused another delay in the trial. Shortly before noon Judge Landman ruled the confession was admissible. With the presentation of the confession Saturday afternoon at 2:30 the jury was removed while council started arguing whether or not the confession was permissible. District Attorney Miles B. Smith on the stand to identify the confession.

Attorney Ray Holder called a large number of witnesses in an effort to prove that the confession was not a voluntary one. Among the witnesses was a newspaper reporter from Dallas, several Dallas and local officers and officers from Palestine. Judge Earnest Landman, who is presiding in the case, had previously ruled that the confessions of Pruitt and Fulton could not be used against Cook.

At the same time he ruled that the confession of Cook would be ruled on when it was offered. State council offered the confession at 2:30 Saturday and arguments continued until 5:30 when court adjourned until today. States witnesses heard Saturday included Mr. and Mrs. Pace and their son and practically the same witnesses that were heard in the two previous trials. District Attorney Pickett indicated today that he would complete the States testimony with possibly only two more witnesses.

Attorney Ray Holder did not indicate how many witnesses he would call but said that he would probably complete testimony for the defense by Tuesday noon. He has previously said that he would put Cook on the stand to testify in his own behalf. Indications now point to the case reaching the jury around Wednesday noon. The entire first week of the trial was consumed in arguing a motion for a change of venue and selecting a jury.

Artie Cook Will Take Stand Today in Own Defense
October 22, 1936
Artie Cook, on trial in district court for the murder of Mr. W. T. German, will take the stand in his own behalf probably this afternoon, Attorney Ray Holder announced at noon. When court adjourned at noon Holder said he had one more witness to hear before calling Cook to the stand. He is expected to tell his own story of the tragedy and to undergo a grueling cross-examination at the hands of District Attorney Tom Pickett. The trial started into its ninth day Wednesday morning with a number of witnesses being called by Attorney Holder in an effort to prove that Marion Derrough, who testified Tuesday, was insane.

The case was enlivened by some bright repartee from witnesses and several times the large crowd was thrown into convulsions of laughter at witnesses’ answers. Derrough, a surprise witness for the State, had previously testified that the trio of Negroes had conferred with him regarding the crime and had endeavored to enlist his aid in its commission. He did not appear as a witness in the trial of Pruitt and Fulton and the introduction of his testimony in the Cook case came as a surprise.

He said his life had been threatened in the event he ever told. Attorney Holder paraded several witnesses to the stand in an effort to prove Derrough was not responsible. Artie Cook’s brother, Pat, took the stand Wednesday morning as an alibi witness for his brother. He testified that Artie Cook was home the night of the tragedy. Cook’s wife had previously been brought to the stand to prove that her husband was home with a sick baby the night the tragedy occurred.

With the completion of Cook’s testimony the State will likely call rebuttal witnesses. Examination of witnesses may be finished by Thursday noon. In that event it would likely require a half-day to prepare the charge and another half-day for arguments. The probability is that the case will reach the jury by Saturday. Another large crowd was on hand for the trial Wednesday morning, the lower auditorium being filled with only a few vacant seats in the balcony. Many stood up on the lower floor.

Cook on Stand as Murder Case Trial Nears End
October 22, 1936
With Artie Cook being placed on the stand in his own defense this morning indications were that the trial would possibly reach the jury by Saturday. Cook is expected to be the final witness in his own behalf and the State will have only two or three rebuttal witnesses. Cook’s appearance on the stand is following that of his brother, wife and two children, Ernest and Nacy. All testified that Cook was home on the night of the tragedy and the defendant testified similarly in his appearance this morning. His own attorney, Ray Holder was still questioning him, when court adjourned at the noon hour. He will be cross-questioned by District Attorney Picket and will likely be on the stand the balance of the day.

He is expected to be the final defense witness. Attorney Holder carefully led his client over the proceedings of the night of the tragedy, having him tell in detail all his actions during the evening. The largest crowd during the process of the trial was on hand Thursday morning when court opened. Every available seat was filled and many were standing. Word that Cook would appear on the stand in his own behalf drew a large crowd to the courthouse early. Today marked the tenth day that the trial has been in progress. Local lawyers could recall no previous case in the history of the county that had consumed this much time.

Arguments in Artie Cook Trial This Afternoon; Jury Will Get Case Late This Evening; Night Session is Held
October 23, 1936
A night session of the murder case against Artie Cook, Negro was ordered Friday by Judge Ernest A. Landman in order to complete the case this weekend, testimony was finished at the Friday night session after the State called Sheriff Jess Sweeten back to the stand to check upon date which Cook was placed in jail.

Three Negroes, for whom bench warrants were issued Friday by Judge Landman as defense witnesses, were brought here from Dallas but Attorney Ray Holder for Cook did not call them to the stand. Final testimony was heard Friday night and preparation of the charge was started this morning. Arguments were due to get underway, around 2:30 and one hour and forty-five minutes has been allotted each side.

This would mean that the jury would get the case around 6:00. District Attorney Pickett and County Attorney Miles B. Smith will speak for the State while Ray Holder and Mrs. Lillian Reynolds Oatis will speak for the defense. It was exactly two weeks ago that the trial opened in district court here with Earnest A. Landman presiding as special Judge. At least two days was consumed in hearing a motion for a change of venue, which was overruled by Judge Landman. Then came the long tedious task of selecting a jury, which occupied several more days. Long lists of witnesses were heard by both the State and defense, climaxed with the appearance of Cook on the stand in his own behalf.

Court attendants are generally agreed that the Negro made a good witness in his own behalf and his story that he was home on the night of the tragedy was never completely shaken. His wife, two children and brother were brought to the stand to back his testimony.

Highlight of the trial was the appearance of Marion Derrough, Negro, as a surprise State witness. Derrough was not a witness at the previous trials. He testified that he was approached by the trio and asked to join in the crime. He also testified that his life was threatened “if he ever told.” The defense paraded a number of witnesses to the stand in an effort to prove that Derrough was “half crazy” and that no dependence could be put in what he said.

Derrough remained in the jail here at his own request during the trial for “protection” as he expressed it. Final witnesses for the State included a large number of officers in rebuttal of the statement by Cook that the confession he made was secured under duress. Starting with but a small disinterested crowd, the case has grown in interest with each succeeding day and for the past few days standing room has been at a premium.

An unusually large crowd was present for the Friday session. Cook is the third of the trio of Negroes to go to trial for the murder Of Mr. and Mrs. German. The twelve men who will pass on the fate of Cook are:
C. B. Majors, Athens
Grady Wyatt, Brownsboro
Albert Carrigan, Athens
H. B. Poe, Athens
R. M. Opitz, Trinidad
J. F. Dyer, Murchison
Byron Jackson, Trinidad
W. R. Redd, Trinidad
O. S. Regan, Brownsboro
C. A. Saylors, Brownsboro
E. K. Barnett, Athens
J. H. Reynolds, LaRue

Jury Gives Death Penalty in Artie Cook Case; Three Now Face Chair for Murder of Mr. And Mrs. German
October 25, 1936
When a jury in the district court here Saturday night returned its verdict giving Artie Cook the death penalty, it marked the third time within a year that Henderson County juries had returned such a verdict, all three of them growing out of the murder of William Turner German and his wife Martha Jane German, aged couple, whose home was burned in an effort to cover up the crime. I

t required less than five minutes for the jury to return its verdict after hearing the case for two long weeks. The case went to the jury at 8:00 o’clock Saturday night. The jurors adjourned for lunch and shortly after they returned they reported they were ready with the verdict.

Death sentences against Elmer Pruitt and Hughey Fulton had previously been returned by juries and with the conviction of Cook, the last of the three implicated now faces the electric chair. The cases of Pruitt and Fulton have already been appealed to a higher court and Monday morning motion for a new trial was filed by Mrs. Lillian Reynolds Oates for Cook. This means it will likely be several months before final disposition of the cases.

Mrs. Oates said they would likely summon several witnesses when the motion is heard. The case of Cook set an all time record for its length of time in trying it. It was October 12th, that Special Judge Landman first called the case and exactly two weeks had elapsed when the jury returned its verdict. A record was also set in assessing two death penalties at one term of court. Pruitt was convicted at the spring term while Fulton and Cook were given the death penalty at the present term.

Date Set for Motion Hearing in Cook Case
October 26, 1936
Date for hearing on a motion for a new trial for Artie Cook under death penalty for the murders of Mr. and Mrs. W. T. German, was set for November 23rd, here Saturday by presiding judge Ernest A. Landman. Artie Cook’s attorney Ray Holder of Dallas, came here to the hearing on the motion. Holder asked that the date be set as it was so that he would have time to round up several material witnesses. The present term of district court was extended three more weeks as to this particular case, being closed Saturday on all other cases.

Total Cost of Cook Murder Trial $1,500

October 26, 1936
The wheels of justice ground so slowly during the trial of Artie Cook, given the death penalty Saturday night, that the total costs for the proceedings in the courtroom will be more than $1,500, Mrs. Kate Nowlin, district clerk, revealed Monday morning. Mrs. Nowlin was preparing to send a report on the costs of the case to the State Comptroller.
More than $600. Had to be paid witnesses called in the case. Each of the twelve jurors drew $39.00 for 13 days service, a total of $460.00 A special bailiff, Hugh Pickle, was paid $4.00 per day as provided by law.

Judge Ernest A. Landman had to be paid an extra week’s salary as presiding judge. Special veniremen drew $1.00 each day as they awaited examination as prospective jurors, a large number drawing $5.00 each. It took two weeks to try Cook. His confederates in the double slaying of Mr. and Mrs. German , were on trial only four days each. They were Elmer Pruitt and Hughey Fulton.
Pruitt Wants to Live as Long as Possible; Mosley Complies With Request by Asking For Rehearing
March 1937
With the electric chair staring him in the face, Elmer Pruitt, first of the three Negroes to be convicted for the slaying of Mr. and Mrs. William Turner German, wants the extra days of his life that will be granted him by filing a motion for a rehearing before the Court of Criminal Appeals. The court recently upheld the verdict of the court here which gave him the death sentence. Pruitt sent for Attorney H. C. Mosley again Thursday morning. He said he had been debating writing the Governor asking him to defer his execution when the date is set.

Pruitt says that neither Hughey Fulton or Artie Cook will talk so long as their cases are pending in court. He believes that when their cases are finally disposed of that both Cook and Fulton will sign a confession that they forced him to enter the German home at the point of a gun.

Mosley told Pruitt Thursday that every avenue had been exhausted in his behalf. “I can probably give you fifteen more days of life by asking for a rehearing” the attorney told Pruitt. The latter replied that he “wanted to live as long as he could and would appreciate the motion being filed.” The attorney prepared the rehearing papers before leaving Athens Thursday. Pruitt has steadfast idly contended that he was led to believe that Mr. and Mrs. German were to be away from the home the night of the tragedy and that on reaching there he was forced at the point of a gun to enter the house with Fulton and Cook.

He believes that Cook and Fulton will exonerate him once their cases are disposed of, but says they refuse to talk now. For that reason he is anxious to stay the death sentence until their cases are finally settled.
Death Sentence to Be Assessed Pruitt Saturday
April 2, 1937
A formal sentence of death in the electric chair at Huntsville will be passed upon Elmer Pruitt, young Henderson county Negro who is one of the three convicted for the double slaying of Mr. and Mrs. William Turner German on the night of September 25th, 1934. Pruitt was to be taken from his cell in the Henderson County jail to the district courtroom sometime Saturday to be sentenced by Judge Sam Holland who will preside for a one-day special term here.

Judge Holland has been holding court at Crockett this week. The judge will also hear a motion for a new trial in the case of Vivian Hall, Athens man who was given a two-year sentence on a forgery charge during the recent term of court here.

Pruitt to Die on April 30th, Judge Decrees
April, 1937
Elmer Pruitt, Henderson county Negro convicted for the double slaying of William Turner German and his wife Martha on the night of September 24th, 1934, will be the first of the trio convicted for the crime to die in the electric chair. Pruitt was formerly sentenced to die on Friday, April 30th, by Judge Sam Holland on the district courtroom here shortly before noon today. Approximately one hundred spectators were in the room at the time. Pruitt was brought into the courtroom handcuffed to Deputy Sheriff Elton Corley with Sheriff Jess Sweeten at his side.

The handcuffs were taken off as he stood before the judge. He told the court that he “had told the truth” and his only wish was that the sentence be deferred as long as possible. Judge Holland then passed sentence, setting the date for April 30th. Pruitt was scheduled to leave the Henderson county jail this afternoon for Huntsville. He was to be taken there by Sheriff Jess Sweeten, John Sweeten and Deputy Sheriff Elton Corley.

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