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June 29, 2015 / Joanne Yeck

The 1909 Buckingham Murders: Part IX

9_Murder_Secret Hearings

The Plot Thickens

Following the request for a change of venue for the trial of Dallas Wright, fifteen men of Buckingham County were interviewed by the attorneys. They were questioned separately and all gave their opinion that Wright could receive a fair and impartial trial in Buckingham County.

Concurrent with the interviews, a shocking story appeared in The Times-Dispatch on September 4, 1909. Several of the men interviewed knew persons implicated in “swinging” Richard Perkins, one of the black men accused of the crimes against the Stewart brothers. Perkins had been raised repeatedly into a tree “in an effort to make him tell who was engaged in the Stuart murder.”

In later reports, this action would be referred to as a “partial lynching.”

The men who knew about the intimidation of Richard Perkins maintained silence about the incident. The Times-Dispatch related the following:

When asked for the names of these men the witnesses refused to give them, though warned by the court that if they refused they were liable to be punished for contempt. Persisting in this refusal, they were taken in charge by the sheriff.

One of the number who refused information said if he gave names he would tend to incriminate himself, and the court, recognizing his right under the Constitution, excused him, and finally the other witnesses who availed themselves of their constitutional privilege gave the same answer. . . .

Some of these men are said to be prominent, and desired an examination behind closed doors.

The article went on to say that John L. Lee, counsel for the defense, was “quite severe” in his cross-examination of some of the men who may have been involved in the intimidation of Richard Perkins.

Coming Next: The Perkins Affair

Need to catch up on The 1909 Buckingham Murders? Part I: June 1, 2015

2 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. onestitchatatime / Jun 29 2015 2:04 pm

    Humans are endlessly inventive in devising torture methods. Perkins’ ordeal reminded me of waterboarding.

    • Joanne Yeck / Jun 29 2015 2:30 pm

      I had forgotten about waterboarding. Richard Perkins was one strong guy. I sure wish I knew more about him leading up to the event. More coming in the next post.

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