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July 13, 2015 / Joanne Yeck

The 1909 Buckingham Murders: Part XIII

13_Murder_1910_Buckingham Jail_detail

1910 Federal Population Census, Buckingham County Jail

One Year Later

Dallas Wright, Edward Jones, Richard Perkins, Willie Jackson, and Aylett Johnson spent the fall and winter of 1909-1910 in the Buckingham County jail. The wheels of justice were indeed grinding slowly. Edward Jones had been found guilty, Dallas Wright expected a new trial, and Richard Perkins was yet to be tried. Their youth (if not their lives) was slipping away from them. The Federal census for 1910 recorded that Aylett Johnson (19), Willie Jackson (20), Dallas Wright (36), Eddie Jones (27), and Richard Perkins (20) resided in the county jail. Frank Spencer (29) was the jailor and Wily Hillard (21) was enumerated as the guard.

Why were Johnson and Jackson held in jail throughout this process despite their confession and the fact they were never indicted?

The Time-Dispatch noted that Mr. John L. Lee, who had defended Dallas Wright, seemed “to be putting forth every effort in defense of his client.” The newspaper went on to say, “He and his associates expressed in public and in private their entire belief in the innocence of the accused, and also they express the belief that the negro Ed. Jones, who has been found guilty, is also innocent.”

In early 1910, while the men awaited their fate, a bill was passed in the Virginia Legislature which had an unexpected, and potentially profound effect, on the cases of Wright, Jones, and Perkins. An “emergency clause” added to this bill moved Buckingham County’s Court from Judge Gordon’s jurisdiction to that of Judge Hundley.

In the summer of 1909, Judge Gordon had found Edward Jones guilty of murder. Jones’ sentence was pending the trial of Richard Perkins and a new trial for Dallas Wright, whose initial trial ended with a hung jury. Ten members had been convinced of his guilt while two members were convinced of his innocence.

As a result of this change of district for Buckingham’s court, Judge Hundley would determine the sentence for Edward Jones’ case, which he had not heard. In March of 1910, a new trial for Dallas Wright was announced with Hundley on the bench.

Coming Next: “Writs of Error”

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

 

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