Decatur Herald 1931 March 4
IN RECORD TIME
Jury’s Verdict Surprises
Court After Witness
(Special to The Herald)
SULLIVAN, March 4— In the briefest murder trial ever held in Moultrie county, Sam Kesterson was acquitted Tuesday afternoon of the murder of John (Tuck) Shipp.
The trial opened at 9 o’clock Monday morning in circuit court here and a verdict of not guilty was reached by a jury at 3:05 o’clock Tuesday afternoon. The jury deliberated an hour and 35 minutes.
Only 12 hours were taken, five of which were required for the selection of a jury. Three of the jurors were women. The verdict came as a surprise to the spectators in the crowded courtroom. Kesterson walked from the court house whistling. Considerable dissatisfaction with the verdict was expressed on the street. Popular sentiment went in favor of conviction, it is said.
Shot to Kill
Shipp was killed on the night of Oct. 25th (1930) a climax to a drinking party at the home of H. J. Barker here. On the stand, Kestorson admitted that he shot Shipp with the intention of killing him, but claimed that he did so with the object of protecting his wife and two children.
Nine witnesses were called to the stand Tuesday morning to testify to the good character of the defendant. A closed knife with which the slain man was alleged to have struck Kesterson was exhibited by Coroner W. R. Robinson. The knife was found on the body of the murdered man.
The character witnesses were Jim Moore, Charlie Hall, Homer Johnson, Henry Cummins, V. D. Grote, Frank Wood, Walter Boley, Guy Butt and C. W. Neaves.
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