Jury deadlocked in Wilson forgery trial

July 26-29, 1960 An all-male McCulloch County jury was dismissed Thursday morning after sending word to the 35th District Judge Conner Scott that they were unable to reach a verdict in the forgery trial of Brown County Commissioner H.O. Wilson. The jury recessed at 9:10 Wednesday night after three-and-one half hours’ deliberation without reaching a verdict. Before dismising the jury for the night Wednesday, Judge Scott asked jury foreman Egan Fowler to tell the court how the jury was splig, “without disclosing which votes were for acquittal and which votes were for conviction.” The vote was 9-3. The jury again began deliberations at 9 a.m. Thursday morning, but members were out only 15 minutes before informing Judge Scott that they were hopelessly deadlocked and would be unable to reach a decision in the case. Wilson was on trial on one charge of forgery. He was indicted last January on four forgery charges and the Brady trial was on the first charge against him. The case charged forgery of a $50.89 check made pyable to Willie (W.J.) Paul. On June 16 Wilson received a change of venue to Brady, and the case was set for July 25. The defendant’s motion for the change of venue claimed newspaper publicity created a prejudice in the county against him, and he would not be able to obtain a fair trial there. District Attorney Gordon Griffin, Jr., introduced over 40 exhibits in the case, including W-2 withholding tax statements, a number of checks, warrant ofders and warrants for checks issued by Brown County. Defense attorney Gib Callaway of Brownwood didn’t object to the exhibits dealing with the Willie Paul check for $50.89 but took exception to exhibits of checks and warrants to other precinct empoloyees, saying they were “inmaterial and extraneous’ and have nothing to do with this matter.” Griffin contended they were necessary to show the method “in which theft from the county was achieved.” The defense brought to the stand a parade of character witnesses for Wilson before resting its case shortly before noon Wednesday. About 30 witnesses were subpoenaed for the defense, but all of them were not used. Those who testified in Wilson’s behalf all said he ws an upright citizen with a reputation for “honesty and integrity.” They also said his “truth and veracity are good.” In testimony Tuesday afternoon, Wilson said he helped Pete Smart endorse a check and endorsed a check for J.F. Williams at Williams’ request. The defendant denied having anything to do with endorsement of other checks in question. A handwriting expert with the Department of Public Safety, Paul Hanson, testified that endorsement on all four checks in question were made by Wilson adn that the defendant signed W-4 forms made out to Prissie Frank Nelson and W.J. Paul. Felton Dewbre, Jr., assistant cashier of the First National Bank of Brownwood, testified that the Willie Paul check was paid by the bank. Griffin asked Dewbre to compare the Willie Paul endorsement on one of the checks with the Williams endorsement on another check. “There is very definitely a similarity in the ‘Willi’ in Willie and the ‘Willi’ in Williams. It appears to be the same handwriting,” Dewbre said. Lawyers for both sided began their final arguments at 2 p.m. Wednesday, and the jury retired at 4:50 to consider a verdict. Members of the jury were T.A. Lankford, Brady; D.L. Wheeler, Brady; M.F. Deans, Voca; H.D. Roberts, Fife, Conley A. Purcell, Brady; Sim Gamblin, Mercury; Ollie Harvison, Rochelle; Rufus Boeker, Brady; Kenneth Snyder, Melvin; J.A. Ranne, Rochelle; Otto Schill, Brady and jury foreman Egan Fowler, Brady. * * * Brady students attend workshop A delegation from Brady High School will go to Dallas Sunday to attend the Texas Association of Student Councils Workshop on the Southern Methodist University campus. Four Brady High students and Student Council sponsor, E.L. Ross will attend the five-day conference. The Bra;dy delegation includes Council President Jimmy Hill, Vice President Harry Bowden and Secretary Barbara McCord. Pianist Nancy Archer, a senior at Brady High School, will accompany the group and will enter the talent show Tuesday night. At the workshop, student council representatives from high schools all over Texas will meet and work together in special meetings and assemblies. Also on the program is a dance Monday night, the talent show Tuesday and a banquet and watermelon party Thursday night. The Brady students will leave Brady in a school car about noon Sunday and return home sometime Friday afternoon. * * * Merchants hear how Brady stamps work Brady businessmen met Tuesday night to discuss the posibility of a local trading stamp program for Brady. Roger Wheeler, Elmer McLean and Charles Samuel told the group of a trip the Committee had taken to Monahans to study the local stamp program in effect there. The Monahans program has been in effect for the past 18 months, and the committee reported that the city estimates about $73,000 is retained each year which otherwise would have left town to pay for stamps and redemptions. The plan is simple, according to Chamber of Commerce manager Roger Wheeler. Rather than give the “foreign” trading stamps already in use in Brady, merchants would give customers the Brady Stamps. The Chamber of Commerce would sell the stamps to merchants in pads of 5,000 for $10. No minimum restriction would be placed on participating merchants’they could buy as many or as few stamps as they desired. Merchants would give stamps to their customers at the rate of one stamp for every 10 cents worth of merchandise purchased. It would take 1,200 stamps to fill a book. A full book would be spent at any Brady firm giving the stamps “just like a $2 bill.” While the Chamber will distribute the stamps, redeem books from merchants and handle the publicity and bookwork, a board of directors, elected by the participating merchants will control the program, vote in new members and handle all profits, if any. “No merchant is going to be pressured into this thing,” Wheeler said. “If they want to participate in the program, that’s fine. If they don’t want to participat, that’s fine, too. “If all merchants would vote to give no stamps at all, we would drop this program. What we are really trying to do is keep the money that leaves Brady every month in stamp payments here where it will do the most good.” By Thursday afternoon, 38 firms had signed up for the stamp program. Retail Merchants Committee Chairman James Isbell said he expected more firms to sign up by Thursday night.

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