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Montgomery County
Crime News



Pleasant Hill Church Board offers $25 reward for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of person or persons that stole carpet, chairs, gas tank, piano scarf and class curtain from the church. Walter, Bandy, pres.[Litchfield Daily Union, Friday, June 30, 1927 - submitted by Lynn Boyd Reener]

Springfield Trail Filling Station Found to Have Booze - Proprietor Arrested
According to the results of a raid at the filling station seven miles north of this city Saturday night, Ed Ross, the proprietor, was selling more than gasoline and oil. He had in his possession booze, which the officers alleged was for sale. At the time of the raid Mr and Mrs Wm Loge of Clinton drove up. They were in an auto and were intoxicated. Deputy Sheriffs Hayen and Claude Maise took Mr and Mrs Logue and Mrs Ross to Hillsboro. They left Mrs Ross in charge of the station. They were taken before Squire Woods wher Mr and Mrs Logue were fined five dollars and costs each for being intoxicated. Ross and his wife waived preliminary examination and were bound over to await the action of the grand jury. Their bonds were fixed at $1000. [Litchfield Daily Union, Litchfield, IL, Monday, July 11, 1927 - Submitted by Lynn Reener]


Nokomis Man Held Under Serious Charge - Lloyd Seats, 27, of Nokomis was lodged injail at Hillsboro this morning on a warrant sworn out by Joe Punzus of Nokomis charging him with a statutory charge,the offense having been committed on the person of Mary Punezus aged 14 of Nokomis. Seats was placed under a $700bond and being unable to furnish same he was taken to jail.[Litchfield Daily Union, Friday, June 30, 1927 - submitted by Lynn Boyd Reener]

A Chevrolet car stolen from its parking space on South State was found by Officer Charles Weber. The car was owned by Mr Scherer of Raymond. [Litchfield Daily Union, Litchfield, IL, 14 July 1927 - Submitted by Lynn Reener]


Mrs Mary J Terrell, of Nokomis, who is now serving a term in the Joliet penitentiaryfor the murder of her husband, is endeavoring to get her case before the State Board of Pardons. [Litchfield Daily Union, Friday, November 27, 1914]


Disturbed Campfire Girls
[Litchfield Daily Union, Sat., July 9, 1927 - submitted by Lynn Boyd Reener]
Emmit Virden of Hillsboro disturbed the peace at the Hillsboro City Lake yesterdayand he was arrested by Sheriff Hill. He pleaded guilty before Judge Greene and was fined $10 and costs which hepaid. The Campfire Girls were having an outing and complaint was made by them.


The Walcher-Sturgeon Homicide
May 13, 1884, pg 7 col 1
In the Circuit Court here this morning the case of WebsterWalcher, indicted for the murder of Stephenson Sturgeon, came up for trial, and the work of securing a jury commenced.The trial promises to be a long and exciting one. About eighty witnesses will be examined. It is thought it willtake all day tomorrow to complete the jury.
The night of Jan 16, 1884, there was to be a spelling bee at the Tester School House in Round Tree Township. Anumber of young people had arrived among them being Stephenson Sturgeon and Webster Walcher. Walcher and Sturgeonsoon became involved in an altercation, during which it is alleged Walcher drew his pistol and shop Sturgeon, killinghim instantly. [Chicago Daily News, Northwest News; Submittedby Lynn Boyd Reener]

May 14, 1884, pg 7 col 1
The Walcher Trial, Hillsboro, IL, May 13 (Special)
The Walcher murder trial was resumed this morning in the Circuit Court here. Nearly the entire day was spent inselecting a jury. State's Attorney Amos Miller opened the case for the prosecution and the ex-Gov John M Palmerfollowed for the defense. His speech indicated that the theory of self-defense would be advanced. [Chicago Daily News, Northwest News; Submitted by Lynn Boyd Reener]

May 15, 1884, pg 6 col 5
The Walcher Murder Trial, Hillsboro, IL, May 14 (Special)
The examination of witnesses began this morning in the Walcher murder trial. Six witnesses were examined today,the testimony of Frank Burns, a close companion of the murdered man, being the most important. Two physicians testifiedas to the nature of the wound, one of them being the coroner. They testified that the murdered man must have beenkilled instantly, the bullet having penetrated the most vital part of the brain. Counsel for the defense soughtto introduce as evidence a pistol and a dirk-knife said to have been taken from the body of the murdered man, toshow that the deceased was armed at the time he was killed, and that this fact was known to the defendant and probablycaused him to fire the fatal shot. This was objected to by the prosecution and the court sustained the objectionfor the present. [Chicago Daily News, Northwest News; Submittedby Lynn Boyd Reener]

May 15, 1884, pg 10 col 1
Webster Walcher's Trial for Murder at Hillsboro - Hillsboro, IL, May 15, (Special)
The trial of Webster Walcher for the murder of Stephenson Sturgeon was resumed this morning. The prosecution restedthis morning and the defense at once opened their side of the case. The two brothers of the accused were put onthe stand. Their testimony was not regarded as very strong for the defendant. They contradicted each other in manyimportant facts. It is thought the defendant will go on the stand tomorrow. The case will hardly reach the jurybefore Saturday. [Chicago Daily News, Northwest News; Submittedby Lynn Boyd Reener]

May 19, 1884, pg 6 col 1
The Walcher Murder Trial Ends in Acquittal - Hillsboro, IL, May 17 (Special)
The closing speech in the Walcher murder trial was made by George M Stevens last night in behalf of the prosecutionand the jury received their instructions and retired to the jury room. At a late hour, they returned the followingverdict: "We, the jury, find the defendant not guilty."
The verdict created general surprise here. It was almost the universal opinion that the jury would find the defendantguilty and give him a short sentence at least. It was a great surprise to even Walcher himself. He says he didnot expect to be acquitted, but feels very happy over the termination of the trial. On the first ballot the jurystood eight for acquittal and four for conviction. On the third ballot they all voted for acquittal. The verdictwas based upon the ideal of self-defence. [Chicago Daily News,Northwest News; Submitted by Lynn Boyd Reener]


William Laws Shot to Death on CB&Q Train in Litchfield
A three pronged investigation was underway today in the killing of William Everett Laws Jr whose dead body was taken from a Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy coal train at Bushnell Saturday about noon time.
Young Laws was shot to death as he road the train through Litchfield Friday night [d. 28 DE 1934] about 10 o'clock. The body of the lad was seen as the train passed through Beardstown.
….More than 150 shot gun pellets were removed from the torso alone….
William Laws Jr, accompanied by an older brother, George, known as Bud, started his fatal ride at the farmer's elevator Friday night between 9:30 and 10 o'clock. They had been visiting a half-sister, Mrs Myron Reener, who resides on East Columbia street and spent the evening playing cards and listening to the radio.
When they decided to go home, they "Hopped" the Burlington coal train at the Farmer's elevator to ride to their home, which is on Main street, along side the Burlington tracks, north of Ferdon street. The trains slow down to take on water at the tank about three blocks north of the Texaco filling station. George got off the train at the Ferdon street crossing. William was on a coal car several lengths back. George saw the younger boy on the coal hopper, he said yesterday, as the car passed under a street light. He went on home to bed, he said, and when Junior did not come home he thought the lad had decided to go on to visit an aunt in Virden. He said the boy had talked during the day of going to Virden.
….Apparently the boy had been killed at close range and a sawed off shot gun was used. Two charges were sent into the body and the car on which the body was found was spattered with pellets. More than 300 pellets were removed from the body by the Bushnell undertaker….
William Laws Jr was born in Litchfield and would have been 17 years of age next March. He attended the junior high school in the seventh grade. Surviving are the parents, Mr and Mrs William Laws Sr, six brothers, Rosco [Earl Roscoe Law], George, Halford [Gerald Alford Law], Ivan [Wilbur Ivan], Eugene [Milbourne Eugene "Cotton" Law], and Rolla [Rauly A Law] and a sister, Mrs Myron Reener [Myron Cloud w/o Roy Reener].
Funeral services will be held at the Baptist church Wednesday afternoon at 2 o'clock. Rev J T Dougherty officiating. Interment will be made in Elmwood cemetery. [The Litchfield News Herald, Monday, 31 Dec 1934 - submitted by Lynn Boyd Reener]
[Note: The coroner's jury in Bushnell urged murder charges for the slayer; but, they did not establish who that person was.]


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