The Birmingham News from Birmingham, Alabama on July 17, 1959 · 2
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The Birmingham News from Birmingham, Alabama · 2

Birmingham, Alabama
Issue Date:
Friday, July 17, 1959
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rwo THE BIRMINGHAM NEWS FRIDAY, JULY J7, 1959 As state probers pressed for torso slaying solution "MR. X" WAS EMMETT HARPER, 48 ... News' sketches said "excellent portrayal" MAP SHOWS LOCATION OF HYATT HOME, NEAR WHITE PLAINS COMMUNITY . . . Area east of Oxford, near Anniston, has only few rural stores, school "MR. Y" WAS LEE ANDER HARPER, 55 . . . News Artist Charles Brooks sketched likenesses A NEIGHBOR of the Hyatts said he saw the family leave with the lawmen about 7:30 p.m. I walked out in front of their house, the neighbor said, to see if I could talk with Mr. and Mrs. Hyatt. Officers said no. Viola was begging them not to carry her mother and daddy to jail. They told her to sit down and tell them the truth about it. She was crying and wouldnt say anything. IN THE BLACK, early morning hours, however, she finally did say something. Then, she showed ofifrers how her gruesome task was done. WHILE VIOLA was being questioned, a tall, unkept young man also was a suspect in the double murders. Dewey Carroll of White Plains sat on concrete steps in jail kitchen most of the night. He was questioned twice at length and then aroused again after he had gone to sleep. Carroll was picked up by police after Viola had told them she was implicated in the slayings. He was released after the woman changed her story and absolved him of any guilt. Carroll remained silent most of the time and didn't appear to be listening to any conversation around him. He stared into space, often rubbing his day-old beard. ASKED HOW he felt about PIEDMONT o y BIRMINGHAM all this, he said. I don't know. It sorta got me. Why that woman wanted to say that I don't know. It's been five months since I've been in Gadsden. "Why. she can't even look at me and say it. OFFICERS WERE convinced that Carroll had nothing to do with the crime about 2 a.m. For the next three hours, he stood around with authorities and newsmen waiting for Viola to return from her trip to the murder scene. At 5 a.m., a highway patrolman drove him home. Viola's stepfather, M. B. WHITE PLAINS HARPERS LAKE IRON CITY Hyatt, slouched in a chair by himself most of the night. When he did move, he lumbered around softly, and his speech was short and gruff. The elderly man was dressed in dirty overalls a long-sleeve khaki shirt, a wide-brimmed hat and cloth shoes. HE WAS TAKEN upstairs at the jail here for questioning about 1 a.m. Shortly, afterwards, he and his wife were driven back to their farm home. MRS. HYATT slept most of the night in State Investigator Ben Allen's car. She was not questioned by officers. Calhoun County Sheriff Roy C. Snead helped her to (he patrol car where her husband waited at 2 a.m. lOu-- HijaHHome Trailer Harper brothers occupied 10 MILES ATLANTA- for six hours before confessing Viola Hyatt grilled Sturdy BY DON BROWN News staff writer ANNISTON. Ala., July 17 Alabama's confessed torso murderess is a striking woman. Miss Viola Hyatt is 30. stockily built, and wears her coal-black hair cut short and worn straight back. C That is the way she appeared this morning after taking officers to the murder scene and over the area that she told officers she (raveled when she disposed of the bodies and limbs of the Harper brothers. LAST NIGHT, howeser, Miss Hyatt was a frightened, trembling. weeping woman. Officers questioned her continually nearly six hours before she broke down at 2:30 a.m. today. Most of that time, she stuck to an earlier story that her two victims were on vacation in Andalusia, visiting a brother. THAT WAS THE STORY officers received when they went to the Hyatt residence yesterday morning at White Plains, Ala., attempting to locate the missing men. During the times they searched the farm and its 40 acres they reported Miss Hyatt was really shook up. Her stepfather. M. B. Hyatt. just sat and watched us and fed his chickens." they said. The woman, authorities said, began to break in the afternoon and started giving a different story. ETOWAH Sheriff Dewey Col-vard said she was at the breaking point about four times, but then seemed to take hold of herself and said, I dont know nothing. I'm scared. News artist praised Drawings were sure to break torso case, investigators say BY DON BROWN 2 News staff writer -ANNISTON, Ala.. July 17 Tjyo criminal investigators said if they had not received the tip wjiich solved the torso murders, the case would have broken wide open today, anyway. -Etowah Sheriff Dewey Colvard a$d Asst. State Public Safety Di rector Bill Jones said pictures Birmingham News Artist Charles Brooks drew of the two victims would have led to the break. They said Highway Patrol officers riding to the M. B. Hyatt home at White Plains, Ala., were stopped by a man whose name they did not obtain. THE OFFICERS SAID he showed them the pictures of Mr. X and Mr. Y he had clipped from-last Sundays News. The man then said he believed they might be the Harper brothers and that he was on the way to their trailer to see if they were missing. State Public Safety Director Floyd Mann commended News artist Brooks for what he termed an excellent portrayal of Mr. X and Mr. Y. He also commended The News for keeping interest at a peak during the investigation. MANN ALSO congratulated State Investigators Ben Allen and A. S. Mason and authorities in Etowah and' St. Clair Counties for their work on the case. The torso murders one of Alabama's most vicious crimes was solved 20 days after the two bodies were discovered beside vacant houses along U. S. Highway 11 near Gadsden. Both torsos were stripped nearly naked, faces of the men had been shot beyond recognition and their arms and legs had been chopped off with an ax. Woman admits torso murders Continued from Page 1 It was believed Miss Hyatt! automobile, the back seat caked tossed two arms and legs in onejwth dried blood. The seat ap-spdt and the other limbs in an- peared once to have been drenched otter. Miss Hyatt, returned to Calhoun County Jail this morning for rest after an all-night session of questioning and showing officers where th limbs were disposed of, told these reporters: Investigators also located the) and planned to be married after i u.-i- i i. . i.j ,p jppjj jjs vacation this Sum mer. She said his pet nickname for her was Sweet. Both the murder victims are formerly of Dozier, near Andalusia. FEEL BETTER after telling my own story. The stout, black-haired woman wavered several times during intensive questioning by the battery of state investigators, highway patrolmen and county authorities from Etowah and Calhoun. 4nd early this morning she agreed to reenact the drive over thij trail. MISS HYATT also led officers to -e blood-stained, two-edged ax eight shots early in the morning about the time the two Harper brothers disappeared. Investigators recovered some of the missing limbs shortly after daybreak. For lack of identification, Emmett Harper had been labeled Mr. X" since his body was found the afternoon of June 28 near an abandoned house in Etowah County near Gadsden. THE BODY OF HIS brother, which she said she used to chop found the next day in St. Clair rear of the farm house where the Hyatts live. The house is located in the midst of a number of oak trees, which Viola Hyatt said her father planted when he was a youngster. The first big break in the baffling, three-weeks-old case came yesterday when a brother of the LEE ANDER HARPER had . been employed at Bynum. Ala., (dead men tentatively identified NEIGHBORS TOLD POLICE thed HenryBeer Construction Co.' m they remembered hearing about up -Che bodies. She pointed out where she left tlier ax, in a cornfield near the hcnlse. County 10 miles from the first body, was labeled Mr. Y. The bodies were buried, then later exhumed and placed in a at Anniston. Officers this morning were still searching a creek where Miss Hyatt said she tossed more of the missing limbs. Miss Hyatt said she threw the arms and legs out the window of the auto as she drove on. IT WAS BELIEVED she threw out two arms and two legs in one spot and the remainder in another. She went with Chief Criminal Investigator W. L. Allen and Investigator A. S. Mason on the trip through the rural area. Her parents, Mr. and Mrs. bKT'd mmA GiiS'iT KUTTTim the. wheelbarrow which she said of identifying them. njght until early today v slie used to transport the bodies and limbs to Lee Ander Harper's automobile. Miss Hv att said she loaded th bodies in the car and drove orf to dispose of them. Advertisemeftt Worry of FALSE TEETH Slipping or Irritating? identifying Miss Hyatt is being held in County Jail although she had FOLLOWING UP A tip that the Harper brothers were missing, authorities, including Safety Director Mann, flew to Andalusia yesterday morning. With Mann were W. L. Allen and Sol Wright. There, they showed Bob Harper photographs of the dead men. Bob Harper said he believed as nearly as possible" they were his brothers who lived at White Plains. Investigators converged on White Plains yesterday looking for the house and located the house trailer after talking with townspeople. Etowah and Calhoun County authorities took the Hyatt couple, were questioned by their daughter and Carroll in for questioning about 8 oclock last night. The elderly Hyatt couple was taken home by deputies about OFFICERS ALSO questioned not been formally charged in Dewey Carroll of White Plains. I Ta m. the case this morning. jwhom Miss Hyatt had implicated However. Calhoun County! in the murders. i CARROLL WAS released about Sheriff Roy C. Snead said hej The recovered limbs were found 15 a.m. and Sheriff Snead said intended to get warrants charging on Highway 278 between Hokes Carroll was not believed involved Miss Hyatt with first degree mur-Bluff and Piedmont. ! jn the case. der- But he also was released today! Authorities q u e s t i 0 r. . d Viola land Sheriff Snead said he didn't Hyatt until about 2 15 a m. RETURNED to jail believe Carroll had anything to Shortly after 2:30 am. Investi-the do with the slayings. Dont be embarrassed by loose false teeth slipping, dropping or wobbling you eat. talk or laugh. Just sprinkle a little FASTEETH on your plates. This pleasant powder gives a remarkable sense of added comfort and security by holding plates more firmly. No gummy, gooey, pastv taste or feeling. Its alkaline (non-acid . Gef F ASTEETH at any drug counter. WHEN after leading officers on whisky trail. Miss Hyatt had only one request. She asked highway patrolmen to send to Birmingham for her pastor, a student there. Miss Hyatt told officers she and Lee Ander Harper had an understanding of an engagement SUMMER PRE-INVENTORY I CLEARANCE SALE! Prices slashed $100 to $400 per piano Here ore a few examples: prices include bench and delivery Reg. $645 Cable Nelson Spinet Piano . . . .$ 545 Reg. $2750 Chickering Grand, now $2350 Reg. $898 Forbes Console, now only $ 698 Reasonable terms can be arranged Forbes has served the music-loving public for more than 70 years PIANOS MUSIC FURNITURE , Parking Lor Next Door nid Across the Street -Birmingham Store, 1914 NORTH 4th AVENUE Phone AL 1-4154 Stores in Anniston, Decatur, Gadsden, Montgomery, Florence ? s Investigators, after spending hours questioning Miss Hyatt and searching for limbs, said many points in the double murder have yet to he cleared up. They said it may be 48 hours or more before some of the puz-gling details are pieced together. ALABAMA PUBLIC SAFETY Director Floyd Mann and Etowah County Circuit Solicitor Charles Wright had stepped into the case personally. Other investigators include Ben Allen. Highway Patrolmen Herman Chapman and Harry E. Sims. OFFICERS. SWARMING on the tiny community of White Plains about 18 miles northeast of Anniston, found the box-like trailer where the Harper brothers had lived. The door had been blasted with a shotgun and shotgun pellets were found scattered around the door. The elderly Hyatt said the door was blasted in an accident during the last hunting season. Two axes with stains which might be blood were found on the 40-acre farm. UNIDENTIFIED STAINS also were found outside on the ground near the trailer. The trailer where the Harper brothers had lived for about three years is about 40 yardsto the gators W. L. Allen and Mason reported she wanted to show them something. The whisky Irail route winds northward from White Plains toward Piedmont, circles south of Gadsden and continues toward where the dismembered bodies were found west of Gadsden in Etowah and St. Clair Counties. Officers said they had established the time of the murders as early Sunday morning, June 28. It had been believed the Harper brothers were killed some time Saturday night. THE FIRST BODY, that of Emmett Harper (Mr. X' was found about 1:30 p.m. Sunday by a man passing by. The body of Lee Harper (Mr. Y) was found about 11:20 Monday morning. The mutilated bodies were labeled Mr. X" and Mr. Y for lack of identification. It also was disclosed today the bodies have been in a deepfreeze at Gadsden since they were exhumed a few days ago. FARM HOUSE AND GROUNDS WHERE CONFESSED MURDERESS LIVED ... At left is crib and tool shed where wheel barrow found CRUDE WHEELBARROW WAS DEATH VEHICLE FOR REMOVING BODIES Torsos and limbs were loaded on barrow, taken to car Jlilll llllllin I IIIWMll l III All photos by Norman Dean , Buster Hogan Toxicologist provided first break in case ANNISTON, Ala., July 17-The first major break in the double torso murder case came as the result of a laboratory test in Birmingham. Slate Toxicologist Robert B. Johnson of Birmingham through laboratory techniques discovered the name LEE HA--ER stenciled on a piece of shirt found on the torso labeled only as Mr. Y. Johnson told officers he believed one of the murder victims was named Lee Harper." When two highway patrolmen reported that two brothers were missing and investigation disclosed they were named Harper, the solution to the case was near. Chief State Investigator W L. Allen revealed Johnson's part in establishing identity of Mr. Y. wmmMmmmumm MAGAZINES I Price or Less Bham Book & Magazine Co. 42 1 North 19th Street VIOLA MURDER SCENE . . . She showed A. F. Mason where she chopped bodies in front of house trailer the murders has yet been defi-j The unpainted, typical nitely established. (farm house is located about Another big question was why miles from White Plains, a the bodies were dismembered. , (community with three stores about Viola Hyatt told officers she 18 miles northeast of Anniston. was unfamiliar with the areas where the bodies were dumped. She said she didn't even know THROUGHOUT THE HOURS questioning, the elderly Hyatt that the houses where the bodies I cLouPle st,Vck t0 heir sto.aboilt were found were vacant. Neither did she tell officers immediately why she dumped the Investigating officers reported bodies 10 miles apart, that Viola Hyatt has been very The body of Emmett Harper cooperative but that many de-i was found about 38 miles from tails of the twin murders have! the big farm house where the yet to be cleared up. Hyatts lived. The body of his One of the big questions was, brother was found about 49 the two Harper brothers being on vacation. They and their daughter had 1 told officers the brothers had gone to Andalusia to visit their brother. Investigators checking at Anda- lusia learned that the brothers had not been there since last Decern-1 why- ; miles from the bouse via the iber, when they visited for Christ-i OFFICERS SAID no motive for' gfiisky traiL imas. 'iis ILL HENDRIX NIGHT 'Til 8:30 P.M. R-condition4 Upright Piano from 89 $10 Down $2 With 1630 3rd Ave., North FREE PARKING IN REAR LOOK! NEW SPINET PIANOS Shoninger Kohler-Campbell Mansfield C Francis Bacon Pianos . . s595 '995 EASY TERMS Piano ' Phone FA 2-0639 Rentals Hendrix-... As Low As jfhiQ $5.00 Per Month $10.00 Month WI TUN!, MOVE, ANC BROOKS REPAIR PIANOS BIRMINGHAM, ALA. FREE ESTIMATES

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