COOPER: The Glover murder - the end but no resolution

Special This headline appeared in The Atlanta Constitution, Dec. 3, 1898 regarding the courtroom theatrics and drama as part of the William K. Glover investigation.

Lisa Cooper


If you have been keeping up with my series of columns regarding the 1893 murder of William K. Glover you realize the timeline of events resemble a rather curvy mountain road full of hairpin curves and switchbacks.

By the end of May 1893 several suspects had been examined regarding William K. Glover's murder but had been exonerated. A reward for any information had been offered up funded by Governor Northern and citizens of Lithia Springs. Police detectives remained on the case, and in June 1893, it was announced Detective Louney, an Atlanta police detective had made an arrest charging Mary or Fannie (depending on the source) Deavers with complicity. She lived in Lithia Springs near the scene of the murder.

Atlanta papers for June 30th stated, "This arrest has shaken the little district of Lithia Springs from center to circumference and is the absorbing theme of the conversation throughout the county, for the news of the arrest spread with lightening rapidity."

Yes, it appeared the detectives were on the road to success though most did not believe Deavers had any hand in the killing but obviously knew something. By July, another arrest was made, and it was learned John Harris was a suspect. Hopes withered, however, when he was soon released. Authorities advised the evidence against Harris was not sufficient to continue holding him or Ms. Deaver. Still, detectives were thankful they had fresh information to ponder.

Authorities kept checking leads, and in 1894, John Harris would be detained for a second time, but also, again, the grand jury failed to indict him.

John Harris would be arrested a third time around the first of the year in 1898 with Harris quoted in local newspapers saying, "It looks like they will never leave me alone."

This time the grand jury for the May term indicted John Harris along with Jack Smith and Ed Humphries. Those last two names should seem familiar to you as both Smith and Humphries were part of the original group examined for Glover's murder.

The trial for John Harris would take up the entire first week of December 1898 under the supervision of Judge Charles G. Janes. The state was represented by Solicitor General W.T. Roberts assisted by John V. Edge, and J.R. Hutcheson. Harris would be represented by brothers Joseph S. James and W.A. James assisted by W.H. Nally.

The trial for Jack Smith would come later, and a trial for Ed Humphries would have to wait until he was found. It seems soon after he was released in 1893 following the preliminary hearing, he had vanished.

The evidence against John Harris wasn't that strong except for the testimony of two newcomers to the Glover saga - William and John Carson, a nephew and his uncle. The Carsons testified they saw John Harris at the home of his mother-in-law near Smyrna the morning after the murder. He confessed to them he had been hired by Jack Smith and Ed Humphries to help them put W.K Glover out of the way because he reported them for gambling and selling liquor.

The Carsons also testified horses had been taken from the stable of John M. James, and Smith and Humphries took them to Harris in Smyrna giving Harris instructions to wait there. If they did not get the matter hushed up, Harris was instructed to run.

The James brothers were able to defend John Harris by producing other Carson relatives who rebutted most of what had been said. It came down to a "who do you believe the most" situation. The defense also picked apart the "expert" work of the police detectives stating one was an amateur named Daniel. Several witnesses were produced who swore Detective Daniel had approached them and offered money to anyone who testified for the state.

Closing arguments were given, Judge Janes charged the jury, and the deliberating began. It lasted all night, and on the morning of December 2, 1898, it was announced a verdict had been reached. Everyone crowded back into the courtroom. Finally, a little over five and half years later a verdict would be read in a Douglas County courtroom regarding the murder of W.K. Glover.

Once everyone had assembled Joseph S. James who had a flare for court theatrics and drama caused what was described later as a "sensation" before the verdict could be read. Judge Janes stated he had been informed the jury had agreed upon a verdict which he would receive but, he would hear the defense motion first.

Joseph S. James asked the court to declare a mistrial stating the defense had learned one of the jurors, N.S. Lipscomb, Jr., approached Dr. J.L. Selman and others in order to show supposed evidence from the case. Affidavits from Selman and another man stated Lipscomb showed the men a pair of bullet molds and told them they were the same molds for the bullets that killed Glover, and little Bill Glore would testify they were molds that came from a gun belonging to Ed Humphries. Lipscomb further advised he had found the molds on the grounds of the Piedmont Chautauqua where they had been thrown away. The affidavits signed by Selman and the other man further advised Lipscomb had said, "Just come and see how the bullets fit the molds. By God, we will get them."

Naturally, there were problems with Lipscomb sitting on the jury if this information was true, but Judge Janes did not declare a mistrial. The jury foreman finally read their verdict. John Harris was judged guilty with a recommendation of mercy.

Rumors of a new trial for Harris started immediately, of course, but it wouldn't happen for another eight months. In August, 1899 Joseph S. James with his associate counsel were granted a consent verdict of not guilty in the case against Jack Smith, and the case against John Harris who had been found guilty was nol prossed the second time around which means the prosecution decided to abandon the charges.

That's right.

Jack Smith walked free as did John Harris. Ed Humphries still had not been heard from, and I've still not managed to find a lead on his whereabouts after the initial investigations into the murder.

From what I can determine there was never any further arrests, trials, or new information received that officially closed the case regarding William K. Glover's murder, and for that reason I have determined it is one of the county's oldest cold cases, and will remain unsolved.

Lisa Cooper writes the amazing stories of Douglas County each Sunday. You can find her new book "Every Now and Then: The Amazing Stories of Douglas County" online at Amazon, print and Kindle versions. Locally, her books can be found at the Douglas County Museum of History and Art, The Farmer's Table and Lithia Springs Pharmacy.

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