Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Get Out of Jail for $700

 Many of our readers remember the story of the only police officer shot in the line of duty in Lawrence County.  If not, check out the Murder of George Bopp on this blog, or read about it in Vol 2 of Lawrence Lore, click here. At the time we published that, we did not know the following part of the story.

April 22 1893 Sumner Democrat R. E. Mabry of Fairfield, who came up short in his accounts as Circuit Clerk of Wayne County, and late clerk of the Chester penitentiary is about to be investigated by the house committee on penal and reformatory institutions on a charge made by Samuel Palmer, a farmer living near Sumner, Illinois.  Palmer has a son in the penitentiary, who is serving a sentence of twenty- one years for the murder of a constable who was attempting to arrest him.

The old gentleman claims that last fall he made a contract with Mabry by which the latter was to secure his son’s release from prison.  He says he gave the chief clerk $300 and agreed to increase the amount to $700 when his son was liberated.  Mabry was to use his influence with the Governor to secure the young man’s pardon, and, in case he failed, Palmer says, he was to get back all the money but $85, which would be applied to Mabry’s expenses.

The agreement, Palmer claims was the pardon would be procured by Jan 1. That date has passed, Mabry has left the prison, and Palmer is now demanding that some action be taken whereby he can recover the money he claims to have paid the clerk. The matter will be brought to the attention of House committee by Mr. Black at Palmer’s request.     (Originally printed in the Louisville Ledger.)