Murder, Honor, and Freedom of the Press
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: University of South Carolina Press
List of Illustrations
The twentieth century produced many trials grandiosely labeled “trial of the century,” largely because of the involvement of celebrity defendants and famous lawyers known for dazzling displays of legal pyrotechnics. Such trials usually featured grisly or shocking crimes laid bare in graphic testimony. An early entry...
Anyone who seeks the solution to the historical puzzle presented by the Gonzales/Tillman affair needs a great deal of help. I owe thanks to the many people who provided it. Librarians and archivists are accustomed to helping wandering authors through a thicket of historical documents and books. The...
1. An Editor Is Censored
On Thursday, January 15, 1903, at 12:40 p.m., Lieutenant Governor James Hammond Tillman adjourned the South Carolina Senate, over which he presided. Just before 2:00, accompanied by two state senators who had no foreboding of what was to come, Tillman walked out of the capitol building and across Gervais...
2. Pretrial Maneuvers
Despite the relative comfort in which he was incarcerated, at the jail but amid his own furniture and fresh-cut flowers, Jim Tillman wanted out. His attorneys decided to apply for bail. The South Carolina Constitution at that time provided: “All persons shall, before conviction, be bailable by sufficient sureties...
3. The First Round of the Trial
Jury selection went faster than expected, taking only two hours. A jury pool, called a venire, of thirty-six men had been summoned. These names were written on individual pieces of paper placed in a broad-brimmed hat owned by Sheriff Thomas Caughman. A cloth covered the hat. The custom was to have a...
4. The Prosecution Case
Even before the first witness was called, there were strong signals that the focus of the case would not be on the details of the shooting but on challenges to the fairness of the State’s editorials attacking James H. Tillman and on whether they drove him to kill as the only way to stop them. Tillman’s argument that...
5. The Defense Case
When the defense began its case, it had several aims: to show that James H. Tillman had reason to fear N. G. Gonzales because he had threatened to attack Tillman, that Gonzales made “demonstrations,” aggressive movements, just before the shooting that prompted Tillman’s reasonable fear that he was about to be...
6. Tillman's Testimony
Tillman’s defense counsel had skillfully orchestrated its witnesses to lay a predicate for their self-defense strategy and to show by the defendant’s testimony that he had suffered relentless criticism in the State newspaper, edited by the deceased, but it was up to Tillman himself to convince the jury that reasonable...
7. The Closing Arguments
Having the burden of proof, the prosecution made the first of the closing arguments. Solicitor J. William Thurmond began by emphasizing the grave duty facing the jurors. To him the case was a tragedy as well as a contest in a court of law. He noted that the jury had two pictures before it. The first showed that “a...
8. The Verdict
Judge Gary began by telling the jurors that he would instruct them only as to the law that they should apply to the facts. The jury had the exclusive prerogative to determine the facts. Prior to the adoption of the South Carolina Constitution of 1868, judges could charge juries on the facts in a case as well as on the law. But...
Page Count: 328
Publication Year: 2013
OCLC Number: 860712152
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Deadly Censorship