page 2

Contributed 12 Sep 2000
Peggy Bostick

The Florence Times
Florence, Ala., Friday, June 23, 1905

Case of Dee Shelton Reversed and Will be
Tried at the Fall Term of Court
Was Convicted of the Murder of His Uncle, 
W. A. Hammonds, and Given Life Sentence.

     Dee Shelton, incarcerated in jail here under sentence to a life term in prison for the murder of his uncle, W. A. Hammonds, has been granted a new trial.
     Hammonds was murdered Sunday, May 8, 1904, while his family was absent from home attending a neighborhood devotional meeting, and suspicion was directed to young Shelton, who was arrested charged with the murder of his uncle.
     His conviction followed, when appeal was taken by his counsel to the supreme court, which reversed the case upon the following grounds:
     He has been tried for the murder by shooting W. A. Hammonds, in the spring of 1904 and given a life sentence. Among the testimony introduced was a statement said to have been made by the defendant himself to the effect that if others had known the same he did they would have killed the man too. The jury seems to have regarded this as evidence that he did the killing and convicted him on the charge. The supreme court, held, however, that this was not, in a legal sense, a confession and that the man should not have been convicted on this if it was the best evidence of the murder. Justice Anderson also had this case, and when asked about it, said it was somewhat a new ground for the court on the question of confessions and would have the effect of changing the views of some law officers on this great question. Shelton will be given a new trial and another chance for his liberty.

The Florence Herald
Florence, Alabama, Friday, June 23, 1905


D. Shelton Convicted of Murdering
 His Uncle Gets New Trial.
had been sentenced for life
Murder Occurred on Sunday, May 8, 1904, 
While Old Man Was at home Alone.

     Dee Shelton, who was convicted of the murder of his uncle, W. A. Hammond, and sentenced to the state penitentiary, has been granted a new trial by the supreme court.
     It will be remembered that the elder Hammond was discovered in his house dead, lying in a pool of blood, Sunday afternoon, May 8, 1904. His family had been absent attending the Sunday song service, and when they returned they found the old man foully murdered and the house ransacked from the top to bottom.
     There had been bad blood existing for some time between the Hammond and Shelton families over litigations, and from actions and remarks by the young man suspicion was soon directed toward him. He was arrested within twenty-four hours after the discovery of the crime and lodged in jail. At the term of the criminal court in November he was convicted of the murder and give a life sentence.
     The new trial which has been granted Shelton will probably be held at the next term of the criminal court.

The Florence Times
Friday, March 30, 1906

Shelton Jury

The following gentlemen compose the jury sitting in the D. Shelton case now being tried: E. A. Perry, Lexington; W.. W. Carter, Florence; R. C. Scott, Waterloo; J. A. Rhodes, Rhodesville; W. J. Tays, Centre Star; John H. Belew, Cross Roads; W. P. Romine, Rogersville; T. B. Dean, Centre Star; W. D. Hall, Cloverdale; W. L. Hendrix, Hines; W. C. Darby, Cloverdale; L. C. Moore, Florence.

The Florence Times
Friday, September 14, 1906

quite week in court

This Being Non-Jury Week, 
Only Minor Civil Cases are Being Tried
(the last paragraph of this article reads as follows:)

     The case of Dee Shelton, charged with the murder of his uncle, J. W. Hammonds, has been set for Thursday, September 20, and a special venire of fifty men drawn from which to select a jury.

The Florence Times
Friday, September 28, 1906

Second Trial For Murder of His
Uncle, Monk Hammonds,
Results in Hung Jury

     The case of Dee Shelton, charged with the murder of his uncle, Monk Hammonds, nearly three years ago, was taken up in the Circuit Court last Thursday morning, and the taking of evidence consumed the time of the court up to the middle of the forenoon of Saturday, when Hon. John T. Ashcraft addressed the jury for the State. Hon. Geo. P. Jones, representing the defendant, followed making one of the best defensive arguments ever heard in the Lauderdale hall of justice. Hon. Paul Hodges closed for the State. Without any fulsome praise to the attorneys, we can say that we never heard a case more thoroughly contested than the Shelton case. No point nor detail was overlooked by the contending lawyers. Judge Nathan delivered the charge to the jury late in the afternoon, and after remaining out forty hours, they reported Monday afternoon that it was impossible to arrive at a verdict, eight being for acquittal and four for conviction.
     Shelton has been placed on trial three times for the crime of murdering his uncle, the first resulting in a conviction and a life sentence, the second and third trials resulting in hung juries. The cost to the county has already been between $2,000 and $2,500 besides the incidental cost to witnesses in expenses and loss of time, yet the cost is insignificant when the fact is considered that the honest efforts have been made to arrive at the truth and vindicate not only the law but justice.
     In a few words the history of the crime is: On a Sunday in May, 1904, Monk Hammonds was murdered in his home while his family were absent attending services at Beaverdam Church, two miles distant, and the house robbed of a sum of money and a pistol. There had been litigation between the Sheltons and Hammonds about an estate, and ill feeling existed. After the murder young Shelton was seen to display Hammonds' pistol, or one very much resembling the one taken from Hammonds' house. Shelton, who had been drinking, was seen about the church in the morning, and on a road in the woods leading towards the house of the murdered man.
     Whether Shelton is now entitled to bail is a question puzzling the legal fraternity.

 The Florence Times
Friday, March 1, 1907

Circuit Court

Court will convene Monday morning with Judge C. P. Almon on the bench. The docket will be no heavier than usual, there being only about seven felonies to come up for trial, one for murder, Dee Shelton, and one for manslaughter, a negro youth for killing a negro girl, and five others for assualt with intent or grand larceny. The misdemeanant cases will be about as usual. The civil term will not be more extensive than usual. Few serious felonies have occurred in the county since the fall term, and the grand jury's term will principally be devoted to investigating offenses of minor degree, which speaks well for the county.

The Florence Times
Friday, March 29, 1907

It is Now on in our Circuit Court.

      The fourth trial of Dee Shelton, on the charge of murdering his uncle, W. A. Hammonds, on the 8th of May, 1904, was commenced in the circuit court here on Tuesday, when, after going through a list of about 125 men, twelve were finally selected as jurors. The commencement of the trial was delayed, owing to the absence of an important witness, Mr. Barnett, who was sojourning in Franklin County, and who had to be sent for. The taking of testimony was commenced on Wednesday morning, with a large number of witnesses present. The prisoner is represented by Mr. George P. Jones, and the State by Mr. Paul Hodges and Judge E. B. Almon, Solicitor Simpson being disqualified by reason of being of counsel in former trials of the case.
      The following is the jury: - J. T. Walston, J. M. Whitten, J. F. Hannah, J. W. Fowler, H. C. Funk, A. H. Hamm, J. W. Hill, E. L. Marks, C. L. Smith, R. E. Angel, Wm. Whitsett and W. T. Simpson.
      In the first trial of this case Shelton was sent up for life, and the two succeeding resulted in mistrials.

The Florence Times
Friday, April 5, 1907


Ending of Long Contested Trial
for Murder After Four Hours
With the Jury

     On Friday night of last week the jury in the case of Dee Shelton, charged with the murder of his uncle, Wm. A. Hammonds, brought the long-contested case to a close by bringing in a verdict of acquittal. The case was given to the jury between three and four o'clock, and after a conference of about four hours that body arrived at its conclusion. Shelton had been in jail since the 16th of May, 1904, and this was his fourth trial. He has returned to his home in the Lexington beat, where, he told his friends, he intended to settle down and go to work.
     The jury in this case had a difficult problem before them. Under the law they had either to hang the prisoner, send him to the penitentiary for life, or acquit him. The evidence was circumstantial, and the jury agreed on the latter course. The first trial resulted in conviction, the two succeeding ones resulted in mistrials, and the fourth, as here stated, ended in acquittal.

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