Infanticide

Roanoke Beacon
21 Jan 1898
pg. 3

It was Infanticide
So said the coroner’s jury. Pearl Lewis charged with the murder of her innocent babe.

On Friday morning last J.T. PETTIFORD appeared before the Clerk of the Superior Court and made affidavit to the effect that he had cause to believe that the infant of Pearl LEWIS, colored, had ocome to its death by foul means. Upon this affidavit, the Clerk appointed J.P. HILLIARD, Esq., Coroner, with the following jury to investigate: A.D. SAWYER, J.E. HINNANT, Thos. BEMBRY, David HARRISON, Emperor SPRUILL and Benj. LEARY.

The corpse of the infant, which had been buried, was taken up and carried to the jail where the coffin was identified by undertaker W.T. NURNEY. In the absence of the county physician, Dr. W.H. WARD, Dr. B.F. HALLSEY, of Roper, was called to hold the post mortem examination. After a thorough external and internal examination, the doctor rendered the opinion that the child had lived and that it came to its death by strangulation. There were two marks on its throat as an evidence that the infant had been choked to death.

After an investigation the jury rendered a verdict that the child had been murdered by parties unknown. Circumstantial evidence pointed strongly to the mother, Pearl LEWIS, and on Saturday a warrant was issued for her arrest. She being confined to her bed the warrant was served and Isiah PETTIFORD was placed guard over her body until she is in condition to stand trial.

Such a heinous crime in our midst naturally creates excitemen and indignation. The law should be fully carried out, and the perpetrator of this, the most inhuman crime that has ever stained the history of our town, should pay the penalty.

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