Family Histories

Family Histories for the Rose and Kirkpatrick Families

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Thriller Thursday - Luther Bineham

Tuesday, May 4, 1915

Corpus-Christi Caller & Daily Herald 
Arthur Thomas Charged With Killing Luther Bineham Last Sunday Morning Was Given Examining Trial
State calls a number of witnesses to stand during the hearing – no witnesses for the defense were offered – Thomas released from jail.
Arthur (Red) Thomas last night was released under $1000 bond for appearance before the grand jury on a charge of manslaughter growing out of the stabbing and death Sunday morning of Luther Beinham near the ? transfer tracks, the account of which appeared exclusively in the Caller Sunday morning.
At the close of the examining trial yesterday afternoon, in which Thomas was charged with murder, County Attorney Taylor told the court that he believed the state had shown sufficient evidence to warrant holding him for the grand jury on such a charge and under the peculiar circumstances attested to by the State’s witnesses no more serious charge could be made and he suggested that bail be fixed within reason so as to allow the defendant to gain release pending the grand jury finding.
Sensational Case
(first paragraph unreadable)
The case was called in Justice Miles’ court yesterday afternoon at 2 p.m.  All preliminaries were waived by the defendant through his attorney (?) H. H. Russell, and the redress by the state was begun.  No witnesses were called for the defense.
Had Quarreled
Several witnesses were placed on the stand by the state, the defense ? itself for cross-examination.  ? ? the quarrel between the two men, Thomas and Bineham, over the latter’s alleged actions in returning to Mr. Thomas’s ?, when Bineham was slapped and knocked down and the subsequent (?) ? . . . resulted in death of Bineham from a knife wound to his chest, ? ?. 
A small crowed attended the proceedings.  Thomas entered the court with Constable ? ? . . .
When the blood-soaked clothes of the dead man were ? . . .
Chief Fowler Testifies
Chief of Police Fowler was the first witness.  He told of finding Thomas and Bob Shaw near the post office about three o’clock Sunday morning.  when Thomas called him to the automobile in which they were riding and told him, “I had some trouble with a man out here and I’m afraid I hurt him.  I want you to get somebody and go look it over.”
The witness said he ? the car and it was driven toward the police station.  Finding Assistant Chief White near the ?, the ? was turned around and driven toward the ?.  Thomas left the front seat to sit between Fowler and White on the way out.  He said Thomas there told him of having a fight with Bineham. 
At a point east of the tracks where the road leads under the tracks, the party left the car and was directed to Bineham’s body by Thomas, the witness stated.  The dying man was lying face down on the edge of the railroad ?, the body parallel to the tracks.  Witness said he rolled the body over and finding blood on the shirtfront, sent White for a doctor.  No account of any statement made at this time by the defendant was allowed by the court on the grounds that he was virtually under arrest, though not actually.  The Chief admitted during the argument of the attorneys on this point, that he would not have allowed the defendant to go then. 
He said that shortly thereafter, Dr. C. O. Watson arrived and after viewing the wound and feeling the pulse, announced that he “was almost gone.”
Doctor’s Testimony
Dr. C. O. Watson told of having been called to attend to a man whom he was told was hurt and whom he found at the place described by Chief Fowler.  The man, he said, was not breathing when he reached his side, but may have had a slight pulse.  He said he found a wound in the left breast just above the collarbone about a half inch wide.  He said he did not probe the wound or investigate farther because the man was then dead.  He said the blade very likely severed the jugular vein.
Undertaker’s Testimony
F. C. Allen, of ?-Allen Undertaking Company, said that he made an examination of the body within an hour of when it had been placed in the mortuary, and that he found besides the wound in the breast, a slight cut on the middle finger of the left hand and bruises about the face and body.  The breast wound, he said, was about a half in ch wide and ranged downward toward the right and center of the body and that he thought it passed through the jugular vein.  He said he believed the man died from loss of blood because of it. 
The left eye, he said, was badly bruised, both above and below, that the right eye was bruised, though not as severely, that below the lower lip and the point of the chin was another bruise, and that in the left groin there were marks of bruising as well.  No one of these, he said, were cuts.
He said the shirt and underclothing were saturated with blood and that the left hand bore the appearance of having been bloody, though most of this had been wiped off.
Witnessed Struggle
Ilene Westbrook, testified that she knew Arthur Thomas and that she knew Luther Bineham when she saw him.  Her testimony was subsequently as follows:
Bineham came to her house about two o’clock Sunday morning and called the house next door by telephone, asking for “Arthur,” and cursing.  The line was cut off and he left.  Going out, she asked why he was so dirty and he told her he had had a fight with Thomas and that Thomas had whipped him (Bineham) when he was drunk but that he “would get him yet.”  She watched Bineham go into the street in front of the house next door, cursing and calling “Arthur” to come out.  When a man came out on the porch of the house, Bineham was on the track above the street still cursing.  The man told him to go home and behave and that he would meet him Monday when he was sober.  She saw the man go up on the track, saw them meet and struggle.  Bineham fell, Thomas left him, going into the house.  Bineham arose, saying, “Yes, you’ve hurt me, but if I don’t die, I’ll get you yet.”
Another Woman Witness
Florence Anderson testified substantially, as did the other woman, but she said she heard one man say, while the two were struggling on the track, “I’m drunk, don’t hit me.”  After he fell, he said:  “You’ve cut me, but if I don’t die, I’ll get you.”  She said the man on the porch told the other on the track that if he did not go away he would cut his throat.
Testimony of Shaw
Robert E. Shaw told of finding Bineham about 2:30 Sunday morning, in the rear floor of the car he was driving for Thomas that night, of trying to get him out of the car and of calling on Thomas to help him get the man out.  He said Thomas made the man get out but that Bineham did so only with a struggle and cursing whereupon Thomas slapped him down.  He said he drove away then.  Coming back after a half hour to town, he said Thomas told him to go look around for Bineham and that if he did not find him they would go on out to the camp established by them about ten miles from the city.  He said he found someone sitting near the track but that he did not know who it was and told Thomas so.  Thereupon they went to town for the officers.
Bloody Clothes Produced
The clothes in which Bineham died were produced and made of record.  The shirt was saturated with blood in front and had a clean cut about a half-inch wide just below the left shoulder seam.  The collar was smeared and soaked with blood in two places near the front.  The underclothes were bloody.  The coat, a dark blue serge, had a half inch cut just to the left and below the notch of the lapel.  Stains of blood on this garment were not noticeable. 
No weapon of any sort was introduced, the subject of means by which Bineham was stabbed to death being broached only once during the trial.  There was no cross examination of one of the witnesses as to whether she could see with what the blow that struck Bineham to the ground was made.  She said she could not see in the dark and distance.
The trial was concluded at 5:45 yesterday evening.  Thomas was released within three hours after, bond being furnished upon signature by John Gant, E. G. Castleberry, George Kenedy, and Henry Shaw.

This newspaper article was difficult to read, but the gist of the story is Luther Bineham was killed in a drunken altercation with Arthur Thomas.  Bineham was just 35 years old, but had already lived a colorful life - he had spent some time in the state penitentiary in Huntsville a few years earlier, and seems to have moved around a great deal, working as a cook in restaurants.  Luther is buried at the Rose Hill Cemetery in Corpus Christi (where Thomas was later buried when he died in 1951).



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