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Look Back In Yalobusha History

Brutal Crime Rocks County In October 1943

Bond was set at $7,500 each for A. I. Shaw, mule dealer and chairman of the Yalobusha County Election Committee; and A. L. Heffner, Coffeeville poolroom operator, charged with the first-degree murder of John T. Durkin, 20, a soldier from Tulia, Texas, the Herald reported in October 1943.
Mrs. Margaret Nicholson Hunt, 22, was held as a material witness and at her own request was remanded to jail for safekeeping. A Jackson newspaper reported she was being held in the Hinds County Jail.
The trio were arrested under warrants sworn out by District Attorney Gerald Chatham of Hernando in connection with the death of Durkin, whose badly battered body was found early April 17 just south of Coffeeville.
Sheriff F. L. Hyde said the indications were that the soldier was struck by a car and knocked to the roadside. But, with the help of Highway Patrolman Burns Tatum, he had continued his investigation of the six-month-old incident on the theory the soldier was killed elsewhere.
Hyde said it was his theory that the soldier was killed in a drunken fight and the body dumped on the highway. The soldier and the three persons under arrest were seen a few hours before at a roadhouse known as the Circle Inn.
The preliminary hearing Oct. 22 was before a four-man justice of the peace court composed of Justice J. L. Barber of Beat 1, Justice Brower of Beat 5, Justice Everett Brooks of Beat 3 and Mayor S. D. McRee of Coffeeville. Justice Brooks dissented from the majority of the court, holding that the defendants should not be granted bond.
At the hearing, the state contended that Shaw and Heffner picked up Durkin and Mrs. Hunt at the Circle Inn and drove out into the county. State witnesses charged that when the soldier leaned over to kiss Mrs. Hunt, Heffner hit him in the back of the head with a piece of iron.
The group then drove back to near the city limits, the state charged, where they placed the unconscious body of the soldier in the highway, backed their car over the limp form and then pulled forward over the body.
The state contended that Heffner and the woman took Shaw home and then went to Grenada, where they ate at a cafe and returned to Coffeeville about daylight.

Through The Years From The Herald
• 5 years ago, Oct. 30, 2008 – An anonymous donor gave $2,200 to the Water Valley schools to help fund an attendance incentive program for junior high and high school students.
Work began on the renovations at Baker Street Park with 14 people showing up to volunteer.
Unemployment in Yalobusha County was approaching double digits at 9.3 percent, more than 1.5 percent higher than the average for the past five years.
Brittany Simmons, 20, was killed when her truck ran off Hwy. 32 near County Road 100.
Dorothy Shelly was honored for her six decades of work in various branches of the Independent Order of Oddfellows.
Former Blue Devil coaches were honored at the 50th anniversary game at Bobby Clark Field including Bob Tyler, Charles Peets, Dean Wright, Terry Allen, Chester Drewery, Brad Embry (current coach), Gary Drewery and Jerry Holt.
The Devils clinched a place in the playoffs by defeating J. Z. George, 35-21.
 • 10 years ago, Oct. 30, 2003 – The Blue Devils eighth grade team won the first annual Red Hills Conference Championship by defeating the Kosciusko Whippets, 14-6.
The Blue Devils coasted to an easy win over Coldwater, 43-18.
The county’s voting machines were scheduled for a test run at the Coffeeville Courthouse.
Groundbreaking was held for the new Water Valley Housing Authority Management Office Building.
Carol Ross, new Lady Rebel head coach at Ole Miss spoke at a breakfast gathering at the Water Valley Cafe.
Nikki Woodard was named to the National Honor Roll for the third year.
• 20 years ago, Oct. 28, 1993 – Nicole V. House and Perry Hawkins, both seniors at the University of Mississippi, were elected to the Associated Student Body Campus Senate.
The WVHS Band participated in the 23rd Region I Mississippi Invitational Marching Festival at Tupelo. Drum Major Melanie Goodwin received a Superior rating as well as the Guard and the Drum Line. The overall band received a rating of Excellent in Class B.
The Blue Devils defeated Coldwater, 31-8, and the junior high defeated Lafayette, 20-0.
Homecoming royalty at Northwest Mississippi Community College included Camisha Freeman and Shedlia Freeman, both of Water Valley.
The WVHS Seniors entered their float in the homecoming parade entitled “Flush the Lions.” The lovely decorated wagon featured a tissue paper commode. Among the class members holding plumber’s friend plungers were Shonda Avant, Pam Allen, Traci Davis and Stacy Vancanneyt.
• 30 years ago, Nov. 3, 1983 – Miss Ruth Jones was honored on her 101st birthday.
The Blue Devils fell to Coldwater, 18-7.
Attending the DECA workshop at Holly Springs were diversified occupations class members Nancy Williams, Angie Sissom, Denese Philips and Yvette Sayles. Rosa Hill was the group’s sponsor.
The adorable Water Valley junior high cheerleaders included Michelle Greer, Shenetha Hervey, Stephanie Baker, Dale White, Amy Fernandez, Missy Martin, Jackie Taliaferro, Dee Ann Cox and Fay Hawkins.
• 40 years ago, Oct. 25, 1973 – The Blue Devils squeezed by Independence, 8-6, to put them firmly in third place for the Tri-Lake Conference.’
Grenada Lake Academy defeated Yalobusha Academy’s Chargers, 42-0.
The Board of Supervisors passed a resolution asking for the widening and resurfacing of Hwy. 7 south from the city limits to the intersection with Hwy. 32.
The UFO sightings mentioned by Editor Edward B. Shearer have moved into Yalobusha County. Interest was expressed by students at Yalobusha Academy. Some of the young people commented on what they would do if a flying saucer landed in their yard: Gary Mixon – Tell them to take me to their leader; Don Sides – Give them a flying cup; Susan Cook – Join ‘em; Louie Riddick – Tell them to go jump in the lake (Grenada Lake); Tim Fly – Tell them to go bug someone else; Keith Bell – Tell them to go bug someone else.
• 50 years ago, Oct. 31, 1963 – A boast by former WVHS football player Joel Clements backfired when the Blue Devils walked all over his new team, Horn Lake, by a score of 41-7. His family had moved to Southaven from Water Valley and he had enrolled at Horn Lake.
Clements sent his old teammates a box of candy containing a pair of red wrapped candies and five brown. The instructions were: “Water Valley shall eat the red ones whey they score. They can eat the brown ones when Horn Lake scores.”
• 60 years ago, Nov. 5, 1953 – The Roadside Park, a project of the Garden Club of Water Valley, was dedicated at the location south of town with Highway Commis-sioner Roy Adams speaking.
Five generations of the Henderson family were pictured on the front page including Mrs. Della Henderson, Mrs. W. C. McCulley, Mrs. J. D. Bell, Mrs. Ben Horan and four-month-old Donna Kim Horan.
Ed Shearer III apparently got tangled up in the printing press and was thanking folks for their expressions of sympathy for his injuries.
In the Want Ads: If party who lost wheel off truck on my property will contact me, he may claim wheel by paying for this ad. Earl Carothers, Rt. 5.
• 70 years ago, Oct 29, 1943 – Bishop William W. Peele of Richmond, Virginia, spoke at the First Methodist Church.
Local Methodists were excited to have their presiding bishop visit and were inviting the entire city to the service.
The family of Joel Adams Jr. received word from the Department of the Navy that hope had been abandoned that young Adams would be found. He had been carried as missing in action since his ship was sunk a year ago.
In the Want Ads: For Sale – Stripped-down 1930 Chev-rolet with five good tires. Also pigs and sows. Oscar T. Parsons, phone 243-W.

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