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Obituary, : Charlie worked as a sawer in a sawmill in Covington Ky. He then turned to street cars. Then he moved to Sciota Co. Oh. and opened a grocery store. Then moved to Ashland Ky. He went into politics and was elected to the police force by Mayor Dysard. He was shot by his foster brother, Charlie Music. Music was an outlaw wanted in Ohio for robbing a post office. Charlie Hatfield got off the streetcar at 15th and Winchester, going on a lunch break about midnight. Charlie Music and a friend had committed a robbery and were hid behind some boxes in back of a deserted hotel and Hersheymans drygoods. They saw a man in police uniform and paniked. He was shot at 15th and Greenup street. He lived 3 days after he was shot
Other, : Charles Music was convicted of murder and he appeals, Affirmed.
Thomas J. From a judgement of the Boyd circuit court convicting him of the crime of murder, and fixing his punishment at death, the appellant, Charles Music, prosecutes this appeal. Defendant's victim was Charles W. Hatfield, and the killed occured about 12:30 on the night of March 30, 1919. The deceased was a policeman of the city of Ashland, and met his death under the following circumstances, which are established by undisputed testimony found in the record:
Some time near 12 o'clock on the night in question, the appellant and his confendant in the indictment, Edward Bradley, forcibly robbed Charles Hill, the owner and proprietor of the Bragg Hotel, located in Ashland. The robbery was accomplished by the two defendants in the indictment suddenly appearing in the office of the hotel, in which the manager was the only person at that hour, and putting him in fear with drawn revolvers, they took his watch and some money from his person, some money from the cash drawer behind the desk, and they then tore down the telephone, and backed out of the office with revolvers drawn on the manager. They then disappeared up the street. The victim of the robbery immediately notified the police department,and they at once instituted a search for the robbers. The deceased, Hatfield, about 30 minutes thereafter discovered them near the corner of Fifteenth street and Greenup avenue, and while he was trying to arrest them the defendant and appellant shot him with a 45 automatic Colt's pistol, from which shooting he died soon thereafter. His death was not instantaneous, however, for after being shot he fired at the defendant (or both of them) some five or six times, his pistol being one of much smaller caliber than that ued by the defendant. All of the witnesses, without contradiction, testified that the first shot was much louder than those following it, and that there was a slight intermission of perhaps a second or so between the first one and those fired by the policeman. Immediately after the shooting, which attracted the attention of the other searching policemen, the defendants in the indictment was pursued through alleys and streets of the city, in whcih pursuit the defendant Bradley was captured, but the appellant succeeded in making his escape, and was captured two days thereafter in Lawrence county. After shooting Hatfield, and while fleeing from teh officers, the defendant threw away his pistol and his overcoat, both of which were afterward found and identified as being his property, or at any rate as being the overcoat and pistol which he had in his possession on the afternoon preceding the killing, when a number of witnesses saw him in defferent parts of the city wearing the overcoat, and to some of them he exhibited and tried to sell the pistol. He had a German pistol at that time, which he also tried to sell. To one witness he tried to pawn both pistols for $7.50, but requested a loan of another one which was in working order, until the two pawned him could be redeemed. The overcoat was further identified by several witnesses who saw defendant wearing it on the fatal night, both before and after the killing. The deceased was at the time wearing his uniform, and according to the preponderance of the testimony, he was also wearing a light overcoat, on the outside of which was his policeman's badge. All the witnesses testified that he also wore his policeman's cap.
It was also proved by the commonwealth that the two pistols in the possession of the defendant on the afternoon preceding the killing were stolen from the window of a store in Huntington, W. Va., on the night of March 29th. The witness so testifying no only identified the pistols by their appearance, but he had them on exhibition in teh store window, and had taken their numbers. It was also proven by the commonwealth that the offense of robbing a storehouse is a felony under the laws of the state of West Virginia.
Robert Dawson, introduced by the commonwealth, was yard conductor of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway Company, and had charge of a switch train which was doing some switching on the night of the tragedy. The witness was standing on Front street, about 290 feet from the scene of the killing, he saw two men somewhat in the shadow of a telegraph pole, one of whom had on an overcoat; the the latter ran toward the middle of the street, and fired the fatal shot at Hatfield, who immediately started to fall; that as he fell he drew his pistol and commenced firing; that Bradly, who was not wearing an overcoat, did not appear to have anything to do with the shooting, but got behind a box by the side of a telephone pole just after defendant fired the fatal shot, and about the time Hatfield commenced shooting; that immediately after defendant fired the shot, he ran, as did also Bradley about the time Hatfield ceased shooting. The engineer of the switching train corroborated the conductor in some particulars.
Appellant's codefendant, Bradley, was introduced by the commonwealth, and in stating what occured at the time of the killing, he said:
"Well, me and this man, Music, we was coming out of the alley turning into Fifteenth and Greenup this policeman came along. He said 'Stop there a minute,' and Music says, 'Stop hell,' and turned around and fired this shot. I seen the officer in back of us, and then the officer commenced shooting, and I got behind a post until he shout out, and that is all I know about it."
He further testified that he had nothing to do with the killing, and did not know that appellant was going to shoot, not had there been any agreement or conspiracy between hi and appellant to kill deceased, or anyone else; not had there been an agreement to resist arrest. He said he did not see the policeman until after the defendant had fired at him, when witness turned and saw deceased and recognized him as a policeman or supposed him to be a policeman from his cap. He corroborates the conductor and engineer as to his hiding behind the box and running away about the time the shooting ceased.
The defendant introduced no witness but himself. He acknowledged having the pistols at all the times testified to by the commonwealth's witnesses, that he and Bradley had committed the robbery at the hotel, and that he shot the deceased. In relating what transpired at the time, he said:
"Well, sir, me and Bradley was coming up this street, and there was some one came right out behind us, out of the alley, and says, 'Wait there,' and I looked around and seen him just start up with a gun and I pulled my gun and shot. I done it to save my life."
He said that he did not know that the deceased was a policeman, but he did not deny seeing his uniform, badge, or cap. Other minor facts and circumstances appear in the record, bearing more or less upon the guilt of the accused, but the above constitues substantially the testimony in the case.
Our conclusion is that the judgement should not be reversed for the alleged error now under consideration. The penalty in this case being the severest known to the law, we have given thorough consideration to each of the grounds urged for a reversal of judgement, and are unable to say that any of them furnish just cause for setting it aside. The Legislature in fixing the penalty of death as punishment for murder realized that there are occasions where the magnitude of the crime authorized its infliction. It is not for us to comment on the wisdom or lack of wisdom of this law, but to administer it when and where the facts and circumstances demand it.
Finding no error authorizing a reversal of the judgement, it is affirmed.
Son of Lewis William Hatfield and Mary Jane Young.
Charlie Music was foster brother to Charles Hatfield