Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Transcription Tuesday: Murder Trial of William Carroll Brinlee

I’ve been working through Brinlees and am now researching the George Robert Brinlee family, specifically, George Robert's son William Carroll Brinlee.  William Carroll Brinlee is one of the list - not a short one - of Brinlees who have been brought up on murder charges.  W. C. Brinlee was Marshal of the City of Westminster in Collin County, Texas in the early part of the last century.  Somewhere I believe I have an earlier article mentioning a “Will Brinlee” shooting off a firearm in town; it may be the same person.  
In this case, while (spoiler alert) Brinlee was found guilty, he received a two-year suspended sentence.  Perhaps the principle of “He [the victim] had it comin’” applied.
Below are transcriptions of two articles from the Dallas Morning News, the first dated 29 November 1917 and the second dated 30 November 1917.
“The murder case against W. C. Brinlee, charged with killing Jesse Hughes on Sept. 22, was submitted to the jury in Criminal District Court No. 3 at 3:45 o’clock yesterday afternoon.  Most of the day was consumed in arguments.  At the close of the case Judge C. A. Pippen complimented the attorneys on their uniform courtesy toward the court and each other and on their expedition in trying the case.
“Brinlee relied upon a plea of self-defense, his witnesses testifying that he was attacked by Hughes before he shot and that a companion of Hughes, who was present at the time of the killing, had threatened his life.  Brinlee is City Marshal of Westminster, Collin County, and a number of witnesses from that county testified that his reputation there is good.
“The jury was still out at 12 o’clock last night.”
“A verdict finding the defendant guilty of manslaughter and fixing the penalty at a suspended sentence of two years was returned in the Criminal District Court yesterday morning in the case against W. C. Brinlee, City Marshal of Westminster, charged with the murder of Jesse Hughes of Oklahoma.  Hughes was shot and killed at Central avenue and Main street on the night of Sept. 22.  Brinlee pleaded self-defense.  The jury had been out since Wednesday afternoon.”

Thanks to John Newmark at TransylvanianDutch for Amanuensis Monday, the inspiration for Transcription Tuesday.


  1. Very long jury deliberation. Makes for lots of speculation. And I have to ask - did he remain City Marshall?

    1. Susan - I am curious about that, too, and I hope to check in to W. C.'s case when I am able to go to Collin County to research. Texas research will be fun - I have a Sheriff and a Marshall to check out!

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  4. Wow. With the jury out that long, it sounds as if they were having difficulty deciding.

    Dee at Shakin' the Family Tree

    1. Dee - With the sentence that was given, they must have seen merit in both sides of the case.

  5. I found it interesting that they found him guilty, yet gave him a suspended sentence. It does make you wonder about the "rest of the story."

  6. Greta, what fun you could have writing old time "shoot'em up" stories. You have some great research going on here.

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