Connor Taken to Another Jail
The Connor-Beason Killing
From The Rutherford County Sun, April 4, 1929
George Connor, aged fifty-two, held by the police without bail for the death of Clyde B. Beason, twenty-three years old and who was killed by a stab wound in the heart about two-o’clock Sunday afternoon in his uncle’s cafe just beyond Cliffside, was taken by Sheriff W. C. Hardin from the county jail where he had been lodged since his surrender late in the afternoon of Easter Day, to another prison. The transfer was made very quietly and when asked for the reason the sheriff stated that while he thought the prisoner would have been safe here it was simply an added measure of safety and for the good of the county. He did not wish to divulge where Connor is now nor would he make any comments upon the rumors of a possible lynching. Vague threats of such an occurrence are believed to have been made, especially in and near the section of the county where the dead young man had lived, but there was no organized effort made to put them into effect. News of the killing spread rapidly throughout the county and on Monday and Tuesday was being freely discussed, for Clyde B. Beason was a member of a very prominent family that has many connections by blood and marriage.
On Wednesday morning it was learned that Conner had retained Quinn, Hamrick and Harris as his counsel. Fred D. Hamrick, a member of the legal firm, stated that he knew where his client was, but in deference to the wishes of the sheriff did not care to say where the prisoner is located. He did say, however, it was probable that habeas corpus proceedings would be brought in an effort to secure Conner’s release and bond.
Story of Killing
The cafe, operated by Paul Beason, an uncle of Clyde B. Beason, where the killing took place, is a few yards off the main highway from Cliffside to boiling springs and just beyond the town limits. On Monday night Paul Beason told a reporter of The sun his story of the death of his nephew. He stated that the hour was bout two o’clock sunday afternoon; George Conner was in the cafe and playing with a slot machine when Clyde B.
Beason entered, accompanied by Luther Hamrick, aged fifteen or thereabouts; after greetings had been exchanged the cafe operator alleged that the nephew had told Conner he would not beat the machine and offered to bet him “two-bits”— twenty-five cents—that he could not. Conner, he stated, accepted the bet and after having lost refused to pay the wager. Thereupon, said Paul Beason, his nephew had told Conner he was untruthful and also had cursed him. The elder man, he stated, had replied to Clyde B. Beason and said not to curse him again, but this his nephew had done once more. Thereupon Paul Beason alleged that Conner had whipped out his knife and had engaged in a fight with Clyde B. Beason during which Conner had stabbed him in the heart. Before, or just about that time, Paul Beason stated he had thrown a salt cellar at Conner and this had struck him on his forehead.
Dies in Doorway to Kitchen
Clyde B. Beason, said his uncle, had run from Conner to the doorway where he, the cafe operator, was standing, and dropped dead almost at his feet. Then, Paul Beason alleged, Conner had slashed Luther Hamrick across the hip, cutting his trousers and making a wound several inches in length, but not very deep, in the fleshy part of the thigh and hip. The only other witness , said Paul Beason, was a boy about fourteen years old, and he had fled from the cafe during the fight. This youth is stated to live near Ellenboro. Hamrick lives near Mr. Pleasant Baptist Church, Cleveland County. A physician was called on Sunday to dress his wound. After the killing, Conner alleged, Paul Beason left the eating place with his knife still in his hand. The body of Clyde B. Beason was taken first to an undertaking establishment and thence to the home of his father, J. Pink Beason. No post mortem examination was made nor was there a coroner’s inquest.
Had Been Good Friends
When seen on Sunday night J. Pink Beason stated that his son and Conner had been on friendly terms; they had been together the preceding day—Saturday—and as far as he knew there was no cause for the killing. He said that he had been told there were only four people in the restaurant when the tragedy had happened. Mr. Beason was profoundly shocked and showed deep emotion, but he had not been a witness to the fatal affray and all he knew had been told to him. Mr. Beason said, however, that he did not know the name of the youth who had been in the cafe and who is stated to have fled the scene.
George Conner, who for some years has been employed as a machinist by Cliffside Mills, after he left the restaurant walked, knife in hand, it is alleged, down the street until he met Frank Dotson and David Hawkins. He employed Dotson to drive him in an automobile to Rutherfordton so that he might surrender himself to the sheriff. It was between three and four o’clock, Sheriff W. C. Hardin stated, when Conner arrived. He seemed somewhat dazed on his arrival; he gave up the knife that had been used in the killing. It was a clasp knife, single blade, about five inches long and very sharp. The instrument was clean when shown by the sheriff.
County Physician Called
Some hours after Conner had been placed in a cell he began to complain of severe pain in his head and county Health Officer, Dr. John C. Twitty, was summoned by Sheriff Hardin. It was a few minutes to eight o’clock when Conner was seen and after the County Physician had made a careful and thorough examination of the prisoner he expressed the opinion that Conner’s skull was not fractured, though it was probable he had a slight concussion from the effects of the blow he had apparently received. There was an abrasion and some swelling on conner’s left temple. There did not seem to be any evidence of the prisoner having had a drink. He was lying on a cot in the cell on the third floor of the county jail. He spoke slowly and with great effort.
Conner Makes Statement
After giving his name, age, address, and occupation, Conner in reply to questions said he could not account for the killing. He had been in the cafe waiting for some friends; his knife had been in his hand, it was opened; just why he was holding the knife he did not know or could not recall. Clyde Beason, he said, came in the eating place; he greeted him, for they had always been good friends—there had never been a quarrel or words or any kind between them. For some reason, just why he did not know, Conner alleged, Beason had cursed him violently. He had told the younger man not to curse him again, but he had done it, and at the same time had either hit him or thrown a bottle at him which had struck on the side of his head, he could not recall which had happened. “After the bottle hit me,” said Conner, I knew nothing; I was in a kind of daze—my head still hurts.” After a pause the prisoner stated, “I started to him, ‘Look out, Clyde, I’ve got a knife in my hand, I might cut you!’ and Clyde said, ‘You’ve already done it.’ I can’t remember any more. My head hurts me. Clyde and me were friends, I wouldn’t have hurt him—I don’t remember—I’m still in a kind of daze.”
Has twelve children
It is said the Mrs. George conner left her husband several months ago as she wished to farm, but this was only a temporary separation. A son stated it was really due to financial reasons, he and some of his brothers being unable to get employment near Cliffside. Finally they did secure jobs at Spindale and when they had them their mother came there to live with them.
Mrs. Conner, it is said, came to the county jail as soon as she heard that her husband was incarcerated and charged with the death of Clyde B. Beason.
The Conner’s have twelve living children. They are as follows; General, Ralph, Roy, Coy, Robert, Roland, Clarence, and Fred Conner: Miss Carrie Conner, all of Spindale; Mrs. Belle Atkins, Mrs. Julia Rowey, and Lonnie Connor, all of Erwin, Tenn.