CAPE NOT GUILTY
Miss Martin Tells of Tragedy – large number of witnesses sworn in – Defendant’s Statement – Incidents of the Trial
From THE GEORGIA CRACKER, Saturday, January 29, 1898:
The trial of W. P. Cape for the murder of J. J. Pool at Bethlehem church near Bellton last August, was begun in the Superior court Wednesday morning. Owing to the prominence of both parties the trial attracted much attention and the court room was filled with interested spectators throughout the hearing of the case. The defendant was represented by Dean and Hobbs. Col. Howard Thompson was assisted in the prosecution by Col. C. R. Faulkner of Belton.
A large array of witnesses, both for the state and the defense were sworn. Out of a panel of forty eight, a jury was selected, and the trial of the case commenced. A number of witnesses were examined, the testimony of whom differed materially to some points, but as to the main facts all were about the same. Miss Martin, the young lady about whom Cape killed Pool, was put on the stand but no important or startling testimony was given out by her.
Powell Cape, the defendant, was put on the stand late Wednesday afternoon and made his statement. It was about in accordance with the testimony already brought out. He said he was in the act of taking Miss Martin to ride when Pool came up and said he wanted to see him. “Pool walked on ahead of me,” said Cape “and I followed. When a short distance from the buggy and near the road he grabbed me and commenced striking me over the head and body. While bent down and in this position I took out my knife from my pocket and opened it, and with one strong pull jerked away from him. As I raised up I struck him here,” (pointing to his breast). He then told some incidents that happened after he cut Pool and closed his statement by saying he didn’t want to kill him and no one regretted more than did he that he was forced to do so.
The defense here rested its case but re-opened later, and the state In-
testimony being concluded Thursday morning at 10:30 o’clock. Col. Dean made the opening argument for the defense speaking for two hours and a half. He reviewed the case thoroughly and made a strong plea for his client. He was followed by Solicitor-General Howard Thompson who made a strong speech for the state and closed by saying that he thought the jury should bring in a verdict of guilty for, to his mind, it was clearly a case of murder. Judge Kimsey then delivered his charge to the jury which was full and clear.
After remaining out about four hours the jury brought in a verdict of not guilty.