Was Charged With Killing John Stinson on Laurel Creek Sunday, June 30th
November 22, 1935 –
The jury returned a verdict of guilty late Wednesday afternoon and fixed Ed Nelson’s punishment at twenty years in the Virginia penitentiary. Two full days were consumed in Judge Buchanan’s Circuit Court this week in the trial of Ed Nelson for the murder of John Stinson, on Laurel Creek on June 30th. A large array of witnesses were present, many of whom were present at the killing.
Character witnesses to support the testimony of the witnesses for the Commonwealth were also introduced. According to H. H. Johnson, of Richlands, two car loads and one truck load of people left Richlands on the Sunday of the murder, to spend the day with relatives of Johnson and the Stinsons. Johnson was leading the procession and when he reached a point near the residence of Wm. Vandyke, just over the brow of a hill, he discovered that the road was blocked by a Ford car.
He requested that the road be cleared, and violent objection to moving the car was raised by Ed Nelson, according to Mr. Johnson, who stated that Nelson threatened to shoot any who tried to move the car. Johnson’s statement was emphatically denied by other witnesses. Johnson also stated that Ed Nelson came down the road from the Vandyke yard, pushing a pistol in the stomach of Doc Stinson, father of the man who was killed, and turned loose a volume of profanity.
At this point in the proceedings, according to Johnson, Doc Stinson’s son, John Stinson, came up behind Nelson and struck him on the side of the head, whereupon Nelson is said to have turned and shot John Stinson, both he and Stinson falling into a creek, on the edge of which the difficulty having occurred. Other witnesses stated that both Stinsons seized Nelson, that the shooting didn’t occur until they had reached the creek bed in the shuffle, and that Nelson shot in self defense.
There was evidence introduced to show that Nelson and other associates were drunk. Nelson is alleged to have run, according to Mr. Johnson, from the scene of the crime. Commonwealth’s Attorney Jos. S. Gillespie was assisted in the prosecution by Commonwealth’s Attorney Fuller, of Russell, Bruce Johnson, and son H. H. Johnson, of Richlands. R.O. Crockett represented Nelson.
Clinch Valley News Folder
Tazewell County, Virginia
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