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February 4, 1926

The Trial of Robert O. Haviland
February 4, 1926





Yesterday morning about nine o’clock “Black Joe” Arnold, tobacco buyer, was shot by Robt. O. Haviland, agent for the Burley Tobacco Growers’ Association, on the floor of Clarence LeBus & Sons’ loose leaf warehouse at Church and Bridge street.  The bullet from a .32 calibre revolver entered the right side, penetrated the intestines and kidneys and emerged from the back.  Mr. Arnold was rushed to the Harrison Memorial Hospital where he was attended by Dr. C.L. Swinford.  Dr. Paul, Cincinnati specialist, was summoned, and arrived in the afternoon.  An operation was performed.  Mr. Arnold died at about 3:30 o’clock.

“Damned Liar” Passed

            According to witnesses examined under oath by attorneys shortly after the shooting Mr. Haviland and Mr. Arnold had some words about dumping tobacco and Arnold called Haviland a “damned liar.”  The shooting followed.  Mr. Haviland claims, The Democrat is informed, that he acted purely in self-defense and was justified in the shooting.  No formal statement up to the time of going to press had been made by Mr. Haviland or his attorneys, Messrs. Daniel Durbin and Hanson Peterson.

Haviland Surrenders

            Immediately after the shooting Mr. Haviland went to the court house and surrendered to Sheriff McKee, turning over his pistol.  He made no statement other than that he had shot Joe Arnold.  He was taken at once before Judge W.R. Curle and his bond was fixed at $10,000 for appearance for examining trial next Monday.  He went from there to the Burley warehouse and later to his home.

Haviland Re-Arrested

            After the death of Mr. Arnold yesterday afternoon Mr. Haviland was rearrested on a charge of wil[l]ful murder and he was turned over to the Sheriff.  The charge is not bailable.  The examining trial is set for tomorrow morning at 10 o’clock.

Arnold Tobacco Buyer

            Joe Arnold was about sixty years old and for many years had been engaged in tobacco growing and selling, buying from farmers and selling over the loose leaf floors.  He was well known over the entire county.  He is survived by his wife and a daughter, Ruth Bramble Arnold, 15 years old, and a son, Hall Arnold, manager of the Kentucky Utilities Co., at Madisonville, Ky.  He is survived also by four brothers and two sisters, Robert, John, Smith and Sam Arnold, all of the Sunrise neighborhood[,] this county, Mrs. George Jolley, of Robinson, and Mrs. Neppie Price, of Sunrise.  No arrangements for the funeral had been made when this report closed last night.

Haviland Young Farmer

            Robert O. Haviland is a young man in his thirties, a son of Mr. and Mrs. Chas. B. Haviland, of Detroit, Mich., formerly of this county.  He is a grandson of the late Squire W. S. Haviland and lives with his wife and children at the Haviland homestead on the Falmouth pike a few miles north of Cynthiana.  He is a farmer, fruit grower, tobacco grower and has lately been engaged by the Burley Association to “watch its interested on the loose leaf market against “dumpers” among the Association members.  He has always borne the best of reputations, a young man of excellent standing, industry and enterprise.

Witness Under Oath

            Shortly after the shooting several witnesses of the affair were examined under oath in Mr. Lebus’ private office at the warehouse by Attorney Wade H. Lail and County Attorney M.G. Land.  Mr. land went to the warehouse immediately after the shooting to secure the names of witnesses, and joined in the examination which was being conducted.  Mrs. Jas. Dills took stenographic report.

            From this The Democrat makes the following condensed report:

Rev. R.H. Jones

            Rev. R.H. Jones testified that he was about ten feet from Haviland and Arnold, on the southeast side of the warehonse [sic; read warehouse].  He said he heard Haviland remark that Arnold had gone to more than one man’s tobacco warehouse or barn and advised or suggested that he dump his tobacco.  Arnold called him a “damned liar.”  Haviland said nothing, drew his pistol from a holster on his left side and fired before anyone could think or catch his hand.  Arnold in an excited way advanced towards him but made no demonstration.  Haviland still held the gun but did not attempt to fire again.  Arnold turned and walked away. Haviland walked by the witness, put his gun into the holster or pocket and walked out of the warehouse.

            When the firing occurred the men in that part of the house, six or eight, were standing in a circle.  Arnold was standing by a basket of tobacco, Haviland directly in front of him.  Arnold was not reclining on a basket of tobacco, perfectly still when shot.  The men were five or six feet apart.

Uriah Price

            Urias Price testified he was near the men but paid no attention to their talk.  Saw no demonstration before the shot was fired.  After the shot he took hold of Arnold, seeing he was wounded, and helped him down on a pile of tobacco.

            Clarence Tolle was about 15 feet behind Arnold, who had his hands in his coats pockets, leaning against a basket of tobacco.  Saw Haviland draw the pistol and fire.  Looked like [.]32 caliber gun.  Haviland turned and walked away without a word.

            Addison Thompson heard the shot and saw Haviland walk away.  Knew nothing else.  Estill Traylor heard Arnold say, “You’re a damned liar,” and the shot, immediately after.  Just after the shot Arnold reached after Haviland.

J.S. Jones

            J.S. Jones testified substantially as the others but said Arnold was sitting on the tobacco.  After the shot Arnold grabbed at Haviland.  The gun was an automatic [.]32.

            Herbert Langford and others testified to practically the same as above.

A.L. Jennings

            A.L. Jennings said he was sitting on a basket of tobacco next to Arnold when Haviland came up.  Several in the crowd, all talking, and something was said about how much tobacco would be sold over the loose leaf floor this season.  Haviland said it looked like there would be quite a bit of it, as “the women were growing more tobacco than anybody else.”  Some one remarked “Well, they are growing good tobacco, anyway.”  Then Haviland said something to Arnold which witness could not hear.  Arnold then said, “If you say I said that you are a damned liar.’[‘]  Arnold made no demonstration at all and just about the time he finished the sentence, Haviland shot him.

SOURCE: The Cynthiana (Ky.) Democrat, Thursday, Feb. 4, 1926, Page 1, Cols. 4-6:

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