Bunnell, Florida
Thursday, September 15, 1927


Justice overtakes the guilty sooner or later was again demonstrated Sunday afternoon when a posse attempted to arrest Jim Smith, alias Geo. Jones, slayer of the late Sheriff Perry Hall, shot the Negro to death in Brookfield, Georgia, according to O. O. Thomas, special deputy sheriff, who was in the posse.

The Negro was known here as Jim Smith and was known at Brookfield as George Jones. He killed Sheriff Hall while the sheriff was making a raid on a Negro joint at Roy in the northwestern part of this county on the night of August 20.

The Negro had told here before the murder that he once resided in Tifton, Georgia and officers there were notified at the time the crime was committed. It was also known that either relatives of himself or wife lived at Brooksfield. According to Mr. Thomas, the Negro went to Brookfield on Sunday, September 4, and sent word to his wife here to join him at Brookfield. Deputy Thomas followed the woman to Tifton. In the meantime the Georgia officers had learned that Smith was in Brooksfield and made a search for him Saturday night but failed to locate him. Smith, it is said, had a double-barreled shot gun, which he kept with him at all times ready for use.

Sunday afternoon the officers learned that Smith was in the house off John Chatman, Negro, in the turpentine still quarters of Bowen & Harrell, at Brookfield, and the house was surrounded by a posse composed of Deputy Sheriff O. O. Thomas from this county, Sheriff J. O. Thrasher, Deputy Sheriff Chesley Thompson, Chief of Police E. F. Preston, Warden J. G. Nelson, Commissioner N. L. Coarsey all of Tift County, Georgia. When two of the officers went in the front of the house, Smith ran out the back and he was shot down when he refused to halt. Deputy Thomas stated that the Negro ran about 100 yards from the house and fell dead.

After death of the Negro the body was identified by Smith's wife and others there who knew him at Brookfield. Deputy Thomas carried the body to Tifton and had it embalmed and brought it back here, arriving Monday afternoon where it was further identified by a number of Flagler county white men and several negroes who knew him here. The body was buried Tuesday morning by the county convicts.

No doubts are entertained here about the Negro being the one who committed the murder. It was reported by Mr. Thomas that the murderer, after arriving at Brookfield, carried the shotgun all the time and boasted to Negroes at Brookfield about what he had done in Florida and what he would do if officers tried to catch him. Having heard these reports, naturally the officers were prepared to shoot to kill when they went after Smith and did not give him a chance to use his gun and make good his boasts.

Deputy Thomas stated to The Tribune that the Georgia officers are to be thanked by people of this county for their work; that they acted with promptness when called upon and gave perfect cooperation in the raid and capture of the Negro.

After the killing of Sheriff Hall, Son Durrance, deputy sheriff of this county, was killed by another Negro while searching for Jones or Smith. The deputy also shot his slayer, but the Negro is recovering and is being held in jail for trial. Jones, or Smith, it is said, also gave another Negro a pistol with which to kill a Negro woman. The deputy was shot at a water tank while he was looking for Smith or Jones.