Alford A Pearson


A widespread search for a gunman who Wednesday afternoon killed Deputy Sheriff Lon Pearson and wounded Bill Paul, another deputy, and Clarence Mays, Maysville man, was continued with renewed vigor today as daylight returned and lifted the cloud of darkness which had covered the desperado’s trail for more than 12 hours. J. W. Beasley, 23, whose home is west of Beaty school, identified by Paul as the gunman, was the object of the search. Despite the fact that many officers and civilians who formed a posse to comb the countryside of western Garvin county remained on the search throughout the night, no positive clues as to the whereabouts of the killer had been uncovered. A blockade was thrown up by peace officers throughout the southwest, extending to states south and west of here. A fog and low ceiling prevented airplanes flown by local and other fliers from resuming the aerial search for the slayer for several hours today. Half a dozen fliers here participated in the air hunt until darkness Wednesday night. Many persons either related to or acquainted with the suspect were questioned in various sections of western Garvin county throughout the night, but the definite clue authorities had was when he forced J. B. Carpenter, a 21 year-old neighbor, to give up his car at gunpoint.

Seen Near Antioch

He was last seen driving toward Antioch in Carpenter’s car, a 1932 Model A Ford sedan bearing a 1946 Oklahoma license, No. 22-4188. In the car with him were his wife, Velma, and their two and one-half year old son, Buddy. Officers spent hours piercing together circumstances surrounding the shooting, and still had not cleared up all the pieces to the puzzle. Federal, state, county and local authorities from many sections of Oklahoma joined the hunt as it proceeded. When seen last, Beasley was reported to be wearing service fatigue coveralls over a leather jacket, GI shoes and a red corduroy cap. Officers throughout Oklahoma and surrounding states were requested to be on the lookout for Beasley, who they said, had a number of tattoo marks on him, including the letters V-E-L-M-A on the knuckles of his left hand, and his wife, said to be an expectant mother. A blockade was thrown up on southwestern Oklahoma roads soon after the shooting, but officers had been unable to obtain any authoritative information that would indicate whether the suspect the suspect was hiding not far from the scene of the shooting on highway No. 19 west of Pauls Valley, or had succeeded in eluding his pursuers before the search could be organized.

Sheriff Says Loot Is Found

Officers said Beasley had been living on the Chester Harrell farm west of Beaty. At the farm home they found what the said apparently was loot resulting from recent burglaries in the county. Pearson, veteran peace officer, died en route to the Lindsey-Johnson hospital here only a few minutes following the shooting. The other two victims were reported by hospital attaches to have rested during the night. Their condition was still serious, however, Paul was shot once, through the mouth, and Mays was reported to have been shot three times, once through the face, once in the hand and once in the arm. At first officers were at a loss to explain why Mays, about 65 years old, was in the car with officers at the time of the shooting , at 2:30 p. m. Later, however, they said, it appeared the two deputies had taken Mays with them to the Beasley home in an attempt to identify him as the man Mays saw in Maysville shortly before Mays car was stolen there last October 26. The car had not been recovered. At the Beasley home, said Sheriff Claud B. Swinney, was the body of a Mercury automobile, identified as that taken from Mays.

Stephens County Asked Check

Under sheriff Fred Cregger said that shortly before noon Wednesday he received a call from the sheriff’s office at Duncan requesting that a check be made to determine if a man who had given the name of E. M. Riddle when he had sold a stolen car and purchased a motorcycle in Stephens county could be apprehended for investigation. He said that immediately following the lunch hour the two deputy sheriffs left the office to make the check. That was the last their office heard of them until a telephone call came to the office shortly after 2:30 p. m. informing them the two officers had been shot and were at the hospital. Two motorists who drove by the shooting scene just after the gunplay brought the wounded men to Pauls Valley. C. L. Amos, Maysville, said Paul stepped onto the highway and flagged him to a stop. Ernest Morris, Pauls Valley, driving behind Amos car, also stopped. Together they lifted Pearson, shot in the chest, back into Paul’s car. Mays was in the back seat of the car. Morris said he drove Paul’s car and Amos drove Paul to the hospital in his (Amos’) car. A friend riding with Morris drove Morris’ car.

Death Occurs At Church

Morris said three or four occasions as they drove into town Pearson attempted to say something, but each time all he was able to say was, “Tell….” The officer died, Morris said, as he drove alongside the First Baptist church at the intersections of U. S. highway 77 and state highway 19. As Paul entered the hospital, still conscious but unable to talk because of the bullet wound through his mouth, he scribbled on the back of an envelope “G. W. Beasley shot us.” Authorities said that mail found in Beasley’s home was addressed to “J. W. Beasley” and not “G. W. Beasley.” Apparently the officers found Beasley at or near his home and were en route to the courthouse with him when shooting, witnessed by Beasley’s wife, took place. Details of the shooting were lacking because the victims were not in condition to talk. Neither of the officer’s guns had been fired.

Service Pistol Used

Sheriff Swinney said the men were shot with a .45 caliber service automatic which they learned Beasley had in his possession and had fired on numerous occasions in the past. In a statement he wrote for Swinney after the sheriff’s arrival at the hospital, Paul said they were bringing Beasley in, That Beasley, riding on the motorcycle, had stopped the machine and had come to the officer’s car and asked for pliers to work on the motorcycle. “While I was getting them he shot us.” Paul’s statement said. Paul’s statement also stated that Beasley “works for Crook Livingston” at Livingston’s beer tavern, but L. T. Livingston, whose nickname is “Crook,” said the officer was mistaken. “He never has worked for me,” Livingston told officers early this morning.

Sale of Motorcycle Explained

Fred B. T. Hargraves, rural circulation manager for Duncan Dall Banner, owner of the motorcycle which had been sold to Beasley, was in Davis attempting to locate the motorcycle when he learned of the shooting. He continued to Pauls Valley and identified the machine. Officers said they were informed that a man who said he was E. M. Riddle had sold a car, reported stolen earlier at Davis, to J. B. Shadden at Marlow for $400, taking a check in payment for the car. Then, they said they had been informed by Stephens county authorities, the same man went to the Young Motorcycle shop in Duncan Tuesday and purchased the motorcycle, which Hargraves said he had left at the shop to be sold for him. He offered the $400 check in payment for the motorcycle, for which he agreed to pay $175. The shop could not make change for the difference, Hargraves said, and attempts to get the check cashed elsewhere were fruitless. Hargraves said he drove the man to Marlow in an attempt to cash the check but had no luck. When it became apparent the check could not be cashed, Hargraves said, the man purchasing the motorcycle said he would take the machine and leave the check with them to be cashed Wednesday, asking them to forward the difference to him in care of V. D. Price, Pauls Valley route 4. They understood him to say V. D. Price was his mother or his mother-in-law. Acquaintances told officers V. D. Price was the name by which Beasley’s wife was also known. The owner of the motorcycle said that Wednesday morning it was learned the car sold in Marlow was a stolen car, and he started out in search of the motorcycle. Information from that point until the shooting was supplied to officers by Carpenter.

Carpenter Tells Story Of Drive

Carpenter said that Wednesday morning he met Beasley on the read near their home and Beasley asked him to drive him to Davis , saying he had left his motorcycle there after having trouble with it. Carpenter said he had started to Wynnewood to take his aunt, Mrs. Emily Spivey there, to visit her husband, ill in the Wynnewood hospital and also had with him in his car his father-in-law, Josh Ward. Carpenter said he agreed to drive Beasley to Davis, and they went by Beasley’s home and picked up Mrs. Beasley and the child. At Davis, he said, they attached wires to the battery of Carpenter’s car and the motorcycle to get the motorcycle started. Then, he said, Beasley started toward Pauls Valley, the others remaining for a while in Wynnewood and then coming to Pauls Valley, where they stopped to do some shopping. He told the Daily Democrat Beasley probably was about two hours ahead of them. As they drove west on highway 19 from Pauls Valley, Carpenter continued, he saw the motorcycle stopped on the south side of the highway, and thinking Beasley was having more trouble with it, he pulled off the pavement in the direction of the motorcycle, intending to stop.

Attempted To Speed Away

As his car approached the machine Carpenter said, Mrs. Beasley, riding in the back seat, cried out “he’s shooting.” At about the same time, Carpenter said, he saw Beasley was holding a gun in his hand. “I decided the best thing to do was to get away from there,” he said, adding that “I stepped on the gas.” He said the car did not pick up speed immediately, and as they came even with the car of the officers Beasley jumped onto the running board of his car and ordered him to keep driving.” They drove off the highway onto a rural road and continued on past Beasley’s home west to a point nearer the Carpenter home, and Beasley ordered Mrs. Spivey and Ward from the car, telling Mrs. Beasley to stay in the machine. He said Beasley took about $3 from the others in the car before putting them out and driving on west. Carpenter related that he then walked about half a mile to the home of a neighbor, only to find the neighbor working in a field about a half a mile from the house. He walked to where he was, Carpenter said, and they walked back to the house and came in to tell what had happened.

Story Is Corroborated

Mrs. Spivey, questioned during the night, told virtually the same story officers said. They also said Ward’s story followed closely that told by the other two. Meantime, While Carpenter was getting transportation into town, officers believed the killer had fled on foot and began combing the territory immediately surrounding the scene of the shooting, with the aid of airplanes. Several minutes, or possibly an hour or more, elapsed between the time of the shooting and the time that it was learned the slayer was making a getaway in a car instead of on foot.

Told To Remain Quiet

Carpenter said that when Beasley took possession of his car, he handed Carpenter the title to the motorcycle. Telling him he was giving it to him. He also said Beasley admonished him to keep quiet. Carpenter said he had known Beasley for about three months. Morris, the man who assisted in bringing he wounded men to the hospital, said that as he approached the scene of the shooting he saw a car driving away with a man riding on the running board, but not knowing at the time what had happened he thought nothing of it. Highway patrolmen said their investigation showed that Beasley came here in 1946 from Cheyenne, Wyo. following his discharge from the navy. Some said they were informed he came here in July of last year, and others stated he supposedly arrived here about September 1 of last year. A number of persons said he was a wrestler with the carnival which showed here darning last fall’s annual county free fair. In the Beasley home officers found a 1946 Wyoming automobile tag and a tag from Nevada, and asked a check to determine if they were stolen tags.

Carpenter’s Tools Are Found

Also in the home officers found a large quantity of carpenter’s tools. Sheriff Swinney said they were believed to be tools which were in a truck stolen from Willie Fox less than two weeks ago and which were not recovered, and that some side boards fitting the description were found at the Beasley home, over which officers kept a watch throughout the night. In the home where Beasley was living, officers found a mail order house credit application blank, filled out in the name of J. W. Beasley which apparently had not been used. In the application he gave his age as 23, said he had payments of $125 monthly from the government, and had served more than five years in the navy. He said he had lived at the present address about six months. There was some other mail, including a letter from an arms manufacturing company in Rochester, N.Y., addressed to V. D. Price, found at the house by officers. Paul disclosed in a statement Thursday morning that he was shot first by the gunman, who stood beside the officer’s automobile on the left side, near the steering wheel where Paul was seated. “The boy shot me first, I think,” the wounded deputy wrote. “It felt like the roof fell on me. I heard two more shots then passed out. I came to, Clarence (Mays) was in back seat, Lon (Pearson) on the ground. “I tried to flag some one. Finally got some one and helped lift Lon in car. But it looked like Lon was already dead.” Pearson was struck by five bullets, one in the chest, one in the neck, two in the left shoulder and one in the cheek. In a note he wrote Wednesday night Paul said he believed the bullet which wounded him also struck Pearson.

Excerpt from Pauls Valley Daily Democrat, Thursday, February 13, 1947