Greene County, Arkansas

 From the Soliphone

  14 Aug  1944


First Degree Murder Charge  Is Filed Against Ches Rodgers  In Slaying Of Edward Howard

Cardwell Resident Is Slain With Pistol Bullets At 8 O' clock Saturday Evening . Shooting Occurs On E. Kingshighway Chief Of Police Nath Coln says Two Men Had Trouble Earlier Over Poker Game. Deputy Prosecuting Attorney George W. Butler Today filled a charge of first degree murder against Ches Rodgers, 41, being held in the Greene county jail, in connection with the slaying of Edward Franklin Howard, aged 23, of Cardwell, at eight o'clock Saturday evening at the corner of East Kingshighway and Wall street. Mr. Howard was struck in the top of the head, in the left chest, and under the right shoulder blade, in his right side under the arm, and through the left arm under the shoulder by .32 caliber pistol bullets, and was killed instantly.

Chief of Police Nath Coln said he understood that the two men had trouble earlier at the home of Rodgers, on South Pekin near the shirt factory, over a poker game and that Mr. Howard tried to strike Mr. Rodgers with a chair and later with a stick, but others prevented it and talked him into leaving. The officer said that Mr. Howard was talking to J. C. Fartning near the highway sign on the northwest corner of the inter-section, when he saw Mr. Rodgers come around the corner of Neal Morrow's cafe on southeast corner.

Mr. Coln quoted Mr. Farthing as saying that Mr. Howard said he had taken care of one of those he had fought with and now he was going to take care of the other as he started running toward Mr. Rodgers. Mr. Rodgers is said to have opened fire with a .32 caliberSmith and Wessen pistol as the younger man neared him. He fell just south of the black line in the middle of the highway.

Chief Coln said that Robie Wilkerson received a cut over his left eye during the fight at the Rodgers home when hesought to intervene but had been unable to learn of any other persons involved in the fight with young Howard. Mr. Wilkerson expressed the belief that he was struck accindentaliy in seeking to prevent Mr. Howard from striking Mr. Rodgers with the stick, the officer said. The officer said others at the poker game were Ed Purcell and Shorty Cooper. The police chief did not learn just what the trouble was over.

  Chief Coln said he learned that Mr. Rodgers was en route to the home of Mr. Wilkerson, at the rear of Bob Isom's pool room at the northwest corner of the street intersection. Mr. Rodgers has made no statement to officers concerning the shooting.

Chief Coln said that he was told that when young Howard left Rodger's home after the fight he had threatened to get Mr. Rodgers if it took hot lead to do it.

Following the shooting, Mr. Rodgers took six empty cartridge shells from his pistol and handed the weapon to James Hyde, former constable. Mr. Rodgers surrendered to police officers when they arrived at the scene and Mr. Hyde turned the pistol over to police at local headquarters. Mr.Rodgers was later turned over to County Sheriff Fred W. Gray.

Mr. Howard was born at Beach Grove. He was employed at odd jobs. Althought his home was at Cardwell, he resided part time with his grandmother, Mrs. Wyoma Howard of Paragould, and other relatives here.

The body was carried to the Randal L. Mitchell Funeral Home following the shooting and was later removed to A. J. Emerson Funeral Home and prepared for burial.

Funeral arrangements are incomplete.

Surviving are his wife, Mrs. Rochelle Howard, a son, Paul Howard, a sister, Mrs.Theodore Thompson of Live Oak, Calf. a half sister, Miss Violet Howard of Cardwell, a brother, Charlie Howard of Paragould: two half brothers, Frank and George Randal Howard of Cardwell; his mother, Mrs. Grace Hafford of Paragould; and his father,George Howard of Cardwell. He was the grandson of Mrs. Wyoma Howard of Paragould and Mrs. Pearlie Howard of Cardwell.

Since writing the forgoing, it was learned that the preliminarmy hearing of Mr. Rodgers would be held at 2:30 Wednesday afternoon before Justice of the Peace

A. D. Jackson. Officers quoted Archie Brooks a witness, as saying that shortly before the shooting, young Howard told him that Mr. Rodgers had won $11 from him by allegedly using marked cards and that he intented to get it back some way.

                                                                                                   Transcribed by Sandy Hardin as printed by: Ronnie Moore
                                                                                                            Also this occurred on Saturday 12, Aug. 1944

Thank You
Ronnie Moore 

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