And Now You Know: Crime in the city, November 21, 1923

Published 9:55 am Friday, November 20, 2020

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Mike Louviere
And Now You Know

Orange was not always a quiet city on the Sabine.  There were times when crime ran rampant, not major crimes like Chicago experienced, but enough to make life interesting. The edition of November 21,1923 reported some of those crimes.

D.G. McLean, a local sign painter, had been killed on November 5. The Leader reported on November 21 that the local authorities had begun questioning several men who were believed to have information about the murder.

No names had been revealed, but it was believed that the police had the names of six men who had been with McLean in a gambling “joint” on the Louisiana side of the river on the night he was killed.

The authorities had not made known the reasons they were considering as the cause of the murder. It was believed that McLean had been robbed and then murdered. Authorities were not ruling out any other theories but stated they would continue working on the case until it was solved.

One of the men questioned admitted that he had ridden across the river in a boat with McLean at about 9 p.m. on the night McLean was killed.

He said he saw McLean at the “joint” known as “Little Juarez” and though McLean had been drinking, he was not drunk. He said McLean had gambled but did not know if he had won any money.

The man said he returned to Orange alone. He had left McLean and several other men gambling at “Little Juarez.”

The authorities questioned the man in “rapid fire manner.” He answered without wavering and repeated his story several times in an identical manner.

The authorities stated that they did not believe he told all he knew, but they did not have enough evidence to hold him. He was released giving authorities an address in Houston as his residence.

In district court, Willie Perkins, 25, found he would have to spend seven years in the state prison at Huntsville. Perkins was given a two year sentence on a charge of burglary. After the sentence was given it was found he was under a five year suspended sentence for a similar charge. The suspended sentence was activated and added to the new two year sentence.

The sentence of two years was given by a jury after it was proved he had broken into a houseboat and stolen a large number of phonograph records.

He had been held in the county jail for three months after being arrested by Orange city police.

Later in the week after his trial, he was taken to Huntsville to start serving the two sentences.

Henry Nelson was fined $100 and court costs as a result of attacking a woman with a whip at a lumber camp near Texla.

Nelson was arranged before District Judge John B. Force. He entered a plea of guilty on the charge of aggravated murder. The charge had been amended from a charge of attempted murder.

Nelson was held in the county jail pending the payment of the fine.

“Norma Thompson imbibed too freely of what some call “corn” and fell into the arms of Morpheus out on Park Street this morning,” reported the Leader.

A search of his car revealed a pint of “liquid lightening” and a .40 caliber revolver. The three fines constituted three separate charges against Thompson, driving while intoxicated, transporting liquor, and carrying a pistol.

A fourth charge, “just being plain drunk” was also being considered.

An old lady, “Aunt” Vic Cormier made her income selling pies to employees at the Lutcher and Moore mill. One day while she was out selling her pies, Nick Jones broke into her home and stole a brand new revolver.

Jones was arrested several hours later in possession of the revolver.

Jones was taken into district court and tried on a burglary charge. He was given a five year sentence by the jury.

Jones promised to walk the straight and narrow path from thereon, but the jury made no recommendation for clemency.

About a week after the trial, Jones along with several others from the Orange city jail was taken to the state penitentiary at Huntsville.

“And now you know.”