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  • Description is exactly "A Series of 1874, 1875 and 1876 Florence Gazette, Florence Times-Journal and Tuscumbia North Alabamian newspaper articles chronicling the arrest, trial, conviction, appeal, escape from jail, recapture and execution of James "Jim" Boddie, alias James White, for the attempted rape of "an orphan girl" named Artelia Little in Colbert's Reserve in Lauderdale County on Friday, Sept. 4, 1874.

    Boddie allegedly dragged the young lady off of her horse but was interrupted before he could rape her by unnamed passers-by.

    Boddie's preliminary hearing was held at the fall term of the Circuit Court in Lauderdale County at which time he pled innocent to the charge of attempted rape; his trial was set for "the second Wednesday of the Second Week of this term of this Court."

    At some point before his trial Boddie was transferred to the Colbert County jail in Tuscumbia and his trial took place in Tuscumbia, Judge William B. Wood presiding.

    Boddie was represented by Col. Richard O. Pickett and and the Hon. James S. Clarke, two of the ablest attorneys of the bar. Boddie insisted that he was innocent and another African-American man, Abe Walston, was guilty; "From his own description of Wlaston, however, the evidence proved that Walston was not the man," and the jury found Boddie guilty of attempted rape and he was sentenced to be hung on Friday, August 6, 1875 at the court house in Tuscumbia.

    Boddie's attorneys appealed his case to the Alabama Supreme Court, which upheld his conviction and sentencing.

    Sunday, September 12, 1875 Boddie escaped from the county jail in Tuscumbia, which occasioned a series of editorials and letters to the editor in the North Alabamian of Tuscumbia and Florence Gazette of Florence attempting to place blame for the escape on the jailor and his assistant who allowed Boddie to escape.

    In the meantime a wanted poster was circulated by Colbert County Sheriff JG Alexander and published in the North Alabamian which offered a $500 reward from the sheriff for Boddie's capture as well as a $900 reward offered by Alabama Governor George S. Houston (1874-1878). His wanted poster described Boddie as:

    "About 5 feet 8 inches tall, fleshy--weighing about 160 pounds--full, round face, large prominent eyes, showing much white of them, is about 30 years old, brown in color, nose somewhat lighter shade, has rather small foot for his size. When he escaped . . . he wore thin beard all over his face."

    Boddie was recaptured Monday night, December 12, 1875 at the home of an alleged relative in Iuka, Mississippi and he was remanded back to the Colbert County jail, to the same cell he had earlier escaped from. The North Alabamian of Tuscumbia reported on December 23 that his "papers" had been sent to the Alabama Supreme Court and that Boddie sentence would be carried out and "he will probably be hanged next month."

    James "Jim" Boddie was hung in Tuscumbia on Friday, April 28, 1876 with the Colbert Greys militia company and several extra deputies on hand to prevent any possible violence. He died protesting his innocence."
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