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Get ready. For those who enjoyed Guns of Meeting Street by Felder Dorn, there is another book that he has written, to be published this next month. It has to do with a woman who was up for execution, like Sue Logue, but the sentence was commuted because she was pregnant. An unusual story told by a fine writer.
There is a local connection to this story. Mrs. Snipes, the murderer in this new book, was one of three women in prison in Columbia, in adjacent cells, charged with murder or conspiracy to commit murder. The other two women were May Walker Burleson, who shot her husband’s second wife at lunch hour in a Columbia hotel and Sue Logue, about whom Felder wrote in Guns of Meeting Street.
As told in a recent book overview, on July 17, 1932, on a highway near Fort Mill in the state of South Carolina, rural policeman Elliott Harris was attempting to arrest Beatrice Snipes’s husband Clyde for reckless driving. Mrs. Snipes intervened, snatching Harris’s pistol from its holster and fatally shooting him. After her trial she became the first woman in S.C. sentenced to die by electrocution. However, she was pregnant at the time, in her 8th month, and she was sentenced to be executed three months after she had given birth.
There was a “firestorm” of negative reaction, and her sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. Her daughter Jean was born after her sentencing and while her mother was in prison. Jean spent the first seven months of her life in the prison.
Felder researched the matter and found the daughter, and now this book tells the story of Beatrice’s Crime and its aftermath, including the impact on Jean’s life.
Felder Dorn, the author, will be in Edgefield on October 1 for a booksigning at a meeting of the OEDGS. This will be a second presentation of the book; the first will be a few days earlier in Fort Mill, the scene of the crime.