December 5, 1900
John Hollis, a negro youth, was fatally shot in Mr. M. M. Compton’s field, six miles north of Farmerville, last Thursday. He died about six hours after the shooting. Coroner Taylor held an inquest over the body, and the jury rendered a verdict that the deceased come to his death by pistol shots from a party unknown.
The negro was shot in two places and from the nature of the wounds it is evident that he was fleeing when hit by the fatal bullet, for it penetrated his back and came out about the abdomen. Hence it looks very much like this is a plain case of cold-blooded murder. Of course there may be some mitigating circumstances, but in law the plea of self-defense will not avail when a deceased is killed while fleeing.
The crime was committed in an open field about midday. Several persons nearby heard the shots, and it is to be hoped that the grand jury can get hold of sufficient evidence to at least ferret out the person who did the deed.
It is generally supposed that the killing was done by a white man, but because a negro was the victim the crime is none the less. Every good citizen should leave no stone unturned to hunt down the slayer, and if it be a case of plain murder the murderer should be made to pay the penalty for his crime. If deeds of this kind can go on in broad day light, near the public highway, then no man’s life is safe. We cannot hope for capital and immigration to come to our midst, when a man, even though he may be a negro, is wantonly shot down without any apparent cause. When the grand jury meets it must do its duty. The strong arm of the law must be upheld. Crimes of this kind must not go undetected.