Killing of George Hewitt Leatherman in Tennessee in 1943


Case summary

George Hewitt Leatherman, age 20, a porter, was killed in 1943 by either constable John Cawthorn or Sheriff Sam Kennon in Huntingdon, Carroll County, Tennessee. Accounts differ. Under one account, Leatherman had reported for induction into the army and was sent home by train when he had an attack of epilepsy. When he got off the train, he was still in a state of confusion and was fatally shot by Kennon as he wandered around aimlessly. Under the other account, Cawthorn responded to a report that Leatherman had broken into a home. As Cawthorn tried to arrest Leatherman, Leatherman allegedly lunged at Cawthorn, threatening to kill him, and Cawthorn fatally shot him.


Alleged perpetrators/other named individuals:
Perpetrator group type: police

Date of incident: 1943-05-30
Location: Rosser, Carroll County, Tennessee
Location type: public space - urban
Allegation against victim: trespassing in a Black home; making threats of violence; resisting arrest

Coroner process
Coroner/inquest: [ ]
Finding of no legal responsibility: [ ]

Criminal process
Arrest: [ ]
Charge/indictment/information: [ ]
Grand jury: [ ]
Trial: [ ]
Conviction: [ ]
Sentence: [ ]

FBI case ID:

Bureau 44-848

Memphis 44-34

DOJ case ID:


death certificates - closed
federal agency records
news articles - closed
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