Killing of George McLain in Alabama in 1931


Case summary

George McLain (1872 - 1931), a farmer, was killed by a group of white people in Pickens County, Alabama. The group accused McLain of setting a barn on fire and they beat him to death. An investigation later revealed McLain was innocent of the charge. Sidney Harrell, Lacey Harrell, Donahoo Harrell, Lewis Kemp, Jim Wright Jr., and Edward Burgess pled guilty in state court to manslaughter and were sentenced to a year and a day in prison. Toy Duncan, indicted on the same charge, testified for the state and his sentence was suspended. An essay on this case, researched and authored by a CRRJ student, is available on request.


Alleged perpetrators/other named individuals:
Perpetrator group type: [ ]

Date of incident: 1931-05-30
Location: Ethelsville, Pickens County, Alabama
Location type: public space - rural
Allegation against victim: committing arson

Coroner process
Coroner/inquest: yes
Finding of no legal responsibility: no

Criminal process
Arrest: yes
Charge/indictment/information: yes
Grand jury: yes
Trial: yes
Conviction: yes
Sentence: a year and day (Duncan's sentence was suspended)

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state agency records
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