Killing of Henry Bedford in Mississippi in 1934


Case summary

Henry Bedford (1849 – 1934), a tenant farmer, about 85 years old (according to his death certificate) and born into slavery, was killed by four white men, Alex Murray, John Scales, Benny Cawthorne and M. M. Dotson in Rankin County, Mississippi. Cawthorne claimed that Bedford, a tenant of his father’s, had spoken to his father “disrespectfully” in a dispute over the terms of his tenancy. The four men took Bedford to a secluded spot in the woods and beat him with a leather strap. When he was found in the woods he could not move. He was taken for treatment and died a few hours later.. The men were arrested, charged with first degree murder, and released on bail. The result of the legal proceedings is unknown.


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

Date of incident: 1934-07-25
Location: Pelahatchie, Rankin County, Mississippi
Location type: unknown - rural
Allegation against victim: talking disrespectfully; dispute over a rental agreement

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

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

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