Pearl’s cousin, Will Wood, was arrested not long after the apprehension of Jackson and Walling. He proved to be a wealth of information for the police, providing more incriminating evidence against Scott Jackson and his activities that led to her death.
Wood was a medical student in South Bend, Indiana where he met Jackson prior to his transfer to Cincinnati. Wood’s parents lived in Greencastle as did Jackson’s mother.
After interrogating Jackson, Walling and Wood, the investigative team had a good idea of what happened but still needed to gather evidence for the prosecution.
Jackson wrote incriminating letters to Wood and later asked that he burn them when he considerede they could be evidence against him. Wood told Police Chief Phillip Deitsch about the letters and he apprised the Cincinnati mayor of their content. Mayor Caldwell, who took an integral part in the case, wrote the postmaster at South Bend requesting that he forward any mail to him that was addressed to Will Wood. Almost immediately a letter from Jackson arrived. It demonstrated the ilk of Scott Jackson as he instructed Wood to “write a letter to Pearl’s mother as though it was from Pearl, saying she is tired of living at home and has found a job in another town.” Scott was still doing what he could to orchestrate how he wanted the case to just go away.
Residents in the Cincinnati area were talking about the murder, considered by many to be the murder of the century in the area. A saloon owner at the corner of Ninth Street and Central Avenue in the city recalled an odd event that happened near the time of Pearl’s murder. Someone with a physical description similar to Scott Jackson’s came in and left a valise. He said he would come back for it but never did. Mr. Kugel, the bar-owner, went into his office and retrieved the bag and turned it over to a detective at City Hall.
Jackson stuck to his claim of innocence while being interrogated but when the detective entered with the valise, Jackson’s eyes opened wide.
“Mr. Jackson, is this the piece of luggage that held the young lady’s head,” he was asked.
“It probably is but I wasn’t the one carrying it,” Scott answered.
Cincinnati Police Chief Deitsch stepped out of the room momentarily and soon returned with Mr. Kugel. It was like Scott Jackson had seen a ghost.
“Is this the man who brought the valise into your tavern and asked that you hold it for him,” the chief asked Kugel. “Yes sir, it is,” he answered assuredly.
An inquest was held in Newport, Kentucky, since Pearl Bryan’s body was found in Kentucky. Sheriff Plummer and detectives Crim and McDermott first explained how they determined the identity of the victim. They determined the place of death as being in Kentucky by the large amount of blood loss. She was alive when she arrived at the orchard where she was killed and decapitated. Blood droplets were found clinging to the bottom of leaves near the crime scene and a puddle just below the body was saturated by blood to a depth of eight inches
The likely cause of death was having her throat cut although her head was also severed. The head was not found in the area. It was likely discarded elsewhere in order to prevent the identification of the victim.
The likely culprits were Scott Jackson and Alonzo Walling who were locked in the Hamilton County Jail in Cincinnati. Jackson was said to be five feet six inches tall, with blonde hair and gray eyes. Alonzo Walling was said to be five feet nine inches tall, with dark hair and hazel eyes.
Sheriff Plummer completed extradition papers to have the prisoners moved to Kentucky. Word was rampant that a large faction of citizens planned to hang the prisoners once they were transported into Kentucky. Jackson and Walling felt more secure in Cincinnati so they hired a legal firm and had them fight against their extradition. The papers were delivered to Ohio Governor Asa Bushnell but the legal battle continued for three weeks before the papers were approved and signed.
Ohio and Kentucky officials were concerned about moving the prisoners because of threats that were made. Sheriff Plummer felt it best to move them immediately and not give any hostile individuals an opportunity to formulate a plan. He had the prisoners taken out the back entrance of the Hamilton County Jail and into a waiting, enclosed wagon while another vehicle waited in the front.
They were transported across the Ohio River into Kentucky at a near gallop before local residents hardly knew they were coming. Sheriff Plummer assigned extra officers for protection as the excitement of the murder case was descending on Newport. Copyright 2018 Jadon Gibson
Editor’s note: Scott Jackson goes on trial for the murder of Pearl Bryan in the next segment of Jadon Gibson’s story. His writings are both historical and nostalgic in nature and can be read regularly at bereaonline.com. Don’t miss a single posting!
A Voice for God – a voice for good
Our family attended the Nazarene Church at the bottom of Sanctified Hill in Cumberland, Kentucky when I was young. We visited Cumberland three weeks ago and turned left from the main road and saw the church was still there and in pristine condition.
Mom taught us the Lord’s Prayer early in life and I recall my brother Larry and I on our knees praying before going to bed.
After moving to Floyd County, Kentucky, we attended church regularly, Wheelwright Methodist Church initially and later First Baptist Church.
Larry accepted Jesus Christ as his savior in 1953 or 1954 and became more active in the church. I still recall one night in 1954, as I was getting ready for bed and wanting to say the Lord’s prayer, I couldn’t remember all the words and it bothered me. I recall asking my brother to help me with the words and there, on our knees, he got me back on track.
Our minds absorb a lot of information as we go through life. We get so much it seems that some of it gets replaced. I want to close this Voice from God with the Lord’s prayer. Some have forgotten it and others will in the future. It can be found in Luke chapter 11.
The Lord’s Prayer.
Our Father which art in Heaven. Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: for thine is the kingdom, and the power and the glory, forever. Amen.
My good Lord in Heaven has been so good to me. Every day I recognize his presence I n my life. My life isn’t a rose garden. I don’t think anyone’s is but if you keep Jesus in your heart and on your mind you’ll have a good bearing through life.
Get those youngsters off to a good start in life by telling them about Jesus, get them in Sunday School and help them in learning the Lord’s prayer. It may help them avoid pitfalls that await them in life. May God be with you and yours.