Griffith to be Tried for Third Murder in 1921


Transcribed by Norma Knotts Shaffer from microfilm of the Calhoun Chronicle dated 6/2/1921.

Griffith to be Tried on 9th

W. "Holly" Griffith, desperate criminal already serving two life sentences in the state prison for murder, will go on trial once again for murder in Mason county Thursday, June 9th.

Word was received at Moundsville through an official source that the tentative date for the trial has been named, and the Mason county prosecutor is preparing for the trial of the important case.

Griffith is charged with the murder of Ira Roush a young man of Antiquity, Ohio.  The criminal steadfastly maintains that he is innocent and that the Mason county authorities have nothing on him.

The father and uncle of the murdered boy were at the prison in Moundsville when Griffith was returned after his spectacular escape and a lone-handed capture in South Carolina.  As Griffith stepped into the prison the father of Roush openly accused him of murdering his son.  Griffith denied the charge and the father and uncle grew almost uncontrollable when they recognized the coat worn by Griffith as the one last seen on the murdered boy.

A fight was made by J. Howard Holt, Moundsville attorney retained as counsel for Griffith, to prevent the trial of Griffith in Mason county, contending that Mason county was without jurisdiction to take the prisoner to that county for trial.  The state supreme court ruled that Mason county was empowered to cause the removal of the prisoner to that county and preparations for the trial went forward.

Griffith is still in solitary confinement in the state prison.  He is apparently worrying very little over future events, and taking life easy.  He chats with anyone who will stop at his cell, and always seems in a fairly good humor.

Griffith was convicted about two months ago in the Marshall county circuit court of the murder of Henry Lewis, a fellow convict whom he cut down while breaking away at the prison last January after having fired the institution.  He was given a life sentence, which was really no hardship as the murderer was already under one life sentence.

The crime for which Griffith originally started spending the remainder of his days in the state prison was committed in Braxton county on April 30, 1915, when he shot down C. Ord Thompson, a policeman.  He was indicted May 31, 1915, and was convicted on July 16, 1915.  He started sentence July 23, 1915.  Griffith at that time had several aliases.

His education is very meager.