Executions · Kentucky · Newspaper clippings

Man executed for killing lover’s husband and child

November 16, 1922
Eddyville, Kentucky
Dave Brown is executed for the murder of his lover’s husband and his daughter

Brown had boarded with James Brumfield and his family in West Virginia. Eventually, Brown and Mrs. Brumfield ran away together to Kentucky. Mrs. Brumfield took her two children with her, and the couple presented themselves as husband and wife.

On May 30, 1921, Brumfield tracked the couple down. He first visited the local sheriff and explained the two were guilty of adultery and a warrant was issued. He also requested to be checked for weapons and it was confirmed he had none. The sheriff talked to Mrs. Brumfield and she agreed to go back to her husband after he confirmed he would receive her under the condition she “desist from her improper conduct.” The sheriff then took his leave.

Brumfield carried the younger child, his 4-year-old daughter, as well as a suitcase. Together, the Brumfield family began to walk to the magistrate where the warrant was issued. As the group progressed, Brown fired a total of six shots at Brumfield; one of the shots struck the child in the head. Both father and daughter were killed.

Brown fled into the mountains but was arrested a few hours later. He claimed self-defense, stating Brumfield had drawn a pistol and shot one of Brown’s fingers. He also said he had not intended to injure or kill the child. Witnesses disputed the claim of self-defense, and it was noted Brumfield’s hands were full at the time of the shooting.

After an hour’s deliberation, Brumfield was found guilty and sentenced to death. His original execution date was set for November 25, 1921 but he was granted a reprieve for 30 days. Further reprieves postponed his execution for nearly a year until he finally was electrocuted on November 16, 1922. He reportedly “went to his doom with a prayer on his lips.”


The Courier-Journal. November 27, 1921

Sources:

  • The Southwestern Reporter, volume 241. St. Paul: West Publishing Co., 1922
  • “Slayer of Two Goes To Chair At Eddyville.” The Owensboro Messenger [Owensboro, Kentucky]. November 17, 1922
  • “Much Reprieved Murderer to Die.” Messenger-Inquirer [Owensboro, Kentucky]. November 15, 1922
  • “Pike County Man To Die Christmas Day.” The Owensboro Messenger [Owensboro, Kentucky]. December 3, 1921
  • “Condemned to Die in Chair Christmas.” The Courier-Journal [Louisville, Kentucky]. November 27, 1921
  • “Dave Brown Given Death Penalty at Pikeville.” The Owensboro Messenger [Owensboro, Kentucky]. September 29, 1921
  • “Gets ‘Chair’ for Triangle Killing.” The Courier-Journal [Louisville, Kentucky]. September 29, 1921

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