January 15, 1943
Columbia, South Carolina
Sue Logue becomes the first woman to be legally executed in the state of South Carolina; she is followed in death by her co-conspirators
The deaths of Sue Logue and her co-conspirators — her brother-in-law George Logue and Clarence Bagwell — were the last of 8 to occur indirectly by the death of a calf. In September 1940, a mule belonging to Davis W. Timmerman found itself in the Logues’ field where it kicked and killed a calf. Wallace Logue demanded compensation and the pair agreed on $20 (about $300 today).
Wallace visited Timmerman’s store to collect on the debt on September 30, but reportedly demanded $40 instead of the agreed upon $20. Timmerman refused to pay. Wallace grew angry and, in front of witnesses assembled in the store, grabbed an axe handle to beat Timmerman. Timmerman responded by drawing a pistol from a drawer and killed Wallace. Although he was seriously injured from the axe handle, Timmerman managed to drive to the sheriff’s to report the killing. He was tried but acquitted, with the jury agreeing with his stance of self-defense.
Wallace’s widow and brother, Sue and George Logue, immediately began to formulate a plan of revenge. They asked their nephew, Joe Frank Logue, to hire a killer, and Clarence Bagwell was found. Sue offered to pay $500 (about $7,500 today) for Timmerman’s death, to which Bagwell replied he would “kill every damn body in Spartanburg county for $500.”
On September 17, 1941, nearly a year after Wallace Logue’s death, Joe Frank brought Bagwell to Timmerman’s store. Bagwell asked for an item from the wall behind Timmerman and, when the shopkeep’s back was turned, shot him 5 times with a revolver before making his escape.
The conspiracy immediately unraveled after Bagwell bragged to a woman that he had earned $500 for killing a man. The woman informed the police of the conversation, and warrants were issued for the arrests of George and Bagwell.
George was notified of his impending arrest and enlisted the help of sharecropper Fred Dorn to ambush the lawmen as they came to serve their warrants. During the firefight, Sheriff Ward Day Allen was killed, Deputy W. L. Clark and Dorn were fatally wounded, and George was shot but survived his injuries. Dep. Clark was able to retreat to call for backup and the governor sent patrolmen and deputies to arrest George and Dorn. A local judge (and eventual Governor and Senator), Strom Thurmond, was a family friend of the Logues. It was also alleged that he and Sue had had an affair while he was a superintendent and she a teacher. Regardless of the nature of their relationship, Thurmond was able to convince the Logues and Dorn to surrender. Dorn died of his injuries the following day, and Dep. Clark the day after that.
All four defendants — Sue Logue, George Logue, Joe Frank Logue, and Clarence Bagwell — were convicted in relation to Timmerman’s killing, with Bagwell being convicted for the actual murder and the Logues with being accessories before the fact. Each was sentenced to death.
On January 15, 1943, 43-year-old Sue was brought to the South Carolina electric chair. When asked if she had anything to say, she replied, “No, sir. I’m ready to die.” She was immediately followed in death by 55-year-old George and 34-year-old Bagwell. Joe Frank received a last-minute reprieve from the governor and his sentence commuted to life. Through his work with training bloodhounds for the sheriff’s department, Joe Frank was able to earn his parole. He was released in 1960.
“From a dead calf to the South Carolina electric chair.” The Newport Plain Talk. October 10, 2014. Accessed: January 14, 2021. https://www.newportplaintalk.com/community/as_it_was_give_to_me/article_89640800-50e2-11e4-b625-5f88c9cecaa3.html
Bass, Jack and Thompson, Marilyn W. Ol’ Strom: An Unauthorized Biography of Strom Thurmond. Marietta: Longstreet Press, Inc., 1998
“Slayer Finally Paroled.” The Charlotte Observer. December 16, 1960
“Three Die For Murder.” The Kansas City Star. January 15, 1943
“Woman Executed in South Carolina.” News-Pilot [San Pedro, California]. January 15, 1943
“Bagwell Said Would Kill All In County For $500 — Logue.” The Greenville News. January 23, 1942