Clinch Valley News, Jeffersonville, VA

May 28, 1915

Verdict Angers Court Crowd.

(From Lebanon News.)
For a time Wednesday afternoon of last week it was uncertain what might happen at the Russell Court house when the jury, trying M. S. Zimmerman, the telegrapher, for killing Fred Combs at Finney last December, brought in a verdict of acquittal.

A large crowd was attracted to the court house from the north side of the county, the section in which young Combs lived, and many who had followed the evidence of the case expected a verdict for murder in the first degree and when the clerk asked Zimmerman to stand up and read. "We the jury, find the defendant not guilty," it was a surprise to not a few.

Crowds collected in the vestibule and in front of the court house and discussed the verdict, many declared the jury's finding was a gross miscarriage of justice.

Not knowing just what might happen should the defendant pass out of the court room. Zimmerman remained under the protection of the court, having been warned to stay on the inside of the courtroom until the crowd dispersed.

After the crowd left for their homes Zimmerman lost no time in taking an automobile for Abingdon, a Baldwin detective being his body guard across the country.