August 1, 1927 Rome Sentinel, Rome, Oneida County, New York
Chauncey Carpenter is shot and killed in
row over wire line fence-
Three Charges of Shot Enter Body-
Wire Cutters Slip from Hand of Dead Man –
Ralph C and Jay L Kilbourne are Charged with Murder -
One man dead and two brothers are held for
murder, first degree, is the culmination of a line fence dispute between
neighbors in the eastern part of the city of Rome. George Chauncey
Carpenter is dead and Ralph and Jay Kilbourn are charged with the crime.
The shooting took place shortly after 10 o’clock Sunday night on the road leading from the Floyd avenue road to the River road. They location is near the Kilbourn Corners.
The brothers claimed justification for their act and claimed that they caught Carpenter in the act of cutting a wire fence. Four shots were fired and shot from three took effect. In a seven-inch circle on Carpenter’s left breast there were 52 wounds from shot pellets. The left side, just above the hip, was punctured by several shot and a number of the pellets entered the left leg at the ankle.
Trouble of Long Standing
The line fence between the Carpenter and Kilbourn farms has been disputed for a long time. During the past year there has been a constant argument back and forth between the Kilbourn brothers and Carpenter.
The Kilbourn brothers stated that on June 23 last Carpenter strung a line of barbed wire fencing across the Kilbourn property, cutting off a 30-foot section of the garden. State Troopers were notified and Carpenter was arrested for trespass and had a trial by Jury in City Court. He was found not guilty.
The brothers say that ever since the above time there has been trouble. Fences have been cut and farm machinery left out of doors has been damaged and broken. This included a mowing machine, harrow and hay loader. Fences were repaired and cut again. This work was done during the night time.
Recently Deputy Sheriffs Harry Scott and Charles Hodierne spent a night in this vicinity watching for any one damaging property, but nothing occurred that night. State Troopers have also watched, but to no success.
On July 27 the Kilbourn brothers went to the police station and reported matters and Detectives O’Brien and Nero investigated.
Fence Cut Sunday Night
Sunday evening the Kilbourn brothers lay in wait in the garage of Ralph Kilbourn. About 10 o’clock the sounds of a wire cutter at work cutting fence wire was heard. The brothers both armed. Ralph with a single barrel shot gun and Jay with a double barreled gun, ran out from the garage. They flashed the beam of light from a flashlight on the person at the fence and called for him to stop. The man, who later turned out to be Carpenter, ran toward his home.
The shooting then began. One charge of shot was fired from near the garage toward the fence, A part of this charge struck a maple tree, 18 inches in diameter. On the side of the tree, next to the fence were seven marks of shot on the front side were the marks of 20 pellets .
Both chased Carpenter and fired at him. Ralph stopped and reloaded his gun. Carpenter was hit by three of charges of shot fired at him. He fell on his back just at the southerly edge of the road 80 paces eastward of Ralph Kilbourn’s garage.
Following the shooting Jay Kilbourn telephones to the Rome police. Capt. Bowes, Officer Shannon, Chauffeur Belins and H. L. Leonard responded with the ambulance. Carpenter was dead when the officers arrived. Close by Carpenter’s right hand was found a pair of wire cutters. In the center of the roadway, about 30 feet toward Ralph Kilbourn’s garage the police found an empty shot gun shell where the officers believe Ralph reloaded his gun. Dr. H. J. Teller, corner, was notified and gave the body in charge of Undertaker Charles Hall. The remains were removed to Mr. Hall’s funeral parlors.
Guides Officers to Scene
After telephoning to the police Jay Kilbourn waited in front of his home and guided the police to the spot where the body lay.
Carpenter Made Threats
The line fence, in dispute, has been in position for 25 years or more. Recently when Carpenter stretched the fence across the Kilbourn property, Carpenter is alleged to have told William Hurlburt of Floyd, father-in-law of Ralph Kilbourn, that if Ralph Kilbourn cut down the fence, he (Carpenter) would shoot Ralph.
Shots Fired at Night
The Kilbourn brothers say that their wives and children have been in fear of their lives nights for some time on account of shots being fired toward their homes. These shots, charges of shot from a shotgun, came from the direction of the Carpenter farm, they say. They were fired anywhere from 11 o’clock p. m., to 2 a. m. Recently during the daytime a charge of shot was fired toward Ralph Kilbourn’s house while members of the family were out of doors. These shotpellets struck the leaves and branches of a tree over their heads. The shot, they say, came from the direction of the Carpenter farm.
Wads and Empty Shell
This forenoon two felt shot gun wads were picked up near where the body lay. One lay near the blood spots and the other in the center of the road opposite the blood spots. Between this point and the garage at various distances two more of these felt wads were found, also several of the paper wads from the shot gun shells. An empty shot gun shell was found in the grass at the edge of the road in front of the garage of Ralph Kilbourn.
Fence Patched and Cut
The spot where Carpenter is alleged to have been discovered cutting the fence in on the Ralph Kilbourn farm at the junction of the line fence. Both properties cross the road. This same procedure took place on both sides of the roadway. On either side may be found four strands of old wire, which was cut, also 11 strands of new wire which had been cut on each side of the road. There were pieces of both new and old wire cut out and thrown on the ground. When the Kilbourn brothers were brought to the police station they were questioned about the case by Assistant Chief of Police S. H. Beckwith, who took statements from each one.
Brothers Charged With Murder
The police detained the Kilbourn brothers and brought them to the police station. Here both made statements admitting the shooting. They gave many of the details, similar to those given above. They were then charged with murder, first degree, and locked up in the police station for the night.
Arraigned in Court
Both District Attorney Charles L. DeAngelis of Utica and Assistant District Attorney Frank S. Baker of this city are out of the city and Assistant District John J. McGinty of Utica was notified and came to this city this morning to take charge of the case. Joseph D. Sewell, confidential clerk in the district attorney’s office, also came here this forenoon. The Kilbourn brothers were arraigned in City Court shortly before noon. They were represented by Hon. M. J. Larkin. Through Mr. Larkin they entered a plea of not guilty to the charge of first degree murder and demanded an immediate examination. This was set for Friday at 10 a.m. as Mr. McGinty had other engagements and could not be here sooner. The brothers were taken to the Rome Jail to await this examination.
Carpenter Native Roman
George Chauncey Carpenter, 63, native Roman, was born in the house where he resided at the time of his death. He was a son of the late David C. and Lovina Lawrence Carpenter. He resided in the town of Floyd for a short time. During his younger life he taught school in rural schools in Rome, Floyd and other towns. For several years he conducted the 60-acre farm where he resided. He never married. He is survived by one sister, Mrs. George W. Murphy, 208 N. George Street, this city and one brother, Welcome Carpenter, who resides about one-half mile away on the 52-acre section of the old Carpenter farm.
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