Mercer County PAGenWeb

Mercer County Criminal
1954 - 1957
Slayer Snaps Weapon Second Time, Proves Holdup No Joke
Robbers Escape Without Plunder
Three hold-up men who fled without any loot after one of them shot and fatally wounded James Mac Supplee,31 year old night clerk in the office of Warner & Smith motor Freight Transfer Co. in Sharpsville at 1:30 a.m. Sunday, are being sought today by police of Pennsylvania and Ohio.
Mr. Supplee, shot through the abdomen as he jokingly chided the ring leader of the trio when the bandit's German Lueger.30 caliber automatic failed to discharge the   first time, died in Buhl Hospital at 11:15 a.m. Sunday.
"It'll work this time," said the murderer as he released the unfired bullet from the chamber and again pulled the trigger. The man then walked past his two companions, also armed and who appeared awed by the shooting, and the three told Francis Logue, a truck driver who was in the office, not to follow them as they fled through the door into a waiting automobile.
Mr. Logue, who was standing with his back to the office door talking with Mr. Supplee, seated at the typewriter desk, when the bandits entered, believes the men were surprised when Supplee rose up from behind the counter and faced them.
"This is a holdup. Where's the money?" came from one of the bandits.
As Supplee replied there was none in the office one of the men leveled his revolver at him and pulled the trigger. It was then  Mr. Supplee apparently believing the hold-up was a joke, kidded the robber.
When Chief of Police Ford H. Randall and Burgess George Mahaney, who later called State Police from Mercer into the case, investigated Sunday and learned the cash drawer in the office contained only $ 1.04. Chief Randall states the only clues unearthed were the unfired cartridge found on the office floor and the bullet which passed through Supplee's body and lodged in the wall. (Source: The Record-Argus, 23 Mar 1942, Mon., Pg. 1)

Youngstown Man Admits He Killed Clerk in Sharpsville
Three Others Were With Him
Four young men confessed early today, Sergeant Frank Milligan of Pennsylvania State Motor Police stated, to the armed robbery of the W Warner & Smith Freight Depot office at Sharpsville and the fatal shooting of James M. Supplee, aged 31, night clerk, last Sunday.
Their arrests, all made early today at Sharon and Youngstown, followed a week of investigation by State Police Sharon officers and Youngstown detectives. Sergeant Milligan stated he secured the first clue early in the week and spent two days working with Youngstown officials.
He stated William A. Johannes, aged 20, of 53 south Fruit Street, Youngstown, he confessed he fired the shot and the holdup men were in his car.
Louis Osborne, aged 20, of 87 Rose Street, Sharon, and Floyd Stainbrook, aged 19, of R. D. 2,Sharon, have admitted, police state, they entered the motor freight office with Johannes. Charles Brown, aged 23 of River Avenue, Sharon, is charged with being the driver of the automobile in which they fled.
The three  men entered the  motor freight office at 1:30 a.m. Sunday and told Supplee to give them the money. When the clerk said there was none one of the bandits pulled the trigger of an automatic. As Supplee jokingly chided him as the shell did not fire, the bandit reloaded the revolver and leveling it at the clerk said "this one will go off.". Supplee fell to the floor and died at 11:30 a .m. Sunday in Buhl Hospital.
All the men were taken to Mercer jail, but a hearing has not been set. (Source: The Record-Argus, 27 Mar 1942, Fri., pg. 2)

Sheriff Hurries Men Away to Penitentiary
Sheriff Aleck Elliott lost no time in getting the murders from the county jail after Judge George H. Rowley sentenced them yesterday.
Two went out yesterday afternoon, a short time after they had their lunch. They were William A. Johannes, of Youngstown, and George Washington Brown, of Farrell, the actual slayers, and Floyd Stainbrook, Charles Brown and Louis Osborn were taken this morning.
Since their trial when they entered pleas of guilty Johannes, Stainbrook, Osborn and Brown had become troublesome and toward the last the sheriff found it necessary to separate them. Prior to that they had been model prisoners and had been allowed jail privileges.
George Washington Brown,the Farrell colored man, caused no trouble and was always happy and singing Negro Melodies. (Source: The Record-Argus, 16 Jul 1942, Thur., pg. 9)
A $30 hold-up at Drummond Service Station in Youngstown and a $950 robbery at Western Union Telegraph Co. offices here on Jul 29 were cleared up when Joseph George Russell, alias Rasparski, 39, of east End, Pittsburgh, admitted being the second man in both "jobs."
Russell entered a plea of guilty to an armed robbery charge filed by Chief of Police William Stuart in the Western Union crime and Monday night joined in Mercer County jail, Carl York, also of Pittsburgh, who as arrested the day following the hold-ups. York had admitted being the driver of the Sharon get-away automobile and was held for court without bail.
Both men are expected to be arraigned in September term of Mercer County court. (Source: The Record-Argus, 19 Aug 1947, Tue., pg. 1)

Judge George H. Rowley yesterday afternoon sentenced George Russell, alias Joseph Rasperold, and Carl Lane York, both of Pittsburgh, who had pleaded guilty of robbing the Western Union Telegraph Exchange in Sharon on July 29 of approximately $1,000, to serve not less than five years and a maximum of 10 years in the Western Penitentiary and make restitution of the stolen money if they have not already done so. (Source: The Record-Argus, 9 Sep 1947, Tue, pg. 2)
January 1950 - Haywood Mackey

Police and State Agents Wound Youngstown Man During Attempt to Hold Up State Liquor Store.
Haywood Mackey, 40, of 510 North Avenue, Youngstown, will face charges of robbery and shooting with intent to kill when he recovers from two bullet wounds received Saturday night as he attempted to hold up the state liquor store in Farrell.
Mackey is under police guard in Buhl Hospital where he was taken after a Farrell policeman and a state Liquor Control Board Agent returned his fire as he leaped over the counter and followed a woman clerk into the stock room where he threatened to kill her.
Two police officers and two state gents as well as four store employees escaped when Mackey's automatic jammed after he fired three shots before he fell with bullet wounds in the chest and right arm.
State Agent  George Lewis, 53, Sharpsville, who was shot through the right shoulder, was able to leave the hospital Sunday noon. Lewis and Patrolman Chester Linonis, Farrell, shot seven times at the robber.
Patrolman Edward Smith and Agent C. T. O'Connor, the latter of Venango, other officers guarding the store, were forced to withhold their fire to avoid hitting Mrs. Anna Ryan, Joseph Marks, Edward Zappa and Eugene Sicilano, clerks.
Chief of Police John Sposito said his department and state agents had been guarding the store since the Oct. 26 holdup in which $918 was taken.
Chief Sposito said today he believes Mackey staged this earlier stickup as his 1941 automobile found Saturday night on Market Street less than a block from the store, answered to a description of the get-away car used in the first holdup.
Mackey apparently was alone as the keys to his auto were found in his clothes.  Mackey had $66 in his purse.
Chief of Police William Stuart, Sharon, today told Chief Sposito that Mackey is the same man Stuart and shot and wounded in 1942 after a holdup at Robinson News Depot, Dock Street, Sharon. (Source: The Record-Argus, 23 Jan 1950, Mon., pg. 1)

Haywood Mackey, 40 year old Youngstown man, has been linked with five Western Pennsylvania liquor store hold-ups.
Mackey, who was shot down last Saturday as he walked into a police trap at the Farrell store, was identified as being implicated in Pittsburgh, Sharon and New Castle stores,as well as a previous robbery at Farrell.
The Youngstown man, recently discharged from Buhl Hospital where he was treated ted for two bullet wounds, was placed in a police line-up Friday afternoon in Farrell. (Source: The Record-Argus, 28 Jan 1950, Sat., pg. 2)

Haywood Mackey Given 5 to 10 Years in Jail (Excerpt Source: The Record-Argus, 20 Feb 1950, Mon., pg. 1)
January 1951 - John Madison Dyer:
Sharonite Held For Trial By Grand Jury
John M. Dyer, 22, of 264 School Street, Sharon, was held for Mercer County grand jury on a charge of burglary when arraigned Monday  night before Alderman Edward Hochadel, Sharon.
Dyer was charged by Sharon police with burglarizing the offices of National Life Insurance Company, United Steelworkers of America and Fidelity Loan Company in the Boyle building.
Police captured him after he left his shoes on the roof of the building. (Source: The Record-Argus, 7 Nov 1950, Tue, pg. 1)

Farrell Man to Serve Term In Penitentiary

A Farrell man was sentenced to Western State Penitentiary today by Judge George H. Rowley.
John Madison Dyer, 264 School Street, Farrell, was fined $1, costs and ordered to serve from 2 to 4 years in Western Penitentiary on a burglary charge.
The charge against Dyer was dropped by District Attorney John Boland earlier this month when he was called for induction into the armed forces by Sharon Draft Board. The case was re-opened, however, when the Farrell man was not accepted for  military service.  Dyer, who has been lodged in Mercer County jail since Jan. 10, waived a jury trial and entered a plea of guilty to the charge. (Excerpt Source: The Record-Argus, 29 Jan 1951, Mon., pg. 1)
July 1951 -
Rowley Sentences 16 to Jail, Penitentiary Terms
Case of Nine Mercer Countians Charged With Establishing Gambling Devices Are Continued
Sixteen persons were sentenced at Mercer today by Judge George H. Rowley to terms ranging from 60 days in Mercer County Jail to six to 12 years in Western Penitentiary.
Charges against nine Mercer County men, slated for sentencing today on setting up and establishing gambling devices, were continued.  Included in those indicted on the gambling charges were two Greenville district tavern owners, George Rusko and John Turk, and seven officers of the Eagles Club in Farrell.
The gamblers were arrested in raids conducted by police and Liquor Control Board officers earlier in the year. A number of others arrested in raids conducted at the same time were sentenced previously.
Several other continuances were granted by the court at today's session, including sentencing of Joseph Jacoway, 1132 Louisiana Street, Farrell, who was convicted by a jury last month on a charge of involuntary manslaughter. Jacoway had been held in the death of his infant son.

Drop Murder Charge
Judge Rowley threw out a charge of murder in the case of Roosevelt Thomas alias Jack Thomas, 168 North Railroad Street, Sharon, and accepted a plea of guilty to manslaughter.  Thomas, who had been held on both counts, was accused of killing his brother in a family argument early this year. He was sentenced to a six to 12 year term in Western Penitentiary and fined $1 and costs.
Five persons were sentenced to terms in the Allegheny County Workhouse. They were:
Marvin Rubel, Youngstown, three counts: resisting an officer, larceny  and rape. $1 costs, 1 to 2 years on each charge, the sentences to run concurrently.
Steward M. Lewis, 928 Market Street, Farrell, burglary, $1, costs, 1 1/2 to 3 years; George Allen, 76 Council Avenue, Wheatland, burglary, $1 costs, 1 1/2 to 3 years.
Thomas Irwin McCracken, Norristown, larceny, $1 costs, 1 to 2 years.
Harry Park Humphrey, Tarentum, larceny, $1 costs, 1 to 2 years.
Six men were sentenced on charges of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicants. Each was fined $100 costs and sentenced to four months in Mercer County jail: James L. Baer, Jackson Center, R.D. 1; Albert Munday, 925 Idaho Street, Farrell; Norman Martin McAleer, McKees Rocks; Wilbert C. Murray, Pittsburgh; Earl Taylor, 103 Canal Street, Greenville; Joseph H. Jefferson, Kinsman.
Two others also were given terms in the county jail on charges of driving during a period of suspension.Albert L. Yeager, Mercer, was sentenced to four months in the county jail and fined $200 and costs, while Elmer J. Walters, Reynolds Village, received 60 days costs and a $200 fine.
Dominic Jerry Leone, Masury, also was committed to the county jail for 60 days and fined $200 and costs for failure to stop at the scene of an accident.
Helen Thomas Fletcher, 59 Franklin Street, Sharon, was sentenced to one year in the jail at Mercer and ordered to pay a $1 fine and costs on a charge of aggravated assault and battery.
Anna Louise Niggel, 271 Spruce Street, Sharon, three counts of issuing a check with intent to defraud, drew a $1 fine, costs and six months in the county jail.
Joyce Johnson, 1010 1/2 Market Street, Farrell, who was indicted for prostitution, did not appear.
Sentencing of Garnet Noble, Mercer R. D., who was held on a burglary charge, also was continued. Nick Boshky, who was listed for sentencing on a charge of failure to stop at the scene of an accident, was not called.
David Miles, Butler, charged with operating a motor vehicle during a period of suspension, was not sentenced this morning but had a hearing set for 1:30 pm before Judge Rowley. (Source: The Record-Argus, 2 Jul 1951, Mon., pgs 1-2)
July 1954 - Noble Smith: Accused of the shooting death July 17, 1954 of William (Chick) Brown in the latter's Adam Street apartment after an argument over moonshine liquor.
Farrell Man, 49, Held for Murder
Nobel Smith, 49 of 302 Staunton Street, Farrell, was slated to be arraigned today for preliminary hearing on a first degree murder charge in the fatal shooting Saturday night in Farrell of William Brown, 39.
Brown died in Sharon General Hospital at 7:10 p.m. ten minutes after he was shot through the stomach. Smith, quickly arrested by police, readily confessed, Chief of Police John Sposlato said. He became angry Friday night and the two had an argument over a pint of whiskey which, according to Smith, Brown took.
Brown was a Meadville resident but went to Farrell several months ago to reside with his uncle, a pool room operator. (Excerpt (Source: The Record-Argus, 19 Jul 1954, Mon., pg. 1)

Fate of Farrell Murderer Rests in Hands of Rodgers

The fate of a self-confessed Farrell slayer rests now with one man, President Judge Herman M. Rodgers, who hears final arguments for and against first or second degree sentences yesterday afternoon.
For Noble Smith the latest court appearance signaled the near end of a five month wait in the county jail to hear his sentence. Of one thing he is fairly certain - he won't get the electric chair.  His plea to a general charge of murder almost automatically rules that out.
District Attorney John W. McWilliams asked that the extreme punishment be ruled out  yesterday, but he did argue strongly for life imprisonment, maintaining the 49 year old Tennessee native, who had lived in the rear of a Farrell poolroom, knew what he was doing last July when he fired the shot which killed Willie Brown with who he had reputedly had an argument over the theft of some illegal whiskey.
Defense Attorney B. H. Marks made a moving hour-long plea for his client, maintaining Smith was an epileptic and citing jail physician Paul T. Hope's diagnosis of insanity.
Pitted against this was McWilliams reiteration of the testimony of Dr. W. W. Richardson, Mercer Sanitarium psychiatrist, who said Smith had a 50 or 60 percent normalcy but, he believed, knew right from wrong.
Both agreed that Smith is an epileptic but disagreed on his having a seizure at the time of the crime.
The basic questions Judge Rodgers must decide are the evidence for or a against first or second degree and the state of Smith's mentality.
If the sentence is second degree, it probably will carry a 10 to 20 year imprisonment.  (Source:  The Record-Argus, 20 Jan 1955, Thu., pg. 1)

Valley Murderer Given Life Sentence
Noble Smith of Farrell was sentenced to life imprisonment today by Judge Herman M. Rodgers, who ruled the slayer was guilty of first degree murder.
Smith will be sent to the Western Correctional Diagnostic and Classification Center of Pennsylvania to be transferred to an appropriate institution.
He had pleaded guilty to the shooting of William Brown of Farrell last July but argued through his attorney he was in the seizure of an epileptic fit and insane at the time. (Excerpt Source: The Record-Argus, 24 Jan 1955, Mon., pg. 1)

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