A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

History: Morganville Woman Fatally Beaten With Tree Limb in Matawan (1952)

The 28 Aug 1952 edition of The Matawan Journal reported the arrest of James King for the beating death of Mrs Mary Lee Vann, 38, who had lived with King for two years. The paper reported that King, Vann and two others had been returning from visiting a home on Texas Road when King became angry at Vann. He stopped the car on Mill Road in Matawan Borough, dragged Mrs Vann from the vehicle, punched and kicked her, then beat her with a 4-foot long tree branch. King put her back in the vehicle and continued to beat Vann until they arrived at their home. King carried her unconscious body to their apartment and put her to bed. A few hours later he found that she had died. He summoned a Matawan doctor, whom King told that Vann had fallen down the stairs. The authorities were summoned and the body was removed to Bedle Funeral Home for an autopsy. The article's accompanying photo showed King being interrogated by county and state law enforcement officials.

The 23 Oct 1952 edition of The Matawan Journal (pg 1) provided the details of the crime as presented in the indictment.

The 30 Oct 1952 edition of The Matawan Journal (pg 10) reported that King was assigned counsel from Asbury Park. King entered a not guilty plea.

The 15 Jan 1953 edition of The Matawan Journal (pg 1) reported that King changed his plea to non vult (no contest) at the recommendation of prosecutors and put himself on the mercy of the court. King claimed to have been drinking when he became violent without cause and beat Mrs Vann. He would be charged with manslaughter instead of murder and face a recommended sentence of 7 to 10 years.

The 5 Feb 1953 edition of The Matawan Journal reported his sentencing at Freehold to 7 to 10 years in New Jersey State Prison for the murder..


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