Haywood v. Skinner (1903)

On February 21, 1903, prominent attorney Ernest Haywood shot and killed Ludlow Skinner, the son of a popular Baptist minister, in broad daylight on Raleigh’s busy Fayetteville Street. New York Times Article 1903

Several newspaper accounts of the incident say that right before the shooting the pair were spotted arguing on the post office steps, and that it was actually Skinner who attacked first, apparently striking Haywood on the side of the head, causing him to fall. Haywood retaliated by firing two shots. The first caused Skinner to turn away from Haywood, and the second was fatal, hitting Skinner as he staggered across the street.

The dispute seems to have concerned Haywood’s quite close relationship with  Skinner’s sister. Rumors swelled that Skinner’s sister and Haywood were secretly married and that Skinner’s sister had a child by Haywood. It’s unclear whether the marriage actually occurred.

Initially held without bond, Haywood was eventually released on a $10,000 bail. At his trial in October, Haywood claimed self-defense. After deliberating only 15 minutes, the jury found him not guilty. The Raleigh community was split on the verdict, with many residents convinced that the trial was fixed in Haywood’s favor.

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