AFFAIRS IN WALLER COUNTY.
The Finklea Murder — Crawford's Escape Discussed — Chances that the Crime will never be Avenged.
[To the News.]
Hempstead, Oct. 15. — Entering this ordinarily quiet town you would scarcely think such an unnatural and horrible murder as that of Robert Finklea had been perpetrated in its heart, and that the murderer or murderers are all free from arrest; yet the murder was committed, and all who were present, though they were all put under arrest, are now free. Young was allowed to give evidence against Crawford; Wheeler, keeper of the house in which the marder (sic) was committed, was allowed bail, because doubt existed as to his having committed the deed; Crawford, to whom Young's evidence most directly points as the guilty party, was, during the investigation, allowed to be escorted to his own home by a single constable, a negro, from whom Crawford escaped and had been gone an hour and a half without the knowledge of the constable. Considerable surprise is manifested by the utter indifference manifested by the county officers at Crawford's escape. Not an effort has been made to capture him, although 'tis known where he is or has been, for he has written letters to persons in this town. I have several times to-day heard the remark, money only is necessary to secure acquittal for murder, especially if there was the semblance of a fight between the murderer and the murdered, or if any, no matter how insignificant a provocation can be shown for the deed. Although opinion as to Crawford's firing the fatal shot differs, still he is charged with it and should have been more carefully guarded.
This Finklea murder, that of Capt. Killough and the massacre of the Lynch children all occurred within one month within an area of less than 100 miles square. The perpetrators of none of these crimes are in custody; in the Killough case only the accessories are under surveillance. In addition — as if to prevent being forgotten — the usually quiet German county of Austin comes forward for notice with murder in a ball-room last Sunday morning. This act so incensed the Germans that the murderer sought protection in the jail.
What county is to be heard from today? is a frequently asked question, and more often the answer is found in your special telegrams. Can nothing be done to stop these bloody tragedies?
It is stated that no one resisted the sway of the cattle thieves until John Greer's neighborhood became aroused at the frequency of these thefts and hunted up the thieves, tracing the cattle and hides, thus bringing about the first difficulties that might cause differences and litigation between the cattle men of this county. It is said to have been men from that neighborhood who came to town during the investigation of the Finklea murder and by their avowals frightened Crawford from home, he thinking their design was to mob him, when they assert they only intended to see that justice was not cheated. Public sentiment has thus far been against Crawford, but, as usual in Texas, friends rise up for the living instead of the dead, and feeling is beginning to change to Crawford's favor. His friends assert with strong assurance that he will be exonerated, but they give no idea who the murderer was, and this will doubtless remain a mystery for all time.
"Affairs in Waller County." Weekly Democratic Statesman, (Austin, TX.), Wednesday, October 16, 1878, p. 2, col. 6.