By Grace Donahue
The Murder Trial for Mrs. Gladys Holder began on September 21, 1925. Holder was pleading not guilty, claiming that the gun went off in an “accidental matter.” The case against her seemed tough- she shot Daniel Arwine “Reckless” Honeycutt Jr., and Honeycutt died. The court went through a particularly dramatic trial, as the prosecution’s argument centered on how it’s impossible for Holder’s gun to have gone off “accidentally.” Prosecutor Darby, Sheriff Curry, and the Chief of Police Clay found the best way to make their argument was to throw the weapons amongst the floor, as well as making every member of the jury hold the gun, cock it, and pull the trigger. After the prosecution went, Mrs. Holder argued her case. She said she was nervous that fateful day, and that Honeycutt, upon coming to collect the car that Mr. Holder still owed $40 on, was very insistent and swearing at her. Mrs. Holder claimed that she was told the night before that the gun was unloaded, and she got it out only with the intention to “bluff” Honeycutt with it. However, when she removed the weapon from the holster, it “accidentally discharged,” and killed Honeycutt. Mrs. Holder’s killing of Honeycutt, whether intentional or not, was the first female murder case in over twenty years- so what happened?
The next day, September 22, 1925, the verdict was in. And Mrs. Holder, as she was expecting, was found not guilty. Mrs. Holder, along with many members of the public, were celebratory in response to the jury’s finding. The jury debated the case of Mrs. Holder for only a few hours, deciding that it was better for her to go home to her children than spend more time in prison. Mrs. Holder said she never doubted that she would be found not guilty.
Daniel Arwine “Reckless” Honeycutt Jr. was killed on May 20, 1925. Mrs. Holder spent a total of four months and two days in jail, awaiting trial.
Bloomington Telephone, “Holder, Gladys” September 21-22, 1925, page one