Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Unjustified: George Wilson, Part 1

Not "Mother of the Year"
In the pursuit of justice, sometimes our courts get it wrong.  Most outside observers would say defendants such as OJ and Casey Anthony got away with murder.  In the case of Anthony, justice prevailed.  There is a reason why there are so many layers and technical specs when it comes to evidence presented in a court of law.  Like the verdict or not, the judge in the Anthony case would not allow certain facts, such as Ms. Anthony's partying ways in the wake of her daughter's disappearance, to be admitted as evidence since it had no bearing on the ultimate question in the case: Did Casey Anthony murder her daughter?  And so the case came down to the jury's opinion about new, untested science in order to make a decision and the result is Ms. Anthony will now live in an undisclosed location for the rest of her life (maybe).  A Criminology professor of mine put it this way (paraphrasing): "In the United States, justice is for accused, truth is for the victims."  When the court system seeks justice for the victim, many  times, not only is the accused run over but the truth is often made victim as well.  Case in point:  Mr. George Wilson, Rainier, Washington, 1911.
George H. Wilson - 1911
George Henry Wilson was born April 20, 1877 in Ontario, Canada to George and Mary Jane Wilson.  On December 22, 1902, George married 18 year old Martha Rule and between 1903 and 1911 the two would produce five children, Luella, Mary, Elsie,  Earl and Ethel.  George worked for the railroad as a section man, which was arduous, back-breaking work and it's likely he had followed the railroad south out of British Columbia into Washington.  The family first arrived in the states around 1906 and started out in a little town on the Chehalis River named Melbourne, just to the east of Grays Harbor.  The family moved from station to station, many of which are ghost towns today.  Along with Rainier, towns like Hemlock and Kerriston were important stops on the Northern Pacific for the then booming timber industry.  In all, George would move his growing family seven times in four years before fate would land them in Rainier and George would find himself as the foreman of a section crew working on one of these lumber arteries.   George set his family up in a "cabin" tent, not far from the tracks and about 200 yards behind the house of Archie and Nettie Coble.  You can imagine how cramped a family of seven would be in these conditions.  George wouldn't actually sleep most nights in the family tent, preferring rather to stay with his crew in the company provided section house.  By "house" I mean a box car with bunk beds fastened to the walls and by "company provided" I mean the Northern Pacific RR would dock money from the section hand's check for room and board.  The Wilson's marriage was not a peaceful one.  George was a quiet, even tempered man while Martha was a fiery red-head prone to throwing tantrums ( or shoes, clothes, books etc.) when angered.  Martha was also a passionate woman who desired physical displays of affection such as kissing and cuddling.  George simply wasn't much for kissing and this "distance" aroused Martha's jealousy and she often felt George loved another woman and this lead to many battles between the two.   One such fight occurred the afternoon of July 9, 1911.  After the fight, Martha took the children and went to Tacoma where she had friends.  Wilson became a suspect after investigators found a piece of paper, with what was believed to be blood on it, inside of Wilson's tent.  Martha told those same investigators that George had slept there on the night of the murders.  One man was already in custody for the murders, on the word of George Wilson, but now the eyes of accusation were focusing on him...

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