Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Emily Stone Conyers, South Carolina Black Widow Serial KIller - 1975



FULL TEXT (Article 1 of 2): Florence, S.C. – An arsenic-poisoning trial of a 53-year-old Pamplico woman charged with murdering her second, husband entered into its third day today in Florence General Sessions Court.

Tuesday, two arsenic poisoning victims and an insurance executive were among the 12 witnesses who testified against Mrs. Elmer Stone Conyers.

The prosecution is trying to prove a plot by Mrs. Conyers to poison her second husband, Milton Reese Conyers, who died in April 1973. Mrs. Conyers is also charged with fatally poisoning her first husband, Willie Graham Stone, and with administering arsenic to three other persons — her mother-in-law, Mrs. Louise Opal Conyers; her son-in-law, John Van Bazen; and a distant relative, Iris Stevens.

Mrs. Conyers was arrested March 14 after a five-month investigation requiring the exhumation of three bodies from different Florence cemeteries. The probe began when hospital officials in Charleston notified local officials of an apparently unsuccessful poisoning attempt.

Bazen told the court Tuesday he became ill about two months after he and his wife moved into Mrs. Conyer's home. However, he conceded he didn't know who poisoned him.

Another of the poisoning victims, Iris Stevens, testified she was poisoned after she refused to allow Mrs. Conyers to buy into her florist shop.

Also testifying Tuesday was Sam Batson, executive vice president of Equity Life and Annuity Co. of Greenville, who said Conyers, the defendant's second husband, had two life insurance policies with his company –  one for $1,000 and other for $10,000.

Mrs. Conyers was named as the beneficiary on both policies, Batson told the court.

But he added that after Conyers death, Mrs. Conyers received a combined total of only $5,000 from the policies because her husband was classified as an habitual alcoholic with suicidal tendencies.

[“Arsenic Victims Begin Testimony Against Woman,” syndicated (AP), The High Point Enterprise (N.C.), Oct. 1, 1975, p. 2A]

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FULL TEXT (Artiocle 2 of 2): Florence, S.C. – A jury of seven men and five women took exactly one hour Friday to find Mrs. Elmer Conyers, a blonde grandmother, guilty of killing one of her two husbands by slipping arsenic into his coffee.

Mrs. Conyers showed little emotion when the verdict was delivered at 5:16 p.m. and managed a weak smile as she was led out of the courtroom.

Circuit Court Judge Harry . Agnew sentenced Mrs. Conyers to life imprisonment, the only punishment allowed under law.

Defense attorney Richard Dusenberry said the verdict said the verdict “will definitely be appealed.”

Mrs. Conyers showed little emotion when the verdict was delivered at 5:16 p.m. and managed a weak smile as she was led out of the courtroom.

Circuit Judge Harry E. Agnew sentenced Mrs. Conyers to life imprisonment, the only punishment allowed under law.

Defense attorney Richard Dusenberry said the verdict “will definitely be appealed.”

Mrs. Conyers, 53, was charged with killing Willie Graham Stone, 52, her first husband, in 1987 and Milton Reece Conyers, 37, her second husband, in 1973. She is also charged with giving nonfatal doses of arsenic to three other relatives.

She was being tried only for the death of Conyers.

The prosecution maintained throughout the five-day trial that Mrs. Conyers put arsenic in the coffee of her two men.

“There is but not one scintilla of evidence that anybody put anything in coffee,” Dusenberry said.”

He also said the prosecution had failed to show, without reasonable doubt, that the men had been poisoned by arsenic.

He said the arsenic found in the bodies of the two men was probably no more than found in the bodies of the general population. He said that could never be proven because no one had ever had reason to measure the amount of arsenic in other bodies.

The defense also attempted to knock down a prosecution argument that Mrs. Conyers killed the two men for their insurance money. Defense attorneys said Mrs. Conyers received $7,296 from the death of Conyers and nothing from the death of her first husband.

Mrs. Conyers, who had sat calmly through the trial, occasionally turning to smile at persons in the courtroom, testified Thursday she never poisoned anyone, never bought arsenic, and “I wouldn’t know if it was to see it.”

The defense has attempted to picture both husbands as alcoholics who, if they died of arsenic poisoning, could have swallowed the arsenic in illegal whiskey.

Mrs. Conyers testified Conyers would “drink anything he could get his hands on including cologne, rubbing alcohol and ammonia.”

[“Grandmother found guilty in arsenic death of husband,” syndicated (UPI), St. Joseph News-Press (Mo.), Oct. 4, 1975, p. 2A]

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The full name, “Emily Stone Conyers,” appears in [“Woman accused Of Poisoning Family On Trial,” The Sumner Daily Item (S.C.), Sep. 30, 1975, p. 1B]

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For links to other cases of woman who murdered 2 or more husbands (or paramours), see Black Widow Serial Killers.

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