Monday, November 16, 2015

Axey Cherry, 12-Year-Old Murderess – South Carolina, 1887

FULL TEXT (Article 1 of 3): A dispatch from Charleston, S. C. says: At Barnwell, Judge Hudson sentenced Axey Cherry, a colored girl twelve years old, to be hanged on the third Friday in September for the murder of the infant of Mr. Amo Williams of Allendale, in Barenwell county. The child was sent by her mother to act as a nurse for the Williams baby. She poked around the house and attended to her duties in so negligent a manner that she had to be constantly scolded. After a scolding one day she was overheard muttering to herself that she was not going to bother with that baby much more. A few days after this, concentrated lye was used in scouring the floor, and when Mrs. Williams left the room for a few minutes she told Axey that the lye was poisonous and that she must not touch it. On her return, Mrs. Williams was horrified to find her baby’s mouth full of concentrated lye. Axey ran out of the house saying as she left, “I don’t reckon I’ll have to nurse that baby much longer now.” The young murderess all through her trial seemed to have no idea no idea of the terrible nature of her deed, and when she was sentenced to be hanged, she gazed stupidly at the judge and grinned as she played with the buttons on her dress. As she was being carried back to jail she saw her father, and made an effort to go to him. She cried for the first time when she was told that she could not go home, but must go back home, but must go back to jail to await the day for execution.

[“Precocious Depravity. – A Colored Girl Twelve Years Old Sentenced to be Hanged.” Washington Weekly Press (N. C.), Jul. 26, 1887, p. 1]


FULL TEXT (Article 2 of 3): A Charleston dispatch says: The sentence of Axey Cherry, the twelve-year-old colored child, to be hanged for administering a dose of concentrated lye to a child she was nursing, has caused a commotion throughout the State. Only one course was open, to Judge Hudson, upon the verdict of guilty murder and that was to impose sentence of death. The child now in jail but she does not seem to realize that she is await lug her execution. At times she becomes fretful and impatient, then again she will find something amuse her and will dance around her cell in high glee. She pines for open air, and begs to be allowed to play out in the yard. Several times when her meal were brought into the cell she tried to dodge past the warden and get out into the yard.

Citizens of Barnwell are getting up a petition asking Gov. Richardson to commute the sentence to one of imprisonment. The News and Courier, in its leading editorial to-day says: “It is not to be expected for a moment that the colored girl, twelve years of age, who has been convicted of murder in Barnwell county and sentenced to be hang in September next, will be required to pay the extreme penalty her crime. She undoubtedly killed the child that was committed to her keeping, but whatever the motive that led to the killing the murderer is but a child herself. She has not even now any conception of the nature of the crime which she was convicted, and has no shadow of conception of the legal consequences of her crime. When being led out of the court room after sentence she cried go to her father, and clearly had no idea why she should be restrained of her liberty. There is no question that she intended to put the child out of the way in order to be relieved of its care, but evidently she had no sense of the enormity of the offense she had committed in carrying her horrible design into effect. These considerations must be taken into ac count in dealing with an offender so low in the scale of humanity as this girl undoubtedly is.”

[“To Save A Child Hanging. From Hanging. - Popular Opinion of South Carolina Against Axey Cherry's Execution.” The Moranton Star (S. C.), Jul. 29, 1887, p. 8]


FULL TEXT (Article 3 of 3): Axey Cherry, the twelve-year-old colored nurse girl who murdered her infant charge, Columbia, S. C., and was convicted and sentenced to hang, has had her sentence commuted by Governor Richardson to five years’ imprisonment.

[Untitled, The Evening Republican (Columbus, In.), Aug. 29, 1887, p. 1]


More cases: Youthful Borgias: Girls Who Commit Murder


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