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Description: Planter To Go To Prison – Pace Found GuiltyDate: June 25 1903
Newspaper published in: Rock Island, IL
Page/Column: Page 1, Column 7
PLANTER TO GO TO PRISON
J. W. Pace Found Guilty
of Holding Blacks in Peonage.
ENTERS PLEA GUILTY
To Each of the Counts Against
Him and Asks For Mercy.
Montgomery, Ala., June 25.--J. W. Pace, a planter of Tallapoosa county, Ala., was yesterday found guilty of holding negroes in involuntary servitude and sentenced to five years in prison. Mr. Pace was under 11 indictments, and was found guilty under each indictment, but as he was sentenced to serve his punishments in all cases concurrently he will only suffer the single five year penalty. This concession was made because of the advanced age of the defendant and his feeble condition, it being represented that he might die before he reached prison.
Pleads Guilty in all Cases.
When the cases were called demurrers were filed in all of the cases and overruled. The defendant then pleaded, guilty in all of the 11 eases. An appeal to the circuit court of appeals at New Orleans, La., to make a test case was filed upon giving bond in the sum of $5,000 in one of these cases. He was released from custody in the others.
Pace was charged with holding in, peonage the following negroes: John Davis, Charlie Williams, Doc Crenshaw, Pat Hill, Ed Moody, Jim Caldwell, Rina Scott, Otis Myers, Owens Green, and Ephram Pope. It is said that, the negroes were treated cruelly on Pace's farm, many of them being brutally whipped. It is said that Owens Green, a negro, was whipped so severely that many bones in his body were broken and that his power of speech was interfered with.
When Mr. Pace made his statement to the judge he acknowledged that he was guilty. He said: “I plead guilty to the offenses and would like your honor to be merciful." The judge then asked him if he had anything to say why sentence should not be passed upon him, and he replied in the negative. The judge then sentenced him.
Mr. Pace is considered one of the wealthiest men in Tallapoosa county. The pleading guilty of Mr. Pace practically means that the others indicted will more than likely do the same, as he was considered the principal defendant. After Mr. Pace gave bond he left immediately for his home at Dadeville. Ala. The conspiracy cases against him were continued until the next term of the court.