The Murder of Lewis Collins

Welch Daily News
November 8, 1924

George Conley Acquitted of the Murder of Father-in-Law, Lewis Collins

Jury in Case Was Out Only a Few Minutes - Trial of Sallie Satterfield Begun in Criminal Court

After being out only a few minutes the jury in the case of George Conley, charged with the murder of his father-in-law Lewis Collins on the night of June 10 at Litwar, was found not guilty.

The trial attracted a large crowd from the Litwar and Iaeger communities, where the principals were prominent.

Many elements of mystery entered into the case. The facts are that Lewis Collins, 64-year-old-merchant, was shot twice through the head as he slept in a room back of his store at Litwar. There was difference of opinion as to the time of the shooting. The prosecution tried to show that it took place early on the night of June 10, while the defense claimed that it occurred about 1 o'clock at which time defense witnesses stated that they heard shot.

Although there was every indication that the murder was committed by some one who was thoroughly familiar with the store and the arrangement of furniture in the back bedroom, very little evidence was introduced to show that Conley had any part in the killing. His alibi was proved in consecutive detail.

The young wife of Conley, (He had married a second time after the death of his first wife, a daughter of Lewis Collins) made a splendid witness for her husband. She maintained stoutly that Conley remained with her throughout the night of the murder after he had returned to the Collins home from the store. Conley and his second wife made their home with the Collins, and there was no evidence to show that there had been any disagreement. In fact, all the evidence pointed to an accord.

It was generally understood that Collins intended to draw a will, making Conley beneficiary. After his murder no will was found, and it was the theory of the defense that some heir-at-law, fearing that such a will would be made, planned and either executed the murder or had it done...

Crime and Punishment

West Virginia Archives and History