Joseph Meyers Is Chopped to Pieces by John Roe.




Men Were Chopping Wood When Roe Leaped Upon Brother-in-Law With Ax – Is Brought to Jail.


           In a fit of rage John Roe, deaf and dumb, literally chopped his brother-in-law, Joe Myers, to death in the presence of Myers’ son, near the latter’s home, between Soddy and Daisy, early yesterday morning. Meyers’ son, together with three boys, witnessed the work of the madman.

            Roe, who had been living at the Myers home, had gone out with Myers and several boys to chop wood nearby. Myers had remonstrated in signs with Roe over some matter, and as he turned away Roe sprang at him with ax upraised and struck him over the left ear, cutting the side of his head almost away. Myers fell to the ground, and the deaf mute, standing over him, buried his ax several times in the victim’s body. Meyer’s right shoulder blade was cut from the body, while he received another fatal wound over his lung. The madman then left him for dead and calmly proceeded to the house, where he ate a meal, his sister, who is Meyer’s wife, being afraid to speak to him.

            The boys ran for a doctor and Meyers was carried into a nearby house, where he died about 3 in the afternoon, after regaining consciousness long enough to murmur that Roe had killed him.

            Roe disappeared soon after the tragedy, and the sheriff’s office was notified. Deputies Yarnell and Rogers rushed to the scene, where they were joined by Deputies Tate, Clift, Lynch and Gann. A posse was formed to scour the woods for the murderer, and the whole countryside joined in the search. The women, fearing to be left behind with Roe at large, followed the men. It was first intended to take the Brown bloodhounds, but the people in that vicinity asserted that it would be useless, as Roe could outrun any hounds. Parties that have known Roe positively state that the man has been known to trot all the way from Soddy to Chattanooga .

            Roe was discovered late in the afternoon near the scene of the murder, and was arrested by Esquire Abel and George McClain and turned over to the deputies, who arrived at the jail with him late last night.

            Roe has been allowed to roam around the country near Soddy, where he was reared, making his home with first one farmer then another. He did light work and then ran errands. It was stated last night that Roe had attacked the young child of Mr. Zeigler at Retro some time ago, while making his home there, and had threatened several others with ax and knife.

            There is a difference of opinion as to his sanity, some saying that he is “half-witted” while others are positive that he is only vicious and mean.

Roe is also said to be able to read and write to some extent, which led a Times reporter into his cell at the county jail last night. He would or could not read the inquiries about the tragedy, only nodding his head when the picture of an ax was drawn, in an attempt to make him understand what was wanted. He is a small man, about 35 years of age, with a senile expression.

            Residents of Soddy say that he was born a mute and had been allowed to roam the country all his life. While no attempt was ever made to have him confined, he was an object of fear to most people and when he took up his home at the different farm houses there was hesitation in running him off, as he never forgot a fancied injury and was of a revengeful disposition.

            The murdered man was a highly respected and prominent farmer of the Soddy district and leaves a large family, having several sons and daughters at home beside one daughter Mrs. Joe Dyer, wife of the sheriff of Bledsoe county, of Pikeville. On hearing of the murder of her father Mrs. Dyer made the trip across the mountains in an automobile, arriving in Soddy last night.

The Daily Times, Chattanooga , Tennessee , Friday, October 29, 1915.