August 02, 2009
Margie runs over to Uncle Andy's to avoid getting beat up when her husband comes home. It's late Saturday which means Elmer will come home mean and drunk. Margie feels safer at Uncle Andy's even though he's 92 years old.
A few quiet hours drag by watching television until Margie hears the thundering sound of Elmer's pickup sliding to a stop in Andy's front yard. Margie's husband, lap-legged drunk, is out hunting for his woman.
The drunkard storms into the living room where Margie is on her knees in the far corner. Elmer busts up some furniture, then knocks his crying wife around with his fists.
Margie is semi-conscious on the floor as Elmer charges into the den. There's old Uncle Andy sitting in a rocker with his favorite Remington 12-gauge shotgun across his knees.
"I'm tired of you hiding my wife, old man!" says Elmer. "Tonight I'm gonna settle this once and for all," as the drunk strides toward Uncle Andy.
From about six feet away Andy fires his 12-gauge. Elmer catches the full impact of the pellets in his midsection. "You old coot -- you shot me!" Elmer sputters as he draws his last breath.
Deputies are nervous about locking up a 92-year-old man. A Lexington County Magistrate orders Uncle Andy released under a personal recognizance bond. A few days later later a coroner's jury assembles to hear evidence in Elmer's death.
The old man is the last to take the stand. Trying to go easy on the 92-year-old, the coroner asks, "Sir, is it true that as the deceased advanced toward you, your shotgun accidentally went off?"
Uncle Andy sits straight up in his chair and looks the coroner square in the face: "Heck no! It weren't no accident! I meant to kill that no-good son-of-a-gun." Jurors at first wince, but then quietly giggle at Uncle Andy's unvarnished testimony.
Absolutely certain that Elmer would have beaten the old man to death, the coroner's jury comes back with a unanimous verdict of "accidental death." Uncle Andy is never charged with Elmer's shooting.
Posted by Bob Ford at 8/02/2009