The PALLMER INN
JANUARY 25, 1932
PALLMER HELD IN FOR MURDER
HELD IN FATAL SHOOTING OF "NIPPY ROBERTS"
ALLEGED TO HAVE OPENED FIRE ON EX-SOLDIER AS HE ENTERED CAFE.
DEATH ALMOST INSTANT AS 4 SHOTS ENTER BODY
CITY HOTEL OPERATOR STATES HER LIFE ALSO WAS THREATENED
First degree murder charges were to be filed this afternoon against Arnold Pallmer, city cafe operator, for the fatal shooting of E.J. "Nippy" Roberts, 31-year old ex-soldier and member of a prominent city family in Pallmer's cafe on West Oklahoma Sunday night.
Pallmer is being held in the county jail where he was placed after his arrest last night by Patrolman Franklin H. Adair of the city police department. He has refused to attribute a motive to the shooting according to County Attorney Ralph Busey, who conducted an investigation immediately after the shooting.
Two travelers, Jack Mabry, Bowling Green, Ky., and Mabel Harris, Ft. Smith, Arkansas, are being held in the county jail as material witnesses. They were two of the six witnesses to the shooting. Among those who witnessed Pallmer shoot Roberts was his father, who is associated with him in the business.
The Shooting Occurred at 9 O'clock Sunday night. Witnesses told the county attorney that Roberts started to enter the cafe just as Pallmer was coming down the stairs from the second story of the cafe building. Before Roberts opened fire; witnesses said that Roberts fell yelling "My God, Arnold. Don't shoot me again." Three shots, two of them entering the stomach were fired by Pallmer in rapid succession.
Bending over Roberts' prostrate body, Pallmer fired two more shots into his head at close range, witnesses said. The right side of Roberts' face was burned by gun powder.
After killing Roberts, Pallmer went into Mrs. Linkert's cot house, next to the cafe and threatened to kill Mrs. Ola Stevens, proprietor, who was with Roberts when he was shot, Mrs. Stevens told Busey in the investigation. She said that she pleaded with him not to shoot her and that he left and returned to the cafe.
Roberts evidently was expecting trouble, according to Adair, who was the first officer at the scene of the killing, because he had called city police before going to the cafe and asked them to send a patrolman to Pallmer's restaurant. Before Adair and night sergeant W.R. Short could reach the restaurant however, Roberts was dead.
Adair held all witnesses to the shooting inside the building and allowed no one else to enter until after he had summoned Sheriff Harvey Ball, Deputy Jim Broaddus and Arnold-Heady ambulance.
Busey started an investigation immediately after the shooting that continued until after 1:30 this morning.
Patrolman Adair said today that Pallmer did not resist arrest but handed him his gun when he entered the cafe saying, "I've killed the _____." He did not tell Adair why he shot Roberts. Pallmer son of Lon Pallmer, has lived in Missouri, but moved here with his family at an early age and has spent practically all of his life here.
Funeral services will be held tomorrow afternoon at 2:30 at the Fourth and Broadway Church of Christ. Interment will be in Holdenville cemetery with Military services. Roberts serviced in United States Army in the World War but never saw overseas service. Until the past year he has been active in national guard affairs. He had just returned from University Hospital at Oklahoma City where he had a piece of shell, lodged in his leg during an encampment at Ft. Sill, removed.
He is survived by his three sisters, Mrs. D.C. Barksdale, City; Mrs. Charles Crow, Wanette; and Jaunita Roberts, city; and four brothers, E.W., Earl, Evert and Eugene in addition to his parents.
PALLMER MURDER TRIAL STARTED
JURY SELECTED TO TRY LOCAL CAFE OPERATOR
STATE EXPECTED TO ASK DEATH PENALTY FOR SLAYING OF
DEFENDANT TO MAKE SELF-DEFENSE PLEA
Arnold Pallmer, young cafe operator, went on trial in district court this afternoon for the murder of E.J. "Nippy" Roberts, 31 year old member of a prominent pioneer Holdenville family and a World War Veteran on January 26, 1932.
After an all morning session the jury to try Pallmer on the murder case was selected. It is composed of eight farmers, two merchants, and a real estate dealer. Members of the jury which holds the fate of Pallmer in its hands are: E.L. Yandell, Holdenville farmer; Dannie Black, Atwood farmer, Roley Canard, Wetumka real estate dealer; Robert Rhea, Dustin merchant; J.R. Lackey, Stuart, merchant; R.E. Brogdon, Calvin farmer; C.S. Roberts, Gerty farmer; P.L. Meshe, Holdenville farmer; and Orville Pogue, Holdenville farmer.
County Attorney Ralph Busey made the Opening Statement for the state at 1:40 p.m. He recounted the events leading up to Roberts' death in an effort to show that the murder was premeditated.
SELF DEFENSE PLEA
Opening statement for the defense was given at 2 o'clock with the defense counsel reviewing previous threats alleged to have been made by the deceased against Pallmer and recounting a serious accident in which Pallmer was severely burned and his nervous system shattered. The defense will make self-defense the basis for their case.
The gray haired father of Roberts was the first state witness. He told of seeing the body of his dead son at Pallmer's cafe and told of his returning from a hospital at Muskogee where he had a bullet removed from his leg.
Paul Heady of the Arnold-Heady Funeral home followed him on the stand and gave technical testimony on the condition of Roberts' body and where the bullets penetrated.
Dr C.S. Wallace testified as to the number of bullets which entered Roberts' body and the location of the bullets. He said that one bullet, probably the first fired by Pallmer, entered the center of Roberts' chest. He said that bullet might or might not have caused Roberts' immediate death. Two bullets fired at close range into Roberts' head while he was on the floor would have caused his intent death Dr. Wallace testified. He said four bullets entered Roberts' body and a fifth penetrated his clothing. He was followed on the stand by Sheriff Harvey Ball who displayed the clothing worn by Roberts when he was killed.
JURY SELECTION SLOW
Selection of a jury in the Pallmer case was a slow process. That the state will demand the death penalty for the slaying of Roberts was indicated in the questioning of prospective jurymen of County Attorney Ralph Busey.
Pallmer's defense will be that he shot Roberts in self-defense, his attorneys disclosed in their questioning of jurymen. All jurymen were asked if they believed in the law of self-defense and that a man had a right to kill in protecting his life and property.
Sitting with Pallmer and his attorneys were his aged father and mother. He seemed unperturbed as the case opened. He showed no interest when County Attorney Busey was questioning jurymen on whether or not they would be willing to assess capital punishment.
Spike Roberts, gray-haired pioneer of Holdenville, sat with attorneys for the state as they prepared to ask vengeance for the killing of his oldest son. Hugh White, city attorney and former county attorney, was assisting Busey as a special prosecutor in the Pallmer murder case.
HOLDENVILLE DAILY NEWS
TUESDAY, MAY 16, 1933
JURY WILL GET PALLMER MURDER CASE TODAY.
ARGUMENTS ARE OPENED AFTER NOON RECESS.
DEFENDANT GIVES A DRAMATIC STORY OF SHOOTING OF
STATE STRIKES MAJOR BLOW LATE YESTERDAY
WITNESSES TELL OF THREATS MADE AGAINST CAFE OPERATOR.
The Arnold Pallmer murder case went to the jury at 4:02 this afternoon. In his closing arguments County Attorney Ralph Busey made no demand for the death penalty.
Closing arguments in the case of Arnold Pallmer, city cafe owner, charged with the murder of E.J. "Nippy Roberts were being made this afternoon and the case will be given to the jury before the closing of this afternoon's session of district court.
Hugh White, special prosecutor, made the opening statement for the state. He was followed by the defendant's attorney. County Attorney Ralph Busey was closing for the state. The court room was jammed during the two days trial.
According to the instructions given the jury shortly before noon by District Judge George Crump, three verdicts are possible in the case - Murder, First Degree Manslaughter, or Acquittal,. He instructed the jury that if they fount the killing was pre-meditated they should return a verdict of guilty with sentence either death or life imprisonment, if they found that the murder was not justifiable, but not premeditated they should return a verdict of Manslaughter, and that if Pallmer shot in defense of his life that they should acquit him. He outlined the rules under which the jury could acquit him on the self defense plea. He instructed the jury that a man had a right to take the life of an assailant in the order to protect himself.
Both state and defense rested at 11:34 this morning after the jury returned from an inspection of the palmer cafe, scene of the killing. As their last witness the defense counsel placed Arnold Pallmer on the stand following his father.
In a clear voice, which went to a high pitch in moments of intense drama, Arnold told of his fear that Roberts would kill him, of threats being conveyed to him of Roberts threatening him with a pistol and of telling him " the next time I come in here you had better be ready, cowhand."
The 31 year old former telephone company employee who in 1922 was seriously injured when he came in contact with a 2300 volt high-line and has been a cripple since told of knowing the man whom he killed for the past 15 years, of the friendly feeling that existed between them until he got the idea that Pallmer had his room searched for whiskey.
Dramatically leading up to the events of the night that Roberts, World War veteran and member of a prominent Holdenville family, was killed in his cafe, Pallmer told of the accident which placed him in a hospital for almost a year, of hearing of threats that Roberts had made against him, of trying to patch up differences and of developing a fear that Roberts would make good on threats Roberts had made and which he told the jury Roberts delivered to him personally.
Telling of the events immediately before and during the shooting which claimed Roberts' life, Pallmer said; "I saw him out in front scuffling with Scruggs Davis and Mrs. Linker. He was trying to get to the cafe door. He cried "Let me loose, turn me loose. Let me tromp their_________ heads off." As I got to the bottom of the stairs I saw him trying to open the door. He was scuffling with Mrs. Linker. I got my gun. He yelled a couple of times."
The defense counsel asked if he said anything to Roberts. "Not a Word." "Did Roberts Say anything to you?" they asked. "Not a Word." "He was coming straight toward me. He had his right hand in his pocket or behind him. I fired at him. Three times. When I fired the first three shots he turned. From there on I don't know what I did." "I was scared of him. I didn't want him to shoot first. I was trying to protect myself."
The only other defense witness this morning was the defendant's 64 year old father. He told of Roberts forcing his way into the store. He denied asking him into the cafe.
Bringing to a climax their case with which they hope to show that cold-blooded murder was pre-meditated and the state placed their star witness, Mrs. Ola Stephens of Malvern, Ark., former operator of a small cafe and rooming house on West Oklahoma next door to Pallmer's cafe, of the stand late yesterday afternoon.
She related the story of how Roberts had been drinking, how she and a friend had tussled with him in the street to keep him from following her daughter home and of his going into Pallmer's cafe where he was fatally shot. Dramatically she told of the defendant's father, Lon Pallmer, who assisted Arnold in the operation of the cafe of opening the door of the cafe and inviting Roberts and her in, of how when Roberts stepped across the threshold of the cafe Arnold fired at Roberts and Roberts cried: "Oh God, Arnold don't shoot me anymore!" of seeing Roberts fall and of Arnold bending over his prostrate body and pumping two more shots into his head.
She told the jury that Roberts was not armed. Denied that during the tussle in the street he was trying to get into Pallmer's cafe. She told of helping Roberts who was in a drunken condition to the door of the Pallmer White House Cafe and of helping him open the door, of seeing him shot just as he placed one foot inside the door, and of seeing the other shots fired into his body. She also told of Pallmer coming into her cafe and threatening to kill her as Roberts lay dead in his cafe.
The attempt of counsel for the defense to shake her testimony on cross-examination was futile. She maintained that he was going into the Pallmer Cafe to call the police to come and "take me places and see things." He previously had called the police from the Depot Cafe operated by Leonard Ruark.
The defense is stressing the calls to the police station as one of their major points in their case. They contend that he called the police to come down to "rat row" because he was intending to go into the Pallmer cafe to cause trouble.
Bennie Mayfield, waitress in Pallmer's Cafe was the next witness for the state. She recounted the struggle between Roberts and his friend, Scruggs Davis, in the street and of seeing him shot down by Pallmer.
Bill Williams of Ft. Smith, Ark., who operated a small cafe next door to the White House when Roberts was shot gave another eye-witness account to the shooting. Andy Berry told of Roberts' drunken condition, of his calling the police station from the Depot cafe, and of following Roberts to the Pallmer cafe where he was killed.
Throckmorton's testimony brought forth a heated legal skirmish over the admission of his testimony. W.R. Short, night sergeant at the police station when Roberts was killed, told of the telephone call to the police station and of rushing to the cafe with Night Chief Franklyn Adair to find Roberts' body in a pool of blood and the cafe filled with gun-shot smoke.
The testimony of former Night Chief Adair, who was not found by officers in their attempt to service him with a subpoena at the preliminary hearing, was read to the jury. In the testimony Adair told of threats Roberts made against Pallmer but said that he had not communicated the threats to Pallmer.
A story of how he tried to iron out the difficulties between his two friends, Roberts and Pallmer, was told from the witness stand by P.K. (Rookie) Fancher who went to Roberts at Pallmer's request in an effort to try to convince him that Pallmer had not turned him in to the officers.
TELLS OF A GUN THREAT
Orville Stout, Spaulding youth boyhood friend of Pallmer's told of being in the cafe a few nights before Roberts was killed and of seeing Roberts, gun in hand, tell Pallmer "You blowed me up, I'm going to blow you up." Bruce Marks, 14 year old city youth, told his version of the shooting. Marks said he was in the cafe when the shooting occurred.
HOLDENVILLE DAILY NEWS
WEDNESDAY, MAY 17, 1933
ARNOLD PALLMER AND JOHN GILLEY CLEARED OF
CRIPPLED CAFE OPERATOR IS ACQUITTED AFTER
Arnold Pallmer, 31 year old crippled cafe operator, was acquitted of the murder of E.J. (Nippy) Roberts World war veteran, by a district court jury which returned its verdict at the opening of the criminal session today. The jury was out from 4:02 yesterday afternoon until it returned its verdict at 9a.m. this morning, but only three ballots were taken to reach the verdict of not guilty. The first two ballots were 11 for acquittal to one against. On the third and final ballot the one juryman who voted for conviction changed over and the verdict was brought in.
Pallmer was visibly moved when the verdict was read freeing him of blame in the killing of Roberts in Pallmer's White House Cafe on Oklahoma Avenue January a year ago.
He rushed to the jurymen and shook their hands thanking them for the decision they rendered. His aged father who took the witness stand on his son's behalf wept.
CLOSED BY BUSEY
The Pallmer case was closed at 4 o'clock yesterday afternoon with a dramatic and brilliant closing argument for the state by County Attorney Ralph Busey. Busey outlined all of the events leading up to the killing, and asked that the jury return a verdict of guilty on the murder charge.
Pallmer plead self-defense in the slaying and brought out numerous threats which Roberts was alleged to have made against him and his father, Lon Pallmer, who assists him in the operation of his cafe.