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Old News Stories
Mark Pulliam Sentenced for Killing Family, 1943

From The Chatsworth Times
Feb. 11, 1943

PULLIAM GIVEN LIFE SENTENCE
Motion for New Trial
Will be Heard April 17

Guilty with recommendation for mercy was the verdict of the 11-man jury which listened for three days to testimony and arguments in the case of the state against Mark Pulliam who was charged with the murder of his wife, Mrs. Winnie Charles Pulliam. The jury deliberated approximately six hours, bringing in the verdict at six o'clock Friday afternoon. Judge John C. Mitchell immediately sentenced Pulliam to life imprisonment, the sentence which automatically follows such a verdict.

The tall, 34 year-old farmer and saw mill worker received his sentence with the calm unchanging expression he had maintained throughout the trial. C. H. Dalton, Pulliam's attorney filed motion for a new trial which will be heard at 10 o'clock in the morning of April 17 in Dalton.

The grand jury indicted Pulliam for the murder of his wife and for arson resulting in the death of five of his children. Only the murder trial was held this week.

The partially burned torso of Mrs. Pulliam, headless and limbless, together with a few remains of five of her children, were found in the smoldering ruins of the Pulliam house in the Ball Ground district early Monday morning, November 2, 1942. The children were Alvie Jean, 11, Kathleen, 9, Martha 7, and Wayne and Worth, 3-year-old twins.

A coroners jury composed of Dr. E. H. Dickie, W. W. Shelton, Walter Scott, A. J. Childs, J. H. Mashburn and Sam Kelly, acting coroner, ordered that Pulliam be arrested for murder. Della Mae Hall, Dalton spread company worker, was also arrested and later charged with being accessory to the crime. The grand jury, however, failed to take action against Miss Hall and she was released this week.

Spectators, many of whom were women, jammed the court room during the trial.

Difficulty in striking a jury because most of the potential jurors were disqualified or struck off by attorneys, caused both sides to agree on an eleven man jury when the list of those drawn for jury duty in the case were exhausted.

Making up the jury were: W. T. McCamy, W. M. Harris, Tom S. Wilbanks, (name illegible), William Colvard, Fred F. Caldwell, G. C. Arthur, G. W. Taylor, M. H. Stanley, M. Odell Ingle, and W. L. Richards.

Although the state had subpoenaed 25 witnesses, and the defense 55, attorneys had rapidly disposed of all state witnesses and 17 testifying for Pulliam by Tuesday afternoon and the accused man took the stand before court adjourned the second day.

The first witness called by the state was Will Walraven, who said he lived about a mile from the Pulliam home. Walraven testified that he saw the fire at about 4:30 o'clock sun time and that he, George Baxter and Frank Blankenship went to investigate. Finding the house almost destroyed the three went to the home of Vee Pulliam, a brother of Mark, to see if any of the occupants of the house were at his home. Vee replied they were not, Walraven said, and went with the men back to the fire.

Saw Piece of Flesh

Walraven told of seeing the remains of the bodies and helping remove these from the debris. He recalled seeing what he said looked like a small piece of flesh in the yard and also noticing spots of what appeared to be blood in the yard, on the steps of the house, and on fragments of a mattress Mrs. Pulliam's body was lying on.

George Baxter, another neighbor of the Pulliams, said he dragged the piece of mattress with the body on it from the fire and poured water on it. Baxter said the substance on the mattress looked like blood.

Frank Blankenship, after viewing the ruins and bodies, said he suspected foul play and sent for the sheriff.

W. E. Foster, who was employed by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation at the time of the tragedy and who worked as an investigator on the case, was the next witness to testify for the state.

Foster told of seeing blood spots on the steps and in the yard. He scraped up the stains and placed them in an envelope, he said.

The investigator said he had questioned Pulliam after his arrest while he was confined to the Atlanta jail. Pulliam admitted, he said, that he had spent the week end before the tragedy in Chattanooga with Della Mae Hall. He had taken his companion home Sunday night, caught a bus to Resaca, ridden from there to his home with some boys and remained home with his family until 3:30 Monday morning when he left for work.

Upon cross examination by Dalton, Foster said he had taken Mark Pulliam, Jr., and Mozelle Pulliam, the oldest children of the defendant, to Atlanta with him, that he and his wife had kept them in their home, obtained a job for junior and bought clothing for Mozelle. (rest of article missing)

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