The newspaper headline was tantalizing – “Twists of Fate. Man Slew Ex-husband First Wife; Slain Himself” and the article didn’t disappoint, but it left me confused.
Birmingham, Ala. Jan. 21. (UP) –
The first time Charlie C. Graham, 45, married a divorcee, he killed her former husband.
He went to prison on a life sentence, but was paroled and married another divorcee.
Friday night the second husband killed Graham.
Eleven years ago Graham walked up to the automobile in which Glenn Harless was seated and shot Harless after an argument.
Friday night Graham walked up to the automobile where J.B. Rylant, 45, was seated, got into an argument, and Rylant killed him. They had been friends since boyhood.
Coroner __ M. Evans reconstructed the shooting today, and ordered Rylant held under $2,500 bond in a murder charge.
I was unsure who had married whom and when. All I really knew was that Charlie seemed to argue a lot and he was killed in circumstances very similar to those in which he had killed Glenn Harless. This is what I found out.
The murdered Glenn Harless was, in fact, Glen George Harless, son of Benjamin Franklin Harless and Sarah Fannie Leonard. Glen was born in Calera, Shelby County, Alabama on 28 November 1890. On 13 June 1915, he married Cory May Smith, it would prove to be his undoing. The marriage lasted until at least 1920, but on 31 May 1928, Cora married Charles Crisp Graham in Blount County, Alabama. Her name is given in the record as “Miss” Cora May Harliss, but the newspaper article calls her a divorcee. I wonder if Charles was aware of this prior to the marriage, but he certainly knew it afterwards. Just five months after the marriage, Charles Crisp Graham shot and killed Glenn George Harless. Charles was sentenced to a life term and he can be found in the 1930 Census in Kilby Prison. I do not know when he was released.
In 1934 Cora and Charles were divorced and on 23 December 1938 Charles married Bessie L. Haley in Anniston, Calhoun County, Alabama. Bessie had been married twice previously. Her latest marriage, to J. B. Rylant had ended in divorce in 1938.
On 20 January 1939, Rylant killed Charles Crisp Graham in Birmingham, Alabama.
I do not know what happened to Cora or Bessie, or even Rylant, but Glen George Harless did not appear to have had any children with Cora.