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state_v._hoover_1 - THE STATE vs JOHN HOOVER SUPREME COURT...

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                                             THE STATE vs. JOHN HOOVER.                                           SUPREME COURT OF NORTH CAROLINA                            20 N.C. 500; 1839 N.C. LEXIS 92; Devereux's Ct. Cl. 500                                                   December, 1839, Decided    PRIOR HISTORY:  [**1]  The prisoner was put upon his trial, at Iredell, on the last circuit,  before his honor Judge Dick, for the murder of his own female slave, a woman, named Mira. The  witnesses, called on the part of the State, testified to a series of the most brutal and barbarous  whippings, scourgings and privations, inflicted by the prisoner upon the deceased, from about  the first of December, to the time of her death in the ensuing March, while she was in the latter  stages of pregnancy, and afterwards, during the period of her confinement and recovery from a  recent delivery. A physician, who was one of the coroner's inquest, called to view the body of the  deceased, stated that there were five wounds on the head of the deceased, four of which appeared  to have been inflicted a week or more before her death: that the fifth was a fresh wound, about  one and a half inches long, and to the bone, and was, in his opinion, sufficient to have produced  her death: that there were many other wounds on different parts of her body, which were  sufficient, independent of those on the head, to have caused death. The reasons assigned by the  prisoner to those who witnessed his inhuman treatment of the deceased, were, at  [**2]  one  time, that she stole his turnips and sold them to the worthless people in the neighborhood, and  that she had attempted to burn his barn, and was disobedient and impudent to her mistress; at  another, that she had attempted to burn his still house, and had put something in a pot to poison  his family. There was no evidence except her own confessions, extorted by severe whippings,  that the deceased was guilty of any of the crimes imputed to her; nor did it appear that she was  disobedient or impertinent to her master or mistress; on the contrary, she seemed, as some of the  witnesses testified, to do her best to obey the commands of her master, and that when she failed  to do so, it was from absolute inability to comply with orders to which her condition and strength  were unequal. The prisoner offered no testimony.     
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