Hello everyone, I hope you are all well. I have been doing a lot of research for the 12 Days of Murder – The True Crime Christmas-related murder cases. This story, “The Accidental Murder,” is fascinating, but there’s not much to the story so I thought it would make a great post on the blog and not a standalone story on the Podcast.
On Christmas Eve 1892, In Bermingham, Alabama. Will Buckalew had been drinking whiskey, probably too much whiskey. He met up with his brother, and soon enough, they had got into a heated argument that was about to come to blows. Boy Varnum witnessed all of this happening, and he stepped in to help separate the two. When he did so, Will drew a pistol and shot at his brother. The ball missed his brother and hit Boy in the neck. The wound was severe, and Boy died within moments.
Even in his drunken state, Will knew that he was in trouble. He fled from the murder scene and was chased by those who witnessed the events. One of those witnesses was Geo Herett, a local Constable.
Will panicked when he saw the small crowd of people chasing him. He fired his pistol several times at his attackers but missed hitting anyone. A conductor in the crowd received a minor wound to the head, and Geo’s coat had two holes going through it, so Will was close to killing more people.
Will shooting at them only enraged the crowd more. Constable Geo Herett knew that if he were not stopped, Will would be lynched before being arrested.
They finally subdued Will, and he was taken prisoner. They loaded him up in a wagon and took him to the local jail. He fought all the way there, offering the men who had to hold him down 50 dollars if they would let him go. When in jail, Will continued to fight. He threatened and cursed at everyone with who he interacted with. Eventually, he was let in with the other prisoners, the guard who led him received a punch in the jaw by Will. It caught him by surprise and turned him around like a top.
Will’s trial wasn’t until November of 1893. He was found guilty of murder and was sentenced to 5 years of hard labor. Will was assigned to work in the Pratt Mines.
After being in the mines for a week, a blast loosened a rock that fell and stuck Will. It crushed him, and he died instantly.