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David Sherman


In the fall of 1907, David Sherman (also referenced as Sam Sherman), Bob Henderson and Beulah McGhee (also referenced as Bula Magee), all black men, were convicted of the December 1906 murder of Elisha Hicks, a white man whose body was found by the railroad tracks in Athens, Tennessee.
 
On the day of the murder, Sherman, Henderson, McGhee and Hicks were shooting craps at Henderson’s house. The authorities theorized that after Hicks won a substantial amount of money and had been drinking heavily, he fell asleep and was then robbed and murdered by Sherman, Henderson and McGhee, with his body left near the railroad tracks. 
 
All three men were convicted of the murder and sentenced to hang. In late 1907, a few days before the scheduled executions, Beulah McGhee admitted that he alone was responsible for the death of Hicks. He told authorities that Sherman had been asleep when the crime was committed and knew nothing about it until the following day. McGhee was hanged on November 26, 1907, while Governor Malcolm Patterson ordered a further investigation into the crime, granting Sherman and Henderson a reprieve until January 1908. In January 1908, their sentences were commuted to life in prison.
 
On January 14, 1911, Sherman was pardoned by Governor Patterson after the Board of Pardons concluded, “This appears to us quite a remarkable case of a miscarriage of justice.” Henderson died in prison of meningitis the following year.
 
– Doug Spitzer
State:TN
County:McMinn
Most Serious Crime:Murder
Reported Crime Date:1906
Convicted:1907
Exonerated:1911
Sentence:Death
Race:Black
Sex:Male
Age at the date of crime:
Contributing Factors: