Charles Alexander Hall or "Charlie" as he was known to his family and friends was born on 28 Jan 1920. He was just a year and a half younger than Grandpa and according to him, 'Charlie was my best friend.' Even after 70 or so years, I could tell that Grandpa still had a hole in his heart from the passing of his little brother. I asked before continuing to question him and he assured me he felt comfortable talking about it. He was in his 90's when he told me the story of his little brother's murder in Griffin, Georgia.
In 1938 Grandpa lived in Atlanta and he had gotten Charlie a job with him at Sears Roebuck, but Charlie, age 18, didn't want to move to Atlanta ... he wanted to get married back home. Grandpa gave him one of his suits to do so, and requested that Charlie wait around for him to get home from work before heading back to Orlando, but he didn't wait. The court transcripts state that the two brothers talked for about two hours in the Sear Roebuck cafeteria, that was the last time Grandpa saw his little brother alive.
Charlie was hitchhiking and had made it to Griffin, Georgia. According to Grandpa, Charlie was wearing the suit, which he thinks probably made him a target. Eye witnesses claim Louis Harry was wearing a khaki outfit when they saw him initially but when Louis was picked up later by police, he was dressed in a grey suit. Initially the police assumed it was Bill Hall (Grandpa) who was beaten to death with a rock because his name was in the suit. Grandpa had to go to the undertaker to identify Charlie’s body. Grandpa remembered sadly, “he was a good looking young man, but not a good looking corpse.”
Grandpa rode with Charlie’s body on the train back to Orlando. Jimmie (grandpa’s half-brother) and Estes drove to Fitzgerald, GA, picked up grandpa and they all three went to the trial in Griffin. Pleading insanity, Louis Harry was still found guilty and was sentenced to life in June 1938. His records indicate he was paroled and later found guilty of several counts of simple larceny, a second murder in Coffee County and two counts of incest.
I didn't realize the significance of the suit when he told me the story until after I read the court transcripts. I cannot begin to imagine the amount of guilt that Grandpa probably harbored ... obviously not his fault, but how many "what if" thoughts must have gone through his mind.
I don't know more about Charlie, just that his life was cut way too short for something as stupid as a suit. I don't know who he wanted to marry or what kind of kid he was. I just know that Grandpa thought the world of him and I wish I had the chance to meet him.