Mollie Thornton was my first cousin, 4 times removed. She never married and lived alone after the death of her bachelor brother, Michael Thornton. She lived in the family’s old store building in Alton Illinois. In August of 1946, at the age of 82 yrs old, she was beaten in her bed in the middle of the night, by a man bent on robbing her. You can read the article about it here.
I then found the following article and was surprised to find that three deputies were suspended after beating the suspect.
Suspends Trio of Deputies On Negro’s Charge He Was Beaten
Sheriff Hartman Calls in Night-Riders For Questioning
EDWARDSVILLE, Aug. 24. (Special) – Sheriff Harry T. Hartman announced today that he had suspended three night-riding deputies, following charges by a negro prisoner that he had been beaten during his transfer, from the Alton city jail in the county jail at Edwardsville.
“I have suspended the three men, pending the outcome of my investigation of the charges made by the prisoner in a statement to the state’s attorney,” Hartman declared.
Hartman identified the three suspended night riders, who were on duty Wednesday night and early Thursday morning, as Marion (Whitey) Booth of Alton, Delmar Monken of Wood River, and Vernon Crider of Granite City.
Sheriff Hartman said he had questioned each of the three deputies and had notified them to appear at his office at 7 o’clock tonight for further questioning.
“In my entire career of 25 years in police work, I never have mistreated a prisoner; and I have forbidden any mistreatment of prisoners by men in my charge,” Hartman stated.
A statement that he had been beaten was made to State’s Attorney Burton by Lucian J. Hopkins, 25, Alton negro. Hopkins told Burton that, while he was being taken from Alton to Edwardsville, two of the three deputies four times administered beatings to him, and on two stops invited other persons to join in beating him.
Hopkins had been held in the Alton city jail, following his arrest and admission to an assault upon Miss Mollie Thornton, 79, at her home at 16th and Belle, in Alton. Hopkins also admitted in a statement to Alton police that he had attempted to rape the aged Alton woman.
Hopkins told the state’s attorney that, at no time while being transferred to the county jail, was he handcuffed by the officers. Hopkins also charged that during the trip to Edwardsville he was invited by deputies to attempt to escape “so we can shoot you.”
The negro’s statement declared that one of the three deputies, known to him only as “Officer Whitey,” hadn’t participated in the beatings. Hartman told a reporter that Booth denied striking the negro.
In his signed statement, witnessed by a deputy and a reporter for the Telegraph, Hopkins said he had received humane treatment from Alton police at all times during the four days he was in their custody.
Sheriff Hartman said a second prisoner, brought here from Alton with Hopkins, has been transferred to the Vandalia state farm to begin serving a sentence for vagrancy.