The Jealous Husband

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By Mike Simmons

For jealousy arouses a husband’s fury, and he will show no mercy when he takes revenge. – Proverbs 6:34

December 5, 1911:

Joe Wood was headed home at 7:30 in the evening. He lived on the corner of 8th Avenue and Brainerd Streets in Pensacola. He was in a good mood. At the end of the month was Christmas, which usually brings out the best in people. And…people who live in Pensacola know that, while the month of December might have some cold days, most of the time the weather is pleasant.

But pleasant was not what Joe found when he walked in the door. His wife was in bed – no problem. The problem was that Mr. Harris was in bed with her.

810 E. Brainerd St.

As soon as Harris saw Wood, he jumped up and attacked him with a knife. Wood, however, already had his knife out. He carved Harris up one side and down the other, then carved a little on his chest for good measure. Some stabs went to the bone. The wounds were deep and life-threatening. Wood fled the scene.

The Pensacola Police were called and responded. They had Harris taken to the hospital ward of the jail for doctors to do what they could.

Special Officer J. G. Yniestra was called to investigate and got right to work. He tracked the fleeing felon throughout town, searching from place to place where Wood had been. Finally, after about two hours of doing his hound dog work, he located the suspect and placed him under arrest.

Old Pensacola Police Headquarters, 407 S. Jefferson St.

When Yniestra got Wood to the station and began questioning him, Wood was very open with his deed. He said that when Harris attacked and stabbed him, “he attacked me before I had a chance to get in the work that I considered my duty to do.”

Wood said that he was sure that, when he went to court, he would be found not guilty, because the “unwritten law” would sustain him. He was completely justified in carving up the man who was sleeping with his wife.

A few days later, Wood was taken to the county courthouse located on the corner of Government and Palafox Streets. There is no record of what the jury decided in the case. The next thing we hear about Mr. Wood, though, is that he loaned some money to Charles Cooper in 1913. He was out at that time. Cooper didn’t pay him back and was arrested on October 4, 1913.

Old Escambia County Courthouse

So, it appears that Mr. Wood was a straight-up guy, justified in what he did. But…maybe that is speaking too soon. Because Mr. Wood was in trouble before and after his carving duty.

On January 25, 1899, he was arrested for embezzlement.

On December 11, 1901, he was working at the Lakeview Dairy when his supervisor, J. T. Naff, chewed him out about his quality of work. Later in the day, Wood walked up to Naff, who was speaking with another worker – Mr. Clipper. Wood pulled a revolver out and shot Naff in the forehead. The shot didn’t kill Naff, but he lost his left eye as a result. Wood was arrested. .

On January 9, 1902, he went to trial. He was found guilty. He was sentenced to 15 years in state prison on February 5, 1902.

On October 6, 1904, Wood’s lawyer, J. Campbell, petitioned for a pardon. The pardon was granted on December 7, 1904.

On May 14, 1914, Wood was arrested for stealing chickens. Apparently, he had stolen so many that, when they were confiscated upon his arrest, the City Marshal made a plea through the Pensacola News Journal for people to check to see if any of their chickens had been stolen and come pick them up from police headquarters as they were overrunning the station. He was fined $15 for that crime.



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