Awful Tragedy Down in Georgia

April 5, 1906


A mad woman kills her sister over jealousy towards her unfaithful husband, and her defense in court is that “she was so goaded to desperation by her heartless husband.”


Awful Tragedy Down in Georgia
Killed Her Own Sister. Jealousy the Cause. A Husband’s Infatuation. Pathetic Recital. Other Kinfolks to the Rescue
The jury decides quickly-- the guilty man not at the trial.
ONe of the most remarkable cases in the criminal annals of this country has been recently been concluded at Atlanta, Georgia. All of the parties to the unfortunate affair are white people and residents of that state.
It is evident that lawlessness begets lawlessness. As they have sowed now they are reaping. The Atlanta, Georgia Constitution in its issue of the 28th ult. Tells of the trial of Mrs. Willie Standifer, who was the self-confessed murderer of her own sister
“We the jury, find the defendant not guilty.”
That was the verdict reached in less than ten minutes in the case of Mrs. Willie Sandifer, who was tried in the criminal branch of the superior court yesterday for the killing of her sister, Miss Chappell Widenany on March 9, last.
The verdict given at 4:30 o’clock yesterday afternoon was received in silence that was oppressive. The stillness was so intense that the breathing of people in the packed courtroom was audible.
There would probably have been an outburst of applause if Judge Roan has not commanded that there should be no demonstration, no matter the verdict. He called to the sheriff to stop the jury, as it was about to file into the courtroom, and said. “There must be no demonstration whatever the verdict in this case may be. This is a courtroom, and I instruct deputies to arrest the first person who makes a demonstration.”
That was why the verdict was received in such deep silence.
The woman who sat near the prisoner, her sisters and her friends, dropped their faces in their hands and wept.
Mrs. Standifer looked about her like a frightened child, and clasped and unclasped her fingers nervously.
Last Chapter in a Pathetic Tragedy.
The last chapter in one of the most pathetic tragedies that ever occurred in Atlanta had ended. A poor frail woman upon whom death is about to set its seal in “consumption’s ghastly form,” had been arraigned at the bar of justice for slaying her own sister. Her plea was that she was so goaded to desperation by her heartless husband, who had found in her young sister a victim for his faithfulness, that she became so madly insane that she slew her sister to save her from dishonor, and to protect herself and little child from the social ruin that must follow…
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Emma Roberts


“Awful Tragedy Down in Georgia,” Black Virginia: The Richmond Planet, 1894-1909, accessed January 16, 2019,