Commonwealth v. Charles Gillispie

At approximately 6:15am on Sunday, January 11, 1909, my paternal grandmother, Marie Louise Stumpf was assaulted on her way to confession before Mass. Though still suffering the physical effects of her attack, Marie Louise testified against her assailant the following Thursday and again on Saturday. On trial was Charles Gillispie, the son of former slaves, who was homeless, jobless and admits to drinking a lot the night before. He was electrocuted in the Richmond City Jail on 18 Feb 1909 for criminal assault and highway robbery; 38 days after the crime.

I. Newspaper Discoveries – Did the family know? Sexual assaults – then and now. Nation-wide story.

II. Search for His Family – Was he a parent? Sister Forest. Brother Charles.

III. Life Under Jim Crow – Sexual Assault as a Capital Crime

IV. Police, Attornies, Judge, Juries – Profiles in White Men

V. 4 Writs of Venire Faciar

VI. A granddaughter’s thoughts