|From Murder Will Out! A unpublished manuscript by the late Glenn H. Waight.|
Three teenaged East End youths entered a small grocery store on W. Fourth St. early one October evening in 1970, planning to take the elderly widow owners money.
Hallie Peddicord, 79, suffered a heart attack during this Oct. 24 holdup bid which was interrupted when a parttime male employee came from the back of the store at 124 W. Fourth St. and grappled with one of the youths.
Virgil Rowe of W. Fourth St., a disabled veteran, was working in the rear when he heard Mrs. Peddicord ask, "What do you boys want?" After one boy replied candy, Rowe heard a moan, then a gurgling sound.
Hurrying in front, Rowe said he saw a colored youth behind the woman's rocking chair with his hand over her mouth. He pulled at the youth who fell to the floor, then rushed outside. Mrs. Peddicord became ill, and Rowe pounded on her chest as she gasped for breath and cried, "They tried to rob me and kill me!"
Rowe called police, and the hysterical Mrs. Peddicord was rushed to City Hospital where she died four days later. Coroner William Kolozsi ruled the death a homicide due to massive heart attack caused by the holdup attempt.
Within three days, police seized two of the youths separately while the third turned himself in, learning he was wanted. Two of the boys were 16 and in high school, the other was 15 in Middle School.
One of the 16-year-olds had removed Mrs. Peddicord's glasses and held his hand over her mouth of prevent screaming. She later said she had also been grabbed by the throat.
The victim, a native of Ripley, W. Va., had come to East Liverpool in 1910. Her husband, Joseph, had died in 1927, and she had operated the little store for 25 years.
Two men who had waited in a car while their juvenile companions staged the robbery -- Terry Lee Wolfe, 21, of W. Third St. and August J. Bishop, 20, of Moore St. -- were taken into custody Nov. 2 and charged in Municipal Court by Det. William Devon with first degree manslaughter.
At a Juvenile Court hearing Nov. 23 the 15-year-old boy admitted his delinquency in aiding the holdup. He said he was to go in and ask for candy, and the other two were to grab the cash register when Mrs. Peddicord got up.
He said they went downtown from the East End with Wolfe and Bishop who had suggested the plot to get money.
The older youth who held Mrs. Peddicord admitted his role, and Juvenile Judge Louis Tobin placed him in permanent custody of the Ohio Youth Commission with the recommendation he be sent to the Boys Industrial School.
The other older youth denied his part, and Tobin allowed the family time to find him a home away from the city.
The charge against the 15-year-old was reduced from homicide to attempted robbery, and Tobin
The manslaughter charges against Wolfe and Bishop were rejected by the January Grand Jury which indicted them instead for assault with intent to commit robbery. Bishop pleaded guilty and requested probation.
Wolfe pleaded not guilty, but on Feb. 1 changed his plea and was sentenced to 1-20 years at the Ohio Penitentiary. His request for probation was denied by Judge Buzzard who noted he had been sentenced to the reformatory in 1968 for a burglary.