Friday, May 10, 2024

May 10, 1960: Dumped Off the Highway

 At around 6:50 on the morning of Wednesday, May 11, 1960, the body of a young black woman was found in an uncultivated field just off Taylor Road at a spot about 100 yards off Highway 215. Found along with the body were a topcoat, a bundle, and shoes. In the coat pocket was a piece of paper with the dead woman's name. She was 30-year-old Miss Corine Lyles of Jenkinsville, SC. She had worked as a domestic servant in Richland.

Dr. C. K. Lindler, who performed the autopsy and signed the death certificate, concluded that Corine had died the previous day from bleeding and shock due to a criminal abortion. The coroner's jury concluded that the abortion had been perpetrated the day Corine died.

Corine's sister, Mary Estelle Harrison, was arrested as an accessory before the fact. She stated that Corine had been pregnant and had said that she would "kill herself if she couldn't get rid of the baby." Mary told investigators that 54-year-old Daisy Brown Baxley said that she could "do away with" the baby. Mary said that she paid Baxley $45 as a down payment for the $75 abortion.

Baxley, who was also black, was arrested as the principal in the case. She reportedly told Chief Deputy Sheriff J. C. Harrison that she had only referred Corine to Viola Anderson Wheeler, age 44, for the abortion rather than perpetrate it herself. All the parties agreed that regardless of who had wielded the deadly instruments, the abortion had been perpetrated in the Baxter home, 305 Wilkes Road, Columbia. When the case went to court, Baxley again denied performing the abortion but did admit to having been present when Corine succumbed. She said that Corine "started foaming at the mouth and ... laid back on the bed and died." She pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to 3 years in prison.

Herman Baxley, who was Daisy Baxley's husband, and Viola Wheeler were charged as accessories after the fact.

Wheeler also denied having perpetrated the abortion. Despite her original statement that she had not laid eyes on Corine until after the young woman had died, when her case went to court she admitted that she had been in the room when Corine died. She also admitted that she had helped to dispose of Corine's body and pleaded guilty to her charges.

Herman Baxley, age 53, also pleaded guilty to his charge, saying that his wife had asked him for help and he'd helped put Corine's body in his station wagon to drive to the dump site.

Herman was granted a divorce from Daisy in the spring of 1961. She was paroled on September 21, 1961.

Watch "Dumped by the Highway" on YouTube.

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