Murder in the Family

A distant cousin of mine, William Walker Norvell,  was a member of a prominent Beaumont, Texas family. By the 1920s he was married to a woman named Aurelia H. Adams ( 1866-1928). She would meet a violent end at his hands in 1928 and shock the people of Beaumont and his family.

The story follows taken from local newspapers at the time.

June 13, 1928.—Mrs. W . W. Norvell, 61, was fatally stabbed with a pocket knife at her home here today. Her husband was taken into custody and in being held on the formal charge of murder. The stubbing occurred after two young women roomers In the house witnessed a quarrel between Norvell and his wife, according to their statement to Robert Sullivan, assistant county attorney. Galveston Daily News June 14, 1928

Norvell No Trouble
BEAUMONT, Feb. 22, 1929 —An old man, white hair straying in ringlets over his forehead, drawing sprightly strains of Turkey in the Straw from a fiddle. A kindly old man, friendly to all he sees and content with the bars of the cell that is his home- such is W. W. Norvell, member of one of Beaumont’s best known and most distinguished families, who in not many weeks will complete his first year of confinement in the Jefferson county jail, where he is held on an indictment that he stabbed his aged wife to death last spring.


W. W. Norvell to Be Placed in Asylum

BEAUMONT. Nov. 20. —William W. Norvell, 71. a member of a pioneer Beaumont family, was found Insane by A Jury In criminal district court today when arraigned for the murder of his wife, Aurella Norvell, 58, at their home, June 13, 1928. An array of witnesses took the stand to Norvell, whose late brother, Rush Norvell was president of the American National bank here for many years, was of unsound mind when he slashed his wife to death with a knife and that the old man is now a lunatic.

Slaying Wife Must Stand Trial for Murder

W. W. Norvell, aged Beaumont slayer must stand trial for murder. Norvell. who hacked his wife to death with a knife at heir home here three years ago, pleaded Insanity when arraigned before a criminal court jury on the murder charge last fall. The jury found him to be insane. Norvell was removed to the state asylum at Wichita Falls, to await recovery of his mind. Norvell is now sane. Port Arthur News Mar 22 1931


Second Lunacy Trial For Wife-Slayer Begins

BEAUMONT. June 22. —For the second time In four years, a court this afternoon will be asked to declare Will W. Norvell, aged Beaumont man and wife-slayer, of unsound mind. A hearing on a complaint in lunacy against Norvell. who killed his wife, Mrs. Aurella Norvell at their home. He Is entitled to oil royalties on production on certain acreage owned by him, It was said. Port Arthur News, June 22 1932

NORVELL FREED FROM CUSTODY –Murder Charge Dismissed He May Be Rich Now

BEAUMONT, Feb. 5.—After nearly seven years In custody for the murder of his wife with a knife W. W. Norvell, walked out of the county jail annex today, a free man. “I appreciate what every body has done for me,” said the old man, who during his long imprisonment, saw half a dozen Jailers come and go. An order dismissing the murder charge against Norvell was signed at Port Arthur by Judge H. Murray, on motion of County Atorrney E. W. Easterling. Port Arthur News Feb 5,1935

He later died in June 7 1942 of natural causes after several trials and being placed in the asylum.

About jenorv

John E. Norvell is a retired Air Force Lt Colonel, decorated air combat veteran of the Vietnam War, and former Assistant Professor of American and Military History at the U.S. Air Force Academy. He has written freelance for the Washington Post, the Middle Tennessee Journal of Genealogy and History, and for several newspapers around the country.
This entry was posted in American History, Norvell Family History, Texas, Texas History and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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