Widow Of Byron De La Beckwith Wins Jury Verdict

Sunday, July 07, 2002

Thelma Neff Beckwith, the widow of Byron De La Beckwith, has been awarded $175,000 in punitive damages by a Hamilton County Chancery Court jury.

The two-day trial and jury verdict also set aside a deed from Mrs. Beckwith to Judy Skiba, the defendant in the case.

Mrs. Beckwith was 92 years old at the time she signed a deed to property she owned on Wilson Avenue on Signal Mountain. The jury found that the deed was procured by "fraud and undue influence" on Mrs. Beckwith by Ms. Skiba.

Attorney Mitchell Byrd said Ms. Skiba had befriended Mrs. Beckwith after she (Ms. Skiba) was released from prison in Georgia. He said Ms. Skiba shared the "political views" of Mrs. Beckwith's late husband, who was convicted of the civil rights murder of Medgar Evers in Mississippi. Mr. Beckwith died in prison in Mississippi in January 2001.

Attorney Byrd told the Chancery Court jury that the case was an "old story of racism, hatred, bitterness and greed" by Ms. Skiba. He urged the jury to "send a message to all those like Judy Skiba in our community and state that this abuse of trust and fraud toward the helpless, oppressed and elderly would not be tolerated in our community."

Attorney Byrd said, "It is the responsibility of a trial lawyer to use the system of jury trial for not only the cause of his client, but in proper circumstances to extend the principles of justice beyond the particular facts of the case. This punitive verdict should be viewed by those who abuse others, whether it be a spouse, a child or as in this case, a 92-year-old woman, that our community and legal system will not tolerate such abuses. They will be punished severely by both the criminal and the civil systems of law that we trial lawyers respect so much."

Mr. Byrd continued, "The jury system is still the best realm of protection for wrongs done to all our citizens. It must be protected and cherished as one of our greatest rights through history and into the future. This was not a 'run away' verdict. The 12 men and women who decided this case certainly rose to the occasion in patriotism, compassion, justice and fairness."


Robber Hits Collegedale Credit Union

A robber struck at the Collegedale Credit Union on University Drive on Thursday afternoon. Police said a man entered the credit union about 2:30 p.m. He handed over a note that demanded money. The man said he had a gun, but did not display one. He left on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash. The robber was described as a white male around 5'11". (click for more)

Fort Oglethorpe Arrest Report For July 25-31

Here is the Fort Oglethorpe arrest report for July 25-31: John Alan Suggs, 35, of 222 South Center Street, Rossville was arrested July 29 on charges of giving false name and false information to police and theft by shoplifting. Jennifer Lynn Joy, 37, 429 Guyler Street, Ringgold was arrested July 28 on a charge of theft by taking. Ronald Jason Hendricks, 36, of 1313 ... (click for more)

Curtis Adams: Beck, Mackey Should Be Considered For County Commission Leadership

Just think about this;  a person highly qualified applying for a job.  As he is just about finished filling out his papers for his interview, he sees at the bottom there is a place for him to check Democrat or Republican.  He would think, “if I mark the wrong one I may not get the job.” Being a real leader requires honesty, integrity, and, most importantly, fairness. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Orchids And Onions

With record low temperatures being recorded around the South, I didn’t know what I’d find in my garden on the first day of August but – sure enough -- there is a profusion of orchids and onions. The start of college football will be later this month and, with the chilly mornings, fall practice is a far cry from what it will be when the sweltering heat comes back next week. Here’s ... (click for more)

Jones, Vols Meet The Press A Day Before Fall Football Begins

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- What did  Butch Jones  have to say about Tennessee’s 2014 football team on the eve of the Vols' first practice? Find out in this transcript of Thursday’s press conference:  HEAD COACH BUTCH JONES (Opening Statement) "It's great to see everyone, and I hope everyone had a great summer. We will hold an open practice on Saturday ... (click for more)

Jane Webb Is A Fun-Loving Runner At Heart

Jane Webb isn’t one of those people who started running when she was a kid, but she loves the benefits since she restarted her running career about four years ago. She’s all about being active and doing things that are good for you,   but long-distance running never really captured her attention and she’s found that she can receive the same payoff by covering ... (click for more)