Widow Of Byron De La Beckwith Wins Jury Verdict

Sunday, July 7, 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."


Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: BAILEY, CORDARRIUS DEQUAN  1612 TRUMAN AVE EAST RIDGE, 37412  Age at Arrest: 18 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County CONTEMPT OF COURT (VIOLATION OF COMMUNITY PLACEMEN --- BELL, RONALD KEITH  631 DOGWOOD DR THOMSON, 30824  Age at Arrest: 38 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton ... (click for more)

Upcoming City Council Agenda For Tuesday

Here is the upcoming City Council agenda: I. Call to Order. II. Pledge of Allegiance/Invocation (Councilman Gilbert). III. Minute Approval. IV. Special Presentation. “Mediation Awareness Week Proclamation” By Councilwoman Carol Berz V. Ordinances – Final Reading : (None) VI. Ordinances – First Reading : POLICE a. An ordinance to amend Chattanooga ... (click for more)

Chattanooga's Citizens Are The Best

Today, when I finished my shift, my wife and I had a rare kid-free time where she and I could enjoy a nice quiet dinner. So, when I left my extra job and she left her job, we met at a neat local place in St. Elmo. She and I had been looking forward to and planning this dinner all day. You see, between my work with the city of Chattanooga, my many hours of extra jobs, and our responsibilities ... (click for more)

My Garden In October

Just when you thought the weather would never break, the heat was on low this morning as Tide and I stepped from the house to study our October garden. Falling leaves and the dog’s dirty tennis balls aside, let’s praise the Lord that, as a new month dawns, we are still blessed with orchids and onions galore. The dog asks that I include the fact October is National Pet Adoption month ... (click for more)

Ooltewah Demolishes Soddy-Daisy 62-7 In Homecoming Blowout

Ooltewah exploded for 31 first-quarter points, kept the pedal to the metal and steamrolled Soddy-Daisy 62-7 Friday night in a Region 4-5A football whuppin’ that left the Trojans shaking their heads and the Owls celebrating an eye-popping homecoming triumph at James N. Monroe Stadium. It was Ooltewah’s sixth straight win against the Trojans and the average score in those games ... (click for more)

McCallie Routs Baylor, 42-7

McCallie’s high-powered offense – averaging 45 points in its four wins prior to Friday night - is as good as advertised and it’s defense –allowing only 23 points in those four victories - is rock solid. Just ask Baylor. Thanks to a clicking-on-all-cylinders offense led by senior quarterback Robert Riddle - 181 passing yards and three touchdowns – and a defense with three ... (click for more)