A Murder on Thanksgiving Day 1936

David W Raleigh “Rollie” Munroe was the father in-law of my mom’s paternal grandmother, Artie Rether Freeland.  He was a victim of homicide on Thanksgiving Day, 1936.  According to his death certificate, he died of blunt force trauma, causing a concussion and subdural hemorrhaging.  His daughter, Bonnie Riggs was the informant.  He was buried in Inglewood Park Cemetery, Inglewood, Los Angeles County in an unmarked grave on December 3, 1936.

According to news reports that follow, Robert Hayes was accused of beating Munroe in the head with an iron pipe after Munroe accused him of stealing one of his chickens.  Munroe was left for dead in an empty lot near Munroe’s residence in Los Angeles.  When Munroe’s body was discovered, he was holding an open knife in his hand.   When the police arrested Robert Hayes, his shirt was torn and he had a gash in his left side.

The coroner held an inquest on Wednesday, December 2, 1936 and they rendered their verdict that he be held for investigation.

Robert Hayes went to trial in February of 1937 on the charge of murder.  It was a landmark case in that it was the first trial in California history where a “Sound Film” was presented to the jury during trial.

The jury in the trial of People vs Robert Hayes rendered their decision on Tuesday, February 9, 1937 with a verdict of guilty of manslaughter.

Robert Hayes was sentenced to up to 10 years in San Quentin.  His intake date was March 13, 1937.  Shortly there after, he filed an appeal of conviction.  The appellate court upheld the conviction.  He then appealed to the State Supreme Court and they also upheld the conviction while rendering the following comment, “the use of sound motion pictures is not only legal but in the interest of justice.”

He died on July 13, 1940 while in San Quentin.   Cause of death is unknown.

Robert Hayes.jpg

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The Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, California) · 03 Dec 1936, Thu · Page 21

David W Raleigh "Rollie" Munroe Murder - which-will " Inquest Jury Gives Verdict in...

The Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, California) · 04 Dec 1936, Fri · Page 25

David W Raleigh "Rollie" Munroe Murder - Stains on Mans Hands Result in Charge of Murder...

The San Bernardino County Sun (San Bernardino, California) · 05 Feb 1937, Fri · Page 1

David W Raleigh "Rollie" Munroe Murder - (Bv Assoc luted Tress) LOS ANGELES, Feb. 4.-A...

David W Raleigh "Rollie" Munroe Murder - SOUND PICTURE (Continued from Page One) Patton....

Oakland Tribune (Oakland, California) · 05 Feb 1937, Fri · Page 12

David W Raleigh "Rollie" Munroe - V. 'fJ ir i f MM $ . VA if" - ik $Ki HiAff f ih...

Oakland Tribune (Oakland, California) · 05 Feb 1937, Fri · Page 12

David W Raleigh "Rollie" Munroe Murder - (V i - rJ -tv rs. If A p 1 - " 7nQ AMr.n r5 FpK...

The Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, California) · Wed, Feb 10, 1937 · Page 23

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The Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, California) · 09 May 1937, Sun · Page 127

David W Raleigh "Rollie" Munroe Murder - In the case of the People vs. Rohert Hayes,...

The Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, California) · 10 Jun 1937, Thu · Page 9

David W Raleigh "Rollie" Munroe Murder - Motion Picture Confessions Upheld Use of motion...

The Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, California) · 10 Jul 1937, Sat · Page 9

David W Raleigh "Rollie" Munroe Murder - 0lfD FILMS IN JURE TRIALS UFlLD M SUPREME COURT...

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