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Murder On Staunton Road
Murder On Staunton Road: The Violent Death of Charleston Daily Mail Owner Juliet Staunton Clark


 
Our Price: $29.95
Pages: 377
Trim: 6x9
Format: Hardback
ISBN-13: 978-0-578-72362-4

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By Charlie Ryan and Mitch Evans

Murder On Staunton Road: The Violent Death Of Charleston Daily Mail Owner Juliet Staunton Clark
is the real-life crime drama of the 1953 violent death of Juliet Staunton Clark, owner of the Charleston, West Virginia Daily Mail, and the strange investigation that followed the grisly homicide. The case was never solved and many details of the most famous and historically significant murder in the city of Charleston remain, to this day, shrouded in mystery. Sixty-six years ago—and today—there are accusations of a cover up.

Staunton Road pioneer and Charleston historian Brooks McCabe calls the book by Charlie Ryan and Mitch Evans, “a smooth blending of a classic murder mystery and the history of one of Charleston’s most prominent entrepreneurial families.”

McCabe writes, “In recent decades this crime and its impact on Charleston has been largely relegated to a historical footnote in what many believe was the distant past when Charleston was reaching its heights as the center for much of the commerce and business development within West Virginia.

“The Staunton family was one of the drivers of this new economy, and they congregated in a small subdivision of isolated houses in one of the early residential developments on the front side of South Hills located just across the Kanawha River from downtown. The murder occurred on August 21, 1953 at Mrs. Clark’s Staunton Road residence, in what everyone presumed was a safe, pristine, park-like setting.

“One summer evening would change everything. The murder sent shock waves through the city. The residents of Staunton Road were in utter disbelief and initially feared for their own safety. Local, state, and national press covered the ensuing investigations with all the flare and drama demanded from a fascinated readership. Here were the makings of a headline-grabbing story—power, wealth, and murder mixed with healthy doses of political drama.”

Charleston Mayor John Copenhaver personally took control of the investigation web that snared some of Charleston’s most prominent names and families. Copenhaver, dubbed by The Charleston Gazette as “Jumpin’ John, aggressively worked to protect the reputations of the city’s elite, drawing heavy criticism from the Gazette and charges that he bungled the case.

Authors Ryan and Evans conducted intensive research and interviews over a three-year span with those who knew intimate details of the circumstances surrounding the murder. Their numerous Freedom Of Information requests to federal, state, county and city law enforcement uncovered heretofore unknown details about the Clark murder file and its whereabouts. One-on-one interviews also revealed surprising detail about the alleged failure of authorities to arrest suspects in the case.

Murder On Staunton Road is a fast paced narrative of a sensational unsolved homicide that captured the attention of the nation in 1953. On the night of August 21, in the haute monde neighborhood of South Hills in Charleston, West Virginia, Juliet Staunton Clark was savagely beaten to death.

She was the owner of The Charleston Daily Mail, the capital city’s prosperous afternoon newspaper. Her murder set off a flurry of investigation under the direct supervision of Charleston’s flamboyant Mayor “Jumpin” John Copenhaver. Accusations flew as the investigation swept through the city. Many charged then, and some repeat the charge today, that there was manipulation to protect prominent Charlestonians who were being questioned as possible persons of interest in the Clark murder. The Charleston Daily Mail, The Charleston Gazette, and newspapers throughout the country reported every detail of the fascinating story of the brutal beating of the esteemed socialite.

Nationally prominent investigators traveled to the “Rose City” to apply the newest forensic physiological test to probe criminal suspects—the polygraph machine, known as the “Lie Detector”. The tale of sadistic murder follows the pioneer Staunton family roots from Nottingham, England to the banks of the Kanawha River in southern West Virginia. There, family members recall that fateful night of August 21, 1953, when a wave of blood flowed freely across a green carpet rug in a living room on Staunton Road.