Bettie Clyde Sullivan Keith

Macon, Bibb County, Georgia, USA
Death 19 Dec 1929 (aged 24)
Birmingham, Jefferson County, Alabama, USA
Burial Birmingham, Jefferson County, Alabama, USA
Memorial ID 95311888 · View Source
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Headlines from "The Birmingham News", Dec. 19, 1929:
HUSBAND KILLS HIS WOUNDED MATE; MRS. W. ROSS KEITH, JR - FATAL FUSILLADE SENT INTO WOMAN LYING IN HOSPITAL - SHOT THREE TIMES IN BREAST BY HUSBAND WHO HAD STABBED HER - EAST LAKE MAN THEN TURNS GUN ON HIMSELF - VICTIM FIRED ON PREVIOUS NIGHT AFTER TAKING REFUGE IN HOME OF NEIGHBOR - BETTY KEITH, lies dead, the victim of her husband, W. ROSS KEITH, JR. KEITH, on a hospital bed, writhes in pain from a self-inflicted wound, muttering incoherently, "I couldn't live with her and I didn't want to live without her." The fatal shooting of the woman came Thursday as a sequel to injuries inflicted upon her Wednesday night by the husband. The KEITHS lived at 8416 Eighth Avenue North. The young wife was a patient in Room 262, Woodlawn Infirmary. Shortly before noon the husband, hunted by police in connection with an attack with knife and gun on MRS. KEITH Wednesday night, entered the hospital and inquired about his wife. After loitering about the building, he entered her room and conversation passed. The colloquy led to the shooting. KEITH fired point blank at a distance of a few feet, three bullets striking the woman in the left breast. She died an hour later. KEITH immediately turned the weapon upon himself, but he was a bad marksman, if he sought a vital spot, because the missils hit his left arm and inflicted a wound from which he will probably recover. Sobbing out the pitiful details of a shattered romance, KEITH lay twisting and turning in his emergency cot at Hillman Hospital, where he was taken after he entered the Woodlawn Infirmary and fired upon his wife. Under a police guard with five nurses and two interns, KEITH kept telling anyone who would listen, "I love her, I love her. We were so happy, I guess everybody hates me now". KEITH's story was disconnected, he said he had been married a little more than a year, and that he had been devoted to his wife. He is 24; his wife was 25. Hospital attendants and Officers Copeland and Dumas stated that KEITH had been drinking. His arm may be amputated, depending on the result of x-ray which is expected to show a badly shattered arm. When the officers reached KEITH, his gun was empty and he had used his last bullet on himself. "Don't think bad of me, please," KEITH begged of the hospital attaches. "I tried to be a man, I tried to do right". I love my wife, I'd kill anybody that would hurt her. BUDDY, I just love her". Police records show that KEITH returned from Atlanta unexpectedly Wednesday night. It was then he stabbed his wife and later fired twice at her with a pistol while she was receiving first aid at the home of a neighbor. Coroner Russum began an investigation Thursday afternoon into the shooting death of MRS. KEITH and announced he would question the husband at 3 p.m. at the hospital ward where he lies wounded. According to W. W. Whitfield, bookkeeper at the Woodlawn Infirmary, KEITH came to the hospital about 11 a.m. and asked to see MRS. KEITH. He said he wanted to talk with her. Whitfield said he was permitted to go to her room. The bookkeeper said he went up to the room a few minutes later and found KEITH and his wife in a heated discussion. "They were arguing as to whether the woman should leave the hospital immediately or remain until afternoon", Whitfield told police. He said after he walked into the room, KEITH turned to him and told him his wife would probably stay at the infirmary until afternoon when he would return, pay the bill and take her away. The bookkeeper said he agreed to this and left the room. He said he had barely left the room when he heard three shots fired in quick succession and then a fourth report. He heard screams and ran back to the room to find MRS. KEITH had been shot three times in the left breast. KEITH was grasping his left arm where he had shot himself. Whitfield said he and other attendants took KEITH from the room, summoned an infirmary surgeon to examine MRS. KEITH and called police. KEITH refused to say why he had shot his wife, Whitfield said. MRS. KEITH was taken to the infirmary about 10 p.m. Wednesday in a Luquire ambulance, after she had been stabbed at her home. It was while she was being treated for the stab wounds at a neighbor's house that KEITH suddenly opened the door to the room where she was and fired twice at her, it was reported to officers. Police searched for KEITH Wednesday night. C. C. BERRY, of 8424 Eight Avenue North, his wife and two children reported they heard a woman screaming and moaning in their front yard Wednesday night. On investigation, BERRY said, he saw MRS. KEITH wandering around supported by her father in law, W. ROSS KEITH, SR., and her husband following them. MRS. KEITH was brought into the BERRY home. "We had gotten MRS. KEITH into the living room where she collapsed on the floor. While administering first aid treatment, the front door opened and a man fired two shots at the prostrate woman. One bullet hit the floor a few inches from MRS. KEITH and the other imbedded itself in the piano. Both narrowly missed my wife and children", BERRY told the officers. The report filed Wednesday night at the Woodlawn Precinct by Officers COUSINS and RIGGINS said MRS. KEITH was stabbed by her husband, who later fired at her in the home of a neighbor. MRS. KEITH was BETTY SULLIVAN of Atlanta, and KEITH was formerly the proprietor of the Green Lantern on The Montgomery Highway. :
From "The Birmingham News", Dec. 26, 1929: MRS. KEITH'S BODY WILL BE BURIED. Funeral arrangement for MRS. BETTY KEITH, whose body has been held at Luquire's East Lake Funeral Home since Dec. 18, when she was slain in Woodlawn Infirmary by her husband, W. R. KEITH, JR., were to be arranged Thursday afternoon, efforts to communicate with her relatives having failed. Luquire had planned last Saturday to send the body to Atlanta, her former home, but it was stated Thursday that efforts to locate her relatives there had proven futile. KEITH was still in Hillman Hospital Thursday under guard with charges of First degree murder against him.
From "The Birmingham News", Dec. 26, 1929: BETTY KEITH IS LAID TO REST BY KIN OF HUSBAND: SIMPLE SERVICE MARKS BURIAL AFTER VAIN ATTEMPTS TO LOCATED RELATIVES. After vain efforts to communicate with her relatives, MRS. BETTY KEITH, age 24, was buried Friday by the family of W. ROSS KEITH, JR., the husband who is charged with her murder. While funeral services were being conducted in the chapel of Luquire's Woodlawn Funeral Home and while the body was being consigned to its final resting place in East Lake Cemetery, the husband remained under police guard at Hillman Hospital suffering a self-inflicted wound, unaware of his wife's death. He has asked those around him at the hospital last Tuesday to go ahead and buy a pink negligee for BETTY. "I promised her one for Christmas and I want you to see that she gets it", he said. A score of friends gathered in the chapel Friday morning with W. R. KEITH, SR., his daughter and son in law. In front of them was a beautiful gray casket, covered with flowers that contained the body of MRS. KEITH. The services conducted by the Rev. I. K. Waller pastor of the Lake Highlands Methodist Church, were opened with a song, "Safe in the Arms of Jesus". Blessings on the daughter and mercy for the son was asked by the Rev. Waller. "Rock of Ages" concluded the services. Friends of the family were then permitted to gather around the casket. They were followed by MR. KEITH, his daughter and son in law, who stood with bowed heads. The daughter, young KEITH's sister, was sobbing audibly. From the funeral home a small procession wended its way to the cemetery where the body was laid in the grave. MRS. BETTY KEITH was at rest.
The DEATH CERTIFICATE of MRS. BETTIE CLYDE KEITH states that she was born on Feb. 16, 1905 in Macon, Georgia, and died at the age of 24 on Dec. 19, 1929 in Birmingham, Jefferson Co., Alabama. She was buried on Dec. 27, 1929 in the East Lake Cemetery. She was residing at 8416 North 8th Avenue at the time of her death. Her father is W R SULLIVAN, born in Georgia; her spouse is WILLIAM ROSS KEITH.

BETTIE's husband, WILLIAM ROSS KEITH, JR., was convicted of 1st Degree Murder in the Jefferson County Court and was sentenced for a term of "life" on Dec. 19, 1930. MR. KEITH had numerous temporary paroles and was finally paroled "while on parole" on Oct. 31, 1938.

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  • Created by: Melinda Albarado
  • Added: 13 Aug 2012
  • Find a Grave Memorial 95311888
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Bettie Clyde Sullivan Keith (16 Feb 1905–19 Dec 1929), Find a Grave Memorial no. 95311888, citing East Lake Cemetery, Birmingham, Jefferson County, Alabama, USA ; Maintained by Melinda Albarado (contributor 47642596) .