56 years ago today the 66 year old wife of a Midland, TX, millionaire was bludgeoned to death in the bedroom of the beautiful home she built with her husband. The 22 year old man charged and convicted of her murder was on parole having been four times convicted of burglary.

James Lee Marion
James Lee Marion

He had admitted to the killing after almost a month in a prison cell with no heat.

It was around 4:12 a.m. on October 29th, 1963, that a neighbor notifies police after hearing screams in the area of the home that takes up an entire city block. Police drove through the area until daylight but found nothing. A call was made by the maid at 7:40 a.m. to the daughter and son-in-law of the wealthy Midland couple saying that she saw muddy tracks outside and inside of the house and thought it had been broken into. When the couple arrived at the home the son-in-law, Mr. Scharbauer, asked a neighbor to call the Sheriff. Mrs. Turner was found in her bedroom, the door appeared to have been battered in with a pinch bar. As the Turners daughter stood crying in the library her husband and the maid went outside to meet the Sheriff. It was then that an armed  man wearing a red cap appeared out of no-where and asked if she lived there. When she said no, that she did not, he hit her over the head with the pistol. Mr. Scharbauer, the Sheriff and a deputy make their way inside and the armed man surprises them and holds them at gunpoint until he decides to make an escape. Turns out after beating the 66 year old socialite to death during the course of a botched burglary he fell asleep somewhere in the mansion. It's likely the sounds of the new arrivals woke him up. The man bolts out the front door past the maid and a yard boy. The three men give chase but they lose the murderer only to find him some four hours later in the attic of small business. He had a .380 revolver on him and on the floor in the room below the entrance to the attic lay an identification holder with Mrs. Turner's picture in it. James Lee Marion was arrested and there would be plenty of other evidence to support his guilt. Mud from his shoes was tested and compared with the mudd around the Turner home and found to be the same. The mans shirt was said to be torn and three buttons on the floor of the room where Mrs. Turners body was found were discovered and matched to the shirt. When Marion confessed to the murder he said he was drunk when he went to rob the house. I suppose that might explain how he was able to fall asleep after beating someone to death with the butt of a pistol. A death row sentence would be handed down and then commuted to life in prison. The man who took a life at the young age of 22 would go on to be an ordained minister while in prison. In July of 1972, James Lee Marion, was given a term of 12 years after pleading guilty to charges of burglary stemming from the same incident in which he was convicted of the slaying of Mrs. Juliette Turner. That's the last bit of information I could find anywhere on James Marion.

If he's still alive he would be 78 years old.

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