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County Seat - Pauls Valley

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The Sylvia Potts Murder
Return to Shootings Index

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Submitted by Carolyn Mackey Byrum


Chickasaw Enterprise, Pauls Valley

Thursday, December 9, 1943

Potts Pleaded Not Guilty, Bound to District Court Without Bond to Await Trial in Regular Term

Larnce Potts, 34, is being held in the county jail for the alleged shooting of his estranged wife, Mrs. Sylvia McCarty Potts, 33, Monday night about 8:00 at Maysville.

Mrs. Potts had been employed at Roy Harris' Cafe since the separation and divorce from her husband about two months ago.

She was supporting her six children and was on her way home accompanied by her 17 year old son, Raymond, when he had to return to a store and she started on home alone.   According to the defendant's confession, he was parked in his car across the street from his wife, and in his own words, "I called to her to come and talk to me and she wouldn't.  I had my twelve gauge shot gun and three shells, and I asked her to come back to me and she wouldn't, so I shot her either one or two times.  I went to Earnest's (his brother's house) to try to get some shotgun shells to kill myself but he wouldn't let me have them so I started back to Williams but they (supposedly the sherif and his deputies) blocked the road, so I climbed up a pecan tree and jumped out to try to kill myself, but I failed."

According to reports, after Potts climbed the tree he began screaming, and the sheriff pleaded with him to come down but he refused, finally jumping 20 to 25 feet to the ground and falling on his shoulder.  He was apparently unhurt by the fall.

Potts appeared before District Judge Ben T. Williams Thursday morning and pleaded not guilty, and was bound to district court without bond and was returned to jail to await trail by jury in a regular term of District Court.

See picture of Sylvia McCarty Potts - see Dripping Springs Cemetery

Chickasaw Enterprise, Pauls Valley


Only those who have lost loved ones and have been comforted by the kind words and deeds of friends can know the deep gratitude which we feel for the expressions of love and sympathy shown us during the tragic loss of our beloved mother, daughter, and sister, Sylvia McCarty.

Raymond, Edward, Norma Lee, Daphine, and twins, Billy and Jimmie Potts.

Mother and father, Mr. and Mrs. O.L. McCarty.  Other relatives, Mr. and Mrs. E.J. Current, Mr. and Mrs. Bill Kelley, Mr. and Mrs. O.J. McCarty, Mr. and Mrs. Cecil Potts, Royal McCarty, Pvt., J.I. McCarty, Corporal and Mrs. Foy C. Real, Mr. and Mrs. Farris Current, Misses Lois, Dean, Ragna, Betty Lou and Vernon and C.J. Potts.

April 27, 1943

Lawrence Potts Kills Former Wife With a Shotgun
Tragedy Occurred Monday Night In Maysville
Tragedy again stocked in Maysville, Monday night, the victim this time being Mrs. Sylvia POTTS, who was shot and killed by her former husband, Lawrence POTTS, 37, from whom she had been divorced about two months.
After the shooting, which occurred near the home of Mrs. J.H. MAYS about 8 o'clock, POTTS drove away in his car, presumably going to the home of a brother to get more shells for his gun, which he did not get, then made his way back to town on the road to a friend's to try to get the shells to kill himself with he told the officers when they had literally treed him in a pecan tree on the S.J. MAYS place west of town, where he gave up and plunged to the ground, the fall knocking him out temporarily.
The trouble leading to the tragedy was not a recent date. After obtaining a divorce Mrs. POTTS came to Maysville with her six children and secured employment in Roy HARRIS' cafe, while POTTS worked on the railroad and lived in the tenant house on the Calvin HORN place east of town. He was discharged from the section fob that morning and spent the day in town it was said.
Mrs. POTTS quit work at the cafe for the night about 8 o'clock and walked toward her home in the Reubin COFFEY house in the west part of town. POTTS, sitting in a car in front of the C.L. WILLIAMS home, accosted her, according to his testimony. Refusing to go to the car to see him, he said he went across the street to her and opened fire. In all, three shots were fired, at least two of them being into her body. She fell in the bar ditch near Mrs. MAYS' home and died instantly.
Night Marshal Bill ADAMS was the first officer to reach the scene of the tragedy. POTTS already had driven away. Arousing Marshal McKINNEY who was at home, and calling the sheriff's office soon a posse of officers was on the trail of the man. When located in the tree he readily gave up and admitted the shooting, Mr. ADAMS said.
POTTS was arraigned Wednesday morning on a charge of murder before County Judge GARVIN, pleaded guilty, and was bound over to the district court without bail.
Funeral services for Mrs. POTTS were held at the First Baptist church Wednesday at 10:30, Rev. P.E. HIGH, conducting. Yeary & Vaughn had charge of the funeral arrangements, taking the body to Pernell for burial.
Besides the six children ranging in ages from 6 to 17, she is survived by her parents, Mr. and Mrs. O.L. McCARTY of Whitebead, two brothers and two or three sisters.

April 27, 1944

Potts Given Life For Wife Slaying
Lawrence POTTS, accused murderer of his wife in Maysville on the night of December 6, 1943, entered a plea of guilty when his trial opened in district court on April 17th. He was immediately sentenced to life imprisonment at hard labor by Judge Ben T. WILLIAMS. POTTS had been in jail since the fatal shooting of his wife, Sylvia POTTS, near the home of Mrs. J.H. MAYS, where she was waylaid by her estranged husband on her way home from work in a cafe. A large number of witnesses had been called and preparation  made for the trial, which ended abruptly by the defendant's guilty plea.

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