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Murder of 'Old Dan' Shine 1936


Posted By: Sharyl Ferrall
Date: 1/13/2007 at 16:34:12

- compiled & transcribed by S. Ferrall for Clayton co. IAGenWeb - updated 12/28/2008

Jail Young Bride and Four Others in Farm Slaying.
Elkader, Ia. (AP) - Five persons, incluing two women were being held in the jail here Thursday pending an official investigation into the death of Dan Shine, 69-year-old Clayton county farmer living near Littleport. Sheriff L.H. Palas and County Attorney A.H. Borman, of Guttenberg, told a Dubuque Telegraph-Herald reporter that they were certain Shine had been murdered.

The five persons in jail are being held for investigation, the two officials said. They divulged the name identitiy of only two of the persons being held. They are Mrs. Pearl Shine, 28, widow of the dead man, and her aunt, Mrs. Minnie Hines, 49, both of whom live near Littleport.

Mrs. Shine was married April 30 to the man now dead. She is being held in the Clayton county jail at Elkader. Mrs. Hines was removed to the Fayette county jail at West Union Wednesday night by Sheriff Palas in order to keep the two women separated while the investigation is in progress, Borman said.

~source: Waterloo Daily Courier, May 7, 1936


Another Crime Near Elkader.
Another crime has been committed over near Elkader, it seems. Dan Shine, a sixty-year-old farmer in the Littleport neighborhood was married a week ago yesterday to a young woman aged 27 years. The next day after their marriage she induced him to deed over to her 80 acres of land. Tuesday of this week he disappeared and Thursday night his body was found with his head shot to peices from a shot gun. The gun was lying near him, with a peice of string tied to the trigger, giving it the appearance of a suicide case. But the sheriff refuses to accept the suicide theory. He has placed his wife under arrest, and the wife's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Hines also under arrest. An aunt of the wife is also being held for investigation and the sheriff seems to be working quite industriously on the case. The wife declares she knew nothing of the shooting. She went to the sheriff's office Wednesday and asked his aid in locating her husband, declaring he had disappeared Tuesday and she had been searching for him ever since.

~source: Oelwein Daily Register, May 8, 1936


Youth Names Mrs. Shine as Husband's Slayer.
Redhead Bride and Admirer Will Face Murder. Charges in Strange Crime Triangle.
Dubuque, Ia. (INS) - Maynard Lennox, 18, admitted sweetheart of 30-year-old Mrs. Pearl Shine, Friday named Mrs. Shine as the murderer of her 58-year-old husband, according to Sheriff T.J. Ryder of Dubuque. Seized in one of the strangest trianges in Iowa criminal history, the Dubuque youth declared that he was with Mrs. Shine at the time of the murder, Ryder said. Lennox's "confession" also included a statement that he had plotted the murder with Mrs. Shine, and both are to be charged with murder in the slayings of Dan Shine, 58, at his Elkader farm home last Tuesday, according to the sheriff. Lennox was taken Friday afternoon for questioning, and a further grilling at Elkader was in store for Mrs. Shine, who has already made a partial statement concerning the slaying.

Red-haired Mrs. Shine gave officers the clue which led to Lennox' arrest during her questioning last night, it was learned, but State Agent Frank Brady said she has not yet confessed the murder. The developments came thick and fast Friday as the details of the death unfolded. Mrs. Shine is accused of murdering her husband only a week after she married him, and a petition on file Friday stated that she married him only for purposes of fraud. The eerie circumstances surrounding the 58-year-old farmer's death, one week after he ended a life-time's bachelorhood by marrying, had previously cast doubt on whether it was murder, apparently because of a careful plot to make it appear a suicide.

Shine was found slumped in a clothes closet at his home, clutching a shotgun to the trigger of which a string had been tied, the string leading under his foot and back to his hand as tho he might have pulled the trigger with it. The clue which led to Lennox' arrest was obtained Thursday night from Mrs. Shine herself, who told of her affair with the Dubuque youth which was almost simultaneous with her marriage. A statement filed at Elkader by the murdered man's brother, Tim, 70, charges that Mrs. Shine married the victim solely for the purpose of defrauding him. Mrs. Shine obtained the transfer of 80 acres of Shine's land to her name, then attempted to borrow money on it, the statement said.

The aged brother, who had lived with the murdered man up to the time of his marriage, further charged that the victim was incompetent and easily influenced toward Mrs. Shine's purposes. He said that the person or persons responsible for Shine's death are now unknown, but reserved privilege of amendment for such time as the guilty person or persons should be established. The statement was filed with a petition asking that the deed to the 80 acres of land which Mrs. Shine had transferred to her name, be again transferred to Shine's estate. Mrs. Shine had acted as housekeeper for Shine prior to their marriage. The victim's body was found early Thursday, but he is believed to have been murdered Tuesday. His head was partly torn off by the shotgun blast.

~source: Waterloo Daily Courier, May 8, 1936


Three Face Trial in Hillbilly Case - Others Held in Murder of 'Old Dan' Shine to be Released.

Elkader, Ia., May 23 -- Sheriff L.J. Palas indicated today he probably will bring only three persons to trial for the "Hillbilly" murder of "Old Dan" Shine, although he still held seven in jail as he wound up his investigation.

Six of the seven, including Mrs. Pearl Shine, 28-year-old, bride-widow of the 60-year-old farmer, and her boy-lover, Maynard Lenox, 19, are charged with murder.

"Mrs. Shine and Lenox," the sheriff said, "have made new confessions which state they and Jim Hines were the only ones present May 5 when old Dan was beaten, shot to death by Lenox and his body arranged to look like a suicide."

Jim Hines is the 26-year-old, third husband of Mrs. Shine's "Aunt Minnie." who is 49 and the mother of 18 children. Both Mrs. Shine and Lenox declared in their confessions that Jim and Minnie Hines hatched the plot to trick farmer-bachelor Shine out of his 80-acre farm by getting him to marry Pearl Shine, twice wed before, deed her the property and then to kill him in order to cash in.

"Lenox maintained he shot old Dan," the sheriff said, "because Pearl promised to marry him if he'd get the old man out of the way."

Sheriff Palas yesterday released Albert Hines, 68, Mrs. Shine's father; Maurice Hines, 32, her brother, and Sam Cornwell, 55, Manchester, Ia., junk dealer.

"We're convinced these three members of the Hines-Cornwell family weren't in on the job," he said.

~source: Ironwood Daily Globe, Ironwood, Michigan, May 23, 1936


Confessions in the Shine Murder Case
The Elkader Register has the following account of the confessions expected from three who are implicated in the murder of Dan Shine about a month ago. Sheriff L.J. Palas said Tuesday night that three of the suspects in the Dan Shine murder case, from whom new confessions had been obtained, may be expected to plead guilty to participating in the slaying. A new confession obtained from Albert Cornwell, Manchester, now held in the Allamakee county jail, checks very closely to the confessions obtained several weeks ago from Mrs. Pearl Shine and her youthful lover, Maynard Lenox. All three implicate Jim Hines, an uncle, by marriage, of Mrs. Shine. Jim has steadfastly denied implication in the plot to murder the 60-year-old Littleport farmer. In brief, the confession of Cornwell relates that Pearl, Lenox, Cornwell and Jim went to the Shine home at 9:30 a.m. the morning of May 5. Jim struck Shine with his fist. Cornwell struck the victim on the head with an empty beer bottle, knocking him to the floor. At this point a car driven by Elmer Kuehl, who had come to purchase seed corn, came into the farm yard. Kuehl went to the house but was unable to get an answer at the door and departed. The four went to the Jim Hines home a mile from there, drove to Edgewood where the deed to the Shine 80-acre farm was locked in a safety deposit box, obtained the deed and unsuccessfully attempted to negotiate a loan. Then then came to Elkader, recorded the deed and returned at about 2:30 to the farm where Shine still lay on the floor. The four thought he was dead and they carried the body upstairs arranged in a sitting position in a closet where Lenox fired a shotgun blast into his head leaving the body so as to make it appear a suicide. Leaving the farm again the four went to Jim's home and then took Lenox to Manchester so he could catch a train for East Dubuque. The following day Mrs. Shine, Mr. and Mrs. Jim Hines and Howard Hines came to Elkader to report that Shine was missing and that same afternoon they were arrested in the sheriff's office after Sheriff Palas reported to Deputy E.C. Fitzpatrick that the Shine body had been found. Early confessions and statements charged Jim Hines with being the "master mind" of the plot to get title to Shine's land. Mrs. Shine, who had steadfastly refused to sign back the title to 80-acres, yesterday voluntarily released her title to the land which in the first place was at the bottom of one of the most horrible crimes in the history of this county.

~source: Oelwein Daily Register, June 12, 1936


Shine and Lenox Receive Sentence.
Just two months to the day after the murder of Dan Shine, his widow, Mrs. Pearl Shine, 28, and her youthful lover, Maynard Lenox, 19, pled guilty to charges of first and second degree murder, respectively, says the Clayton co. Register. They made their pleas before Judge W.L. Eichendorf of McGregor at one-thirty in the afternoon, after which both defendants were questioned, on the witness stand, by their attorney, W.W. Davidson, and County Attorney A.H. Borman. Following the questioning Judge Eichendorf passed sentence. Mrs. Shine was committed to Rockwell City for life, and Lenox to the state penitentiary at Fort Madison for 40 years. Thus is closed the first chapter of this hill-billy murder case, for these two at least. Five others are still being held in connection with the case, Albert "Deke" Cornwell is being held in jail at Waukon. County Attorney Borman Monday filed a county attorney's information charging him with murder in the first degree. Jim Hines, who is believed to have been the "mastermind" in the case, is held in the conty jail here, together with his step-son, Howard Hines. His wife, Minnie Hines, is confined in the county jail in West Union, and Mrs. Albert Cornwell is being held in the Dubuque county jail.

~Sumner Gazette, July 16, 1936


Grand Jury Will Continue Probe of Shine Murder.
Elkader, Ia. (INS) - A grand jury Wednesday began its study of the murder charges against Jim Hines and his wife, Minnie, in connection with the slaying last spring of Dan Shine, 56-year-old bridegroom. The bride, Pearl Hines Shine, 29, has already confessed her part in the murder, and Wednesday began a life sentence for the crime at the Women's reformatory in Rockwell City. Her youthful lover, whom she was to marry after the murder - Maynard Lenox, 19 - also confessed and is to be taken to Fort Madison for a 40-year sentence.

Albert (Deke) Cornwell, Manchester, also has a county attorney's information on file against him in connection with the so-called "hill billy" murder - a conspiracy to obtain possession of Shine's farm. Mrs. Cornwell is still held as a material witness. Officers expected Wednesday that the long-drawn case, which at one time saw 11 persons held in jail at the same time, would soon be brought to a conclusion.

Jim and Minnie Hines, uncle and aunt of the bride, who was Shine's former housekeeper, are accused of suggesting to Pearl that she kill her husband for his property, and Jim Hines was named by Lenox as the man who struck the first blow, with a picnic beer bottle, the day they killed Shine and attempted to make it appear a suicide. The body was propped in a closet with a shotgun, and a string tied to the trigger of the gun, in an effort to make it appear he shot himself. He was first beaten and then shot.

Lenox, harmonica-playing youth from East Dubuque, Ill., was given a lighter sentence than the woman with whom he conspired because of his youth.

~source: Waterloo Daily Courier, September 2, 1936


Three Suspects in Shine Killing Plead Innocence.
Elkader, Ia (INS) - Held in jail all summer, three suspects in the hill-billy murder of 60-year-old Dan Shine, bridegroom whose bride participated in a plot to slay him, Friday pleaded not guilty to murder and were ordered held for trial. They are Albert (Deke) Cornwell, 37-year-old junk dealer; James Hines, 28, and Hines' wife, Minnie, who says she is 48 years old. The three were arraigned before Judge H.E. Taylor on indictments for the murder, to which two persons already have confessed and are serving prision terms. Judge Taylor fixed the trial of Cornwell for Nov. 7. The other trials will follow.

~source: Waterloo Daily Courier, October 9, 1936


'Deke' Cornwell Found Guilty in Killing of Shine.
Elkader, Ia. (INS) - Albert (Deke) Cornwell, 38 year-old Manchester, Ia., junk dealer who helped end a hillbilly honeymoon with the murder of Dan Shine, 60, was found guilty with a recommendation for life imprisonment Thursday. A jury which had heard Cornwell's own testimony that he struck Shine with a picnic beer bottle, returned a verdict of guilty at 12:40 a.m., 10 hours and 40 minutes after receiving the case. A delay was occasioned in the return of the verdict because the defendant was sound asleep in his cell a few blocks from the court house when the jury was ready to report. Actual deliberation required 10 hours, and a total of 18 ballots were taken. The jury was evenly divided with six for acquittal on the first ballot. On the eleventh ballot, the count was 10 to 2 for conviction. On the 14th, he was held guilty, and the last four ballots were taken to determine the degree of guilt. Sheriff L.J. Pallas walked three blocks to the jail and aroused Cornwell with some difficulty. Cornwell heard the verdict with a blank stare which has characterized his attitude thruout the trial. It was the third conviction in the lurid "murder for property" in which 5 persons have been charged. Jim Hines and his 49-year-old wife, Minnie, mother of 18 children by two marriages, still face trial. The final plea of Sherman Hart, who argued that the blow with the beer bottle was not the fatal wound and Cornwell should be shown mercy because he was mentally deficient, may have saved the junk dealer from the gallows. County Attorney A.H. Borman and his assistant, Alex Holmes, had repeatedly demanded that Cornwell, the father of five children, be put to death for the slaying.

~source: Waterloo Daily Courier, November 26, 1936


Hines Found Guilty of Second Degree Murder at Elkader.
Elkader, (AP) - A jury found Jim Hines, 38, charged with a part in the murder of Dan Shine, Littleport farmer, guilty of 2nd degree murder Wednesday after deliberating 10 hours and 20 minutes. Trial of Minnie Hines, 48, Jin's common law wife, also charged with a part in the murder, was set for Feb. 15.

~source: Mason City Globe Gazette, January 20, 1937


Fifth Defendant Goes to Trial in Dan Shine Murder.
Elkader, Ia - (AP) - 49 year old Minnie Hines, fifth defendant in northeast Iowa's "hill-billy" muder case, went on trial here Monday. Charged with conspiracy in the murder of Dan Shine, the common-law wife of Jim Hines, Clayton co. farmer, has pleaded innocent to any part in the murder plot. Four other persons have been convicted in connection with the fatal shooting of Shine, May 5, 1936.

~source: Waterloo Daily Courier, February 15, 1937


Minnie Hines Found Guilty.
Elkader, (UP) - Minnie Hines, 54-year-old mother of 18 children, was convicted by a district court jury Thursday of second degree muder in connection with the slaying of Dan Shine, Littleport farmer. The jury returned the verdict after deliberating 22 hours and 15 minutes. Twenty-eight ballots were taken, the jury foreman said. Mrs. Hines was the fifth person convicted in connection with the "marriage murder" May 5, 1936. Pearl Hines Shine and her harmonica playing boy-lover, Manard Lenox of East Dubuque, Ill., received life sentences for their part in the slaying. Jim Hines, 28 year-old common law husband of Minnie Hines, and Albert (Deak) Cornwell, also were convicted for participation in the murder plot. Hines now is awaiting sentence while Cornwell received life imprisonment in the state penitentiary.

Mason City Globe Gazette, March 4, 1937


Find Mother of 18 Guilty of Murder
Minnie Hines Convicted of Slaying 56-year-old.

Elkader, Ia., March 4 -- Minnie Hines, 54-year-old mother of 18 children, was convicted by a district court jury today of second-degree murder in connection with the slaying of Dan Shine, Littleport, Ia., farmer.

The jury returned the verdict after deliberating 22 hours and 15 minutes. Twenty eight ballots were taken, the jury foreman said.

Mrs. Hines was the fifth person convicted in connection with the "marriage-murder" May 5, 1936 of Shine, 56-year-old farmer who married his housekeeper, Pearl Hines, 28, Mrs. Hines' niece, five days before he was slain.

Pearl Hines Shine and her harmonica-playing boy-lover, Maynard Lenox of East Dubuque, Ill., received life sentences for their part in the slaying.

Jim Hines, 28-year-old common law husband of Minnie Hines, and Albert (Deak) Cornwell, Manchester junk dealer, also were convicted for participation in the murder plot.

Hines now is awaiting sentence while Cornwell received life imprisonment in the state penitentiary.

The court today granted Mrs. Hines' attorneys 60 days in which to file a motion for a new trial.

~source: Ironwood Daily Globe, Ironwood, Michigan, March 4, 1937


Two Elkader Murder Lifers Given Paroles.
Des Moines (AP) - Two principals in Elkader's famed "hill-billy" murder in 1936 are on their way to freedom on parole. Pearl Shine, 44, was released by the state parole board Wednesday from the Rockwell City women's reformatory. Maynard Lenox, 35, will be released by the board Thursday from the Fort Madison state penitentiary. Each has served about 16 years. Last December Gov. Wiliam S. Beardsley commuted the sentences of more than 20 lifers, making them eligible for parole. The terms of Mrs. Shine and Lenox were commuted to 90 years each. She was sentenced to first degree murder. He was committed first for 40 years for second degree murder, and later sentenced to life for perjury on the witness stand. Three others were sentenced in connection with Shine's death. They are Albert Cornwell, who still is serving a life term at Fort Madison; James Hines, serving a 99-year term in the insane ward at the Anamosa men's reformatory, and Minnie Hines, James; common-law wife, who completed a 20-year sentence at Rockwell City in 1946. Mrs. Shine will work as a domestic in a northern Iowa home. Lenox has employment in central Iowa. Mrs. Shine spent her early life in orphans' homes at Des Moines and Davenport. She was twice married and twice divorced before she married Shine.

~source: Cedar Rapids Gazette, September 19, 1952


Notes from S. Ferrall unless otherwise credited:

1) Minnie May Christopher Hines (1881 – 1949). She married Edward Hines (1879 – 1927) and they were the parents of 18 children. Minnie Christopher Hines was an aunt of Pearl’s, through her first marriage to Edward Hines, brother of Pearl’s father Albert Hines. Minnie Hines was released from prison in 1946, died in Dubuque in 1949, and is buried at Greenhill Cemetery northwest of Edgewood. At the time of her death she made her home with her son Howard, who is listed as Jim Hines’ step-son in the 1936 murder stories. (note from Phyllis Peterson, February 2014)

2)In one of the news stories, Maurice Hines, 32, was listed as Pearl Shine’s brother but I think this was an error. I have Morris Hines as one of Minnie Christopher Hines’ 18 children. (note from Phyllis Peterson, February 2014)

3) Daniel Shine & his brother, Timothy Shine, were enumerated on the 1930 census, living in Lodomillo township, Clayton co.

4) Daniel Shine is buried in Sacred Heart Catholic Cemetery, Cox Creek Twp

5) Louis J. Palas, Clayton co. sheriff from 1933-1938, was the son of Mr. and Mrs. John Palas, Clayton co. pioneers. He died at age 78 in June 1954.

6) According to the SSDI, Maynard Lenox was b. 13 May 1917 and died 1 Jul 1988. His SS# was issued in Iowa, and his last residence was Racine, WI

Below: Photos from the May 9, 1936 Mason City Globe-Gazette

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