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Powell Plymouth at 1218 San Marco Blvd. was selling 1966 Simcas, above, for $1,295. It was noted the vehicle would get 33 mpg and came with Chrysler's five-year, 50,000-mile guarantee.
Jax Daily Record Monday, Jul. 18, 201612:00 PM EST

50 years ago: Three city officials indicted by grand jury for theft and perjury

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by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

Three city officials were named in grand larceny, conspiracy and perjury indictments that could bring prison sentences totaling more than 200 years.

Accused by the Duval County grand jury of stealing from the city and lying to the jury were City Council members W.O. Mattox Jr. and Cecil Lowe. Former Recreation Department Executive Secretary George Robinson Sr. also was named in the indictments.

The three were charged with buying personal items, including televisions, wristwatches, jewelry and electric blankets from Harry Finkelstein Co. and charging them to the Recreation Department, which paid for the merchandise.

They also were accused of lying to the grand jury about the purchases.

Thirteen indictments were returned in open court to Circuit Judge Marion Gooding, who on May 27 called for a sweeping probe of accusations of wrongdoing at City Hall, particularly in purchasing practices.

Within three hours of the indictments, all three defendants had been contacted by the Sheriff’s Office and surrendered on bench warrants issued on the request of State Attorney William Hallowes.

The defendants posted bond of $5,000 each for appearance in Criminal Court on Aug. 23, possibly to be arraigned.

• Sheriff Dale Carson said he was going to ask the County Budget Commission for more patrol officers to fight crime in general and burglary in particular.

Without saying the number of new officers needed, Carson disclosed his intention at a meeting of the Board of County Commissioners, where a Southside business owner complained he was being almost put out of business by teenage burglars.

W. Frank Matthews, owner of Matthews Lumber & Supply Co. at 2161 Jernigan Road, didn’t blame the Sheriff’s Office. He said he realized the sheriff had only four cars to patrol the entire Southside area.

Matthews was, however, critical of the courts, which he said showed leniency to teenage offenders.

• Jacksonville attorney Martin Sack’s candidacy for judge on the 1st District Court of Appeal was endorsed by The Jacksonville Bar Association.

Sack was appointed to the court June 30 to fill the remaining term of the late Judge Wallace Sturgis.

Sack faced opposition in a special election scheduled Aug. 2.

His opponent was Sam Spector, an attorney from Tallahassee, who resigned as an assistant state attorney general to enter the race.

The Bar adopted a resolution endorsing Sack’s qualifications and his candidacy, said Earl Hadlow, association president.

• A 27-year-old bandit who pleaded guilty to robbery received a seven-year prison term in the same courtroom where the man who captured him served as the trial clerk.

John Ericksons was sentenced by Criminal Court Judge A. Lloyd Layton.

The defendant’s guilty plea made it unnecessary to hear the testimony of Ted Mains, who was Layton’s trial clerk and the man who — unarmed — risked his life by apprehending Ericksons as he fled the scene of the shoe store holdup.

Assistant State Attorney Bill Ragsdale said the defendant, carrying a handgun, walked into Lindsey’s Shoe Service at 913 King St. and held up the owner, E.T. Lindsey, making off with $19 in $1 bills.

Mains, a former deputy sheriff and jailer, just happened to be in the vicinity when he heard someone shout at the departing Ericksons to stop. Mains intercepted the robber and held him until police arrived.

The maximum penalty for robbery in 1966 was life in prison.

• About 100 union construction workers walked off the site of the federal office building under construction Downtown at Bay and Pearl streets following a dispute over working conditions.

The walkout halted construction of the 10-story, $6 million structure and would likely cause another delay in its completion, which was rescheduled from December 1966 to Feb. 25, 1967.

The walkout followed an incident when a piece of stone fell from one of the upper stories.

No one was injured, but two workers had been killed on the job since it began.

The work stoppage was ordered by John Bowden, president of the Northeast Florida Building and Construction Trades Council.

He claimed the general contractor, Houston-based Warrior Construction Inc., failed to provide adequate safety protection for union workers.

• Black demonstrators smashed store windows, threw rocks at automobiles and set off alarms throughout a 200-block area in West Jacksonville before police blocked off the area and instituted an emergency curfew.

Before the area was barricaded to traffic by police and the Florida Highway Patrol, a number of vehicles driven by whites were struck by thrown rocks, brickbats and bottles.

Several motorists, some with their families, drove to the police station to report the incidents rather than stop in the area.

A 10-year-old girl who suffered a severe gash on her leg was taken to the hospital by an ambulance that was summoned to the police station. Other victims were treated for cuts, but no serious injuries were reported.

Soon after the vandalism and attacks, Mayor Lou Ritter called Gov. Haydon Burns, former mayor of Jacksonville, to ask that the National Guard be put on alert in the event of more racial flare-ups.

Rutledge Pearson, president of the Jacksonville and Florida branches of the NAACP, said his organization would not sponsor any more marches, at least until after a grievance meeting with Ritter.

• An ordinance prohibiting surfing from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. was enacted by the Jacksonville Beach City Council.

The law allowed surfing at all other times anywhere along the beach, except within 1,000 feet of the fishing pier at the end of Sixth Avenue South.

The bill also made it unlawful to wade or swim at any time within 300 feet of the pier.

Mayor William Wilson said council had studied the “surfing problem” for more than one year and he knew the ordinance might be controversial.

“We are reconciled to the fact that we never will get one that pleases everyone. We have struggled to get one that will be fair to all concerned,” he said.

• More details were available about the crash of the C-119 “Flying Boxcar” transport aircraft that crashed in West Jacksonville near Whitehouse.

Air Force Reserve Maj. Robert Coyle of Biloxi, Miss., was the last man to parachute from the plane and also the last to be found by rescuers hours after the other parachutists had been located.

Coyle ordered his three crew members and 30 soldiers from Company C of the 20th Specials Forces Group of the Florida National Guard to bail out of the disabled aircraft.

He was found hanging in the shroud lines from his parachute in what one rescuer called “the tallest tree in Florida.”

Coyle was separated from the others, who landed within shouting distance of each other in a forest owned by the St. Regis Paper Co.

The cause of the crash remained under investigation.

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