The death of Johnnie Bunn.

Wilson Daily Times, 27 January 1936.

Despite Times‘ breathless reporting of the violence of the crime scene, and an autopsy that showed Johnnie Bunn had suffered blunt force trauma to the head, in the end the coroner declined to call an inquest. The police tracked down three white men who were among the last to see him alive. They admitted to drinking heavily with Bunn, fighting him, and leaving him to die in the field because they were too drunk to help him. Though Bunn’s body lay in a frozen puddle for six days before two hunters found him, the explanation was good enough.

Wilson Daily Times, 1 February 1936.

John Bunn’s official death date was 26 January 1936. Per his death certificate, he was 25 years old; was born in Lucama to James Bunn and Millie ONeal; was single; and worked as a laborer. The coroner listed his cause of death as “Drinking. Exposure lying on wet ground probably freezed to death.”

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