James Peterson

Background

On December 1, 1956, James Peterson was murdered by a night watchman in Blaine, MS, a small village near Ruleville in Sunflower County. On the evening in question Peterson was a patron at the One Minute Café with his wife, sister, and brother-in-law. He became involved in an altercation with three other men, and the night marshal, W.B. (Bill) Townsend was called to intervene. Townsend claimed Peterson resisted arrest and he shot him in self-defence.

Legal Status

Medgar Evers conducted an investigation. A coroner’s jury was convened, ruling the homicide justifiable, and the Blaine Justice of the Peace concluded that W.B. Townsend acted in self-defense.