One of the first items my mother gave me when I sat down to interview her about the Chapple family and her siblings a few years ago was the 1954 newspaper clipping below about the murder of her sister, Estella (Chapple) Thomas. I’ve known about her death since my pre-teen years; she died before I was born. But to see and read this news clipping for the very first time about the way she died impacted me more than I realized. I often think about what it would have been like to know her . . .
Mrs. Estella Thomas, 28, of 2402 Altoona St became involved in arguments with two men at the same time early Monday – and was shot to death.
Oia Henson, 26, of 2412 1/2 Altoona, a Texas Southern University student, said the shooting was accidental, that he had got his German Luger to protect her and that it discharged accidentally. But the police charged him in Justice of the Peace Dave Thompson’s court with murder.
The other man, L. K. Brown, 36, said he and Mrs. Thomas were just having a discussion about the $20 she owed him for furniture when Henson and Mrs. Thomas got into an argument and she was shot. A bullet hit her in the face and she was dead when the police arrived.
The discussions and the shooting occurred in her home just before 2 AM.
“Woman Killed,” Houston Chronicle, Houston, Texas, 31 August 1954.