CAMDEN – (Special) – About 20 witness have been subpoenaed by the prosecution in the trail here in which a former school superintendent is charged with destroying his school by fire back in 1956.
Edward W. Shingler, in a five-times postponed trail before Kershaw County criminal court, pleaded innocent to “unlawfully buring of a building” and “breach of trust” when the case was finally called at 11 a.m.
Judge George Gregory of Chester is on the bench for this court session. Clerk of Court W. Edward Ogburn read the charges against Shingler, to which he replied emphatically, “not guilty.”
Little of the testimony heard Thursday by the first two state’s witnesses was allowed on the record. Both prosecution and defense attorneys vigorously protested various statements and the judge ruled in almost each instance that statements be stricken.
The first witness was Bob Carswell, Camden accountant who did an audit of the school’s books the day after it burned. But, when he admitted much of his information was based on statements from the defendant, his testimony did not stand.
Then Superintendent of Kershaw Schools Arthur H. Stokes took the stand. Repeatedly his answers drew complaint from the defense when it was stated most of the figures used were of personal nature to the defendant.
Blaney school, located in the edge of Kershaw County on the Camden-Columbia highway, burned to the ground in June, only a few hours after the 19545-56 graduation class had marched across the stage before a packed auditorium.
Shingler, then superintendent of the school, was arrested a few days later and charged with breach of trust. He was again arrested several weeks later and charged with the unlawful burning of the building.
A little more than two years ago, Shingler received a preliminary hearing in magistrate’s court in Camden. Magistrate Charles Blyther ruled the case to a higher court.