On Monday morning, March 6, 1882, the news spread quickly through Tampa, a normally sleepy community of some 1,000 people. During the previous night a man had broken into the home of a prominent family living just outside town. After stealing several small items, the intruder had assaulted a young woman of the family. According to subsequent press reports, the attacker had fled before actually raping the victim, but clues to his identity, including a knife left at the scene, put Sheriff D. Isaac Craft and a posse on his trail the following morning. With Tampans gripped by feelings of shock and outrage, the sheriff returned at about one o’clock that afternoon with the alleged attacker, Charles D. Owens, a white transient of about thirty who had worked at odd jobs around town.
Ingalls, Robert P.
"General Joseph B. Wall and Lynch Law in Tampa,"
Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 63
, Article 5.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/fhq/vol63/iss1/5