J. Thomas Perry


On the morning of August 22, 1894, W.M. Hendley fished alone on a St. Petersburg, Florida dock. Sela P. Harrison approached the man from behind wielding a double-barreled shotgun, one barrel loaded with buck-shot and the other with slugs cut from a metal bar. Hendley was unaware of his assailant and no words were exchanged. Within ten feet of the victim, Sela fired both barrels striking Hendley in the torso and taking off the right side of his head. Sela remained calm. He did not attempt to flee the scene or dispose of the gun, rather, he walked slowly up the dock and eventually handed the weapon to Marshal Clarence Gill. Along with the gun, Sela produced a letter, handed it to Gill, and asked the arresting marshal for permission to go home and retrieve more letters. Gill refused his request. B.C. Kyle, who witnessed the killing, later testified that he asked Sela why he had murdered Hendley, and Sela replied, "Because he has ruined my wife."1