Beck, Paul Ward d. 1922



Lieutenant Colonel Paul Ward Beck, Famous as an Army Flyer, Slain---Known at Lincoln and Omaha.

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla., April 4.---A midnight party in the fashionable home here of Jean P. Day, prominent attorney and oil man of Oklahoma, ended early today in the death of Lieutenant Colonel Paul Wark Beck, assistant commander of Post field, at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and widely known in army circles.

Beck, one of the pioneer flyers of the American army, was killed by Day, who declares he struck the army officer over the head with a revolver when he returned home and found his guest struggling with Mrs. Day. The gun was accidentally discharged, day asserts. Beck's skull was so badly shattered that officials were unable to determine whether the bullet or the blow caused his death. Day is under $5,000 bond to appear at a coroner's inquest Saturday afternoon.

A committee of officers from Post field will conduct an inquiry into the affair, it was announced today by Forest Highes, county attorney, following a long distance telephone conversation with Post field officers.

The county attorney said he would not consider filing charges until after the coroner's inquest.

Shooting Follows Midnight Party.

The shooting came after a party at the day home at which Lieutenant Colonel Beck was the guest on honor. Beck flew here yesterday from Fort Sill. Day had taken the other guests home in his motor car and when he returned about 2:39 in the morning, he declared in a statement to newspaper men, he looked thru a window and saw his wife and Beck seated on a divan. "Colonel Beck reached for her," Day declared. "There was a struggle."

Thereupon, Day said, he rushed into him home and to an upstairs room where he got his revolver.

"Returning to the dining room," he related,"I commanded, 'You get out of here.' The army officer drew back his hand as if to strike," Day said , "and hit him over the head; the gun went off I never dreamed of discharging it."

Day said Lieutenant Colonel Beck had spent the evening with him and Mrs. Day. They dined at a hotel. Day said he had invited Beck to stay at his home last night. Earlier in the evening Beck and Mrs. Day attended a theater alone, according to other guests at the party.

Long a Friend of the Family.

Beck had long been a friend of the Day family. He was forty-five years old. Day is fifty and his wife several years younger. They have a daughter who is a student at the state university.

Mrs. Day was unable to make any connected statement during the day, tho she corroborated the story told by her husband.

Mrs. Day is a leading society woman of Oklahoma City. She spent last winter in Washington, D. C., and entertained at many social functions.

Lieutenant Colonel Beck lived at Fort Sill with his mother, seventy-seven years old. His wife died last year in Atlantic City. He is survived by a son, who is a first lieutenant in the army ordnance[sic] department, stationed at Watertown, Mass.

The coroner's jury has been called to meet Saturday afternoon and pending a full investigation. County Attorney Hughes announced no charges will be filed[sic]. In instructing the sheriff to accept a cash appearance bond from Day, the county said that the fact that the army officer was formerly a good friend of the Days and was their guest, together with the fact that they had killed him in his home contributed to his decision to refrain from filing charges immediately.

Accounts Details of Tragedy.

In an interview tonight, Day amplified his statement of today and recounted the details of the tragedy.

"Could any red-blooded American do anything else when his confidence is violated, his home invaded and his faithful wide insulted and violently attacked?" he demanded.

Clad in a house coat and slippers with a burned out cigar between his fingers, Day sat on the front porch of his home and calmly related the details.

"So help me God I never meant to kill Beck," Day declared vehemently. "I loved Beck like a brother," Day said.

"He had my complete confidence. He had the run of my home. He was at liberty to come in unannounced for dinner or as an overnight guest. He had entertained us often at Post field. No man could have trusted a brother more. He came up last night unannounced. He was sitting on the porch when I drove up at 5:30 p.m.; said he was coming to stay all night."

Dined Together at Hotel.

Mr. Day said he and Beck and Mrs. Day dined at a hotel. Mrs. Beck suggested attending a motion picture show but Day begged off. So Beck and Mrs. Day went to the theater alone, agreeing to pick him up later at the hotel, Day said. Beck and Mrs. Day returned to the hotel and met Mr. and Mrs. L. S. Prichard, Mr. and Mrs. P. S. Anderson and Major R. B. Paddock of Fort Sill, said to be a relative of Gen. John J. Pershing. They left a note saying they had gone to Prichard's home and asked Day to come there. Day went and there the party danced.

"It was midnight or after when we left Prichard's home," Day said, "I suggested that they all come over to my house and dance and we came. It may have been after 1:30 o'clock when the Prichard's started for home.

The Andersons had no car, so I offered to drive them home.

"Mrs. Day was tired and did not accompany me. Beck said he would stay and entertain Mrs. Day. I may have been gone half an hour. When I stopped my car on the driveway I heard a commanding voice coming from somewhere. The blinds in front were all up. I came up the side steps and saw Beck struggling with the purest, dearest woman in the world. He was attempting to assault her and as I hurried to the door I could hear her begging and pleading, and trying to shame him.

Meant To Drive Him From Home.

"I do things methodically. When I saw what was going on I decided to drive him out of the house. Just before I turned the knob, it occurred to me that army officers often go armed and that I had better get my gun.

"Beck jumped up from the couch as quickly as a cat as I came in the door and went toward the dining room which is separated from the living room by portieres, partly drawn. When I got my revolver and came downstairs I paused in the landing looking into the living room, but Beck was not to be seen. Then I turned around and went down a short flight of steps to the kitchen instead of going into the living room. I thought I would find him if I made the circuit.

"It occurred to me that Beck had left the house as I started thru the kitchen, I passed in to the breakfast nook and, looking thru into the dining room, I saw the portieres bulge together. I walked in and Beck stepped out boldly. He looked me in the eye. I was just four feet from him.

"I said; "Now, you get out of my house, you cur."

"His right hand was clenched and he had hold of his Sam Brown belt. He pulled that arm back. It may have been for a blow. I thought he might be armed; I did not know.

"I jumped in and brought my gun down on his head with great force. The impact discharged the weapon. That is the truth."

Beck Has Visited in Lincoln.

OMAHA, Neb., April 4.---Lieutenant Colonel Paul M. Beck, who was killed in Oklahoma City early today, lived in Omaha a short time twenty-five years ago and married a Lyons, Neb., girl---Miss Evelyn Everett---who died several months ago, it was said here today. At that time he was a reporter on a local newspaper, according to the Omaha Bee, and his father, W. H. Beck, was government agent on the Omaha-Winnebago Indian reservation in the 90's. In April of last year Colonel Beck flew to Omaha from Fort Sill and at that time visited a cousin living near Lincoln. When he returned from Lincoln, a girl cousin accompanied him.'

The Nebraska State Journal, Lincoln, NE 5 Apr 1922

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