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Robert D Mahan
and Helen Bentley

Robert D Mahan b 3 Jan 1913 Whitley Co KY d 16 Sept 1951, at 1230 Banklick St, Covington, Kenton Co KY; age 38; at work, ladder slipped, fell from roof; 11:55 A.M.; skull fracture, broken neck; buried Hart Cemetery, Corbin KY; s/o Thomas Mahan and Margaret Rose. Robert Mahan m. Helen Bentley b 1918 KY d 1989; d/o William Henderson Bentley and Virgie Ethel Whitaker. Child of Robert D Mahan and Helen Bentley;

1. Thomas Henderson Mahan b 14 Mar 1935 d 12 Dec 1935 of labor pneumonia due to lacerated wounds each corner of mouth, ulcers on feet, head, back of hand, wounds in mouth sutured. Admitted to hospital 8 Dec 1935 to 12 Dec 1935. Buried Martin Bentley Cemetery, Payne Gap KY 13 Dec 1935. Findagrave 168679967.


Articles: Death of
Thomas Henderson Mahan

11 Dec 1935: Dad Who Poked Tot's Feet In Blaze Jailed. Whitesburg, Ky., Dec. 11---Robert Mahan, 25-year-old coal loader accused of cruel and inhuman treatment of his 9-months-old son, Thomas, was placed in the county jail here today to await examining trial, probably before County Judge Sandy Adams. Mahan was brought here from Jenkins where he was arrested. Officials denied he was moved because of fears of mob violence.


Baby's Condition Worse
Jenkins, Ky., Dec. 11 1935

Jenkins, Ky., Dec. 11---(AP)---Dr. J. E. Stanfield, assistant surgeon at Jenkins hospital, said today that Thomas Mahan, 9 months old, who has been receiving treatment for injuries alleged to have been inflicted by his father, is suffering from pneumonia. The child was kept here for treatment when brought here today. Dr. Stanfield said the new complication modified the confidence he expressed yesterday that the child would recover. The child's father is in jail at Whitesburg.


Mother, Father Held In Murder
Young Couple Accused of
Murdering 9-Months-Old Baby

Whitesburg, Ky., Dec. 16 1935. (AP)--- Mrs. Helen Mahan, 18, and her husband, Robert, 22, were held without bond on charges of murdering their 9-months-old son, Thomas, today after the wife testified the father tortured the child.

County Judge Sandy Adams said he could see nothing else to do as he was not clear in his mind whether one or both parents was to blame for the injuries that killed the baby last Thursday. The father was in jail at the time on charges of cruel and inhuman treatment of his son. The mother accused him of poking the baby's feet against the stove as a punishment for crying.

Harry L. Moore, lawyer retained by Mrs. Mahan's relatives to help prosecute Mahan, helped present the commonwealth's case today. With Judge Adams' ruling he announced he would defend Mrs. Mahan and would move for bond Wednesday, resorting to the circuit court if unsuccessful.

Mother Not Previously Accused: Mrs. Mahan had not previously been accused in connection with the baby's death. When her husband was arrested eight days ago she went home to her father, Henderson Benley a miner. Several hundred persons turned out in the cold rain to attend the child's funeral.

A wife may not testify against her husband under the law of Kentucky, but Mahan's coumsel, R. L. Pope, of Knoxville, Tenn., made no objection to Mrs. Mahan taking the stand today. Mahan, who has denied the charges since he was arrested, did not testify.

Mrs. Mahan testified her husband once put the baby on the floor and jumped on him with his feet. She testified he abused the child over a three months period, that he threatened her and that he refused to let her take the child to a hospital for treatment.

Pope, on cross examination, asked whether she could not have burnt the child's feet by holding him close to the stove to get warm and whether she might not have cut his mouth when she bashed in a window during a quarrel with her husband. The slight, brunette girl repudiated both possibilities.

Dr. J. E. Stanfield of the Jenkins, Ky., hospital who treated the child disclosed in his testimony for the first time that the child was suffering from a broken thigh bone. He said the child was first brought to the hospital eight days ago with injuries which included ulcers, such as burns might cause, on the feet, cuts at the corners ot its mouth, bruises on the head and back and undernourishment. The baby became ill of pneumonia last Tuesday, he said, and he learned for the first time of the broken bone through an x-ray examination.

Dr. Stanfield testified that pneumonia killed the child but that undernourishment, curvature of the spine and injuries were contributing causes.

Mrs. Ethel Fleming, sister of Mrs. Mahan testified she once saw Mahan take the child in another room and heard it crying but could not say whether the baby was beaten. John Bentley, brother of Mrs. Mahan, said he once saw the father put the child in a bureau drawer and cover his face with a pillow. He said the father took the child out of the drawer, put him on the bed with the pillow over his face and laid down on him.

Mrs. Mahan is being kept at the jail here. Her husband was removed tonight to Pikeville, Ky., the case will be considered by the grand jury which sits January 6 Judge Adams said.

County Attorney G Bennett Adams questioned witnesses for the commonwealtha today.


Father's Brutality Kills Baby
17 Dec 1935 Whitesburg, KY

Whitesburg, Ky., Dec. 17 (1935). (U.P.)--- The young mother and father of nine-months-old Thomas Mahan, whose death last week resulted from ill treatment, were ordered held without bond today on murder charges.

The father, Robert Mahan, 22, was arrested more than a week ago, when the baby was taken to a hospital, on a charge of "cruel and inhuman treatment." The mother, Helen Bentley Mahan, 18, was held after she testified against her husband in Letcher county court yesterday.

The young wife testified Mahan had mistreated their baby for three months. She said he had put the baby on the floor and jumped upon him once.

Dr. J. E. Stanfield, of Jenkins, who treated the baby, said it had a fractured thigh bone and curvature of the spine. Death resulted from pneumonia after the child had been injured, the physician said.

At the close of Mahan's examining trial, Judge Sanfy Adams said he could not determine whether one or both parents had caused the baby's death. Mahan's attorneys did not object to Mrs. Mahan testifying although Kentucky law provides a wife may not be called to testify against her husband.

Mahan was returned to the county jail at Pikeville because of feeling against him here.


Mahan Goes On Trial In Letcher
Young Man Is Charged With
Murder of Nine-Months-Old Son

Whitesburg, Ky., Jan 24, 1936. (AP)----
Robert Mahan, 24, charged with the murder of his nine-months-old son, Thomas Henderson Mahan, went on trial here today before a Letcher county jury composed of eleven farmers and a former sheriff.

Counsel for the young father entered a plea of innocence at the start of the trial.

The young Mahan baby died of pneumonia caused by mistreatment and injuries which a grand jury alleged were inflicted by his father. Mahan denied the charges at the time of his arrest.

The regular jury panel was exhausted today before a jury was selected but additional veniremen were summoned and the jury completed late this afternoon.

The only witness to testify today was Dr. J. E. Stanfill who treated the infant.

He said the baby was suffering from lacerations of the mouth, two teeth were missing, ulcers were found on his feet, hands, head and back and that he had pneumonia. X-ray pictures later showed, Dr. Stanfill continued, the baby's right thigh was fractured and he had a spinal in jury.

Dr. Stanfill declared the injuries were caused "by outside forces," saying it was "impossible for the baby to have hurt himself like that."

A packed court room watched the opening day's proceedings in the trial.

Mrs. Mahan, 18-year old mother of the baby, sat with the commonwealth during the day. She has accused her husband of placing the child's feet against a hot stove to punish him.

Mahan, apparently nervous, kept biting his lips as the trial progressed.


Alleged Slayer of Baby Freed
Whitesburg, Ky., Jan. 25, 1936

Whitesburg, Ky., Jan. 25 (1936) ---- The trial of Robert Mahan, 22, accused of inflicting fatal burns and bruises on his only child last Dec. 9, (1935) came to an abrupt end in Letcher co. court today when Judge R Monroe Fields ordered Mahan's release on grounds of "insufficient evidence."

Judge Fields dismissed the jury of 12 men a few hours after they had been impaneled and struck out wilful murder charges against Mahan. Several witnesses had testified, but Judge Fields held the evidence had been "circumstantial."

Mahan had been accused of torturing the baby, Thomas, nine months old, by pushing him against a stove and otherwise mistreating him when he cried incessantly. The baby died in Jenkins hospital on Dec. 12 (1935).

A crowd of 400 from the Kentucky mountain region braved the cold today to pack the courtroom as the trial started.

Among the witnesses for the commonwealth were the sister and brother of the baby's mother, Mrs. Helen Bentley Mahan, 16. Both testified they had seen Mahan mistreat the baby on several occasions. Mrs. Mahan had been cleard by the county grand jury which indicted her husband.

Kentucky law prevented Mrs. Mahan from testifying against her husband.


Father Freed In His Baby's Death
Robert Mahan Cleared On Directed
Verdict by Judge At Whitesburg

Whitesburg, Ky., Jan. 25 (1936). (AP)---Circuit Judge R Monroe Fields today directed acquittal of Robert Mahan of murdering his nine-months-old son Thomas, when the commonwealth completed its evidence. Mahan was indicted after his wife. Mrs. Helen Mahan accused him of torturing the child and inflicting fatal injuries.

Mrs. Mahan and her husband were held to the grand jury following her testimony against Mahan at his examining trial, but the jury indicted only the husband. The wife said Mahan burned the child's feet as a disciplinary measure.

Mrs. Rosa Fleming today testified for the commonwealth that Mahan disliked his son's blue eyes and offered to give him away. Mrs. Fleming testified that she never saw Mahan mistreat the child.

Among Mrs. Mahan's kin who testified for the prosecution was John Davis Bentley, her brother. He said he once saw the defendant put the baby in a dresser drawer.

A cousin of the mother, Opal Ludwick said she was at the Mahan home near Jenkins, Ky., soon after the baby was born. She testified Mahan called it "a damned alligator" and said he wished it would die before morning.

Another cousin, Russell Bentley, said he never saw Mahan mistreat the baby. His wife, when she took the stand, denied the defendant offered to give her the baby.


Asked to Remove This "Ugly Story"

I have been asked to remove this "ugly story" by one of the decendants of this family. I will not remove it for the simple reason that this child needs to be remembered. His little life was important and no one rescued this little fellow from the horror that was his life. His life should mean something to others. It should not be covered up and brushed under the rug. I really have no words.


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