On Wednesday, January 4, 1922 Mobile County, Alabama Deputy Sheriff Carl A. Brill along with Ed Sullivan and Special Deputy Ed Everette were coming out of a swamp near Calvert, Ala., forty miles north of Mobile, after raiding the remnants of a moonshine still. They were ambushed by Dossy Rivers and Wash Sullivan. Rivers shot Brill in the head with a shotgun, killing the unsuspecting deputy instantly. Deputy Everette and the two Sullivans, close by, witnessed the murder. Rivers was arrested several days later and willingly confessed to premeditated murder. He was tried by a jury in the Circuit Court of Mobile County, mistrialed, then in the second trial convicted of murder in the first degree, and given a sentence of death by hanging. He appealed to the Alabama State Supreme Court who affirmed the lower court’s record and judgement. Upon a request by Rivers that same court then refused to hear the case a second time. His date with the gallows was schedule three times, getting stays prior to each. The governor asked the Pardons and Parole Board to review the case. The board unanimously recommended that Rivers hang. Eighteen years later Dossy Rivers walked out of prison on parole, basically a free man!
Remember, this was in 1922. l922 when Negroes were hung swiftly in the South for killing any white, for any rape, armed robbery, and for sex with a minor and with little sympathy coming from the Whites. They had one set of laws governing the Whites back then and a separate set for the Blacks. This was l922 when Prohibition outlawed all alcohol, much less the making of illegal moonshine whiskey. This was l922 when the Ku Klux Klan was strong in the South. And this was when things were ‘right or wrong’ in the courts. ‘Just you do the crime and you WILL do the time!’ And that was more so if you were a minority!
But Dossy Rivers was not a White! And Dossy Rivers was not a Black! Dossy Rivers was a mixed breed Choctaw Indian...lower in the l922's Alabama social rankings than even the then very mistreated Negroes!
So how in l922 did Dossy Rivers manage to get off from hanging after thoroughly planning to kill Deputy Brill; then ambushing and shooting him in the head with a load of #00 buckshot while three men watched, one of them a Deputy Sheriff; then willfully signing a confession while laughing; admitting the murder in court saying that he would do it again; being given the sentence of hanging; that sentence being confirmed by the State Supreme Court; and then having his hanging confirmed and recommended by the Pardons and Parole Board?
Well, this makes a very, very interesting, shocking but true, story with a powerful ending and I will tell it to you in detail. Then you and I, both, will know why Dossy Rivers did not hang, but eventually was set free after killing Deputy Sheriff Carl A. Brill...MY GRANDFATHER!