SUMMARY: Grace Malone, age 18 or 20, died on July 12, 1918 after an abortion attributed to two Muskogee, Oklahoma physicians.
Druggist John A. Sims of Stigler, Oklahoma, was charged in the abortion murder of 18- or 20-year-old telephone operator Grace Malone in 1918.
Simms was believed to be responsible for Grace’s pregnancy as well as for arranging the abortion, though not present when it was perpetrated on July 11 at the home of her sister, Mrs. Cynthia Vasser.Cynthia stated that she had sterilized the instruments in question by boiling them in water. She didn’t know what they were called, but said that one resembled scissors without blades. She said that Dr. W. W. Aiken of Muskogee perpetrated the abortion, assisted by another physician that neither she nor another witness were able to positively identify. The witnesses could, however, identify Dr. L. D. Bruton as a physician that Aiken called in at some point to help him in providing care to Grace.
Grace died there the following day, July 12. The original death certificate attributed her death to “heart failure,” but an autopsy found internal lacerations.
Aiken and Bruton were charged with murder in Grace’s death, as was Sims, after Grace’s father, O. E. Malone, filed a complaint against them. Both Grace’s father and sister said that Grace had originally gone to Dr. T. B. Turner of Stigler, OK to ask him to perform an abortion. Only after he refused did she go to Muskogee and arrange for Aiken to do the abortion.
During pre-trial proceedings, Grace’s father ran out of the courtroom shouting that somebody needed to be punished for his daughter’s death. He was taken to the county attorney’s office, where he was able to regain his composure.
Sims died, reportedly from “nervous collapse,” before his case went to trial. Aiken and Bruton had also been charged with murder in Grace’s death, but charges were dropped due to insufficient evidence to secure a conviction after Sims’ death.
- “Aiken Will Be Here Thursday to Surrender,” Muskogee (OK) Times-Democrat, July 24, 1918
- “Two Doctors Face Murder Accusations,” Muskogee (OK) County Democrat, July 25, 1918
- “Stigler Druggist Held for Murder Of Telephone Girl,” Oklahoma City Times, July 29, 1918
- “Aiken’s Bond Not Filed; Sims Soon to Have Hearing,” Muskogee (OK) Times-Democrat, July 31, 1918
- “Sims Charged With Malone Girl’s Death,” Muskogee County (OK) Democrat, August 1, 1918
- “Physicians are Granted $5,000 Bonds by Court,” Muskogee (OK) County Democrat, August 1, 1918
- “Sims Brought Here For Hearing in Murder Case,” Muskogee (OK) Times-Democrat, August 2, 1918
- “Sims Released After Attorney Agrees to Bond,” Muskogee (OK) Times-Democrat, August 3, 1918
- “Death Dismisses Murder Charges,” Muskogee (OK) Times-Democrat, September 10, 1918
- “Dismiss Murder Charge Against Local Doctors,” Muskogee (OK) Times-Democrat, February 27, 1919