At the inquest into the death of Cherie Rude, George was asked if he still feared for his life. Yes, he said, as long as his brother was free. The brother in question is Si Jayne, owner of the Idle Hour Stables in Park Ridge, Ill. George and Si have been feuding for several years now, but the origin of the dispute is known only to them. The coroner's jury at the inquest on the late Cherie Rude returned a verdict of murder by an unknown person or persons.
So what about Si, the target of George Jayne's dark hints? Si has always been said to have a hot temper. Once, fuming vengeance, he jumped into his car and chased an "enemy" from Chicago to St. Louis only to be thwarted when his prey, knowing the area, slipped into a stable, grabbed a horse and disappeared cross-country into the night.
At the moment Si is out on $5,000 bond, having been indicted by the Cook County grand jury for "solicitation" of a crime, which carries a maximum penalty of one year. The charge against Si is the result of a fantastic development that came soon after Cherie Rude's death. George Jayne says that two men came to him with a strange story. Si, they claimed, had hired them on June 20th to kill George, but they had decided on a doublecross. They suggested that George disappear briefly, long enough for Si to think he was dead, so they could collect the murder money without having to carry out their messy commitment. They reasoned that Si could hardly sue for the return of his fee, and George should be happy to see Si so neatly rooked. However, George called the police.
The cops put George into protective custody, and his wife, Marian, reported him as a missing person. With the stage thus set, Si was approached by one of the men with a wallet and belt belonging to George as evidence that the deed had been done. Si admitted nothing, but he nevertheless was arrested and indicted. He has pleaded not guilty to the official charge and also has denied having any part in the series of unexplained catastrophes that have befallen his brother. The next installment of the Jayne case is due for a public airing in the Cook County courts sometime this fall.
At about the time Si Jayne was being bound over by the Cook County grand jury, murder struck in the bluegrass country. Mrs. Mary Marrs Cawein, 39, daughter of the internationally famous horse-auctioneer, George Swinebroad, and a member of the Lexington, Ky. show set, was found dead in her home. She and her husband, Dr. Madison Cawein III, had spent the evening with their close friends, Mr. and Mrs. Sam Strother Jr., at the Idle Hour Country Club. After leaving the club Dr. Cawein decided to spend the night at the Strother residence, and Mr. Strother, a Lexington attorney, took Mary Marrs home. The following morning Betty Strother dropped by the Cawein house and found Mrs. Cawein dead. An autopsy showed she had been poisoned, specifically with carbolic acid. Significant quantities of alcohol were found in her body, and there were two needle marks, one on each thigh. Whether the poison was injected or added to a drink is uncertain, but after a five-week hiatus the coroner finally labeled the death homicide. By this time the case had become known locally as "The Carbolic Acid Cocktail" murder.
Following the Keeneland Sales on July 26-27 the Thoroughbred Club of America collected $4,000 in donations as a reward for information leading to the arrest of Mrs. Cawein's killer, but no one has thus far claimed it. "This isn't the sort of murder," said one longtime Lexington resident, "that's committed by the bushy-haired stranger." The Lexington police have come in for much criticism for their failure to open a full-scale investigation until a month after the murder. Rumors say that many of the city's most influential and respected citizens may be involved in the questioning, but there is no talk of imminent arrests. It seems highly possible that the tragic and bizarre death of Mary Marrs Cawein will remain forever unexplained.
Finally, there is a somewhat less violent but still mysterious happenstance that is being dealt with in court—The Case of the Vanishing Blade, or Who Stabbed Tinker Jones at the Devon Horse Show? Jones, you may recall (SI, June 21), formerly was the trainer at Greystone Manor Stables. While he was in the Devon show ring he bumped into a Greystone horse ridden by the new trainer, Redd Crabtree. The Stables' second trainer, Forrest Gibson, was watching from a position at the rail and yelled to Jones to desist. When the class ended, Jones and Gibson tangled at the gate, and in the resulting confusion Jones was stabbed. Gibson, pleading innocence, was arrested, but no knife or other blade was found on him or in the area. A member of the Easttown Township, Pa. police force did take a possible weapon from Greystone Manor's effects, a pair of scissors. But when the officer dropped it into a plastic bag to preserve possible fingerprints, the scissors sliced neatly through the bag's bottom and into the dirt. So that lead, for whatever it was worth, is of dubious value now. Gibson is currently at liberty on a $500 bond, and in preliminary proceedings two witnesses have failed to identify him. This may turn out to be another unsolved affair.
There is no connection, of course, between any of these violent events, except that all of the people have been prominent in the horse-show world. Is it likely that the intense passions aroused in this highly sophisticated and supposedly civilized competition could be a common denominator in all four cases? One would hardly think so, but on the record the horse people make Juan Marichal and his bludgeoning bat look pretty tame.