A double murder that shook Bowling Green and made headlines around the world seven decades ago is still captivating historians and true-crime buffs today, and the story is now available in book form.
“The Cemetery Road Murders,” a book about the 1948 murders of Dr. Charles Martin and his wife, Martha, at their large columned home on Cemetery Road and a second double murder along the same road that summer, is now available from Acclaim Press.
The 216-page book grew out of the exhaustive research done by Daily News Managing Editor Wes Swietek as he put together last year’s three-part series in the newspaper about the “Murder Mansion” where the Martins were killed by Harry Edward Kilgore.
Swietek has expanded on that series that included details about Kilgore’s motivation for the murders, his trials and allegations that he had an accomplice.
While that three-part series delved into the murders and their aftermath with great detail, Swietek said his book will provide more information.
“The (newspaper) series was about 6,000 words, and this book is more than 60,000 words, plus lots of pictures,” Swietek said.
The book will provide more details about Kilgore’s killing of the Martins, a crime that continues to captivate people today. In fact, Bowling Green’s Historic RailPark & Train Museum is offering tours at Fairview Cemetery and the grounds of “Murder Mansion” through the end of this month as part of its UnSeen BG History Walking Tours.
The broad outline of the double murder committed by Kilgore is well-documented.
On the morning of June 30, 1948, the 25-year-old Kilgore killed the Martins, apparently because he felt jilted when the couple’s son married Ruth McKinney, a woman Kilgore briefly dated.
Swietek’s research uncovered many more fascinating details about a case that dragged on for years.
“This made headlines all over the country and even internationally,” he said. “Everyone was talking about it for several years.”
Swietek said the book “explores some of the mysteries” about the murders and the trials, including the alleged involvement of George M. Daggitt, a music teacher at Western Kentucky State Teachers College.
The book also takes a look at another 1948 double murder that took place not far from the Martin’s mansion.
“In doing research for the book, I found that two men were killed that same summer a little farther down Cemetery Road,” Swietek said.
A launch event for the book is slated Nov. 13 and Nov. 14 at the Historic RailPark & Train Museum, with more details to be announced.
– The book is now available and can be ordered at thecemeteryroadmurders.com or www.acclaimpress.com websites. Copies are also currently available at the Historic RailPark & Train Museum gift shop, Barnes & Noble and Barbara Stewart Interiors. Books are also available at the Daily News offices for cash or check only purchases.