Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Haunted Crime Scenes: The Spirits at Moon River Brewery

Aggravated Self-Defense

Anxious to meet Stark and eager to end this whole affair, Minis unbuttons his coat and reaches for his pistol. As Stark reaches the bottom step, Minis boldly shouts, "I declare thee, James Jones Stark, a coward!" Stark advances, while reaching into his jacket. Minis fires. The bullet rips through the man's thorax and slams into the kitchen door.

What used to be the City Exchange is now Savannah's City Hall
What used to be the City Exchange is now Savannah's City Hall

Across the street, at the City Exchange, Drs. Arnold and Waring hear the shot. Arnold is convinced that one man had shot the other, and the men dart across the street. They arrive to find a crazed Minis waving about his dueling pistol, struggling against the likes of Wayne and Spalding.

Minis is arraigned shortly thereafter. His trial was held in January 1833. Judge Charles Dougherty had given a "lucid and impartial charge" to the jury. After a two-hour deliberation, the jury acquits Minis, who would go on to be a talented surgeon and father.

The staircase where some have claimed to feel pushed.
The staircase where some have claimed to feel pushed.

As to the supernatural nature of this case, many feel that Stark still haunts the City Hotel, now a popular pub called Moon River Brewery. Some claim they feel a push or shove as they're coming down the stairs. Others say they've heard the crack of the pistol and the rattling of glasses. Still others claim to have witnessed men carrying James Jones Stark into the night on the back of a kitchen door. Nevertheless, affairs of honor still capture the imagination of Savannahians and will, as long as the beer flows and men still have too much pride in their hearts.  

Moon River Beer dispenser in the bar.
Moon River Beer dispenser in the bar.

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