It was a grisly scene at the Woolfolk plantation west of Macon and south of the Thomaston Road on the warm August morning when the bodies of 9 members of the Woolfolk family were discovered. Tom Woolfolk ran to a neighbor's house and told a story of struggling with intruders who had broken into the house near Lake Tobesofkee in western Bibb County.
Suspicion quickly surrounded young Tom, who had just turned 27. Before the murders, Tom had been acting strangely, and had been seen with the murder weapon the day before the killing. Tom was arrested.
Defending him was one of Macon's top attorney's, John Rutherford. Rutherford had been president of the Macon Bar Association since 1877 and was both well known and well-liked in the area. Opposing Rutherford was John Hardeman, a Macon attorney whose father had been politically active in the community. In spite of an active defense the jury found Tom Woolfolk guilty of murder in the death of his father, 54-year old Richard Woolfolk, and Tom was sentenced to hang.
The verdict, however, was appealed to the Georgia Supreme Court, which ruled that the judge erred by allowing inadmissible evidence and not stopping spectators from repeating "Hang him, hang him..." during closing arguments.
The case was retried. Woolfolk was once again found guilty of murder and hung not far from the courthouse in Perry.