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Counterman Fatally Stabbed In
Row With Kitchen Worker At Diner

Death Certificate for Charles W. Bradford shows that he was dead upon arrival at Fort Sanders Hospital.

His wound was stated to have been a penetration of the thorax.

[courtesy of Howard A Sutherland]

Report of Interment and grave marker for Charles W. Bradford in Plot B-5915, Row 29, Knoxville National Cemetery, Knoxville (Knox county), Tennessee.

Note the unusual amount of editing in red ink including his military unit, the 508th is acknowledged in the REMARKS section.

Charles enlisted in the army at Fort Thomas, Newport, KY on 20 June 1941.

Pfc Bradford was transferred from Hq 82nd Airborne Division to Hq 1st, 508th PIR on 21 July 1944 as the regiment was rebuilding its strength following the Normandy campaign.

He was wounded in action in Holland on 17 September 1944.

His military decorations include the Purple heart and the Bronze Service Arrowhead device awarded for the Holland campaign and Airborne operations.

Suspect Tells Story
After Surrendering Clarence

Clarence  Darden
Admits Slaying
William Bradford

   A young Negro has confessed to the butcher knife slaying of a white co-worker late yesterday at the Tennessean Diner student eating-place at 1801 West Cumberland Avenue where both worked
   Charles William (Bill) Bradford, 35, a counterman who cooked on a hotplate and served customers in front of the diner, was the victim of a 14-iinch sandwich knife. He was dead upon arrival at nearby Fort Sanders Hospital.
   Mr. Bradford, a World War II paratroop veteran, leaves his wife two small sons and a stepson. They live on Woods Road between Hall's and Corryton.
Surrenders to Police
   Clarence Darden, 24, clean-up man at the place, fled the scene. He came to the police station at 6, almost three hours later, surrendered and confessed. City Homicide Officer Carl Bunch said. Until he showed up voluntarily Darden had been the object of a city-wide search by cruiser policemen and other officers.
   The prisoner declared that Mr. Bradford threatened him and grabbed a meat cleaver just before the stabbing. However Officer Bunch reports that the employee eyewitnesses were questioned and told nothing of the victim having any weapon or object in his hand as he gripped Darden by the collar.
   At City Jail today Darden gave his version to a reporter: "I came to work about 3 o'clock. Bill came in early. He was to go to work about 4. He was sitting in the front and I passed by and spoke to him. I said 'you didn't work yesterday (Thanksgiving Day) did you?' I was kidding him. He told me all the customers' receipts he had checked the day before. I said something about he couldn't have checked that many.
Didn't Know He Was Mad
 "I went back into the kitchen Didn't even know Bill was mad Until he came in and said 'Damn you, you can't make me out a liar. He grabbed me by the collar I said 'Bill I was only kidding you."
   "He said 'I'll knock the hell out of you" and reached and got the meat cleaver It was lying on the block near where the knife was lying
  "I grabbed hold of the cleaver and picked up the knife with my other hand. I had my arm with the knife in it around at his back— and he was stabbed as I twisted the cleaver away from him.

   Officer Bunch listed these three employees as eyewitnesses: Sam Frazier, Helene Heard, and Joe McCroskey East Main Avenue.
   "Frazier said he saw Bradford shove Darden and tell him not to call him a liar" continued Mr. Bunch. "Frazier said he heard Darden tell Bradford to let go his collar two or three times. He said he thought the two were playing — and then he heard a groan McCroskey's story was pretty much the same as Frazier's."   The fatal argument started in the dining portion of the center. It ended in the kitchen where the victim was stabbed through the lower back The blade penetrated at an upward angle about nine inches. Darden will be charged with murder Officer Bunch said.
Argument Overheard
   No customers were in the diner when Mr. Bradford and Darden began arguing. Andy Captain, operator of the restaurant, said Darden was overheard to shout at Mr. Bradford: "Don't call me a liar!"
   The victim fell bleeding to the floor as Darden went out a rear door and raced up the street Mrs. Captain, wife of the restaurant operator, called an ambulance which took the victim to Fort Sanders Hospital.
Dead on Arrival
   Mr. Bradford was dead when he arrived at the hospital at 3:55 p.m. "I don't know what they were arguing about," Mr. Captain said.
   Apparently none of my employees heard them start arguing. "I was out front when one of the dishwashers called me back to the kitchen."
   Darden. police said, had been picked up Thursday night on a gaming charge and was out oil jail on bond when the slaying took place
Attended Tailoring School
   Mr. Captain said Darden had worked at the restaurant for more than a year. He attended a GI tailoring school nights and worked in the Tennessean kitchen during the day .Mr. Bradford had been working as a counter man at the diner for about three weeks Mr. Captain said Both principals were small men weighing about 135 pounds.
   The Tennessean, about three blocks from the U-T campus, for several years has been a popular eating place for U-T students.
Veteran of War II
   A veteran of European fighting during World War IL Mr. Bradford was wounded in action and awarded the Purple Heart.  He was in the First Battalion of the 508th Parachute Infantry which took part in battles of the Ardennes, Rhineland and Central Europe/
   Hospital attendants said Mr. Bradford died of hemorrhaging which occurred after the knife was rammed up through his ribs on the left side of his back.
   The Bradfords have been living on Woods Road with Jake Keller, Mrs. Bradford's father. She was the former Marie Keller. The little sons Johnny and Billy are with Mr. Bradford's father Charles Bradford, Dayton, OH The victim also leaves a brother and two sisters.

[The Knoxville News-Sentinel, Knoxville, TN, 24 Nov 1951, Sat, Page 10]

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