Born February 3, 1929
Died June 12, 2000
Occupation: Alabama Ax Murderer.
Viola was Calhoun County, Alabama’s most infamous resident.
Virginia Viola Hyatt know by Viola was from the White Plains, Alabama area more commonly known as Rabbittown. Her mother died when she was a young child and she was raised alone by her father, Martin Hyatt until he married her stepmother, Jessie Wheeler. Jessie terrifed of Viola. She died the day Viola was scheduled to be released from prison.
June 28,1959 Emmett and Lee Harper met their maker.
The death certificates states June 28th, 1959 as their death date. Other records state the 27th.
Emmett and Lee were tenants at the Hyatt home living in a small trailer in the back of the property. The story goes that they were sexually abusing her and physical abusing her father and argued over the use of their car.
She confessed to the authorities that she shot the men in the face with a double barreled shotgun as they stood in the doorway of their trailer. Then she stated that she hung the bodies up on the door of the shed and dismembered them with a double bladed ax. It was also told by Hyatt that she then took the parts of the bodies, loaded them up in the family car and headed to different counties in Alabama and threw the body parts out of the car windows as she drove.
Viola spent several months, possibly 5 or 6, at Bryce Hospital in Tuscaloosa, Alabama under mental observation. Then she pled guilty and served 10 years of a life sentence.
In prison she was a model prisoner. Gave them no trouble and was the seamstress for either the Warden’s wife or Governor of Alabama wife. I will have to dig out my many boxes of information.
Question has always been on the minds of others as maybe she was a victim of sexual abuse as a child, if she had produced children and they died or were killed and fed to the hogs and if she actually committed the murders alone or had help by a family member and she took the blame. Whatever the reason or reasons this was a horrific crime and it still is alive and well in the minds of everyone that is still alive from that time.
I mentioned about the hogs on purpose. When I was a child the talk was she had a baby and it was fed to the hogs. I was fortunate enough to spend a good long time with the now owner of the Hyatt home in White Plains, Alabama. I told her the story I had always heard about Viola feeding a baby to the hogs. She told me that the story was very interesting to her that Viola had visited the home quite often before she died and she always talked a lot about the hog pen and they found that very interesting that she would be so interested in the hog pen area. You see Viola never talked about committing the murders after she was released and when she wanted to tell you something she talked “in circles.” She never would come out and say “I did this” and ” I did that,” but she would talk about things that would lead you to know the story.
I have a lot of newspaper articles, house pictures inside and out, pictures of her as a child and just boxes full of information that I am going to be posting here.
The day after this happened my grandfather took me to the scene. I do remember a lot of people there and the shed door where they were hung up and butchered up was bloody and had hair on it. I never will forget that scene. Forever etched in my mind.
Oh Viola why did you take your secret to the grave?
I hope to keep this story alive for many years to come.
Top photo, Viola’s purse and her shoes. The shoe was used to keep the storage building door closed.
Middle, photo, Outside picture of the Hyatt Home.
Viola’s bedroom. This is how it looks today. But this is where she slept as an adult.
Top photo, a barn on the Hyatt property.
Middle photo is inside her bible.
Bottom photo is a picture of Viola as a child. This was taken on the side of the house that is the same side as in the picture above. Look at those haunting troubled eyes.
Top photo, this was the tin that she was allowed to have in prison with her supplies. Notice she had a china cup and saucer. In this box also there was a dictionary that she had colored the page illustrations, pencils, horse figurine and a small bible I believe also was there.
Middle photo is her bible. Notice she always had an obsession with death. Wrote down everyone she knew death date.
Bottom photo, Her shoe. She was known for her “fashion.” Even in her jail cell she was allowed her robes and nice clothes. She was quite a celebrity and played it for what it was worth.
The front of the Hyatt House. Now I want you to click the photo and enlarge it. Look at the orbs that show up in the photo on the porch area. They look like smiling faces. Do you think this is the spirit of Emmett and Lee Harper still lingering around until the truth is discovered. It is strange that it shows up like this. We will never know I guess. Just click on the photo.
Check back.. I am going to post all the newspaper articles, official records and who knows maybe a diary will be found. The information I have tells the story.