Anjette Lyles' restaurant on Mulberry Street in downtown Macon, Georgia was a favorite lunch spot for the town's lawyers, judges and businesspeople in the 1950s. The food was okay, but what attracted the menfolk was the restaurant's owner, Anjette Lyles. What puzzled Anjette's patrons was how she could remain so cheerful and outgoing with all the tragedy going on around her life. Her husband, Ben Lyles the original owner of the restaurant, had died unexpectedly in June of 1952. In 1955 her second husband, Joe Neal developed a "weeping rash" and died in agony in December. Two years later, Mrs. Julia Lyles, Anjette's mother-in-law, died after a mysterious illness. Then on top of all the past Anjette's nine-year-old daughter, Marcia suddenly became very sick and died April 5, 1958. Only one person seems to have suspected foul play in this incredible string of deaths. About three weeks before the death of Marcia, Carrie Jackson, a cook in Anjette's Restaurant, wrote an unsigned note to Mrs. Julia Lyles' sister in Cochran, Georgia. The note warned that Marcia was in danger. The cook was concerned because she felt Anjette was feeding her child poisoned lemonade and other drinks in the hospital. The sister, Mrs. W.K. Bagley, went to Macon, Georgia to see authorities immediately. Nothing was done then and Marcia died. However, Mrs. Bagley's visit had raised suspicions of Bibb County coroner, Lester Chapman, and others. Chapman ask the medical examiner, Dr. Leonard Campbell, to do an autopsy on Marcia, Campbell sent samples of Marcia's organs to the State Crime Lab in Atlanta. The lab reported that Marcia died of multiple doses of arsenic, most likely from Terro ant poison, a common insecticide. Anjette maintained her innocence throughout the trial, but the jury had heard enough. In mid-October, the jury returned a verdict of guilty and sentenced Anjette to the electric chair. A series of appeals and sanity hearings followed and they eventually declared Anjette insane. On December 4, 1977, Anjette Lyles died of natural causes at Central State Hospital in Milledgeville.


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