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Wife ends family fight with shotgun, August 18, 1958

August 18, 2008 |  6:43 am
Woman ends family fight with a shotgun, 1958
August 18, 1958

Ralph Atkinson, 28-year-old upholsterer of 6609 Beeman Ave., North Hollywood, left home early Sunday to buy a newspaper. On the way back, he decided to stop at a bar and have a drink. Or two. Or three.

Charlotte Atkinson, 33-year-old housewife with a 7-month-old son and two daughters from one of her two previous marriages, went looking for him. She found her husband of 18 months at a bar in the early afternoon. They had a few drinks and returned home.

Charlotte went to the grocery store, but when she got back, Ralph had chained the door so it wouldn't open. She beat on the door until the chain gave way, The Times said.

According to testimony by her two daughters, Ralph began beating Charlotte and dragged her by the hair. She went into the den and picked up his 16-gauge shotgun.

"I got the gun just to scare him. I didn't know it was loaded," she said. "He'd beaten me before and he was starting to again when I got the gun."

Ralph Atkinson died at Hollywood Receiving Hospital after being shot in the stomach. Charlotte was charged with murder, but the case was dismissed at her preliminary hearing. She never again appeared in the pages of The Times.