1969 York race riots: The murders of Lillie Belle Allen and Henry C. Schaad

In the summers of 1968 and 1969, race riots raged in York, leaving dozens injured and two people dead.

York Police Officer Henry C. Schaad, a 22-year-old white officer just 10 months on the job, was shot July 18, 1969 as he rode in an armored truck on West College Avenue at the Codorus Creek bridge. Arrest affidavits issued Oct. 30, 2001 indicate the truck was hit by at least two bullets. Schaad suffered injuries to his left shoulder, both lungs, spinal column, right thigh and left foot.

Schaad died Aug. 1, 1969, as a result of the injuries.

Three days after Schaad was shot, Lillie Belle Allen, a 27-year-old black woman from Aiken, S.C., died after being shot in the chest on North Newberry Street.

Allen was visiting relatives in York. That evening Allen and family members headed out to get groceries. Dickson, who was driving, turned from Philadelphia Street north onto Newberry Street.

Two rival gangs of white youth – the Newberry Street Boys and the Girarders – had united that summer in response to increasing tension between whites and blacks in York. Members of both gangs were on Newberry Street that night, many of them armed.

Dickson saw a man with a gun leaning from the upstairs window of a house. She stopped the car, intending to turn around. Allen, who was riding in the back, got out to take over the driving. Gunfire erupted and Allen was killed.

Thirty years later, York’s daily newspapers published a look back at the 1969 riots and the two unsolved murders. After the stories appeared, a team of staffers from the York County District Attorney’s Office and city and state police reopened the case.

By June 2000, they had interviewed about 100 people and developed new leads, said Assistant District Attorney Tom Kelley. District Attorney H. Stanley Rebert announced June 14 that his office would ask then-President Judge John C. Uhler to authorize a grand jury to investigate the murders of Lillie Belle Allen and York Police Officer Henry C. Schaad.

Uhler impaneled the grand jury on Sept. 27, 2000.

Timeline

· View a timeline of the riots and their aftermath from 1968 to 2003

The players

· View the players in the Henry C. Schaad murder investigation

Legal terms

The probe into the 1969 murders of Lillie Belle Allen and Henry C. Schaad has involved a grand jury investigation, which has not been used in York County for years.

Here are some terms to help you understand how this process works:

Grand jury: A group of 30 jurors, 23 regulars and seven alternates, that investigates crimes and can issue a presentment with recommendations of charges against those suspected of wrongdoing. The grand jury serves up to 18 months. That time period, if approved by the court, can be extended an additional six months.

Presentment: A written document recommending charges against suspects. It is prepared by prosecutors and read to the grand jury. The grand jury then votes on it and a majority is needed to approve it.

Report: A document the grand jury may issue. It gives a summary of what the grand jury did.

Foreman: A regular grand juror picked by a judge to oversee the grand jury proceedings. The foreman signs all documents, including any presentments.

Attorneys for the Commonwealth: Handles the investigation. Prosecutors will write up presentments if ordered by the grand jury.

Judge: Supervises the grand jury. The judge controls the issuance of all grand jury subpoenas and tells the district attorney’s office to be the custodian of records and physical evidence. The judge reviews presentments issued by the grand jury to ensure it is procedurally sound.

Sources: “The State Grand Jury: an Effective Tool for the Investigation and Prosecution of Illegal Drug Conspiracies” by James E. Tierney; Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli; Annmarie Keiser, executive director of the Pennsylvania District Attorney’s Association and the Pennsylvania Bar Institute, the continuing legal education arm of the Pennsylvania Bar Association.