The Norfolk-based schooner J.B. Lyndsey was sailing from Trinidad to the Turks and Caicos Islands to take on a load of salt for delivery to North Carolina when, on January 27, 1850, when crew members Edward Clements and Thomas Reid attempted to commandeer the ship.
In the process, crews member John Walker and John Heeney were killed and the others, including Captain Solomon S. Riggs, were held captive. Clements and Reid then attempted to scuttle the ship and escape on a smaller boat.
As they did, one of the crew members aboard the J.B. Lyndsey was able to free himself and the surviving crew members and return to port. There, authorities issued an alert for Clements and Reid.
Once apprehended, Clements and Reid were returned to Virginia to stand trial. In the U.S. District Court in Richmond, they were tried and convicted of murder on the high seas in December 1850 and sentenced to death.
With their appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court pending, on September 30, 1851, the two men escaped from jail.
Arrested and returned to jail, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected their request for a new trial in February 1852.
Edward Clements and Thomas Reid were hanged together in the Henrico County Jail on April 23, 1852.