Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Wild Wild West & Wives With Sex-Shooters: Chivalry in 1906


FULL TEXT: A wave of husband-killing is sweeping over the West. Within the past few months many women have put their husbands to death, in several instances so that they might wed others. Even the hanging of a murderess in Vermont has not been able to check this. Iowa illustrates what is true of many other States. Of eight women who have recently been tried in that State for murdering their husbands, but two have been convicted and but one is now in State’s prison. This record is all the more remarkable when the other side is investigated. Within the same period four men have murdered, or attempted to murder, their wives and sweethearts. With the same ratio of convictions prevailing as in the cases of accused women but one of these men would be convicted. But every one one of the four men has as a matter of fact, been convicted.

A criminologist claims that the wide attention and notoriety which the execution of a woman attracts shows how rarely a woman is thus punished, although, he says, the number of murders committed by women in this country every year is very large. He asked whether an undue leniency is not often shown them by courts and juries because of their sex. Lombroso referred to this subject. In several of the recent cases in the West the women were freed either by judicial or executive action after conviction, and in others the juries disagreed.

[“Husband-Killing – A Wave of This Kind of Crime Is Sweeping Over the West.” The Times-Tribune (Alexandria, In.), Apr. 6, 1906, p. 3]

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For more on this topic, see Chivalry Justice Checklist & Links

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A Husband-Killing Epidemic in South Carolina, 1932 – Advice for Husbands


FULL TEXT: Even the casual observer of North Carolina events as reflected in the public prints will have noticed that the habit of wives separating themselves from husbands by force and arms is of alarming frequency here of late. That is, the practice, which seems to be on the way of becoming habit, should be alarming to husbands. The unmarried male may not so much concern but he is by no means from the possibility of violence at the hands of lady friends. The husband-killers are not only performing with disturbing frequency but it is more or less of a custom for juries to say the job was well done, or words that have the same effect.

There are husbands who deserve to be killed on general principles and seeing that the woman will usually have the sympathy of a male jury it is comparatively easy to get that angle into the minds of the average juror. In a recent case the territory for the prosecution showed in the wife in an ugly light. She was by no means a martyr. But the man was of bad repute. So the jury decided he had it coming.

An eminent criminal lawyer – one of the rare type who appears either for the defense or the prosecution – was saying recently, in expressing an be lodged in the minds of the jury that the deceased deserved to be killed on general principles a verdict of acquittal is more than likely, regardless of the, evidence. If the jury feels that the deceased deserved little consideration it will overlook the irregularities on the part of  the slayer unless the circumstances are so aggravated that it is impossible to overlook all. And that’s where the wives have the advantage when  they decide to remove an undesirable husband and do the removing either “accidentally” – or have it appear so – or on purpose and offer the meanness of the deceased as an excuse. The woman has the edge there but it’s the reverse when the man removes the woman. The fact that a husband killed his wife sets the tide against the killer at the outset; and it takes overwhelming testimony to find a way of escape for him. There is no thought in such case that the woman may have deserved killing. All wives are given the benefit of the doubt while the doubts are resolved against husbands who kill wives. If it appear from the evidence that the wife may have provoked the killing the jury will agree that it was not the husband's business to do the job.

Far be it from us to lodge the thought in the mind of any wife that an undesirable husband may be removed with comparative safety, on the whole case the chances are good that there is always the possibility of finding an exception and the disposition to be considerate of husband-killing wives is subject to change without notice. Almost any time there may come to the consciousness of husband-jurors the thought of personal danger and juries may take to the view that there is too much of the killing, with serious consequences to the self-widowed.

But if there is a moral in the present wave of husband-killing by wives and the freeing of the women, it is that husbands would do well to walk circumspectly. If they can’t abide the premises without engaging in unseemly conduct it would be safer to vacate. One may be in the right but after he is dead and the woman and her friends tell how it was, he might be in doubt himself if he hear the testimony.

[“Husbands In Danger.” The Landmark (Statesville, N. C.), May 24, 1932, p. 4]

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For more on this topic, see Chivalry Justice Checklist & Links

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Monday, January 26, 2015

A Woman’s License to Kill: “La Mode Rouge” – France 1930


FULL TEXT: We think women kill men rather freely in this country [USA], and get away with it too easily. But our conjugal slaughter is nothing to that in France nor is the feminine immunity so scandalous.

In the last couple of months [July-August 1930] there have been about 40 feminine murderers tried in Paris Courts. In few cases was there any real question of guilt – that is, if unlawful killing implies guilt. But in every case but one the fair defendant was acquitted. The only prisoner found guilty was sentenced to two years in prison.

“The Red Mode” they call it over there. Gallantry has much more to do with it. From the masculine viewpoint it is carrying gallantry pretty far. And yet they are male juries that acquit these female killers. What do you make of it?

[“The Red Mode,” widely syndicated article, The Jacksonville Daily Journal (Il.), Sep. 25, 1930, p. 2]

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On the same topic (Chivalry justice in France 1929-1930):


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For more on this topic, see Chivalry Justice Checklist & Links

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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Anne-Marie Guemuchot, French Serial Baby-Killing Mom - 1878


Chapelle-Saint-Saveur, France – Anne-Marie Guemuchot and her husband Pierre Moucaut, a journalist, killed three of their babies over a five year period, from July 1873 to October 17, 1878, thew first two by poison, the last by smothering. They were arrested and tried in 1878. In March 1879 the husband was sentenced to death (later commuted) and the wife was sentenced to 20 years of hard labor. [StE]

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FULL TEXT: Les deux accusés qui comparaissent devant la Cour d’assises de Saône-et-Loire sont: Pierre Moucaut, âge de cinquante-cinq ans, journalier à la Chapelle-Saint-Sauveur, et Anne-Marie Guemuchot, sa femme, âgée de trente-six ans, née à La Chaux, également journalière.

Voici les faits relevés à leur charge Le 17 octobre dernier, la femme Moucaut, qui habite avec son mari, à la Chapelle-Sâint Sauveur, une chaumière isolée au milieu des bois, accouchait, vers trois heures du matin, d’un enfant du sexe masculin, bien constitué. L’accouchement avait lieu dans des conditions normales.

Trois jours après, le 20 octobre, Moucaut venait faire la déclaration du décès de son enfant au maire de la commune et solliciter de lui un permis d’inhumation. Cette mort si rapidement survenue éveillait les soupçons de l’autorité. Une instruction était ouverte, à la suite de laquelle it demeurait établi que l’enfant était mort étonne, et que ce crime, accompli par Moucaut, n’avait pu l’être qu’avec le concours de la femme de ce dernier, on d’après ses instructions et avec son assistance.

L’information a en outre établi qu’en 1873, dans le courant du mois de juillet, les époux Moucaut avaient, ensemble ou de complicité, empoisonné à l’aide d’une dissolution d’allumettes chimiques un jeune enfant ne peu de jours auparavant; qu’enfin, en 1874, dans le courant du mois de septembre, ils s’étaient débarrassés de la même manière et par les mêmes moyens, d’un autre enfant, une fille, dont la femme Moucaut était accouchée quelque temps auparavant.

Par suite du verdict du jury, la Cour d’assises de Saône-et-Loire a condamné Moucaut à la peine de mort et la femme Moucaut à la peine de vingt ans de travaux forcés.

[“Bulletin judiciare. Assassinat de plusieurs enfans par leur père et leur mère. – Condamnation à la peine de mort.” Journal Des Debarts (Paris, France), Mar. 30, 1878, p. 3]

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For more cases of this type, see Serial Baby-Killer Moms.

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Ora Lee Thacker, Kentucky Double Husband-Slayer - 1926


FULL TEXT (Article 1 of 2): Hopkinsville (Kentucky) – The trial of Mrs. Ora Lee Thacker, alleged slayer of two husbands, for thew murder of her first husband, Otho Henderson, in 1911, was postponed Wednesday in Circuit Court here until September term. Physicians examined Mrs. Thacker, who was carried into court, at the instance of defence counsel, who insisted thatr she is insane. The woman has been in jail here since the slaying of her second husband, Lewis Thacker, in February.

[Untitled, The Hamilton Daily News (Oh.), Jun. 12, 1926, p. 2]

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FULL TEXT (Article 2 of 2): The remains of Lewis Robert Thacker, brief mention of whose death was made in THE RECORD last week and who was found dead by the L. & N. Railroad track two miles south of Hopkinsville on Wednesday morning of last week [Feb. 3], were brought to Cadiz last Friday afternoon and buried in the family lot in East End Cemetery.

The family formerly lived in Cadiz. A number of friends of the family accompanied the remains from Hopkinsville, and funeral services were conducted by Dr. R. B. Grider of the Hopkinsville Methodist church.

Many theories have been advanced during the past week as to the cause of the young man’s death, but so far none of these have been fully solved.

The wife of Thacker, Mrs. Ora Lee Thacker to whom he was married secretly last November, and her two sons, eighteen and fifteen respectively, were arrested as suspects. The younger son was released Saturday. The wife and the other son were to have their examining trial yesterday morning in Hopkinsville.

There was intimation that Mrs. Thacker might have caused the man to be killed so she might get $8,000 insurance carried on his life. This gave rise to some suspicion that a former husband died under peculiar circumstances, and his body, after being buried four years, was taken up Tuesday. It was so decomposed that no trace of poison could be found.

Ike Brown, proprietor of an automobile tire store in Louisville, was arrested and brought to Hopkinsville but so far nothing has developed to connect him with the killing.

A story from Hopkinsville to the LOUISVILLE TIMES of Monday says:

The body of Thacker, who formerly was employed at the Elks’ Club in Louisville, was found beside the Louisville and Nashville Railway tracks about two miles south of Hopkinsville, with two bullet holes in his head, early Wednesday morning. Mrs. Thacker was arrested when it was learned that two insurance policies, one for $5,000 and another for $3,000 had been taken out on her husband a short time before and that she had threatened to blow his brains out or have it done.

Brown said he had seen Thacker twice during the time he was visiting Mrs. Thacker and that she had told him Thacker was her step brother. Not satisfied with the explanation Brown said he had asked one of Mrs. Thacker’s sons who Thacker was and the boy had told him he was only a man who was trying to go with mama.

At the time of her arrest Mrs. Thacker produced a marriage certificate showing she was married to Thacker November 5, 1925, twenty days after the first insurance policy for $5,000 naming her as the beneficiary and wife, had been issued to Thacker. She denies all knowledge of any insurance on the life of her husband or that she had paid the premiums on the insurance for him. Authorities have been unable to locate the policies, which officials of the Life and Casualty Insurance Company of Nashville and the Metropolitan Company of Louisville both claim were issued to Thacker.

One occasion when he visited Mrs. Thacker at 105 West Oak street Brown said, Thacker came in and began quarreling with her because she was going out with Brown. Mrs. Thacker began cursing Thacker and told him to “get upstairs or I’ll kill you,” Brown said. Thacker went upstairs and Brown took the woman to a show, he continued. It was after this incident, according to Brown that Mrs. Thacker told him Thacker was her step-brother.

Thacker was afraid of the woman she treated him terribly, according to brown, who said the couple did not get along at all. Brown said he, too, was afraid of Mrs. Thacker because she always kept a gun on the mantel piece in her home.

Brown said he had denied knowing Mrs. Thacker when first questioned because he did not want to get mixed up in the case.

Additional strands in the net of circumstantial evidence that authorities are weaving around Mrs. Thacker were brought back by Captain J. C. Hanberry, who returned from Louisville with Brown.

Captain Hanberry said he had talked to Mrs. E. Rudolph Thacker, 405 East Broadway, Louisville, a sister in law of the murder victim, and Louis Livingston, attorney in the Realty Building, and that both had told them that Thacker feared his wife would kill him for his insurance. Mrs. Rudolph Thacker and Livingston also told Captain Hanberry that Thacker had admitted to them that he helped Mrs. Thacker burn her home here to collect the insurance money and that she had promised him $300 for it, which he had never collected.

In her statement to Captain Hanberry, Mrs. Rudolph Thacker said that on his last visit to her home in January, “Scrap” had told her he had married Mrs. Thacker because she told him if he took out an insurance policy and married her she would take care of him the rest of his days and in addition she would give him the $300 fire insurance money.

Although he was 34 years old, Thacker’s mentality is said to have been that of a 17 year old boy and members of his family claim Mrs. Thacker exerted a powerful influence over him.

The last time she saw him, Mrs. Rudolph Thacker said “Scrap” told her, “I don’t know whether you will ever see me again or not.” She said he gave no explanation but that she knows he feared being killed because of the insurance he carried. He told me he was afraid they would get him before he got his $3000, and Mrs. Rudolph Thacker, and he told me Mrs. Henderson Thacker paid the premiums on the insurance he carried.

In regard to the fire, Mrs. Rudolph Thacker said she was living in Hopkinsville at the time and the two days before the fire Thacker brought some suit cases over to her home saying they contained his National Guard clothes, and that he wanted to leave them there for a while. She said she opened the cases, and found they contained ladies wearing apparel and boys’ clothier and that there was none of his own in them. About the same time she said, Mrs. Henderson brought twenty six jars of canned fruit and vegetables to her home and she wanted to leave them there for awhile.

Several days later the house burned, said Mrs. Rudolph Thacker, and she knew something was up between them, so I made up my mind to watch. He (Scrap) stole into the house one night and got these things and I followed him. He met her and I heard her tell him, “We better not take any chances with this stuff. Let’s go up the back streets.” The next day I told him what I knew and said “For God’s sake, take one or we both go over the road.

Mrs. Rudolph Thacker said Thacker had admitted to her that he and Mrs. Henderson had set fire to the house and said that Mrs. Henderson had promised him $300 when she collected the insurance.

Mr. Livingston, in his statement to Captain Hanberry, said he also was adviser to both Thacker and Mrs. Thacker, and that he had learned from both of them that they had had numerous arguments and had threatened to tell on each other in [illeg.] with the burning of the cottage. He said Mrs. Thacker had told him she had consulted an attorney and he had advised her to marry Thacker that he would be unable to testify against her if anything ever came about the house.

Livingston said that at the time Thacker came to him and told him Mrs. Thacker had paid him part of the $300 she had promised him for burning the house, and that she then stolen the money from him.

Livingston said he asked them if he was willing to make an affidavit to the effect that Mrs. Henderson had stolen his money, and Mr. Thacker replied that he was not because she would blow his brains if he did. Livingston also said Thacker told him Mrs. Thacker threatened to kill him if he did not marry her after the first insurance policy had been taken out in 1925, and that a man who [illeg.] Hopkinsville had threatened him.
Both Thacker and Mrs. Thacker told him they had set fire to the house here Livingston said.

Clarence Boyd, 111 South - street, Louisville, an employee of Ford Motor Company, told Hanberry that a man whose name he did not know, but who works for L. & N. shops, had beaten men up at one time in Mrs. Thacker’s room house on Oak street and that Thacker had told his [illeg.]  she had said he would kill him in time.

Authorities are now working on a theory that Thacker was a lonely spot along the railroad more than a mile from any road and a half mile from where he was shot twice in the head. They are unable to [illeg.] fact that neighbors in the neighborhood of the Thacker home here heard shots the night of the murder and saw an automobile drive to the side door of the place and they smelled burning rags.

After Mrs. Thacker had been presented in Court Saturday, when the date of preliminary hearing was set. Mrs. Thacker was heard to say “Don’t worry, They don’t have a thing on us.

[“‘Scrap’ Thacker Buried In Cadiz - Remains Of Young Man Killed In Hopkinsville Brought To Former Home - Cause of Death Still A Mystery And Wife Held in Connection With Case,” Cadiz Record (Ky.), February 11, 1926, p. ?]

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For links to other cases of woman who murdered 2 or more husbands (or paramours), see Black Widow Serial Killers.

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Allie Belchie, Scottish Serial Baby-Killer Mom – 1850s


Allie Belchie’s name was immortalized in a local proverb. Following is an entry of the “saying” she inspired and which became part of the local culture.

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ALLIE BELCHIE’S LATE WAKE.

She’s like Aillie Belchie,
Sinned to the nineteenth degree.

Said of those who are flagrant offenders. Allie, or Alice Belchie; was a hind or cotter’s daughter at Lintlaw, in the parish of Bunckle. It is reported, and credibly believed, that she murdered three of her illegitimate children, at different times, by drowning them in the Leigate pond, at the head of the Crook field, on the south side of the kail-yards. She died in travail of her fourth child; and while some of the people of the place were sitting up with her corpse — holding her late wake — and drinking her dirgy — one of the decent neighbours, and most sponsible man in the company, was called upon to make an exercise on the occasion. As the honest man prayed, he said, “The Lord hae mercy upon us a’ — especially upon that damned bitch, Allie Belchie, lying in the bed there, who has sinned to the nineteenth degree of fornication.”

[“Allie Belchie’s Late Wake,” in: George Henderson, The Popular Rhymes, Sayings, and Proverbs of the County of Berwick, 1856, Printed for the Author, New Castle-on-Tyne, p. 97; the original text gives “damned bitch” as “d----d b----h”; “sponsible,” “hae” and “a’” are Scottish dialect.]

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For more cases of this type, see Serial Baby-Killer Moms.

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Queen Ideah of Tahiti, Serial Baby-Killing Mom – 1780s


In 1788 the Kingdom of Tahiti was established with Pomare I as its first ruler. His Queen was Ideah.

Following is an extract taken from a missionary account.

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EXCERPT: Mr. Bromhall lost his case of surgical instruments, and when he inquired for them, they were all returned by Ideah, except two small saws, which were afterwards found in her possession. It was presently ascertained that she was in the habit of setting her servants to steal for her. She was, in every respect, a bad woman. She murdered three of her infants, after Pomare had said he would put a stop to the custom. She had also promised that the Missionaries' wives should have her next child to bring up; instead of keeping her promise, she killed it, and then came to bring the Missionaries a great present of food, which they would not accept, as they wished to convince her of the sinfulness of her conduct. She was highly offended, and said she had a right to do what she chose with her own children. The character of this Tahitian queen will not rise in the estimation of you young ladies, by learning that she was a great warrior, and one of the best wrestlers on the island; and in their wrestling matches she was generally mistress of the ceremony. She was also a famous swimmer; the natives were all fond of the water, as it is one of their favourite amusements almost from their infancy. They were also fond of dancing and music, and in these the queen could take the lead.

[Mrs. Beddoe, Perseverance Rewarded; A Sequal to “Use Them, or Gatrhered Fragments,” London: Hamilton Adams & Co, 1842, p. 163-4.]