FULL TEXT: New Haven, Conn. – A strong featured, phlegmatic woman of 45 sits in a familiar cell in the rambling old New Haven County jail. Her name is Annie F. Monahan. She is the central figure in one of the most puzzling murder mysteries that authorities of New England have ever grappled with.
Mrs. Monahan is held without bail as a result of the death, apparently by poison, of her third husband, John T. Monahan, in the New Haven hospital yesterday. He is the fourth person in her immediate family circle to die under perplexing circumstances.
Development to-day caused a tremendous stir throughout this part of Connecticut, and resulted in feverish activity by State’s Attorney Aaron Alling. Coroner Eli Mix and the local police force. Coroner Mix, on the eve of to-morrow’s formal inquest, made the first assertion of his belief that John T. Monahan was a victim of murder.
~ Search For Poison. ~
Facts sufficiently startling to cause an order for a chemical analysis of the dead man’s stomach and other organs at the laboratories of Yale university were unearthed to-day.
Coroner Mix is carefully guarding a report made to him by Medical Examiner Marvin M. Scarborough following a “preliminary autopsy.” Dr. Scarborough’s findings are said to be similar to discoveries, he made in 1913 when Mrs. Monahan was accused of poisoning her niece, Jennie McNamee.
The physician reported at the time that he had found sufficient arsenic, in the girl’s body to have killed several persons. However, the authorities were forced to release Mrs. Monahan because they could not demonstrate beyond question that the arsenic had not been contained in embalming fluid which had been injected into the body. On this charge Mrs. Monahan occupied a cell for nine months.
~ Inquest Starts To-day. ~
Coroner Mix said:
“Before he was taken to the New Haven hospital, Monahan was so weakened that it was impossible to get an ante-mortem statement from him. The physicians who attended him at the hospital believe that he was poisoned. Professor Underhill of Yale will make chemical analysis or the stomach and other organs.”
On the question of motive, another official said:
“Monahan had been a semi-invalid for months. He was killed either for his insurance or because he was a nuisance. So far we have uncovered but one policy upon his life, and this for the, small sum of $250. But we have learned that an attempt was made recently to secure much larger policies from several companies.
~ Woman Stoical. ~
Mrs. Monahan’s arrest four years ago was brought about by insurance company investigators. Her first husband and her niece all carried insurance.
Mrs. Monahan’s home at No. 137 James street has been searched by the police. The police are combing this and other cities in an effort to trace every sale of arsenic and other subtle poisons by drug stores.
While the investigation proceeds the middle-aged defendant maintains remarkable composure.
“My husband died of natural causes,” she declared to-day. ‘The charges do not disturb me.’”
About 1902 she married Joseph Pellman, who died on November 20th, 1906. His death was mysterious and caused much gossip. In March, 1909, the widow married Joseph Monahan, who died November 10th, 1909.
About a month before the death of his brother John Monahan had finished a term of enlistment in the United States army, and returned to live with his brother and sister-in-law at their Hazel street home.
[“Husband Dead, Woman Faces Poison Charge - Annie Monahan, Once Tried as Slayer of Niece, Again Accused. - Prisoner Stoical When Accused of Murder Plot by Police.” Jun. 15, 1917, p. 13]
FULL TEXT: NEW HAVEN, Feb. 13.—Smiling and apparently under less mental strain than at any time since her trial began, Mrs. Annie P. Monahan this afternoon heard Judge James H. Webb in Superior court sentence her to life imprisonment for the murder of her third husband, John P. Monahan, by administering poison. The jury found her guilty of murder in the second degree after deliberating more than three hours.
Mrs. Monahan was taken back to her cell in the New Haven jail, where she has been confined for the last twenty months, following the death of her husband on June 13, 1917. Her trial began January 28, last.
Mrs. Monahan was taken back to her cell in the New Haven jail, where she has been confined for I he last twenty months, following the death of her husband on June 13, 1917. Her trial began January 28, last.
Judge Webb in his charge to the jury, denied the degrees of homicide which might be applicable in this case. He revived the testimony in the case with particular reference to the great amount of circumstantial evidence presented.
He said that proof of motive was not necessary for conviction.
[“Husband Slayer Smiles As She Hears Sentence - Mrs. Annie F. Monahan Gets Life Term for Murder of Her Third Consort.” Bridgeport Standard Telegram (Ct.), Feb. 14, 1919, p. 8]
For links to other cases of woman who murdered 2 or more husbands (or paramours), see Black Widow Serial Killers.