Thursday, September 22, 2011

Bertie Wrather, Suspected Tennessee Serial Killer - 1939

FULL TEXT (Article 1 of 3): Nashville, Tenn., Oct. 19 – Mrs. Bertie Wrather, middle-aged wife of a mattress manufacturer and active in church circles, was held today without bond on charges of poisoning her son, a brother-in-law and a father-in-law.

Her arrest yesterday culminated an investigation that began two months ago, Attorney General J. Carlton Loser said, with the death of Enoch B. Wrather, Jr., an only son.

Calmly, Mrs. Wrather pleaded innocent a few hours after her arrest in general sessions court and was sent to county jail without bond to await action by the county grand jury.

An autopsy performed on young Father by Dr. W. J. Core, county autopsy physician ''disclosed a poison present" in the body, Loser declared. The warrant also charged the woman with the deaths of Richard Wrather, 50, a brother-in- law who died last year, and Andrews Johnson Wrather, 80, her father-in-law who died in 1936.

The attorney general said "some insurance was involved in the boy's death, and there were some estates in the other two cases."

Mrs. Wrather, a large, efficient looking person, worked as a bookkeeper in the small mattress plant of her husband, Enoch B. Wrather, Sr., but found time also to engage in church affairs and parent-teacher activities.

[“Woman Charged With Poisoning - Nashville Church Worker Accused of Causing Death of Three Relatives,” syndicated (AP), The Biloxi Daily Herald (Ms.), Oct. 19, 1939, p. 1]



FULL TEXT (Article 2 of 3): Nashville, Tenn., Oct 20. – District Attorney General J. Carlton Loser announced he is investigating a number of deaths in addition to those of three persons whom Mrs. Bertie Wrather, 46-year-old housewife is charged with having poisoned.

Mrs. Wrather is held in jail on charges growing out of the alleged poison death of her son, Enoch B. Wrather, Jr., 23, last September, her brother-in-law, Richard Wrather, 50, last year; and her father-in-law, Johnson Wrather, 80, in 1936.

The attorney general declined to reveal the number of additional deaths he was investigating, but said that some of them were relatives of Mrs. Wrather who have died within the past few years. Mrs. Wrather is the wife of the manager of a small mattress manufactory.

[“Other Deaths Are Investigated In 'Borgia' Case,” syndicated (INS), The Racine Journal-Times (Wi.), Oct. 20, 1939, p. 15]


FULL TEXT (Article 3 of 3): Nashville – Mrs. Bertie Lee Wrather, acquitted last June in the poison death of her son. Enoch Wrather, Jr., was awarded a divorce in circuit court Saturday. Mrs. Wrather was convicted on the murder charge in October 1941, after two previous trials ended in deadlocked juries. Sentenced to 99 years in the state prison, the conviction was reversed by the Tennessee Supreme Court and a directed verdict of not guilty was given last June on recommendation of the district attorney.

[“Mrs. Wrather Is Granted Divorce,” syndicated (AP), Feb. 13, 1944, p. 6]


Link to a long article from 1942: Terry McShane, “Nashville’sVery Odd Three-in-One Murder,”  syndicated (King Features), St. Petersburg Times (Fl.), Magazine section p. 2


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