Friday, September 23, 2011

“’If you were a man I would hang you,’ the judge told her.”: Elsie Bible Malinsky, Serial Killer - 1926


PHOTO CAPTION: No further charges against Mrs. Elsie Bible Malinsky, top, who while life sentence for murder, in Flora, Ill., confessed two other slayings. She admits poisoning first wife of Havill Bible, whom she later married; Bible himself; and first wife (inset) of Ernest Malinsky (inset), her second husband. She absolves Malinsky from complicity in the latter crime.

[“Woman Slayer Confesses Two Other Murders,” syndicated (Central Press Photos), Saratoga Herald (Fl.), Mar. 26, 1926, p. 3]
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FULL TEXT: Flora, Ill., March 10 – Mrs. Elsie Bible Malinsky, 45, late Tuesday pleaded guilty in Clay county circuit court to the poison murder of Mrs. Laura Malinsky, 53, former wife of her  husband, Ernest L. Malinsky, 50, and was sentenced to life imprisonment in Joliet prison.

Mrs. Malinsky said she gave the poison to the woman in a glass of water.  She absolved her husband whom she married six weeks after the death of the first Mrs. Malinsky, of all blame.

In passing sentence on Mrs. Malinsky, Circuit Judge Thomas M. Jett unleashed a scathing denunciation of the woman and her crime.  “If you were a man I would hang you,” the judge told her. “The fact that you are a woman is all that saves you.”  He described the crime as “cowardly.”

Mrs. Malinsky was calm as she received the life sentence, and remained as unmoved during the period of several minutes the judge lectured her.  She made no comment.  She will be taken to the penitentiary Wednesday.

Malinsky, who accompanied his wife into the courtroom, cried when sentence was pronounced.  He declared he had no knowledge of Mrs. Malinsky having poisoned his first wife.

Malinsky was arraigned late Tuesday on the murder charge and held to circuit court in default of $15,000 bond.  The state’s attorney said Tuesday night the charges against Malinsky “probably will be dropped,” but added he has not definitely decided what action he will pursue.

The present Mrs. Malinsky has been married three times.  She was divorced by her first husband, Wilbur Cope, on the grounds of desertion after they had lived together two years.  Her second husband, Bible died December 11, 1923.  The attending physician said death was from pleuro-pneumonia and contributory tubercular meningitis.

The then Mrs. Bible became housekeeper for Malinsky during the illness of his first wife, and continued as his housekeeper until they married about a month after the death of his first wife.  She has one child, a boy, fourteen, by her second husband.  Malinsky has a grown son by his first wife.  He is a native of Germany and formerly resided at Iola, Illinois.

[“Flora Woman Is Murderer - Mrs. Malinsky Confesses - Is Sentenced To Life In Prison.” Decatur Daily Review (Il.), Mar. 10, 1926, p. 1]

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Nellie Esther "Essie" Trotter, maiden name.

Victims:

Circa 1908 – Swalbur Cope, first husband (married Nov. 4, 1900, Clay Co., Il.), attempted murder.
Before Dec, 1923 – Mrs. Bible, wife of second husband.
Dec. 11, 1923 – Havill Bible (married in Clay Co., Il.), second husband, died.
Sep. 26, 1926 – Laura May Malinsky, wife of third husband; Flora, Ill.

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On Swalbur Cope, first husband:

The woman is 44 years old. She has had three husbands. Her first husband, Swalbur Cope, divorced her about eighteen years ago after she had made an unsuccessful attempt to poison him, Williams said. [“Woman Admits Other Killings,” The Lincoln Star (Lincoln, Neb), Mar. 12, 1926, p. ?]

Nellie Esther "Essie" is sent to Joliet Prison and is released on June 18, 1950.
Nellie moved to Sacramento Ca., to live next to son Floyd. She died September 23, 1980.

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

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