Thursday, September 22, 2011

Lottie Lockman, Indiana’s Suspected Serial Killer Elder Care Provider - 1946



Suspected victims (in progress):

Year? – Fred Giddings, 90, mercury found in body.
Year? – Mrs. Hattie Calhoun, mercury found in body.
1940 – Frank Lockman, husband.
1945 – Mrs. Minnie McConnell, mercury found in body.
Jun. 1946 – Mamie McConnell, 55, attempted poisoning, mercury found in body fluids; she survived, yet expired in April 1947.

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FULL TEXT (Article 1 of 4): Du Pont, Ind. (UP) — Mrs. Lottie Lockman, plump and motherly widow accused of poisoning two women whom she served as housekeeper, refused today to take a lie detector test.

Mrs. Lockman’s attorney, Joseph Cooper, said she would not take the lie test unless other persons who might be suspects in the two poisonings get similar treatment.

At the county jail in nearby Madison, Mrs. Lockman arose from a good night’s sleep and said she was not afraid of the murder and attempted poisoning charges placed against her.

“I am innocent,” she said. “The innocent are never punished.”

The murder charge was based on the finding of mercury in the vital organs of Mrs. Minnie McConnell, who died a year ago. Mrs. McConnell’s body was exhumed after Mrs. Lockman was arrested on charges of attempting to poison Mrs. Mamie McConnell. Mamie McConnell is Minnie McConnell’s daughter-in-law, Mrs. Lockman had served both as housekeeper, and authorities accused her of being the central figure in a real-life “Arsenic and Old Lace” melodrama.

As the folks in Jefferson county gossiped about Mrs. Lockman’s arrest, a report circulated that police were in possession of a letter which claimed Mrs. Mamie McConnell was the heir to a $250,000 estate. Officials refused to comment on  the rumor.

Residents of the county, skirting the Ohio river, gossiped about “the fix Lottie is in,” but her arrest failed to create much of a stir.

Neither did they show much concern about plans to exhume the bodies of Mrs. Lockman’s husband, Frank, who died six years ago, and Fred Giddings, a retired farmer who died at the age of 90 and left her his estate.

Mrs. Lockman was suspected in a total of five deaths.

In “Arsenic and Old Lace,” a Broadway hit play and later a motion picture, two benign old maid sisters committed a series of poisonings because they felt sorry for their victims and thought they would be better off dead.

Mrs. Lockman has refused to answer questions. She signed an authorization yesterday for the exhumation of her husband’s body in a surprise defense move to prove her innocence. She naked that the vital organs of her husband be sent to the state toxicologist at Indianapolis to determine whether they contained poison.

She signed the order in the county jail where she is held on a murder charge as the result of laboratory tests which revealed traces of mercury in the organs of Mrs. Minnie McConnell, who died a year ago while under Mrs. Lockman’s care.

[“Test With Lie Detector Refused By Widow Held in Poison Deaths,” syndicated (UP), Charleston Daily Mail, Aug. 13, 1946, p. 1]

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FULL TEXT (Article 2 of 4): Madison, Ind. – Mrs. Lottie Lockman, 62, was freed on bond. Saturday after her arrest on a grand jury indictment charging her with the attempted poisoning of Mrs. Mayme McConnell, 55.

Mrs. Lockman, known as a “good Samaritan,” whose neighbors insist she “always is doing things for people,” was seized at the home of a relative at nearby Wirt, Ind., Friday.

It was her third arrest since an investigation began last August in the illness of Mrs. McConnell and the deaths of at least three elderly persons, all of whom died under Mrs. Lockman’s care.

Mrs. Lockman spent 25 minutes in Jefferson county jail before circuit judge Harry E. Nichols, who set her free on an additional $2,500 bond until “some time next week” when she will appear for arraignment. She had been at liberty since Aug. 15 under $15,000 bond.

Mrs. Lockman’s attorney, Joseph Cooper, said “friends” furnished the bond.

In returning its indictment, the grand jury asked more time to investigate the deaths of Mrs. Minnie McConnell, mother-in-law of Mayme, Mrs. Hattie Calhoun and Fred Giddings.

Mrs. Lockman already faced a peace court murder charge in the death of the elder Mrs. McConnell, whose body revealed traces of mercury. Authorities also exhumed Giddings’ body and that of Mrs. Calhoun, and reported finding mercury in both cases.

[“’Samaritan’ Named Again Poisoner,” syndicated (UP), Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, Wi.), Oct. 13, 1946, p. 16]

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FULL TEXT (Article 3 of 4): Madison, Ind. – Mrs. Mayme McConnell, for whose recent illness her former housekeeper, Mrs. Lottie Lockman, was tried and acquitted of a charge of attempting murder by poison, died Monday in a local hospital.

Mrs. McConnell's husband, Forrest McConnell, hardware merchant in the town of Dupont north of here, said his wife became seriously ill last June.

Mrs. Lockman was acquitted of the attempted murder charge by a jury early last Friday morning. Mrs. McConnell testified against her from a hospital bed.

The state charged Mrs. Lockman placed mercury in food she prepared for Mrs. McConnell, an invalid. Medical witnesses testified they found mercury in her body fluids.

[“Alleged Victim of Mrs. Lottie Lockman Dies in Hospital,” syndicated (AP), Council Bluffs Nonpareil (Io.), Apr. 14, 1947, p. 1]

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FULL TEXT (Article 4 of 4): Madison, Ind., May 23 – Mrs. Mayme McConnell, the star witness in the attempted mercury poisoning trial of Mrs. Lottie Lockman, did not die of mercury poisoning, Dr. Amos Michael, Indianapolis pathologist announced today.

His report apparently cleared the elderly housekeeper, known as the “Good Samaritan” of the village of DuPont, of any further charges in Mrs. McConnell’s death.

The 57-year-old woman died April 14, three days after Mrs. Lockman was acquitted, and Mrs. McConnell’s husband, Forest, asked Michael to make an autopsy. Michael was assisted by Dr. R. N. Harger, Indiana university medical school toxicologist.

Although Michael said abnormal amounts of mercury were found in the body, he added that the accumulations were “below those usually associated with fatal mercury poisoning.” He also said he was not able to determine if the mercury found in Mrs. McConnell’s body last summer hastened or contributed to her death.

Mrs. McConnell’s illness led to Mrs. Lockman’s arrest and touched off an investigation of the deaths of three elderly persons who died while under care of the practical nurse.

[“Mrs. Lockman Is Cleared – Pathologist’s  Report Reveals Mrs. Mayme McDonnell Did Not Die Of Mercury Poisoning.” Syndicated (UP), May 23, 1947, p. 15]

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For more cases, see Sicko Nurses

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