Thursday, September 22, 2011

Mary Creighton, New Jersey Serial Killer: She Murdered Two, Got Away With It, & Murdered Again - 1923

FULL TEXT (Article 1 of 3): Newark, N. J., June 6.—A second murder indictment has been returned against Mary Creighton, pretty young Newark matron, who is already waiting trial on a charge of poisoning her brother. The new indictment alleges that she caused the death of her. mother-in-law by poison. Chemists are now engaged in analyzing the stomach of her father-in-law, who died two years ago in an effort to determine whether he died from effect of poison.

The young woman, who became a mother for the second time just after her arrest, is scheduled to come to trial June 18th on a charge of killing her brother, Charles Raymond Avery, aged 18, by slow administration arsenic. Her husband, John, is charged with the same offense and will come to trial with her.

[“Second Charge Of Murder Is Made On Mrs. Creighton,” Clearfield Progress (Pa.), Jun. 6, 1923, p. 1]

FULL TEXT (Article 2 of 3): Newark, N.J., July 13 – Mrs. Mary F. Creighton, on trial here for the alleged poisoning of her brother-in-law, Mrs. Annie Creighton, more than two years ago, was acquitted by a jury early tonight after four hours’ deliberation.

As the foreman pronounced the words “not guilty,” Mrs. Creighton collapsed, but was revived in a few minutes. The streets outside the court house waiting for Mrs. Creighton to leave the building.

[“Acquitted Of Murder Charge Woman Faints,” syndicated (AP), The Sundusky Register (Oh.), Jul. 14, 1923, p. 1]


FULL TEXT (Article 3 of 3): Sing Sing Prison, Ossining, N. Y., July l6 – Mrs. Mary Frances Creighton rode to horrible; death tonight in a wheel chair but she knew nothing of it.

The flabby, 37-year-old woman, who twice had been acquitted of poison murders, was electrocuted at 11:07 p.m. for the arsenic murder of Mrs. Ada Applegate in the Long Island town of Baldwin last fall.

When the inert hulk that a few minutes before had been a wife and mother was rolled out on a morgue table, her former paramour, Everett C. Applegate, husband of the murdered woman, followed her to the electric chair. They were convicted jointly of murdering Applegate’s 300-pound wife so that Applegate would be free to marry Ruth Chapman, the woman Borgia’s 15 year old daughter. Applegate admittedly seduced the child after he tired of her mother.


Mrs. Creighton gave no slightest sign of life or consciousness when she was brought into the execution chamber in a wheelchair. The 24 official witnesses, 22 of them newspaper men, agreed that she was completely unconscious.

It was stifling hot in the death chamber as the witnesses waited for the double execution. Robert Elliott, veteran executioner, squatted by a bucket of brine, dousing two leather helmets almost like football headgear and two padded leg plates.


It was so quiet that when he squeezed out surplus salt water, used to speed the current through the body o£ the condemned, the faint splash in the bucket was clearly audible.

Minutes passed. As 11 o’clock came .and went, the witnesses whispered. Then Warden Lewis K. Lawes entered, dressed in a dark suit and carrying a white Panama hat. A half-dozen guards in blue shirts at stations and the outside door to the chamber was locked.


In a little rush, two white-clad matrons came through a wide door near the chair. On their heels rolled a wheelchair pushed by two guards and followed by the Rev. Father John T. McCaffery, Catholic prison chaplain. Mrs. Creighton hitherto a Protestant, embraced the Catholic faith at 5 p. m. today and at 9 o’clock was baptized and given the last rites of that church.

Guards hurried forward to meet the grim group find quickly ranged themselves around the doomed woman in an effort to shield her from the view of the newspaper men. They were partially successful.


Her face was ghastly white. She was dressed in a pink silk night gown with, a low front and black silk kimono. She wore no stockings, On her feet were soft brown bedroom slippers.

Two big guards, easily 200 pounds, seized her limp body, one on each side. They grunted and strained and almost dumped her in the electric chair. The attendants then crowded around so closely that reporters could see only the woman’s feet and the top of the helmet which Elliott jammed on her dark hair.

The two matrons held two places in the close ring of prison, attendants screening the doomed woman.


At 11:07 p. m., when Elliott, from an adjoining alcove threw his switch and the dynamo's hum rose sharply, the matrons hid their faces on shoulders of guards standing by them.

Elliott turned off the 2000 volt current and it was deathly quiet. Two guards removed the helmet and face .mask and placed stethoscopes two doctors against her bared chest. Her head lay back between her shoulders, with the mouth open. Her face was a dirty gray.


Warden Lawes said this was the first time in the history of the state that a condemned person, man or woman, had not walked to the chair. Even, two one-legged men who were executed hopped to the chair with a hand on a guard's shoulder.

In less than a minute Applegate, stocky and blond, marched in, with a guard on each side, accompanied by a Protestant minister. Ho walked quickly to a 'position' in front of the chair and faced the reporters.

“Before God, gentlemen, I am innocent of this crime," he said clearly, "and I hope the good God will have Mercy on the soul of Martin W. Littleton."

[“Woman, In Coma, Is Wheeled to Electric Chair - Guards Lift Unconscious Slayer of Lover's Wife to Death Seat; Man Follows Her,” syndicated (UP), Nevada State Journal (Reno, Nv.),  Jul. 17, 1936, p. 1]


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