Thursday, September 22, 2011

Mary Glynn, Pennsylvania Serial Killer - 1889

FULL TEXT (Article 1 of 4): Wilkesbarre, Pa., July 19. – The Coroner’s jury investigating the Pittston wholesale poisoning case returned a verdict to-night that Mary Craighen and Bridget Glynn were poisoned for the insurance on their lives, and that Edward Glynn and his wife were the persons who administered the poison. Bridget Glynn was Edward’s mother, and Mrs. Craighten was his mother-in-law.

[“Verdict Against The Glynns. – The Coroner’s Jury Declares That They Poisoned Two Persons.” The Philadelphia Record (Pa.), Jul. 20, 1889, p. 7]


FULL TEXT: (Article 2 of 4) Wilkesbarre, Pa., Sept. 16.— The case of Mary Glynn of Pittston was called in the criminal court to-day. She is accused of poisoning her mother, Mrs. Mary Crenghan [sic] of Seranton, and also being implicated in poisoning her father-in-law and mother-in-law some months ago. It is alleged that the three victims were murdered by Mrs. Glynn and her husband Edward in order that they might obtain the insurance placed upon their lives. The prisoner pleaded “not guilty.” The court assigned counsel to defend her.

[“A Female Poisoner. - She Is Arraigned on a Charge of Wholesale Poisoning.” The Galveston Daily News (Tx.), Sep. 17, 1889, p. 1]


FULL TEXT (Article 3 of 4): Wilkesbarre, Pa., Nov. 16. – Edward and Mary Glynn, of Pittston, who have been in jail here for four months awaiting trial on a charge of poisoning Glynn’s mother and also Mrs. Glynn’s mother for the sake of insurance money, were called into Court today. District Attorney Dart said that he had examined all the testimony obtainable, and was of the opinion that there was not sufficient evidence against them to warrant him in placing them on trial. On this statement they were discharged, and left the Court-room in company with their friends.

[“Glynn and Wife Discharged. The District Attorney Abandons the Charge of Poisoning.” The Philadelphia Record (Pa.), Nov. 17, 1889, p. 1]


FULL TEXT (Article 4 of 4): When Leigh Valley train No. 2 pulled up at the Water street station on Saturday afternoon last, there alighted from it, among others, at large, brawny, coarse featured and dark complexioned man and a woman. She was smaller in stature than the man, and her head was so bent down that only once in a while a glance could be had at her face. She, too, was of a dark complexion and her features were in a certain degree hard – almost repulsive. As the two stepped from the car there were no friends to meet them, and when they turned and walked up the platform there were many conjectures as to who the forlorn-looking couple might be. Their identity did not remain a secret long, however, for they had hardly reached the sidewalk when it began to be whispered among the hangers-on that they were Edward Glynn and his wife, Bridget, whose names have been heard in almost every Pitttisian's mouth some time during the past four months, because of their supposed connection with one of toe most dastardly and cold-blooded crimes that has ever been committed la this vicinity.


The crimes with which they were charged are too well known to our readers to require more than a passing notice. About six years ago, William Halpin, whose wife was Glynn’s cousin, and with whom the latter boarded, died very suddenly, the symptoms of his brief illness being pains in the stomach. Halpin was buried, and in a few weeks Glynn married his widow. Things went on without any special occurrences until February, 1887, when Glynn’s father, who was living with him


“But how did they get out of jail?” was the question everybody asked, as the Glynns were seen walking up town toward their home. The only answer that can be given is that the District Attorney claimed that he had not sufficient evidence to warrant holding them for trial. For some time past rumors to that effect were circulated, and the fact that the case was twice postponed tended to strengthen the belief. On Friday last Col. T. R. Martin, counsel for Mr. and Mrs. Glynn made a motion in court asking that they be released from custody, and on Saturday the couple were brought before Judge Rice. The hearing which then took place is thus reported by the News-Dealer:

“District Attorney Darto made a statement to the Court. He said that every effort had been to made to look up the evidence in that case, and he had himself examined the witnesses and sifted the testimony,  and was compelled to say that, in his opinion, there was not sufficient evidence against the two to arrest him in placing them on trial. Of course on such a statement from the public prosecutor there remained but one thing for the Judge to do. He directed that the prisoners be discharged from all further attendance upon Court, and silently and without a word the two turned away and walked out of the Court room. Not a friend or acquaintance was near to shake their hand or congratulate them. They were utterly alone, and the very hangers on and loafers in the Court corridors seemed to turn away from them as they passed out.”

Then they took the first train for Pittston, and arrived here as above stated.


So many murderers have been acquitted by Luzerne jurors of late the people are prepared for almost any verdict that may be reached in such cases. The release of the Glynns, however, without even a trial, was a trifle too much for the people of our town, and on all sides were heard condemnations of the looseness with which the case was managed and of the manner in which it has been disposed of. Coroner Mahon was astounded when told the news by a GAZETTE reporter. That the case was to be disposed of in such a manner had not been intimated to him, and he was loud in his denunciation of the conclusion reached by the attorneys for the commonwealth. Dr. Mahon had followed up the case from its inception, and was confident that sufficient evidence had been collected to convict the prisoners of the atrocious crimes laid at their door. “Of course, the place where the poison had been purchased was not known,” he said, “but every other link in the chain of evidence was present. Nothing can convince me that an intelligent jury would not have returned a verdict of guilty in the case.” Others here who have been connected with the case were of a like opinion.

Edward Glynn and his wife have been set free by the officers of the law, but the people will be slow to believe that they are consequently freed from the suspicion of the terrible crimes. There is a possibility that, once supposing themselves safe from punishment, they will become less cautious, eventually betray the secret of the deaths and, so to speak, tie the knot about their own throats. But this possibility is a vague one. Murder, it is said, will out. It appears to be so in this case – out of all probability of retribution.

[“Justice Defeated. Edward And Mary Glynn Released From Jail. – Not Enough Evidence Against Them. – So Says District Attorney Darto in a Statement to the Court on Saturday – The Suspects Return Home – How the News Was Received.” Pittston Gazette (Pa.), Nov. 22, 1889, p. 3]


For more cases of this category, see: Female Serial Killers of 19th Century America (as of January 20, 2014, the collection contains 61 cases)


Links to more Serial Killer Couples


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