Thursday, September 22, 2011

Mrs. Clough, Utah Murder-Coaching Mom – 1920

FULL TEXT: How a supposedly insane mother induced her son to kill his father by declaring the father had murdered his two brothers and was intention murdering the boy, was the story gained today by police who investigated the murder of James A Clough. Southern Pacific engine inspector, 2175 Jackson avenue.

The body of Clough, pierced by bullets, was found early Sunday morning. He had been shot as he slept upon a few quilts placed upon the floor in a mall room next to his wife’s bedroom. Mrs. Ollie Clough is held at the county jail, while it is likely an examination will be ordered to determine her sanity.

Ray Clough, 14 years old, who fired the shots into the body of his father, in the city jail where from time to time he gives additional details of the murder.


When police reached the home after the murder. Mrs. Clough told them her husband had been killed by a black bearded man who also had tried to murder Ray with a butcher knife. Detectives Noble and Edwards remained at the home to investigate and when it got light Noble found an old fashioned Colt pistol in the weeds near the house. Leo, 12 years old, said it looked like father’s.

Later Ray confessed that it was he who fired the shots.


The family was removed to the police station, following the confession, and Ray was held in the city jail. Mrs. Clough was taken to the county jail, while Leo, age 12, Alvin, age 8, and Josephine Clough. an infant, were placed under the care of the Martha society and the Crittendon home.

Ray Clough related a pitiful story. The boy was connected with the robbery of the Sawyer grocery store on August 8. He was arrested. Since that time be has been staying away from home while his father was at home, and has been sleeping in a deserted house. His mother having provided him with a pillow and a quilt.


For several days the mother has been meeting the boy and at Clough time is alleged to have told him that his father intended killing him.

Saturday morning, Mrs. Clough procured a gun from Mr. Clough’s tin safety deposit box. after having removed ft key from his person.

Later she saw the boy and it is claimed that the murder of Clough was planned at that time.

“If he mistreats you, kill him,” is the advice given Ray by his mother, the boy claims.

On Saturday afternoon of visitor was at the Clough residence. “I have a gun land there in a be some shooting around here before long.” Mrs. Clough is alleged to have remarked at this time she told Ray to exhibit the revolver.


“At about 12:15 Sunday morning, mother came to the house where I was sleeping and told me that father had killed my brothers,” Ray said. “I went home and when I got to the door of father’s room. I shot at him. He raised up in bed and made a noise. I didn’t want to shoot any more but mother took hold of my arms from behind and told me to empty the gun.

“When I left the room I found that my brothers wore alive and I felt sorry for what I had done.”

Mrs. Clough corroborated the story of her son with the exception of the actual killing. She maintained that a man with a black beard had murdered her husband.


Investigation disclosed the fact that Mrs. Clough had been committed to an asylum in Texas on three different occasions.

Although Mrs. Clough maintained that her husband had mistreated her and the children, neighbors say they have never seen Clough mistreat any of his family. He is said to have been a good provider.

When asked if his father had ever mistreated him, Ray said he had been whipped at one time with a saw. This, the boy said, occurred in Texas about two years ago. The family have been living in Ogden tor the past two years.

No charges against the mother nor the boy have yet been preferred.

Mrs. Clough is now in a special cell in the county jail. Throughout yesterday, last night and today she indicated by her actions that she is unbalanced, according to the jail attendants. At one time she tore part of the bar lock from her cell and it was necessary for attendants to take the iron from her.

Since she has been in the cell at the county jail the woman has not asked for her baby, or inquired as to its whereabouts, the officers said.

[“Son To Slay, Police Assert - James A. Clough, Engine Inspector, Victim of Supposed Deranged Mind – Boy, Aged 14, Tells Of Early Morning Crime - Led to Believe His Brothers Had Been Slain by His Father.” The Ogden Standard-Examiner (Ut.), Aug. 23, 1920, p. 1]


For similar cases, see Murder-Coaching Moms


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