Thursday, September 22, 2011

Texas Serial Killer Agnes Orner & Her 6 Trials - 1911



FULL TEXT (Article 1 of 2): El Paso, Tex.. Feb. 20. – Mrs. Agnes Orner was placed under arrest this afternoon following her return from the funeral of her little daughter who died Saturday afternoon under suspicious circumstances. Arsenic was found in the child’s stomach.

The woman's husband died here two years ago under what are said to have been suspicious circumstances, and one other child, and a trained nurse also died under the same roof with  suspicious symptoms.

Mrs. Orner was arrested in Globe, Arizona about three years ago on a charge of poisoning her children, but the case was dismissed mi account of insufficient evidence.

The woman is in the county jail.

[“A Female Poisoner In The El Paso Jail - Believed to Have Caused Death of Four Persons.” The Arizona Republican (Phoenix, Az.), Feb. 21, 1911, p. 8]

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FULL TEXT (Article 2 of 2): Austin, Texas. Dec. 7. – A conditional pardon was granted today by acting governor Johnson to Mrs. Agnes Orner, of El Paso, convicted at El Paso in 1915 on the charge of murder by poison of her little daughter, Lillian, and given a life term in the penitentiary.

Conditions under which the pardon was granted are that Mrs. Orner leaves El Paso and does not go back there.

This is quite a noted case in that it had been tried six times. In the first trial, at El Paso. Mrs. Orner was given 99 years in the penitentiary. while four of the trials which were held at other places than El Paso, all resulted in hung juries.

~ Ten Year In Prison. ~

The last time the case was tried, in 1915, a life sentence was imposed. The crime for which Mrs. Orner was convicted occurred at El Paso In 1911 and before she reached the penitentiary she had served 5 years in jail and has also served virtually five years in the state penitentiary. In recommending the pardon, the board of pardons was divided. Judge William Knight dissented, while chairman Frita R. Smith, the other member, made a favorable recommendation on the ground that the woman was convicted on circumstantial evidence.

~ Has Tuberculosis. ~

Mrs. Orner was pardoned on the ground that she is suffering from tuberculosis.

The woman was tried first at El Paso in 1911. when J. M. Neslon was district attorney. When her conviction was reversed, she was granted a change of venue and was tried successively at Midland, Marfa, Pecos and Van Horn and then the case was brought back to El Paso, after the juries had failed to convict her in each of the other trials. W. W. Bridgers was district attorney the last time she was tried, and secured her conviction.

~ The Alleged Crimes. ~

On February 13[?], 1911, Lillie Cordovia Orner died suddenly. The mother, who lived at 608 North Ochoa street, was arrested on a charge of murder and after a preliminary hearing before Justice E. B. McClintock, remanded to jail without bond to await action of the grand jury.

On July 27, 1910, after an illness of six hours, the child’s father. Alfred F. Orner, Pullman conductor, died in the same manner. On August 9. 1910, Mrs. Orner was arrested on a charge of lunacy, but was acquitted three days later before a jury in probate court.

[“Mrs. Agnes Orner Pardoned After Serving Five Years For The Death Of Her Daughter,” El Paso Herald (Tx.), Dec. 7, 1920, p. 1]

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