FULL TEXT (Article 1 of 2): Poplar Bluff, Mo., Dec. 18 – The word of a 37-year-old wife stood today in refutation to her husband’s contention that Mrs. J. W. Edwards administered the poison from which he is seriously ill in a St. Louis hospital.
With Mrs. Edwards’ assertion that she is innocent, authorities also had the word of her husband that she had poisoned him and killed his 15-year-old son, Forest, the same way.
Mrs. Edwards, under questioning, said Edwards carried life insurance as did her two former husbands, both of whom died under mysterious circumstances as did her daughter, Ethel May Padgett, 12.
In view of Edwards’ allegation and the deaths of her daughter and former husbands, authorities are considering exhumation of the bodies to determine if they, too, had been poisoned.
Her first husband, Fred Padgett, died October 25, 1924, and her second, A. X. Harris, January 19, last. Her daughter, Ethel May Padgett, died April 16, 1927.
Forest, her stepson, died recently. Upon his death Edwards brought suit against a confectionery store owner, alleging the boy had been sold poisoned ice cream, but dropped the action when he became ill.
Physicians hold slight hope for his recovery. Mrs. Edwards is at liberty on $1000 bonds.
[“Wife Accused of Poisoning Three Husbands, Daughter,” syndicated (AP), Oakland Tribune (Ca.), Dec. 18, 1928, p. 3]
FULL TEXT (Article 2 of 2): Poplar Bluff, Mo., May 9. – Mrs. Nora Edwards, 38, was convicted by a circuit court Jury here today of attempting to kill her third husband, J. W. Edwards, 60, by administering poison to him. Her punishment was fixed at five years imprisonment.
Mrs. Edwards already was under a two-year prison sentence for burglarizing the home of a neighbor.
Her husband was stricken with a peculiar illness last fall and physicians diagnosed it as slow poisoning. He was in a St. Louis hospital for several months while physicians labored to save his life and find trace of the alleged poison. He recovered slowly, but no actual trace of poison was ever found.
Immediately upon returning home, Edwards began prosecution of his wife. He testified in her trial that she plotted against the life of Dr. J. L. Harwell after the physician, the first one called to examine him when he was stricken, expressed belief he was suffering from slow poison. The defense plea was that Mrs. Edwards was mentally deranged.
The jury returned its verdict of guilty after deliberating only fifteen minutes. Mrs. Edwards made no comment.
Seeking to show that Mrs. Nora Edwards is a moron, defense attorneys introduced a number of witnesses who testified as to her “peculiar” actions. Several physicians were called by defense to define “moron.” He described her, in that respect, as having been “possibly a spoiled child in her youth,” and having never fully progressed past the stage of childhood in some phases of development. [Note: The term “moron” was a standard medical term at this time. The description of Mrs. Edward’s character would today be termed “severe narcissistic personality disorder” along with “anti-social personality disorder.”]
The defense also contented that it was possible for Edwards to have been poisoning through intoxicating liquor or in handling paint or wall paper. Doctors testified, this would be possible, but hardly probable. They said, results from such poisoning, however, would have been chronic and not acute, as was Edwards’ case.
[“Five Years For Wife Who Gave Poison To Spouse - Jury At Poplar Bluff Deliberated Only 15 Minutes In Nora Edward’s Case.” Syndicated (AP), Jefferson Post-Tribune (Jefferson City, Mo.), May 9, 1929, p. 4]
For links to other cases of woman who murdered 2 or more husbands (or paramours), see Black Widow Serial Killers.