Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Frances Hoffman Day, Pennsylvania axe Murderess - 1938


FULL TEXT: Mercer [Pa.], Sept. 19. – Judge George H. Rowley shortly before noon today sentenced Mrs. Frances Hoffman Day, 29, plumpish blonde from Oil City who entered a surprise plea of guilty last Friday for her part in the 1935 killing of Howard Sidley, gasoline station operator, to life imprisonment at the state’s Industrial Home for Women at Muncy, Pa.

~ First Degree Murder ~

He imposed sentence after establishing the degree of her guilt at first degree murder and after declaring that laws of the state automatically fix the life sentence inasmuch as she had entered the guilty plea.

When sentence had been pronounced. Judge Rowley asked her: “Have you anything to say?”

“Nothing to say,” Mrs. Day quickly replied in a low voice that was hardly audible in the packed courtroom.

~ Redfoot Gets 10 Years ~

William K. Redfoot, 29-year-old Harrisville farm hand admitted wielding the axe that killed Sidley, was sentenced by Judge Rowley to from 10 to 10 years in the Western penitentiary at Pittsburgh. His guilt had earlier been determined by Judge Rowley at second degree murder.

Redfoot pleaded guilty after giving police a confession in which he painted Mrs. Day as the “brains” of the plot. He appeared as the chief commonwealth witness against her at her trial.

~ Third Trial Delayed ~

The third defendant in the case. Fred Goodwin, 47-year-old Sandy- Lake miner, indicted for murder, manslaughter and robbery, will not come to trial until the December term of criminal court.

Goodwin’s attorney this morning asked Judge Rowley to delay his trial until the December term of criminal court, and the request was granted.

[“Life Sentence Is Given Woman In Mercer Case - Mrs. Frances Hoffman Day Is Sentenced For Gas Station Murder - Redfoot Is Given Ten To 20 Years - Trial Of Third Defendant, Fred Goodwin, Is Delayed To December,” New Castle News (Pa.), Sep. 19, 1938, p. 1]

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For more Violence by Women cases involving axes and hatchets, see: Give ‘Em the Axe

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