Friday, September 23, 2011

Lydia Studley, Rhode Island "Eldercare" Serial Killer - 1858




Victims of Mrs. Studley:


Edward Studley, 75
“Two old persons” she had “taken care of”

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FULL TEXT (Article 1 of 4): A Pleasant Wife to Live With — In the investigation of the Valley Falls poisoning case, one of the witnesses testified that three or four years ago Mrs. Studley intimated to her how she could dispose of her husband. The following was Mrs. Studley’s (then Mrs. Jones) advice.

Mrs. Jones then said, ‘I would not bear it, he is not able to do anything, and if you are in danger why do you put up with, it; give him something to still him down, and don’t let your right hand know what your left hand doeth I never let my right hand know what my left hand doeth; by this course I could get along very well.—

Give him something that would still him down, you would not be plagued with him but a little while – for it is nobody's business what we do. I should never get along if there are no friends of his here, so much the better – there would be nobody to question you’ I did not ask her what she meant by 'striking him down.'’ The jury returned a verdict to the effect that Mr. Studley came to his death from poison administered by his wife, and a warrant was immediately issued for her arrest.

[“A Pleasant Wife to Live With,” Adams Sentinel (Gettysburg, Pa.), Sep. 13, 1858, p. 1]

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FULL TEXT (Article 2 of 4): The coroner’s jury at Valley Falls, R. I., having found that Edward Studley came to his death from poison administered by his wife, a warrant was issued for her arrest. Mr. Studley was the second husband she is believed to have “stilled down.” And, according to the evidence of Mrs. Zopher Skinner, the husbands were not all her victims; for Mrs. Studley, then Mrs. Jones, “spoke of having taken care of two old persons some years before, when they lived on a farm. These people died very suddenly, but she did not get along any better afterwards. Here Mrs. Jones stopped, and appeared not to be able to speak for ten minutes, but had such an expression to he countenance as I have never saw before nor since. She then said, ‘I can’t tell you any more; I have told you too much already; but don’t say anything about it; I would not have any one in the place know it for all the world.” This witness, Mrs. Skinner, also testified that, three or four yeas ago, Mrs. Jones intimated to her how she could dispose of her husband, who was sometimes “difficult to manage.” The testimony shows, to be sure, that Mrs. Skinner and Mrs. Jones had held murderous counsel; and Mrs. Jones, it seems, derived her leading maxim from a perversion of the Scriptures: –

“Ms. Jones then said, ‘I would not bear it; he is not able to do anything, and if you are in danger why do you put up with it; give him something to still him down and keep him quiet, but don’t let your right hand know what your left hand doeth. I never let my right hand know what my left hand doeth; by this course I get along very well. Give him something that will still him down; you would not be plagued with him but a little while – for it is nobody’s business what we do. I should never get along so. If there are no friends of his here, so much the better – there would be nobody to question you.’ I did not ask her what she meant by ‘stilling him down.’”

The coroner’s jury had no doubt about her meaning, however; and, unless this witness can be impeached, the case looks very bad indeed for Mrs. Studley, who will undoubtedly be arrested and brought to trial. Nor is there anything in the aspect of the affair very encouraging to husbands whose wives may chance to contract a prejudice against them amounting to a desire to still them down.

[“The Rhode Island Female Poisoner.” Boston Press and Post. (Ma.), Aug. 23, 1858, p. 1]

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FULL TEXT (Article 3 of 4): The trial of Mrs. Lydia Studley, foe the poisoning of her husband, was brought to a close yesterday. The case, for peculiarity of the circumstances surrounding it, and from the age of the prisoner, has excited in this community an unusual degree of interest. The facts, as developed in all the investigations which have taken place, are simply these: Mrs. Lydia Jones aged 65, marries Edward Studley, aged 75 ; she thinking he has property, which proves not to be the case. He is a feeble gentleman, and becomes somewhat of a family burden. A few months subsequent to the marriage he died from the effects of poison. Rumor, painted full of tongues, is soon abroad end suspicion fastens on the wife of the deceased; long investigations follow, the result of which is, Mrs. Studley is arrested, indicted before the grand jury, and put upon trial. Two days are consumed in the examination of witnesses, the third is occupied with the arguments for the defence and prosecution, and the Judge’s charge. The jury are out about two hour; and render a verdict of “Guilty.” No pains were spared by the counsel for the defends in the collection of favorable testimony but the convictions in the minds of the jury were too strong, from the nature of the evidence, and the verdict rendered must be taken as that according with the principles of justice.

[“Trial of Mrs. Studley verdict of Guilty.” (from the Prov. Journal), Milwaukee Daily Sentinel (Wi.), Nov. 5, 1858, p. 2]

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FULL TEXT (Article 4 of 4): Both Mrs. Gardner, of Hingham, Mass., and Mrs. Studley, of Valley Falls, R. I. were previous to their arrests considered highly respectable, both were married ladies; both were convicted for the murder of their husbands; both committed the crime by the same means, namely poison; both were sentenced upon the same day, to-wit: 28th day of October, ult., by the Supreme Court of the two States, and both for and during their natural lives.

[“The Two Husband Poisoners.” The Eau Claire Free Press (Wi.), Nov. 25, 1858, p. 2]

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http://unknownmisandry.blogspot.com/2012/02/female-serial-killers-of-19th-century.html


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

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