Saturday, January 24, 2015

Ora Lee Thacker, Kentucky Double Husband-Slayer - 1926


FULL TEXT (Article 1 of 2): Hopkinsville (Kentucky) – The trial of Mrs. Ora Lee Thacker, alleged slayer of two husbands, for thew murder of her first husband, Otho Henderson, in 1911, was postponed Wednesday in Circuit Court here until September term. Physicians examined Mrs. Thacker, who was carried into court, at the instance of defence counsel, who insisted thatr she is insane. The woman has been in jail here since the slaying of her second husband, Lewis Thacker, in February.

[Untitled, The Hamilton Daily News (Oh.), Jun. 12, 1926, p. 2]

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FULL TEXT (Article 2 of 2): The remains of Lewis Robert Thacker, brief mention of whose death was made in THE RECORD last week and who was found dead by the L. & N. Railroad track two miles south of Hopkinsville on Wednesday morning of last week [Feb. 3], were brought to Cadiz last Friday afternoon and buried in the family lot in East End Cemetery.

The family formerly lived in Cadiz. A number of friends of the family accompanied the remains from Hopkinsville, and funeral services were conducted by Dr. R. B. Grider of the Hopkinsville Methodist church.

Many theories have been advanced during the past week as to the cause of the young man’s death, but so far none of these have been fully solved.

The wife of Thacker, Mrs. Ora Lee Thacker to whom he was married secretly last November, and her two sons, eighteen and fifteen respectively, were arrested as suspects. The younger son was released Saturday. The wife and the other son were to have their examining trial yesterday morning in Hopkinsville.

There was intimation that Mrs. Thacker might have caused the man to be killed so she might get $8,000 insurance carried on his life. This gave rise to some suspicion that a former husband died under peculiar circumstances, and his body, after being buried four years, was taken up Tuesday. It was so decomposed that no trace of poison could be found.

Ike Brown, proprietor of an automobile tire store in Louisville, was arrested and brought to Hopkinsville but so far nothing has developed to connect him with the killing.

A story from Hopkinsville to the LOUISVILLE TIMES of Monday says:

The body of Thacker, who formerly was employed at the Elks’ Club in Louisville, was found beside the Louisville and Nashville Railway tracks about two miles south of Hopkinsville, with two bullet holes in his head, early Wednesday morning. Mrs. Thacker was arrested when it was learned that two insurance policies, one for $5,000 and another for $3,000 had been taken out on her husband a short time before and that she had threatened to blow his brains out or have it done.

Brown said he had seen Thacker twice during the time he was visiting Mrs. Thacker and that she had told him Thacker was her step brother. Not satisfied with the explanation Brown said he had asked one of Mrs. Thacker’s sons who Thacker was and the boy had told him he was only a man who was trying to go with mama.

At the time of her arrest Mrs. Thacker produced a marriage certificate showing she was married to Thacker November 5, 1925, twenty days after the first insurance policy for $5,000 naming her as the beneficiary and wife, had been issued to Thacker. She denies all knowledge of any insurance on the life of her husband or that she had paid the premiums on the insurance for him. Authorities have been unable to locate the policies, which officials of the Life and Casualty Insurance Company of Nashville and the Metropolitan Company of Louisville both claim were issued to Thacker.

One occasion when he visited Mrs. Thacker at 105 West Oak street Brown said, Thacker came in and began quarreling with her because she was going out with Brown. Mrs. Thacker began cursing Thacker and told him to “get upstairs or I’ll kill you,” Brown said. Thacker went upstairs and Brown took the woman to a show, he continued. It was after this incident, according to Brown that Mrs. Thacker told him Thacker was her step-brother.

Thacker was afraid of the woman she treated him terribly, according to brown, who said the couple did not get along at all. Brown said he, too, was afraid of Mrs. Thacker because she always kept a gun on the mantel piece in her home.

Brown said he had denied knowing Mrs. Thacker when first questioned because he did not want to get mixed up in the case.

Additional strands in the net of circumstantial evidence that authorities are weaving around Mrs. Thacker were brought back by Captain J. C. Hanberry, who returned from Louisville with Brown.

Captain Hanberry said he had talked to Mrs. E. Rudolph Thacker, 405 East Broadway, Louisville, a sister in law of the murder victim, and Louis Livingston, attorney in the Realty Building, and that both had told them that Thacker feared his wife would kill him for his insurance. Mrs. Rudolph Thacker and Livingston also told Captain Hanberry that Thacker had admitted to them that he helped Mrs. Thacker burn her home here to collect the insurance money and that she had promised him $300 for it, which he had never collected.

In her statement to Captain Hanberry, Mrs. Rudolph Thacker said that on his last visit to her home in January, “Scrap” had told her he had married Mrs. Thacker because she told him if he took out an insurance policy and married her she would take care of him the rest of his days and in addition she would give him the $300 fire insurance money.

Although he was 34 years old, Thacker’s mentality is said to have been that of a 17 year old boy and members of his family claim Mrs. Thacker exerted a powerful influence over him.

The last time she saw him, Mrs. Rudolph Thacker said “Scrap” told her, “I don’t know whether you will ever see me again or not.” She said he gave no explanation but that she knows he feared being killed because of the insurance he carried. He told me he was afraid they would get him before he got his $3000, and Mrs. Rudolph Thacker, and he told me Mrs. Henderson Thacker paid the premiums on the insurance he carried.

In regard to the fire, Mrs. Rudolph Thacker said she was living in Hopkinsville at the time and the two days before the fire Thacker brought some suit cases over to her home saying they contained his National Guard clothes, and that he wanted to leave them there for a while. She said she opened the cases, and found they contained ladies wearing apparel and boys’ clothier and that there was none of his own in them. About the same time she said, Mrs. Henderson brought twenty six jars of canned fruit and vegetables to her home and she wanted to leave them there for awhile.

Several days later the house burned, said Mrs. Rudolph Thacker, and she knew something was up between them, so I made up my mind to watch. He (Scrap) stole into the house one night and got these things and I followed him. He met her and I heard her tell him, “We better not take any chances with this stuff. Let’s go up the back streets.” The next day I told him what I knew and said “For God’s sake, take one or we both go over the road.

Mrs. Rudolph Thacker said Thacker had admitted to her that he and Mrs. Henderson had set fire to the house and said that Mrs. Henderson had promised him $300 when she collected the insurance.

Mr. Livingston, in his statement to Captain Hanberry, said he also was adviser to both Thacker and Mrs. Thacker, and that he had learned from both of them that they had had numerous arguments and had threatened to tell on each other in [illeg.] with the burning of the cottage. He said Mrs. Thacker had told him she had consulted an attorney and he had advised her to marry Thacker that he would be unable to testify against her if anything ever came about the house.

Livingston said that at the time Thacker came to him and told him Mrs. Thacker had paid him part of the $300 she had promised him for burning the house, and that she then stolen the money from him.

Livingston said he asked them if he was willing to make an affidavit to the effect that Mrs. Henderson had stolen his money, and Mr. Thacker replied that he was not because she would blow his brains if he did. Livingston also said Thacker told him Mrs. Thacker threatened to kill him if he did not marry her after the first insurance policy had been taken out in 1925, and that a man who [illeg.] Hopkinsville had threatened him.
Both Thacker and Mrs. Thacker told him they had set fire to the house here Livingston said.

Clarence Boyd, 111 South - street, Louisville, an employee of Ford Motor Company, told Hanberry that a man whose name he did not know, but who works for L. & N. shops, had beaten men up at one time in Mrs. Thacker’s room house on Oak street and that Thacker had told his [illeg.]  she had said he would kill him in time.

Authorities are now working on a theory that Thacker was a lonely spot along the railroad more than a mile from any road and a half mile from where he was shot twice in the head. They are unable to [illeg.] fact that neighbors in the neighborhood of the Thacker home here heard shots the night of the murder and saw an automobile drive to the side door of the place and they smelled burning rags.

After Mrs. Thacker had been presented in Court Saturday, when the date of preliminary hearing was set. Mrs. Thacker was heard to say “Don’t worry, They don’t have a thing on us.

[“‘Scrap’ Thacker Buried In Cadiz - Remains Of Young Man Killed In Hopkinsville Brought To Former Home - Cause of Death Still A Mystery And Wife Held in Connection With Case,” Cadiz Record (Ky.), February 11, 1926, p. ?]

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For links to other cases of woman who murdered 2 or more husbands (or paramours), see Black Widow Serial Killers.

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