Saturday, December 19, 2015

Gladys Dillon, 14-Year-Old Mass Poisoner – West Virginia, 1936


FULL TEXT (Article 1 of 3): Huntington, W. Va. Feb. 25. – Ellsworth Payne, 15-year-old Cabell county youth, was arrested by Deputies Bill Thompson and Luther Foulks of Lincoln county in a remote section of Cabell county today on a warrant charging conspiracy with Gladys Dillon to poison her parents and six of her brothers and sisters.

The arrest occurred on Smith creek early this afternoon after the deputies from the neighboring county had waded six miles in almost knee-deep mud to reach the home of a relative of Payne. They reported upon reaching Huntington with their young prisoner late this afternoon. They proceeded on to Hamlin this evening.

Hamlin, W. Va., Feb. 25 (IP) — A girl accused of poisoning her parents and six of her brothers and sisters today blamed as the instigator of the plot a young man she was forbidden, to see.

Prosecutor W. F. Damron quoted, 14-year-old buxom Gladys Dillion [sic] that Ellsworth Payne, of St. Albans, had devised the scheme “to get even.”

The girl said she put poison in flour at her home but that Ellsworth did not carry out hie part of the agreement to prison the livestock and burn the Dillon barn.

Damron issued a warrant for Payne’s arrest on a charge of conspiring with Gladys.

The prosecutor said: “This boy Payne is a first cousin of Gladys.

His sweatheart, in Logan county, is the sister of Gladys’ sweetheart. Gladys’ parents tried to keep her from going with boys and young Payne helped her to run away to Logan county with him where they saw their sweethearts.”

The Dillion’s [sic] found out about the trip, and, the prosecutor said, Mrs. Dillon reprimanded Gladys and forbade Ellsworth from coming to the house.

The girl told Payne of her parents action.

Damron quoted her that he replied, “All right, we’ll get even with them. You get some poison and poison your family. I’ll give some to the livestock and also burn the barn.”

All the Dillon family are recovering from the effects of the poison taken Thursday morning in biscuits and gravy which Mrs. Dillon made for breakfast.

Damron said he will present tho girl’s confession to a grand jury convening March 12. He opposed granting her bail, saying he feared she would run away.

[“Gladys Dillon Accuses Young Man She Was Forbidden To See As Instigator Of Scheme To Poison Family,” Bluefield Dauily Government (W. Va.), Feb. 26, 1936, p. 1]

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FULL TEXT (Article 2 of 3): Hamlin, W. Va., Feb. 22 – Lincoln county Prosecutor W. S. Damron announced Friday night 14-year-old Gladys Dillon had confessed poisoning her parents and six brothers and sisters, all of whom are critically ill.

Damron said the girl told him she intended to kill her mother for chastising her, but was sorry the others were affected.

~ Found Ill at Table ~

Edgar Dillon, 40; his wife, 36, and six children ranging in age from 3 to 12 years were found ill at their breakfast table by a gas company employe, who summoned the Prosecutor.

Damron said the girl told him she took poison from the attack put it in a sack of flour with which she knew her mother intended to bake bread.

~ Meant to Hurt Only “Mamma” ~

“Gladys broke down and cried when I told her how sick her father was,” he continued.

“She said: ‘I didn’t mean to hurt him, just Mamma’.”

The girl was locked up in the county jail on a charge of administering poison with intent to kill.

The prosecutor said Dillon, a PWA worker, is the most seriously ill of those who ate the poison and may die. The sick children are Junior, Egbert, Minnie, Mona, Regnor and Robert. The eighth child, a baby, ate none of the bread.

~ Says Girl Seems Intelligent ~

“We suspected Gladys because she was the only one at the breakfast table who did not eat the poisoned bread, and took her into custody this afternoon,” Damron said.

“It seems the girl had left home without permission, and her mother punished her by confining her to the same home. Gladys is a rather large girl for her age and seems intelligent.

“She said in her confession that she was angry with her mother and fully intended to kill her. She denied it when I first questioned her, and seemed perfectly calm, but when I mentioned her father, she broke down.”

Damron said the case will be presented to the March grand jury.

[“Girl Admits She Poisoned 8 In Family – 14-Year-Old Youngster Declares She Wanted to Poison Her Murder.” The Gettysberg Times (Pa.), Feb. 22, 1936, p. 2]

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FULL TEXT (Article 3 of 3): Hamlen, W. Va., March 24. – A 14-Year-Old girl pleaded guilty to charges of poisoning her family and received a seven year reform school sentence today.

Buxom Gladys Dillon stood before Circuit Judge Thomas R. Shepherd, admitted her guilt, heard him sentence her to the girl’s industrial school at Salem until she is 21, then said:

“Well, that’s a long time.”

Then, she was led back to her cell.

[“Girl In Poison Plot To Serve Seven Years,” The Scranton Republican (Pa.), Mar. 17, 1936, p. 1]

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