Sunday, October 16, 2016

Cora Lichtenfels, Child Torturer – 1909, Pennsylvania


FULL TEXT: Oil City, Sept. 24 – Thursday afternoon Mrs. Cora Lichtenfels, the woman who is alleged to have subjected her stepdaughter, Minnie Lichtenfels, to horrible torture last week, was given a hearing before Alderman McCready. At the conclusion of the testimony Mrs. Lichtenfels was held to the November term of quarter sessions court, bail being fixed at $500, which was furnished by the woman’s husband.

Mrs. Lichtenfels was represented by Attorney John C, McGill argued that the court could not legally hear the case, Mrs. Lichtenfels having been tried before an alderman last Friday and fined $10 and costs on a charge of cruelty arising out of the same offense. District Attorney Goodwin argued that inasmuch as the woman was not tried before a jury on Friday she could be tried again, the charge at yesterday’s hearing being aggravated assault and battery with intent to maim and disfigure.

Minnie Lichtenfels appeared and testified that Tuesday of last week her stepmother took her to the attic of their home and there the elder woman threw the girl to the floor and then sitting on the child’s head gouged great patches of skin and flesh from her chest and back using a pair of pinchers [sic]. The girl swore that last winter her stepmother struck her over the head with a brass curtain rod and on another occasion had struck her over the back and head with a broomstick. Mrs. W. B. Jayne, the lady in whose home the girl has been staying since the inception of the case, testified that last Friday morning her maid had found the child sitting on the porch of the Jayne home. She swore that it took a physician an hour and a half to soak the child’s shirt from the wounds made on her back and chest by the pincers [sic] in the hands of Mrs. Lichtenfels.

Mrs. Lichtenfels entered no testimony in defense.

After the woman had been held to court, Attorney McGill stated that he believed that Mrs. Lichtenfels was unsound mentally. She has, been in poor health for a long time, having undergone three surgical operations in recent years. The girl was given into the care of Humane Officer Hiram Brown, who will provide her with a home.

[“Inhuman Stepmother Was Held For Court – Attorney Hints That Woman is Insane,” Warren Mirror (Pa.), Sep. 24, 1909, p. 1]

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For more cases, see: Women Who Like to Torture

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