Sunday, January 19, 2020

Sandra Knowlton, 14-Year-Old Murderess – Maine, 1958


FULL TEXT: Lewiston, Maine – A sullen, teen-age girl pleaded innocent Tuesday to killing a Lewiston policeman. Held for a grand jury, the dungaree-clad girl later was ordered committed to a mental hospital for examination.

Sandra Knowlton, 14, showed little emotion and appeared almost unconcerned as Judge Fernand Despins read a warrant charging her with the shooting of Patrolman Paul J. Simard, 32.

The policeman was felled by a .22-caliber rifle slug between the eyes Monday night when he attempted to coax the slender brunette home after a family argument.

~ STRAIGHT AHEAD ~

Wearing a red jacket, the girl stared straight ahead as she entered the packed court room. Her sobbing mother, Mrs. Everett Knowlton, held tightly to her waist.

Asked for her plea, she conferred, she conferred briefly with her court-appointed counsel, former County Atty. A. F. Martin, then answered firmly: “Not guilty.”

~ MENTAL EXAM ~

Judge Despins found probable cause and held her without bail for the September term of Androscoggin County Superior Court. Superior Court Justice Armand Dufresne later signed papers committing her to a voluntary 30-day mental examination at Augusta State Hospital.

Police said Sandra had taken the rifle and run away after an argument with her mother about the location of her rented home. The girl wanted to move closer to home.

 [“Girl In Dungarees Pleads Innocent In Cop’s Killing,” Daily Intelligencer Journal (Lancaster, Pa.), Jul. 9, 1958, P. 3]

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FULL TEXT: Auburn, Maine, Sept. 23 – Sandra Knowlton, 14, was sentenced today to 5-10 years in prison for the slaying of a Lewiston policeman. She greeted the sentence with a smile and a “thank you.”

The girl was convicted of manslaughter Saturday in the death had fled after a family argument at home.

Justice James P. Archibald, in sentencing her, told Sandra:

“Fundamentally, there are other people to blame for the situation you’re in. You’ve got a cross to bear the rest of your life unless you overcome it yourself.”

The girl will be eligible for freedom by the time she is 18.

[“Girl, 14, Given 5 to 10 as Slayer of a Cop,” Daily News (New York, N.Y.), Sep. 24, 1958, p. 24

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