Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Anna Hlatky Murdered Two Sets of Twins – Pennsylvania, 1928


FULL TEXT: A signed confession admitting to smothering baby twins, whose skeletons were dug out recently in a chicken pen in the rear of the home of Mr. and Mrs. John Blatky, of McMahon street, Monessen, was produced as evidence last evening when the mother. Mrs. Anna Hlatky, was arraigned before Alderman Fred Upton of Monessen, on a charge of murder.

Mrs. Hlatky, who has been a patient in the Memorial Hospital since August 25, was taken from that institution yesterday for the hearing. She was represented by Attorneys Vincent R. Smith of Monessen, and Philip K. Shaner, of Greensberg, who entered a plea of not guilty, but after two witnesses, Health Officer Frances E. Gibson and Dr. M. E. Griffith, has been heard, Alderman Upton held the defendant for court without bail.

The confession was produced by Health Officer Gibson who secured it from the woman at the hospital a few days ago, it is said. Mrs. Hlatky was kept in Monessen last night and this morning was taken last night and this morning was taken to the Westmoreland County jail at Greensburg. The charge against her was preferred by Sergeant James Buckley of the State Police.

More than 500 persons crowded around the office of Alderman Upton last evening while the hearing was in progress.

[“Hlatky Woman Jeld For Murder,” The Daily Republican (Monessen, Pa.), Sep. 7, 1928, p. 6]

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FULL TEXT: Defense attorneys will not seek a new trial for Mrs. Hlatky of Mosessen, who is held in the Westmoreland County jail today awaiting sentence after being convicted of voluntary manslaughter in connection with the discovery of two sets of twins buried in the chicken yard ion the rear of the Hlatky home in Monessen.

John Hlatky, husband of the convicted woman, still faces trial charged with being an accessory after the fact.

Mrs. Hlatky was convicted this week by the state when her four purported confessions to smothering the infants was introduced in the trial and damaging testimony was given by her own 12 and 13-year-old daughters.

The infants’ bodies were found last August.

The case opened Tuesday afternoon [Nov. 20], the entire afternoon being taken up in the selection of a jury and the first witnesses were called to the stand Wednesday morning. The trial finally went to the jury shortly after 5 o’clock Thursday afternoon and at 8:30 reported that a verdict had been reached. There were only a few persons including the Commonwealth’s attorneys and the defense attorneys and the defendant in the court room when the verdict was rendered. John Hlatky, husband of the convicted woman, charged with being an accessory after the fact, secured a continuance and will be tried at the next term of court.

Thursday, the early part of the morning was devoted to a series of calling and recalling of witnesses to the stand who had already testified for both the Commonwealth and defense.

The defense recalled Sergeant James Buckley, of the state police, who had charge of the case for his trip to the stand no less than three times. The defense, attorneys, P. K. Shaner and Vincent R. Smith, quizzed the state trooper again as to the means of getting the confession the state police secured on their visit to Mrs. Hlatky in the Monongahela hospital. In addition to Sergeant Buckley, both Corporal H. C. Johnson and Private A. A. Drenning were summoned by the defense for cross examination. All three said they came to witness a statement made by Mrs. Hlatky.

Then Sergeant Buckley was called to the stand by District Attorney John R. Keister. He denied that any force or threats were made during the visits made by the officers to Mrs. Hlatky's hospital room either on Sunday or on Tuesday, last August.

Mrs. Hlatky was recalled by the defense in an effort to test her hand writing against that appearing on some of the confessions made by her. Apparently satisfled, the defense excused her after Assistant District Attorney Fred B. Trescher of the Commonwealth's side, had her write her name. There was an objection made by the Commonwealth and sustained by the court to the admission of the handwriting.

Despite the objections of the defense counsel four of the confessions alleged to have been made by Mrs. Hlatky were admitted and read to the jury.

Three of these confessions follow.

The following statement was made in the hospital where the woman was a patient:

"The twin babies born to me on August 11, 1928, were born alive as they were crying, l kept them under a feather tick until they smothered. I make this statement of my own free will as my priest, Father Kitz, is here with me, and now I feel better. They tell me I cannot say anything about my husband so I guess 1 cannot."  -- Signed, Anna Hlatky. --Witnesses: L. G. Simmonds, Monongahela Hospital.

The following confession was obtained from Anna Hlatky by Dr. M. E. Griffith and Miss Virginia I. Minger, a nurse in the Memorial hospital, Monongahela, Pa.:

"I had two babies in July 1927. I forget the exact date. One baby was born one-half hour after the other. I heard one crying a little bit. Margaret heard the baby cry and came in the room and asked me what was Che matter. John buried the babies. John is the boy that is in jail now. I kept these babies under the covers so that they would not get any air, and smothered them. When I thought I was able, I wrapped the babies up in my old sweaters. These babies were my husband's. They were born in the morning and Margaret was the only one at home. I would not have a doctor or mid wife because I was afraid of my husband. -- Anna Hlatky. -- Witnesses: M. E. Griffith, Virginia I. Minger.

A portion of the confession as made to Pennsylvania State Police, Indicating the method of death and burial, follows:

"I left the babies lay under the tick on the bed and I didn’t move them until Sunday morning. At that time, 1 wrapped them p" in a blue blanket which was on the bed and put them in a boiler that Margaret brought up stairs. The boiler was put into the cupboard in the bedroom. On Sunday evening, Margaret said to me that there was a bad smell in the room, so I told her to go out in the back yard and dig a hole and bury what was in the boiler, In the hole. Margaret dug the hole and buried the bundle. I told her to put some lysol on the ground so it wouldn't smell. I did not tell Margaret what was in the bundle, t gave her a nickel for burying the bundle." -- (Signed) Anna Hlatky. -- Witnesses: James V. Buckley, Hilding C. Johnson, David A. Drenning.

[“Defense Attorneys For Mrs. Hlatky Will Not Seek New Trial – Monessen Woman Now Awaiting Conviction – Husband Faces Trial. – Four Purported Confession of Woman Introduced At Trial.” The Daily Republican (Monogahela, Pa.), Nov. 24, 1928, p. 1]

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FULL TEXT: Greensburg, Pa., Jan. 21. – Mrs. Anna Hlatky, aged 36 years, of Monessen convicted of involuntary manslaughter in criminal Court here in November for the killing of two sets of new born twins in 1927 and 1928, was today sentenced to an indeterminate term of from 7 to 24 years in the Women’s State Industrial Home at Muncie, Pa.

The woman, unmoved, took the sentence calmly, her only concern being for the care of her minor children, who are now receiving county aid. The bodies of the babies were buried in a chicken yard at the rear of the Hlatky home.  The woman testified at the trial that her husband had threatened her with death if she gave birth to any more children.

[“Mother Gets 7 to 24 Years For Her Crimes – Mrs. Anna Hlatky Of Monessen Killed Two Sets Of Twins – Unmoved By Sentence,” The Evening News (Wilkes-Barre., Pa.), Jan. 21, 1929, p. 1]

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CHRONOLOGY
Jul. 1927  – twins born, murdered. (confession)
Aug. 11, 1928 – twins born, murdered.
Aug. 25, 1928 – Anna enters Memorial Hospital.
Aug.  31, 1928 – twins born in 1927 dug up.
Sep. 1, 1928 – signed confession.
Nov. 21, 1928 – trial begins.
Nov. 23, 1928 – convicted.
Jan. 21, 1929. – Anna sentenced to 7-24 years.

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For more cases of this type, see Serial Baby-Killer Moms.

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Monday, December 30, 2019

Hazel Howe Spicer, Suspected Serial Killer Mom – Colorado, 1933


FULL TEXT: Kiowa, Colo., Jan. 22 – Mrs. Hazel Howe Spicer, 48-year-old farm wife, Sunday night confessed to Deputy District Attorney J. Nelson Truitt that she killed her 13-month-old daughter, Doris, by smothering. Truitt said.

At the end of a long grilling in the Elbert county jail here, Mrs. Spicer admitted she smothered the babe and told her husband, Frank Spicer, that the child was strangled by a piece of apple.

Truitt said she also confessed that she slashed the throat of another child, four-year-old George Spicer, with a piece of glass. The boy was not injured seriously.

The woman, who escaped from a woman deputy sheriff Saturday night, was found Sunday wandering on the prairie near Elizabeth, Colo., where she was arrested Saturday. Truitt said he and G. R. Brown, sheriff of Elbert county, questioned the woman in the jail basement until she confessed the child's death.

 ~ Freed Her Husband ~

Mrs. Spicer was quoted by Truitt as saying she smothered the baby for fear her husband would drive her away from home and she would never be able to see the child again. Truitt said she sobbed hysterically as she declared she had been driven to the act because she could “never be able to go on living with her children taken from her” as she asserted two children by a former marriage had been.

"I felt so badly about this before little Doris was even cold that I wished I hadn't started to do it."

Truitt quoted her. "I hoped her father could bring her back to life. I knew that he would beat me up or try to kill me If he thought I was to blame."

A moment later, Truitt said, she cried: "But now I'm glad she is dead because nobody else will ever get her."

Truitt said she signed a formal confession of the slaying in which she related how she smothered the child and then, thinking her husband might possibly revive her, bit off a piece of apple which she pushed into the girl's throat.

~ Boy "Fell" In Well ~

The same confession, Truitt said, related that she knew more of the death of her 21-months-old son who was drowned in a well near Boulder, Colo., than she had told. She told him, Truitt declared, that the boy fell into the well and she was unable to rescue him. Fearing her husband's wrath, she said, she placed a heavy metal covering over the well. The body was found by the husband, Frank Spicer, several hours later.

Mrs. Spicer's explanation of the slashing of George's neck was this, Truitt said:

"I did it, but I only wanted to hurt him enough so that my husband would take us to town to a doctor so we wouldn't have to come back."

The child accused his mother of the attack on him Saturday but she denied it until after she had began her confession here Sunday night, Truitt said.

~ Thinks She’s Crazy ~

Mrs. Spicer, who Truitt said he believed was unbalanced pleaded to be sent to a hospital instead of to jail.

"Please, mister," he said she cried, “tell them men not to send me to jail. Send me to jail. Send me to one of them psychopathic hospitals. I know I ain’t been right for a long time.”

Truitt said he would attempt to find means of placing her in an insane asylum instead of trying her for murder.

Mrs. Spicer told Truitt how she spent the night before being caught Sunday morning, he said.

“Sometimes I was discouraged when I saw those lights around me during the night,” she said. I knew then that I couldn’t get away or that I couldn’t get to see my boy, George. Some times when I was walking I hoped a mountain lion would get me.

“I went to a neighbor’s house and called and knocked on the window. I wanted to get in. I knew they were there, but people had been telling that I killed my little children, and they were afraid to let me in.”

Two other children of Mrs. Spicer have died, supposedly accidentally, since 1923 and Sheriff G. R. Brown said their deaths were also under investigation.

Brown said his questioning of the woman before her escape Saturday night revealed that a baby by a former marriage had been smothered in Los Angeles in 1923 by bed clothing and that a son, child of Frank Spicer, had been drowned in a well near Boulder, Colo. Both deaths were declared accidental.

[“Mother Admits Killing Baby; Caught After Night Escape – Mrs. Hazel Howe Spicer, 48 Year Old Colorado Farm Woman, Breaks Down After Grilling – Smothers Girl; Tries To Cut Boy's Throat – Older Child Not Badly Hurt; Officers Suspect Her Of Murdering Two Other Children,” Albuquerque Journal (N. M.), Jan. 23, 1933, p. 1]

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FULL TEXT: Kiowa, Colo., March 28. – Mrs. Hazel Spicer, 41, ranchwoman charged with slaying her infant daughter, awaited removal today to the state hospital at Pueblo after a district court jury found her insane. She was accused of the smothering to death of her 13-months-old child, Doris, last January. The jury decided she was insane after considering the case an hour.

[“Ranch Mother Who Smothered Baby Is Found Insane,” The Daily Sentinel (Grand Junction, Co.), Mar. 28, 1933, P. 4]

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Carrie Vandergrift, Suspected Serial Killer – New Jersey, 1890


NOTE: Carrie Vandergrift was convicted of poisoning a son whose illness raised suspicions and resulted in intervention which apparently saved his life. Circumstantial evidence pointed to the previous suspicions surrounding the deaths of two husbands which were at the time thought to be caused by the same poisonous agent which she was known to have purchased in large quantities.

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FULL TEXT: Mt. Holly, May 8. – The Vandergrift jury came in this morning with a verdict of guilty against Mrs. Carrie E. Vandergrift, for attempting to take her son’s life by means of croton oil. Early this morning it was rumored that the jury was evenly divided; that they had been balloting all night long, and that there was no chance of an agreement being reached, but this was afterwards shown to be false, as they stood 11 to 1 from the start, and were ready to come in any time after 8 o’clock last night had the court been present to receive the verdict.

Judge Garrison held himself in readiness to come at once in response to a telegram should the jury desire further instructions, but he was not needed, and the verdict was received by the lay judges. Mr. Vandergrift was pale and defiant as ever. When the names of the jurors were being called she gazed at each in turn with the utmost calmness, and when each said guilty she never changed a muscle. But there was an angry expression in her eye that could not be mistaken. Her counsel, Mr. Hendrickson thereupon made a formal motion for a new trial, which will be argued later in the term on a day agreed upon by the court. Mrs. Vandergrift expressed herself as being surprised at the verdict. She said she felt satisfied it would be not guilty, as she was innocent of the charge, but she supposed the jury was prejudiced against her.

With Frank Norman, her son, it was different. He came over in the train from Burlington as soon as the news of the verdict reached there and went to the jail to condole with his mother. “I thought it would be a conviction,” he said; “I felt sure if it for several days past. That jury has been influenced and I know it. I have seen a good deal since I came out here, and I know the jury has been fixed. They have been prejudiced. The people of Burnlington are prejudiced.”

[Mrs. Vandergrift Found Guilty. – She Betrays No Emotion at the Verdict, Satisfactory to Others.” The Philadelphia Inquirer (Pa.), May 9, 1890, p. 2]

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FULL TEXT: Burlington, N. J., April 18. – “Hang her! Lynch her!” were the words hurled at Mrs. Carrie E. Vandergrift by an angry mob that surrounded her residence here when two officers of the court arrested here on a bench warrant charging her with having attempted to kill her son, Frank C. Norman, by means of croton oil. She assumed an air of indifference as the crowd of people assembled in front of her house this morning but her indifference vanished when she heard the shouts of the mob and saw the angry faces that greeted her when she opened the door. “I know what you want,” she said to the officers. “You need not read the warrant. Just wait a few minutes until I go up stairs and change my clothes and lock the house.”

~ Nothing the matter with Norman. ~

She was permitted to go up alone, and in a few minutes later came down stairs attired in a handsome black silk dress. By this time she was again at her ease, and informed the officers that she would take her son with her. “There’s nothing the matter with him,” she said. “It’s all bosh about him being poisoned. I am going to take him with me just to show the people that I am not a murderess.”

~ Followed by an Angry Mob. ~

Norman, however, did not utter a word. He mechanically put on his hat and coat and ealked unsteadily to the carriage behind his mother. The crowd was so dense that the police had to forge a passage through it in order to reach the carriage. Mrs. Vandergrift was threatened repeatedly. She was deadly pale and glanced nervously behind her as if she expected some assault from the crowd.

The next instant they started off, followed by the mob cursing and yelling after her. The horses were put on a run and were soon out of the reach of the crowd. An hour later Mrs. Vandergrift reached Mount Holly with her son, and breathed a sigh of relief as she left the vehicle and walked to the jail.

~ Mrs. Vandergrift’s Statement. ~

She was willing enough to talk and seemed half inclined to tell her whole story. She said: "This whole thing is an outrage. I never tried to poison my son and he won't say sow I never gave him hi medicine. He always took it himself, and when Dr. Hall was prescribing for him he never took the medicine, but gave the doctor to understand that he did. The whole affair is a piece of spite work, done because I was about to bring suit against my late husband's two sons, Peter L. and John  Vandegrift, who have opposed me all the time. Frank Norman, my son, was sick when he came to my house in Burlington. I discharged Dr. Hall because he was doing my son no good. I do not deny buying croton oil; that is true. I got five cents' worth on several occasions to use on my corns, as I can prove by Dr. Rink."

~ Did She Poison Two Husbands? ~

It is now recalled that after the death of Joseph' Vandegrift during the summer of 1887 Druggist John Butler intimated that croton oil had caused it, and said he had sold Mrs. Vandegrift more croton oil than he had previously sold during the many years he had been a druggist. At that time Mr. Vandegrift's son, Peter, asserted that his father had been poisoned. It is rumored that Mrs. Vandegrift's first husband also died under circumstances-similar to the last illness of Mr. Vandegrift. She was the. latter's third wife, and is charged with having assisted him in getting a divorce from his second wife that he might marry her. She also had in View a third husband, and recently told Dr. Gauntt that she was to be married in June to a wealthy gentleman who was going to take her to Europe on a bridal tour.

~ The Case of Her Son. ~

In the case of her son. Dr. Hall, young Norman's physician, found that his patient showed symptoms of poisoning, and Mrs. Vandegrift was watched and was seen to purchase the oil. Once when she asked for the oil some harmless liquid was given her purposely, and a change for the better was seen in her son's condition. Prosecutor Budd thinks that her object in attempting to get rid of her son was to obtain an insurance mortgage of $38,000 which would revert to her on her son's death.

When arraigned in court the prisoner pleaded not guilty and was locked up in Mount Holly jail in default of $5,000 bail. It is thought, however, that she will soon get bail. The trial is down for April 28.

[“Chased By Angry Mobs – The Life of Burlington’s Alleged Poisoner Threatened. – Charged With Three Offenses. – Mrs. Carrie E. Vandergrift Indicted for Poisoning Her Son and Accused of Making Way with Two Husbands – An Alleged Borgia Jailed in New Jersey.” The Evening Leader (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.), Apr. 18, 1890, p. 1]

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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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Sunday, December 29, 2019

Mrs. Teasdale, Suspected Double Black Widow – England, 1851


FULL TEXT: We noticed that some time ago an inquest which had been opened on the body of Mr. Thomas Teasdale, lately a farmer at Haltwhistle, in Northumberland, who was suspected to have been poisoned by his wife. The inquest was adjourned to allow time for exhuming the body of John Atkinson, a former husband of the accused woman, and who has been dead about twelve years. On Thursday last the adjourned inquiry was commenced, when Dr. Glover, of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, presented a report of the disinterment of the remains of the former husband, and the result of an analysis he had made of certain parts of them. He found distinct traces of arsenic, and had no doubt that arsenic had been taken by the deceased. The coroner then summed up with great care, and the jury returned a verdict of “Wilful murder” against the accused, Mrs. Teasdale, who will be tried at the next Northumberland assizes.

[“A Wife Charged With Poisoning Two Husbands in Northumberland.” The Huddersfield Chronicle (England), Jul. 5, 1851, p. 2]

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FULL TEXT: Mr. Stephen Reed, the coroner of South Northumberland, held an adjourned inquest, it being the third adjournment, on the body of Thomas Teasdale, a farmer, at Haltwhistle, on Monday. It was again adjourned to allow the remains of a former husband of Mrs. Truesdale to be exhumed. It has been buried between eleven and twelve years. The facts of this mysterious case are these: – Teasdale was a small yeoman, living at a hamlet killed Killoe, near Featherstone Castle. He had been a widower, but married Mrs. Teasdale sometime after her first husband’s death. Teasdale and his wife had led an unhappy life together, and he had often complained to his relatives of the violence of his wife’s temper, and that she had threatened to poison or stab him. Teasdale had been poorly during the winter, but was taken seriously ill, with all the symptoms of having taken a mineral poison, in the latter part of April. Mr. Smith, surgeon, of Haltwhistle, attended him, and came to that conclusion, and treated him for it. During his illness Teasdale was visited by his relatives and the vicar of the parish, to whom he spoke of the peculiar nature of the disorder and complained of a burning heat and violent pulsation across his stomach. He vomited very much during his illness, and what he threw up had a strong, unpleasant order.

The only regular female attendant upon Teasdale was his wife, and the food that he took during his illness was principally milk. Some of the milk Teasdale vomited Mr. Smith procured and forwarded to Dr. Charlton, of Newcastle; but that gentleman being out of town, it was not sent to Dr. Glover for two or three days, and before the result of that gentleman’s analysis reached Haltwhistle, Teasdale was dead. Dr. Glover detected arsenic in the vomited milk. A post-mortem examination of the body of Teasdale was made, and the stomach and its contents sent to Dr. Glover. That gentleman gave the result of his analysis on Monday, which was that Teasdale had been poisoned by arsenic. Previous to his death, and during his illness, Teasdale appeared in a collected frame of mind. He made his will, and expressed a desire that another medical man be called in to consult with Mr. Smith, which was done. There is a considerable amount of rumour about the sudden death of Mrs. Teasdale’s former husband, who was a person much older than her; and to allow of a full investigation into the case, the jury reserved their verdict until the remains were disinterred and examined.

[“Suspected Murder at Haltwhistle.” Reynold’s Newspaper (London, England), Jun. 15, 1851, p. 7]

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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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Florence Bravo, Suspected Double Black Widow – England, 1878


FULL TEXT: Mrs. Bravo is charged with poisoning two husbands through the love for the physician who furnished the drug. The cases are surrounded with many poetical and tragic elements, and there is a strong probability that the introduction of rope will save further decimation of lovely England’s loyal subjects.

[“England sets up another Borgia.” The Chicago Tribune (Il.), Aug. 13, 1876, p. 4]

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FULL TEXT: Mrs. Florence Bravo, the widow of Mr. Bravo, whose mysterious death at Balham some time since occasioned so much excitement, has died suddenly at Southsea. The deceased went to that place to reside about six months since, taking a villa at the extreme end of the beach. There she lived a very retired life, being visited only by a few near relatives, and recently she had been frequently ill. Her illness took a sudden and fatal turn on Tuesday night. An inquest was held by the Portsmouth coroner, Mr. W. H. Garrington.

In opening the proceedings, he said he thought the jury would find that there was nothing in the case out of the ordinary kind; but seeing that the deceased bore a name which some time ago was very much before the public, the case had excited very much more interest than an ordinary case of sudden death. Mr. James Orr said he had been staying at the Southsea Royal Beach Mansions Hotel for the last eight weeks, and was uncle of the deceased. Her name was Florence Bravo, 33 years of age. She was the widow of Charles Turner de Launy Bravo, who was a barrister-at-law. The deceased came to live at Coombe Lodge in April last. She lived a retired life, and made no visits.

The Coroner: What were her habits as regards temperance? I believe she was somewhat intemperate in her habits. I have been in Australia until within the last three years, but during the time I have been home she has been addicted to intemperate habits. Witness continued: During his residence at Southsea he had generally called once or twice a day upon the deceased to see her, and had sometimes seen her the worse, for liquor.

During that time she had been taken ill three times, he believed as a result of the excessive use of stimulants, which resulted in violent vomiting. Twice she recovered through the assistance of her maid, the advice witness gave her, and her own good constitution, but the third illness was a fatal one. The illness which resulted fatally commenced on Monday, although the deceased had been taking stimulants for the last two or three weeks, most of which time she was in bed. She used to take stimulants until sickness ensued. This generally lasted for several hours, and she then left off taking to excess.

On the previous Friday it was arranged that the deceased and witness should start for a tour in Scotland, and he said to her, “Florry, keep straight, and let us start on Monday.” Everett, the maid, said to her, “ Do promise Mr. Orr you will not drink any more brandy to-night;” and she replied, “I won’t promise.” She went up-stairs, and the maid presently returned and said she did not think her mistress would be able to go on Monday.

He saw the deceased both on Sunday and on Monday. She was more intoxicated on the former day than on the latter. On Monday she was very sick, and he stopped until late at night. He went again on Tuesday morning, when he found her very ill, suffering from excessive vomiting. She asked for some stimulant, and he replied that he thought she had had enough already. She, however, said she should die if she did not have some, and he gave her a small quantity of brandy. On Tuesday deceased was very ill, and frequently said “I am going, I am going.” Witness proposed that she should have medical advice, but she refused to have a doctor, thinking that she would get over that attack, as she did previous ones of the same sort. About two hours before her death a sudden collapse took place. An hour later she had a severe attack of vomiting, after which she lay back exhausted, saying, “I can’t breathe; save me! save me!”

Witness gave her some brandy, but she never spoke afterwards. Some observations being made about a medical man not having been sent for, witness said the fact was the deceased had got the impression that her habits of private life were being talked about, and she wished to avoid that, and so refused to have a medical man. After some evidence by deceased’s maid and the servants who were present at the death, Dr. Henry Robert Smith said he first attended her as Mrs. Turner in May, when she was suffering from an excess of stimulants. At his suggestion she became a total abstainer, but only for seven weeks. As the result of a post-mortem examination, he attributed death to hemorrhage of the coats of the stomach, produced by intense vomiting, accelerated by the excessive use of alcoholic stimulants. The deceased’s kidneys were much congested, and she had what was known as a drunkard’s liver. There were no appearances of her having taken any irritant poison. The Coroner having summed up, remarking that the medical evidence clearly disproved any idea which might have, been prevalent as to the deceased having succumbed to poison, the jury returned a verdict to the effect that she had died from the effects of excessive alcoholic drinking, which produced the appearances described by the surgeon. The proceedings lasted till a late hour.

“Did Mrs. Bravo die of drink?” The accounts published of the inquest on the body of that miserable woman seem to show that the circumstances of her death were involved in a very considerable amount of mystery, which the inquest has done little to clear up. Her uncle, Mr. James Orr, tells us that she was 33 years of age, and of a “strong constitution.” He also says that for “three years she has been addicted to intemperate habits” to his own knowledge. Mr. Henry Robert Smith, a medical man, who has “ known the deceased ever since the middle of May,” also says that she suffered “from the effects of an undue amount of stimulants,” and says that “the only assignable cause” for the death “was the excessive use of alcoholic stimulants.”

But now Anne Spanner, who “had been in the service of the deceased for four months and a fortnight,” said she “had never seen the deceased the worse for drink.” Jane Parton, who “had been in the service of Mrs. Bravo for two years and seven months,” also declared that she “never saw her mistress worse for drink.” Another servant, a “confidential nurse, named Everitt,” who was discharged on the Friday before Mrs. Bravo’s death, might perhaps have thrown further light on this point, and one of the jurors not unnaturally “expressed his regret that Everitt was not in attendance,” whereupon Mr. Orr made a remark, of which it is hard to see the revelancy or scope, to the effect that “had she been present most likely the jury would not have been there.”

The Coroner subsequently said that “he regarded the two servants as unwilling witnesses, and thought that they might have said more had they chose.” But what is clear from all the evidence, in which all the witnesses agreed, is that Mrs. Bravo was suffering and had been suffering for some time from “intense vomiting.” She vomited “a black fluid,” none of which was preserved for the inspection of a medical man, and Mr. Orr tells us that although he repeatedly urged her to have medical advice, she “would not send tor a doctor.”

There was, therefore, no doctor in attendance during her last illness; her confidential nurse had been sent away four days previous to her death, and the only information derived as to the cause of that death, apart from the conflicting evidence as to her being a drunkard, arises from the post mortem examination made by Mr. Smith and Mr. Turner, the medical officer of health for Portsmouth. This information is not very ample.

“The stomach was intensely congested,” and contained about four ounces of a tarry-looking fluid without smell, and it appeared to be blood which had been poured out from the inner cavity of the stomach. “Appeared to be” are Mr. Smith’s words, but it would have been more satisfactory had he been able to say, not what it appeared to be, but what it was. The whole inquiry appears to be very unsatisfactory, and the conclusion arrived at far from convincing. The matter should certainly not be allowed to rest where it is at present. — Vanity Fair.

[“Sudden Death Op Mrs. Bravo.” (from Vanity Fair), The Sydey Morning Herald (Australia), Nov. 7, 1878, p. 10]

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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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Elizabeth Vanderhoof, Suspected Double Widow – Ohio, 1884


FULL TEXT: Sheriff Clarke and Under-sheriff B. R. Stearns arrested Mrs. Elizabeth Vanderhoof and John
Chapman of Gulion, this county upon a warrant charging them with murdering Wm. Vanderhoof husband of the first named Vanderhoof died under suspicious circumstances December 1, 1883. January 8th his body was disinterred his stomach removed and sent to Ann Arbor for examination and arsenic was found in considerable quantities Chapman was the hired hand of Vanderhoof and suspicious relations have been noticed between him and Mrs. Vanderhoof Several years ago Mrs. Vanderhoof lost a former husband one Salisbury under somewhat similar circumstances that although there was considerable talk in regard to his death no arrests were made Vanderhoof was at that time Salisbury’s hired man and shortly afterward took the widow to wife Up to the time of the arrest of Vanderhoof and Chapman it was understood they had been married but they now deny that.

[“And Still Another. – The Michigan Woman Now Accused of Killing Two Husbands.” The Dayton Daily Herald (Oh.), Jan. 18, 1884, p. 4]

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FULL TEXT: Berlin Springs, Mich., November 26. – Elizabeth Vanderhoof of Dayton, this county, was to-day convicted of murder in the first degree in the circuit court. Sentence has been deferred to allow time to file a bill of exceptions. If a new trial is denied the case will be carried to the supreme court. The case has been on trial for ten days and the court room has been packed every day. The accused has been the most composed of all, and did not wince a bit as the foreman of the jury announced the result of their deliberations. Members or the jury refused to talk upon the matter. Mrs. Vanderhoof s husband was the victim, and an analyzation of portions of his stomach made at the university of Ann Arbor showed that he had suspected that his wife had poisoned him during an illness, and had the body exhumes, and the outcome was Mrs. Vanderhoof’s conviction to-day. Opinion is divided as to her guilt, and her physical condition has created a great deal of sympathy in her favor. She is thought to be enceinte. She was ably defended, but the jury were out only a little over an hour. How the ballot stood when they first went out can not be ascertained. She is now in jail here, and court has adjourned to December 15. She is allowed six months to settle upon a bill of exceptions, owing to her condition, and can be let out on bail during that time and also during the pendency of the case in the upper court. Her husband died over a year ago.

[“Mrs. Vanderhoof Guilty.” St. Joseph Daily Gazette (St. Joseph, Mo.), Nov. 27, 1884, p. 1]

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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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Carrie E. Holbrook Chandler, Suspected Double Black Widow – Alabama, 1864


FULL TEXT: Mobile, Ala., May 23. – Carrie E. Holbrook Chandler, the mother of Mrs. James May-brick, who Is charged with poisoning May-brick in Liverpool. Is a woman with a very romantic career.

Mrs. Holbrook came here about 1856, visiting her uncle, Bev. J. H. Ingraham, rector of St. John's Church and author of "The Prince of the House of David." She was very popular in society, being a good conversationalist, handsome though not pretty and quiet and prepossessing in demeanor. Among those who joined her troop of admirers was young Wm. C. Chandler, one of the most prominent merchants of the city. The two young people were mutually taken with one another and he followed her to her home in New York City, where they were married.

Returning to Mobile they lived in good style, and Mrs. Chandler Increased her Influence in society. She was as much of a belle as before marriage and her society was especially sought by young men. It was at the beginning of the civil war that Frank Dubassy [sic] turned up, being a captain in the ordnance department of the Confederate Government. Capt. Frank was a remarkably handsome man and a dashing officer.

He fell in with the Chandlers and soon there was some talk of his attentions to the lady. Suddenly Mr. Chandler fell ill. He grew rapidly worse and his relatives came to offer their assistance but was refused admittance to the house. Chandler died, attended by no one but the young wife, and the report arose that he had been killed by her. There was no official investigation of the charge, but it affected her position, which became so unpleasant that she took her two children and moved to Macon, Ga. In less than a year she married Dubassy there. S

hortly afterward Dubassy was ordered to go to Europe as a representative of the Confederate Government. He and his family took passage on a blockade-runner out of Charleston or Savannah, it is not known which, and had proceeded but a couple of days when Dubassy, who had been complaining, suddenly died. The captain of the steamer proposed to return to port in order that the officer might be interred, but the widow strenuously insisted that the ship should continue. She said that she did not like the risk of turning the vessel back, and demanded that the body be cast overboard. This was done, and the vessel reached Europe in due time. In a year or two she drifted back to New York, where she was involved in a scandal with some actor, which was published in the papers at the time and created a great sensation.

After this she went again to Europe, and met and married Baron von Hoque. There was shortly a scandal with him also, as it is said he was not faithful to her, and at one time gave her a beating. So she left him.

It seems that they led an adventurous life together. After departing from Von Roque, the lady became a woman of the world, and when last beard from was filling the equivocal position of "wife" of an attache of the British Legation at Teheren, Persia. James May-brick, who Is said to have been poisoned by bis wife, Florence Maybrick, the daughter of Mrs. Chandler, was well known and liked here and in New Orleans. He met the young lady in Europe.

A gentleman who was well acquainted with Mrs. Chandler during her residence in Mobile, stated yesterday that she bad a regular mania for collecting all sorts of poisons. In other words, she was a thorough amateur toxicologist. She had collected poisons from all parts of the world and took great pride in her collection which she bad in a fine cabinet with each piece carefully labeled. The gentleman in question once visited her bouse by invitation to inspect this result of a strange "fad." She entertained him for hours discoursing on the effect and nature of each deadly agent, and showed such an unusual knowledge of toxicology that ever after the narrator says be entertained a peculiar dread of the woman, fearing that some day she might be seized with a desire to experiment on him.

[“A Bad, Brilliant Woman. – Interesting Sketch of Carrie Holbrook Chandler’s Life. – How Social Success Led Her Into Scandal and Then to Murder – Suspected of Poisoning Two Husbands and Now Charged With a Third Murder.” Memphis Appeal (Tn.), May 24, 1889, p. 4]

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CHRONOLOGY
Feb. 4, 1838 – Caroline E. Holbrook born; Caroline Holbrook Chandler duBarry. Daughter of Darius Blake Holbrook. Cousin of Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt (Frank Crawford Vanderbilt).
1857 – marries William G. Chandler.
Jul. 3, 1862 – William G. Chandler (32 or 33) dies. Mobile, Alabama.
1863 – marries Capt. Franklin Bache du Barry.
May 27, 1864 – Capt. Franklin Bache du Barry (26 or 27; b. 1837) dies. (“Debassy”).
1866 – marries Charles Rebello.
1872 – marries Baron Adolph von Roques.
Apr. 10, 1910 – Caroline (72), dies, Paris, Île-de-France, France

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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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Marie Binet Soques, Double Black Widow – Frances, 1865


FULL TEXT: The Court of Assizes of the Garonne has just tried a woman named Souques, aged thirty, charged with having successively poisoned her two husbands, the first in 1863 and the second in March last. It appeared from the evidence given on the trial that the prisoner was married in 1855 to a blacksmith named Lacoste, and that they lived happily together for several years. In 1860, however, she formed an illicit connection with a man named Cazaux. The husband soon discovered his wife's infidelity, and did all he could to bring her back to her duty, but in vain. In 1863 Lacoste surprised his wife in company with Cazaux under under very suspicious circumstances, and in his fury he gave her a sound beating. About a month later the husband died after a short illness, and there was a general suspicion among the neighbours that he had been poisoned, but no inquiry was made into the cause of death. The prisoner then endeavoured to induce Cazaux to marry her, but as he refused she married a man named Souques in September last. For two months she con- ducted herself well, but before the end of the year she had renewed her connection with Cazaux, and from that time she and her husband lived on very bad terms. In March, Souques, who had always enjoyed good health, suddenly fell ill and died before the end of the month, with every appearance of having been poisoned. A post-mortem examination having shown such to be the case, the prisoner was arrested. Her first husband's body was also disinterred, but decom- position was too much advanced for the chemists to dis- cover traces of poison. With regard to the second husband the presence of poison was clearly proved. The jury accordingly found the prisoner guilty, but allowed her the benefit of extenuating circumstances, and the Court sentenced her to hard labour for life.

[“A Woman Charged With Poisoning Two Husbands.” The Leeds Mercury (England), Sep. 2, 1865, p. 8]

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FULL TEXT (translated from French): This serious affair had aroused keen interest: also, as soon as the doors opened, a compact crowd, which an infantry picket barely contained, soon invaded the vast courtroom of the assize court. All eyes are on the accused, who appears to be about 30 years old, and who wears the modest clothing of peasant women from the South. She keeps her head constantly down, and when she is forced to lift it up, we can see her black and lively eyes, which indicate the energy and the resolution of her character.

A case, containing jars containing the main organs of the two victims, is among the exhibits.

Mr. the public prosecutor Léo Dupré occupies the seat of the public ministry, and Me Destours, lawyer of the bar of Toulouse, is in bench 1 of the defense.

Here are the main passages from the indictment:

“On July 3, 1855, Marie Binet contracted marriage with Jean Lacoste, who worked in the commune of Longages as a blacksmith. This union was at first happy; but Marie Binet's violent passions soon disturbed her. In the course of the year 1860, a criminal trade was established between her and Bernard Cazaux, who also lived in Longages, where he exercised the profession of wheelwright, and this culpable connection, to which the accused abandoned herself most daring cynicism, soon became the occasion for a distressing scandal.

“Jean Lacoste could not ignore his wife's misconduct for a long time. He forbade him to receive Cazaux; but she disregarded his defense, and responded with invective and threats to his legitimate complaints.

"Exasperated to see his authority disregarded, Lacoste allowed himself to be dragged several times into acts of violence against the accused, and these scenes, often repeated, gave rise to the sharpest irritation between the spouses.

“Around June 20, 1863, Lacoste caught his wife in the act. Under the influence of the just resentment he felt, he struck her violently. A few days later, he was seized with a sudden illness; the evil which had manifested itself after a meal prepared by the accused made rapid progress, and her walk soon presented all the symptoms of a perfectly characterized poisoning. Public opinion soon became alarmed, and the observations of the three doctors who were called to the patient justified all the alarms.

"The parish priest of Longages went to Lacoste, and the serious and extraordinary symptoms which he noticed also gave rise to suspicions of poisoning in his mind. Lacoste himself finally understood that he had been poisoned, and told several neighbors in the last days of his illness, and accused his wife of this crime in energetic and striking terms. Finally, on July 16, 1863, Lacoste died after horrible suffering.

However Marie Binet had achieved only part of the goal which she proposed: Rid of her husband, she made efforts to determine Cazaux to marry him; she could not succeed, and, under the influence of the violent spite which the refusals of this man made her feel, she contracted, on September 19, 1864, a second marriage with Mr. Bernard Souques.

“During the first two months, the new spouses lived in good harmony; but this happiness did not last long. Cazaux, who, at the time of the marriage, had discontented his relations with Marie Binet, soon resumed the course of his culpable assiduity, and we saw renewed all the scandals which had preceded the death of Sieur Lacoste.

"The multiplied and violent scenes which were the cause of the accused's bad behavior soon made him understand that the jealousy of Souques had become an obstacle for his adulterous relations with Cazaux. She therefore conceived the idea of ​​getting rid of her second husband with the help of a new crime.

"To ward off all suspicion and establish in advance the possibility of natural death, she took the precaution, as she had done for Mr. Lacoste, of spreading the false rumor that Souques was suffering from a chest infection, and that the doctors said he was going to die soon. This sad omen was soon realized: Souques, who usually enjoyed good health, gradually became ill, and his condition, like that of Lacoste, worsened following a very vivid scene that 'he had with the accused.

“Grim suspicions soon arose in his mind, and several witnesses heard him bitterly reproach his wife for having poisoned the food and herbal tea that she had served him; it even happened to him, in order to establish the legitimacy of his complaints, to offer those present to taste the suspected beverages; but Marie Binet hastened then, in order to avoid this dangerous test, to spread suspicious liquids on the ground.

"From March 27, Souques' disease worsened to the point where he was forced to keep the bed. Like Lacoste, he was seized with violent and frequent vomiting, accompanied by burning thirst and sharp pains which made him utter heartbreaking cries. Several times, when in these violent crises he asked to drink, his wife, instead of giving herbal tea or water, made him take wine.

“As at the time of Lacoste's disease, the doctors with the patient had suspicions of poisoning. The parish priest of Longages, who also went to Souques to administer the last sacraments to him, was so struck by the resemblance of the symptoms of this disease to those presented by Mr. Lacoste's condition, that he thought that a new crime had just been committed by Marie Binet, and that he could not refrain from showing her her deep indignation. Souques expired on April 1 in the most cruel suffering, and the public voice did not hesitate to make the accused responsible for this unexpected death. The justice was finally informed, and the investigation which was immediately opened did not take long to justify this serious accusation.

“Doctors were instructed to perform an autopsy on the body of Bernard Souques, and the lesions observed on the various organs led them to suppose the poisoning.

"In the presence of these findings, the exporter declared that the quantities of phosphate found in the organs are large enough to allow us to suspect poisoning by phosphorus from chemical matches, the end of which was impregnated with a colored phosphorus paste in red by lead oxide.

"From March 27, Souques' disease worsened to the point where he was forced to keep the bed. Like Lacoste, he was seized with violent and frequent vomiting, accompanied by burning thirst and sharp pains which made him utter heartbreaking cries. Several times, when in these violent crises he asked to drink, his wife, instead of giving herbal tea or water, made him take wine.

“As at the time of Lacoste's disease, the doctors with the patient had suspicions of poisoning. The parish priest of Longages, who also went to Souques to administer the last sacraments to him, was so struck by the resemblance of the symptoms of this disease to those presented by Mr. Lacoste's condition, that he thought that a new crime had just been committed by Marie Binet, and that he could not refrain from showing her her deep indignation. Souques expired on April 1 in the most cruel suffering, and the public voice did not hesitate to make the accused responsible for this unexpected death. The justice was finally informed, and the investigation which was immediately opened did not take long to justify this serious accusation.

“Doctors were instructed to perform an autopsy on the body of Bernard Souques, and the lesions observed on the various organs led them to suppose the poisoning.

"In the presence of these findings, the exporter declared that the quantities of phosphate 'found in the organs are large enough to allow us to suspect poisoning by phosphorus from chemical matches, the end of which was impregnated with a colored phosphorus paste in red by lead oxide.

In a warm argument, which lasted no less than four hours, Me Detours vigorously sought to drop all the charges, and the phosphorus having not been found in the free state in the organs of the victims , he argued that the existence of the offense body was by no means established.

President Blaja has shown talent and impartiality in summing up these long and important debates. His first words seemed to arouse great interest.

After an hour of deliberation, the jury reported an affirmative verdict on the two poisoning crimes, but tempered by the benefit of the extenuating circumstances.

The Court sentenced Marie Binet to forced labor for life. Pending this judgment, she showed no emotion, and the impassiveness which she had shown during the proceedings was not denied for a moment.

[“Courts And Tribunals - Court Of Assizes Of The Haute-Garonne. - Poisoning By A Woman On Her Two Paris. ”La Liberté (Paris, France), August 1865. P. 3]

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FULL TEXT: Cette grave affaire avait excité un vif intérêt : aussi, dés l'ouverture des portes, une foule compacte, qu'un piquet d'infanterie a de la peine à contenir, a bientôt envahi la vaste salle d'audience de la cour d'assises. Tous es regards se dirigent sur l'accusée, qui parait âgée d environ 30 ans, et qui porte le modeste habillement des paysannes du Midi. Elle tient la tète constamment baissée, et quand elle est forcée de la relever, on aperçoit ses yeux noirs et vifs, qui indiquent l’énergie et la résolution de son caractère.

Une caisse, renfermant des bocaux contenant les principaux organes des deux victimes, figure parmi les pièces de conviction.

M. le procureur général Léo Dupré occupe le siège du ministère public, et Me Destours, avocat du barreau de Toulouse, est au banc 1 de la défense.

Voici les principaux passages de l'acte d'accusation :

« Le 3 juillet 1855, Marie Binet contracta mariage avec Jean Lacoste, qui exercait dans la commune de Longages la profession de forgeron. Cette union fut d'abord heureuse ; mais les violentes passions de Marie Binet ne tardèrent pas à la troubler. Dans le courant de l'année 1860, un commerce criminel s'établit entre elle et Bernard Cazaux, qui habitait aussi Longages, où il exerçait la profession de charron, et cette coupable liaison, à laquelle l'accusée s'abandonnai avec le plus audacieux cynisme, ne tarda pas à devenir l'occasion d'un affligeant scandale.

« Jean Lacoste ne put ignorer longtemps l'inconduite de sa femme. Il lui défendit de recevoir Cazaux; mais elle ne tint aucun compte de sa défense, et répondit par des invectives et des menaces à ses légitimes plaintes.

« Exaspéré de voir son autorité méconnue, Lacoste se laissa entraîner plusieurs fois à des actes de violence il l'égard de l'accusée, et ces scènes, souvent répétées, firent naître la plus vive irritation entre les époux.

« Vers le 20 juin 1863, Lacoste surprit sa femme en flagrant délit. Sous l'empire du juste ressentiment qu'il éprouvait, il la frappa violemment. Peu de jours après, il fut saisi d'une maladie soudaine; le mal, qui s était manifesté à la suite d'un repas apprêté par l'accusée, fit de rapides progrès, et sa marche présenta bientôt tous les symptômes d'un empoisonnement parfaitement caractérisé. L'opinion publique ne tarda pas à s'alarmer, et les observations des trois médecins qui furent appelés auprès du malade justifièrent toutes les alarmes.

« M. le curé de Longages se rendit auprès de Lacoste, et les symptômes graves et extraordinaires qu'il remarquait firent naître également dans son esprit des soupçons d'empoisonnement. Lacoste lui-même comprit enfin qu'il avait été empoisonné, et le dit à plusieurs voisins dans les derniers jours de sa maladie, et reproché ce crime à sa femme dans des termes énergiques et saisissants. Enfin, le 16 juillet 1863, Lacoste mourut après d'horribles souffrances.

Cependant Marie Binet n'avait atteint qu'une partie du but qu'elle se proposait: Débarrassée de son mari, elle fit des efforts pour dèterminer Cazaux à l'épouser; elle ne put y réussir, et, sous l'influence du violent dépit que les refus de cet homme lui firent ressentir, elle contracta, le 19 septembre 1864, un second mariage avec le sieur Bernard Souques.

« Pendant les deux premiers mois, les nouveaux époux vécurent en bonne intelligence; mais ce bonheur ne fut pas de longue durée. Cazaux, qui, au moment du mariage, avait discontiné ses relations avec Marie Binet, reprit bientôt le cours de sa coupable assiduité, et l'on vit se renouveler tous les scandales qui avaient précédé la mort du sieur Lacoste.

« Les scènes multipliées et violentes dont la mauvaise conduite de l'accusée était la cause ne tardèrent pas à lui faire comprendre que la jalousie de Souques était devenue un obstacle pour ses relations adultères avec Cazaux. Elle conçut dès lors la pensée de se débarrasser de son second mari à l'aide d'un nouveau crime.

« Pour éloigner tout soupçons et établir à l'avance la possibilité d'une mort naturelle, elle prit la précaution, comme elle l'avait fait pour le sieur Lacoste, de répandre le bruit mensonger que Souques était atteint d'une affection de poitrine, et que les médecins avaient déclaré qu'il devait bientôt mourir. Ce triste présage ne tarda pas à se réaliser : Souques, qui jouissait habituellement d'une bonne santé, devint peu à peu malade, et son état, comme celui de Lacoste, s'aggrava à la suite d'une scène très-vive qu'il eut avec l'accusée.

« De sinistres soupçons ne tardèrent pas à s'élever dans son esprit, et plusieurs témoins l'ont entendu reprocher amèrement à sa femme d'avoir empoisonné les aliments et la tisane qu'elle lui avait servis; il lui est même arrivé, afin de constater la légitimité de ses plaintes, d'offrir aux personnes présentes de goûter les breuvages soupçonnés ; mais Marie Binet s'empressait alors, afin d'éviter cette dangereuse épreuve, de répandre sur le sol les liquides suspects.

« A partir du 27 mars dernier,la maladie de Souques s'aggrava à tel point qu'il fut obligé de garder le lit. Comme Lacoste, il fut saisi de vomissements violents et fréquents, accompagnés d'une soif ardente et de douleurs aiguës qui lui faisaient pousser des cris déchirants. Plusieurs fois, lorsque dans ces crises violentes il demandait à boire, sa femme, au lieu de lui donner de la tisane ou de l'eau, lui fit prendre du vin.

« Comme à l'époque de la maladie de Lacoste, les médecins auprès du malade eurent des soupçons d'empoisonnement. Le curé de Longages qui se rendit également auprès de Souques pour lui administrer les derniers sacrements, fut tellement frappé de la ressemblance des symptômes de cette maladie avec ceux qu'avait présentés l'état du sieur Lacoste, qu'il eut la pensée qu'un nouveau crime venait d'être commis par Marie Binet, et qu'il ne put s'abstenir de manifester à cette dernière sa profonde indignation. Souques expira le 1er avril dans les plus cruelles souffrances, et la voix publique n'hésita pas à rendre l'accusée responsable de cette mort inattendue. La justice fut enfin informée, et l'instruction qui fut immédiatement ouverte ne tarda pas à justifier cette grave accusation.

« Des médecins furent chargés de procéder à l'autopsie du cadavre de Bernard Souques, et les lésions observées sur les divers organes les amenèrent à supposer l'empoisonnement.

« En présence de ces constatations, l'exporta déclaré que les quantités de phosphate 'trouvées dans les organes sont assez, fortes pour autoriser à soupçonner un empoisonnement par le phosphore provenant d'allumettes chimiques dont le bout était imprégné d'une pâte phosphorée colorée en rouge par l'oxyde de plomb.

« Ces conclusions de l'expert chimiste sont entièrement corroborées par les faits recueillis par l'instruction. Il a été, en effet, établi que, depuis le 6 mars jusqu'au 1er avril, époque de la mort de Souques, dîx-neuf paquets d'allumettes coloriées précisément en rouge ont été introduites dans la maison de ce dernier; que treize de ces paquets ent été achetés par Marie Billet, et que les dates de ces achats correspondent précisément aux jours pendant lesquels la maladie de Souques prit tout à coup un caractère alarmant.

« Plusieurs autres faits relevés par l'information démontrent aussi que ces allumettes ont dû être employées à empoisonner les breuvages qui ont été administrés au malade. »

Dans les divers interrogatoires qu'elle a subis, Marie Binet a protesté de son innocence, elle a osé même nier dans le premier moment ses relations avec Cazaux ; mais malgré ses protestations énergiques, sa culpabilité ne saurait être douteuse.

Une centaine de témoins à charge ont été entendus dans les deux premiers jours, et à l’audience du 12, M. le procureur général a prononcé un éloquent réquisitoire, qui a produit la plus grande sensation. En le terminant il a dit aux jurés:

Voilà, messieurs, toute l'affaire. Adultère et deux fois empoisonneuse, c'est ainsi que Marie Binet se présente devant vous. Vous lui épargnerez votre colère, mais vous lui refuserez votre pitié. Vous la devez tout entière à ses victimes. Je la livre à votre justice, et je me demande si votre justice pourra s'égaler à son crime. Je sais que si une loi qu'on appliquait autrefois, sous l'empire de laquelle nous ne vivons plus, la loi du talion, qui demandait œil pour œil, dent pour dent, régnait encore, vis-à-vis de Marie Minet elle serait impuissante, pujsquo cette femme, qui a deux fois donné la mort par le poison, ne pourrait y satisfaire qu'à moitié.

Dans une chaleureuse plaidoirie, qui n'a pas duré moins de quatre heures , Me Detours a énergiquement cherché à repousser toutes les charges de l'accusation, et le phosphore n'ayant pas été découvert à l'état libre dans les organes des victimes, il a soutenu que l'existence du corps de délit n'était nullement établie.

M. le président Blaja a fait preuve de talent et d'impartialité dans le résumé de ces longs et importants débats. Ses premières paroles ont paru exciter un vif intérêt.

Après une heure de délibération, le jury a rapporté un verdict affirmatif sur les deux crimes d'empoisonnement, mais tempéré par le bénéfice des circonstances atténuantes.

La Cour a condamné Marie Binet à la peine des travaux forcés à perpétuité. En attendant cet arrêt, elle n'a manifeste aucune émotion, et l'impassibilité dont elle avait fait preuve durant les débats ne s'est pas un seul instant démentie.

[“Cours Et Tribunaux - Cour D'assises De La Haute-Garonne. - Empoisonnement Par Une Femme Sur Ses Deux Paris.” La Liberté (Paris, France), Août 1865. P. 3]

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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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Saturday, December 28, 2019

Josephine Carnahan Ramsey Artz, Double Black Widow – Pennsylvania, 1889


FULL TEXT (Article 1 of 2): Aledo, Ill., July 31. – Mrs. Isaac Artz was arrested here by Sheriff Warwick last night charged with poisoning former husband. The woman’s history is a remarkable one and is causing a sensation here as it is being brought to light. She was married more than twenty years ago to David Ramsey a farmer of this county. After some time during which two children were born, they were divorced Mr. Ramsey subsequently moved to New York Mrs. Ramsey soon married a man named Coleman, living with him number of years. Mr. Coleman died suddenly about three years ago and many neighbors suspected that his wife had poisoned him. She remained in this county till last May when Isaac Artz well known in this vicinity as “The Prophet” became infatuated with her. Mrs. Coleman was very willing to marry Artz but he told her the Lord would not allow him to marry her while her divorced husband lived.

About this time Mrs. Coleman opened up a correspondence wish her first husband Mr. Ramsey who resided in Elmira N Y which resulted in her going back to Elmira About the first of May she and Mr. Ramsey re-married The second day after the wedding Mr. Ramsey was taken violently ill and died declaring that she had poisoned him. Mrs. Ramsey, as soon as the funeral was over came back to Aledo, and in 21 days after Ramsey’s death married Artz, who now had no objections

Mr. Ramsey’s body was taken up and arsenic was found in his stomach. As soon as this was known the Coroner at Elmira telegraphed the fact here and Mrs. Artz was arrested. A requisition will be asked for. The authorities expect to have Colemans body exhumed and examined as soon as possible.

[“She Loved The Prophet. - Mrs. Artz Charged With Poisoning One Husband to Get Another.”  The Pittsburgh Post (Pa.), Aug. 1, 1889, p. 6]

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FULL TEXT (Article 2 of 2): Elmira, August 7. –  The Coroner’s jurv which has been in session in this city for the past week on the famous David Ramsey case concluded their labors to-day. A large amount of testimony was taken and the body of the deceased twice exhumed. The first time the stomach was taken out and sent to Professor Miller, Buffalo, for examination. At the inquest h testified to the discovery of arsenic in the stomach, and after the inquest had proceeded for two days the undertaker testified that in embalming the body he had injected an arsenical fluid into the arteries.

Professor Miller then examined the brain ana also found arsenic there, which physicians declare is conclusive evidence that the poison was taken during life. Mrs. Carnahan a sister of the deceased, at whose solicitation the inquiry was made, testified that her brother was first taken III, together with all the other members of the family, at breakfast under circumstances indicating that poison bad been administered in the coffee.

His wife, from whom he had been divorced thirteen years ago and remarried but a few weeks before his death, refused to drink any of the coffee, which first excited witness’ suspicions. Three weeks after the death or Ramsey his wife was again married, to Isaac Artz. a wealthy resident of Aledo, Ill., and is now under arrest in that city. The verdict of the Jury was that Ramsey came to bis death from arsenical poisoning, under circumstances lea ling to suspect Josephine Artz.

After her divorce from Ramsev she married a man named Coleman in Aledo, Ill., who died under what were then considered suspicious circumstances, and since the developments of this inquest the people of that city have decided to exhume his remains to see If any evidence of poisoning there exist. District Attorney Denton now has charge of the case and as soon as a requisition can be obtained from Governor Fifer will begin the prosecution against her for murder.

[“The Ramsey Poisoning Case. – The Coroner’s Jury Return a Verdict Implicating His Wife.” The Times (Philadelphia, Pa.), Aug. 8, 1889. P. 1]

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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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Josie Fisher Hart, Suspected Double Black Widow – Kansas, 1891


NOTE: Some sources give the name “J. M. Hart,” others “James Hart,” “John Hart,” and “John M. Hart.”

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FULL TEXT (Article 1 of 3): About fifteen months ago Samuel Fisher, a merchant of Oswego, died suddenly while no one was present but his wife. In view of the charges alleged, that Mrs. Fisher and J. M. Hart, a leading stock man living near the city, had been very friendly, there was considerable talk about the suddenness of Fisher’s death, but no investigation as to the cause.

About six weeks ago Hart and Mrs. Fisher were married. Early yesterday morning Hart was found lying in bed with his brains oozing out of a bullet hol;e in his forehead. He was unconscious and lived about an hour.

Mrs. Hart states that she was awakened by her husband throwing his arm on her and that she then heard him groaning. She at once procured a light and found him in the condition above stated. His own revolver with one chamber empty was lying beside him.

Hart was in good circumstances and there appears to be no reason why he should take his own life. The coroner is investigating the matter.

[“Investigation Needed. A Coroner’s Jury Inquiring Into Death of J. M. Hart.” Ottawa Daily Republican (Ks.), Sep. 19, 1891, p. 2]

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FULL TEXT: The Oswego Independent says:

This Friday morning the shocking news is being told that John M. Hart, who is proprietor of the Cedar Lawn Stock Farm, about a half mile north of Oswego, had been shot last night about one o’clock and killed. The deed was done with his own revolver, which he always kept beneath his pillow or on the chair by his bedside. He was shot square between the eyes and never spoke afterwards, although life was not extinct until about an hour after the deed was committed. Mrs. A. T. Shrout, a near neighbor, was soon on the scene, but was unable to glean much information. None of the family heard the report of the revolver. Mrs. Hart, who was in bed with her husband, says she was awakened suddenly about that hour, but thinks it was Mr. Hart throwing down his arm when shot, and not the report of the revolver. His revolver was found lying near his side, with one chamber empty. The rest of the family, composed of Mr. Hart’s two boys, claim to have heard nothing of this report. The death is causing a big sensation, and many different surmises are being “borne on the wind.” Mr. Hart was married about six weeks ago to Mrs. Josie Fisher, widow of the late Samuel Fisher. He was not only comfortably fixed himself, but by his marriage he would probably have command of $20,000. The leading report is that he committed suicide, but this version of the matter does not gain much credence, as there is apparent lack of reason for him to take his own life. His prospects were too bright, for him to tire of life. The affair is shrouded in mystery, and at this writing it is impossible to give further particulars. A coroner’s inquest will be held.

[“Was It Suicide?” Parsons Daily Eclipse (Ks.), Sep. 19, 1891, P. 4]

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FULL TEXT: Oswego, Kan., Sep. 18. – James Hart, a wealthy stockman, was murdered in his bed at his home in this city last night under mysterious circumstances. Fifteen months ago Hart was married to the widow John Fisher, who had been mysteriously murdered a short time before. At midnight last night the neighbors were aroused by a commotion at the Hart place. An investigation showed that Hart had been murdered while lying in bed and the walls of the room. Mts. Hart says that she does not know who committed the crime. She was awakened by a short, but saw no one in the room, nor did she hear any one making his escape. There is no trace of the murderer.

[“A Mysterious Crime.” The Wichita Daily Eagle (Ks.), Sep. 19, 1891, p. 2]

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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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