Friday, January 31, 2020

Sarah Gerber, 14-Year-Old Murderess – South Carolina, 1852


FULL TEXT: On Saturday morning, in the Court of Oyer and Terminer, Sarah Gerber aged 14, was convicted of murder in the second degree, in causing the death of Florence Miller, an infant, ten months of age, by making it swallow pins and needles. She was the nurse of the child, and gave it the deadly articles to make it fretful, in order that its mother might be obliged to nurse it instead of her.

[“A Youthful Murderess.” The Charleston Mercury (S. C.), Jan. 17, 1852, p. 2]

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[106-1/23/21]
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Hattie Irene Hyden, 14-Year-Old Murderess – Kentucky, 1935


FULL TEXT: PRESTONSBURG, Ky., July 20. – A mountainside tragedy came to light here today with the announcement by county officials that 14-year-old Hattie Irene Hyden had confessed slaying her brother, Thomas James Hyden, 9, while they were picking berries.

Officers said the girl, apparently crazed by the sun beating down on the mountainside, slashed his throat with a butcher knife with which she had been whacking at the undergrowth as they climbed the mountain.

Described as pretty, the girl was held in jail awaiting trial In Juvenile Court here next Thursday on a murder charge. If convicted she would face sentence to a State reform school for girls. The body was found by the father,

M. Hyden, a coal miner at Weeksbury, In the undergrowth at Caleb Fork. Officers said the girl at first maintained she knew nothing of the tragedy, but that later confessed she cut her brother's throat in a "mad fit."

Officers said she gave this explanation: "He was dragging along behind as we climbed the hill, and it was so hot I could hardly stand It. I flew into a mad fit and cut his throat."

~ Finds Blood-Stained Dress ~

Deputy Sheriff Willie Johnson said he found a blood-stained dress Inside a bundle of clean clothes at the Hyden home. The dress, he said, was worn by the girl when she and her brother left home together.

The girl’s parents were said to have been separated since she was eight months old. The mother was said to live in Ohio.

Mrs. Emma Hunt Krazeise, director of the Kentucky children’s bureau, announced at Louisville she would go to the trial “to look after the interests of the girl.”

[“Girl, 14, Murders 9- Yea R-Old Brother " - Flew Into Mad Fit" and Slashed His Throat With Butcher Knife Because He Couldn’t Keep Up With Her In Climbing Hill.” Owensboro Messenger Inquirer (Ky.), Jul. 21, 1935, p. 1]

[101-1/23/21]
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Thursday, January 30, 2020

Veronika Molnar, Serial Baby-Killing Mom – Slovakia, 1930


FULL TEXT: Bratislava, Czechoslovakia – Under arrest for murder of her new-born baby Veronika Molnar, a working girl, confessed that in 1928 and 1929, as well as this summer, she had given birth to illegitimate children and had strangled each to escape the disgrace of being an unmarried mother. Bodies of the first two were sunk in a swamp and the third was buried in a garden.

[“Bratslava Girl Admits Killing of Three Children,” The Evening Times (Sayre, Pa.), Aug. 30, 1930, p. 5]

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FULL TEXT (translated from German): Pretzburg, July 9. – The 22-year-old worker Veronika Molnar from Bake was brought to the local court. Over the past three years, she has killed and buried three children she had given birth to.

[Das Kleine Blatt (Vienna, Austria), 10. Juli 1930, p. 6]

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FULL TEXT: Pretzburg, 9, Juli. – Die 22jährige Arbeiterin Veronika Molnar aus Bake wurde dem hiesigen Gericht eingeliefert. Sie hat im Laufe der letzen drei Jahre drei Kinder, die sie zur Welt gebracht hatte, getötet und die Reichen verscharrt.

[Das Kleine Blatt (Vienna, Austria), 10. Juli 1930, p. 6]

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

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[98-1/14/21]
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Madeline Allred, 18-Year-Old Murderess – Michigan, 1957


FULL TEXT: Jackson, Mich., March 14 – “I don’t especially like babies,” an 18-year-old baby-sitter explained today in revealing that she had taken her charge, a 3-year-old baby girl, to Detroit especially to drown her.

Following the directions of Madeline Allred of Pontiac, a former mental patient, police found the body of Patricia Tiernan in a hotel bathtub.

“I like to choke and kill people and animals,” police quoted the teenager as saying.

~ First Thought of River ~

Mill Allred said that while she was baby-sitting with Patricia Tiernan at the Pontiac home of the baby’s parents., Mr. and Mrs. Theodore Tiernan, she decided to take the child to Detroit “and drown her in the river.”

But when they arrived in Detroit, she said, the baby began crying, so she decided to take her to a hotel and drowned her there.

Miss Allred said she held the child under water for about two hours before leaving the hotel room and going back to Jackson. In Jackson she was picked up on a loitering charge. Shortly afterward she volunteered her story of the drowning to police.

Police said despite the girl’s talk of liking to “kill people,” there was no evidence that she had been involved in previous trouble.

Police said they would charge the girl with murder tomorrow. They said they would charge the girl told them she had been in three mental hospitals.

[“Teen Sitter Drowns Baby in Hotel Tub,” Daily News (N.Y.), Mar. 15, 1957, p. 6]

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[95-1/23/21]
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Sharon Dahl, 16-Year-Old Double Murderess – Nebraska, 1961


FULL TEXT: With little show of remorse a 16 year old girl admitted Friday night she killed her mother and father with a double-barreled shotgun, because they objected to her dating.

Cedar County Attorney Max Goetz said the girl, Sharon Dahl, signed a statement describing how she stole downstairs at daybreak Friday, found her parents asleep and shot each in the head.

The attorney said he would file charges against the girl Saturday.

Sharon, a Coleridge. Neb., high school sophomore, had been brought to State Safety Patrol headquarters for questioning a few hours after the bodies of her parents, 45-year-old Victor Dahl and his 34-year-old wife, Rosa, were found in their blood-soaked bed.

The girl was given a lie detector test and afterward Goetz and Cedar County Sheriff John H. Riibe took a statement from her. Newsmen at the patrol headquarters could hear her sobbing during the questioning.

Sharon is oldest of 7 Dahl children. A brother, Lester, 12, also was brought to Safety Patrol headquarters.

~ Under Davenport ~

Officers also brought to Lincoln the shotgun which they said was found beneath a davenport in the Dahl farm home near Coleridge.

Goetz said the girl told them she killed her parents because they objected to her activities and taking privileges away from her.

She said this had been going on for two years and for a week she had been considering taking their lives.

The county attorney said the girl did not show normal remorse.

~ Describes Slayings ~

Goetz said the girl have this description of the slayings:

She came down stairs about 6:15 a. m. Friday, found both parents asleep. She loaded both barrels of her father’s shotgun, shot her father and then her mother.

About 15 minutes later she called her grandparents and told them something had happened to her parents and told them to come to the Dahl farmhouse.

Later she called a neighbor. The sheriff and county attorney arrived about 7 a. m.

Goetz said after the girl arrived in Lincoln with the officers Friday she freely admitted the shooting.

He said the girl might be given a psychological examination.

Sharon was taken back to Cedar County Friday night to be lodged in jail in Hartington.

Goetz said she would be the only prisoner in the Hartington County jail.

The Dahl’s survivors, in addition to Sharon and Lester, include 5 other children: Doris, 10; Vickie, 9; David, 8; Donna, 5; and Gene, 2.

Mr. Dahl is also survived by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Chris Dahl of Laurel; a brother, Darrell of Laurel; and a sister, Mrs. Wayne Lund, also of Laurel.

Mrs. Dahl’s survivors include her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Chris Madsen of Laurel; sisters, Mrs. Burnell Grosc of Wakefield, Mrs. Sam Young of Chambers and Mrs. Pete Nielsen of Worland, Wyo.; brothers, Martin and Jens, both of Worland, and Verner and Fred, both of Laurel.

[“Girl Admits Killing Sleeping Parents . . . Teenager Confesses After Lie Test,” The Lincoln Star (Ne.), May 20, 1961, p. 1]

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FULL TEXT: Coleridge – A tractor sits motionless in a greening farmyard

A tractor sits motionless in a greening farmyard 5 miles northeast of here. " It was to have been used Friday in planting corn from sunup to sundown.

But it had no driver!

The machine's master Victor Dahl and his wife Rose, were shot to death early Friday.

"Vic planned to spend all Friday in the field planting. He had hoped to make up for the time he had lost because of rain," related the dead man's brother - in - law, Wayne Lund of nearby Laureh

~ Attended Party ~

Standing on the back porch of the Dahl home. Lund said that he saw the entire Dahl family Thursday night.

"We had them (the Dahls) over for a special party in honor of my son, Jim, who had just graduated from Laurel High School.

"Vic and the family all seemed happy. I just don't know, Lund added.

In fact, Lund said "Vic seemed anxious to get into the fields on Friday." The Dahls are well - known in Coleridge and described by locals as "upstanding neighbors.

Two high school classmates of Sharon Dahl describe her as "always laughing and never too serious." Both are girls and neither claim to know Sharon too well.

"She was very nice to be around and I've never seen her lose her temper," said another classmate, this one a boy.

Sharon is a sophomore at Coleridge High School.

Among the town's older citizens, Sharon is known just as "Vic's oldest kid."

One farmer, who said that he has known the Dahls for 15 years, disclosed that "all of the Dahl kids were well mannered.”

A businessman remembers Sharon as always having a little brother or sister at hand. "She always impressed me as being a real mother's helper."

Other Dahl children and ages are:

Lester, 12; Dora, 10; Vicki, 8; David, 7; Donna, 5; and Gene, 17 months.

All but Sharon and little Gene attended the country school less than a half mile south of the Dahl farm.

~ 2 Years ~

The Dahls have resided at the white frame farmhouse for not quite two years, according to Lund.

Before, they farmed south of Coleridge.

Their present dwelling, sheltered by a heavy clump of elms, is located off the road (about 30 yards. It appears to be wearing a fresh coat of paint.

East of the house are a barn and tool shed, both tomato in color.

The yard is rich in green with young pullets circling the grounds.

[Gene Budig, “Silent Tractor is Death Symbol,” The Lincoln Star (Ne.), May 20, 1961, p. 20]

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FULL TEXT: Laurel – Mourners overflowed the United Lutheran Church Monday afternoon when funeral services were held for Mr. and Mrs. Victor Dahl, slain last Friday by their 16-year-old daughter Sharon.

Sharon, who used a shotgun to kill her parents as they slept, declined to attend the services. All of the other six children did attend.

The Laurel American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post also held military rites for Dahl, 45, holder of the Silver Star for his service in Europe during World War II.

Sharon, held in the Cedar County jail at Hartington, told Sheriff John Riibe she did not want to attend the funeral.

She is charged with first degree murder.

The high school sophomore signed a statement late Friday saying she killed her parents because they objected to her dating and wanted her to baby-sit with the six younger children when they went out.

[“Sharon Dahl Stays Away From Funeral,” Fremont Guide and Tribune (Ne.), May 23, 1961, p. 5]

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FULL TEXT: Hartington – Sharon Dahl, 16-year-old sophomore, was bound over to District Court Monday to be tried on first degree murder charges for the slaying of her parents while they slept May 19.

The attractive blonde girl appeared composed. She waived the reading of the complaint and stood mute. She did not utter a word during the 20-minute hearing before County Judge Edward Husse.

She appeared without an attorney, by Clarence Haley of Hartington, consented to act for her at Monday’s hearing only.

~ Sheriff Testifies ~

The only evidence taken was the testimony of Sheriff John Riibe, who had been called the farm home the morning of May 19. Following his testimony Judge Hesse found that Mr. and Mrs. Victor Dahl were victims of homicide and there was “reasonable and probable cause” to believe that Sharon committed the acts.

The slaying of Mr. and Mrs. Dahl were discovered early May 19 when Sharon called relatives to report something was wrong.

At first she said she had discovered the deaths when they failed to awaken when the alarm rang. But Goetz said that night at Safety Patrol headquarters in Lincoln she admitted she had slipped downstairs about daybreak, loaded both barrels of her father’s 16 gauge shotgun and shot both parents in the head while they slept.

Goetz said Sharon complained that her parents restricted her dating and made her baby-sit while they went out.

Sharon is the oldest of 7 children orphaned by the death of the Dahls.

~ Name Not Changed ~

(Although Sharon’s last name is listed as Madsen on her birth certificate, on file with the Nebraska Department of Vital Statistics, the name on the complaint has not been changed and remains as Dahl, according to Cedar county Attorney Max Gates, Madsen is Mrs. Dahl’s maiden name.)

[Sharon Mute During Her Arraignment,” The Lincoln Star (Ne.), May 30, 1961, p. 13]

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FULL TEXT: Hartington – Cedar County Attorney Max Goetz reduced charges against Sharon Dahl from first degree murder and the 16-year-old girl entered a plea of guilty.

She has admitted she killed her parents with a shotgun as they slept May 19 in the family farm house near Coleridge.

Sharon stood mute earlier this year when she appeared in court on the first degree charges.

District Judge John Newton heard testimony from several persons after Goetz reduced the charges in an amended information.

Sharon, a pretty high school sophomore, signed a statement saying she shot her mother and father because they objected to her dating and wanted her to babysit for 6 younger brothers and sisters while the parents went out.

Sharon, held since she admitted the shootings, was returned to the county jail to await sentencing. Judge Newton did not set a date for sentencing.

Witnesses at the hearing including Sheriff John Riibe; Mr. and Mrs. Chis Dahl and Mr. and Mrs. Chris Madsen, Sharon’s grandparents; Vernere Madsen, a brother if the slain woman, and Carrell Dahl, brother of Victor Dahl.

[“Sharon Dahl, 16, Enters Plea Of Guilty; Charles Reduced,” The Lincoln Star (Ne.), Sep. 27, 1961, p. 24]

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FULL TEXT: Hartington, Neb. – Sharon Dahl, 16-year-old Coleridge, Neb., farm girl, was sentenced to 30 years in the Nebraska Women’s Reformatory for the shotgun slaying of her parents last May 19.

She pleaded guilty Sept. 25 after the charges were reduced from first to second degree murder.

The parents, Victor Dahl, 45, and Rosa, 34, were shot, the girl said, because they objected to her dating and wanted her to baby-sit with 6 younger brothers and sisters while they went out.

[“30 Years," Des Moines Tribune (Io.), Oct. 6, 1961, p. 15]

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[347-1/9/21; 740-10/17/21]
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Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Helen Joyce George, 15-Year-Old Murderess – California, 1950


FULL TEXT: Helen Joyce George ran screaming from the classroom at Santa Rosa Junior High School one day in February, 1949.

She was fleeing in terror from the voices which kept her to kill people.

Yesterday the 15-year old girl told Mendocino County authorities she had at last obeyed these cruel, compelling voices.

“I wanted to kill somebody awfully bad,” she said, matter-of-factly. “So I killed old Sam back in the hills.”

MOUNTAIN CABIN –

Incredulous at first, officers followed her directions to the mountain cabin of Samuel Walitch, 70, a pensioner living alone twenty-three miles north of Willits.

They found Walitch sprawled dead before his kitchen stove, a bullet hole behind his left ear. A pancake turner was still clutched in one hand.

Helen Joyce gave this account to Sheriff Beverly Broaddus:

She had been staying with her grandmother, Mrs. Helen Heltz, on the Robert Harkey ranch near the hamlet of Farley. Saturday morning Mrs. Heltz and Harkey left her to go to Willits.

DESIRE TO KILL –

“I had a desire to kill,” she said. “I wanted to kill my father, but was down in Santa Rosa.

“The feeling I wanted to kill someone got stronger and stronger.

“I took Harkey’s pistol and hiked two miles up to the trail to see Sam. We talked awhile in his yard and when he went into the cabin I followed him.”

Walitch decided to cook a bite to eat. He stood at the stove with his back to the girl.

FIRED ONE SHOT –

“While he stood there I put a shell into the pistol,” Helen Joyce said. “I aimed at the back of his head and fired one shot.

“Then I threw the pistol down and hiked back down the trail. I decided to tell the pastor what I had done.”

She arrived early yesterday at the home of the Rev. Peter E. North, pastor of the Assembly of God Church of Willis.

Pastor North doubted her story but summoned police nevertheless.’’

COMIC BOOKS –

At intervals between questioning, the girl chatted smilingly with attendants of the juvenile detention home in Ukiah and thumbed through comic books.

She was transferred to the Mendocino State Hospital for temporary safekeeping later, after she spoke of suicide.

Sheriff Broaddus said the girl may be a mental case.

She was admitted to the Napa State Hospital on February 28, 1949, after the episode at school, as a “possible psychopathic.”

She was discharged as “improved” a month later in the custody of her mother. Mrs. Viola George of 1253 Morgan Street, Santa Rosa.

PARENTS PARTED –

Sheriff Broaddus said Mrs. George is presently in the Sonoma County Hospital with a broken ankle.

District Attorney James Bush of Mendocino County said the girl will be certified to juvenile court for disposition. A murder charge is not contemplated because of her age and case history, he said.

[“Girl, 15, Kills Rancher – Admits Desire to Say’,” San Francisco Examiner (Ca.), Sep. 25, 1950, p. 1]

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FULL TEXT: Ukiah, Sept. 25. – Fifteen year old Helen Joyce George, who killed under the compulsion of inner voices, was today made a ward of the Mendocino County juvenile court and returned to her insane asylum cell while authorities conferred about her future.

The strange, empty-faced little girl who “wanted to kill somebody awful bad,” on Saturday shot to death a 70 year old pensioner, Samuel Walitch, in his cabin, twenty-three miles north of Willits.

Her compulsion satisfied, she confessed to a Willits minister and then to police.

In today’s brief preliminary hearing, Police Judge Will Van Dyke made her award of the juvenile court, and Superior Judge Lilburn Gibson signed an insanity affidavit permitting Helen Joyce to be retained at the Mendocino State Hospital for the Insane.

It was not the first time Helen Joyce had seen the inside of such a home. In 1949 she was committed to the Napa home after screaming in terror at school one day that “voices are telling me to kill people.”

Later she was released as improved and sent to live with her grandmother, Mrs. Helen Heitz, on a ranch near Willis.

It was from there that she walked to Walitch’s cabin and shot him in the head as he prepared his evening meal.

[“Girl ‘Compulsion Slayer’ Sent Back to Ukiah Asylum,” San Francisco Examiner (Ca.), Sep. 26, 1950, p. 1]

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FULL TEXT: Ukiah, Sept. 30. – A hearing on a murder charge brought against 15-year-old Helen George has been set for October 13.

The girl is charged with the deliberate shooting of Samuel Walitch, 70, on his ranch near Farley, last Saturday.

Officers said the girl told them she felt “just had to kill someone.” She once was an inmate of a mental hospital.

The hearing on the murder charge will be a formality rather a mental hospital.

Helen will appear with officers of the Mendocino county probation department. After the formality of the law has been satisfied, court attaches anticipate she will be declared mentally deficient and that the case then will be transferred to the Sonoma County juvenile court. Her parents live in Santa Rosa.

[“Ukiah Slaying Hearing Set – Girl, 15, to Face Court On October 13,” San Francisco Examiner (Ca.), Oct. 1, 1950, p. 3]

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FULL TEXT: Ukiah, Oct. 13. – Helen George, 15-year-old Mendocino slayer, was certified to Sonoma County juvenile authorities today by Superior Judge Liburn Gibson pending decision on the results of her psychiatric examinations at Mendocino State Hospital.

The girl obsessed the murder of Samuel Walitch, 70, on his ranch near Farley on September 30.

[“County Agents Get Killer’s Case, San Francisco Examiner (Ca.), Oct. 14, 1950, p. 32]

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FULL TEXT: Santa Rosa, Oct. 19. – Helen Joyce George, 15, who says she slew an elderly pensioner because inner voices told her to kill, was committed to the State Hospital at Napa today.

Superior Judge Donald Geary, sitting in juvenile court, made the commitment for ninety days, so that State psychiatrists may recommend what to do with the Santa Rosa schoolgirl. Helen shot Samuel Walitch, 70, in his cabin twenty-three miles north of Willits, September 23. She had a patient at the Napa Hospital before, but was discharged as “improved.”

[“Gil Slayer, 15, Sent to Asylum,” San Francisco Examiner (Ca.), Oct. 20, 1950, p. 23]

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Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Joyce Christine Nichols, 13-Year-Old Rapist-Murderess – California, 1947


FULL TEXT: Bakersfield, Nov. 19. – Breaking into tears under questioning, 13-year-old Joyce Christine Nichols admitted today, authorities said, that she killed blonde Myretta Jones, 5, with a rock last Monday after luring her to a children s cave.

The girl would give no reason for the slaying and apparently could not recall what impulse led her to beat Myretta to death, according to Sheriff John Loustalot

~ Taken From School ~

Joyce, a rather attractive brown-haired girl. was taken out of a classroom at Emerson Junior High School this morning just 40 hours after the body of her playmate was found in the cave by Dep. Sheriff Otto Olofson.

Myretta, blue-eyed daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Earl Jones, was last seen by relatives about 3:30 p.m., Monday when she left on an errand to a grocery store in the Casa Loma district.

Her mother's frantic call to the Sheriff's office an hour and a half later sent a posse of deputies and neighbors scouring the area until Olofson peered into the blood-spattered cave dug by children as a "pirate's den" in the 80-acre Kern County fair ground site.

~ Man First Hunted ~

Hampered by erroneous first reports that the child had been criminally attacked before she was killed the investigation later swung from a search for a man to a hunt for a girl on the basis of small footprints found in the cave.

Joyce faced four criminal investigators calmly at the Sheriff's office until her stepmother, Mrs. Cal Nichols, appeared and collapsed at the girl's feet. The child broke into a flood of tears and told the following story, according to Sheriff Loustalot.

She met Myretta on the wav to the store, accompanied her to the Nichols' home, where Joyce finished up some house work.

~ Suggested Cave Visit ~

She then suggested Myretta go to the cave "to play."

The 5-year-old walked to the cave and descended into its narrow confines where Joyce shortly demanded that her small playmate take off her clothes.

Myretta refused, the sobbing girl told investigators, but several slaps across the face persuaded the younger girl to comply.

But no sooner was Myretta stripped, her clothes in a heap on the earth floor of the cave, when Joyce snatched up the heavy rock and hit the crying youngster over the head, Loustalot continued.

~ Left Body in Cave ~

After the killing, the 13-year-old left the body in the cave, washed her hands in a near-by canal and returned home to tell her parents what she had done, the Sheriff said.

"The father, an auto body mechanic, decided not to say anything until he figured out just what to do," Loustalot continued. "He ordered his wife to say nothing and also woke up the girl's brother Jerry 14, told him the story and cautioned him to keep quiet."

~ Mother Washed Clothes ~

"Yesterday, Joyce went to school as usual while the stepmother washed out the girls bloody clothing."

Once the deputies swung to the track of a girl as the suspect the name of Joyce Nichols came to, light from several sources particularly one schoolmate who had seen the two girls walking together toward the cave.

Investigators talked to Mr. and Mrs. Nichols this morning after Joyce had gone to school but could get nowhere. After she was taken into custody, however, the parents admitted they had known of the crime "but were so scared they didn't know what to do," Sheriff Loustalot said.

After making her statement. Joyce was sent to the County Detention Home, where she was confined in a single room to await examination by doctors and psychiatrists.

[“Girl, 13, Confesses Beating 5-Year-Old Child to Death,” Los Angeles Times (Ca.), Nov. 20, 1947, P. 5]

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FULL TEXT: Bakersfield, Nov. 21. – 5-year-old Myretta Jones met death last Monday as a result of blows on the head inflicted by Joyce Christine Nichols, 13, it was decided today by Coroner Norman C. Houze after the bobby-soxer admitted the crime on the inquest witness stand.

Joyce told of beating the kindergartner to death in a “children’s “private cave” when the child threatened to tell her grandmother of being mistreated by the junior high school girl. She said she hit Myretta with a rock four times then dragged her body back into the cave.

~ Step-Mother Testifies ~

Mrs. Cal Nichols, step-mother of the bobby-soxer, also took the stand to testify she learned of the crime the same evening upon questioning Joyce after hearing on the radio of Myretta’s death and learning her daughter had been seen with the younger girl.

“She told me she hit a little girl with a rock and that’s all she could remember,” Mrs. Nichols said. “I guess she blanked out.”

Joyce, who is being held at the County Detention Home on a murder complaint, will be arraigned Monday or Tuesday in Justice Court and certified to the Juvenile Court.

County authorities said she may be returned to Superior Court for trial, however.

Funeral services for the slain youngster will be conducted tomorrow afternoon.

[“Coroner Funds Girl, 5, Killed By Bobby-Soxer,” Los Angeles Times (Ca.), Nov. 22, 1947, P. 4]

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FULL TEXT: Bakersfield, Nov. 24. – Justice of the Peace Stuart Magee today certified 13-year-old Joyce Christine Nichols to the Juvenile Court after the bobby-soxer admitted at the hearing that she beat a kindergarten playmate to death with a rock a week ago.

While her stepmother, Mrs. Calvin Nichols, sobbed, Joyce declared she bludgeoned Myretta Jones in a children’s cave when the younger girl rejected her improper advances.

Juvenile Judge Warren Stockton now will have charge of the girl, with the option of disposing of the case under the laws pertaining to juveniles or returning her to Superior Court for criminal prosecution.

[“Cave Death in Juvenile Court,” Los Angeles Times (Ca.), Nov. 25, 1947, P. 2]

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Monday, January 27, 2020

Pearl Silverman, 18-Years-Old, Murdered Her 11-Year-Old Brother – New Jersey, 1947


FULL TEXT: An 11-year-old Jersey City boy was found bludgeoned to death with a hammer in his home last night. Police hunted his attractive 18-year-old sister as the slayer.

The murdered boy was Albert Silverman, of 276 Claremont Ave. The sister, fought by police headed by Inspector Michael Cusack, was Pearl Silverman, described by Cusack as mental case.

 "She always hated the boy," Cusack said.

Cusack said she had once struck Albert on the head with a stick. The murder weapon was described as a machinist's hammer.

The killing occurred while Albert's parents, David and Molly Silverman, were attending a movie. Cusack said they had left the youngster with Pearl but under the eye of another sister, Maxine, 16. Maxine left the house, however. When she returned at 10:45 P. M., she found the boy dead and Pearl gone.

~ Phone Torn From Wall. ~

A telephone had been ripped off the wall.

Silverman, who operates a quilt and bedding store, returned from the movie with his wife at. 11:15 P. M. Police told them what had happened. Mrs. Silverman became hysterical and her husband collapsed. They were taken to the Jersey City Medical Center with Maxine and detained. The father was placed in an oxygen tent.

Inspector Cusack said Albert had returned from Summer camp earlier yesterday. He was a sixth grade student at School 24. Maxine is a senior at Henry Snyder High School, from which Pearl was graduated. Cusack said Pearl, employed during the Summer at an orange drink stand, had spent some time in an institution.

[Kermit Jaediker, “Sister Hunted In Bludgeon Death of Boy,” Daily News (New York, N. Y.), Sep. 3, 1947, p. 3]

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FULL TEXT: Pearl Silverman, 18, hunted for 15 hours in the hammer slaying of her 11-year-old brother, Albert, in their home at 278 Claremont Ave., Jersey City, was taken into custody at 2:15 yesterday afternoon after detectives had traced a telephone call made to her home by a friend whose aid she had sought.

The girl, who had been accepted as a student by the New Jersey State Teachers' College in Jersey City, was questioned at length by Police Chief Charles Wilson at Jersey City headquarters and then taken to her home where she re-enacted the killing.

~ Had Been in State Hospital. ~

"I hit him with the hammer because my parents loved him more than they did me," Pearl told police. She admitted that she had been an inmate of the Marlboro State Hospital, near New Brunswick, from September, 1941, to June, 1941.

Albert was slain Tuesday night on the floor of the apartment shared by himself and his father and mother, Mr. and Mrs. David Silverman, Pearl and another sister, Maxine, 16. The parents had attended a movie, leaving the two girls with Albert. Maxine went out for a short time and on her return found her brother's battered body, a machinist's hammer nearby. Pearl had disappeared.

At 9 A. M. yesterday, the girl appeared at the home of Raymond Kurcieski, 20, of 402 Grove St., Jersey City, and asked him to telephone her home. He did so and Police Capt. James Carey answered the phone. The girl was picked up shortly afterward as she stood in front of the Kurcieski home with her friend.

~ Didn't Think He Was Dead. ~

Chief Wilson said that at police headquarters Pearl admitted hitting her brother with a hammer but quoted her as saying:

"When I left the house I didn't think he was dead."

Pearl was booked for murder at 4:55 P. M., a short" time after he reenacted the slaying.

She told Chief Wilson and Capt. Carey that Albert was asleep on J a daybed in the dining room of the apartment when "suddenly I got the urge to kill him."

She said she went to the kitchen and got two hammers and smashed the sleeping boy on the head. He rolled to the-floor, she said. Then she left the apartment.

Until early yesterday morning, she roamed Jersey City streets. Finally, she wearily climbed into an automobile in a lot on Montgomery St. near Summit Ave. and slept until after daybreak. At 9 A. M., she went to the Kurcieski home.

It was learned that Pearl was committed to the Marlboro State Hospital by her parents.

~ Described as Unhappy. ~

Dr. J. Berkeley Gordon, medical director of the institution, had this to say of the girl:

“I would describe her as a rather unhappy, maladjusted, mean, cantankerous child who didn’t like anybody, who broke dishes and threw things when she would go into one of her violent tempers. I wouldn’t say she was any worse than some of our children. She didn’t get along with anyone.”

Pearl was discharged from the hospital in custody of her father, who told authorities he was moving to Arizona for his health and wished to take her with him.

[Art Smith, “Girl Slayer Explains: Brother Pet of Folks,” Daily News (New York, N. Y.), Sep. 4, 1947, p. 3]

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FULL TEXT: Staring at the floor, Pearl Silverman, 18, waived examination and was held without bail for the grand jury yesterday in Jersey City Criminal Court on a charge of murder in the hammer death of her brother, Albert, 11, Tuesday night.

Funeral services were held at 2 P. M. in the Apter Funeral Home in Newark for the boy whom she "hated because he was loved more." Her mother and sister, Maxine, 16, both overcome by grief, attended the simple ceremony and the later burial in Hebrew Cemetery, Newark. The father, David, still was at Jersey City Medical Center for treatment of a heart attack suffered after the slaying in the Silver man home at 278 Claremont Ave., Jersey City.

Back in 1941, Pearl fractured her brother's skull with a small iron statue, officials of Marlboro, N. J. State Hospital said yesterday. She was a patient there for three years after that, being described by a state psychiatrist as "an unhappy, cantankerous child who didn't like anybody."

[“Hammer Killing Holds Girl for Jury,” Daily News (New York, N. Y.), Sep. 5, 1947, p. 39]

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FULL TEXT: DEFENSE counsel indicated yesterday that a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity will be offered for Pearl Silverman, 18, when she goes on trial today in the Court of Oyer and Terminer, Jersey City, on a charge of murder in the slaying of her 11-year-old brother, Albert. The state will charge that the girl bludgeoned the boy to death with two hammers as he lay asleep in their home at 278 Claremont Ave., Jersey City, last Sept. 2. The youngsters' parents, David and Molly Silverman, were at a movie. Miss Silverman, police say, admitted killing her brother because she was jealous. But her lawyers maintain they will be able to prove mental instability because she had previously spent two years in a mental hospital.

[“May Plead Insanity in Murder,” Daily News (New York, N. Y.), Jan. 19, 1948, p. 4]

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FULL TEXT: Displaying no emotion, 18-year-old Pearl Silverman stood yesterday in Hudson County Court, Jersey City, and heard Judge Paul J. Duffy sentence her to life imprisonment for the brutal hammer-murder of the 10-year-old brother she had hated all her life.

The dark-haired girl, who had told the court she killed her brother, Albert, as he lay asleep in their home at 278 Claremont Ave., Jersey City, because “our parents gave him more love than they gave me,” will serve her sentence in the New Jersey Reformatory for Women at Clinton.

Although prosecution and defense described the defendant as psychotic, the court ruled she knew right from wrong. She pleaded no defense.

Albert was slain while his parents were at a theatre on Sept. 2, 1947.

[“Girl, 18, Stoic At Life Term,” Daily News (New York, N. Y.), Oct. 23, 1948, p. 24]

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[139-1/23/21]
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Sunday, January 26, 2020

Alice Richard, 14-Years Old, Murdered Her Twin Sister – Fresno, 1950


FULL TEXT: A slender, 14-year-old Fresno girl shot and killed her twin sister early yesterday “because,” she told officers, “I hated her.”

“I have wanted to kill her for a long time,” Alice Richard told Dep. Dist. Atty. Dan Eymann in a statement, “but I never had the nerve before.”

Alice, held in the Fresno County Detention  Home, told of getting out of bed in the darkened house, finding her brother’s 22-caliber rifle, loading it and firing a bullet into the brain of her sleeping sister Sally.

Then she matter-of-factly telephoned the Sheriff’s office and told them to come and get her.

~ Hated Her Long Time ~

But for hours, although reading admitted that she killed her sister, the girl refused to tell why.

Finally, she told Eymann: “I killed her because I hated her. I made up my mind to killer her. I made up my mind to kill her after we had a fight over using the telephone. I have hated her for a long, long time. And I had it in the back of my mind for a long time. And I had it in the back of my mind for a long time to kill her.

“My sister was stupid and loud and always acting like a nut.”

~ Fancied Slights ~

Sheriff’s Dep. J. W. Ripperdan said the girl apparently was jealous because of fancied slights.

The argument over the telephone came the evening before the shooting. Alice and Sally, two of eight children in the family of Mr. and Mrs. Edgard V. Richard, both wanted to call girl friends.

The entire family heard Alice scream at Sally, “I’ll kill you,” when Sally reached the telephone first.

Later, Sally left to baby-sit at a neighbor’s home. About 10:30 p. m. Alice went to the home “to see how Sally was getting along.”

When the baby’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Zerlin Robinson, returned home at 2 a. m., the sisters walked home and went to bed.

However, Alice did not go to sleep. About 40 minutes later, she got up, put on her jeans and, barefooted, walked across the house to the closest where the rifle was, she told officers.

~ Shot in Bed ~

Returning to the bedroom she placed the muzzle behind Sally’s left ear and fired, she continued.

The shot did not awaken the parents, sleeping on a sun porch of their modest East Fresno home, but when Alice picked up the telephone and began dialing, the noise awoke Mrs. Mary Richard.

Mrs. Richard said she lifted up the extension phone on the porch and heard Alice say to a Sheriff’s deputy, “Come to 4721 Harvey Ave. There’s been a murder.”

“Don’t get too hasty.” Mrs. Richard said she interrupted. “This girl walk in her sleep once in a while. She’s having a nightmare now.”

Moments later, when Mrs. Richard discovered Sally’s body, she called the deputy again and said,
It’s true.”

[“Girl Kills Twin Sister She ‘Hated’; Fires Bullet Into Brain as She Sleeps; Then Calls Police and Tells of Murder,” Los Angeles Times (Ca.), Mar. 20, 1950, p. 1]

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FULL TEXT: Fresno, March 20 – A pretty 14-year-old student, arraigned for murdering her sleeping twin sister in a fit of jealousy, tonight said she felt “happy as a lark.”

Alice Richard actually appeared to be enjoying herself today as she was charged with “willfully and deliberately” shooting her twin sister Sally with a 22 caliber rifle Sunday morning.

~ ‘I’m Not ‘Sorry’ ~

As she was led from a courtroom, ordered held without bond, she told County Prosecutor Dandel Eymann:

“Last night I got the first good night’s sleep I’ve had in six years. I’m as happy as a lark and very relieved that it’s all over at last.”

“I’m not sorry Sally is dead  . . .  I’d do the same thing over again, but I didn’t want to hurt my parents and family,” she said.

Alice confessed, according to Eymann, that she shot her sleeping sister behind her ear, after carefully feeling for the vital spot in the predawn darkness Sunday.

Authorities said she admitted she hated her sister because she felt Sally – a cheerful, happy-go-lucky girl – got more attention than she did. Alice was described as the opposite of her twin – “moody and morose.”

After her arraignment today, County Probation Officer John Asjian asked her whether she realized what might be done to her.

“I guess they’ll put me away in an institution for awhile and then execute me, she said airily. Actually her age will spare her the death penalty.

“She was stupid and noisy and acted like a nut in school,” Alice told Eymann. “She aggravated me for a long time. I thought about killing her several times in the past, but I never had the guts.”

~ Says Mind Made Up ~

She said she made up her mind to kill her sister Saturday after the quarreled over the use of the telephone. At the climax of the argument, Alice yelled:

“I’m going to kill you sometime.”

Superior Judge Arthur C. Sheard, who will hear her case in Juvenile Court, said: “Our first step will be to determine the sanity of the girl.”

During her 10-minute arraignment today, she smiled continuously. She sat in an empty jury box with a matron and two deputy sheriffs.

Judge Leonard Meyer read the complaint against her. Then she asked:

“And how old are you?”

Alice hesitated, cocked her head to one side, blew a strand of blond hair out of her face, and said:

“Fourteen.” Then she slumped in the chair.

~ Poses for Pictures ~

Later she asked a photographer:

“You’re one of those big city cameramen, aren’t you? Do you want me to smile?” she posed for eight pictures.

Mr. and Mrs. Edgard Richard, parents of the girls, said Alice had “severe headaches” in recent months. They have six other children.

“We’ll do all we can for Alice,” the father said.

Edgard Richard Jr., brother and schoolmate of the twins, said:

Dr. John F. Murray, the Richard family physician, disclosed that he investigated Alice’s headaches last November. He said he gave her a complete examination, including laboratory tests and X rays of the skull.

The cause of the headaches was not established definitely, he said, and nothing pointed to any brain disease at the time. It was felt the headaches were unusual for a girl of 14, he added.

Prosecutor Eymann said the girl freely told of her hate for “my loud and noisy sister” through six long years. He said she is definitely psychopathic.

~ ‘Acted Nervous’ ~

Alice and Sally were sophomores at the San Joaquin Velley Memorial High School, a co-educational parochial school.

Sister Peola, dean of girls at the school, said Alice “acted nervous and depressed for weeks.” The students liked both girls, she said.

“We were all stunned. I have asked the boys and girls to pray for the one snuffed out and the one who has everything upon her now.”

[“’I’m happy as a Lark,’ Twin Slayer Says – 14-Year-Old Fresno Girl Smiles Constantly During Arraignment on Charge of Murder,” Los Angeles Times (Ca.), Mar. 21, 1950, p. 1]

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FULL TEXT: Fresno, March 21 – Alice Richard, 14, confessed slayer of her twin sister, underwent a preliminary hearing today with casual aloofness and said she will not attend Sally’s funeral if she can help it.

“No, I don’t want to go to my sister’s funeral.” Alice told County Probation Officer John Asjian.

Unrepentant, Alice shunned her mother’s embrace at a session in the chambers of Juvenile Court Judge Arthur C. Shepard. She tossed quips at newsmen afterward on the Courthouse steps.

“Aw, go on home,” she told reporters who clustered around the family.

~ Not Premeditated ~

Alice’s mother, Mrs. Mary Richard, said she does not believe the slaying was premeditated. Alice, she said, was worried only about classes and a clean pair of stockings to wear to church the day before before the murder.

Mrs. Richard said she is not sorry for the slain child.

“Sally was always a lot of fun and a good little girl. But we do not feel sorry for her. She is in heaven now and had no more worries.”

~ Loses Two Daughters ~

Edgard Richard, the father, who has seven surviving sons and daughters ranging from 1 to 17 years of age, said:

“It is bad enough to lose one daughter, but in this case I actually lost two. I only hope they do something for Alice to make her healthy and normal again so she can live out the rest of her life as a peaceful individual.”

Judge Shepard ordered a prompt psychiatric examination at the Fresno State College clinic for the younger who put a 22-caliber rifle bullet through her sister’s head as she slept.

Seventy parochial schoolmates of the twins said a rosary today for the dead twin. Sally will be buried tomorrow at Holy Cross Cemetery.

In the judge’s chambers, Alice hardly acknowledged the presence of her mother.

~ Mother Collapses ~

Mrs. Richard collapsed in tears during the hearing.

Officers said the girl was “still cool and calculating.” She is spending most of her time in County Detention Home reading magazines and novels.

At least two mental experts will question Alice. The psychiatrists will probe one medical fact that has come to light: Alice was a victim of headaches, unusual for a girl of her age. That was disclosed by the Richards’ family pphysician, Dr. John F. Murray.

Dr. Murray said he had given Alice a complete medical examination last fall in an effort to locate the cause of the headaches. No cause was ever established, he said, but there was nothing to indicate any brain disease.

[“Girl Won’t Attend Rites for Her Slain Twin Sister; Fresnan Undergoes Preliminary Hearing in Murder Case With Casual Aloofness,” Los Angeles Times (Ca.), Mar. 22, 1950, p. 2]

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FULL TEXT: Fresno, March 30 – Alice Richard, 14, unrepentant bobby-soxer who admittedly shot to death her sleeping twin sister Sally, completed an examination today.

Dr. Jackson C. Dillon, director of the State Mental Hygiene Clinic here, said he found Alice, who has been confined to Juvenile Home since the murder March 19, “completely co-operative.”

~ Court to Get Findings ~

The psychiatrist, who worked with two other court-appointed physicians, presented his findings to John Ashjian, county probation officer.

The doctors’ report and a probation office recommendation will be forwarded to Juvenile Court Judge Arthur C. Shepard.

“There is a good possibility she (Alice) may go to a State hospital for further observation,” Shepard said. “The case may drag on and on, but on the other hand,” Shepard added, “it may be concluded before April 7 if the doctors’ report is conclusive.”

~ Clings to Hate Motive ~

Detention home authorities revealed Alice, “still morose and showing no signs of regret,” clung steadfastly to her hate motive which she said she nursed against her “popular and boisterous,” twin for years.

[“Psychiatry Test Completed on Twin’s Slayer,” Los Angeles Times (Ca.), Mar. 31, 1950, p. 21]

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FULL TEXT: Fresno, April 1 – Alice Richard, 14, who confessed the “hate” slaying of her twin sister, was committed to a State mental hospital today.

Juvenile Judge Arthur C. Shepard after hearing a psychiatrists’ and probation court report announced:

“The psychiatric findings make it advisable to commit her to a State hospital.”

It was Alice’s second appearance at Juvenile Court since she shot her sleeping twin, Sally, in their bedroom March 19. Alice had told authorities she hated “my loud and stupid sister” since the sixth grade.

~ Mental Illness Found ~

The court said Alice would be confined “for some months at an unnamed institution.” Shepard added, “Alice has undergone a large number of physical and mental examinations and tests and a fairly clear picture of mental illness is now presented.”

He said the girl will be placed under clinical observation and returned to Juvenile Court here for final disposition of the case.

~ Relationship No Factor ~

“The fact of her being a twin sister was neither primary nor a contributory cause of the killing,” the jurist said. “Parents should drop this phrase of the matter from their minds . . . What happened to her was that a mentally sick girl killed another girl killed another girl with whom she was closely associated – the sisterhood was purely incidental.”

He said “hundreds of letters have been received” from parents of twins expressing concern over the strange murder.

Alice appeared calm and unconcerned when she entered the court with Dr. Jackson C. Dillon, director of the State Mental Hygeine Clinic here, and Chief Probation Officer John M. Ashjian.

Her father, Edgard V. Richard, father of seven, was also present.

~ Examined by Experts ~

She was examined exhaustively by Dr. Dillon, Dr. Jackson C. Dillon, director of the State Mental Hygeine Clinic here, and Chief Probation officer John M. Ashjian.

Her father, Edgard V. Richard, father of seven, was also present.

~ Examined by Experts ~

She was examined exhaustively by Dr. Dillon, DR. Mark Zeifert, neuropsychiatrist, and Child Expert Dr. R. J. Van Wagenen. They were ordered by the court to refrain from “public comment.”

Unrepentant and showing no remorse, Alice was returned to county detention home by Matron Mrs. Ethel Weisert. “She just stared straight ahead and didn’t seem the least disturbed by the hearing,” Ashjian said.

The girl reportedly spent her time reading juvenile novels and magazines at the home. She had elaborated little on her “hate” motive since she fired a single 22-caliber rifle into Sally’s head two weeks ago.

~ ‘Acted Like Prima Donna’ ~

“Sally was always noisy and acted like a prima donna . . . just like a stupid maniac . . . she was better off dead,” she told authorities.

Only to the family attorney, A. A. George, did she throw further light on her action. “I really loved Sally,” she said, “but she was going insane . . . something was telling me over and over again to kill Sally and put her out of her misery.”

[“Slayer of Sister Sent to Hospital,” Los Angeles Times (Ca.), Apr. 2, 1950, p. 1]

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FULL TEXT: Fresno, Aug. 6 – Alice Elisabeth Richard, 14, who killed her twin sister Sally in their home here last March, escaped yesterday from the Napa State Hospital while her parents were on their way to visit her.

She turned herself in to San Francisco police several hours later and was held in Juvenile Detention Home pending return to Napa.

Why did she leave? Alice replied with a question, “Were you ever locked up?”

Lloyd B. Stanger, Asst. County Probation Officer, reported that the girl left a note which said she had been planning the escape for some time.

~ Committed After Shooting ~

She fled the mental institution in the company of Millicent Graham, 13, of Fortuna, a ward mate.

Authorities of the hospital said the pair climbed the fence only a few minutes before the mother and father, Mr. and Mrs. Bigard V. Richard, arrived.

The blue-eyed Richard girl caught the attention of the nation when she calmly called the Sheriff’s office here to report shooting her sister to death in their home March 19.

After a series of hearings she was adjusted mentally ill by Superior Judge Arthur C. Shepard and committed to the Napa institution. She was recommitted for an indefinite period last month.

The note left by Alice did not disclose her destination. She wrote she was not fleeing in order to “be mean” or “make trouble” and added she did not want to see her parents.

A physician at the institution said the Richard girl knew her parents were on their way to see her. He declared she had been behaving well since she had been committed and had made no previous efforts to escape.

When Alice was sentenced to the hospital her mental illness was identified as schizophrenia.

At the time of the slaying she told investigating officers that she killed her sister because she hated her.

[“Fresno Girl Who Killed Her Twin Sister Escapes; Split-Personality Slayer Flees Napa Hospital With Wardmate but Later Gave Herself Up,” Los Angeles Times (Ca.), Aug. 7, 1950, p. 9]

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