The Strangler’s Wife

TRUE CRIME STORY TIME

The Sad Tale of Anna May Gamble Knapp

Around the jails and the Indiana and Ohio neighborhoods where he lived, Alfred Knapp carried the nickname “Looney” Knapp for his bizarre, often childish behavior. He spent half of his adult life in prison for petty larcenies and attacks upon young women. When he was released from the Michigan City Penitentiary in the summer of 1902, he joined his third wife, Hannah, in her hometown of Hamilton, Ohio. Three days before Christmas that year, Knapp strangled his wife in the early morning hours and put her body in a box and put the box in the Great Miami River, then told everyone that Hannah had left him. Some in his family became suspicious, and when he remarried two months later, they had him arrested for bigamy. Alfred Knapp then not only confessed to killing his wife, but four other women in Cincinnati and Indianapolis, including his second wife. Consequently, “The Strangler Knapp” became a Midwest sensation and dozens of newspapers sent reporters to cover the case.

One of the many things that makes the Knapp case a remarkable story worth telling is the intense family and courtroom drama that was chronicled in the extensive press coverage. One of the most colorful real-life characters in this tale is the young, simple-minded fourth wife, from whose bed he was arrested for bigamy at four in the morning. So I want to tell you her story in a series of excerpts from my latest book, The First Celebrity Serial Killer: Confessions of the Strangler Alfred Knapp.

Music by Chuck Wiggins

Produced by Richard O Jones

Purchase an inscribed copy of “The First Celebrity Serial Killer: Confessions of the Strangler Alfred Knapp,” direct from the author:


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knapp front cover

Mystery at the American Saloon

TRUE CRIME STORY TIME

The Saga of the Scoundrel Thomas McGehan
A true crime short story by Richard O Jones

On Christmas eve, 1870, three men attack a local politician with boulders and slungshots, and at least a dozen men scramble for the door while five shots pepper the faro room at the American Saloon in Hamilton, Ohio. One of bullets kills the politician, Thomas Myers, but in their haste, none of the gamblers see who fired the gun. The blame falls on the leader of the gang of thugs who attacked Myers, his political rival Thomas McGehan. At his trial the famed former Congressman, exiled Copperhead and gubernatorial candidate Clem Vallandigham, who literally gives his life to McGehan’s defense.

Music by Chuck Wiggins

Diagram of the faro room in the American Saloon from the Cincinnati Commercial:

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Sources include reports from the Cincinnati Commercial, The Cincinnati Enquirer, the Hamilton Telegraph and the Hamilton Democrat, and “The Trials of Tom McGehean” by Kathleen Neilan Stuckey, Cincinnati Historical Society Bulletin 24 (April 1966): 188-197;  as well as “the McGehean book”:

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Clippings:

1870 1226 commercial 1870 1228 commercial 1871 0618 commercial 1875 0615 The_Cincinnati_Enquirer_Fri__Dec_30__1870_ The_Cincinnati_Enquirer_Mon__Dec_26__1870_ The_Cincinnati_Enquirer_Thu__Dec_29__1870_