The Latest TWO-DOLLAR TERROR by True Crime Historian
If not for all the gossip, the “Poison Pair” might have gotten away with it. With so much at stake, the little pastor might have been more careful about his attraction to the pretty married parishioner. True, they had developed a set of discrete signals to send little love messages or to make arrangements to meet. But people still saw them together in suspicious circumstances, and it was only a matter of time before small-town tongues started wagging.
In the tradition of the “dime novels” and pulp adventure stories, True Crime Historian Richard O Jones offers these low-cost, high-excitement, sordid and sensational true stories of jealousy, greed, lust, madness and murder ripped from the pages of America’s historic newspapers!!!
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The Sleepwalking Slasher: The True Crime of Samuel J. Keelor. Early one winter morning in 1903, Ohio laborer Sam Keelor awoke with a bloody cooper’s hammer in his hand and his pretty young wife Bertha dead in their marriage bed next to him. He panicked and decided to get rid of the body, but cutting his pretty wife up into portable pieces proved to be more work than he bargained for, so he opted to cut his own throat instead. He made a mess of that, too. Before he could bleed out, his family discovered the bloody, bloody scene, and rescued the beleaguered coal man. He said his only regret is that he didn’t kill his meddling mother-in-law, too. This “novelette” length true crime story details the family quarrel that led to the gruesome crime and the delivery of turn-of-the-century justice.
The Arsenic Affair: The True Crime of Belle Wardlow and Harry Cowdry. When farmer Lorel Wardlow died from an acute case of quinsy, the country doctor who took care of him signed off on the death certificate without an autopsy. The little town of Kyle was soon buzzing with gossip about his widow and her behavior with the farmhand Harry Cowdry, who helped take care of his boss in his last days. When the coroner got wind of the scandal, he started the investigation. Before the dust settled on the 1917 case, there would be accusations of murder, an exhumation of the body, three trials, one hung jury, a prison break and a scandal that rocked Southwestern Ohio.
The Gas Fume Fugitive: The True Crime of Charlie King. Late one fall night in 1929, the barber Charlie King opened the gas lines of his Hamilton, Ohio, home and left his five sons and wife sleeping in the deadly fumes, then hopped on a freight train heading north. In spite of a heroic effort by police and neighbors alike, Ethel King and four of her children died in the tragedy. It was a year before he would show up behind a barber chair 250 miles away. He was working at a small shop in Northern Ohio shaving an undertaker when the sheriff arrived to arrest him. The barber said he was not Charlie King the fugitive but J.W. Thomas. This novella length true crime history shows how a wily police chief wrangled the truth from him and sent the barber on the way to his date with Old Sparky, the electric chair at the Ohio Penitentiary.
Where’s Your Mother, George? The True Crime of George Schneider. Everyone in the Schneider family presumed that the widow matriarch Catharine was staying with her favorite son George on his remote Ohio farm. When George, his wife Margaret and their seven children showed up to a family dinner without her, suspicions ran high. No one could believe the story he told. George said that he was taking his mother to a train in the fall of 1883 when they were overcome by two robbers at the end of the lane at the edge of his farm. In the course of the robbery, he claimed, the robbers killed his mother, and buried her in a ravine on George’s property. George said they threatened his family, so he kept quiet about it for five long weeks. This novelette-length story details the unraveling of George’s story and the terrible price he paid for his rage.
The Blood-Soaked Woman at the Top of the Stairs: The True Crime of Grace Lusk. When the married veterinarian Dr. David Roberts of Waukesha, Wisconsin approached the spinster schoolteacher Grace Lusk about helping him edit a textbook on cattle, he sparked a three-year illicit relationship that ended in the killing of the doctor’s wife. On June 21, 1917, Dr. Roberts received a phone call summoning him to the boarding house where Grace Lusk lived, only to find his wife bleeding on the parlor floor, a gunshot wound to her heart and Grace Lusk bleeding from a self-inflicted wound. For nearly an hour Miss Lusk held three grown men−including the chief of police−at bay from the top of the staircase. Her plea would be insanity, and the trial filled with shocking revelations and torrid love letters.
Hymns of a Raving Heart: The True Crime of S. Althea Berrie. When Fannie Berrie, the wife of the handsome pastor and famous writer of hymns S. Althea Berrie, died after a long illness and a serious bout of convulsions, no one gave it a second thought. That is, until the 52-year-old widower suddenly wed his pretty 19-year-old secretary less than two months later, and the siblings of the dead woman paid for an exhumation and autopsy. The discovery of a stack of love poems written to Ida Bess before his wife’s death, the hymnist faced a charge more serious than heresy: Murder. Did he really put strychnine in her aspirin? Did Fannie Berrie die of her own hand? Or was it just the side effects of the herbal remedies prescribed by her doctor?
Man Beheaded; Dentist Sought: The True Crime of Richard M. Brumfield. Here’s a true crime story that is too bizarre to be believed. In 1921, the Roseburg, Oregon, dentist Dr. Richard M Brumfield tried to fake his own death by putting the dead body of the local hermit, Dennis Russell, in the flaming wreckage of Doc’s roadster–after he removed the man’s teeth and set off a stick of dynamite in his mouth. It was a thin ruse, and when the dentist was nowhere to be seen, a thorough manhunt of the Oregon Mountains and the Pacific Coast ensued. After a month of mistaken identities and false leads, the trail suddenly turned north to Canada, where it only took the Royal Northwest Mounted Police a few days to get their man. Or did they?
Massacre on Prospect Hill: The True Crime of Francis Lloyd Russell. Although it wasn’t yet summer, the temperature climbed into triple digits on June 3, 1925, and Lloyd Russell could not sleep that night. He lived with his mother and his brother’s family in a modest three room bungalow. Lloyd worried about a mortgage coming due. Despite two jobs, he couldn’t keep up, and he couldn’t get that off his mind. Before daylight, the temperature still in the 80s, he got up from his sweat-soaked bed, loaded two pistols and shot and killed his mother, his brother, his sister-in-law and five of his brother’s six children. Only 10-year-old Dorothy escaped, and if the shots didn’t wake the neighborhood, her screaming in the terrible hot night did. One of those neighbors was local war hero and deputy sheriff Wesley Wulzen, who kept the man calm while more help arrived.
Woman Slugged; Left for Dead: The True Crime of “Handsome Jack” Koetters: On November 14, 1912, house detectives at the Saratoga Hotel in Chicago discovered the body of a woman in room 409 on a blood-soaked mattress. The labels in her clothing led police to Cincinnati, where friends and relatives identified the belongings of Mrs. Emma Kraft, a highly-respected widow who had recently taken up with a much younger man of dubious reputation, one John B. Koetters, known about town as “Handsome Jack.” A nationwide manhunt was on, but it took several months for the fugitive to turn up in San Francisco under the name Nieman, where he was involved with the widowed owner of a residential hotel. In “Woman Slugged; Left for Dead,” True Crime Historian Richard O Jones spins the tale of a fallen woman, a man on the run and a frustrated captain of detectives who pulled out no stops to find Handsome Jack.