Saturday, September 24, 2011

Becker Tells All

Little Murders
(from The Renwick Times, Renwick Iowa, March 3, 1899.)


Kills His Wife with a Hatchet and Burns Her Body.

August A. Becker, the Chicago wife murderer made a second confession to the police Tuesday night. In a detailed statement to Inspector Hant he told of a crime so revolting that for some time even the police officials refused to believe it.

In the presence of Chief of Police Kipley, Inspector Hant, Captain Lavin and Assistant State’s Attorney Pearson the burly sausage maker broke down and said he had killed his wife by striking her on the head with a hatchet in the kitchen of his home. He then cut the body to pieces and boiled it in a large kettle. After watching the disintegration of the remains for several hours, and when nothing remained that resembled a human body, Becker says he took what remained and burned it in a red-hot stove, the fire having been prepared by him. The bones which would not burn, he buried on the prairie near his house.

Becker asserts the crime was not premeditated, but that he quarreled with his wife, and in the heat of passion he struck her on the head with the hatchet. Only one blow was needed to cause the death and after that had been struck the sausage maker says he thought of the way to dispose of the remains of his wife in order to destroy all chance of detection.

August A. Becker killed his wife Jan. 27, but was not arrested for the murder until after he had married a 17-year-old girl named Ida Sutterlin. When Becker brought his wife home it caused gossip which reached the ears of the police, and finally led to Becker’s arrest. At first Becker denied having killed his wife, stating that she had left him and gone to Milwaukee. Under pressure he finally made a false confession in which he said that he had pushed his wife into the lake at the foot of the Randolph Street pier. This was not believed, and until Tuesday night the true story of how Becker killed his wife was not known.

The Renwick Times, Renwick Iowa, March 3, 1899.


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