Saturday, August 25, 2012

Mrs. Wm. Huntermark.

Little Murders:
From Defenders and Offenders:

Mrs. Wm. Huntermark.

"This is a portrait of Mrs. William Huntermark, the devilish female, who brutally murdered one of Baltimore’s most respectable citizens, Mr. Charles Ensor, an old man of 65 years. Mr. Ensor had been gunning, and fatigued he sat down on a stone on Mrs. Huntermark’s premises. She had been making many bold threats of killing the first trespasser on her husband’s domains. Procuring a navy revolver, she proceeded to where Mr. Ensor was, and suddenly seizing his gun, wrenched it from his hands and then deliberately shot him twice, wounding him fatally."

Defenders and offenders. New York: D. Buchner & Co., 1888.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

A Balance of Probabilities.

The morning of December 11, 1859, eleven-year-old Priscilla Budge carried a cup of tea to her mother’s bedroom, where she found her mother, lying on the bed with her throat cut. Mrs. Budge was known to be mentally unstable and her husband, the Reverend Henry Budge, immediately declared that his wife’s death must have been suicide. The coroner’s jury agreed and Mrs. Budge was soon buried—a quick conclusion to an unpleasant event. But as it turned out, it was not the conclusion, just the opening argument of a debate that would go on for years.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

A Bender Family Album.

The Benders were a family of serial killers living in Kansas in the 1870s where they ran a general store and restaurant out of their home. While travelers were eating their meals, the Bender men would hit them from behind with sledgehammers. The bodies were stripped of all valuables then shoved down a trapdoor into the basement for later burial in the yard. They abandoned the house before their acts were discovered, leaving behind the bodies of ten victims.

The story of the Bloody Benders was originally posted on Murder by Gaslight on November 6, 2010. I recently came across a book entitled History, Romance and Philosophy of Great American Crimes and Criminals with some fascinating depictions of the Bender family, along with a floor plan of their house and an illustration of how the murders were done.  So as an addendum to the original post, here is the Bender Family Album:

The elders of the Bender family. Old John was also known as William Bender, his wife was better known as “Ma” Bender. Thomas and Katie were the other members of the family, but it is unclear exactly how the four were related. Most accounts say that Katie and Thomas were son and daughter of Old John and his wife. Others say Katie was Ma’s daughter and  Katie and Thomas, aka John Gebhardt, were husband and wife.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Borden Murders, 120 Years Unsolved.

120 years ago today, August, 4, 1892, the bodies of Andrew Jackson Borden and Abby Durfee Borden were found brutally hacked to death in their Fall River, Massachusetts home. The prime suspect of this brazen, daylight axe murder was Andrew’s daughter and Abby’s stepdaughter, Lizzie Borden. When a jury found Lizzie not guilty the following June, it raised a question that has been hotly debated ever since: did Lizzie Borden get away with murder?

The Borden murder was one of the first posted on Murder by Gaslight, and the question of her guilt has been the  subject, directly or indirectly, of several more: