The account which Belding gives of the affair is, that he saw the devil lying on the bed and he struck it in the face. The girl, it appears, was lying down in the back room. Belding followed her from that room to the front room, in which the murder was committed with a shoemaker’s hammer. Her skull was completely smashed to pieces. Portions of the hair were scattered about the room, and pieces of the skull were lying over the floor. Her face too was considerably bruised and disfigured, but no marks of violence were discovered on the other parts of her body. Belding says he thought she was the devil—that she appeared to him to be four times as large as “Dena”—and from his previous and subsequent conduct there can scarcely be a doubt that the old man imagines he had a fight with the devil, or he he expresses it, with “three devils, and he had all he could do to kill them.” They lived alone in the house.
It is supposed the murder was committed about 12 ½ o’clock yesterday afternoon. The first person who discovered the murder was Nicholas Ryermiller, who first saw the old man outside the house.—He appeared very much excited and told Ryermiller that he had “killed the devil, and it was lying in there”—point to his house. Ryermiller looked in and discovered the dead body of the daughter.—He asked the old man if it was not “Dena” that he had killed? Belding replies that he did not think it was. Belding’s hands and shirt sleeves were covered with blood. Ryermiller testified before the Coroner’s jury that the father and daughter had lived with him about six months, previously to their residing in the house were the murder was committed and that they always appeared happy together, and, as the witness expressed it “never had any crazy times.” Christina was a quiet, good girl.
Coroner Madden, of this city, was notified of the murder and at six o’clock last evening proceeded to the scene of the tragedy. He found the neighborhood in great excitement. Belding was raving like a maniac when the Coroner arrived.
The Grand Jury sit today. The evidence in the case will be handed over to them for their action at once. They will probably authorize a commission to investigate the sanity of the murderer, and if he is declared insane, will send him to the Lunatic Asylum; or they will indict him for murder, as in their opinion the evidence warrants.
The neighbors give both Belding and the daughter a good character. The old man was sober and industrious, and his delusion was the result of some cause other than drink. Dr. Barber of Poesteakill, believes it to have been cause by his incessant care and attention to his sick daughter.