Saturday, July 31, 2021

Jealousy and Murder.

On June 15, 1877, Cora Young paid a call at The Club House, a saloon in Auburn, New York run by John H. Barrett. Cora was a prostitute, working out a brothel near the saloon, but she had a special relationship with John Barrett and viewed him as her man. Barrett was not as committed to the relationship as Cora but stayed with her out of fear; Cora was very jealous, and on several occasions, she had threatened his life. That afternoon Cora confronted Barrett at the saloon, accusing him of infidelity. They quarreled, and Cora left angry.

At closing time, Cora returned and was very drunk. Barrett took her home and spent the night in her room at the brothel. Cora was still angry, and around 6:00 that morning, three pistol shots were heard coming from Cora’s chamber. 

When the police arrived, they burst into the room and found Barrett lying on the bed with blood flowing from a bullet hole near his temple. Cora lay next to him, her arm around him, with two bullet wounds in her head. On the bed between them laid a seven-shot revolver. She had shot John Barrett in the head, then turned the gun on herself and fired twice. 

Cora Young
Barrett died about half an hour after he was found. Cora revived but remained in critical condition; it was believed that she would die as well. A coroner’s jury quickly ruled that Cora shot and killed John Barrett; if she survived her self-inflicted wounds, Cora would be tried for first-degree murder and face the gallows.

Cora did recover, and the following November, she was tried for murder. The case was given to the jury at 4:00 on November 17, 1877. As Cora's jury deliberated, the court heard the case of William Barr, a prisoner at Auburn State Prison who had killed a guard with a snow shovel. That case was interrupted at 6:00 when the jury returned with a verdict in Cora’s case. 

"Not guilty," said the foreman; the courtroom erupted with loud applause and Cora fainted. In the confusion that followed, Barr tried to escape, and after several minutes of struggle with the Sheriff’s officers, he was subdued. Barr was put in shackles, and his trial resumed.

“Acquitted - Attempt to Escape from a Court Room,” Daily Nonpareil, November 18, 1877.
“The Auburn Murder-Lunatics in Prison,” New York Tribune, February 7, 1877.
“Confusion in a Murder Trial,” New York Herald, November 18, 1877.
“Double Tragedy,” Cincinnati Daily Star, June 15, 1877.
“Jealousy, Murder, and Suicide,” Illustrated Police News, June 30, 1877.
“Murder and Suicide,” Plain Dealer, June 15, 1877.


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