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.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Indiana Hero

In 1819, when the State of Indiana was still frontier country, Amasa Fuller, a prominent and popular citizen of Lawrenceburg, Indiana, was courting a young lady of that town. While Fuller was away on business, the young lady’s heart was stolen by a younger man, named Palmer Warren.  When Fuller returned to find that his true love had agreed to marry her new suitor, he challenged Palmer Warrant to a duel. Warren refused to fight so Fuller shot him in cold blood. Though guilty of murder, Amasa Fuller was so popular in Lawrenceburg that, when a ballad was written about the murder, the young lady was cast as the villain, and Fuller was “The Indiana Hero.”

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Guest Blogger: ExecutedToday

I always like to start the morning with a visit to  to see who was launched into eternity on this day in history. Then, no matter how bad the day gets, I can take comfort in knowing that at least I’m not that guy.

Murder by Gaslight is pleased to welcome as guest blogger, the Headsman of ExecutedToday. He will be sharing the story behind the 1858 execution of Marion Ira Stout, a particularly inept and unlucky murderer from Rochester, New York:

1858: Marion Ira Stout, for loving his sister

Originally posted October 22nd, 2008  by Headsman

It’s the sesquicentennial of a then-sensational, now-forgotten hanging in Rochester, N.Y.

At dawn on December 20, 1857, the city had awoken to the discovery of a mangled corpse by the Genesee River’s High Falls … and more than enough evidence to have the corpse’s killers in hand by tea time.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Boston Barrel Tragedy

1872 was an eventful year for Boston, Massachusetts. That year the city hosted the World’s Peace Jubilee and International Musical Festival, lasting 18 days and drawing thousands of visitors. The Boston Red Stockings won the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players Championship. The Great Boston Fire devastated 65 acres of downtown real estate. And the dismembered body of Abijah Ellis was found stuffed inside two barrels, floating in the Charles River.