Saturday, October 15, 2011

A Deed to Make Mankind Shudder.

Little Murders
(From Bangor Daily Whig And Courier, Augusta, Maine, February 28, 1881)

A Deed to Make Mankind Shudder

A Young Man Kills His Mother.
By Striking her on the Head With A Hammer.

He First Freezes the Body,
Then Cuts it Into Pieces.
And Tries to Burn It.

The Unnatural Son is Arrested.
He Confessed All—No Motive Assigned for the Hellish Deed.

Augusta, Me., Feb. 27, One of the most atrocious murders ever recorded in the annals of crime, has occurred near Weeks’ Mills, China, a beautiful little village twelve miles from Augusta. For cold-blooded wickedness and apathetic indifference, the murder will rank alongside any criminal whose foul deeds have made mankind shudder. One week ago Saturday, a young man named Charles Merrill killed his mother in the barn near the house, by striking her on the head with a hammer. He concealed the body in the hay mow until ti wsa frozen and then cut it into pieces. Part of these he burned as well as possible in the stove and fire place, throwing the charred remains into the manure heap.

For several days his mother’s non-appearance elicited no comment; but suspicion began to point to point to the young Merrill as perpetrator of some foul deed. Saturday search was made and parts of the skull and body was found. Merrill was arrested to day. He confessed all. Upon being pressed and urged to make a clean breast of it he told the story of his crime amid sobs and frequent  pauses. He said that on Saturday afternoon on which the deed was committed he returned from the “Mills” with his mother, about dusk. He went into the barn to put up his horse. While there his mother came out to get the sleigh robes. He deliberately crept up behind her and struck her on the head with a hammer. The first blow did not kill her. She had strength enough to gasp: “Did you strike me, Charlie?” He then struck the fearful blow with a hammer which crushed in the skull. She said no more, but fell upon the floor dead.

The murderer hid the body in the hay letting it remain until the next morning, when it was frozen, rigid in death. The young fiend with a coolness almost without precedent, took an axe and chopped the body into pieces. The arms and legs he burned as well as possible, hiding them afterwards in the dung-heap. He wrapped the body up as well as he could and put it under his potatoes Monday, when he started for Augusta, disposing of it in Barton’s woods, between the two places, by burying in the snow by the side of a stump. No motive was assigned for his hellish deed. On being taken to Augusta to-day he pointed out to the officers the spot where the mutilated trunk could be found. They dug in the snow with a shovel while Merrill looked carelessly on until they found the body with head, arms and legs severed from it—a ghastly, horrid trunk of a large woman. Merrill is now in jail and will have his preliminary examination to-morrow morning.

Bangor Daily Whig And Courier, Augusta, Maine, February 28, 1881


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