Saturday, September 24, 2016

A Maniac Murderer.

Little Murders

John Anderson
John Anderson was a Swede with a quick and rash temper. He worked in the spoke shop of the Hall & Parmelee wheel factory in Wallingford, Connecticut and in March of 1874 Anderson was having difficulties with a fellow worker named Edward Yale. Their arguments escalated rapidly and when Anderson threatened to shoot Yale he was taken seriously. The boss, Horatio Hall, fired Anderson and place another man on the machine he had been running. Edward Yale filed charges with the police and Anderson was arrested.

Out on bail and fuming with anger, Anderson entered the spoke shop on Mach 7 brandishing two loaded revolvers. He fired at Fredrick Newton who had replaced him on the machine, hitting him in the shoulder. He shot Horatio Hall in the temple, killing him instantly. Anderson then began firing indiscriminately around the shop, though he hit no one else. When both pistols were empty he ran from the shop.

Still in a fit of rage, Anderson ran to a nearby railroad depot and cut his own throat nearly from ear to ear. Though he was bleeding profusely it took four men to subdue him.

The following January, in a packed courtroom, John Anderson was tried for first degree murder. His plea of insanity was not surprising, Anderson had been called a maniac by the press from the beginning. The nature of the murder and the attempted suicide afterward were good indications that Anderson was not mentally sound. But the jury did not agree, and after only a half hour of deliberation found him guilty of first degree murder. Anderson was sentenced to hang in April 1875.
The hanging was postponed as Anderson’s attorneys petitioned for a new trial. They charged that there had been errors in law regarding the admission of evidence and in the judge’s instructions to the jury and claimed that they had new evidence of Anderson’s insanity. At a hearing on the matter in January 1876, the court was not convinced and a new trial was denied. That April the attorneys took the petition to the Connecticut Supreme Court. The petition was so long that it took several hours to read aloud in court. The Supreme Court ruled to allow Anderson a new trial.

The trial was held in May 1878, more than four years after the crime. This time the jury deliberated for four days, and returned a verdict of guilty of second-degree murder. John Anderson was sentenced to life imprisonment at the Middletown Hospital for the Insane.

Anderson stayed in the hospital for four years, then on May 4, 1882, he escaped. He left behind a letter to one of his doctors saying that he would be out of the country in twenty-four hours. He had plenty of money and was armed to the teeth, but did not plan to hurt anyone unless he was cornered, then he would fight to the death.

The escape caused considerable excitement in Wallingford, where many believed that Anderson had been feigning insanity all along. They did not believe that he meant no one harm, and expected him to show up in Wallingford seeking revenge. Guards were placed around the houses of L. W. Hubbard who had been the prosecuting attorney in Anderson’s trials; Franklin Johnson, the justice of the peace; and E. H. Ives, treasurer of the Hall & Parmelee Wheel company against whom Anderson held a special grudge. Anderson’s wife kept her door bolted, she did not believe he was insane but thought his imprisonment had made his temper worse and he would be seeking revenge.

Anderson never turned up in Wallingford; apparently he was sincere in his plan to leave the country. He was at large for ten days and had gotten as far as New Jersey where he had a run-in with some strangers. He was arrested there and sent back to Connecticut.

"A Carless Watchman." New Haven Register 5 May 1882.
"A Connecticut Tragedy." National Aegis 14 Mar 1874.
"A Maniac Murder." Daily Graphic 7 Mar 1874.
"Andersen's Last Chance." Columbian Register 8 Apr 1876.
"Anderson Sentenced." Columbian Register 6 Feb 1875.
"Anderson's Escape." New Haven Register 5 May 1882.
"Connecticut." Boston Traveler 18 Jan 1875.
"Glad of the Capture." New Haven Register 13 May 1882.
"Hearing Upon the Petition for a New Trial for Anderson." Columbian Register 8 Jan 1876.
"Hunting for Anderson." New Haven Register 6 May 1882.
"John Anderson." National Police Gazette 10 Jun 1882.
"Murder in the Second Degree." New York Herald 29 May 1878.
"New-Jersey." New York Times 14 May 1882.
"Ruffianism." Portland Daily Press 9 Mar 1874.
"The Anderson Case." Columbian Register 23 Jan 1875.


Tessa says:
September 25, 2016 at 2:01 AM

So many 'fours' in this one!

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