True Crime Books by Jason Lucky Morrow

Welcome to where you will discover forgotten crimes and forgotten criminals lost to history. You will not find high profile cases that have been rehashed and retold ad infinitum to ad nauseam. If you want to send me a comment, old crime tip, or exchange links with a related website, Contact Me Here. - Please follow this historical true crime blog on FACEBOOK.

New Book: Famous Crimes the World Forgot Volume II

Home | New Books | New Book: Famous Crimes the World Forgot Volume II

My new book, Famous Crimes the World Forgot Volume II: More Vintage True Crime Stories Rescued from Obscurity, is now available for download to your Amazon Kindle. The book will be available for free for five days (the maximum they allow) from Tuesday, March 21, to Saturday, March 25, 2017. The paperback version will be released on Friday, March 24.

When the free download period is over, the book will be available for the special price of .99 cents until March 30, 2017.

Book Description:

Tired of Reading About the Same Crimes and Criminals Over and Over?
Are You Looking for Something Completely New and Different?
Ten Extraordinary True Crimes You Never Knew About With 41 Images
Famous Crimes the World Forgot Volume II by Jason Lucky MorrowFamous Crimes the World Forgot Volume II uncovers more amazing true crimes that exploded into the national news, shocking Americans from coast to coast—crimes that were eventually forgotten—until now. Each one of these stories transports you back to the time they happened, propels you through all the suspense-filled developments, and explores each one with an in-depth look into the actions of humans so evil, it’s hard to believe they were real.

They include: a serial poisoner who laughed when thought he got away with murdering a brother and sister, but cried when he was arrested; a woman with a history of being robbed by two men until the third time it happened when they killed her husband, or so she said; a mail-order bride lured to her death 3,000 miles away by a man with a wife and five children; a serial-rapist and possible serial-killer who murdered two sisters on their way to church; a five-time loser turned drifter who gunned down four men for $40 inside a hermit’s shack; an escaped convict turned serial-killer with a taste for red-heads; the mysterious car bomb murder of a wealthy Texas socialite which churned up a cast of sordid characters who captivated an audience for what was America’s first live-televised murder trial; and Milwaukee’s first serial-killer who stabbed young girls with a seven-inch stiletto.

These astonishing true crimes will leave you wondering how they could have been ignored for so long.

If you enjoyed this book, please write a review on I don’t have a literary agent, big corporate publisher, manager, or marketing team. Word of mouth and the opinions of readers like you is the only marketing I have. Please tell your friends and family, and help spread the word by writing a review on Amazon or

New Book: Mrs. Hartley and the Senator: A True Story of Rape and Murder

Home | New Books | New Book: Mrs. Hartley and the Senator: A True Story of Rape and Murder

Book Synopsis:

In a unique newspaper-article format, this is the story of how two women were drugged and then raped by two different Senators from Nevada, and how one of the women shot to death her rapist; it brings to life the last decade of the Nineteenth Century in California and in Nevada, after the rise of the railroad but before the advent of the motor car

It is the story of Alice Maud Hartley, English born with accent to match, good-looking, artistic, a mother, married three times (though later she said it was only two), an adventurous soul who nevertheless was more at home among the salons of the Palace Hotel in San Francisco than she was amid the tree sap and rough frontier of Meadow Lake. Religious, mystical, determined. Quiet.

She killed a man and was sent to prison, where she had his baby.

The other woman was Carrie Brady Glasscock. She said: “He seated me on the sofa and inquired about my health. As I was still afflicted with malaria, he said he had a sure remedy which he took himself. He made up a dose in a glass and gave it to me to drink. It put me to sleep.”

Free Download Today and Tomorrow, February 21 & 22, 2017, on Amazon Kindle.



Here’s a Sneak Peak at the Cover for My Soon to be Published Book, Famous Crimes the World Forgot, Volume II

Home | New Books | Here’s a Sneak Peak at the Cover for My Soon to be Published Book, Famous Crimes the World Forgot, Volume II


Twenty-months after I started writing this book, I am happy to announce it will be released in the next 30-40 days. TBA.




Vintage Mugshot Colorization Video Project by My Colorful Past

Home | Recent News, Video | Vintage Mugshot Colorization Video Project by My Colorful Past

First, I want to say Merry Christmas to everyone. I hope that you all are with your families, friends, loved ones, and enjoying this special holiday as it was meant to be.

Today, I have a special video feature for everyone. This blog has provided me with the wonderful opportunity to make special friends all over the world. Recently, I became acquainted with Matt Loughrey, who lives in rural Ireland with his family. Matt, through his own industry and self-education, is one of the top black and white photo colorization experts in the world. Among the many subjects he takes a personal interest in is – mugshots.

“There’s a brimming human element to this type of photography, moments captured of sheer frustration, regret, sorrow or even complete disdain,” Matt recently told me.

I think he’s right. And I think we, who care about historical true crime, look deep into these photographs with the vain hope they will tell us more about the individual. While we may not always get the answers we’re seeking , his work at colorizing them–with software that can accurately predict black and white hues to their true color at a rate of 90 percent–allows us to get as close to them as we’re ever going to get. We can read their stories in black-colored words on a white background, but we don’t really know who they are until we see them in color. In black and white, they are doomed to exist as nearly forgotten figures; regarded as someone dead for so long, they don’t even seem real. In color, they are human again. Bad or good, they are human again.

Matt’s website is still under-construction, but his Facebook page, My Colorful Past, and Youtube channel are his go-to repositories for his work, where he shows you his process in videos on crime and non-crime related photographs.

Below, is a video project he worked on exclusively for blog readers featuring prisoners from the Nebraska State Penitentiary during the early 20th Century. When you’re done watching the video, I encourage you to check out his facebook page and youtube channel.



I hope you enjoyed this video. Please share with others, and have a wonderful, Merry Christmas.

Black and white images courtesy of the Nebraska State Historical Society.


Mug Shot Monday! Joseph MacAvoy, 1943

Home | Mug Shot Monday, Short Feature Story | Mug Shot Monday! Joseph MacAvoy, 1943



During the summer of 1943, sixteen-year-old Anna Milroy, lived and worked on a farm outside her hometown of Sutton, Nebraska, a small city of just 1,400 people. She was a junior in high school and the oldest of eight children. She worked during the week and on the weekend, she was free to do as she pleased.

Anna Milroy, victim

Anna Milroy, victim

On Saturday evening, August 7, she was brought into town by her employer who dropped her off near a movie theater where she met up with her sister, Wilma, and their close friend Barbara Carl. The three spent the day together and prior to going home, their last stop was at Yost’s Service Station in Sutton. Anna, who was tired and wanted to go home, told her friends she was going to use the station’s restroom. After waiting for several minutes for her to return, Wilma and Barbara assumed she had gone home on her own.

The next day, the family realized Anna had not returned and notified the Clay County Sheriff. At two o’clock in the afternoon Sunday, Sutton officials blew the fire whistle to call for searchers. Despite their efforts, night came and there was still no sign of Anna.

On Monday, a farmer found Anna’s nude and battered body while mowing weeds along a gravel road one mile south of Sutton.

An autopsy performed later that day showed she had been raped. Besides having her skull bashed, there were holes in her head which appeared to have been made by a chisel.

Later that evening, county investigators were led to a vehicle that had been purchased on Saturday at Yost’s Filling Station. The car, which was parked outside a tavern in Sutton, had what looked to be blood-splatter on the body. The owner, Private Joseph T. MacAvoy was first questioned in Sutton, then taken to an adjacent county and interrogated further.

By 5:30 the next morning, the twenty-four-year-old married solider from Brooklyn had confessed. MacAvoy was serving his second enlistment at nearby Harvard Army Airfield, a small training base sixteen miles south of Sutton. MacAvoy had recently been demoted from sergeant, and was out on bond pending trial for attacking a woman in Hastings. After he was arrested in that case, his wife, Evelyn, returned to Brooklyn. It was later reported that she left because she could not find adequate living arrangements.

In his confession, MacAvoy claimed he knew Anna and had made a date with her that night, the two planning to meet at 11:30 near Yost’s station.

“I knew her because I had met her once before,” MacAvoy related. “I called her aside and told her I would pick her up at 11:30 on the corner by Yost’s garage. We got into the car and drove out to this road.”

On that road, the two had an argument when she refused his advances. They both got out of the car and in the middle of the road, he beat her to death.

“I grabbed her by the throat and threw her down. I grabbed the crank and she started hollering. I hit her about four times on the head and body.”

“The crank entered at her left ear and was driven through the head coming out at the right temple,” a state sheriff told reporters.

Although she was nude, and an autopsy report said she sexually assaulted, MacAvoy, denied raping the sixteen-year-old, but later said they had intimate relations, implying it was consensual. He also denied driving a chisel into her head.

He further stated that he returned to the airbase at 1:30 a.m., and on Sunday, he drove back out to view the body, then left. As to why he was in a tavern on Monday night in the same small community that was electrified by the tragedy, the same small town that was the girl’s home, was never reported on.

joseph-macavoyMacAvoy was turned over to civilian authorities and was held at the state penitentiary in Lincoln until his trial could begin one month later in Clay County. Although he initially pleaded guilty at his August arraignment, at the start of his trial, he changed his plea to not guilty by reason of insanity.

Following jury selection, his six day trial began on September 9, and after several outbursts by the defendant, in which he had to be restrained, was handed to the jury on September 15. Two hours later, they came back with a guilty verdict and recommendation for the death penalty.

When he heard the sentence, MacAvoy collapsed, and had to be carried out of the courtroom. His mother and sister from Brooklyn attended the trial.

Despite pleading not guilty by reason of insanity, no sanity hearing was granted by the courts, and no doctors are known to have testified at his trial. Instead, prosecutors focused on his confession which was heard and witnessed by eight people, including a stenographer.

Although he was supposed to be electrocuted on December 30, several appeals and a broken electric chair extended MacAvoy’s life until March 23, 1945. For most of that time, the state was unable to get the parts it needed to repair the electric chair, not used since young Henry Sherman went crazy and killed three people back in 1928. Sherman was electrocuted the following year, and it went unused for seventeen-years.

But by 5:50 a.m. that Friday morning, the chair was fixed, tested, and ready for its next customer. The day before he died, MacAvoy was visited by his mother between two and four o’clock in the afternoon. Then, he was taken away and his head was shaved. His only visitors, besides prison officials, were Chaplain Lessten and Father Sherman. Chaplain Lessten, who was with him praying and talking most of the night, reported he ate a large portion of fried chicken and was in good spirits.

When the warden went to MacAvoy’s cell to get him, a newspaper reported the following conversation.

The warden asked: “How are you?”

MacAvoy: “I’m all right.”

Warden: “Are you sure?”

MacAvoy: “Yes.”

The former soldier showed no unwillingness as he was taken from his death cell.

After he was strapped in, MacAvoy, who had become resigned to his fate in recent weeks, was asked if he had any last words.

He said only, “Good-bye Chaplian, good-bye Warden.”

Both responded, “Good-bye Joe.”

At 5:59, MacAvoy was hit with 2,300 volts for twenty seconds, but it didn’t kill him. Unconscious, doctors could still detect a heartbeat. A second shock was applied at exactly 6:00 a.m. and at 6:01, MacAvoy was pronounced dead.


Up until the end, MacAvoy denied driving a chisel into her head. At trial, it was proven that a chisel he had access to, and was in his car, was used to make the wounds in Anna’s head.

Anna’s funeral was held at the Congregational Church in Sutton on Friday, August 13. It’s unclear where she was buried, but I assume in Sutton. If she were alive today, Anna Milroy would be eighty-nine-years-old.



The HCD Blog is Now Mobile Friendly with New Responsive Design

Home | Recent News | The HCD Blog is Now Mobile Friendly with New Responsive Design

Today I’m excited to announce that the blog is now 100-percent mobile friendly, with a responsive design, and features some new design modifications.

These design changes include:
1. An attractive new header and logo.
2. A new menu bar at the top.
3. Slight design changes to the right sidebar.
4. New Share Buttons added to the bottom of each story.

But best of all, HCD will scale down completely to fit inside your cellphone browser. This is a project we’ve been working on for two weeks now, and my mobile friendly website designer did a great job converting and updating the old website to fit inside any sized browser using Responsive Design techniques.

This is going to make viewing and reading the HCD blog more convenient for everyone who relies on their cellphone or tablet to surf the web.

I hope everyone likes the new changes and be sure to bookmark HCD on your cellphone or tablet.

— Jason Morrow
November 16, 2016


Famous Crimes the World Forgot Published in Czech Republic

Home | New Books, Recent News | Famous Crimes the World Forgot Published in Czech Republic

zapomenuti-seriovi-vraziIn January of this year, I was contacted by the Omega publishing company in the Czech Republic about acquiring the Czech language rights to my December 2014 book, Famous Crimes the World Forgot: Ten Vintage True Crime Stories Rescued from Obscurity. Since it is an independently published book, I found this to be a great opportunity to reach an international audience beyond what Amazon and this blog is capable of doing. Omega’s parent company also owns a chain of book stores throughout the country.

In February, I sold the rights under a standard contract and read that it could take up to 18 months before the book is translated, edited, printed and released. Well, I was recently amazed to discover they accomplished all that in seven months, far ahead of schedule. A representative with the publisher contacted me a few weeks ago to let me know that not only were they finished translating the book, they had also released it under the title: Zapomenutí sérioví vrazi – which translates to “Forgotten Serial Killers.”

czech-flagThis is a proud moment for me, and although I don’t like to talk about myself, I did want to share it on my blog. Any kind of acknowledgement from your peers is both a blessing and humbling. I am very grateful to the staff with Omega publishing company, SRO, for doing such a fine job in translating and publishing my book for the beautiful people of the Czech Republic. From my heart, thank you.



The Mysterious Murder of 15 year-old Nora Fuller, 1902

Home | Feature Stories | The Mysterious Murder of 15 year-old Nora Fuller, 1902


On January 11, 1902, fifteen-year-old Nora Fuller disappeared after she left her home. She told her single mother of three that she was going to meet with a man about a job as a nanny after she found his advertisement in the local newspaper. She didn’t come home that night or the next, and the search for Nora Fuller began. Her nude body was found one month later in an empty apartment.

The careful planning and attention to detail by her cunning killer is what makes this case so intriguing. Added to the mystery is that Nora may have been secretly meeting with a much older man, confiding to one friend that he was her boyfriend.

In a story that was on going, with front-page coverage in San Francisco newspapers between January and March 1902, the city was captivated by the mysterious murder of Nora Fuller. This extreme level of publicity put enormous pressure on the San Francisco Police Department to solve the case.

Beneath this introduction is a 3,000-word feature story written by retired San Francisco Police Captain Thomas A. Duke in his book, Celebrated Criminal Cases of America, published in 1910.

According to Duke’s story, the police were eventually able to identify a strong suspect, or so they believed at the time. Unfortunately, he left town before he could be arrested and was never seen or heard from again. What is most fascinating about Duke’s story is the long-running account of circumstantial evidence that police believed connected the murder to this man.

The pressure to solve the case also meant that dozens of other men who were rounded up and interrogated had their names published in the local newspapers as well. With the public’s fear and anger already inflamed by those same dailies, the lives of these men were effectively ruined.

At the end of the story is a link to download a three-page .pdf file containing the front and two interior pages San Francisco Call published on February 11, 1902—three days after Nora’s nude body was discovered. Nearly every square inch of those three pages is devoted to the Fuller murder.

sfcallthumbThe information within those three pages may not match up with Duke’s account, who wrote it years later and had a more complete view of the crime.

I have also added a link to an October 17, 2016, article.

I will add more links to this feature story, including links to more pdf files, in the near future.


The Nora Fuller Case

nora-fullerEleanor Parline, better known as Nora Fuller, was born in China in 1886.

In 1890 her father was an engineer on the Steamer Tai Wo. One night he was sitting asleep in a steamer chair on the deck of the vessel while at sea. Shortly after he was seen in this position his services were required in the engine room, but when a helper was sent after him the chair was vacant, and Parline was never seen again. A year later Mrs. Parline married a man named W. W. Fuller, in San Francisco, but seven years later she obtained a divorce.

As she had four small children, Mrs. Fuller experienced much trouble in getting along. In 1902 she lived at 1747 Fulton Street. At that time Nora, who was then fifteen years of age, decided to quit school and seek employment.

On January 6 she wrote to a theatrical agency, and after stating that she had a fairly good soprano voice, asked for employment. Two days later the following advertisement appeared in the Chronicle and Examiner:

“Wanted—Young white girl to take care of baby; good home and good wages.”

At the foot of the advertisement was a note directing anyone answering to address the communication in care of the paper the advertisement was found in. Nora Fuller answered it, and on Saturday, January 11, she received the following postal:

“Miss Fuller: In answer to yours in response to my advertisement, kindly call at the Popular Restaurant, 55 Geary Street, and inquire for Mr. John Bennett, at 1 o’clock. If you can’t come at 1, come at 6. ‘ JOHN BENNETT.”

Mrs. Fuller sent Nora to the rendezvous, and the girl took the postal card with her. About one hour later Mrs. Fuller’s telephone bell rang, and her twelve-year-old son answered.

A nervous, irritable voice, which sounded some like Nora’s, told him that the speaker was at the home of Mr. Bennett, at 1500 Geary Street, and her employer wanted her to go to work at once. (It was subsequently learned that 1500 Geary Street was a vacant lot).

The boy called out the message to his mother, who instructed him to tell Nora to come home and go to work Monday. The boy repeated the message, and the person at the other end said: “All right;” but before any more could be said by the boy the receiver at the other end was hung up. Nora Fuller never came home. A few days later the distracted mother notified the police.

F. W. Krone, proprietor of the Popular Restaurant, was questioned and he stated that about 5:30 on the evening of January 11, a man who had been a patron of his place at different times during the past fifteen years, but whose name he had not up to that time heard, came to the counter and stated that he expected a young girl to inquire for John Bennett, and if she did to send her to the table where he was seated.

The girl did not appear, and Bennett, after waiting one-half hour, became restless and walked up and down the sidewalk in front of the restaurant for several moments. He then disappeared.

This man was described as being about forty years of age, five feet nine inches high, weighing about 170 pounds, wearing a brown mustache, well dressed and refined appearing.

A waiter employed at the Popular Restaurant, who frequently waited on “Bennett,” stated that the much-wanted man was a great lover of porterhouse steaks, but the fact that he only ate the tenderloin part of the steak earned for him the sobriquet of “Tenderloin.”

On January 16 lengthy articles were published in the papers in regard to the mysterious disappearance of the girl.

On January 8, [three days before Nora’s disappearance] a man giving the name of C. B. Hawkins called at Umbsen & Co.’s real estate office, and, addressing a clerk named C. S. Lahenier, inquired for particulars regarding a two-story frame building for rent at 2211 Sutter Street. The terms were satisfactory to Hawkins, but Lahenier asked the prospective tenant for references. He replied that he could give none, as he was a stranger in the city, but as he had a prepossessing appearance the clerk let him have the key after paying one month’s rent in advance. The man then signed the name “C. B. Hawkins” to a contract.

He stated that he was then stopping at the Golden West Hotel with his wife. The description of Hawkins was identically the same as the description of Bennett.

On the following day the real estate firm sent E. F. Bertrand, a locksmith and “handy man” in their employ, to the Sutter-Street house to clean it up.

Many days after this a collector for the firm named Fred Crawford reported that the house was still vacant—judging from outside appearances. He went to the Golden West Hotel to inquire for Hawkins, but he was not known there.

On February 8 the month’s rent was up, and a collector and inspector named H. E. Dean was sent to the house.

Using a pass key he entered, but finding no furniture on the lower floor, he went upstairs, where he found the door to a back room closed. This he opened, but as the shade was down the room was in semi-darkness. He discerned a bright-colored garment on the floor, but as he seemed to know by intuition that something was wrong, he hurriedly left the building, and meeting Officer Gill requested him to accompany him back to the house. The officer entered the room, and upon raising the shade found the dead body of a young girl lying as if asleep in a bed. On the bed were two new sheets, which had never been laundered, a blanket and quilt. An old chair was the only other furniture in the house. Neither food nor dishes could be found. Nor was there any means of heating or lighting the house, as the gas was not connected.

The girl’s clothing was in the bedroom, also her purse, which contained no money, but a card with the following inscription thereon:

“Mr. M. A. Severbrinik, of Port Arthur.”

(It was subsequently learned that this man sailed for China on the Peking three hours before Nora Fuller left home on January 11.)

On the floor was the butt of a cigar, and on the mantle-piece in the front room was an almost empty whiskey bottle. There were no toilet articles in the house except one towel.

Many letters were found addressed to Mrs. C. B. Hawkins, 2211 Sutter Street. They were from furniture houses and contained either advertisements or solicitations for trade. A circular letter addressed to Mrs. Hawkins and bearing a postmark of January 21, 11 p. m., or ten days after the dis-appearance of Nora Fuller, had been opened by someone and then placed in the girl’s jacket, which was found in the room. Mrs. Fuller identified the clothing as belonging to her daughter, and subsequently identified the body as the remains of Nora. No trace was ever found of the postal card Nora received from Bennett.

Dr. Charles Morgan, the city toxicologist, examined the stomach and found no traces of drugs or poisons. Save for an apple, which the deceased had evidently eaten about one or two hours before death, the stomach was empty.

There was a slight congestion of the stomach, possibly due to partaking of some alcoholic drink when the stomach was not accustomed to it. Mrs. Fuller stated that Nora ate an apple shortly before she left home on January 11.

Dr. Bacigalupi, the autopsy surgeon, found two black marks on the throat, one on each side of the larynx, and as there was a slight congestion of the lungs, he concluded that death was due to strangulation. But the child had been other-wise assaulted and her body frightfully mutilated, evidently by a degenerate. Captain of Detectives John Seymour took charge of the case.

B.T. Schell, a salesman at J. C. Cavanaugh’s furniture store, located at 848 Mission Street, stated that at 5 p. m., January 9, a man of the same description as “Hawkins” or “Bennett,” and wearing a high silk hat, called and said that he wanted to furnish a room temporarily. He purchased two second-hand pillows, a pair of blankets, a comforter and top mattress. He insisted that the goods be delivered at night or not at all. This Schell promised to do. The customer then wanted to know what assurance he had that the salesman would not substitute another mattress, and Schell suggested that he put his initials on the mattress as a means of identification. Acting on this suggestion Hawkins used a large heavy pencil and wrote the letters “C. B. H.” on the mattress. After leaving word to deliver the articles that night to 2211 Sutter Street the man departed.

Lawrence C. Gillen, the delivery boy for this firm, stated that he had to work overtime in order to take the articles to the Sutter Street house that night.

When he arrived the house was in darkness. He rang the bell and a man came to the door, and from what he could see with the lights from the street lamps he was of the same description as the man who made the purchases, and he wore a silk hat. Gillen asked him to light up so he could see, but he said, “Never mind, leave the things in the hail.”

Richard Fitzgerald, a salesman employed at the Standard Furniture Company, 745 Mission Street, stated that a man of “Bennett’s” description bought a bed and an old chair from him on January 10, and that he engaged an expressman, Tom Tobin, to deliver the same to 2211 Sutter Street.

Tobin stated that this man was present when he arrived, and requested him to set up the bed in the room where it was found. This man he described as being of Bennett’s ‘appearance.

It is probable that the sheets, towel and pillow cases were purchased at Mrs. Mahoney’s dry goods store, 92 Third Street, which was just around the corner from the Standard Furniture Company. These articles were carried away by the purchaser.

On the floor of the room where the girl’s body was found was a small piece of the Denver Post of January 9, upon which was a mailing label addressed to the office of the Railroad Employees’ Journal, 210 Parrott building.

When this paper arrived at the Parrott building it was given by Exchange Editor Scott to a Mr. Hurlburt, a delegate from Denver to a railroadmen’s convention then in session in the assembly room in the Parrott building. After glancing at it he threw it on a large table, and some other delegate picked it up and took it to Dennett’s restaurant, where he left it on the dining table. The steward of the restaurant, Mr. Helbish, picked it up, and after taking it to the counter began to read it, believing it was the San Francisco Post. He laid it down, and Miss Drysdale, the cashier, glanced over it. She laid it down, and how it got to 2211 Sutter Street remains a mystery.

A seventeen-year-old girl named Madge Graham met Nora Fuller in June, 1901, and they became very friendly. Madge boarded at Nora’s house for a while until her guardian, Attorney Edward Stearns, requested her to move away, because a lawyer named Hugh Grant was a frequent visitor at the Fuller home.

She claimed that Nora Fuller frequently spoke to her of having a friend named Bennett, also she believed that the advertisement was a trick concocted by Nora and “Bennett” to deceive Mrs. Fuller.


John Bennett

She furthermore stated that Nora often telephoned to some man, and that one day Nora requested her to tell Mrs. Fuller that she and Nora were going to the theater that night. Madge did as requested, but she stated that instead of going with her, Nora went with some man. It was also claimed that someone gave Nora complimentary press tickets to the theaters.

A. Menke, who conducted a grocery at Golden Gate and Central Avenues, stated that Nora Fuller frequently used his telephone to call up someone at a hotel, although she had a telephone in her own home a few blocks away.

Theodore Kytka, the handwriting expert, made an examination of the original slips filled out by “Bennett” for his advertisement for a young girl, and also the signature of “C. B. Hawkins” to the contract when he rented the house, and found both were written by the same person.

On February 19 the Coroner’s jury rendered the following verdict:

“That the said Nora Fuller, aged fifteen, nativity China, residence 1747 Fulton Street, came to her death at 2211 Sutter Street in the City and County of San Francisco, through asphyxiation by strangling on a day subsequent to January 11 and before February 4, 1902, at the hands of parties unknown. Furthermore we believe that she died within twenty-four hours after 12 m., January 11. In view of the heinousness of the crime, we recommend that the Governor offer a reward of $5,000 for the discovery and apprehension of the criminal.

“ACHILLE ROSS, Foreman.”

Believing that the person who committed this crime might have changed his address and sent a written notification to that effect to the postal authorities, Theodore Kytka examined 32,000 notifications of changes of address. Of this number he found three signatures that bore considerable resemblance to the Bennett-Hawkins style of penmanship, and one of these three was almost identically the same.

This proved to be the signature of a man in Kansas City, Mo., and Captain Seymour went east to make a personal investigation. It was found, however, that the man had nothing to do with the crime.

On January 16, five days after the disappearance of Nora Fuller, but three weeks before her fate was known, the papers of San Francisco gave considerable space to the mysterious case. Two days later a gentleman connected with a local paper notified the police department that a clerk in their employ named Charles B. Hadley had disappeared. It was afterward said that he was short in his accounts with his employers.

Detective Charles Cody was detailed to locate the man, and he found that he had lived at 647 Ellis Street with a girl born and raised in San Francisco, who had assumed the name of Ollie Blasier, because of her infatuation for a notorious character known as “Kid” Blasier.

No trace of Hadley was found. Finally the body of Nora Fuller was discovered, and photographs of the signature of “C. B. Hawkins” on the contract with Umbsen & Co., and the “C. B. H.” on the mattress, were published in all the papers.

The Blasier woman had a photograph of Hadley in her room, upon the back of which he had written his name, “C. B. Hadley.” Seeing the great similarity in the handwriting she delivered this to Detective Cody, who in turn delivered it to Theodore Kytka for investigation.

Kytka determined at once that the person who wrote “C. B. Hadley” on the photograph also wrote “C. B. H.” on the mattress, and “C. B. Hawkins” on the contract.

While Hadley had the same general physique as “Hawkins,” it was known that he was always clean shaven. Miss Blaiser stated, however, that she had seen Hadley wear a false brown mustache about the house, and it was subsequently learned that he purchased one at a Japanese store on Larkin Street.

In addition to this, Chief of Police Langley, of Victoria, B. C., made an affidavit to the effect that a Mr. Marsden, a storekeeper in Victoria, B. C., had stated that he had been a companion of Hadley’s, and that while out on a “lark” he had seen Hadley wear a false mustache. Miss Blasier made a further statement substantially as follows:

“I now recall that after the disappearance of Nora Fuller Hadley made a practice of getting up early in the morning and taking the morning paper to the toilet to read.

“On the day of his final disappearance he followed this practice, and after he left the house I found the morning paper in the toilet, and I noticed a long article about the disappearance of Nora Fuller. It was evident that his mind was greatly disturbed on this morning.

“The next day I was making up my laundry, and at the very bottom of the pile of soiled clothing I found some of his garments which had blood on them. I burned them and also his plug hat.

“It is well known that Hadley is partial to porterhouse steaks and that he eats only the tenderloin.

“On the evening of January 16, Hadley telephoned to me that he would not be home. I confess that I suspect he committed this murder.”

Theodore Kytka obtained Hadley’s photograph and altered it by giving him the appearance of wearing a mustache and plug hat. This was shown to different persons who had dealings with “Hawkins,” with the following results:

Tobin, the expressman, said it looked very much like him; Lahenier, the real estate man, said it bore a marked resemblance. Ray Zertanna, who had seen Nora in the park with a man, stated that the picture was a good likeness of this man. Schell, who suggested that “Hawkins” place his initials on the mattress, said it was an exact likeness of Hawkins. Fred Krone, the restaurant man, who had the conversation with “Bennett” on the evening Nora left home, said it was not a likeness of Bennett.

Hadley left his money in a certain bank in this city, where it remains even now.

An investigation was then made as to his past, and it developed that he was an habitue of the tenderloin district, and that he was on the road to degeneracy. His true name was Charlie Start, and his respected mother resided in Chicago.

On May 6, 1889, Superintendent of Police Brackett, of Minneapolis, issued a circular letter offering $100 reward for the arrest of Charles Start for embezzlement.

About two years before the murder of Nora Fuller, Hadley enticed a fifteen-year-old girl into a room and outraged her. He then purchased diamonds and jewelry from a certain large jewelry store in San Francisco and gave them to the girl, who is now a respectable married woman residing in the neighborhood of San Francisco.

The country was flooded with circulars accusing Hadley of this murder and calling for his apprehension, but he was never located.

Many believe that he committed suicide.


Download 3 page .pdf file of February 11, 1902, San Francisco Call

Read October 17, 2016, article about the case.



New Book: Unwanted: A Murder Mystery of the Gilded Age, by Andrew Young

Home | New Books | New Book: Unwanted: A Murder Mystery of the Gilded Age, by Andrew Young

A Sensational Crime and Trial that Confronted Racism, Sexism, and Privilege as America Took to the World Stage

1577170371On the foggy, cold morning of February 1, 1896, a boy came upon what he thought was a pile of clothes. It was soon discovered to be the headless body of a young woman, brutally butchered and discarded. She was found just across the river from one of the largest cities in the country, Cincinnati, Ohio. Soon the authorities, the newspapers, and the public were obsessed with finding the poor girl’s identity and killer. Misinformation and rumor spread wildly around the case and led authorities down countless wrong paths.

Initially, it appeared the crime would go unsolved. An autopsy, however, revealed that the victim was four months pregnant, presenting a possible motive. It would take the hard work of a sheriff, two detectives, and the unlikely dedication of a shoe dealer to find out who the girl was; and once she had been identified, the case came together. Within a short time the police believed they had her killers—a handsome and charismatic dental student and his roommate—and enough evidence to convict them of first-degree murder. While the suspects seemed to implicate themselves, the police never got a clear answer as to what exactly happened to the girl and they were never able to find her lost head—despite the recovery of a suspicious empty valise.

Centering his riveting new book, Unwanted: A Murder Mystery of the Gilded Age, around this shocking case and how it was solved, historian Andrew Young re-creates late nineteenth- century America, where Coca-Cola in bottles, newfangled movie houses, the Gibson Girl, and ragtime music played alongside prostitution, temperance, racism, homelessness, the rise of corporations, and the women’s rights movement. While the case inspired the sensationalized pulp novel Headless Horror, songs warning girls against falling in love with dangerous men, ghost stories, and the eerie practice of random pennies left heads up on a worn gravestone, the story of an unwanted young woman captures the contradictions of the Gilded Age as America stepped into a new century, and toward a modern age.

You can read more of Andrew Young’s work online at his blog



Mug Shot Monday! Luis Monge, 1963, Executed 1967

Home | Mug Shot Monday, Short Feature Story | Mug Shot Monday! Luis Monge, 1963, Executed 1967



In the summer of 1963, Denver residents Luis J. Monge and his spouse, Leonarda, 43, had nine children and his wife was pregnant with their tenth child. Also pregnant with Luis’s child was his sixteen-year-old daughter, Gloria.[1]

Although Gloria was keeping her incestuous affair a secret from her mother, Luis knew it was only a matter of time before his wife discovered the truth.[2] He may have brooded over the problem for some time before deciding his only way out was to kill his entire family on the night of June 29.

However, according to a 2014 book[3] by Gloria, she reports that her father’s rage began that night when he was caught and confronted by one of her sisters who wasn’t afraid to stand up to him. [Now going by the name Diann Kissell, she co-authored the self-published book with her psychotherapist, Kathy Bird. You can read more about Kissell and her book in a Westword online interview.]

After everyone had gone to sleep, Monge pocketed a sheathed stiletto, grabbed a three-pound fireplace poker, and fixed his mind on what had to be done.

When he was ready, Monge tip-toed down the stairs to the first floor and at the bottom, he turned, and carefully crept over to the master bedroom where his wife and youngest daughter were sleeping. Looking down at his pregnant wife, the woman he married nearly twenty years ago, he raised the three-pound iron bar above his head and focused his eyes on a broad area of her skull. With shame and anger and humiliation fueling his strength, he shattered his target with a power blow. And then another one. And another one. And another one.

Monge then walked over to the bassinet, pulled out his stiletto, and with less thrust and more care, he pushed the ugly blade into the heart of his eleven-month-old daughter, Theresa. When he knew she was dead, he picked up the little girl, and gently placed her in bed next to her mother.

Unsettled by all the blood he had seen but still determined to go through with his plan to annihilate his family, Monge went back upstairs, picked-up his sleeping son, Vincent, and carried the four-year-old back down to the basement where he choked him to death. He was then carried into the master bedroom and carefully placed next to his dead sister.

Six-year-old Alan was next. After taking two blows to the head, the young boy woke, looked up at his father holding something long and thin, and cried out, “Daddy! Daddy!” and then fell back dead.

Monge struck him one more time, and when he was sure the boy was dead, he washed the blood off Alan’s face and carried him to the bedroom where he was later found lying beside the others.

Overwhelmed with shame and guilt, Monge “could go no further” with his plans to kill the other children in the house, which included: Luis Jr., 18, Gloria, 16, Danny, 15, Eddie, 14 Diana 13, and Gerald, 8. Another son, Anthony, 11, was away at summer camp.

Like other men who kill their families, Monge ‘wanted’ to kill himself next. His suicide plan, death from carbon monoxide poisoning while sitting in a running car parked in the garage, seemed tame compared to the violent, bloody mess he had made. But like most men who become family annihilators, he couldn’t do to himself what he had done to others.

He called the police, instead.


Monge was taken to the station that night and later gave a full confession. He was formerly arrested and held until defense counsel could be appointed. On July 12, with new defense attorneys whispering in his ear, Monge pled not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity to a sole charge of murdering his wife. On a first-degree murder charge, with death penalty as one of two options, the court was forced to order Monge to a thirty-day psychiatric observation commitment at the Colorado State Hospital at Pueblo.

In their August report submitted to the judge, doctors there determined Monge was sane, and was able to aid in his own defense. Without an insanity defense, and running out of options, Monge tried to plead guilty to the second-degree murder of his wife during an October 23 hearing.

Rejected. The trial judge refused to accept it. Knowing where the case was going, he steered it toward a jury trial.monge

Monge was given the option of pleading not guilty to first-degree murder charges and taking his criminal case to a jury. He refused, and after extensive warnings from the judge, and a signed declaration that he understood the risk he was taking, Monge pled guilty to first-degree murder.

In 1963, Colorado was ahead of the legal trend, which called for a jury to decide death, or life, for all first-degree murder defendants, including those who pled guilty, rather than a single judge or panel of judges. Convened in December, Monge’s jury chose to impose the death sentence. It was an easy decision. During the testimony phase, which included Monge’s dreadful description of how he murdered his family, the prosecution showed the jury the provocative crime scene photos.[4] News reports recount they were visibly affected.


Monge in court. Although he wanted the death penalty, he didn’t like the jury gave it to him. It was all about control.

The jury’s decision was one that should have pleased Luis Monge, who, up until that time, was insisting he wanted the death penalty. But when he actually heard it, he didn’t like how it sounded and cried out, “You want to kill me? Kill me.”

A few weeks later, he instructed his attorneys to file an appeal.

They did.

Although originally sentenced to die in March 1964, his lawyers were able to postpone his execution until 1967. However, in March of that year, Monge had another change of heart. In a self-authored petition in which cited “ancient laws,” the now forty-eight-year-old declared he was asserting his “ancient, common-law right to die in public as a man should die, facing his accusers and not to die by poison gas like an insect.”

The “die in public” part was a demand to be hanged on the courthouse steps—in full view of everyone. He wanted to die in front of an audience.

One month later, he fired his attorneys and ordered all work on his appeals to stop. His execution, in the gas chamber and not by noose, was finally slated for June 2, 1967. But even then, the current governor wanted to make sure they weren’t about to make any mistakes, and called for a last minute sanity hearing. When he was found sane and competent, there were no more interventions on Monge’s behalf.

“For him, it was the chicken’s way out,” Kissell said during her 2014 Westword interview. By seeking his own death, he was able to escape the smoldering resentment of his children. “He never had to deal with the anger of his children. He died with the love of his children intact.”

A week before he died, Monge had a dinner with his seven remaining children. Although the local press was shocked by this, Kissell dismissed it as merely the duty of a Catholic family.

At 8:01 p.m. on June 2, he entered the small, steel gas chamber wearing only a pair of white boxer shorts—standard procedure for men condemned to die in the gas chamber. As the sodium cyanide pellets dropped into a crock of sulphuric acid, Monge held a black rosary in his hands.

At 8:20 p.m. he was pronounced dead and by nine o’clock, he was laying on an operating table having his eyes removed. In the months before his death, he had heard of a young reformatory inmate who needed a cornea transplant and through an arrangement with prison officials, Monge willed his eyes to the young man.

He may have been sincere with his donation, or he may have been seeking some publicity and good will with the governor.

Upon his death, Colorado newspapers finally hinted at his murderous motive. By pleading guilty in 1963 and avoiding a criminal trial, Monge had managed to keep his dark secret from the press. News reports that he murdered four family members to hide the fact he was molesting his daughter would lead to public disgrace that would be more painful to him than death.

However, in prison, his motive was made part of his prison records and as soon as he was dead, those records were made available to reporters. In a brief news report distributed nationwide, the Associated Press ended their execution story with a one-sentence explanation. “Prison records noted he committed the murder ‘to conceal from his wife activities with his oldest daughter.’”

“Activities with his oldest daughter” in 1967 was newspaper code that didn’t have to be explained.

After his eyes were removed for a cornea transplant, Luis Monge was buried in the Colorado State Prisoner section of Greenwood Pioneer Cemetery. Nearly all the graves there are marked with an aluminum marker, similar but smaller to a license plate, and mounted a square, steel rod pushed deep into the ground. Nearly all of the markers are rusted. Most of them are stamped “CSP Inmate,” – the only epitaph to a life wasted. A few others, like Monge’s, feature the inmate’s name.


Monge’s bullet-riddled aluminum grave marker on “Woodpecker Hill Cemetery,” Colorado State Prison.

Monge was the last person executed in the United States until Gary Gilmore’s execution in Utah in 1977. During the intervening years, the United State Supreme Court drifted back and forth with the death penalty with Furman v. Georgia in 1972, and Gregg v. Georgia, in 1976.

A Turquoise Life via Amazon.

Monge vs the People, 406 P.2d 674, 1965

[1] This is mentioned in one source, and I am unable to confirm this pregnancy from other sources. It seems to be hinted at in the book description.

[2] According to the book, Mountain Murders: Homicide in the Rockies, there is speculation his wife may have already known her husband was molesting their oldest daughter, and had threatened to make it public if he continued. His motive for the murders, to cover-up the incestuous affair, was not made public until 1967.

[3] The self-published book, A Turquoise Life: One Woman’s Triumphant Journey by Diann Kissell and Kathy Bird (a psychotherapist) details the abuse she endured, how she struggled afterward and eventually triumphed through survival. The names have been changed.

[4] It was a tactic that worked, and later cited as one of the primary errors in an appeal.

Woodpecker Hill Photo Gallery, courtesy of Cemeteries of Colorado.   Luis Monge is one of only a few prisoners to have his name posted on his aluminum marker.

Rusted aluminum markers on steel posts identify the grave sites of prisoners executed long ago at the Colorado State Prison in Canon City.
"CSP Inmate" is how most of the markers are labeled. The man buried here is nameless and forgotten.
A barren landscape is the final resting place for executed prisoners, and those who died while serving out their sentences.
The prison can be seen from the cemetery.
A pitiful reminder of a life wasted.