True Crime Books by Jason Lucky Morrow

Welcome to [Est. 2013], 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. This blog is the official website for true crime writer Jason Lucky Morrow, author of four books including the popular series: Famous Crimes the World Forgot, Volume I and Volume II. If you would like to send me a comment, Contact Me Here. - Please follow this historical true crime blog on FACEBOOK.

New Book : True Crime Stories You Won’t Believe

by Roman Vitelli

Home | New Books | New Book : True Crime Stories You Won’t Believe

by Roman Vitelli

This book is a collection of true crime stories from different countries (Japan, France, Italy, the UK, and the US) and different time periods that defy simple description. They include:

True Crime Stories You Won't Believe

by Roman Vitelli

• The strange tale of a psychotic geisha who severed her lover’s genitals to carry as a token of her love and who inspired a cult following
• How a small-town murderer helped inspire the movie Psycho and left his hometown with a reputation they never lived down
• A father who sacrificed his daughter to prove his faith in God and his followers who fully expected her to be raised on the third day (she wasn’t)
• A Sorbonne graduate student who killed and cannibalized the woman he loved and went on to become a bizarre media celebrity
• A 19th century serial killer who earned the title of “the worst woman in the world” by killing a series of husbands for profit
• The assassination attempt on John F. Kennedy you never heard about but which very nearly succeeded.
• George Stinney, the fourteen-year-old child who died in the electric chair for a crime he didn’t commit.
• Joseph Vacher, the “French Ripper” whose crimes shocked France but tried to blame it all on the rabid dog that bit him.
• How mob boss Vincent Gigante earned himself the nickname of “the Oddfather”
• Leonarda Cianciulli, the Corregio “Soapmaker” who killed three women as a sacrifice to protect her own children.

These stories, and more, are all featured here making this book a must for any connoisseur of true crime and bizarre justice. This 183-page collection of some the most amazing crimes HistoricalCrimeDetective has ever known is available on Amazon at $2.99 for Kindle, and just $7.62 for paperback. Click on the link below to purchase.

True Crime Stories You Won’t Believe: A Cavalcade of Chaotic Justice by Roman Vitelli

About the Author: Romeo Vitelli received his doctorate in Psychology from York University in Toronto, Ontario in 1987. He spent 15 years as a staff psychologist in Millbrook Correctional Centre, a maximum-security prison run by the Ontario government. In 2003, he went into full-time private practice and has been an avid blogger since 2007.

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That Time Nevada Executed a 17 year-old, 1944

Home | Feature Stories | That Time Nevada Executed a 17 year-old, 1944

This story is dedicated to ‘packerpil.’ Thank you for your continued support.


During the summer of 1942, Lafayette, Indiana, residents experienced a six-week “reign of terror” in which fifty serious and misdemeanor crimes were committed by one or more individuals.

Beginning on June 2, the crime wave included:

  1. Twenty counts of breaking into automobiles,
  2. Three counts of motor vehicle theft,
  3. Approximately twenty misdemeanor counts of shoplifting and petty theft (petit larceny),
  4. Six home & business burglaries, and
  5. Two counts of aggravated assault occurred during two of those burglaries.

This list does not include any affiliated counts of selling stolen property.

 Around 2:30 in the morning on June 20, Mrs. Mary Soller, 72, and her sister-in-law, Emma Soller, were asleep in separate rooms when they were both awakened by someone turning on the lights to each room.

Thinking Emma was awake and needed assistance, seventy-two-year-old Mary had just stood up when a man wearing a mask threw a one-quart glass milk bottle that struck her on the left side of her head, which then careened off to hit a door frame where it shattered to pieces. She then collected two twenty–dollar bills and handed them over, satisfying the burglar, who then made his escape.

Suffering from a head injury and shock, the frail woman spent several days at a local hospital. Lafayette detectives investigating the case concluded her attacker used a common-style skeleton key to enter the home.

The next aggravated assault came on June 30 while Mrs. Francis Knoth was ironing clothes in her kitchen as her two young children slept. Since her husband worked the night shift at an industrial plant, she was startled by a noise in the front room. Thinking one of the children made the noise, she left to check on them. 

As she stepped into the front room, a masked burglar accosted her. Screaming, the young man threatened to kill her with a .38 caliber revolver he had found while searching an adjacent closet. He then pushed her into another room and beat her. The intruder then ran out the front door taking the revolver and a Waltham brand watch. Also suffering from shock, Mrs. Knoth sat on the floor for several hours before she summoned the strength to scream for help. Eventually, neighbors arrived and the police were called at 12:50 a.m.

Her attacker’s description matched the description the Soller sisters had given. Local detectives were already piecing together all the separate crimes and looking for connections. Knowing Knoth’s attacker would likely try to sell the Waltham watch, they were keen to find where it would show up. 

Their strategy worked, and six days later, they found a man who purchased the watch in good faith for three dollars. From him, they traced the purchase back to the seller.

On June 7, the front page of the Lafayette Journal and Courier announced the crime wave was over with the arrest of Floyd Burton Loveless, 15, and his brother, Robert Kay Loveless, 17. When Floyd was just three, his mother Hazel, 29, stepped in front of a train on June 15, 1930. It was written up in the newspaper like it was an accident. Their father worked for the railroad and was often gone. Their grandmother raised the boys in Clarks Hill, a village fifteen miles south of Lafayette. On June 2, the boys left home for Lafayette and went on a crime spree.

No stranger to the law, both boys were already on probation for prior offenses. Seven months earlier, Floyd was placed on probation after serving nine days in jail for the burglary of a rural home near Lafayette. Robert’s probation stemmed from a 1939 conviction for motor vehicle theft. He first served time at White’s Indiana Manual Labor Institute for that crime, a punitive juvenile facility with a school and working farm.

Memories of that institution may have tapered Robert’s tolerance for crime to only fifteen misdemeanor counts of shoplifting. It was young Floyd who was Lafayette’s John Dillinger for June of 1942.

Behind bars, Floyd’s confessions trickled out of him over the next five to six days. Eventually, a polygraph examination, in which he flunked horribly, encouraged him to get it all off his chest. This included the two assaults, the burglaries, the motor vehicle thefts, and twenty counts of breaking into a parked automobile.

Tried in juvenile court first-degree burglary, Floyd Burton Loveless was given the maximum sentence allowed: commitment to the Indiana Boy’s School until he reached the age of twenty-one, sooner if the school trustees believed he had reformed.

Like most juvenile institutions in other states, IBS was a tough place. Teen boys were subjected to widespread theft, staff violence, violence by older boys, including sexual assault. However, since it was classified as a school and not a penal institution, the 1,300-acre facility did not have an impassable fence or guard towers. The only measure to prevent any boy from escaping was a locked door for their barracks-like quarters and a guard or two wandering the grounds.

Floyd entered the institution on July 15. Thirty days later, he and another boy, David Cline, 15, escaped and it took six hours before someone noticed they were gone. Situated thirty miles northeast of Indianapolis, the boys stole a car and drove west, most likely taking US 40, the fastest and easiest road to get there.

They financed their trip by burglarizing homes. Floyd found a revolver in one of them and kept it for himself. He should have left it there. Shortly, it would change his life forever.

By August 20, the two boys were near Elko, Nevada,[1] where they quarreled and decided it was best to split up. Floyd let Cline keep the Indiana car, but Cline stayed with Floyd until he had commandeered one himself. It didn’t take long before Floyd found a truck with the keys still in it. Cline drove behind him as they got back on the Victoria Highway (US Highway 40) to continue their journey to California.

Stealing the truck was Floyd’s second-biggest mistake that day. It belonged to Elmer Hill, the popular manager of the Horseshoe Ranch at nearby Dunphy. Everyone knew Elmer’s truck, and when Carlin Constable Adolph Berning learned the stolen truck was coming his way, he parked his vehicle along the highway and waited.

With Elko 23-miles east of him, Berning didn’t have long to wait. He had served as the town’s constable for twenty-six years, re-elected by the people each time since 1915. Throughout the county, he was known as a reliable lawman.

But on that day, August 20, shortly before noon, the odds were against him. He spotted Elmer’s truck, noticed someone else was driving it, and stood there until it stopped. At about that same time, the stolen car driven by Cline was also preparing to stop but drove away when the constable waved him off.

Berning walked over, opened the door and told Floyd, “He would have to take me in for being in a car I didn’t belong in,” Loveless later testified.

Not sending the danger he was in, Berning got behind the wheel, forcing Floyd to slide over to the passenger seat. He would later tell officials: “I pulled out a gun and said I wouldn’t go back with him. He grabbed the gun, and I shot him. The gun got jammed, and we started fighting, and then I pulled the trigger again, and it worked, and I drove off down the road.”

Berning collapsed on the driver’s seat, and Floyd pulled him the rest of the way into the truck. Then, with Berning slumped over in the passenger’s side, Floyd got behind the wheel and continued driving west.

Over the next few miles, Berning moaned in agony. Loveless replied that he was taking to him to a hospital.

Instead, he caught up with Cline a little further down the highway at Primeaux Station—a middle-of-nowhere gas station and rest-stop with a natural spring. Loveless abandoned the truck and jumped in the Buick, and the two drove off. 

Cline later testified that when Loveless got into the car, he asked him what happened, and Floyd said he had shot the officer and left him in the truck.

Cline said nothing, drove a little further, and then exclaimed that he saw a pistol lying in the sagebrush by the side of the road. When Floyd went to look for the weapon, he drove off and left him there.

The end for Cline came about ninety miles further down the highway near Winnemucca, where a roadblock was waiting for him. Cline took the shoulder and drove around it, forcing him to take a seven-mile dirt road that was a dead end. He was trapped.

A cruiser belonging to Deputy Sheriff George Armstead pursued Cline. Riding shotgun with him was Wallace van Reed and Arthur C. Sebbas, who were running against each other to be the next sheriff of Humboldt County.

Trailing behind a thick cloud of dust, the two opposing candidates put nine bullets in Cline’s car, hoping to stop him. None did. At the end of the road, they watched as Cline discovered the dead-end, turned the car around, and sped towards them.

Setting up another roadblock at a narrow point in the road, all three got out and readied themselves. As he had done before, Cline steered for the shoulder in the hopes of driving around them. Both candidates saw this and opened up with two shotguns, shredding the windshield. Two of the 12-gauge pellets hit Cline in the cheek, and that was it for him. He was taken into custody and driven back to Elko County.

Meanwhile, an Elko County deputy sheriff found Loveless walking along the highway a few miles west of where he had abandoned the stolen truck and a gravely wounded Constable Berning, paralyzed from the neck down.

On the drive to the Elko County Jail, Loveless confessed to stealing the truck and shooting Berning, but when he met up again with Cline behind bars, he recanted his confession and refused to say anything more. Berning died from his wounds thirty-six hours later.

Elko County’s case against Loveless began in juvenile court but was soon bumped up to district court, a move that would have him tried as an adult. He was formally charged with murder on September 12, pleaded innocent on September 22, and his trial began on September 28—thirty-nine days after he mortally wounded Berning.

Jury selection lasted most of the first and second day, and by the end of business on the third day, September 30, the trial itself was over, and Loveless was found “…guilty as charged in the information.”  His defense attorney had but just one strategy, avoid the death penalty. The high point of the trial was when Loveless took the stand and wept as he described shooting Constable Berning. Explaining himself as best he could, Loveless told the jury he didn’t know Berning was a law enforcement officer since he was wearing plainclothes.

Dale Cline’s actions to rid himself of Loveless and his willingness to testify against him saved him from being charged as an accomplice. He would later be taken into federal custody for interstate motor vehicle theft and “held until the age of maturity.”

According to Nevada state law, district judge James Dysart, who oversaw the case, had no choice but to sentence Loveless to death, which he did on October 5. His execution date was scheduled for December 13.

One Nevada newspaper pointed out that his sentence could later be commuted to life in prison by the state board of pardon and parole or the governor.

But it was clear from almost the beginning that that was never going to happen. From the time he was bumped from juvenile to district court to the judge sentencing him to death, Nevada newspapers, including the Reno Gazette and the Nevada State Journal, systematically lied about Floyd being sixteen-years-old. He wasn’t. He was fifteen. He would turn sixteen on November 2. They had his files. The FBI had his files. They didn’t get it wrong on accident. They never got Cline’s age wrong; he was always fifteen.

Sixteen made Floyd Loveless more of a man and less of a boy if his true age were published.

Several days after his sentencing, Loveless was transferred to the Nevada State Prison in Carson City, where he resided on death row. On November 30, two weeks before his execution date, his defense attorney, Taylor Wines, filed an appeal, something he didn’t have to do.

In his oral argument before the state supreme court, Wines rightly pointed out that his client was found guilty of murder, but the kind of murder was left out. According to section 10068 of Nevada Compiled Laws 1929, murder is not just murder. First-degree or second-degree murder must be clearly spelled out in the charges, and instructions to the jury.

“All murder which shall be perpetrated by means of poison, or lying in wait, torture, or by any other kind of willful, deliberate and premeditated killing, or which shall be committed in the perpetration, or attempt to perpetrate, any arson, rape, robbery, or burglary, * * * shall be deemed murder of the first degree; and all other kinds of murder shall be deemed murder of the second degree; and the jury before whom any person indicted (or informed against) for murder shall be tried, shall, if they find such person guilty thereof, designate by their verdict whether it be murder of the first or second degree.”

On April 21, 1943, the Nevada State Supreme Court ordered the verdict set aside and Floyd Loveless to receive a new trial.

Returning to Elko County District Court, his second trial began on November 15, 1943, and like the first one, it was over on the third day (November 17). This time, the language was clear, “…guilty of murder in the first degree.” 

Loveless, now seventeen, was again sentenced to die in the Nevada gas chamber. But fortunately, a  second trial also gave him the right to an appeal which his defense filed on February 29, 1944.

As he waited for oral arguments and the court’s decision, Floyd Loveless lost his bitterness and became a proper young man. He kept time for prison boxing matches, read books in his cell, wrote letters, embraced the Catholic faith, and played on the prison softball team. His skills as a second baseman even got his name in the sports section of the Nevada State Journal when NSP trounced the 947th Guard Squadron 6-2.

Oral arguments were heard on July 10, and the Nevada State Supreme Court published its opinion on August 16. Judgment was affirmed. Execution was scheduled for September 29, 1944.

During his last forty-four days, the state board of pardons and paroles refused to commute his sentence, and the governor declined to intervene. His attorney filed a writ of habeas corpus, claiming Loveless was insane. But this only postponed his execution from 5:00 a.m. to six o’clock that evening.

At that time, the warden read the death warrant to him, and a physician attached a stethoscope to his chest. Loveless’s last request to the warden was for roses to be sent to his grandmother back in Indiana. This was granted.

At 6:24 p.m., he was led from his cell and walked his last thirteen steps with Father Buell by his side. Although no last words were recorded, it is customary for prisoners about to be executed to ask forgiveness from all those in life they had hurt and to forgive all who sinned against them. Loveless was then strapped into a steel chair, and the doctor connected the stethoscope to monitor just outside the small cinderblock building.

At 6:27 p.m, sodium cyanide pellets were dropped into a pot of sulfuric acid, and within sixty seconds, the room filled with white poisonous smoke. Floyd took a deep breath, as he had been advised to do, and by 6:29 p.m., he was pronounced dead.


Epilogue: Although it was believed by many that he would be buried in the prison cemetery, Floyd Loveless’ body was transported back to Indiana, where he was buried next to his mother in Fairhaven Cemetery, in Mulberry, Clinton County. His father and brother were buried elsewhere.


[1] At the time, US 40 connected with the Victory Highway near the Wendover Cut-off not far from the Great Salt Lake Desert. Nevadans called it what it had always been to them, Victory Highway, while others called Highway 40, or US 40, which was constructed after the Victory highway was built. Soon, it would be neither of them as Interstate 80 was constructed in their place.

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The Most Miraculous Execution in American History (That Nobody Told You About), 1904

Home | Feature Stories | The Most Miraculous Execution in American History (That Nobody Told You About), 1904

Dedicated to Bela Deraj who told me to get back to work! 🙂


This is a story I have wanted to write for a long time.

Over the last twenty-years, I have become convinced that the internet is 10-percent original, and the rest is just a copy. 

Case in point: When it comes to botched executions, the ‘same’ listicle gets republished several times a year by different content farms looking for cheap and easy traffic to make a fast buck. Ad revenue is the motive and there’s no motive to reward quality work because that’s just how the USA is now. Content churners are untrained, poorly paid, and the yet-to-be observed consequence is that the world is drowning in content.

 That’s why the name of Michael G. Schiller does not appear on any “Top 10” listicle, nor in Wikipedia, or even on the Death Penalty Information Center’s 10,000-page website – the largest resource for the dissemination of death penalty related information.

His absence from history of executed criminals is just as baffling to me as his own executions. Yes, plural. You see, Michael G. Schiller’s story is unique because he is the only executed prisoner who came back to life.


In all the case studies of botched executions throughout the world, there have been: prisoners whose neck had to be hacked several times before it was separated; prisoners hanged who were partially or fully decapitated; those who strangled to death without a broken neck; and a few who even survived their own hanging. When it came to the electric chair, besides being burned or set afire, it was occasionally necessary for officials to order two, three, four, five, and even six applications of the electrical charge before they were declared dead.

But that’s not what happened to Ohio State Penitentiary prisoner Michael Schiller during the midnight hour of June 17, 1904. The first and last detailed account of his execution (until now) appeared in the 1908 book, Palace of Death, A True Tale of 59 Executed Murders, by Captain of the Guards Humphrey M. Fogle. [Historical Crime Detective Books will republish the original version of this book, December, 2021.]

As an insider privy to all that occurred within prison walls, Fogle’s book contains exclusive information of Schiller’s execution. Fogle’s story retold below is augmented by newspaper reports written by journalists present for the execution as official witness for the public.

When Michael G. Schiller was executed on June 17, 1904, he was the thirteenth man to be electrocuted by the state of Ohio. The prior twelve electrocutions had gone well, and there was no reason for prison officials to think Schiller’s would be any different.

Click to view larger images.

(All words and sentences in parenthesis below are the editor’s.)

Notice to content creators (podcasters, YouTubers, bloggers, listicle regurgitators,) do not use this material without accurate accreditation to HCD. I’m tired of you acting you like did all your homework when you just grabbed it from this blog.

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NEVER BEFORE IN the gruesome history of the Annex (the official term used then for Ohio’s death row) was witnessed such a horrible and sickening sight as that which attended the execution of Michael G. Schiller, serial number 34,925, the Youngstown wife-murderer, just after midnight on June 17, 1904.

Electrician Marden had tested the chair several times that evening and pronounced it in perfect order. Schiller grew extremely nervous when he heard the officers testing the chair, and spent the evening pacing restlessly back and forth in the death cage. He flatly refused all spiritual consolation and would tolerate the presence of neither preacher nor priest. He ate sparingly of his supper and refused to take stimulants of any kind (whisky). He had maintained all along that something would intervene to save him from the chair. He had hopes that the governor would, at the last moment, commute his death sentence to one of life imprisonment. He watched the old Annex clock with an anxious heart, as it slowly registered the flow of the river of time into the ocean of eternity.

At 11:30 p.m., the attending guards filed into the Death Cage accompanied by the prison barber. John O’Brien, the genial, good-natured, time-honored guard, who has witnessed more legal executions perhaps than any man in the United States, said: “Well, Mike, it is time to prepare for this unpleasant ordeal,” at the same time placing a stool for the condemned man to sit upon, and motioned for the barber to proceed. Then, and not until then, did the condemned man abandon all hope. From that time until twelve o’clock, he moved about as one in a trance, utterly oblivious to all his surroundings.

While this scene was being enacted in the silent hall of death, Superintendent Marden (supervisor of the prison’s generator) and his attendant were making a final test of the chair. All things seemed in perfect order, and the superintendent expressed himself as being perfectly satisfied that so far as his part was concerned, the execution would be a success. (There’s a lot of CYA going on in that last sentence because of what happened.)

Just as the old clock struck the fatal stroke of twelve, the muffled tread of approaching footsteps were heard within the outer corridor. In another moment, the old death-chamber door swung open, revealing a crowd of thirty-five or forty men formed in a semi-circle around the fatal chair. At a nod from Deputy Warden Wood, the death-march was taken up, and Schiller appeared in the doorway leaning heavily on the arm of Guard O’Brien. Skilled hands quickly adjusted the straps; the death-dealing electrodes were placed upon the shaven head and calf of the leg. The black-cap, which completes the last act of the fatal drama, was drawn over the eyes. The hush of death was on the assembly. The dropping of a pin, at that moment, would have grated harshly on the nerves of the spectators.

Warden Edward Hershey asked in a clear, firm voice, “Michael Schiller, have you anything to say before the sentence of the court shall finally have been carried out?’’ Schiller’s lips moved, but no sound came from them. The warden held his watch in his right hand; with his left, he reached for the fatal lever, and as he broke it, the body of Schiller shot upward as far as the clamps would allow it to go. There was a low hissing sound, as the 1,750 volts of electricity went coursing through his body. This was continued for seven seconds, then the current was reduced to 250 volts for the remainder of the minute; then the current was shut off, and the body relaxed.

Dr. Thomas, chief physician for the prison, examined the heart, pulse, and eyes; five other physicians did the same thing, and all pronounced him dead. The warden and the spectators filed out of the room and up the long hallway. The attending guards loosened the clamps and were in the act of laying him on the cooling board but, oh horrors! A stifled sigh comes from the lips! A gurgling sound emanates from the throat! He gasps and struggles for breath!

(Fogle’s Story Continues after Editor’s Note)

Editor’s Note: Exclamation points aside, it was the most shocking thing the prison officials had ever seen, pun intended. When he was declared dead by five physicians, the crowd of thirty-five spectators, including the warden, filed out of the death chamber.

After they had left, Schiller’s body was unstrapped from the chair, he lurched forward and fell over. He was still alive.

“He was straightened up in the chair, and he began to breathe heavily. Saliva was [falling] from his mouth and guttural groans sounded throughout the chamber, chilling the strongest men to the very heart,” the Cincinnati Enquirer reported later that day.

Surviving did not mean it was over for Schiller. All death warrants state the prisoner shall be executed until he or she is dead. They were going to have to do it again. But it would take two minutes to reassemble everyone and have the generator in the power plant turned back on.

During that time, the Enquirer continued, “Schiller seemed to be regaining consciousness. At one time, he appeared to throw back his head as if making a desperate effort to talk. The sight was absolutely sickening. Spectators expected to see him recover.”

(Fogle’s Story Continues)

A courier was dispatched for the warden; the crowd was reassembled; the straps were quickly readjusted. By this time, the poor wretch was breathing quite naturally.

Then, it was discovered that the current had been shut off at the prison powerhouse (the building that housed the prison’s generator to supply electricity). A messenger was dispatched right away to the plant, a distance of several hundred yards. Soon, all was once more in readiness.

Again, the lever shot upward; again, the 1,750 volts of electricity went scorching and singeing through the body of Michael Schiller. This time the high voltage was continued for fifteen seconds, and then reduced to 250 for the remainder of the minute. This time, the doctors made a thorough and careful inspection, and after examining the body for twelve minutes, all declared that he was dead beyond the shadow of a doubt.

(Or was he?)

Once more, the crowd dispersed; the body was lifted from the chair and placed upon the floor to await the coming of the undertaker. The warden had reached his office, and a majority of the crowd had started home.

(Schiller’s body was unstrapped from the chair and carefully pulled to the floor where he was placed in the traditional position for burial. Two of the guards then covered his corpse with a sheet, and he was left there to await removal by the prison’s cemetery crew. As the guards were about to leave the execution room, Schiller let out a long, painful groan.)

The guards were horror-stricken and looked in terror at one another. Again, the gurgling sound was heard to come from the throat of Michael Schiller. Chief Guard O’Brien raised the sheet, and a sickening sight met his gaze. The man was gasping and struggling for breath. Again, the warden was summoned. This time he and the attending physicians came alone.

(There would be no spectators for the third and final execution of Michael Schiller.)

Let us draw the curtain upon this sickening scene. Suffice it to say that the voltage was increased to such an extent that no human being could come in contact with it and live.

The increased voltage literally burned the top of the head to a crisp.

Great was the condemnation of the press the next morning; but who was to blame? Expert electricians were summoned from all over the country. All pronounced the entire apparatus in first-class order and exonerated Superintendent (of electricity) Marden from any and all censure.

Schiller had scarcely tasted water for several days prior to his execution. This is the only plausible theory for his great resistance. The black population of the prison all declared that it was because he was the thirteenth man to die in the chair.

Schiller murdered his wife in Youngstown, Mahoning County, Ohio, June 1, 1903, literally disemboweling her with a butcher knife. Drunkenness on his part and refusal by his wife to give him more money led to the tragedy.

Schiller was foreign-born, ignorant, and illiterate, but by economy and thrift had amassed quite a snug little fortune, but whisky proved his ruin. Even his little children shrank in terror from him while he was confined in the Annex, and begged their nurse to take them away from him. His crime was a dastardly one, and the price he paid for it is beyond human description.

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Editor’s Note: His children were deathly afraid of him. After his arrest, his daughter Minnie, 12, and two sons, Gustave, 8, and Fred, 4, were allowed to visit their father on two occasions in the weeks before his execution. After their mother’s murder and father’s arrest, the children were separated by sex and placed in two different orphanages. Although they could have been adopted prior to his execution, Schiller refused to relinquish his parental rights, as he was hoping to use his daughter to plead for his life to the governor.

During their second and final meeting together (shorty before his execution), Schiller begged her to call upon the governor in the hope he would find it impossible to turn down a young, sobbing girl.

The following account is from a Cincinnati Enquirer article published 12 to 14 hours after Schiller was executed. 

“Go to the governor and save my life, Minnie,” Schiller pleaded.

“I cannot go,” she answered.

“Then write to him, for God’s sake, and tell him not to let me be electrocuted.”

“No, I don’t want to do that,” Minnie answered in an emotional voice. “The governor has decided and I do not want to ask him anyhow.”

According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, “This angered the father, and he (scolded) the child.”

A nun, who had accompanied the child to Columbus from her orphanage in Cincinnati, told a reporter that Minnie feared her father would kill her as he did her mother. She did not want to make the trip, and made the nuns promise her she would not be left alone with her father.

“There was a demonstration of Minnie’s fear during the final visit, when Sister Housegardner expressed a desire to see the electric chair,” the Enquirer continued. “She told the child she would be back in a minute and started, but Minnie followed declaring she would not stay with her father, even with the prison guard present.”

The day before his execution, Schiller, who was Austro-Hungarian, met with the same attorney who handled his ex-wife’s estate. He authorized the attorney to liquidate his property holdings in both the United States and Austria-Hungary. Then, only after some of that money was used to erect a burial monument, did he want the money to go to his three children.

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Newspapers barely mentioned the name of the victim. Her name was Mary, she was thirty-eight years old, and she was Hungarian. The Akron Beacon Journal was one of the few to remember her following her ex-husband’s botched execution.

The Deceased’s Crime

Schiller’s crime, a peculiarly brutal one, was wife murder. Late in the afternoon of June 1, 1903, Michael Schiller, a saloonkeeper of Youngstown, whose wife had secured a divorce from him, and the custody of their four children, called at her residence and demanded ‘that she resume her marital relations with him, informing her that if she refused to comply he would cut her heart out.

Schiller had been drinking and was in an ugly mood. Mrs. Schiller refused to yield to the request and, escaping from his grasp ran into the back yard to call (for) assistance. Schiller caught and held her while he stabbed her in the abdomen with a butcher knife. She was removed to the hospital, where she made an ante-mortem statement detailing the facts of the murderous assault. [She died five days later.]

The attack of Schiller on his wife was witnessed by neighbors, who seized him and held him until the police arrived. After the tragedy, Schiller never made any inquiry regarding the condition of his wife, and when informed of her death exhibited no emotion. Shortly before the homicide, Mrs. Schiller sent $4,000 to her former home in Hungary (the 2021 equivalent of $112,000 when adjusted for inflation), and was preparing to take her children there and educate them, when she was murdered.

Always in an Ugly Mood

Before Mrs. Schiller obtained her decree of divorce Schiller had been sent to the workhouse, having beaten her until she was scarcely able to appear against him.

At the penitentiary, where he arrived July 30, 1903, he displayed a stolid indifference. He maintained a stubborn silence and has been ever in a morose, and ugly state of mind. When visited by his children for the last time he exhibited little sentiment.

Michael Willow, of Youngstown, administrator of Mrs. Schiller’s estate spent part of the evening with Schiller and received from him power to administer an estate of unknown value, which Schiller said he owned in Austria-Hungary. The murderer asked that the proceeds from the sale of the property be given to his three children in Cleveland after a monument to him had been erected.

Moses Johnson, colored, will be electrocuted tonight for the murder of an insurance agent in Portsmouth.

Father Kelly, a Catholic priest, labored for hours with Schiller, but was unable to obtain from him a confession of religious faith. His little daughter had written him, urging him to accept Christianity.


A Final Note: Just like the Akron Beacon Journal reported, Moses Johnson was executed the following night. It took five applications of electrical charge before he was pronounced dead. He remained seated in the electric chair the entire time.

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Coming Soon to Amazon: Palace of Death, A True Tale of 59 Executed Murderers, by Dewy, Fogle, &  Morrow.

Abraham Lincoln wrote a True Crime Story, and it was Good!

Home | Feature Stories | Abraham Lincoln wrote a True Crime Story, and it was Good!

For a few short weeks during June 1841, residents of Springfield, Illinois, were caught up in the mass hysteria of a sensational murder case that had all the elements of an Edgar Allan Poe murder mystery. Three strangers from out of town arrive in Springfield, but one of them soon goes missing. Wild rumors abound and soon two of the men and their local brother are accused of murder. The motive, $1,500 in gold coins stolen from the dead man who is yet to be found. One brother turns against the other two and agrees to testify as a witness for the prosecution. More sensation-loving witnesses come forward to testify against the two brothers who can already feel the noose around their neck.

Their defense attorney was a thirty-two year-old future president of the United States who flips the script with a Perry Mason plot twist so outrageous, everybody just wanted to go home and forget it ever happened.

Everyone, that is, except attorney turned true crime author Abraham Lincoln. A week after the trial, he wrote about the events in a June 19 letter to his friend, Joshua Speed. In 1846, he wrote the following version for the Quincy Whig newspaper, now the Quincy-Herald Whig. It was later republished in the March 1952 issue of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine

Note: Dates in parenthesis are by the  HCD Editor. To the best of my knowledge, they are accurate.

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The Trailor Murder Mystery, 1841

by Abraham Lincoln, Esq.

In the year 1841, there resided, at different points in the State of Illinois, three brothers by the name of Trailor. Their Christian names were William, Henry, and Archibald.

Archibald lived in Springfield, the state capitol (where Lincoln practiced law at the time). He was a sober, retiring, and industrious man, of about thirty years of age; a carpenter by trade, and a bachelor, boarding with his partner in business—a Mr. Myers.

Henry, a year or two older, was a similar man of industrious habits. He had a family, and they lived a farm at Clary’s Grove, about twenty miles northwest of Springfield.

William, still older, resided on a farm in Warren County, situated more than 100-miles northwest of Springfield. He was a widower, with several children.

Abraham Lincoln, about 1847

In the neighborhood of William’s residence, there was a man by the name of (Archie) Fisher, who was somewhat above the age of fifty; had no family, and no settled home; but who boarded and lodged a while here and a while there, with persons for whom he did little jobs of work. His habits were remarkably economical, so that an impression got about that he had accumulated a considerable amount of money.

In the latter part of May 1841, William formed the purpose of visiting his brothers at Clary’s Grove and Springfield; and Fisher, at the time having his temporary residence at William’s house, resolved to accompany him.

They set out together in a buggy with a single horse. On Sunday evening (May 30), they reached Henry’s residence, and stayed overnight. On Monday morning (May 31), they started on to Springfield, Henry accompanying them on horseback. They reached town about noon, met Archibald, went with him to his boarding house, and there took up their lodgings for the time they should remain.

After lunch, the three Trailors and Fisher left the boarding house in company, for the avowed purpose of spending the evening together in looking about the town.

At supper, the Trailors had all returned, but Fisher was missing, and some inquiry was made about him. After supper, the Trailors went out professedly in search of him. One by one they returned, the last coming in after late tea time, and each stating that he had been unable to discover anything of Fisher.

The next day (Tuesday, June 1), both before and after breakfast, they went professedly in search again, and returned at noon, still unsuccessful. Dinner (lunch) again being had, William and Henry expressed a determination to give up the search, and start for their homes. This was remonstrated against by some of the boarders about the house, on the ground that Fisher was somewhere in the vicinity, and would be left without any conveyance, as he and William had come in the same buggy. The remonstrance was disregarded, and they departed for their homes respectively.

Up to this time, the knowledge of Fisher’s mysterious disappearance had spread very little beyond the few boarders at Myers’, and excited no considerable interest. After the lapse of three or four days, Henry returned to Springfield, for the ostensible purpose of makings further search for Fisher. Procuring some of the boarders, he, together with them and Archibald, spent another day in ineffectual search, when it was again abandoned, and he returned home.

No general interest was yet excited.

On the Friday, week after Fisher’s disappearance (June 4?), the Postmaster at Springfield received a letter from the Postmaster nearest William’s residence in Warren County, stating that William had returned home without Fisher, and was saying, rather boastfully, that Fisher was dead, and had willed him his money, and that he had got about fifteen hundred dollars by it. The letter further stated that William’s story and conduct seemed strange, and desired the Postmaster at Springfield to ascertain and record what was the truth in the matter.

The postmaster at Springfield made the letter public and at once, excitement became universal and intense. Springfield, at that time, had a population of about 3,500, with a city organization. The attorney general of the state resided there. A purpose was forthwith formed to ferret out the mystery, in putting which into execution, the mayor of the city and the attorney general took the lead. To make search for, and, if possible, find the body of the man supposed to be murdered, was resolved on as the first step.

In pursuance of this, men were formed into large parties, and marched abreast, in all directions, so as to let no inch of ground in the vicinity remain unsearched. Examinations were made of cellars, wells, and pits of all descriptions, where it was thought possible the body might be concealed. All the fresh, or tolerably fresh graves in the graveyard, were pried into and dead horses and dead dogs were disinterred, where, in some instances, they had been buried by their partial masters.

This search, as has appeared, commenced on Friday. It continued until Saturday afternoon (June 19?) without success, when it was determined to dispatch officers to arrest William and Henry at their residences. The officers started on Sunday morning, meanwhile, the search for the body was continued, and rumors got afloat of the Trailors having passed, at different times and places, several gold pieces, which were readily supposed to have belonged to Fisher.

On Monday, the officers sent for Henry, having arrested him, arrived with him in Springfield. The mayor and attorney general took charge of him, and set their wits to work to elicit a discovery from him. He denied, and denied, and persisted in denying.

They still plied him in every conceivable way, till Wednesday, when, protesting his own innocence, he stated that his brothers, William and Archibald, had murdered Fisher; that they had killed him, without his (Henry’s) knowledge at the time, and made a temporary concealment of his body; that, immediately preceding his and William’s departure from Springfield for home.

(This next sentence is 263 words in length!?!?!)

On Tuesday, the day after Fisher’s disappearance, William and Archibald communicated the fact to him, and engaged his assistance in making a permanent concealment of the body that, at the time he and William left professedly for home, they did not take the road directly, but, meandering their way through the streets, entered the woods at the Northwest of the city, two or three hundred yards to the right of where the road they should have travelled, entered them; that, penetrating the woods some few hundred yards, they halted and Archibald came a somewhat different route, on foot, and joined them; that William and Archibald then stationed him (Henry) on an old and disused road that ran near by, as a sentinel, to give warning of the approach of any intruder; that William and Archibald then removed the buggy to the edge of a dense brush thicket, about forty yards distant from his (Henry’s) position, where, leaving the buggy, they entered the thicket, and in a few minutes returned with the body, and placed it in the buggy; that from his station he could and did distinctly see that the object placed in the buggy was a dead man, of the general appearance and size of Fisher; that William and Archibald then moved off with the buggy in the direction of Hickox’s mill pond, and after an absence of half an hour, returned, saying they had put him in a safe place; that Archibald then left for town, and he and William found their way to the road, and made for their homes.

At this disclosure, all lingering credulity was broken down, and excitement rose to an almost inconceivable height. Up to this time, the well-known character of Archibald had repelled and put down all suspicions as to him. Till then, those who were ready to swear that a murder had been committed, were almost as confident that Archibald had had no part in it. But now, he was seized and thrown into jail; and indeed, his personal security rendered it by no means objectionable to him. (He was afraid of getting lynched and welcomed jail for his safety.)

And now came the search for the brush thicket, and the search of the mill pond. The thicket was found, and the buggy tracks at the point indicated. At a point within the thicket, the signs of a struggle were discovered, and a trail from thence to the buggy track was traced. In attempting to follow the track of the buggy from the thicket, it was found to proceed in the direction of the mill pond, but could not be traced all the way. At the pond, however, it was found that a buggy had been backed down to, and partially into the water’s edge.

Search was now to be made in the pond; and it was made in every imaginable way. Hundreds and hundreds were engaged in raking, fishing, and draining. After much fruitless effort in this way, on Thursday morning the mill dam was cut down, and the water of the pond partially drawn off, and the same processes of search again gone through with.

About noon of this day, the officer sent for William, returned having him in custody; and a man calling himself Dr. Gilmore, came in company with them. It seems that the officer arrested William at his own house, early in the day on Tuesday, and started to Springfield with him; that after dark awhile, they reached Lewiston, in Fulton county, where they stopped for the night; that late in the night this Dr. Gilmore arrived, stating that Fisher was alive at his house, and that he had followed on to give the information, so that William might be released without further trouble; that the officer, distrusting Dr. Gilmore, refused to release William, but brought him on to Springfield, and the Dr. accompanied them.

On reaching Springfield, the doctor reasserted that Fisher was alive and at his house. At this, the (Springfield residents) were utterly confounded. Gilmore’s story was communicated to Henry Trailor, who without faltering, reaffirmed his own story about Fisher’s murder. Henry’s adherence to his own story was communicated to the crowd, and at once the idea started, and became nearly, if not quite universal, that Gilmore was a confederate of the Trailors, and had invented the tale he was telling to secure their release and escape.

Excitement was again at its zenith.

About three o’clock the same evening, Mr. Myers, Archibald’s carpentry partner, started with a two-horse carriage, for the purpose of ascertaining whether Fisher was alive, as stated by Gilmore, and if so, of bringing him back to Springfield with him.

On Friday (June 25?), a legal examination was gone into before two Justices, on the charge of murder against William and Archibald. Henry was introduced as a witness by the prosecution, and on oath reaffirmed his statements, as heretofore detailed, and at the end of which he bore a thorough and rigid cross-examination without faltering or exposure.

The prosecution also proved, by a respectable lady, that on the Monday evening of Fisher’s disappearance, she saw Archibald, whom she well knew, and another man whom she did not then know, but whom she believed at the time of testifying to be William, (then present,) and still another, answering the description of Fisher, all enter the timber at the Northwest of town, (the point indicated by Henry,) and after one or two hours, saw William and Archibald return without Fisher.

Several other witnesses testified that on Tuesday, at the time William and Henry professedly gave up the search for Fishers body, and started for home, they did not take the road directly, but did go into the woods, as stated by Henry. By others, also, it was proved, that since Fisher’s disappearance, William and Archibald had passed rather an unusual number of gold pieces. The statements heretofore made about the thicket, the signs of a struggle, the buggy tracks, etc., were fully proven by numerous witnesses.

At this the prosecution rested.

Dr. Gilmore was then introduced by the defendants. He stated that he resided in Warren County, about seven miles distant from William’s residence; that on the morning of William’s arrest, he was out from home, and heard of the arrest, and of its being on a charge of the murder of Fisher; that on returning to his own house, he found Fisher there; that Fisher was in very feeble health, and could give no rational account as to where he had been during his absence; that he (Gilmore) then started in pursuit of the officer, as before stated; and that he should have taken Fisher with him, only that the state of his health did not permit. Gilmore also stated that he had known Fisher for several years, and that he had understood he was subject to temporary derangement of mind, owing to an injury about his head received early in life.

There was about Dr. Gilmore so much of the air and manner of truth, that his statement prevailed in the minds of the audience and of the court, and the Trailors were discharged, although they attempted no explanation of the circumstances proven by the other witnesses.

On the next Monday (June 28?), Mr. Myers arrived in Springfield, bringing with him the now famed Fisher, in full life and proper person.

Thus ended this strange affair and while it is readily conceived that a writer of novels could bring a story to a more perfect climax, it may well be doubted whether a stranger affair ever really occurred. Much of the matter remains in mystery to this day. The going into the woods with Fisher, and returning without him, by the Trailors; their going into the woods at the same place the next day, after they professed to have given up the search; the signs of a struggle in the thicket, the buggy tracks at the edge of it; and the location of the thicket, and the signs about it, corresponding precisely with Henry’s story, are circumstances that have never been explained. William and Archibald have both died since—William in less than a year, and Archibald in about two years after the supposed murder.

Henry is still living, but never speaks of the subject. 

Here’s a link to a 2010 article on the story that’s pretty good.

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Free Audiobook Sample Chapter Available
‘The Carver Family Hatchet Murders, 1930’

Home | Feature Stories | Free Audiobook Sample Chapter Available
‘The Carver Family Hatchet Murders, 1930’

Last year, 2019, I was approached by former Broadway actor and audiobook narrator Charles Huddeston, who offered to narrate my two books in the Famous Crimes the World Forgot series. I’ve been approached before by other narrators, but passed on their offers for one reason or another. I’m so, so thankful that I did not so with Mr. Huddleston’s offer as you will soon learn that his rich, baritone voice is the stuff of legends. My personal opinion is that he is one of the top 10 narrators in the world.

He is just that good. 

When I listened to Mr. Huddleston narration for Volume I, I was so captivated in the telling of the story that I actually forgot for a time or two that I wrote the book. My self-dialogue was (Wow. This is a really good story…. Long pause… Oh, wait, I wrote this story!) Lost in the story as told Mr. Huddleston, I truly forgot I wrote it. When something that is read becomes something you listen to, its a different experience. 

I have posted the audio file for Chapter 3 of Volume I, ‘The Carver Family Hatchet Murders,’ to the blog, seen below. Downloadable audio files are also available. You can listen to the story from the blog, or download the audio files to your device.

I’m confident you will enjoy the 45 minute experience of a world class storyteller.

Click to Play or Download 62mb File as MP3 or WAV



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Serial Killer’s Anonymous: Chapter 4 ‒ The Mystery of the Hobo Jungles, 1950-51

Home | Feature Stories, Serial Killers Anonymous | Serial Killer’s Anonymous: Chapter 4 ‒ The Mystery of the Hobo Jungles, 1950-51

Hobocidal Maniac Lloyd Gomez Killed Nine Men in 15 Months

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October 15, 1953
San Quentin Prison, California

Six hundred and thirty days after he confessed to California authorities to murdering nine men between 1950 and 1951, Lloyd Gomez was about to get what he wanted: put out of his misery.

He hated life. During his twenty-nine years, the constant struggle to survive had worn him down to the nub. It had done bad things to him and he had done bad things to it. His confession was a suicide. He didn’t care anymore. Get it over with.

For the past thirteen years, when he wasn’t in prison or jail, young Gomez was what polite folks would call an itinerant farm worker, picking fruit or vegetable crops when in season. In between those seasons, his nomadic lifestyle riding freight cars up and down California labeled him a hobo. Today, they might call him a bum.

When not riding freight cars, he lived as a hobo—buying food if he had money, stealing some if he didn’t. Eventually, he killed nine men to get money. If he needed that money to eat or not, is up for debate.

During his lifetime, many of the larger cities in California had encampments of hobos that were a little community unto themselves, with shelter, food, and alcohol shared between them. Called ‘hobo jungles’ by many, these campsites were always outside city limits, near railroad tracks or rail yards, and near a river, lake, or pond if possible.

The Nevada born Gomez was the son of a Shoshone woman and a Mexican father. His mother died when he was young and his father was a strong influence on him during his early years, but not a good one. Gomez had a stoic personality, which never betrayed what he was thinking. If he did speak, more often than not it was to answer a question. Before he replied, Gomez would look at something else, gather his thoughts, and answer in a calm voice.

Behind his quiet demeanor and calm voice, however, was a hobocidal maniac who bashed in the heads of eight middle-aged men, which netted him a total of $62.26. The ninth man he killed, the one for which he would be executed for the following day (10/16/53), died a different sort of way.

Since his arrival to San Quentin’s Death Row on June 10, 1952, Gomez never had a visitor and no one ever wrote to him. Despite numerous requests for an interview from newspaper and radio reporters, he always turned them down. But on the night before his October 16, 1953 execution, Gomez made an exception and agreed to an interview with staff reporter Stanley Wilson from the Sacramento Bee.

Wilson was permitted to sit with Gomez in his death cell a few hours before midnight. Just outside his cell, a curtain obscured his view to the apple green octagonal gas chamber.  When Wilson asked Gomez if he was scared of what waited for him just behind that curtain, his nonchalant reply was typical for the man.

“Scared? Naw, I ain’t scared.”

1939 – 1951

The Mystery of the Hobo Jungles

In 1939, with a fourth grade education and an IQ of 61, seventeen-year-old Gomez left his home in Lincoln County, Nevada, to explore California by riding freight cars. From the start, he didn’t seem to fare-to-well in the hobo lifestyle. When he wasn’t picking crops, he was loafing and like most loafers, he got into trouble.  Between 1939 and 1941, he was arrested several times for minor offences including vagrancy, for which he served a thirty-day jail sentence.

Another arrest soon followed in January 1942 when Sacramento County deputies held him for a few days for suspicion of dodging the draft. He was soon released for unknown reasons only to be arrested two months later in Nevada for highway robbery. The way he told it to investigators and a Sacramento Bee reporter ten years later, was that in March 1942, he had acquired a revolver, and he was determined to use it.

“It was near my home in Nevada, (Pioche). It was on the highway and the fellow had a car. I went up to him and pointed the gun at him. I got nearly $1,000.”

But that’s not what happened. Gomez was lying. According to a one-paragraph story that appeared in the April 27, 1942 edition of the Reno Gazette, the offense was attempted robbery. The charge against him stated he threatened the life man of a named Bruce Olson and took his guns and ammunition. He was sentenced to serve a minimum of two and one-half years to twenty-years in the Nevada State Penitentiary.

The Gazette’s short report never mentioned if Gomez had used a firearm, nor anything about $1,000 cash taken from the victim. A thousand dollars cash back then is the same as $16,000 today, and most people don’t carry that much money with them, then, or now.

If he was lying, it’s not clear why.

Nineteen months later, young Gomez was joined by his father, Manuel Gomez, who received a life sentence for the 1943 New Year’s Day murder of Jesus Garcia in Carlin, Nevada. Both men, along with several others, were part of a railroad crew working at the time in the small town twenty-three miles west of Elko. Witnesses told deputies they saw Gomez beating Garcia over the head with a pick-axe handle. They did not know any of the details that led to the fight.

Señor Gomez claimed he killed Garcia in self-defense after Garcia tried to stab him with a butcher’s knife.

Eleven months later in November, an Elko County jury disagreed and found him guilty of first-degree murder. However, instead of recommending to the judge that he should die in Nevada’s famous gas chamber (the first in the country) they recommended a life sentence and in early December, father and son were reunited in prison. If he told his son his side of the story, and using a pick-axe handle to bash in Garcia’s head, it apparently made an imprint on the young man’s mind for crushing heads with repurposed caveman weapons became his modus operandi for the murders he would commit seven years later.

After serving four years on the attempted robbery charge, young Gomez said goodbye to his father when was released from prison in May 1946 due to overcrowding. Freedom gave young Gomez the opportunity to grow his rap sheet and a few months later, he was arrested and released in San Bernardino, California, for investigation of strong-arm robbery.

He dodged that bullet but caught another one on January 12, 1947, when he broke into the American Can Company’s Sacramento warehouse where he was caught by the night watchmen breaking into a candy vending machine.

A short article about his arrest appeared in the Sacramento Bee the following day.

“The police reported that Lloyd Gomez, a Mexican transient, who was booked yesterday for a burglary of the American Can Company, has admitted to burglaries in Los Angeles, Madera, Stockton, San Joaquin County, and in a sheep camp near the North Sixteenth Street Bridge in North Sacramento.”

He received a seven-month sentence to the county road camp for burglary.

Two patterns appear in that one-paragraph report that would mirror the future of his short life: being arrested in Sacramento, and spontaneous confessions. In fact, that was just the second time he was arrested in Sacramento.

The third time he was arrested in Sacramento came in May 1948. Convicted of assault, Gomez was sent back to the Sacramento County road camp to serve a sixty-day sentence building roads for the county. For some unclear reason, he walked away from the road crew a few weeks before his time was completed. Considering this fact, it’s probable he would have only left the road crew if his life was in danger.

But freedom and Lloyd Gomez were not a good match and that July (the same time he would have completed his road crew sentence) he was arrested in Las Vegas for counterfeiting and sentenced to serve one year and one day at the McNeil Island Federal Prison Penitentiary in Washington state.

After his release from McNeil Island in July 1949, Gomez stayed out of the law’s reach for more than fifteen months, his longest stretch. During that time, he started killing hobos.

The first one he killed was never identified. Gomez said he was a Native American man in his mid-40s, and he killed him near the railroad yards just outside of Oroville, California during the summer of 1950. He said the man had a bottle of wine and wanted to take him to his shack.

“When he was ahead of me, I picked up a rock and hit him on the head (six times). I got the bottle of wine and five cents.”

The man’s body was found six months later on November 27 one-half mile west of the Western Pacific yard by two pheasant hunters. At the time, the county coroner reported the he had been killed by a large, bloodstained rock found nearby, and that he had been dead for approximately six months. He was never identified.

By the time this discovery was made, Gomez had killed two more men.

On the afternoon of November 11, 1950, Gomez was visiting with John Joe “Cabbage” Kapusta inside his shack in the hobo jungle on the banks of the American River near Sacramento, when forty-three-year-old Warren Hood Cunningham spotted Gomez and charged at him, accusing him of stealing.

“He went after me with two pocket knives,” Gomez told a Sacramento Bee reporter shortly after his confession was released fourteen months later. “Some guy down there had squealed on me and told him I stole his two cans of beer about four days before that.

“I ran. Boy, how I ran, and he was still after me. I got away and I waited about three hours, I guess. I got mad. I got so mad I couldn’t stop. I had a gun buried over by the American River and I went back to his place with it.”

The gun was a .22 caliber rifle. From the tree line 60 to 100 feet away, he spotted Cunningham sitting by his shack with Cabbage Kapusta where the two were listening to a radio. Gomez took aim, fired three shots, and watched as Cunningham fell over. He then approached Cunningham and shot him three more times.

Kapusta who was nearly blind, couldn’t describe to police what the shooter looked like.

“I knew what I had done,” Gomez continued. “I ran. I went to Fresno. Then to Los Angeles. The idea was to go somewhere. Just keep going.”

Gomez did go to Fresno, and eventually Los Angeles, but between those two cities is the small town of Mojave where he bludgeoned Earl Franklin Woods to death with a stone on November 19, just eight days after he killed Cunningham. Gomez had asked him for a match and the fifty-year-old “grouchily refused.”

Gomez didn’t like his tone. He only found three cigarettes in the dead man’s shirt pocket.

A few days after murdering Woods and a few miles from Los Angeles, Gomez was arrested by Burbank city police for vagrancy. He served thirty days. Before his arrest, he had dismantled his rifle and gotten rid of it.

Released in late December, Gomez went for six months without killing anyone. When he did start up again, he killed six men in three months. On May 29, 1951, Gomez found Elmer M. Cushman sitting on an open-top rail car. He picked up a rock, approached without being seen, and beat the man to death with that rock. He pocketed $16.50.

Ten days later, he found an unidentified man sleeping in the tall grass near the railroad tracks by Stockton. Gomez killed him with a rock and a wood plank. Searching through his pockets, he found $20.

On June 22, Gomez was picking peaches near Merced, California when he spotted George Jones walk into the hobo camp there. The sixty-year-old found a spot he liked and began cooking some food. Gomez snuck up behind him and broke his skull with a rock. In the man’s wallet, he found $24.50.

On July 17, Gomez dropped a twenty-pound rock on the head of Arvid Ostlund near the railroad tracks leading out of Roseville. The forty-year-old only had one dollar on him.

His eighth victim was an unidentified man he found sleeping in his underwear one hundred yards from the railroad tracks near Marysville in early August 1951. “I threw sand in his face and hit him with a brick,” Gomez later said. His life was worth 21-cents.

On August 16, forty-six-year-old Roy Chester Hanson was minding his own business when Gomez found him sitting on a railroad car on the Southern Pacific tracks northeast of Sacramento. Hanson was his ninth and final victim. He couldn’t even remember if the man had any money or not.

The murders did not go unnoticed.

In June 1951, two criminal investigators with the California State Department of Justice spotted the pattern. Although the classification of serial killer was more than twenty-years away, they correctly assumed they were looking for one man, a hobo, who was killing other hobos with caveman weapons‒stones and wooden clubs. Looking through their files, they found victims killed in the same manner as far back as 1939.

Shortly after Hanson’s body was found, they publicly announced their investigation and several newspapers, including the Sacramento Bee, dubbed it “The Mystery of the Hobo Jungles.”

Their news release revealed that the murders of a dozen men going back twelve years had seven things in common.

  1. All of the men were in late middle age,
  2. had done manual labor,
  3. and lived alone in hobo jungles.
  4. Their bodies were found in rail cars, near railroad tracks, or in hobo settlements.
  5. The victims were struck from behind with clubs or rocks
  6. and the beatings continued long after death. (Overkill.)
  7. They ruled out robbery and sex as possible motives and couldn’t piece together the killer’s compulsion other than he was possibly a madman – a maniac.

1951 – 1953

Confession Time

The end of his killing spree came on January 15, 1952, when Gomez was arrested by Sacramento County lawmen for the fourth and final time. The charge, vagrancy. In custody, deputies looked into his record and realized he had walked away from a county road crew back in 1948. He was given a sixty-day jail sentence on the vagrancy charge and would soon be charged for escape.

Nine days later, on January 24, Gomez passed a note to one of the guards that read:

“To Jailer:

“All in California. I killed 1 Indian at Oroville 1951 (it was in 1950). I killed 1 white men (sic) at Marysville. I killed one man at Roseville 51. I killed one man at Stockton. I killed 1 man at Merced. I shot 1 man six time in jungle Sacramento.”

Sacramento authorities contacted the two state investigators who rushed over to partake in the interrogation that soon followed. Their interest was in the twelve men murdered with rocks and clubs over the last thirteen years. Gomez’s initial confession included five of them and with aid of the victim files, he copped to three more, but not the four others they assumed he was responsible for killing. Gomez’s memory wasn’t the best but he did give them enough details for eight of them, which led them to later conclude he was telling the truth.

The bullet-riddled body of Warren Hood Cunningham was not on their list. He was, however, at the top of Sacramento County’s list. The following day, January 25, deputies took Gomez to the ‘jungle’ and there, not far from the riverbank, he pointed to a demolished cardboard shack where Cunningham was sitting when he shot him from 60 to 100 feet away. Of all the men he killed, Gomez remembered every detail of killing Cunningham, which was more than enough to satisfy the district attorney who charged him with first-degree murder that same day.

To back up their case, they found two men who were there: John Joe “Cabbage” Kapusta and Mike Gilbert. They knew Gomez as a man they called, ‘Indian.’ Although Kapusta was nearly blind, he recognized Gomez’s voice and said his general physical description was the same as the man who walked over and put three more bullets into Cunningham.

Gomez’s spectacular confession left investigators and newspaper reporters with two burning questions: why did he do it and why did he confess?

“I got hungry,” he told a San Francisco Examiner writer, who, like many others, asked him the ‘why he did it’ question. “I needed money to eat. I never was mad at the men.”

His food bill was $62.26 and eight dead men. He may have not been mad at them, but he was mad enough at Cunningham to shoot him six times.

When asked by a Sacramento Bee reporter, “How does it feel to voluntarily admit to nine murders?” a “dirty, ragged, unshaven” Gomez, noted for having “slender, strangely smooth hands” cast his “dreamy-like” eyes towards the long jail corridor and said, “in a low, calm voice:”

“I see the same thing every year. Life is no good. Both times I was in prison it was no good—it was tough. I don’t care what happens. Life is bad.”

Later, during that same interview, when asked if he understood what could happen to him, Gomez again turned his head to look at something only he could see, thought for a moment, and in the same low, calm voice replied:

“Maybe it means more time. Maybe it means the gas chamber or electric chair. I don’t care. If they gas me or put me in the electric chair that’s all right. I’m better off dead anyway. I don’t want to live.”

Lloyd Gomez meant what he said. Over the course of the next 631 days of his life, he only appeared to flip-flop once. On the first day of trial, after sitting next to his attorney for twenty minutes during jury selection, he saw an open door, pushed his chair back, and took off running.

He was recaptured before he could get out of the building.

The Interview

On the night of October 15, twelve hours before he was executed, Gomez gave his consent to an interview request by Bee reporter Stanley Wilson.

“The admitted slayer of nine men reclined nonchalantly on his prison cot and replied to questions,” Wilson began after a long introduction to his article. “‘Scared? Nah, I ain’t scared.’

“Gomez. who previously was described as having the mind of a child, was asked if he knew why he was in that particular cell (the death cell where condemned men are places the day before their execution).

“‘Sure. I’m going in there tomorrow,’ he said as he pointed to the green gas chamber where the cyanide pellets soon were to be dropped to end his life.

“‘Have you seen a chaplain?’” Wilson asked.

“No, I don’t want to see no chaplain.”


“I believe the same thing Dad does. He don’t believe in no religion.”

His reply about religion confirmed a statement he made shortly after his confession when he told a reporter he believed in God, but not religion. His dad, sixty-three years old at the time, was still in the Nevada prison where he last saw his son nine years earlier.

It was also the last time he communicated with him.

“Gomez continually blinked his eyes, reminiscent of the manner in which he responded to questioning during his trial,” Wilson continued. “However, he seemingly was unconcerned about his fate today (tomorrow morning). He answered to another question:

“’No, I don’t have any friends, I haven’t written and I haven’t got any letters from any friends or relatives,” Gomez replied. “I don’t want any friends. I don’t need ’em.'”

When Wilson asked him if he thought he had a fair trial, “Gomez reflected for several moments before he repeated the question as though talking to himself.”

“Yeah, I think so. I don’t think the attorneys can do any more.”

When the interview had begun, Gomez was eating his last meal, which consisted of fried chicken, fried potatoes, peas, a tomato and lettuce salad, toast, apple pie and coffee. The food and a warm bed were two things he liked about being incarcerated.

“Am I keeping you up, Lloyd?” Wilson asked after he had finished eating.

“No, I’ll sleep all right tonight. Don’t worry about me.”

“He never seemed to lose his nonchalance,” Wilson wrote near the end of his article.

The man’s indifference to his own fate seemed to bother the reporter, who noted it several times in his story published the following afternoon. In fact, it was made clear to readers in the first and fourth sentence of his article.

“SAN QUENTIN—Lloyd Gomez, 29 year old phantom hobo killer, walked to his death in the San Quentin Prison gas chamber this morning with the same calmness he exhibited during his trial in Sacramento a year and a half ago…

“When the condemned man walked the traditional last mile to the gas chamber, actually only a few steps, he was composed, seemingly alert and showed no emotion. He exhibited his typical and long-standing stoic attitude.”

 At 10:12 that morning, Lloyd Gomez was pronounced dead.

It was over with.

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The Knight Family Massacre, 1958

Home | Mug Shot Monday, Short Feature Story | The Knight Family Massacre, 1958

On Tuesday, April 22, 1958, twenty-nine year-old David F Early was freed from Fort Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary where he served time for aggravated robbery. In a pre-release letter to the parole board, Early stated he wanted to return to his home state of Colorado where his attorney and ‘uncle,’ Merrill A. Knight, had befriended him and promised to help him upon his release from federal prison. In the letter, Early described Knight as “the only friend he ever had.”

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From Kansas, Early traveled by bus to Denver where he registered at the downtown YMCA on Thursday, April 24. The following day, he took a taxi to Knight’s home located in the “posh” Greenwood Village suburb where he arrived around noon. Finding no one home, Early entered the house through an unlocked basement door and immediately began going through the home looking for money, jewelry, and valuable items he could later pawn for cash. But when he discovered Knight’s .22 caliber rifle in the back of a closet, Early loaded the bolt-action rifle, made himself comfortable in Mr. Knight’s favorite chair, and chain smoked cigarettes as he waited for the family of four to return home.

Later described by newspapers as a “ne’er-do-well,” David Early had been in and out of jail or prison for most of his life. In addition to his federal time, Early had served time in Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, and Colorado where he had completed a prison sentence in 1955, and then another in 1957.

It was during that time that Merrill A. Knight had become acquainted with his ‘distant relative,’ who he represented in court. Out of pity or a feeling of personal responsibility, the forty-seven year-old lawyer had taken an interest in the troubled young man who he had invited to his home several times in the past.

It was an unfortunate decision that led to a crime so horrible it would be compared to the Clutter Family murders that occurred in Holcomb, Kansas, nearly nineteen months later. Although prison doctors at Colorado State Penitentiary in Cañon City had diagnosed Early as a “dangerous psychopath” and  included their findings in his prison file, it is unclear if Knight was aware of client’s condition.

Mrs. Regina Knight was the first to return home. With the rifle pointed at her, Early forced her to a bedroom where he tied her hands and feet. He told her he needed money. She said there was $60 in her purse. Early yelled at her that it wasn’t enough. He wanted more.

More would come.

As he was trying to squeeze more money out of her, Mrs. Knight’s two step-children walked through the door. When they saw their father’s former client pointing a rifle at them, they were too confused and too shocked to run back out of the house. He led fifteen-year-old Karen to her bedroom where he tied her to the bed with stockings. He then took seventeen year-old Kenneth to his mother’s room where he tied him up with stockings near the foot of the bed.

Not long after, Merrill Knight returned home sometime between 5:30 and 5:45 p.m. Like the others, David Early forced Knight into a third bedroom where he ordered the attorney to tie his own feet together. He then told him to lay flat on his stomach, but before he could tie his hands together, he saw Mr. Knight’s wallet, took it, and found $127 to put in his own pocket. He then bound the man’s hand together behind his back.

Early collected another $77 dollars from the family, and told them to stay still and he would leave when it got dark.

But then, something else happened.

Varian L. Ashbaugh, a forty-seven year-old contractor, had met with Knight at his office earlier that day. Knight was handling the legal matters of an important business transaction for Ashbaugh, who later gave the following statement to police.

“I had talked to Merrill earlier in the day about an important business transaction he was handling for me. He asked me to bring or mail the papers to him so he would get them before he left for Las Vegas Saturday morning. (The entire family was going).

“I forgot to mail the letter during the day, but I knew we were going to the Wilson’s for dinner, so. I decided to drop it off on the way. (A few minutes before six o’clock) I walked to the door and rang the bell. When there was no answer, I tried the door and it was unlocked. I pushed the door open a ways and saw this young man approaching.

“He was very polite and calm. I asked him if Mr. Knight was home, and he said, ‘Yes, hut he is in the bathtub.’

“I then asked him if Mrs. Knight was home and he told me she was busy. I then asked him if he would give the letter to Mr. Knight and he told me he would be glad to do so.

“He was casually dressed, and I thought he was probably someone the Knights had hired to watch their home while they were in Las Vegas.”

A few minutes after Ashbaugh left, Early went to check on his captives. During the distraction with Ashbaugh, Knight had gotten loose and lunged at a surprised Early who said, “I started shooting without thinking.” Knight was shot three times and died later that night.

Not wanting to leave witnesses behind after mortally wounding the father, Early then went to the mother’s bedroom, stepped over Kenneth, and shot Regina Knight once in the head. Stepping back over the boy, he went to Karen’s room, and shot her once in the head.

In the short amount of time between moving from one bedroom to the next, Kenneth freed himself and was running out of the house when Early fired one bullet at him. He missed, and the rifle jammed.

Kenneth ran to the Wilson’s house, where they were hosting the dinner party Ashbaugh was attending. Inside, the high school senior screamed, “Mother and dad have been shot!”

Several of the men ran outside and noticed a car leaving the Knight residence. William Pumpelly and Ashbaugh got into their car and gave chase. Armed with only an empty shotgun, they did the only thing they could; they rammed their car into the stolen vehicle, pushing it into the ditch. Early jumped out and started running but was soon overpowered by Pumpelly and Ashbaugh. Others from the party, including Kenneth, soon arrived, and although it is not clear from newspaper reports, someone held the unloaded shotgun on Early. Thinking it was loaded, he stopped struggling, sat on the ground, and smoked a cigarette.

Officers soon arrived, as did a newspaper reporter who asked Early why he shot the Knights.

“Because I needed money,” Early answered.

“What for?” the reporter asked.

“What does anybody need money for?” Early snapped back.

Early was taken to the Arapahoe County Jail where he first dictated a confession taken in shorthand, and then wrote out another one by his own hand.

“Early, pasty-faced and chain smoking, smiled as he listened to officers describe the crime to reporters,” the Associated Press reported in an article distributed nationwide. Early was also interviewed by a newsman for a Littleton, Colorado radio station, which broadcasted Early’s interview later that day.

“After his radio interview, Early told the newsman: I did a favor for you on the radio, now get me some smokes,” the AP report continued.

In a separate story released by the Associated Press that day, Sheriff Charles Foster quoted Early as saying: “I’d do it again under the same circumstances.” Foster then referred to the letter Early had submitted to the Leavenworth parole board in which he wrote, “Knight was the only friend he ever had.”

It was a character revealing point to make that only increased the public’s anger for David Early.

On his first night in jail, Early slept soundly that night and ate everything he was offered the following day. He rejected any kind of reading material, including a Bible. He only wanted cigarettes. When a jailer gave him a half-a-pack of his own, Early grabbed them and never said ‘thank-you’ as he turned to walk away. 

On December 3 of that same year (1958), a jury only needed twenty-five minutes to return with a guilty verdict and the judge sentenced him to death. During the short trial and throughout the appeals, Early’s legal battle was fought between psychiatrists for the state, and those for the defense. The state won each time and Early’s execution was set for August 11, 1961.

During his thirty-two months on death row, no visitor ever came to see him and none of his relatives wrote him a letter.

On his last evening alive, the warden went to his cell and read aloud the death warrant. Early was then taken out “and guided up the ramp to the ‘penthouse’ where the hexagonal gas chamber was located. He was ordered to strip down and given prison issued white shorts to wear inside the chamber. After he was seated and strapped into the steel chair, Early said out-loud, “I’m sorry I did it.” A Catholic priest administered last rights. His final statement was, “I hope God will forgive me.”

At 7:59 pm, the door was sealed. One minute later, the sodium cyanide pellets dropped into a vat of sulfuric acid. As the room filled with white gas, Early tried to hold his breath. He lasted for about a minute then compulsively took a deep breath and was unconscious within ten seconds. At 8:05, his body was wracked with convulsions and then he was still for two minutes. He was pronounced dead at 8:07 pm.

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Mugshot Monday! The Redemption of Wilbert Rideau, 1961

Home | Mug Shot Monday | Mugshot Monday! The Redemption of Wilbert Rideau, 1961

In 1961, nineteen-year-old Wilbert Rideau shot and killed Lake Charles, Lousiana bank teller Julia Fergusen, who was twenty-years-old. Rideau’s first trial included an all-white, all-male jury who sentenced him to death. That verdict, and two more which came in 1964 and 1970, were eventually overturned on constitutional grounds. Nevertheless, he remained on death row until 1972.

In 1975, he was assigned to be the editor of the The Angolite, an uncensored prison newspaper. During his nearly 30-year tenure as editor, he won numerous prestigious journalism awards including: the Robert F. Kennedy Award, the George Polk Award, and the Sidney Hillman Award. He was the first prisoner ever to win the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel Award. During the time, he also was co-producer for two Academy Award nominated documentary films: The Farm, and Angola, USA.

In 1993, Life Magazine called him the “most rehabilitated prisoner in America.”

In December 2000, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans threw out Rideau’s 1970 murder conviction because of racial discrimination in the grand jury process in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana.

Although he had already served 39-years in prison, the local prosecutor chose to retry the case

Wilbert Rideau Autobiography

and Rideau was re indicted in July 2001.

During his fourth murder trial in 2005, Rideau’s defense team included Johnnie Cochran, nationally renowned civil rights attorney George Kendall, and famed New Orleans defense attorney Julian Murray, who all worked on his case for free.

The 2005 jury, which included men and women of mixed racial backgrounds, convicted him of manslaughter, for which he was sentenced to serve 21 years in prison. Since had already served 44 years, he was freed immediately.

In 2010, he published his memoir entitled: In the Place of Justice: A Story of Punishment and Redemption.

Wilbert Rideau has a detailed and interesting Wikipedia page which you can find here.

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Mug Shot Monday! J.D. & George Dowdy, 1948

Home | Mug Shot Monday, Short Feature Story | Mug Shot Monday! J.D. & George Dowdy, 1948

In late October 1948, Hattiesburg, Mississippi house painter Walter Dorman, 42 or 44, was vacationing at a fishing camp near Tallulah, in the northeast corner of the Louisiana (near the Mississippi River, Mississippi Delta, and Lake Providence).

The fishing camp was owned and operated by George Dowdy, 68, and his son, J.D. Dowdy, 23, a World War II army veteran.

On the night of October 22, J.D. Dowdy and Dorman were seen together near the fishing cabin. Later, at 11:30, Dorman entered his fishing cabin and was killed instantly when it exploded. Exploded is the wrong word. The cabin blew apart in a several thousand pieces. Dorman’s legs were the primary body parts left to identify him.

“Relatives of Dowdy identified the legs as belonging to him,” the Monroe News-Star reported on October 28. “Relatives of young Dowdy asserted the legs were the only remains of their brother and young son.”

“He was like a brother to me,” the ‘grieving’ father George Dowdy told a local newspaper reporter.

Walter Dorman

Two days after the explosion, Walter Dorman’s wife reported him missing. Police tracked Dorman to the fishing camp where they discovered that the owner’s son, J.D. Dowdy, had been killed in an explosion several days before. The whole town was still talking about it since the blast was felt by all within a five-mile radius.

But since Dorman wasn’t there, police began asking questions and learned that young Dowdy had $36,000 in life insurance, with a double indemnity clause.

This raised more questions, which prompted witnesses to come forward and start talking. Some of them told investigators that J.D. had recently purchased a 50-pound case of dynamite. [Author’s Note: Fishermen living along the river often used dynamite to ‘catch’ fish.] A cab driver came forward to report that on the night of the explosion, he drove two men within one-half mile of the rural fishing cabin. One of them “was reportedly drunk.” Both men fit the description of Walter Dorman and J.D. Dowdy.

George Dowdy, the straw boss of a nearby plantation, was arrested two days after the explosion. During questioning, the older Dowdy was inconsistent in his explanations for the dynamite, the large life insurance policy for his son, his apparent lack of grief over his son’s death, and, more importantly, his account for the unknown whereabouts of Walter Dorman.

Backed into a corner, he confessed. The Dowdys’ master plan was to have George declare the remains of Walter Dorman were that of his son, J.D., and then use the death certificate to collect $36,000 in life insurance (the 2019 equivalent of $380,000).

His son J.D. had already been on the run when the all-points bulletin for his arrest went out over the wires. Described by all who knew him as “not very bright,” J.D. was captured on November 1 near the Louisiana-Texas border where he had just left the home of his sister.

At his trial, the prosecution called fifty witnesses and presented strong circumstantial evidence. Dowdy’s court appointed defense attorney called five witnesses, friends of J.D.’s, who reported that he was “goofy,” and “weird,” and “unusual,” —a poor attempt to convince the jury he was mentally deficient, and for whom the death penalty would be too extreme.

It didn’t work. J.D. Dowdy was found guilty, and eventually executed on January 12, 1951, protesting his innocence. Instead of being electrocuted at the state prison in Angola, he was executed in a portable electric chair in Mason Parish, the parish for Tallulah.

Interviewed several hours before his execution, Dowdy was asked how he felt. “I hold no grudges and can explain everything they have against me.”

As he was being executed, his mother, and sister sat in their automobile parked across the street from the parish jail. They had visited with him the evening before his execution, but were not allowed to attend his execution. He was buried in his mother’s hometown of Ringling, Oklahoma.

New Book: Notorious San Francisco: True Tales of Crime, Passion and Murder, by Paul Drexler

Home | New Books | New Book: Notorious San Francisco: True Tales of Crime, Passion and Murder, by Paul Drexler

Editor’s Note: From an anecdotal standpoint, there are four major cities in the United States in which the most interesting murder cases unfold: New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Interesting crimes, famous crimes, and infamous serial killer cases have occurred in all other major American cities, but it seems like the best of the best, for whatever reason, occur in those four major cities.

When it comes to true crime stories, San Francisco is special. Over the last 150 years, the city’s history includes the infamous cases of: Cordelia Botkin, William Henry Theodore Durrant, the unsolved murder of Nora Fuller, the “Gas-Pipe” killers, Lloyd Sampsell, and the Zodiac Killer, just to name a few.

Having spent more time in the San Francisco area than in the other three, infamous murders known to that city draw me in to learn more.

So when my fellow crime historian friend Paul Drexler recently released his new book, Notorious San Francisco: True Tales of Crime, Passion and Murder, I was excited to buy a copy and start digging into a fascinating anthology of the most dramatic criminal cases known to this one-of-a-kind city.

Drexler is the most qualified individual in the United States to write about San Francisco crimes. He is the director of Crook’s Tour of San Francisco,” a guided tour he provides to tourists curious to visit the city’s most notorious locations tied to 150 years of killin’ and criminal mayhem.

This is a guy who knows what he’s talking about when it comes to San Francisco history. He has appeared on the Investigation Discovery Network show Deadly Women as an expert on San Francisco murderesses. In 2017 He received the Oscar Lewis award from the San Francisco History Association for his writing on San Francisco.

With the Amazon Kindle version selling for only $5.96, the book is a must read for true crime lovers across the entire United States who want to peek into the dark side of a city known for some of the best true crime stories in the world.

Book Description:

San Francisco, a city founded in part by criminals, was once one of the most dangerous cities in America. Its Barbary coast was called “a unique criminal district that was the scene of more viciousness and depravity, but it possessed more glamour, than any other area on the American continent.”

“San Francisco Notorious” brings back the glamorous depravity and noir atmosphere that made it the premier location for murder thrillers like “The Maltese Falcon,” “Vertigo,” and “Zodiac.”

This book contains more than 20 compelling tales of serial killers, deadly women, con-men, masters of escape, and unsolved mysteries. San Franciscan criminals were as colorful as the city they inhabited. Take William Thoreson, a murderous millionaire who hid the nation’s largest private armory in his Pacific Heights mansion. Then there’s Isabella Martin, the murderous “Queen of Grudges” who tried to poison an entire town, or Ethan McNabb and Lloyd Sampsell, the “Yacht Bandits,” who used a luxurious sloop as a getaway vehicle for their dozens of bank robberies.

Most of these unusual cases are largely unknown and have never appeared in book form. Included are cases that are still mysteries today, including the mysterious tale of the Zodiac Killer, complete with a new analysis and a startling new theory on the murder.

A peak into his new book and guided tours can be viewed on Youtube.