I find all sorts of fascinating things in my internet wanderings that pertain to history and crime and journalism, and in what is becoming a Lazy Friday tradition, I will share some fun links with you here for your weekend enjoyment.
The first is an article titled "Women Jurors To Try Feminine Murderers," which was originally printed in the November, 1912, edition of The Law Student's Helper. "It is a legal tradition," the article begins, "that it is practically impossible to secure a sentence of capital punishment against a woman, no matter how guilty...." The frustrated prosecutor for the city of Chicago, who was tired of seeing murderesses getting off scot-free, therefore came up with a novel remedy -- as suggested by the title -- which aroused "no little interest" in the Windy City. (Needless to say his idea didn't get too far, since women could not even vote in most of the country in 1912, let alone sit as jurors, not to mention the fact that most lawyers considered women too sympathetic to convict murderers or anyone else for that matter.)
Centuries after he caused tongues to wag and gavels to bang because of the scandalous course of his life in Maryland circa 1652, the dashing Captain Mitchell continues to capture the female imagination.
And on to Burke and Hare. I have no handy excuse for writing about such a famous case but have no qualms about linking to a brief and very well written summary of the matter for those who have forgotten or never knew the lengths to which some men would go to satisfy a medical college's demand for fresh corpses. A little too fresh....
And finally -- because it's been a full seven days since I quoted Edmund Lester Pearson -- here is another good Pearsonism to polish off the week.
Most of the folk who have committed murder are not insane; they are 'nastily like ourselves,' and their dreadful deed only represents something which, under certain circumstances, we might have done.
--Edmund L. Pearson in Instigation of the Devil