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Probst

In 1866, at a farm near Philadelphia, a neighbor discovered the bodies of Christopher Dearing, his wife, four children, a family friend, and an employee, hidden under piles of hay with slit throats and crushed skulls; the farm animals were starving and the house had been ransacked. A few days later, police found in Anton Probst's possession a carpetbag containing the Dearings’ belongings. Probst, an impoverished German immigrant who had worked as a handyman for the Dearings, was charged with murder. At trial, the medical experts noted that the throats were most likely cut by an axe, and that only a very strong man could have hauled the bodies and covered them over with 500 pounds of hay. The jury found Probst guilty; he was sentenced to be hanged. After his execution, doctors performed galvanic experiments on his corpse and dissected it. His skeleton was later put on display in a medical school.


Front cover of Trial, life and execution of Anton Probst: Official report of the trial of Anton Probst, for the murder of Christopher Dearing at Philadelphia, April 25, 1866. As well as his two confessions, one made on May 6th, to his spiritual adviser, the other on May 7th, 1866, to his counsel...To which is added a history of his previous life, as well as an account of his last hours and execution...(Philadelphia, 1866).Trial, life and execution of Anton Probst: Official report of the trial of Anton Probst, for the murder of Christopher Dearing at Philadelphia, April 25, 1866. As well as his two confessions, one made on May 6th, to his spiritual adviser, the other on May 7th, 1866, to his counsel...To which is added a history of his previous life, as well as an account of his last hours and execution... 120 pp. (Philadelphia, 1866).

NLM Unique ID: 101480835
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Penge murder

In mid-April 1877, Harriet Richardson was found dead of starvation in Surrey, England. Two years earlier, Louis Staunton, an auctioneer’s clerk, who was twelve years her junior, had romanced and married Harriet — who was considered to be “weak” in intellect but stood to inherit a large sum of money — over her mother’s objections. Harriet and Louis soon had a son, even though Louis was conducting an affair with Alice Rhodes, the sister of the wife of Louis’s brother Patrick. At trial, Louis Staunton, Alice Rhodes, Patrick Staunton and his wife were all found guilty of murder and sentenced to be hanged. Because of doubts about the evidence, the sentence for the Stauntons was commuted to life in penal servitude and Alice Rhodes was given a pardon.


Front cover of The life and trial of the four prisoners connected with the Penge murder, featuring a head and shoulders, right pose of Harriett Staunton in the center of the page.penge panel An engraving of the head and shoulders, left profile of Mrs. Patrick Staunton wearing a hat. An engraving of the head and shoulders, left profile of Miss Alice Rhodes wearing a hat. Pages 8 and 9 of The life and trial of the four prisoners connected with the Penge murder. On page 8 is an engraving of the head and shoulders, left pose of Louis Staunton. On page 9 is an engraving of the head and shoulder, left pose of Patrick Staunton. The life and trial of the four prisoners connected with the Penge murder. Summing up! Verdict! Sentence! And interesting particulars never before published, with large and correct portraits. "Police News" ed. 16 pp. (London, 1877).

NLM Unique ID: 101195084
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