Sunday, July 31, 2011

What would Hawley do?

There has been so much chatter, I am guessing nationwide but certainly here in her home state of Fladidah, about how Casey Anthony got away with it.  & maybe she did. Or maybe she was just a really lousy parent.  I have an opinion myself & that opinion is...if I am ever accused of murder, I want the jury sequestered.

But enough about Casey Anthony (please, ENOUGH), lets look back on another murderer everyone knew was guilty & did not get away with it.  Today in 1910, Hawley Harvey Crippen was arrested for the murder of his wife, Cora.  He was apprehended while crossing the Atlantic Ocean with his mistress who was disguised as a boy.  He denied murdering his wife right up until he was hanged.  When asked why he ran, why the disguise, etc. he said he didn't think anyone would believe he didn't kill his wife.  The book Thunderstruck, which is about a lot of other things as well as the Crippen case, describes the media frenzy that surrounded the murder & manhunt.  For decades, the whole business was lauded as a triumph of police technique...until....

Until almost right away,  frankly. There were a number of problems with the investigation, including the idea of Mrs. Crippen as a hapless victim, & the problems have only multiplied over the years.  In 2007 a research group tested one sample of DNA from the remains found in the Crippen home (where Mr. Crippen disposed of his wife's torso, after moving her head, hands, & pretty much the rest of her elsewhere, never to be found) with DNA from contemporary descendants of Mrs. Crippen's half-sister & found no match.  They also found the remains from the Crippen's home were from a man.  & it gets better...or worse if you are Crippen.  Letters that alleged to be from Mrs. Crippen, alive & well & living in the US written to himself in prison, although neither he nor his lawyers were ever told such a letter existed.

So maybe Casey Anthony was really just the worst mother imaginable, but not actually a murderer.  Kind of like Gary Condit was not the world's best husband & was maybe sleeping with a federal intern but did not actually kill her.  Or William Michael Dillon, another party-loving young Floridian who served more than 25 years of a life sentence before DNA evidence exonerated him. 

But back to Crippen.  What would Crippen do when his wife's friends started asking questions about where she had gone?  Well, he lied.  He made false statements to them & to the police.  He changed his story over & over again because he was pretty sure they were not going to believe that an unhappily married man who had made is mistress pregnant was not involved in same wife's disappearance.  & he was right.

1 comment:

  1. I never really knew what a media frenzy was until the Scot Peterson case which took place near where I live. This should have been a very minor story, but the massive humanity and cameras covering it was unbelievable.