this day in crime history: june 25, 1906

murderatthegarden

On this date in 1906, prominent architect Stanford White was shot and killed at the rooftop theater of Madison Square Garden. The shooter was Harry Kendall Thaw, of Pittsburgh. Thaw, the heir to a multimillion dollar fortune, held a grudge against White, whom he blamed for thwarting his efforts to achieve the respect of high society. White was also the former lover of Thaw’s wife, Evelyn Nesbit. Nesbit had been a popular model and chorus girl and was the inspiration for the movie The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing.

At trial, Thaw went with a temporary insanity defense (“temporary” probably being the only part that was exaggerated). The jury wound up deadlocked. At the second trial, Evelyn Nesbit took the stand and testified that Stanford White had abused her and that Thaw was just acting in her defense. She performed this task in exchange for the promise of a divorce and a million dollars from Thaw.  The jury found him not guilty by reason of insanity. Thaw received a sentence to the state mental hospital at Matteawan. Nesbit received her divorce, but not the money.

Thaw escaped from Matteawan in 1913 and fled to Canada. He was eventually apprehended and extradited to New York. After receiving a new trial, he was found sane and not guilty of murder. He was released from state custody in 1915.

Thaw was arrested again in 1916, this time for the abduction and sexual assault of 19 year old Frederick Gump (no relation to Forrest). He was found not guilty by reason of insanity (it’s like déjà vu all over again). In 1924, Thaw was judged sane and released from the asylum where he had been incarcerated.

Harry Thaw died of a heart attack in Florida in 1947. In his will, he left Evelyn Nesbit ten thousand dollars, about one percent of his estimated net worth.

Further reading:

Murderpedia – Harry Thaw

Wikipedia – Harry Kendall Thaw

IMDb – The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing

this day in crime history: may 7, 1827


On this date in 1827, farmhand Jesse Strang murdered John Whipple at the Cherry Hill estate in Albany, NY. He was put up to the crime by Whipple’s wife Elsie, with whom Strang was having an affair. Elsie even provided Strang with the gun he used, which she stole from her soon-to-be-late husband.

To add insult to (fatal) injury, John Whipple — wise to his wife’s affair and fearing an attempt on his life — actually loaded the murder weapon with the bullet that would kill him.

After the shooting, Strang ran to a local store in an attempt to establish an alibi. The police saw through his alibi and arrested him for the murder. He promptly ratted out Elsie, who was then arrested as well. Strang was eventually convicted of murder and sentenced to death. He was executed in the last public hanging in Albany’s history. Elsie Whipple was found not guilty and released.

Wikipedia: Murder at Cherry Hill

Historic Cherry Hill

this day in crime history: march 10, 1980

HT

On this date in 1980, Dr. Herman Tarnower, creator of the Scarsdale Diet, was shot and killed in his home in Purchase, NY. Tarnower’s killer was Jean Harris, headmistress of the prestigious Madeira School in McLean, VA. Harris had been in a romantic relationship with Tarnower since 1966. Harris was upset with Tarnower when she discovered he was also having an affair with a secretary in his office.

At trial, Harris claimed she had gone to Tarnower’s house to commit suicide, and that Tarnower was accidentally shot while trying to take the gun from her. The jury didn’t buy it. She was convicted of 2nd degree murder and sentenced to 15 years to life in prison. Her sentence was commuted by Governor Mario Cuomo. She was released in 1993. She died in December 2012 at the age of 89.

Further reading:

Wikipedia – Herman Tarnower

NY Post“Jean Harris, killer of Scarsdale diet doctor Herman Tarnower, dies at 89”

this day in crime history: may 7, 1827


On this date in 1827, farmhand Jesse Strang murdered John Whipple at the Cherry Hill estate in Albany, NY. He was put up to the crime by Whipple’s wife Elsie, with whom Strang was having an affair. Elsie even provided Strang with the gun he used, which she stole from her soon-to-be-late husband.

To add insult to (fatal) injury, John Whipple — wise to his wife’s affair and fearing an attempt on his life — actually loaded the murder weapon with the bullet that would kill him.

After the shooting, Strang ran to a local store in an attempt to establish an alibi. The police saw through his alibi and arrested him for the murder. He promptly ratted out Elsie, who was then arrested as well. Strang was eventually convicted of murder and sentenced to death. He was executed in the last public hanging in Albany’s history. Elsie Whipple was found not guilty and released.

Wikipedia: Murder at Cherry Hill

Historic Cherry Hill

this day in crime history: march 10, 1980

HT

On this date in 1980, Dr. Herman Tarnower, creator of the Scarsdale Diet, was shot and killed in his home in Purchase, NY. Tarnower’s killer was Jean Harris, headmistress of the prestigious Madeira School in McLean, VA. Harris had been in a romantic relationship with Tarnower since 1966. Harris was upset with Tarnower when she discovered he was also having an affair with a secretary in his office.

At trial, Harris claimed she had gone to Tarnower’s house to commit suicide, and that Tarnower was accidentally shot while trying to take the gun from her. The jury didn’t buy it. She was convicted of 2nd degree murder and sentenced to 15 years to life in prison. Her sentence was commuted by Governor Mario Cuomo. She was released in 1993. She died in December 2012 at the age of 89.

Further reading:

Wikipedia – Herman Tarnower

NY Post“Jean Harris, killer of Scarsdale diet doctor Herman Tarnower, dies at 89”

this day in crime history: may 7, 1827


On this date in 1827, farmhand Jesse Strang murdered John Whipple at the Cherry Hill estate in Albany, NY. He was put up to the crime by Whipple’s wife Elsie, with whom Strang was having an affair. Elsie even provided Strang with the gun he used, which she stole from her soon-to-be-late husband.

To add insult to (fatal) injury, John Whipple–wise to his wife’s affair and fearing an attempt on his life–actually loaded the murder weapon with the bullet that would kill him.

After the shooting, Strang ran to a local store in an attempt to establish an alibi. The police saw through his alibi and arrested him for the murder. He promptly ratted out Elsie, who was then arrested as well. Strang was eventually convicted of murder and sentenced to death. He was executed in the last public hanging in Albany’s history. Elsie Whipple was found not guilty and released.

Wikipedia: Murder at Cherry Hill

Historic Cherry Hill

this day in crime history: march 10, 1980

HT

On this date in 1980, Dr. Herman Tarnower, creator of the Scarsdale Diet, was shot and killed in his home in Purchase, NY. Tarnower’s killer was Jean Harris, headmistress of the prestigious Madeira School in McLean, VA. Harris had been in a romantic relationship with Tarnower since 1966. Harris was upset with Tarnower when she discovered he was also having an affair with a secretary in his office.

At trial, Harris claimed she had gone to Tarnower’s house to commit suicide, and that Tarnower was accidentally shot while trying to take the gun from her. The jury didn’t buy it. She was convicted of 2nd degree murder and sentenced to 15 years to life in prison. Her sentence was commuted by Governor Mario Cuomo. She was released in 1993. She died in December 2012 at the age of 89.

Further reading:

Wikipedia – Herman Tarnower

NY Post“Jean Harris, killer of Scarsdale diet doctor Herman Tarnower, dies at 89”