A Murder on Halloween

Peter & Betty Fabiano

Peter & Betty Fabiano

It was late on Halloween night of 1957 in Los Angeles.  Beauty shop owner, Peter Fabiano and his wife, Betty were turning out all the lights in their home to go to bed for the night when their doorbell rang.  Mr. Fabiano went downstairs to answer the door, thinking it was a late trick-or-treater.  Mrs. Fabiano, still upstairs, heard her husband ask “Isn’t it late for this sort of thing?”  There was a muffled reply followed by a loud pop and then a thump.  As Betty ran downstairs she heard the squeal of tires on pavement as a vehicle sped off.  She found her husband sprawled on the floor, bleeding from a gunshot wound to the chest.  Mrs. Fabiano called for help, but unfortunately her husband died on the way to the hospital.

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Murderer Sentenced to Hang Walks Away a Free Man

Frank L. Dinsmore mug shot

Frank L. Dinsmore mug shot

Frank L. Dinsmore spent only 19 years in the Nebraska State Penitentiary after being found guilty for the murder of his wife and his roommate.

Apart from murder, this case includes adultery, claims of hypnotic powers, a failed attempt on Dinsmore’s own life, a commuted death sentence and then the whole case being pardoned by the Governor and Dinsmore walking away a free man once again.

Dinsmore worked for the Omaha Elevator company, a job that required frequent travel, therefore he didn’t own his own home.  He and his wife, Lillian, boarded with the Laue family in Odessa, Nebraska.

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Missing Boy Found…Or Was He?

The boy who grew up as Bobby Dunbar.

The boy who grew up as Bobby Dunbar.

Bobby Dunbar was a four year old boy from Louisiana who disappeared on a fishing trip while with his family in 1912.  After months of searching, detectives believed they had found the boy and returned him to his parents.  Years later with the development of DNA technology, the descendants of Bobby Dunbar were in for quite the shock.

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What Was the Fate of the Five Sodder Children?

From left: Maurice (14), Martha (12), Louis (10), Jennie (8), Betty (6)

From left: Maurice (14), Martha (12), Louis (10), Jennie (8), Betty (6)

On Christmas Eve of 1945 in Fayetteville, West Virginia, George and Jennie Sodder had been celebrating the Christmas season with nine of their ten children.  Their son, Joe, was away in the Army.  As the night grew later George retired for the night to bed followed shortly after by his sons John (23) and George Jr. (16).  When Jennie decided it was time for the rest of the children to go to bed, they pleaded with her to stay up and play with their toys that their older sister, Marian (17), had gotten for them.  After her children promised her that they would get a few chores done before bed, Jennie agreed to let them continue playing and then took her youngest child, Sylvia (3) to bed with her.

The phone ringing awoke Jennie a little past midnight.  Jennie answered the phone and a woman asked to speak to someone Jennie didn’t know.  When Jennie told her she had the wrong number the woman laughed and hung up.  Jennie thought this was just a prank call and didn’t give it much thought.  She then noticed that the lights were still on in the house and the doors were unlocked.  She found this unusual because her kids were normally very good about attending to these things before bed.  She turned off the lights, locked the doors and went back to sleep.

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The Disappearance of Jean Elizabeth Spangler

jean spanglerJean Elizabeth Spangler was born in Seattle, Washington on September 2, 1923 and was an American dancer, model, and bit-part actress in Hollywood films and early television.  She mysteriously disappeared on October 7, 1949 at the age of 26.

Spangler was a divorcee and had a daughter, Christine Louise Benner, with her ex-husband Dexter Benner.  Christine was born April 22, 1944 and was five years old at the time of her mother’s disappearance.  When the divorce was finalized, Dexter was given custody of Christine partly because of Jean’s infidelity during the marriage and also because he claimed she put her partying lifestyle ahead of the needs of her daughter.  Dexter denied Jean the right to see her daughter many times.  It’s also been said that Dexter threatened Jean, saying he could make it to where she would never see her daughter again.  Jean took him to court and  after a long custody battle, Jean won custody of Christine in 1948.  The judge had ruled that Jean’s questionable behavior was in the past and that the little girl’s place was with her mother.

On October 7, 1949, Spangler left her home in Los Angeles where she lived with her mother and daughter at about 5 pm.  Spangler’s mother was out of town at the time visiting family.  Spangler left her daughter in the care of her sister-in-law, Sophie, and told her that she was going to meet with Dexter to talk about a late child support payment and then she was going to do work on a movie set.

A clerk at a store near Jean’s home is the last person believed to have seen her.  The clerk said that it appeared Jean was waiting for someone.  There has been no confirmed sightings of her since.

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AMY ARCHER-GILLIGAN, NURSING HOME KILLER

Amy Archer-Gilligan“Sister” Amy Duggan Archer-Gilligan was born in Milton, Connecticut October of 1868.  She was the owner of a nursing home and a serial killer.  She was proven to have murdered at least five people, possibly many more.

Amy was the eighth child of ten born to James Duggan and Mary Kennedy.  She was educated at the Milton School and then the New Britain Normal School in 1890.

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6 Year Old Tried for Murder

mahanIn Paintsville, a small eastern coal-mining town in Kentucky, Carl Newton Mahan became the youngest person ever tried for murder.

On May 18, 1929 Carl, age 6 and his friend Cecil Van Hoose, age 8, found a scrap of iron that they planned to sell to a junk dealer for a little extra money.  Cecil took the scrap from Carl and hit him in the face with it.  Carl got his revenge by running home and grabbing his father’s 12 gauge shotgun.  He ran back to Cecil, pointed the gun at him and yelled “I’m going to shoot you!”  And he did, killing the boy.

He was tried for murder, and got up on the stand to tell the court what happened.  For the rest of the day long trial he sometimes laid and slept on the defense table.  After 30 minutes of deliberation, the jury decided that manslaughter was more fitting in this case.  Carl was sentenced to 15 years at a reform school and released to his parents on $500 bail.

A circuit judge issued a “writ of prohibition” that kept the boy from being sent to reform school because it was against procedure to try a person of that age in front of a jury so the jury had no authority to convict.  Ultimately Carl was just sent home.carl mahan

This is all I’ve been able to find on this case, but I’m very curious as what kind of life Carl Mahan lived after the trial.

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Serial Killer H.H. Holmes

H.H. Holmes

H.H. Holmes

Herman Webster Mudgett, better known as Dr. Henry Howard Holmes, was born May 16, 1861 in Gilmanton, New Hampshire.  He was one of the first recorded American serial killers.

Mudgett had a difficult childhood, growing up with a violent alcoholic father.  His mother was a devout Methodist who read the Bible to him. He claimed that, as a child, once his classmates discovered he was afraid of the local doctor they forced him to look at and touch a human skeleton.  The bullies just wanted to scare him, but some believe that instead this is where his fascination and obsession with death started.

In June of 1884 Mudgett graduated from the University of Michigan Medical School.  While attending school he stole bodies from the laboratory, disfigured them and then claimed the people were killed accidentally so he could collect insurance money from policies he took out on each deceased person.

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Frankie Silver Murders Husband in 1831

Frankie Silver

Frankie Silver

frankie drawing

Frances “Frankie” Silver was born in 1815.  She was hung in Morganton North Carolina on July 12, 1833 for killing and dimembering her husband, Charlie Silver.  She was only 18 years old at the time of her death.

Frankie married Charlie at the age of 14.  A year later she gave birth to their daughter, Nancy.  The couple’s happiness did not last for long, however.  Charlie began drinking heavily and abusing Frankie.

Just days before Christmas of 1831 Frankie reported her husband missing after he did not return from a hunting trip.  Many people residing in Mitchell County helped search for Charlie, but they never found any sign of him. Finally, Jack Cullis who was a local hunter, discovered burnt human remains in the fireplace at the Silver’s cabin in the mountains.  There were more body parts found around the property, including underneath the cabin’s floor.

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Lawson Family Murders

Charles Lawson

Charles Lawson

This is where the Lawson family lived and the location where Marie, James, Raymond and Mary Lou were murdered.

This is where the Lawson family lived and the location where Marie, James, Raymond and Mary Lou were murdered.

This is where Charles Lawson put the bodies of his daughters Carrie and Maybell.

This is the tabacco barn where Charles Lawson put the bodies of his daughters Carrie and Maybell.

The bloody scene inside the cabin.

The bloody scene inside the cabin.

Lawson FuneralCharles Davis Lawson was a tobacco farmer from Stokes County North Carolina.  He owned a farm on Brook Cove Road near Germantown.  He lived there with his wife, Fannie (37), and their seven children:

Marie (17)

Arthur (16)

Carrie (12)

Maybell (7)

James (4)

Raymond (2)

Mary Lou (4 months)

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