Sunday, August 17, 2008

Arizona: Commutation Revisited

The Arizona Republic features a fascinating piece on Winnie Ruth Judd who, at age 26, was charged with the murder of Agnes Anne LeRoi, 32, and Hedvig "Sammy" Samuelson, 24. Although Judd was married to a 56-year-old physician at the time, it was rumored that she, LeRoi and Samuelson were all vying for the affections of another man. Prosecutors argued the victims were shot while asleep. But their mutilated bodies were discovered in pieces of luggage abandoned outside Central Station in Los Angeles. Judd (aka "The Trunk Murderess" and "The Blond Butcher") was sentenced to hang, but "declared insane" at the last minute and spent almost 40 years in a State hospital. Although she escaped seven times, her death sentence was commuted to life in prison in 1952 and she was paroled in 1971, just before Christmas. Conspiracy theorists have focused on extra-marital affairs, high society connections and politics when looking back on the case. See story here.

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