This is exactly right. This story contains adult content and language, listener discretion is advised.
It's all of our greatest fear is that some terrible act of violence takes away those we love or affects ourselves.
There was a spectacular cannonade at dawn in Brooklyn, daybreak in Manhattan brought fish horns, fireworks and drums. At seven o'clock, the military units mustered for a huge parade on Broadway.
The Belfry at Trinity Church in lower Manhattan rang with patriotic tunes like Red, White and Blue and Yankee Doodle. New Yorkers filled their picnic baskets with iced tea, pot roast and sour dough rolls. This was New York City. It was the Fourth of July 1870. The city's corrupt kingmaker was William Boss Tweed. He presided over speeches inside a massive red brick building called Tammany Hall in Union Square.
And just a few blocks away, Edward Roloff stood up from his desk. The academic shuffled around two rented rooms above a dry goods store on Third Avenue in Irving Place. It had been more than 25 years since his life was derailed. A quarter of a century since he killed his wife and child, he had served a decade long sentence, only to be jailed once again before escaping, being recaptured and then finally walking away from Tompkins County legally. He was a failed academic, though he still had hope his manuscript would be finished in less than a year.
In a wisdom had served Edward well into middle age, but the past two decades had taught him a truly vital lesson to remain discreet.
Edward was infatuated with Manhattan. He called it his true home. Historian Esther Crane says that the city was able to offer Edward incredible opportunities. I'm sure that the first thing that he realized is that the city is growing its building. Pretty soon it's going to be, you know, a world class city on par with London and Paris. And I think that he senses this great destiny for New York. Gilded Age Manhattan was the perfect place for a charismatic scholar hoping to reinvent his troubled life.
I think in New York at the time, if you talked a good game and you had the right look, people would trust you. People wanted to be with the movers and shakers. If you appeared like a mover and shaker, then people would gravitate towards you even if you were a complete fraud or perhaps a killer.
Inside his apartment in Irving Place, Edward Rudolph could barely hear the cacophony of cheers erupting from the streets below. The fireworks had faded hours earlier. He rubbed his tired eyes. He refused food. He shunned alcohol and tobacco, and he wore little clothing he actually preferred to write in the nude. I'm assuming he liked feeling unrestricted.
His partners, Al Jarvis and Billy Dexter, left the apartment in the evening. They returned the next morning with bags full of potatoes stolen from the fields on the outskirts of Brooklyn.
They filled more bags with Cole stolen from the yards of dealers. In just a few days, Edward would turn 51, but thanks to decades of intense study and chronic worry, he just seems so much older he rarely took breaks from writing only short walks to libraries. Edward would later tell journalist Hamilton Freeman, I seldom went out and never took any recreation. It was constant study, study and work. I thought I saw the bottom of my labors and the fruit of my genuine toil.
Some mornings, Edwards landlady nudged him awake at his desk, just like his mother had 40 years earlier, he thumbed through his manuscript, the same one that was rejected last year by those language experts at the convention. They called him an arrogant quack, but his theory was much more developed now. Edward wrote things which are opposite in meaning, are named from the same roots in which the elements are reversed. Take the words stir and rest, for example, the meanings of which are opposites in stir.
The root is composed of s t, r and rest. These are reversed r. S t. Cornell University linguistics professor Michael Weiss says Edwards theory was extensive and it would have intrigued any language expert in the 1930s.
If you were able to follow his logic and the way things work, then you would understand that all languages are in some sense constructed. And that would make the study of language and the learning of language easier in some sense. And that would be valuable in the 19th century. It would have been valuable. Yeah, Edward literally wept over his own brilliance, sobbing at his desk. He was fixated on his theory. But he still needed money to live in Manhattan, Jarvis and Dexter were constantly being arrested for theft, and Edward always acted as their attorney using an alias again.
Of course, four years earlier, robbers had stolen silk from a factory on 34th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues. They killed a security guard by beating him to death. The robbers clearly resemble Dexter and Jarvis, but there wasn't any definitive proof it must have been an uncertain life for two young men anxious for wealth and hoping to please their mentor.
On that Fourth of July night in 1870, Edward Rudolph and Al Jarvis were planning their next heist. They would target a dry goods store the following month in Binghamton, about 50 miles south of Ithaca. Edward was hoping to sneak into the same countryside where he was suspected of committing four murders in one family. It was a ludicrous plan, almost certainly a death wish. But remember, Edward was an expert at becoming a new person. He felt confident that he would never be recognized.
The Scots had spent the past decade living in fear of Edward Rohloff, they thought a man possessed by the devil would certainly seek revenge on the people who had sent him to prison.
Craig Scott says he understands their concern and he wasn't so far away from him.
He could have come up there and, you know, taken out a bunch of them if he really wanted to. He had this ongoing hatred for the family.
A lot had happened to the Scots since Edward left for New York City in 1860. Some had married, others had children.
And the patriarch of the family, John Scott, had died in 1868 at the age of 82.
It was devastating for the family. He had been beloved. Someone wrote a poem about his final days spent napping beneath a large tree on Brookfield Farm. It said he is leaning back in his old rush chair and the light breeze tosses his snowy hair, his will worn hands crossed beneath his breast and near him. His old dog watches his rest.
Cathy Chadwick says that he was the guiding light of the family.
John Scott used to tell his children, See, my dears, you are descended from the moon. A local newspaper printed a long obituary, it said Mr. Scott was a man of far more than ordinary intellectual culture. He possessed a good memory and studious habits. He was well versed in the current news and of the literature of the day. John Scott was a moral man with good character, but he died fearing that Edward Rudolph would never be punished for killing Amelia Amiel, Harriet and Priscilla.
If Edward had just been more like his father in law than his obituary might have sounded very similar.
But Edward Rule Off was destined for a very different type of legacy.
When Al Jarvis asked Edward to join him on their big heist in Binghamton, Edwards should have said no. He should have remembered his oath to stay discreet. Jarvis and Dexter had already robbed silk merchants in that town several times. But Al insisted. And so the fiend of the Finger Lakes, as Edward was called, hopped on a train on the Erie Railway. He was nervous about another visit to New York's countryside. They bored holes into the wood and the bolts, securing the door to the back of Halibuts Brother's dry goods store released easily.
It was between one and two o'clock in the morning. On August 17th, 1870, the Shenango River was to their backs.
The three men had spent hours casing the warehouse, squatting nearby.
There were two clerks who spent each night inside the building guarding its precious silk merchandise, or certainly asleep.
By now, Edward Jarvis and Dexter each pulled on face masks. Edward's long gray beard peeked out through the bottom of his. They quietly enter the back of the store and hid in the basement. Edward looked up and spotted the Clarks asleep in beds at the front of the store up a flight of stairs. He slipped off his patent leather Oxford shoes.
Dexter crept up the stairs and pulled out a bottle of chloroform. He put it near the mouths of the clerks and they fell into a deeper sleep. Jarvis and Dexter silently wrapped up two or three packages of silk worth about 1500 dollars and left them at the back door. The men were feeling bolder.
They strolled around the building, collecting socks. Silk's Edward watched the clerk sleep. One of them, Frederick Merrick, was turning frequently. It made the old thief nervous. Edward ordered Dexter to administer more chloroform, but it was too late. Both men set up. The five men stared at each other and it actually took a moment for them to understand what was happening.
Frederick Merrick sprang up yelling, Whoo hoo! He grabbed for his pistol, which was nearby. He fired twice but missed. He then snatched a wooden stool and threw it at the burglars as they raced down the stairs. The other clerk, Gilbert Burrows, grabbed the smallest thief, Billy Dexter, and threw him to the ground. He slammed an iron box opener against Dexter's eye and he screamed out in pain, begging for help. Burroughs screamed Americ to come tie up Dexter.
But when Merritt reached the stairs, Al Jarvis tried to overpower him. It didn't work. Merrick fought back and forced the burglar backward.
Burroughs ran over to help Merric and stared at the old man.
Merrick reached out and yanked off his mask. This was one of the most exciting stories that Edward would share with Hamilton Freeman, he described being overpowered by the clerks. Merrick acted like a perfect demon, said Edward. He paid no regard to what I said, but kept making a noise like a wild beast. Edward then imitated the noise. Kind of a grunting. Edwards somehow found the pistol he fired four times at the clerk, but missed. One bullet hit the wooden banister, causing it to splinter, the shard flew into Burrows face and blood gushed from his cheek.
He screamed that he was shot. Merrick looked up at Burroughs with shock.
Then he felt something pressed against his neck before he knew what happened. Frederick Merrick was gasping for breath. Burroughs stared at Edward Roloff holding a pistol. Merrick's limp body dropped to the ground dead at just 18 years old. Binghamton historian Gerald Smith counts this as yet another tragedy caused by Edward Rohloff, they sleep near the store, they hear know ruckus.
They're just innocent bystanders will get caught up.
Edward told Dexter and Jarvis, come on, we've done enough.
They ran down the stairs and through the back door toward the river just a few yards away. Both Dexter and Jarvis were wounded. Burroughs raced to the front of the store. He flung open the doors and cried murder so loudly that all of Binghamton heard. Edward panicked and he dragged the young men toward the water. The only thing they could do was swim.
Burrow's cries awoke the chief of police, who just happened to be sleeping in a hotel across the street from the store. The fire bells blared, signaling an emergency, all five police officers in the town reported to the front of the store. In the darkness of the countryside, the three robbers approached the river, Dexter took several steps back. He was petrified. He couldn't swim, he told the other men. And as I was swollen and bleeding, there was so much blood that he just couldn't see.
But Jarvis insisted that this section of the river was just a few inches deep. He could walk across. They could hear footsteps and yelling, the police were running toward the rear of the store and they really had no choice. All three waded into the river. The water immediately pulled them under. Al Jarvis was wrong. It was over their heads. Billy Dexter began to sink.
Edward described his death to Hamilton Freeman. He clutched hold of me and come near taking me down with him. He sank it once and I do not think he came up again. Jarvis screamed for help and Edward responded. He swam toward him, but his protege sank just feet away. He made a gurgling sound and that was it. Hamilton later reported that Edward cried like a child and rocked back and forth. I loved that boy more than any other human being on the face of the earth, Edward said.
And to see him die right before my face in such a manner and I was unable to save him. My God, it was too bad. Those hysterics were likely an act, just another way to seduce Hamilton Freeman for a favor later on. Historian Gerald Smith doesn't believe one word of Edward's version of the river crossing.
Why did they suddenly drown? And he didn't? I can get away because it's now I'd be traveling by myself instead of three. Three's too many.
He's ruthless enough to know that. Don't leave any witnesses. Yeah, I might agree with him. Edward reached the shore on the other side of the river, he heard a bell begin to strike another fire alarm. Someone screamed for a doctor. A surgeon was trying to save Frederick Merrick's life on the floor of the store. As more alarms blared, Edwards stumbled through a yard searching for a tree where he had hidden the burglars tools. Edward was a mess soaked clothes and matted black and gray hair, and he was missing his shoes.
He had taken them off to sneak around the warehouse in silence. Several people passed by Edward and asked about the location of the fire at Halberd store. He feebly replied No one suspected he was involved. He must have just seemed like a harmless old man. Little did they know. Edward ran into the woods, found an abandoned house and sat there waiting. For what he wasn't sure. His luck was waning, even he had to admit that he might not escape the hangman's noose this time, and he was certain that if they only knew what he had done, those townspeople would have killed him.
And he was right. Gerald Smith explains why the murder of a store clerk was so shocking in Binghamton in 1870.
It's not that we hadn't had murders here, but not a murder like that. The murders that had taken place were the acts of passion. The husband kills his wife because she's stepping out on him. You know, it's just a fever pitch and it's they're isolated.
The next morning, all of Binghamton knew about the botched robbery and the death of the young man, Frederick Merrick. Just about the entire town began to search for his killers. The surviving clerk, Gilbert Burrows, had given the sheriff detailed descriptions of the three robbers. And investigators had a curious clue. One of the killers left behind a pair of leather shoes and one of them was a bit unusual. Early that Friday, several men gathered on the Bank of the River.
They squinted in the sunlight at two large objects lodged against the pillars of the court street bridge. They sent for a rowboat and a fisherman. The man cast out his line and snared something horrible. Dead body, he yelled, and he soon hooked the second corpse. Al Jarvis and William Dexter were reunited that day on the Bank of the River, one had lost an eye thanks to the fisherman's hook. A photographer snapped photos of the men laying side by side on wooden planks.
Their clothes were disheveled. Their faces were pale and bloated. The surviving clerks stared at the smaller corpse. He recognized Billy Dexter, whose eyes still had a gash above it. From the fight. The sheriff's deputies peered down. They had caught two of the three burglars. By this time, a crowd of nearly 200 people had gathered on the shore. The townspeople began a volley of cheers as the bodies were searched.
New York City reporter scoffed at the ghastly scene as townspeople cleared of the bodies. It was disgusting. One journalist wrote, Nearly every citizen, woman, schoolboy, little girl and small dog marched by the remains. A young man, a local reporter stood near the rest of the press, he scribbled notes on his pad. He introduced himself to the deputy as Hamilton Freeman, the publisher of the newspaper, the Democratic leader. He had not yet sat down with the infamous Edward Russell off to pen his life story that was still a few months away.
For now, Hamilton Freeman was standing on the riverbank following a sensational story in his hometown. He silently watched the officers searched Dexter and Jarvis. They turned out their pockets and when the contents spilled out, just about everyone was puzzled. Laying on the ground was a glazier. Diamonds used to cut glass, a metal bit used for boring holes and snippets of poetry. One of the men also carried a nautical journal and a copy of a popular fortunetelling book.
It's a little ironic. The New York Times began publishing stories about the mystery for the next few months, as did newspapers around the country. Gilbert Burrows insisted that there was a third suspect, a man who made it across the river alive. Details emerged about Merrick's death inside the store. Investigators described how the clerk's blood and brains were splattered across elegant reams of costly silk. And now a third killer was missing and probably not far from Binghamton. It was a sensational murder with a sensational murder.
The entire town armed itself and waited. Let me tell you about a brand new show on the abscessed network. It's called Crimes of the Centuries, and it's a new true crime podcast from award winning reporter Amber Hunt. Each week, Amber takes a deep dive into one of these crimes. You know, crime is so commonplace that it takes something really shocking and horrifying to be labeled the crime of the century. But even so, so many of these crimes have been forgotten or lost to history.
Not anymore. This is my kind of podcast. And Amber is actually interviewed me and she was fantastic. You guys are going to love her. Let me tell you about some of these stories. There's one about a 220 year old murder that brought together Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr as lawyers for the defense. You'll learn about Jazz Age, thrill killers, this murdering grandmother, serial killers you've never heard of and so many more crimes of the centuries rediscovers the true crime stories that shocked the nation, cases so unbelievable that we thought we'd never forget them, but somehow did until now.
Hear these stories right now by finding and subscribing to crimes of the centuries, wherever you get your podcasts. Binghamton farmer Chauncey Livingstone loathed thieves, they were always poking around his orchard at night, hoping to swipe an apple. So Livingstone had taken to sitting on his front porch late into the evening, holding a pipe in one hand and a pistol in the other.
This was the second night of the search for the third burglar, and Livingstone sat and smoked while he stared at his outhouse just on the other side of his yard. The door was open and there was a shadow cast by the light of the moon. It seemed too dark to the farmer. He slowly walked over cocked his pistol and stepped inside the outhouse.
He found an older man crouched in the corner, holding his breath to stay silent. It was probably the least dignified hiding place that any academic could have chosen, Edward Rudolph stood up, raised his hands and calmly introduced himself.
I'm Charles Augustus. Remember, there were no national ID cards, no way to really know who he was, but Livingstone didn't really care.
He quickly turned the man over to the sheriff. And at the Binghamton jail, Edward offered several more aliases while denying any involvement in the murder. Deputies were interviewing a host of other ne'er do wells. And, of course, they all wanted to blame someone else for Frederick Merrick's death. The sheriff took Edward by the arm and led him down to the basement of the courthouse.
He pushed the suspect toward two bodies on the ground, a pair of bloated, mangled men. Edwards stared down a Billy Dexter and Al Jarvis. They're the only two people that had stayed by his side for more than a decade through poverty and prison. The young men had pledged loyalty to him, however misguided it was at the time. Edwards stood at their feet as the sheriff asked if he had ever seen them before, he paused.
This was his chance to give these bodies real names to do the moral thing. Now, he firmly replied. He asked to see their bodies from a different angle and looked from the top of their heads down. He showed no nerves, just unshakable confidence. Now the sheriff worried if he could hold any of the suspects without more evidence. Prosecutors quickly convened a grand jury to indict each suspect before the panel of jurors. Edward once again used an alias and feigned innocence.
And honestly, he wasn't any more suspicious than any of the other suspects were. Edward smiled. He would walk out of a courthouse, a free man once again. But then he heard a voice, a very familiar voice. You are Edward Ruoff. Edwards swung around to see an older man with wide eyes, he was pointing his finger and becoming more excited, Edwards shook his head. The prosecutor looked at Edwards and then back to the alarmed man.
You murdered your wife and child in Lansing in 1845. Edward might have denied it all, but there was a problem. The man yelling at him was a judge from Ithaca. In fact, he was one of the three judges who had decided that there was not enough evidence to try Edward for the murder of his wife 12 years earlier. Judge Ransome Balcom. By now, the judge was frantic. He knew what Edward was capable of doing in a courtroom.
Judge Balcom warned the jury this man understands his rights better than you do and will defend them to the last. Edward glared at Balcomb and Undaunted, admitted to the jury that he was, in fact, Edward Rohloff. But he had an excellent reason for lying, he told the panel. Knowing my misfortunes in this portion of New York, you can understand why I was anxious being here accidentally when a murder was committed, he denied killing the clerk. He was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Edward even apologized for wasting the court's time. The jury believed Edwards and so did the prosecutor, Judge Balcom was incensed Edwar brushoff was released. He smiled yet again. He had squirmed out of a murder trial that might have ended with his neck in a noose. He had saved himself again. Edward began to walk out of town quickly. But just after he left, there was another remarkable coincidence, someone remembered a strange fact about Edward Ruoff.
He was missing the big toe on his left foot thanks to frostbite from when he was on the run in Pennsylvania, a very unexpected detail that was very, very important.
Those funny patent leather Oxford shoes found in Halberd store still needed an owner.
Why was there a rag shoved inside one of them? Perhaps he was the owner. Perhaps he was the killer. A posse went in search of Edward, and he was captured just east of the town.
The sheriff shoved him into a cell and forced him to put on both shoes.
Of course, they fit perfectly.
Binghamton was aghast and would rule off. The vile murderer had crept into their town at night and killed again. I think it was the tone of the murder suddenly hears a murder and a robbery.
And this guy who had been accused of murdering his wife and daughter and dumping their bodies in the lake, he'd been in several prisons. He'd passed himself off under various aliases, God knows how many robberies between Pennsylvania and New York and elsewhere.
Now, the D.A. had a case, though, a weak one, just like in Edwards previous trial.
By now, word had traveled to the Scotts farm about Edward's arrest. And by the time they arrived in Binghamton, they were elated, says Craig Scott. Finally, when he got arrested in Binghamton and they found out about that, they were very happy. I'm sure they felt like we finally got him. We're going to do this.
Edward was calm and composed throughout his pretrial hearing in August, with just one exception.
As he sat on the stand answering basic questions, the prosecutor pointed to his former mother in law, Hanna Scott. She was in her 70s now and she hadn't seen him in almost 15 years. The prosecutor asked if Edward recognized Hanna. He squinted and said he wasn't sure because she was sitting too far away. The D.A. offered Hanna his arm and they walked over to the stand, she stood in front of Edward and stared. He squirmed and avoided her gaze, his face went flush and his breathing was labored and loud, he was having a panic attack, if I'm not mistaken, he said.
It is Mrs. Scutt. She glared at him and returned to her seat in the galley. He shifted in the chair and looked down. It was the only emotion he had shown during the entire trial, and it was enough to convince the family and the jurors of Edwards guilt. The police were tasked with connecting the two men to their new suspect. So the prosecutor called the NYPD for help. The small town district attorney traveled from Binghamton to Manhattan to meet an eager young detective named Philip Ryley.
The detectives studied the contents of the pockets of Dexter and Jarvis, there were scraps of paper with names, keys and other bits of information. Detective Riley spent days tracing Edwards life through New York. He followed his trail meticulously. He met some of his other accomplices, including the Irishwoman, who fence their stolen socks.
And when he finally located the apartment on Third Avenue, he uncovered evidence of the criminal conspiracy between Edward Jarvis and Dexter.
It was everything the D.A. needed to charge Edward with murder. The link between Edward Wolf and the pair of bodies in the river was now solidified, and while the Scotts were relieved he was finally in prison after 25 years, they were also furious Edwards should have been hanged for Harriet and Priscilla's murderers. Decades earlier, they would tell each other his trouble. Watch them. He's he's not well, it's almost like PTSD for the entire community.
And they didn't hang him. And he went on to kill someone else. Yes. Christmas Day was glorious for much of New York City at midnight, the bells of the old Trinity Church in lower Manhattan exalted the full rich chimes in a joyous peel, the sweet tones echoed throughout the dark and otherwise silent streets of the city's immigrant community.
New Yorkers packed outdoor markets down on Fulton in lower Manhattan and Washington Square on the West Side. Patrons elbowed each other to buy freshly killed deer, rabbit, poultry and fish.
It was a Mary season for so many New Yorkers, but not for Edward Rudolph, he spent the day sitting in the Binghamton jail, though strangely he was doing exactly what he would be doing as a free man. Writing Edwards murder trial was set for January of 1871. The date was quickly approaching, and instead of plotting his defense, he frantically wrote notes on his theory. The people of Tompkins County, particularly the Scotts, felt a bit more at ease this Christmas.
They took comfort knowing that Edward was locked up, but there was still that nagging fear that once again he would escape justice. Harriet's mother, Hannah Scott, had died just a few weeks after she confronted Edward in court. Clearly she had shaken him, but the emotional trial, it was just too much for her fragile health.
She died without seeing her son in law hanged for killing four members of her family.
By January of 1871, Edward had reached international status, newspapers around the world simply titled their front page stories, The Rule of Trial. No first name was needed. He was the brilliant killer who thwarted justice three times. Would there be a fourth? Readers wondered. Each day of the trial, the courthouse in Binghamton was ringed with buggies and crowded with people, all angling to look at the aged savant. His younger brothers provided ample funds for a well-known defense attorney.
George Becker begged Edward to let him handle the questioning, but the accused was dismayed as he listened to the evidence in any way. He rarely took advice, especially good advice.
So Edward demanded to question the first witness, the surviving clerk, Gilbert Burrows. He tried to test Burrowes memory of that night and the identity of the man who shot Frederick Merrick. And by this time, the dead clerk had been painted as a martyr in the New York City press.
I saw him square in the face when he went downstairs after he shot Merrick and come towards me and Sister Boros. By good light. Edward asked, you know what the light was, replied Burrow's with a sneer. The courtroom erupted with applause, a general uproar that was quickly stopped by the judge.
Edward ignored the outburst and showed little emotion throughout the trial until a key piece of evidence was submitted. His manuscript, witnesses in court reported that he held it with unusual emotion. One person said that he seemed to almost fondle it like a great treasure. Edward looked up at the judge.
He said, There is the proof, Your Honor, that my occupation does not send me around the country breaking open stores. There is a book that 500 men in ten years cannot produce. The manuscript was his alibi. Every second of his day was devoted to it, he said, and there was literally no time left for him to rob. It was an interesting defense, one befitting a man obsessed with his own ideas. As the DIA's evidence came spilling out, it became clear to Edwards defense team that they needed to switch strategies.
They began to argue self-defense, that Frederick Merrick was viciously attacking Al Jarvis.
So Edward had to defend his friend. The jury took hours debating behind a locked door, townspeople feared that Edward would escape a death sentence by being convicted of a lesser charge, just like what happened in the trial of his wife's murder. Edward might even escape without jail time. And that was a thought that frightened just about everyone in upstate New York. Rumors spread across Binghamton that a lynch mob was forming.
William Scott boasted that he was prepared to unleash a group of 200 men on the jail where Edward was being held.
The minister of the First Presbyterian Church in Binghamton advocated for vengeance if secular justice didn't prevail.
Historian H.W. Brands says that often religious leaders had a bigger impact on the views of a community than political leaders.
Did that part of upstate New York, and especially parts even farther west, were famous or notorious for their religious revivals that swept through New York, sometimes called the Bernt over District, because religious passion would burn over this place time after time. Finally, after five hours, the jurors reached a verdict. Guilty of first degree murder and sentenced to hang in March. Edwards sat back in his chair for a moment out of exhaustion, but soon afterward he marched back to his cell.
He lit his gas lamp, opened his manuscript and began to write. He now had just two months to finish it. Meanwhile, Edwards could hear the men building the gallows just outside his cell. They were preparing for a massive crowd. They built a fence around the gallows so the masses couldn't see. Maybe they were joyous because they knew the guy was going to be killed. He was going to be executed. They are bringing justice into their community. Now, the newspapers were full of stories of rule of the murderer, a monster of unequalled monstrosity, wrote one paper.
He'd been convicted of just one murder. But Edwards reputation was that of a modern day serial killer. Though there were no bodies, the townspeople gossiped about the deaths of his wife and daughter. Surely he poisoned his sister in law and her newborn, though there was no definitive proof. Reporters speculated that Edwards deliberately drowned Dexter and Jarvis. He never would talk to anybody while he was in the jail.
You know, the newspapers would try to go and get an interview. I guess that basically got one.
There was one journalist that had earned Edwards trust his only confidant as he awaited execution in January of 1871.
Edwards shook Hamilton Freeman's hand for the first time inside the Binghamton jail. That's when their relationship began. Almost 30 years after he murdered his wife. Pam took notes as Edwards sat with him, retelling his life story.
Starting just one day after his conviction, the reporter felt uneasy. Hamm heard chanting outside of the jail cell. Crucify him, crucify him.
This is Moses on the mount and the sea splitting and God is powerful and will bring justice down upon you. But Edward Rudolph had one last clever trick a final chance to escape the gallows. His brain would save his life, and it would also prove just how valuable he really was.
But first, he needed Hamilton Freeman's help. On the final episode of this season of Tenfold More Wicked, there can be something very seductive about neurobiological information in the courtroom.
Juries looking for a simple understanding of terrible behaviors can be very drawn into that.
Families of the people who suffered death at the hands of this guy had every right to be outraged. Just because somebody is intelligent or even brilliant doesn't mean that we should excuse their conduct.
That's it. What does it say? Wife of young. So that's the gravestone.
If you love historical true crime, be sure to order my book, American Sherlock. It's about a real life Sherlock Holmes who solved some of the most gruesome murders in the 1920s. This has been an exactly right and ten fold more media production producers Jason Whaling and Laura Sobell, sound designer. Eric Friend, composer. Curtis Heath artwork. Nick Todger, executive producers Georgia Howard Stark, Karen Kilgariff and Danielle Cramer follow us on Instagram and Facebook at tenfold more wicked and on Twitter at tenfold more.
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