1832 · Philadelphia
Lucretia, "past forty and buxom," and Lino, a young boarder who claimed to be the son of the Spanish governor of California, became lovers; a decision was reached to rid themselves of Lucretia's inconvenient husband. "Five weeks after he arrived Lino purchased a quarter of a pound of arsenic from a Philadelphia druggist, explaining that he used it in stuffing birds. The following day Mr. Chapman was taken ill; four days later he was dead." Soon thereafter the lovers "were quietly married in New York...Almost immediately the true character of the Spanish adventurer came out, with the disappearance of the family silver and other obvious signs of his chicanery." His activities came to the attention of the police, who decided to investigate Mr. Chapman's death. They discovered that "he was heavily dosed with arsenic" and arrested them both.
This book contains all the material on Lucretia's trial. Lino was tried separately, convicted, and executed. Lucretia was acquitted. "It is difficult to tell whether they had acted in concert in the murder; at least the jury gave her the benefit of the doubt" [quotations from McDade].
McDade 169. Cohen 12416. (Inventory #: 32548)