Journal Posts

Tag: susan_glaspell

Case #13565
Homicide
Perseus Moon - ID No. 001049858
Case Closed: 12/12/2006
Case Reopened: 03/01/2014

I can’t even believe this is happening. The irony of this case is excruciating. Why are we even opening it up again? It’s clear that Mrs. Minnie Wright killed her husband, Mr. John Wright. She had strangled him with a rope late at night. A man named Lewis Hale showed up at the house the next morning and questioned Mrs. Wright about where her husband was and she said she that Lewis Hale could not see him, then said that he was dead. This happened 8 years ago, and the department is still up in arms about it. Mrs. Wright admitted herself that she killed her own husband. Really it’s the ladies who showed up at the department with fresh evidence that made the chief re-open the case. Mrs. Nadia Peters and Mrs. Courtney Hale arrived at the department late yesterday with information that had not been seen since the murder itself. I really feel like we should charge them with tampering and holding of evidence. They decided they couldn’t live with their actions any longer and after 8 years gave us even more to this case. It was a sewing basket with a box in it that had a dead bird.

The scene of the crime now is irrelevant due to the house burning down about 3 and a half years ago. So this case must be solved strictly by evidence. I decided it was time to reexamine the report and pictures of John Wright’s body. The strangle marks around the neck show to be concurrent with the idea that he struggled. The lacerations dug deep into the flesh at the front of the neck proving that he tried to pull away from Mrs. Wright. The pictures were of a gruesome detail and the look of horror that plagued his face is one of those things that stays in the back of your mind. I re-read the statements of Mr. Hale, Mrs. Hale, and Mrs. Peters. The investigation 8 years ago was previously handled by the late Sheriff Henry Peters and the county attorney George Henderson. Their statements show they documented the case extensively well but yielded no evidence as to what occurred that evening. All the ladies wanted to do was meander about trifles.

The ladies wanted to take items from the house during the investigation. For some reason the people in charge let them. I don’t understand why the ladies held the evidence from us in this way. I guess that’s the job of a psychologist to determine. Anyways, three days later the lab report of the bird showed that he was strangled, with a rope that had the same diameter of the rope used against Mr. Wright. Had she killed the bird to practice? I couldn’t really analyze the bird anymore so I decided to read the case report of Mr. Wright. According to the people around him he was a very harsh and angry man. But before this day Mrs. Wright was a sweet and pleasent old lady who bowed to the whim of Mr. Wright every day. I decided to bring the ladies in for questioning. If they were going to hold evidence from us, the least they could do was assist in the investigation. I commenced to ask them a series of questions.

After the interview I concluded that this bird had in fact been Mrs. Wright’s pet. She had raised it and sung with it each morning. When the investigators were speaking with them they grabbed the sewing box that the bird was placed in as to remove any evidence that could hurt her. Due to the harshness of Mr. Wright it’s what kept her sane during her life. The ladies said they felt so horrible for not stepping in and intervening while her husband was alive that the last thing they wanted to do was let her go to jail. But when the investigation had went on and she went to jail anyways, they were too scared to turn over the evidence. They believed that she had killed the bird as practice to kill Mr. Wright. I on the other hand believe that he in fact killed the bird with a small string of rope in the barn in a fit of anger. She became so upset because that was the only thing holding her to a grasp of life, so when the bird was killed the went crazy and killed her husband.

To end this case I believe that there should be no changes made to the case as it stands. Though he was mentally and perhaps a bit physically abusive she did still kill him. Therefore the case should remain a homicide case and there should be no parole.
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Case #2837: For The Love of Canary
The job of a cold-case detective can sometimes be very difficult. Evidence is harder to find and the only thing I can rely on to solve the case is the file created some time ago and any witnesses that are tied to the case. Today’s cold case was no different. Our local sheriff, Mr. Peters, came to see me with a recent cold case. He was frustrated at the lack of progress with closing this case and asked for my help. I gladly offered my help.

After he left I reviewed the case file. It seems that Mr. Wright, late husband of Mrs. Wright, had been strangled in his own bed by a rope. Mrs. Wright was named the main suspect. Some of the evidence acquired was a rope, and an empty bird cage with a broken door. Though there were no witnesses of the attack, there were a few names of local citizens who knew the couple attached to the file. I decided to interview the list of people in the file.

The first person I called in for an interview was Mrs. Peters. When she arrived I could tell that she was hiding something. I started off by asking her some questions about how she knew the Wrights and what she thought about them. All of her answers were short, like she wanted to say more but couldn’t bring herself to. I decided to bring up the bird cage. “Why was there an empty bird cage in the house?” I asked Mrs. Peters. “She had a canary” she replied. “Where is the canary?” I continued. She looked around nervously before replying, “It’s just a trifle.” “Mrs. Peters,” I said, “no evidence is a trifle. Do you know where the bird is?” She denied knowing where the bird was. “You know, obstruction of evidence is a serious law offense and can be punishable by up to 5 years in prison. Do you want that?!” I asked, frustrated. Her eyes widened and she said, “No! I’ll tell you where the bird is as long as you won’t charge us with anything.” “Us?” I questioned. “Mrs. Hale has the bird,” she continued. “She took it from the house because she didn’t want Mrs. Wright to get in any kind of trouble.”

I had Mrs. Hale brought in, along with the bird. She arrived at my office with a small box; the bird was lying dead inside of it. She had kept the bird for Mrs. Wright because she couldn’t bring herself to throw away what had once made her so happy. I sent the bird down to autopsy to figure out what happened to it. The analysis was strangulation that resulted in a broken neck. Weird, I thought. This is the way that Mr. Wright was murdered. I sent the two women home and had Mrs. Wright brought in for questioning.

Mrs. Wright came in with a nervous look. As we were sitting there she began to cry. “It’s alright, Mrs. Wright. Just tell me what happened.” She began by saying how much she loved her canary. It seemed as though she was comparing herself to the canary. She told me about the times when she used to be joyful and would sing a lot, just like the canary. “What happened to the canary?” I asked. “He…he strangled it,” she replied. “I tried to stop him!” she yelled with tears in her eyes. I asked her what happened to Mr. Wright. Hesitantly she replied, “He deserved to know how it felt. He took my happiness away from me.” I asked her again. “It was me,” she replied, “I killed him. I slipped the rope around his neck while he was asleep, knotted it, and strangled him; just like he strangled my canary.”

It all made sense now. Mrs. Wright saw herself as the canary, and when he killed it she just lost it. She was afraid that since he killed the canary, that he would do the same to her. With a confession from Mrs. Wright, the case is now solved. Mrs. Wright is set to go on trial in the next few months. She should be sent to prison for the rest of her life, unless charged with mental instability.
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Mystery Murder on the Farm
By Clark Kent

INDIANOLA -- Saturday night a horrendous murder was committed. Mr. Wright, who was a farmer, was strangled in his sleep by someone using a rope. Officials originally believed that it was a burglar or burglars who broke in, but there is no evidence of a burglary. The murderer entered the room where Mr. and Mrs. Wright sleep and strangled him. There is nobody in the area that has been found who can witness the murderer exiting the premises. After being questioned by the authorities, Mrs. Wright swore that she woke up to a slammed door and saw a flash of light and then all was calm. She said that she tried to wake up her husband but he did not respond to her, which was when she realized that he was dead.

After further investigation, it is believed that Mrs. Wright has murdered her husband. The discovered evidence is not conclusive to her guilt, but the authorities said that there was something that did not fit in her testimony.

A very suspicious circumstance to Mrs. Wright’s testimony was that she was lying in the bed at the same time her husband’s murderer snuck into the room and strangled him, but she did not wake until the murderer was exiting the home. To make things even more suspicious, according to the authorities, there were no signs of forced entry.

Women of the community have begun to suggest that Mrs. Wright was possibly being highly controlled by Mr. Wright and that they have not seen her out-and-about since their marriage. But is this a motive that would suggest her murdering her husband?

Unfortunately for Mrs. Wright, signs point towards her guilt. Her beloved pet bird is missing. The cage was broken and the bird was gone. Is it possible that Mr. Wright did something to her bird? This could be a possible motive. Furthermore Mrs. Wright is known for her quality sewing, however, detectives discovered that the day before the murder, her sewing was all out of place and poorly done. It appeared as if she wasn’t focused on the task at hand and perhaps was thinking about killing her husband. But why exactly would she kill her husband?

A crime scene detective, Misako Ishida, took a shot at answering this question.

She said, “It is quite possible, but not confirmed, that Mrs. Wright felt like she was being metaphorically strangled and she was filled with unpleasant emotions such as anger, depression, and stress. She then literally strangled her husband, the man causing all of these emotions, because of his firm grasp of control.”

The case is still under investigation and no conclusion has been drawn.
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Epic!
Two Journals, A Bird, and A Murder
Journal

February 14, 2014

I’ve had quite a bit of time off from creating exhibits lately; people are pretty intrigued by what I have for now. Honestly, I’m a little tired of the constant work. Luckily, my house isn’t too far from my museum, so I’ve told the staff to just call me if they need anything. It’s been rather cold around here lately, so I’m looking forward to sitting by my fireplace with some of those new books I had bought. I think I saw another journal in that batch of books that I want to try out; besides, the last one proved so interesting that this one may be well worth my time as well.

February 17, 2014

I finished that journal I picked up a few days ago. It’s mostly boring blather about some Martha Hale’s life on her farm with her husband and children. I suppose that might be how somebody reads my journals, if they find them some day, long after I’m dead… But I digress. There is a certain part in the journal that seems to be more interesting. She talks about going with her husband to the scene of a crime, but she doesn’t really say anything about the crime itself. She doesn’t write much about what occurred there, other than her feelings while she was there. She seems to be rather irritated at the men for laughing at her and another woman because of the things they were talking about: ”Trifles, they called em. Like we wasn’t for nothin important. Just made to sit there and be pretty little birds. Well at the rate this is going we could all end up like Minnie Foster’s little bird, its neck all wrung out an all. Or maybe we could all end up like Minnie Foster herself.” This part worries me a little. I believe that this Minnie Foster could very well be part of this crime scene that Martha was present at, but I really wonder what a bird has to do with all of this. I wonder what exactly the crime was.. So much it seems for my little vacation; this is too intriguing to pass up!

February 24, 2014

Well, this has taken some meticulous digging. Apparently, this was an obscure case on a small farm in some obscure little town of America. I did, however, get to visit some family while I was over there, so it wasn’t all bad. I got what I needed anyways as I now know what happened in the crime that Martha accompanied her husband to. The story was that Mrs. Wright, aka Minnie Foster (maiden name), was asleep in the bed next to her husband as he was strangled to death with a rope. She testified that she was sleeping on the inside of the bed, so she didn’t wake during the night. When she woke up and discovered him dead, she went downstairs and sat in her rocking chair, pleating an apron. A neighbor (Martha’s husband) then stopped by and asked to speak to Mr. Wright. Mrs. Wright denied the request, and when asked why, stated that her husband was dead. She was taken into custody. They had brought in the Attorney, the Sheriff and his wife, and Mr. and Mrs. Hale so Mr. Hale could give his account of what happened, and apparently they left the women to their own devices downstairs. Mrs. Wright was eventually convicted of murder. Now I know what happened, but I wish I knew what she meant about the bird!

February 26, 2014

I strangely got an anonymous package containing exactly what I needed to help round out my understanding of this incident. The package was addressed from the same area that the murder occurred. The package contained the sheriff’s wife’s journal and a note.The note read: “Dear Miss Adler, I have heard recently of your digging around concerning the old Wright murder. This journal has been kept in my family for years now. I heard you were looking into the case for your museum, and I thought it would benefit you more than it has us. Please take good care of it.” I wish I had a name to put to the donation, but it’s greatly appreciated all the same. I’m going to read this journal tomorrow.

February 27, 2014

Thankfully, the sheriff’s wife has written much more freely about what took place that day with her and Martha. I guess she wasn’t really worried with what others might find in her journal. This is the whole passage concerning that event: “Martha and I were put in such a dreadful position today. I had to go to the poor Wright farm with my husband, and Martha and I got left downstairs to pick up some things to take to Mrs. Wright for her jail stay. I picked up some clothes for her, and then Martha had the marvelous idea to take her quilting, so she would have something to occupy her mind. We noticed something strange though, about the stitching and knotting on it. It was so beautifully done at first, but it got very ragged towards where she stopped. Martha fixed it up a little for her though, the darling. Although she had been speaking rather queer things about Mrs. Wright, how she was almost trapped and such as that. She told me stories of when Mrs. Wright was Minnie Foster, and how she loved to sing. I guess she couldn’t sing much after she got married. We had also found a broken bird cage in her cabinets. We couldn’t understand it much at first, until we found it. We were searching for her sewing scissors when we came across the box. It was a beautiful box, but when Martha opened it, something not so beautiful was found.. That poor pretty bird laid there dead; it’s neck had been snapped. I think she must’ve wanted to bury it, but the dear didn’t have time before she was taken away. Martha and I kept the bird from the men, along with everything else we had discussed. We took the bird out later and buried it, like Minnie would have wanted. Martha told me that Minnie must’ve felt just like that bird, and couldn’t take it anymore. That’s why she killed him.” That’s what I had been wondering about this whole time, and I finally got the answer. I believe this could be an interesting and valuable addition to my museum, but there’s no way I can get any actual artifacts from the crime itself, which kind of disappoints me a little. Oh well, I guess I’ll have to buy pieces to recreate the scene which means more shopping for me in the next few days. I also heard that my friend L was looking into this same event, so I’ve thought about giving him a call to see if he could find some information he needs in these journals. I’m excited about how this has all pulled together. Now I just have to plan out the exhibit itself!

February 28, 2014

I think I’ve figured out a way to set this exhibit up. This could be a highly interesting exhibit though it might be controversial to some. After all, it will be showcasing the fact that the women figured out the reasoning where the men had no idea. Not that I’m hating on men, but it’s an interesting concept for the time period. It would be interesting to have it as a two sided exhibit. The scene would be set up in a large glass box, and looking through it on one side would show you all the things that the women noticed and an explanation. If you looked on the other side, however, you would see it as the men had supposedly seen it. It could be an interesting perspective piece. I believe I can do something great with this!
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Case notes on the “John Wright Murder Case”
The case of “Greasy Lake” damaged my pride as a detective in a way. Even though I managed to update the case with new information, I was still unable to actually solve the case. I decided that I needed to redeem myself. I went and searched through all the cold case files that we have, in order to find a case worth looking at. While going over the files, an interesting case caught my eye. This case was the “John Wright Murder Case.”

John Wright was a farmer who was living in Warren County, Iowa. The file reads out “Farmer John Wright was strangled with a rope in his own bed around midnight on December 1, 1916. The prime suspect in the murder was his wife, Minnie Wright (once known as Minnie Foster). John and Minnie Wright were supposedly in bed together when the incident occurred. The primary Witnesses, Lewis and Henry Hale, were the ones to discover the body of Mr Wright. Minnie Wright was taken into custody; however, not enough evidence could prove her involvement with this murder.”

Judging by the way this file reads, I believe that Minnie Wright was guilty. However, I still need to consider all possibilities in the end. I also believe that someone must have helped her get away with the crime. The questions are:

Did Minnie strangle her husband? If she did commit the crime, then why did she do it? Did someone hide evidence to protect her?

In order to prove my allegations and solve this case, I needed to search for more information. I started by gathering different files that were involved with the case. After I searched through all the files I learned a little bit more about the aftermath of the incident.

Henry Peters was the sheriff who was searching the Wright house for evidence. The attorney who was present was George Henderson. I also learned that there were two women at the crime scene as well. One was the sheriff’s wife, Mrs Peters, and the other was Mr. Hale’s wife, Martha Hale. Apparently Mrs. Peters was at the Wright house in order to gather some things for Mrs. Wright. Also, Mrs. Peters was the one to ask Mrs. Hale to be present.

According to Mr. Henderson and Mr. Peters, the women did nothing but worry over trifles. I understood that during this time period women were looked at differently. They were seen as inferior to men and they had still not received the right to vote, which was given in 1920 by the 19th amendment. Knowing this fact allows for the possibility that the women may have helped Minnie out of empathy for her. This also could prove as a motive for the murder of John Wright. If Minnie felt like her life was being controlled and there was nothing she could do about it, then she could have wanted freedom from the oppression.

I continued my research on the case by looking at the notes that were written by Mr. Henderson.
Here is what he had written down:

“Mr. Lewis Hale began to mention that John and Minnie were not getting along too great, but I interrupted him in order to get the investigation moving on. According to Mr. Hale, Minnie Wright was sitting in a rocking chair and pleating an apron, when he came in. When Mr. Hale asked if he could see John, Minnie let out what he thought was a laugh. When he asked again, she told him, ‘no.’ Then he asked why not, and that is when Mrs. Wright stated that her husband was dead. After he asked where he was, all she did was point upstairs. Mr. Hale asked what the cause was, and he was told that it was a rope around his neck. Mr. Hale then went to get his son Harry, thinking that he might need his help. According to Mr. Hale, Mrs. Wright had not notified anyone and did not seem to be concerned. Then Mr Hale asked Mrs. Wright a few questions. According to Mrs. Wright, she was asleep the entire time and did now wake up while her husband was being strangled. When Harry went to go notify the coroner, Mrs. Wright moved to another chair and had her hands together while looking downward. Then Dr Lloyd and Mr. Peters eventually came in after that.”

The notes after these only stated that there was nothing that could be found to help solve the case. These notes stated that they could not find any possible way an intruder would have been able to “intrude.” They mentioned that there would have been no way for John Wright to do it himself. The rope would had to have been used by another. They also stated that if Minnie was really asleep next to her husband, then she couldn’t have possibly stayed asleep during the whole incident.

This helped me learn the suspect’s possible state of mind and who all was present. I still needed more information, however, so I looked at the doctor’s notes. According to doctor Lloyd the cause of death was suffocation, and there was a ring around his neck where tight force was applied with a rope. Such force and the angle of pull could not have been done by the victim himself. Therefore, this murder could not have been a suicide.

All this information was helpful; however, I still needed to find if someone may have helped the culprit by hiding or disposing of evidence. I was beginning to think that I was at a loss. Then I received a call from a friend of mine. Her name is Willow Adler, a museum curator for The Museum of Dreadful Acts and Vengeful Deeds. The reason for her call was to ask me if I knew anything about a certain incident. Apparently Miss Adler was researching the “John Wright Murder” as well. I explained to her the case that I was investigating. She came across this incident in a journal she was reading. An anonymous person donated another journal involving the same incident that solved all of her questions. I took interest in the journal Miss Adler mentioned and asked her about it. She told me that she had finished reading the journal and that I can borrow it as long as I return it. I decided to take Miss Adler up on her offer and met with her to collect the journal.

The journal belonged to Mrs. Peters and included mostly irrelevant things; however, it did have useful information. In the journal Mrs Peters wrote about the day her and Mrs. Hale shared. She mentioned that she had to pick up a few things for Mrs. Wright’s jail stay. According to Mrs. Peters’s journal, Mrs. Hale was talking of how much Mrs. Wright had changed when she went from Minnie Foster to Minnie Wright. She also talked of a birdcage that had a damaged gate that they found in Minnie’s cabinets. According to Mrs. Peters, Mrs. Hale mentioned something interesting. She said “He was a hard man, Mrs. Peters. Just to pass the day with him...like a raw wind that gets to the bone.” I believe this shows some discontent Mrs. Hale might have towards Mr. Wright. After having said conversation the women began to collect Mrs. Wright’s supplies for her quilt. While searching for scissors, the women found a beautiful box. When they opened it they found the dead canary that used to be in the birdcage. According to the journal, the bird had a snapped neck. This was very peculiar indeed. The fact that the bird had a snapped neck and Mr. Wright had a rope around his neck could not be a coincidence. I am a detective; therefore, I do not believe in coincidences.

The last line in the journal was the most interesting. It read, “Martha told me that Minnie must’ve felt just like that bird, and couldn’t take it anymore. So that’s why she must’ve killed him.” When I connected this line to the story Mrs. Hale told Mrs. Peters, I discovered a clear connection. This gave me the motive Minnie would have in killing Mr. Wright.

Minnie Foster was a woman who loved to sing and was more happy-like. Mrs. Hale stated that Minnie changed when she became Minnie Wright. She stopped singing with the town choir and stayed cooped up in the house. Mrs. Hale recalled when a man was selling canaries cheap. Mrs. Hale believed that Mr. Wright had killed the bird, because that was the kind of man he was. He most likely got annoyed with its singing and stopped it the best way he knew how. The women felt as if Minnie was just like the bird.

If John did kill the bird and Minnie really did change for the worse after her marriage, then that is a good motive for murder. Also, since the women carried the bird home and buried it, they really did remove the one piece of evidence that would prove Minnie Wright guilty. Apparently, Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters did this out of sympathy.

The only thing I was missing from this point was a way of including the bird, a way to get my hands on the rope that was used, and a way to prove the journal was indeed Mrs. Peters’s journal. This was not possible, due to the fact that this case occurred 98 years ago and the rope was never kept.

After checking with my department, they believed that there would be no way to find anything else and that what I had was enough to close the case for good. The murderer was in fact Minnie Wright and the motif was “a need for freedom.” I returned the journal to Miss Adler so that she could put her exhibit together, then I thanked her again for her help with my investigation and discussed my final report with her.
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