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OTTO WALKER SLITS WIFE'S THROAT


Source Crawfordsville Journal Aug 23, 1907 (note: pictures of him, her and the home where the killing occurred) - thanks to the nice people at the Crawfordsville District Public Library I met 2-16-2013 for this one - sorry, didn't get the name :) Zachary oriented :)

One of the most atrocious crimes ever committed within the confines of Montgomery County occurred today about 12:30 o'clock on East Jefferson Street when Ot Walker, an employee of the match factory murdered his wife, Laura Walker in cold blood, cutting her throat almost form ear to ear, from the effects of which she lived but a short time. Walker and his wife have been more or less in the public eye for two or three years on account of family troubles, he having been so abusive that it has been necessary for her to leave him when he almost invariable threatened with violence. The fact obtainable leading up to the murder are very few as there was no one present except the two small children, one four years of age and the other six. As near as could be learned, they were about as follows: Mrs. Walker, who had left her husband about two months ago, resided in the big two-story house at the extreme east end of Jefferson street in the house also resided Ed Lawton, wife and three children, Maude Blankenship and Mrs. Francis run a boarding house. Mrs. Walker several days ago had applied for a divorce and the first of this week the papers in the case were served on Walker, he, at the time, fainting it is said. Since that time he has been making frequent visits to the home of his wife, imploring her to withdraw her suit and return to him. He is known to have been watching her house for several nights, and last night spent the entire night on the west embankment of the Monon railway which is just across the street from the spot where the murder was committed. Today about noon Walker went to the home of his wife and togehter they were standing ont he veranda which faces the east, talking together. The only part of the conversation heard by any of the people residing there was by Maude Lawton, little daughter of Ed Lawton, the other people being away at the time. It is understood Walker was instating that his wife should withdraw her suit and return to him, to which proposition the wife flatly refused. Walker then threatened that if she did not return to him he would kill her. Mrs. Walker said she would go tell her neighbors what he had said and started to go in the house. Walker in a rage grabbed her, dragged her off the veranda and to some high grass, when a desparate struggle ensued and with some weapon, presumably a very sharp knife as the officers have so far been unable to learn what kind of weapon he used, cut her throat almost from ear to ear. The woman's screams attracted the attention of the little girl inside who also began screaming and ran out of the house to that of a neighbor, Mrs. Ollie Wilson who came running to the scene. When she reached the spot near where the cutting occurred she saw Mrs. Walker coming toward the front door, the blood spurting from her wounds, while Walker was making his way toward College Street in a southeasterly direction, moving his hands in a demonstrative manner as though trying to cut his own throat. Mrs. Walker, who was covered with blood was gasping for breath and catching hold of the veranda posts with her bloody hands pulled herself up with the assistance of Mrs. Wilson. She was calling for water and for them to send for a doctyor and at the same time making her way through the house to the back porch. When she reached this portion of the house the blood began filling her throat anda fter standing for a moment leaning against the house she collapsed and falling into the arms of Mrs. Wilson sank to the floor and died almost instantly, having lived but a few minutes after being so brutally slashed. A stream of blood described her path from the spot in the yeard where the cutting occurred to the front veranda, where the finger marks in blood on the veranda posts are plainly visible, while a pool of blood is on the front step, where she stopped for a second as Mrs. Wilson helped her on the veranda. On through the house the stream of plain is plainly to be seen. When Dr. Sigmond arrived on the scene in answer a call sent in for him the woman was past aid. An examination revealed the fact that she had been slashed with some sharp instrument, presumably a very sharp knife. Two long cuts wereon her throat, extending almost from ear to ear, which had severed the jugular vein; there was one cut across the chin and two smaller ones, which would have been of little damage. After committing his dastardly deed Walker ran to College street and then to the home of his mother, who resides at the corner of Mill and Franklin Streets. When he arrived there it was seen he had made a feeble attempt to take his own life, probably with the same weapon that he had used in killing his wife, for there was a despearte looking gash on his throat and he was covered with blood. It is not known when he made the attempt to take his own life, whether it was when Mrs. Wilson saw him running from the place after assaulting his wife or after that. When Mrs. Wilson saw him leaving he was going through motions very much like a man attempting to draw a knife across his throat, though she paid little attention to him. When he reached the home of his mother he was placed on a cot and a physician summoned by the police, who were on the spot within a few minutes. Dr. Barcus responded and after an examination found the man to be quite seriously injured. He sewed up the wound in the man's throat and Marshal Prewitt called a cab and had the prisoner removed to jail. The prisoner is lying in the Crawfordsville jail in cell No 1 on the third floor, either in a semi-conscious condition or is assuming that state. He has two cuts on his throat, one of which penetrated his windpipe, but the attending physician, Dr. Barcus thinks that neither are serious and that he will recover. He is not able to talk above a whisper and has had nothing to say since he committed the crime. Walker is a man 33 years of age, small of stature of sandy complexion and has been more or less a trouble maker for the police for several years. tHe woman he murdered wa shis second wife and two children were born to them, aged 4 and six. The couple have seperated and gone together again a number of times, the last separation occurring less than 3 months ago. On a previous occasion, when Mrs. Walker was forced to leav ehim on account of his brutal treatment, he threatened to kill her and did assault her, beating her in an unmerciful manner and breaking one of her fingers. He was, when sober, said to be a good worker but a trouble maker when in his cups. Last night a dance was scheduled to have been held at the home where the crime was committed but from some cause it wa snot held, Walker, hearing of this was around the house during the evening and was seen late in the night watching the place. He had worked Thursday at the match factory but did not show up for duty this morning and it is believed he had been drinking hard during the night. The murdered woman's maiden name was Miss Laura Voris and this was her second marriage. Her mother, Mrs. Sarah Earl ? resides at New Market. She has been in perfect fear of her husband for several years, he threating her life on several occasions. Only a few days ago, she remarked to some friends that she would be perfectly happy when she was granted a divorce from Walker, that she was in constant fear of him and to refuse to talk to him when he called meant an assault and that when she was divorced she could get away from him. After the murder was committed the body of Mrs. Walker which was lying on the back porch was covered with a sheet and left there until the coroner arrived, which was some time. In a very short space the news of the murder had spread over town and hundreds of people were on the scene. When Marshal Prewitt, Policeman Flynn and Dr. Barcus arrived with the prisoner at the jail he was very bloody and glum or weak from the loss of blood. He was able to walk into the jail. However when Turnkey Isaac Waldrip tried to get him to take off his shoes he told him to mind his own business and was still cross. He soon laid down on the cot, where he has remained for the greater part of the afternoon. He refused to talk as he came to the jail, the only thing he said or would say to the marshall being, "Joe, I would like to have a drink of water." All the way down he seemed overcome and rested his head heavily on the marshal's shoulder. After the marshal had the murderer safely lodged in jail he returned to the home of his parents, where he found the bloody knife with which he cut his wife's and his own throat. The murderer had given the knife to his mother and she had hid it. On the iron skeleton of the handle under a semi-transparents covering could be read through the blood stains, Otto E. Walker, Crawfordsville, Ind. 1905" The knife had a blade not more than 2 1/2" long and indicated hard usage, as the blade has been ground down very much since it was purchased. The point was very sharp and looked as if it had been ground recently. The marshal will retain the weapon as evidence. Dr. Faye Schenck states that this morning about 9 o'clock Walker came to his office to take an examination for insurance. He had made application for a small amount of insurance in the Prudential Insurance Company. He seemed to be all right and in good condition. He showed a little nervousness when questioned about his age, saying he was 28 when the papers of his birth showed him to be 33.


Source: Crawfordsville Daily Journal Monday, Aug 26, 1907 p 1 (pictures of both included but could not get them to come out for this page - SORRY :( )

Otto Walker, the murderer confined in the county jail, remained sullen and pretended he could not talk until Sunday afternoon when he opened up and talked to Officer Flynn, to whom he made a statement. It was as cowardly as the deed in its tenor and shows that the fellow is trying to work some plan by which to escape death, although he has told three or four people that he was ready to hang or to die. In fact, he has gon,e on far as to say he will not be taken to the penitentiary as the interview below indicates. His memory was bad this afternoon when he was talking to Marshal Prewitt, as he said he did not recall many of the incidents connected with the tragedy. Later, though he admitted that he did and talked more freely. His story has the earmarks of untruth and does not correspond with the statements made by others. He says, "We," meaning his murdered wife and himself, "were standing on the porch and she had asked me for my knife and I gave it to her. We had been talking, about the divorce, I went to tell her goodbye and bent over to kiss her when she slashed me across the neck." He says in one breath that she then turned the knife on her own throat and tried to commit suicide and in the next breath asserted that he tried to take the knife away from her and thought he might just as well try to help her finish the deed while he was about it. He admits that he got her down on the ground and put his knee on her breast while he was trying to take the knife away from her and that he made the shorter of the two slashes on his own neck while he ran away from the bloody scene. The reader will readily observe that his statement does not agree in any way with the evidence of dainterested witnesses. He smoked a cigar this afternoon and seemed to enjoy it. He cracked some jokes with the officers, showing that his worry was not such a very heavy burden as one might think. His appetite has been good from the first and his throat is healing nicely. He has asked Sheriff Mount that Whittington & Williams be retained as his attorneys. Te latter has not seen the attorneys yet. Mrs. Walker's funeral occurred at Mt. Zion Sunday afternoon and was attended by a alrge nmber of people. Rev. William Stanley, pastor of the United Brethren Church preached the sermon. The pall bearers were Miss Effie Johnson; Miss Edna Duncan; Miss Sophia Coffinberry, Miss Artie Coffinberry; Miss Lena Peaveler and Miss Pearl McCall. The Mt. zion church choir assisted in the services. Walker begged the Sheriff and the police to allow him to go to the funeral so that he could see his wife once more. When they refused this he begged them to have the funeral procession pass the jail but this could not be done either. Hundreds of morbidly curious people flocked to the home of Mrs. Welliever Saturday to get a glimpse of the murdered woman. On Saturday afternoon a Journal man with a photographer went to the jail to get a picture of Walker. They met with anythig but a cordial reception, the prisoner giving the visitors to understand in no uncertain terms and emphasizing with considerable unprintable language that their presence wa snot tasteful to him and that he wanted to be left alone. After a considerable amount of coaxing he made a proposition that was fair enough from his point of view that he would sit for a picture if we would bring him a gun. When informed that such an agreement would be out of the question he finally refused to consent to a picture being taken and covered up his face. After much persuasion he permitted a snapshot to be taken of im sitting on the side of his bunk; facing west as the setting sun beamed in at the second story windows of the jail and into his cell. Not much talking had been done to the prisoner after being placed in a cell and he asked, "concerning hiswife, if she was dead." When told that shew as he showed little emotion and asked when she died. When told that her death occurred within a few minutes after the assault there was no change of the expression on his face. He asked when and where she was to be buried and said that it would not be long until he would be gone, too. He said he realized that he was in a bad mess and that he would get a lifetime sentence but that he would never be taken there, leaving the impression that he would kill himself rather than be taken to the penitentiary.

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Data contained within this website may only be used with permission of the copyright holder(s), for non-commercial research and educational activities, and for personal genealogical information. © 2014 by Karen Zach, and licensed to the Indiana GenWeb (INGenWeb) Project and the USGenWeb Project. May be used in personal research with a citation.

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17 February 2013