Archive for December 14th, 2008

1903: William Ennis, wife-murdering cop

Add comment December 14th, 2008 Headsman

On this date in 1903, a nine-year veteran of the Brooklyn police became the first member of the thin blue line to die in the electric chair.

Then 31-year-old William Ennis had gunned down his estranged wife (and, not fatally, his mother-in-law) early the preceding year, and his attempt to claim insanity at trial was rejected as shamming.

This slice of New York color is the second story in this New York Times column reporting the day after the crime.

While in a frenzy of rage, as a result of heavy drinking and brooding over family troubles, William H. Ennis, a policeman attached to the Adams Street Station, Brooklyn, early yesterday morning broke into the hime [sic] of Mrs. Alice Gorman, his mother-in-law, in Canarsie, wounded her seriously with a bullet from his revolver, and then shot and killed his wife, who was living there.

He then rushed from the house and ran along the railroad tracks to East New York, two miles distant, where he was found asleep in a room in a hotel by the police several hours later. …

Two weeks ago Mrs. Ennis had her husband in court on a charge of non-support, and he was ordered to pay her a weekly stipend. At that time Ennis declared that he would “rot in jail” before he would pay his wife any money unless she left her mother’s house and returned to live with him. …

Early on Saturday morning he reported sick at Adams Street Station and was excused from duty. It was learned that he came to Manhattan and in the evening was arrested at Forty-second Street and First Avenue for intoxication and disorderly conduct, but at the East Thirty-fifth Street Station was allowed to go when it was found that he was a policeman.

On this day..

Entry Filed under: 20th Century,Capital Punishment,Common Criminals,Crime,Death Penalty,Electrocuted,Execution,Murder,New York,USA

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