1879: Benjamin Hunter, in the Hunter-Armstrong Tragedy 1400: Sir Thomas Blount, “bowels burning before him”

1951: Harley LaMarr, dutiful son

January 11th, 2013 Headsman

On February 12, 1950, Buffalo socialite Marion Little Frisbee* was discovered in a frozen ditch in a suburb 12 miles outside the city, a .32-20 rifle bullet through her left temple.

Within 24 hours, a 19-year-old Native American** youth named Harley LaMarr had been caught at a boarding-house and copped to the crime.

While the coroner did report an “attempt at criminal assault,” the motive for Frisbee’s abduction/murder had been robbery. Harley LaMarr needed money because his mother, Amelia Palwodzinski, had had a fight with her second husband the month before. In the course of that fight, she planted a butcher’s knife in the man’s chest.

As Amelia went off to serve a 30-year stretch for manslaughter, she made her boy Harley promise to give the victim a decent burial. Harley had no money: he did have a .32-20. He took it to a tony part of town and waited for an opportunity.

Marion Frisbee’s purse netted him about $6. He didn’t bother taking her diamond ring because, he said, he just wanted cash for the funeral. Harley insisted the gun went off by accident: the jury in a four-day trial that April didn’t buy it.

The day before Harley LaMarr’s electrocution at Sing Sing on January 11, 1951, the Empire State’s prison officers brought his mother from Bedford Hills a few miles down the road to death row for one last goodbye with her tragically dutiful son.

The youth met with his mother for 20 minutes after authorities brought her from Bedford Hills.

They spoke together in low tones. The woman took a long last look at her son and walked away from the visiting cage dry-eyed.

“Thank you for coming, ma,” the youth called after her. (Source (pdf))

* No relation to the flying-disc fortune; that “Frisbee” was only trademarked in 1958. Marion Frisbee was just the wife of a local salesman with the Queen City Pure Water Company.

** Amelia was white; Harley’s father was Native American.

On this day..

Entry Filed under: 20th Century,Capital Punishment,Common Criminals,Crime,Cycle of Violence,Death Penalty,Disfavored Minorities,Electrocuted,Execution,Murder,New York,Racial and Ethnic Minorities,Theft,USA

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One thought on “1951: Harley LaMarr, dutiful son”

  1. K.G. says:

    According to crime reporter, Joe Scholnick, from the Buffalo Evening Post, who was at the crime scene and who attended the trial, Marion Frisbee was in fact, raped before being murdered. It was observed that her underwear was torn away and scattered at the crime scene. It was also clear that the gun did not “accidentally” discharge during any struggle. The victim was forced by her kidnapper to drive around for over two hours while being terrorized the whole time. The above account also omits the lack of remorse and enjoyment of the crime that the killer repeatedly expressed after being caught. This was a nightmarish and evil crime that is whitewashed by this retelling.

    “Please remember the victims, Mr. Shapiro.”

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