Murder is the willful killing of a human being with malice aforethought, either expressed or implied. Malice includes not only hatred and revenge, but every terrible and unjustifiable motive committed by one person against another. Malice indicates the state of mind of the person charged. Insanity is a legal and not a medical concept, and can be determined by applying certain legal tests. A hundred years ago, the wildest delusions were not always sufficient to get the prisoner off. The insanity defense had to show previous notorious acts to demonstrate the irrational behavior of the defendant. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the most common weapons of death were the ax, gun, knife and poison. Murder was never a bailable offense; the defendant remained in jail until the trial and, if convicted, until his execution.
This book documents crimes, personal hardships and other struggles, which occurred in Renville County Minnesota from the late 1860s to early 1940s. Find out what happened to: Andrew Anderson who stabbed his wife with a knife; Michael Dowling who almost froze to death in a blizzard; Ole Rogn whose wife fell in a well; Lincoln Parker who murdered his brother-in-law in cold blood; Emanuel Otto, a wealthy farmer, who was poisoned and shot; three men who robbed a bank in Danube; Ed Corey who murdered the woman he loved; Fred Zaske who attacked his wife with an ax; Ed Butcher who shot his daughter while she wrote a letter; Paul Schoepke who had a dispute with his brother about a gun; Joe Williams who beat and robbed a hobo on the railroad tracks; Odin Norby, who embezzled money from his employer; Ottilie Lindeman who attacked her husband with an ax while he slept? These are just a few of the many crimes that took place in Renville County. After reading these stories, you’ll be left with more questions than answers. Many of these cases remain unsolved to this day.