Murder in Muncy Creek: A True Account of the 1836 Trial, Conviction, and Hanging of John Earls

Murder in Muncy Creek: A True Account of the 1836 Trial, Conviction, and Hanging of John Earls

by William Bailey



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Murder in Muncy Creek: A True Account of the 1836 Trial, Conviction, and Hanging of John Earls by William Bailey

The Civil War Discharge of a Union Army soldier held the key to a dark and chilling family secret that lay hidden for nearly 175 years. What began as a casual search for this soldier's identity turned into an historical investigation into a murder mystery.

Murder in Muncy Creek is a chronological record of events relating to the 1836 sensational trial of John Earls, for the murder of his wife, Catharine, by giving her poison shortly after she had given birth to their seventh child. One of the earliest documented cases of domestic violence that led to murder. A remarkably complete set of documents, illustrations, and news stories. Referred to as "the trial of the century," John Earls was the first person hanged in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania.

A brazen extramarital affair; a newborn child; the suspicious death of a brutally battered and spurned wife; and a firestorm of public opinion. Did John Earls' romantic obsession with Maria Moritz drive him to hatch a plan to kill his wife? Did Catharine Earls commit suicide as she had allegedly threatened on several occasions? Was there a proven forensic scientific and legal basis to charge, convict, and execute John Earls for the deliberate, intentional, and premeditated murder of his wife?

A rare look at American criminal courts of the early 1800s, including the infliction of capital punishment by hanging. Steeped in English legal tradition and Christian ideals and principles. A glimpse of working-class life in rural America when hardships of frontier living were gradually diminishing and better times were emerging.

Testimony of 57 witnesses; in-depth legal arguments; case law references; disinterment and post-mortem examination; chemical and medical tests; verdict; sentence; appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court; prisoner's petition for pardon by Governor Joseph Ritner; death warrant; eleventh-hour confession; eyewitness account of the hanging; and more.

Murder in Muncy Creek documents and preserves an obscure part of America's history of law and medicine. We may never know if justice was served. But we hope to shed light on a remarkable piece of American criminal history.

A self-telling true-crime story for anyone who savors a compelling murder mystery. For students and scholars of history; law; criminal justice; legal studies; forensic science; medicine; and psychology. Sure to evoke emotions, spark debate, and intrigue every reader.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781892937469
Publisher: Westcreek Books
Publication date: 09/01/2011
Pages: 376
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.80(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

William is a veteran of the U.S. Navy. He was employed in management positions in the university bookstore field for over 25 years and is retired from Bloomsburg University, Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania.

Peggy's film/TV projects include "Rural America: Coming of Age," a documentary narrated by actor Lorne Greene, for which a bronze award was presented to Pennsylvania Green Thumb, Inc. by the International Film and Television Festival of New York. Bailey Productions company and WVIA PBS-TV, Scranton-Wilkes Barre, co-produced the documentary "Each One Teach One." Hosted by veteran newscaster Edwin Newman, this program depicted the life and legacy of international literacy pioneer, Dr. Frank C. Laubach.

Peggy Bailey is retired from the position of director of academic and research grants at Bloomsburg University, Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania.

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