Turning Back the Pages

Murder suspect goes free

The first-degree trial of Timothy Hill of Minerva, held before Supreme Court Justice Henry T. Kellogg in Elizabethtown, was concluded May 9, 1912, when the jury, after deliberating on the evidence for three hours, brought in a verdict of Not Guilty.

Hill was accused of causing the death of Mrs. Maurice Loveland of Minerva, his live-in girlfriend, on Aug. 10, 1911 by giving her a dose of strychnine. It was alleged by the prosecution that he forced the poison down the woman’s throat by holding her powerless in his arms, where she died. The defense contends that she drank the poison of her own free will and than threw the empty bottle into the stove, where it was later found.

No less than 100 potential jurors had originally been called and nearly 50 witnesses were examined, 25 of which were called by the prosecution during the trial.

The fact that the woman’s death was caused by the strychnine was clearly established by the contents of the woman’s stomach which was analyzed in Albany and also by the testimony of several physicians and this fact was not disputed by the defense. It was also proved that Hill had a bottle of the poison in his possession before the death of Mrs. Loveland and that he was with her when she died. The defense maintained that the woman obtained the poison without Hill’s knowledge and took her own life.

The defense called Mrs. Emeline O’Donnell, 87, who had to be assisted to the witness stand. She stated that she had melted two cups of lard for Mrs. Loveland and that Hill had poured them into the sick woman’s mouth to try to counteract the effects of the deadly dose.

The general public opinion at the time was that Anna Loveland death exemplified the scriptural warning that “the wages of sin is death.” The woman had a husband and four children, whom she left to live with Hill, a man of notoriously bad character. By the testimony of her own son, a 16-year-old boy on the witness stand at Hill’s trial, it was clearly shown that she had a fondness for strong drink and had caused much unhappiness in her family by over-indulging her appetite for it.

Readers are welcome to contact Adirondack Journal correspondent Jean Hadden at jhadden1@nycap.rr.com or 623-2210.

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