Murder and Madness

75 Years of Crime and Punishment in Renville County Minnesota

by Patricia Lubeck

Murder and Madness
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Murder and Madness

75 Years of Crime and Punishment in Renville County Minnesota

by Patricia Lubeck

Published Sep 26, 2019
149 Pages
Genre: HISTORY / United States / State & Local / General



 

Book Details

WHAT HAPPENED IN RENVILLE COUNTY?

The list of serious crimes in Renville county’s early history was brief, but the fact remains—poisonings, rapes, robberies, shootings, stabbings, suicides and other crimes of madness took place in Renville county. Murder trials were more fully reported than other crimes because they excited so much public interest. If one killed another, there was a good chance that he would hang for it, regardless of his intent, or even of his mental capacity. While insanity has always been a valid defense to a charge of a crime, the question of what constituted insanity was once quite different from what it is today. Insanity was a legal, rather than a medical concept, and could be determined by applying certain legal tests. But a hundred years ago, many a madman was hanged after he had slaughtered his whole family under the belief that he had been instructed by God to do it. This is a collection of true stories that tell us what happened in Renville County from 1868 to 1940. Some of these crimes remain unsolved, and a murder victim has never been identified to this day.

 

Book Excerpt

"It was a cold, windy day on November 14, 1894. Emanuel and Cathrine Otto had just finished dinner. Cathrine washed the dishes and made preparations to go into town to do some shopping. Emanuel was not feeling well the day before so Catherine told him to lie down and take a nap instead. She was gone from home about 2 hours. As she approached the house, she noticed the front door was open. She entered and took off her hat, and thinking it quite strange that the door was open, she called out her husband's name. Hearing no reply, she stepped into the bedroom and saw him lying on the bed with his vest, shirt, trousers, woolen boots on and truss removed. She supposed he was sleeping and attempted to wake him. She placed her arm around his neck and lifted his head up. Feeling something warm on her hand and looking at it, she saw that it was all bloody. Slowly the truth dawned upon her, and she wildly ran to the house of a neighbor. Dr. Penhall was summoned and pronounced Emanuel Otto dead at 5 pm." from Bullets and Poison.

 

About the Author

Patricia Lubeck

Patricia Lubeck lives in a small town in southwest Minnesota, just four miles from her childhood home. She has been fascinated with true crime stories all her life. During her career as director of the Yellow Medicine County and Redwood County museums, she developed her passion for researching and writing about crimes that took place in rural Minnesota during the late nineteenth century. She is retired and enjoys visiting historic sites and museums throughout the country. Every county has its own unique stories that define its people and the places they live. History is important and must be preserved or it will be lost forever. Her books are available at Outskirts Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other book distributors. Visit her website at www.outskirtspress.com/MurderandMadness

Also by Patricia Lubeck

Murder in Gales
Murder, Mystery & Mayhem in Minnesota
Crime and Calamity in Yellow Medicine County, Minnesota