13 November 1888
A Connecticut Man, After Reading of Jack the Ripper, Kills His Wife, While Asleep, With an Axe
Portland, Conn., Nov. 13.
Mrs. Ellen Cooper, aged thirty two years, was found by a servant girl in bed yesterday morning, with her head badly cut with an axe. The weapon was found lying on a pillow, covered with blood. The woman's husband is a harness maker, and had been working in a shop in Meriden. He came home two weeks ago and said he was out on a strike. His wife mistrusted his statement, and wrote to the firm. They replied that he had been discharged for neglecting his work, and that if he would return he would be given work. Mrs. Cooper urged him to go back, saying that she could not support the family. Cooper was drunk Friday and Saturday, but sober Sunday. He prepared to go back to work. Her had quarrelled with his wife, and had been reading an account of the Whitechapel murder, and was greatly excited. She told a neighbor that he would fix her before Monday morning so she would not trouble him any more. On Saturday night Mrs. Cooper went to the post office and showed an open letter, claiming that the letter had been opened at the post office. The postmaster said that the letter was in perfect order when he passed it out to her little boy as few moments before. She was greatly excited, and made some insulting remarks, drawing quite a crowd.
The murderer was arrested in Middletown yesterday morning. He gave the letter to the chief of police, acknowledged the killing of his wife and said that the letter justified the act, as it was from a prominent businessman in East Hampton and showed that his wife was unfaithful. Cooper is in jail. He says he was sober when he committed the deed. He went to bed with the axe handy and waited until his wife was asleep. He then got up and struck her a blow which stunned her, and then finished the work with the edge of the axe. When he was satisfied that she was dead, he fled and was arrested as previously stated.