11 September 1893
The Many Crimes Charged Against Lizzie Halliday
A MANIA LIKE JACK THE RIPPER
Middletown, N.Y., Sept. 11.
The solution of the mystery surrounding Lizzie Halliday's awful crimes will be found in the history of her previous life and her relations with her husband.
Young Paul and Robert Halliday have told their stories, and when all this news and old information is put together there is produced a story of very unusual, but not unprecedented criminality.
Lizzie Halliday, herself a type of low humanity, was merely an ignorant, mean, cunning and revengeful woman, with the belief that she possessed the power to deceive everybody she chose. This appears to have been her character under ordinary circumstances, but at certain periods she appears to have become possessed of a mania. On each occasion when she was in this wild mental condition she was expecting to become a mother.
She never did, however, so far as is known, give birth to a living child. This mania, which is not without numerous precedents, assumed in Lizzie Halliday's case a phase almost unbelievably shocking.
In fact, there is excellent reason to assume that her case and that of the mysterious London assassin, known as jack the Ripper, are very similar.
In both the mania appears to have developed crimes of a similar nature, the difference being chiefly that in one it developed in a man and in this last case in a woman.
Lizzie Halliday has killed two men in her life, both of them husbands, and she mutilated both. It has just come out, through the stories told by Paul Halliday's two sons, that the woman confessed to old Paul soon after her marriage to him that she had been married before, and had killed and then hacked her husband.
Old Paul professed not to believe this story, and undoubtedly did not. But it now appears that she treated his body after she had killed him as she had that of her first husband.
Her two subsequent crimes, the killing of the McQuillan women, must have been committed in a pure thirst for blood, induced by her mania and probably whetted by her fearful crime a few days before.
She did not mutilate the bodies of the women, which shows that it must have been merely a thirst for blood which prompted her to the deed.
In a protracted interview with Robert Halliday, the eldest son of the murdered man, he made the following statement: "This woman came from the same county in Ireland as my father. He told me this himself. He first met her in an intelligence office in Newburg, where he secured her services as a housekeeper. Some time after he married her. None of the family liked the woman. Her appearance was against her. She did not conduct herself as a wife should. My father, however, was infatuated with her. She held a peculiar influence over him which nothing could shake. Soon after his marriage to the woman, who gave her name as Lizzie Brown, there began the peculiar succession of crimes which finally led to her being committed to the insane asylum.
"First there was the burning of the house. Then the burning of the barn, and finally the burning of the old mill where my father, his wife and my brother, John, lived, in which fire my brother lost his life.
"Following this at a stated period came her theft of the team of a Newburg liveryman. She hired a horse and buggy in Newburg on the statement that she was a poor Irish servant who wanted to visit her sick mother. The man let her have a horse and buggy. She drove out of town, got an old man to go with her as she did not know the country and within twenty four hours had sold the rig and horse to some gypsies.
"She was arrested, tried and found not guilty on the ground of insanity.
"Two fires in my father's place occurred in quick succession. After a longer period came the conflagration in which my young brother perished. For this crime she was arrested, but on the ground of insanity was remanded to the insane asylum at Middletown. She remained there awhile, was then sent to another asylum, and finally was released as cured at my father's request.
"My father told me subsequently to these affairs that his wife, at the time of their commission, was in a condition peculiar to women. That when in that condition she was subject to spells of insanity. With the disappearance of the physical condition there was a disappearance of the criminal tendencies. I begged my father to leave the woman, but he would not listen to me."
After a great deal of deliberation the coroner's jury arrived at this verdict: "We do say upon our oath that Margaret J McQuillan and Sarah J McQuillan came to their deaths from bullets fired from a pistol in the hands of Lizzie Halliday. That said Margaret was killed on or about Aug. 30 and Sarah J Mcquillan on or about Sept 2."
The inquest on the body of Paul Halliday was resumed at 9 o'clock this morning, but nothing new, it is believed, will be elicited. After that the case will sink out of sight until Mrs. Halliday is called to answer at court some time next month.