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Old Posted Oct 14, 2012, 2:17 PM
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rcarlton rcarlton is offline
Dallas, TX
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 269
Originally Posted by GaylordWilshire View Post

Famous Arizona trunk murderess Winnie Ruth Judd--always
one of my favorite cases. I'd forgotten that L.A. figured into
the story. After dispatching two friends with whom she was
fighting (supposedly over a man), she packed up their remains
and left Phoenix for Los Angeles. Sharp-eyed (and -nosed)
baggage handlers in L.A. called the police, but La Judd took
off and was at large for a week before being arrested at (not
sure why) the Alvarez & Moore Funeral Chapel on Court
Street. She was extradited to Phoenix, where she stood
trial and was found guilty. The rest of her story is very
interesting--check it out.

Alvarez & Moore Funeral Chapel, Court St.

L.A. County Jail booking slip

The trunks--there are pictures on the internet of the contents, but I'll
let you find them yourselves (think Betty Short).

All photos LAPL
Interesting case. Here are a few more pieces:

A bullet on a piece of gauze rests upon someone's hand. This is the bullet removed from Judd's hand. She claimed that Hedvig Samuelson shot her during a quarrel.

Jury verdict in the Winnie Ruth Judd murder case. The jury finds her "guilty of the crime of murder in the first degree, a felony, as alleged in the information, and fix the punishment at death." Signed by Stewart Thompson, jury foreman. Filed with the Superior Court of Maricopa County, Arizona on the 8th of February, 1932.

Winnie Ruth Judd as she hears the verdict finding her guilty of murder in the first degree. She yawned as words were read condemning her to death.

A poem and drawing of two lizards (?) under a cloud of death. Evidence from the Winnie Ruth Judd case, possibly drawn by her.

Winnie Ruth Judd in prison, awaiting news on whether she would hang, or be committed to a state mental hospital.

Subsequent unofficial investigations, most notably by investigative journalist Jana Bommersbach, revealed many people close to the investigation believed Judd was guilty only of killing in self-defense—what Judd had maintained all along—not of first-degree murder.

Winnie R. Judd, 93, Infamous As 1930's 'Trunk Murderess'
Published: October 27, 1998

Winnie Ruth Judd, who spent three decades in an Arizona state mental hospital as the notorious ''trunk murderess'' in one of the most sensational criminal cases of the 1930's, died in Phoenix on Friday. She was 93.

With the Great Depression at full strength in the fall of 1931 and newspapers vying for stories to take their readers' minds off their miseries, the lurid details of the Judd case proved irresistible. But the case also provoked a debate over capital punishment.

Mrs. Judd, then a 26-year-old secretary at a Phoenix medical clinic and the wife of a doctor, arrived at Union Station in Los Angeles on Oct. 18, 1931, on a train from Phoenix, accompanied by two trunks and several valises. When a baggage man noticed what appeared to be blood dripping from one trunk, he asked her to open it. Mrs. Judd said she did not have the key and left in an automobile driven by her brother, Burton McKinnell. The police were called and traced the car from the license plate.

Inside the larger trunk, detectives found the body of Agnes Anne LeRoi, 32. What they found in the smaller trunk catapulted the case into headline news around the country. It contained remains of Hedvig Samuelson, 24, her body neatly cut into three pieces to make it easier to pack. A few days later, a valise left behind by Mrs. Judd was found to contain a fourth body section.

The two women had been fatally shot the previous Friday night at a Phoenix residence they had previously shared with Mrs. Judd when her husband was out of town.

Four days after the bodies were discovered, Mrs. Judd was arrested in Los Angeles. She quickly became an object of curiosity. When she was returned to Phoenix for trial, thousands lined the streets for a glimpse, and the owner of the home where the murders occurred sold 10-cent tickets for tours.

Mrs. Judd maintained that she shot the women in self-defense when they attacked her during an argument, but prosecutors said that she entered the residence while the two slept, then shot them in the head out of jealousy over attentions paid to them by her married boyfriend.

Two years later, by then dubbed the ''trunk murderess'' and the ''tiger woman'' in headlines, Mrs. Judd was convicted of murdering Miss LeRoi and was sentenced to hang. Mrs. Judd was not tried for the murder of Miss Samuelson, so the question of who dismembered her body was never formally raised. There was later speculation that a local physician other than husband had performed the expert cutting.

Pressure was brought to spare Mrs. Judd's life in view of her claims of self-defense and her lawyer's assertions that she was mentally ill. Thirty state legislators and a group of 34 ministers and priests signed petitions, and Arizona authorities received several thousand letters on her behalf. Eleanor Roosevelt was among those expressing concern.

Several days before the hanging was to take place, a jury impaneled for a sanity hearing found that Mrs. Judd was then insane, and she was institutionalized. She escaped six times from the Arizona State Hospital for the Insane in Phoenix over the next two decades, maintaining later that a nurse had given her a key to the entrance that she hid in a coin holder and used in some escapes. She was taken back into custody within a short time on each occasion and otherwise proved a model patient, cooking for other patients and helping bathe them.

On Oct. 8, 1962, Mrs. Judd escaped yet again, this time disappearing for almost seven years. She was finally found in the San Francisco area, where, calling herself Marian Lane, she had worked as a housekeeper in a mansion owned by an elderly woman. The noted defense lawyer Melvin Belli took her case and fought unsuccessfully against extradition to Arizona.

Mrs. Judd was judged to be sane by medical examiners in Arizona, was transferred to the state penitentiary in Florence and was freed shortly before Christmas 1971. She returned to California to work for the family that had previously employed her, later lived in Stockton and then went back to Phoenix a few years before her death.

Sixty-seven years after the murders, the crime lives on. An Internet ''sightseeing tour'' of Phoenix has a photo of the site where the murders occurred (it is now a vacant lot between two homes) and advises that an apartment building where Mrs. Judd once lived is the site of a medical center.

A longtime friend, Kenneth Cain of Sun City, Ariz., said yesterday that Mrs. Judd had no immediate survivors.

In a letter she wrote in 1952, Mrs. Judd, an Indiana native and the daughter of a minister, called the dismemberment ''a ghastly deed'' but again maintained that she shot the two women in self-defense. She said that she transported the bodies because she was suffering from shock, but wrote, 'I've asked God many times to forgive me.'' The New York Times
Dallas, Texas

Last edited by rcarlton; Oct 14, 2012 at 3:18 PM.
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