MOHR, Lilly (1890-1930)
Posted By: Karon Velau (email)
Date: 8/20/2020 at 20:11:42
(October 24, 1890 – July 17, 1930)
Ida County Pioneer Record, Ida Grove, Iowa, Thurs., July 24, 1930, p.8
Funeral of Mrs. Mohr Held Sunday
Holstein, July 22 – The funeral services of Mrs. Gus Mohr were held at the Gus Mohr country home Sunday afternoon at two o’clock, Rev. Landgrebe of the Cushing Lutheran Church officiating. Interment was made in the Holstein Cemetery. A very large crowd was present, and two women are reported to have fainted. Lester Mohr, the woman’s son, was not present at the services.
Lilly Schmidt Mohr, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Schmidt, was born October 24, 1890 on a farm five miles southeast of Battle Creek, and met her death July 17, 1930, reaching the age of only 39 years, 9 months, and 7 days. In February 1914, she was married to Gus Mohr, a son of Mrs. Henry Mohr. To this union one son, Lester, was born. Mrs. Mohr leaves to mourn her sad death, her aged father, Henry Schmidt, the mother having preceded her in death a few years ago, her husband, Gus Mohr and son, Lester Mohr, age 14 years. Mrs. Mohr was a devoted wife and mother, and was blessed with a host of friends, all of whom extend their sincerest sympathy to the bereaved husband. By them she will be remembered as having possessed a jolly good nature, was usually in good spirits, having plenty of friends and apparently not an enemy in the world.
Ida County Pioneer Record, Ida Grove, Iowa, Thurs., July 24, 1930, p.10
Details of Ida County’s Most Brutal Murder
Alleged Confession Made By Lester Late Last Friday
State Agent Fred Johnson, from the state department of investigation, arrived in Ida Grove about nine p.m. Friday, having driven his car from Washington, Iowa, where he was detailed to investigate the recent murder of a sheriff and chief of police.
[details of Johnsons arrival continues to the part where Lester Mohr gave his confessions which follows]
Main Facts of Confession
According to Lester’s confession, the father and the hired man had left the Mohr place early on Thursday morning to go to the Ed Kurtz farm, a short distance south to cut oats, leaving the boy at home to remove some of the fence along the east side of the road. The mother stayed at home. Lester worked at the fence awhile but the weather was very hot and a very heated wind was blowing. He had been ordered to come to the Kurtz farm about eleven o’clock, so that the father and son, together with Mr. Kurtz, could relieve the men with the tractor and binder, while the hired men went to Cushing to get their lunch at the restaurant. Lester didn’t get to the Kurtz farm until about 12 o’clock and his father was angry at his being late and punished him. They then went on the binder until they came back from their lunch. Lester, his father and Mr. Kurtz ate lunch together and then Lester was ordered to go home and finish work on the fence. He says that he was still angry over the cuffing his father gave him. He worked half an hour or more and then jumped into his car and drove to Holstein. He bought two bottles of near-beer at a refreshment stand and spiked it with some alcohol that he carried in his car. In this connection, Lester stated that he had been carrying alcohol with him for some time and drinking spiked drinks and this was by no means the first time. From Holstein, he drove with a friend to Cherokee and then came back home to Holstein. It was about five o’clock when he got back to the farm.
Attacks His Mother
His mother met him at the car and scolded him for not working on the fence and when she smelled the fumes of the liquor, she berated him for drinking. Lester says that he first hit his mother with his fist and then picked up a brick and hit her in the head, causing the blood to fly. He picked up several bricks and hit her. After they struggled together in the yard, he went into the house and picked up a stove hook, such as is used to lift lids. He struck his mother with this hook. There are evidences that she leaned against the house, leaving bloody traces of her hand and arm. Another stain of blood on the house showed where some bloody object had possibly bounded from her head and came in contact with the building. Even this terrible mauling of his mother, always apparently directed at her head, was not rapid enough or satisfying to the killer. He ran back to the kitchen again for the 44 gauge shot gun that was there. As he came out one door, his mother entered by another door and then fastened the screens to both.
Fires Through Door
Temporarily balked, he fired through the screen door, missing the mother, the charge taking effect in the kitchen cupboard. Then he tore off the fastening of the door and entered, shooting his mother in the right breast, the charge ranging upward, inflicting a flesh wound.
Clubbed With Gun
Without waiting to reload, the frenzied youth began wielding the shotgun like a club, pounded his mother over the head with the weapon until it shattered into 4 or five pieces. Then he hit her with the breach mechanism, whose lugs were sharp and jagged and made wounds like cleaving with a hatchet. This produced wound that fractured the skull and slashed down into the brain. Mrs. Mohr sank upon the kitchen floor, face downward, in a great pool of her own blood.
Shot Her Three More Times
Mrs. Mohr was already dead or at the point of death, but to finish up his terrible job, the matricide says he went over to the corner where the Remington 22 automatic rifle lay, pulled out some loaded shells from a nearby drawer, and shot his mother in the head, he does not know how many times. At least one bullet passed through her brain and would have been sufficient to cause instant death. Tow other empty shells were picked up by Mrs. Felton Lingle, while setting the house to rights that evening, and were accounted for by county attorney Clark.
Washed His Hands and Face
After killing his mother, Lester says that he got a basin of water, washed his face and hands, picked up the rifle and put it back into its place. Then he says he went over to Kurtz’s and hunted up his father, telling him to hurry home that his mother had shot and killed herself.
Denies Lester Was Intoxicated
The father has told county attorney Clark that when Lester came over to the Kurtz place after him, there was no indication of intoxication on Lester, as they returned together to the Mohr home. Lester then went through evidences of grief at the house and told the doctor, on his arrival, that the mother had killed herself. The youth remained stoical and unmoved during all the event of that evening and on Friday, during the coroner’s inquest. In the mind of county attorney Clark, however, suspicions of the boy’s guilt began to form link by link and were heightened when it began to appear that the father was trying to protect the boy. Furthermore, the lad’s story and his efforts to account for his time during all the long, hot fatal afternoon began to show inconsistencies and contradictions. The presence of a few hairs in the dead fingers of the mother, also bore mute witness toward the possible identity of the murderer. The boy’s blood soaked clothes, which even included his underwear, were not explained away by the lad’s claims that he stumbled over his mother’s body on the floor, fell into her blood and so got his clothes soaked with gore.
[from a previous paragraph] He [Lester] was brought to the sheriff’s office about 10:30 o’clock. The youth maintained a stoical countenance during the fifteen mile ride to Ida Grove and during the questioning in the sheriff’s office. He was informed of his statutory rights and Mr. Clark says that no threats and no promises were made to him. He was told the importance of telling the truth and making a clean breast of the whole affair. Without a show of emotion of expression on his face, the boy said that he was ready to tell the whole truth and why he killed his mother. First he told the story informally, starting with the beginning and moving to the terrible climax. Then the officers asked him if he were willing to sign a written confession to these facts and he answered in the affirmative. About 2 o’clock Miss Blanche Garner, the deputy county clerk, was called to the court house and took a stenographic report of the confession. Then it was typewritten in full. The boy read it over and signed his name to it. Almost immediately, it appeared that a big load had rolled off the boys mind and he began to look and act more like normal. As soon as the signed confession was obtained, the officers called Gus Mohr [his father] house and informed Mr. Mohr that it was best that he come immediately to the sheriff’s office in Ida Grove, that Lester had something to say to him. The father was present by one o’clock and was informed that his son had confessed. Lester then informed his father of his own guilt, whereupon the father began sobbing. Lester, for the first time, showed sorrow for his act and cried momentarily but soon regained his composure.
Ida Grove Pioneer Record, Ida Grove, Iowa, Thurs., July 31, 1930, p.1
Boy Murder Gets 50 Years At Hard Labor
Half Century in Prison Does Not Perturb Slayer Greatly
Last Chapter of Ida County’s Brutal Murder Closed in Courtroom Tuesday by Judge P. J. Klinker
Lester Mohr, 14 year old youth who brutally murdered his mother, Mrs. Gus Mohr at their farm home two and one half miles southeast of Cushing on July 17, was sentenced to serve 50 years at hard labor at Ft. Madison penitentiary by Judge P. J. Klinker of Denison, at 11:10 a.m. Tuesday, July 29. The Ida County Court House was packed. Appeal bonds were set at $20,000.00 and court cost assessed to the lad. [The rest of this article plus several others on this case can be read in the Ida County Pioneer Record newspaper online at http://idagrove.advantage-preservation.com/]
Ida Obituaries maintained by Tonja Winekauf.
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