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MURDERED IN BED-W. F. Lewis 1903


Posted By: Cheryl Locher Moonen (email)
Date: 2/20/2017 at 15:39:49

Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, Jan. 4, 1904

That is the Awful Charge
That is Made Against
Keokuk County Woman
It is Alleged, Also, That Her
Intimacy With Another
Furnished a Motive
Ottumwa, Iowa, Jan. 4. – Murdering her helpless husband with laudanum as he lay sick in bed in order to get his life insurance for $2,000, is the crime charged against Mrs. Belle Lewis of Ottumwa in an indictment just returned by the Keokuk County grand jury.

Late last night, Sheriff Beatty of Sigourney arrived here, and with Chief of Police Gray, went to Mrs. Lewis’s home and placed her under arrest. She was taken at once to Sigourney. She refused to say anything and was seemingly without fear of the consequences.

Suspicions’ were at once aroused, and before the funeral it was discovered that Mrs. Lewis had purchased laudanum at two different stores just prior to the death of Lewis. An inquest was at once ordered and Mrs. Lewis and her children were summoned to appear.

Though nothing definite about the woman was brought out, yet the jury was suspicious and ordered a post mortem. The stomach of Lewis was sent to Des Moines for analysis, with the result that laudanum was found. This and other suspicious circumstances brought the case to the notice of the grand jury, and the investigation resulted last night in the arrest off Mrs. Lewis.

Lewis formerly lived in Ottumwa and moved with his family to Butler about a year ago. Mrs. Lewis and four of their children returned to Ottumwa two weeks after Lewis death.

Two motives are given for the alleged murder. One, that Mrs. Lewis wished to obtain her husband’s life insurance from the A. O. U. W., the other came out in the investigation over the sudden death of a prominent Keokuk County woman. There are hints of intimacy between the husband of this woman and Mrs. Lewis and still another sensation is promised.


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