On January 5, 1947 C.G. Butcher, a postman in Newark, Ohio delivered mail to the Devlin residence at 78 King Avenue. That day, seventy-two year old housewife and avid collector of old lace, Laura Belle Devlin, received a letter from relatives in Philadelphia informing her that her 75-year-old husband, Thomas Devlin, had passed away during a recent visit. Made suspicious by the fact that this letter had no stamp and a postmark which was obviously hand-written, C.G. Butcher took the widow to the local police station. When Mrs. Devlin was questioned, she admitted to having murdered her husband, Thomas, in the parlour of their two-story home.
Emotionless, she described the killing, saying she pounded Thomas Devlin with her bare fists until he was unconscious the attempted to break his bones with a sickle. Afterwards, she dismembered the body with a handsaw and burned parts of him in the stove. She scattered the rest of the pieces of her husband’s body in the backyard.
After being arrested on charges of first degree murder, she told police, “[Thomas Devlin] tried to kill me so many times that I decided to end his life.” then immediately asked, “And now can I go home?”. Mrs. Devlin was temporarily incarcerated at the Licking County Jail where she refused to be fingerprinted because, “That ink will make my hands dirty.”. In another attempt to take the 72-year-old killer’s fingerprints while photographers snapped pictures, she simply asserted, “NO!”. When informed of her incarceration, she just shook her head in disapproval of law enforcement’s decision on the matter and later told reporters she “disliked” jail. Despite her feelings on being locked up, she was described as “mild-mannered” throughout her incarceration. On January 11, 1947 Mrs. Devlin was admitted to the Lima State Hospital for the Criminally Insane for a 30 day observation period. There, she was diagnosed with “Senile Psychosis: Confused Type”, which is more or less an old-timey way of saying “Dementia”.
More original articles from the Laura Belle Devlin murder below. Photos courtesy Parajail.com
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