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***Boston Belfry Murders & Carl Feigenbaum***

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  • ***Boston Belfry Murders & Carl Feigenbaum***

    I've been posting material about the 1873-1874 'Boston Belfry Murderer' Thomas Piper, executed in 1876 ...I hope folks have found it interesting.

    If not, then maybe this is :

    During the first of two trials, A Reverend George Pentecost was brought to the cells where Piper was being held to speak to the prisoner.

    The defense team was outraged as they saw this move as an attempt to coerce Piper to confess. Bob Wilhelm of 'Murder By Gaslight' had this concerning the intrusion of the good Reverend into the case for the benefit of the prosecution :

    Not long after this Piper was hired as sexton of the Warren Avenue Baptist Church on the recommendation of his brother, a member of the church who was studying for the ministry. Even without knowing his suspicious past, members of the church had reason to be wary of their new sexton. The twenty-six-year-old Piper was described as melancholy but quiet and agreeable until the sixteen-year-old daughter of a minister met him in the vestry one Sunday evening. It was not revealed what he proposed to her but she hurried home to tell her parents “she thought he was a very bad man indeed, and was afraid of him.”

    The Reverend Pentecost had caught Piper reading a racy adventure novel called Cord and Creese. The prosecutor at Piper’s trial would later say that the book’s publishers “ought to be sent to the House of Correction for the rest of their lives.” It was also discovered that Piper kept bottles of whiskey in his room and had one hidden in the pews at the church, laced with laudanum.

    Thomas Piper was already in police custody when Mabel Young died. At least three more little girls came forward to say that Piper had tried to lure them into the belfry, offering to show them the pigeons. The cricket bat, used on church outings, was usually kept in the sexton’s room. Piper had deliberately brought it out in preparation for the crime.

    While Piper was being questioned in police custody, Assistant Deputy Chief of Police John Hamm told him “it would go better if you confessed. He then brought Reverend George Pentecost into Piper’s cell and Piper apparently complied, making some incriminating statements to his spiritual advisor.

    When the prosecution tried to enter the confession as evidence, Piper’s attorney vehemently objected saying that the prosecution had deliberately brought Pentecost to encourage Piper to confess. The judges sitting on the trial first ruled for the defense, but the prosecutor argued that he was not offering the testimony as evidence of a confession but to show the defendant’s “consciousness of guilt.” On this fine point of law, the testimony was allowed. Nonetheless, Piper’s first trial ended in a hung jury.

    In his second trial, prosecutors entered evidence of the “evil literature” that Piper enjoyed reading. This seemed to be enough to sway the jury to convict Thomas Piper of first degree murder.

    Verdicts: Hung jury; Guilty of murder

    This is Reverend George Pentecost

    Does he look familiar ? If you read Ripperologist Magazine you may recall one of Nina and my recent columns on one of Carl Feigenbaum's lawyers....this fellow :

    The man above is Hugh Owen Pentecost, radical evangelical and Carl Feigenbaum's attorney and the brother of George Pentecost.

    How's that for a coincidence ?
    No escaping a Ripper connection in this life,folks........

    Hugh Owen Pentecost 1848-1907
    George Pentecost 1842-1920
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