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Case Description

Merry, Mrs. Paulina, body found in ditch, 87th St., near Western Av. Christian Merry, her husband, and James Smith arrested in Princeton, Ky., and brought to Chicago Dec. 19, 1897. Merry hanged April 22, 1898. Smith sentenced May 23, 1898 by Judge Waterman to eight months in County Jail. James Ryan arrested as accessory.

Case Number



Date of offense November 28, 1897
Date of death November 28, 1897
Address 87th st., near Western Ave.
Type of location Street, or other non-commercial public place/alley
Type of public place Street, sidewalk or alley
Location description ditch
Type of death Homicide
Type of homicide Intentional murder
Weapon body found
Murder/suicide? Yes
Circumstances description Family quarrel
Total number of victims 1
Total number of defendants 3
Related to Prohibition? Yes


Name Merry, Paulina
Gender Female
Race White
Ethnicity Other, european
Employed Yes
Employment Type Outside labor force (incl. criminals)
Occupational skill Housewife
Victim/defendant relationship Wife/Husband
Related by blood or marriage Spouses


Name Merry, Christian
Gender Male
Race White
Ethnicity Other, european
Defendant/victim relationship Spouses (including common law and ever married)
Related by blood or marriage Spouses


Location of arrest Princeton, Ky.
Total number of defendants arrested 3
Time between crime and arrest Weeks
Arrest made at crime scene Out of state arrest
Allegations of police corruption No


Charges against defendant Murder
Type of legal decision recorded Coroner, trial
Outcome of trial Guilty of murder
Length of sentence Death penalty
Sentence completed Yes
Defendant executed? Yes
Date of execution April 22, 1898
Type of execution Hanged
Post trial information Death sentence carried out
Allegations of police corruption No

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