Typically, when people talk about felons and criminals, they’re usually referring to men. Though certainly in the minority, there are plenty of female offenders as well, and they can be even more deadly than their male counterparts. These criminals all hail from the great state of Nebraska, and their photos were found at https://www.nebraskahistory.org.

Let’s examine the rap sheet, shall we?

 

A rare but deadly mother-son duo

 

When elderly farmer Eli Feasel disappeared in 1903, suspicion fell at once upon his housekeeper Nannie Hutchinson, and her 21-year-old son, Charles. They were questioned, but with no evidence of a crime, police had to set them free. After an uneventful winter, Feasel’s neighbor, Mr. Stanley, began to work the missing farmer’s land in the spring. As he worked the field one day, Stanley discovered a human hand was poking through the dirt. When authorities were summoned, the mystery of Feasel’s whereabouts was solved. The Hutchinsons were convicted of second-degree murder. Nannie got 10 years and Charles was sentenced to 12. They were both released in 1911.

Mary Shannon

 

In 1925, Mary Shannon was sent up to Nebraska State Prison for 2 years for mayhem. Most unfortunately, we don’t know what that entailed specifically, but mayhem was regarded as a felony and the legal definition at the time was “the criminal act of disabling, disfiguring, or cutting off or making useless one of the members (leg, arm, hand, foot, eye) of another either intentionally or in a fight, called maiming.”

Minnie Bradley

 

Minnie Bradley, age 27, lets the Omaha Police know she isn’t about to be made to look at the camera. The police note that Minnie was arrested for pickpocketing and her occupation was prostitution. They noted she was wearing a wig.

Mrs. H.C. Adams

 

Who would suspect the demure and petite Mrs. H. C. Adams of so much as passing a bad check? And yet, she was picked up by police in 1900 for blackmail. When asked her profession, she calmly replied that she was a prostitute. Apart from the other funny things about this particular picture, it’s bizarre that the police didn’t bother to get her first name.

Ruby Fox (L) and Myrtle Hetrick (R)

 

Ruby Fox and Myrtle Hetrick met while incarcerated at the State Reformatory for Women in York, Nebraska. Ruby was serving time for breaking and entering, while and Myrtle was there for vagrancy. They must have been thoroughly unreformed for Ruby and Myrtle engineered an escape and made it as far as Wyoming. When they were captured and returned to Nebraska, they were sentenced to one year at the Nebraska State Prison for their escape.

Goldie Williams, aka Meg Murphy

 

At 5’ tall and 110 pounds, Goldie Williams, alias Meg Murphy, was a petite woman. When Omaha Police took her mugshot in 1898, she said she lived in Chicago and gave her occupation as a prostitute. Williams sports an elaborate hat with satin ribbons and feathers. I couldn’t find what she was picked up for.

Red Nora

 

Nora Courier, better known as “Red Nora”, was arrested in March 1901 for horse theft. Back in the day, a horse thief was the most lowdown thing a person could. be. This perp was 22 and stood at 5’3. Red Nora just looks like trouble to me.

 

When people are sentenced to life in prison, they are quickly forgotten by everyone but the people who loved them most. (Celebrity prisoners like Chris Watts and Scott Peterson are an exception, but that is a recent phenomena.) This post features five prisoners from Missouri, all of whom were given a life sentence in the 1920s. No doubt by the time the men featured in this post met their end, they had been, by and large, forgotten by the world.

Our first prisoner is Walter Hardin Coffey, who was sentenced to natural life in Jackson County, Missouri on Dec 12, 1921.

Mugshot 12/28/1921

 

Coffey managed to survive in prison for 16-and-a-half years before he had to be transferred to Fulton Hospital for the Insane on March 21, 1938. He died there on October 12, 1940.

 

In Jackson County, Missouri, Harry Lynch was tried and convicted of first-degree murder in 1923.

Mugshot 12/13/1923

Lynch was sentenced to life on November 21 of that year. He spent 17 years in Missouri State Penitentiary before succumbing in the prison hospital on September 22, 1940. In an unusual side note, the prison records, which tended to be a bit haphazard, very precisely noted that Lynch died at 1:07 AM.

 

Next up, we have William Collins, who pleaded guilty to assault with intent to kill in Henry County. He was sentenced to 99 years on Sept 17, 1924– an effective life term.

Mugshot 9/18/1924

Collins was incarcerated for 18 years before being transferred to Fulton Asylum on January 17, 1942. Nine months later, the asylum returned Collins to prison, presumably he was well enough to go back. But after six months, the prison again sent him back to Fulton and he remained there until his death on October 25, 1946. You may have noticed Collins is wearing overalls in his mugshot. It seems unusual today but there were a surprising number of prisoners sporting overalls in vintage mugshots. A large percentage of the jobs for ordinary people in the early twentieth century were related to agriculture, especially from the middle of the country.

 

Charles Ross Bringman stood trial for first-degree murder in Henry County in January 1925.

Mugshot 1/23/1925

Bringman was convicted and was sentenced to a life term on January 12, 1925. Nineteen years and eleven months passed in the Missouri State Penitentiary, before Bringman was killed by another inmate in the “B” hall.

 

Lastly, we have Roy M. Turner. Turner may look like the unluckiest prisoner of all, but he fared better than the others. Like the other prisoners he was tried and convicted of first-degree murder.

Mugshot 2/20/1926

Turner was sentenced to life in Jackson County on February 13, 1926, but he was paroled on July 19, 1955 by the board of probation and parole. For four years, two months, and three days, Turner was free again. He died of a heart attack in September of 1959.

 

Mugshot March continues with the case of Mr. Alonzo Dowell. Dowell was no stranger to trouble. He was a career thief and in 1924, he was convicted of robbing Mrs. W. Arthur Stickney near her residence, and stealing $17,000 in jewels.

This gives one pause: if you take inflation into account, this woman was wearing over $260,000 in jewelry. I’m not trying to judge her. I’m as guilty as anyone else of adorning myself in priceless jewels before taking an afternoon stroll, but it does seem a little much. 

Back to Mr. Dowell. It turned out, robbing Mrs. Stickney wasn’t a totally out of character thing for him to do. While in court, he also pleaded guilty to two charges of second-degree burglary, that had been committed in 1923. In the first instance, he had stolen $30, and in the other he had taken $479.

The St. Louis judge was not happy with Dowell’s improved criminal performance, and handed him a heavy sentence: 50 year and 1 day in the Missouri State Penitentiary, which included a five year sentence for each prior burglary.

Dowell’s luck had not completely run out: he was paroled on November 13, 1939.

He remained free for two years and two months, when his parole was revoked for reasons unknown, and he returned to the penitentiary in February 1942. Alonzo Dowell died in prison on March 3, 1947.