Widely considered to be one of the most haunted locations in all of Ohio, The Old Licking County Jail was built in 1889 in Licking County, Ohio. To learn all about the history of this super haunted location be sure to listen to our episode on it and some other haunted areas on a very special episode with Amelia and Will Fox of Long Island Paranormal Investigators. It is available anywhere that podcasts can be found or by clicking HERE.
For the sake of this blog we are just going to include some information about the people responsible for some of the hauntings:
THE HANDSAW SLAYER
In December of 1946 seventy-two year old Laura Devlin, often referred to as the Handsaw Slayer, killed her husband Thomas. She admitted to the murder and said it was due to him throwing a plate at her. After the murder was complete, she wanted to ensure her husband stayed dead so she took it upon herself to cut off his arms, and then went on to dismember his body, including decapitating him, using a sickle and handsaw. Mrs. Devlin tossed her husband’s torso in the backyard.
Two weeks after the murder, thanks in part to the keen eye and inquisitive nature of their mailman, Mr. C.G. Butcher, she was arrested for the crime. In fact, the mailman drove her to the police station himself. Newark Police found the the torso and the handsaw in the backyard and since she was still in the process of burning his remains in the home’s two stoves, they found those too. She was arrested and booked at the Newark Police Department and then taken to the Old County Jail to be incarcerated. Mrs. Devlin was easily indicted and believed to be suffering from senile psychosis. Mrs. Devlin was transferred to the Lima State Hospital for a 30 day period of observation. One week later, on March 29th 1947, she was dead from pneumonia.
PROPOSAL DAY MURDERER
Walter Benjamin Robertson, aka the Proposal Day Murderer, asked his longtime girlfriend Della Crottinger to marry him, she being very much in love with Robertson said yes to the proposal. Unfortunately, death did do them part by way of Robertson murdering his new fiancé that very same day. He confessed to the murder on the grounds of insanity. He was extensively interviewed by the County’s physicians and found to be quite sane and more than able to stand trial for the vicious murder of Della Crottinger. The other strange thing about this crime was the Roberson out right refused to give anyone a motive and it took his reason for slaying his beloved with him to the grave. Weird.
THE MILKSHAKE MURDERER
Next on our list is none other than George Washington Burton, aka The Milkshake Murderer.
On a visit to the Ten-Twenty Pizza and Sandwich Shop in the small village of Jersey, Ohio he ran into 26-year-old Wanda Peterman standing behind the counter ready to take his order.
Peterman took Burton’s order for a milkshake, he paid and started to leave, but not before realizing that his milkshake had not been filled to the line, he was one very dissatisfied customer. So much so that he informed Peterman that she had cheated him on his milkshake and he’d be back with his gun.
Unfortunately for Peterman, this wasn’t just the idle ramblings of some entitled loser. When Burton returned, she was standing outside the Pizza shop. He raised his shotgun and fired, killing Peterman with a single shot to the chest.
I would like to remind our listeners to please tip people who work is food service. We deal with a lot.
THE RUM CRAZED TRAILER MURDER
On Saturday, March 8, 1952 Mrs. Bernice Butler found herself drunk as a skunk! In a Rum induced craze, Butler grabbed her .25 handgun and shot her husband in the forehead. There was no denying her crime because perhaps even more tragic than the actual murder was the fact she committed the heinous act in front of her young son as well as her friend. When the police arrived on the scene, Butler was clawing at her husband’s face and embracing him. Her remorse came a little too late to save the man’s life.
In 1951 Joanne Thomas, went to see her 30-year-old boyfriend of five years, Frank Rizzo while he was at work. Thomas walked into the Produce Market on South 5th Street in Downtown Newark. Rizzo worked at the fruit stand so his loving girlfriend made a beeline to his station. Without a word, Thomas shot and killed Frank on the spot. I actually went on newspaperarchive.com and was able to find an article written about the trial. It didn’t say why she killed him but the witnesses did include 6 of Rizzo’s siblings who had heard her say three days prior that she wanted to shoot him, and they all knew she had gun, and some of them tried to tell the police about the threats. It was very scandalous at the time.
THE MURDER IN THE HOUSE OF ILL REPUTE
In the town of Newark, Ohio at the turn of the 20th century, brothels were commonplace. On April 21st, 1909, George Prikogan came knocking on the door at 28 East Street looking for a little entertainment of the feminine persuasion.
Prikogan was invited into the brothel and joined in conversation for a little under an hour. When he was asked to leave so the girls could get some sleep, he didn’t take so kindly to his escort. Matt Hurley was a current boarder who walked Prikogan to the door to bid him farewell. Prikogan drew his handgun and shot Hurley in the side. Matt Hurley died shortly after.
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