Here’s the Prize Queer Suit of Legal History
One of the most extraordinary actions ever known in the legal history of America was filed here yesterday by William H. Meutsch.
Meutsch filed suit for $75,000 against the Chicago City Railway Co., as damages caused by Meutsch’s murder of his two daughters and infant son.
Meutsch shot and killed his children January 30, 1908.
Ten days before the murder Meutsch, while driving a wagon, was run down by a State street car at Twenty-sixth street.
He now alleges that the injuries he suffered in that accident caused him to become criminally insane and that, therefore, the traction company really is responsible for the triple murder he committed and his suffering therefrom.
Meutsch was found insane shortly after the murder and committed to the asylum for the criminally insane at Chester. Two years later he was released as cured.
He then was tried before Judge Scanlan for the murder of his older daughter, convicted and sentenced to death.
He was granted a new trial before Judge Kavanagh and acquitted. He was then tried for the murder of his younger daughter, convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. While motion for a new trial was pending, the state’s attorney dropped the case and Meutsch was freed.
Meutsch has married again since the triple murder.
Here’s the Prize Queer Suit of Legal History, The Day Book, Chicago, Illinois, 23 May 1913, page 7, column 2.
You might be forgiven for thinking I have dipped into an archive of National Enquirer articles, but although The Day Book was a tabloid newspaper, this is a true story that I will be adding to on Madness Mondays, or should that be Mystery Mondays, because it is a mystery to me how he was acquitted, who would marry such a man, and where he got the crazy idea to sue the city railway.
I recently found out that this was my great grandfather. No one in the family every talked about this. I never knew any of my grandfather’s relatives except his sister Mary. Now I know why.