Four Generations

Four Generations
Loretta, Don, Vicki with Andy, Grace and Clarence Hilb

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Arthur Rigney What happened to him?

So, I have to have as many of the pieces to a puzzle as I can get. I wrote to the archived records section of the state of Illinois and requested everything and anything they could tell me about Arthur and how he served his prison sentence.

Per the records I received:
Arthur was received into Joliet Prison on April 8,1933 with a sentence of 35 years for murder. He is described as:
Race: white
Age: 48
Hair: dark grey hair
Eyes: grey green
Height: 5'8 3/4"
Build: medium
Weight: 165
Education: 8th grade
Religion: Methodist

Released from prison: January 7, 1952.

So Arthur served 19 years of his 35 year sentence. Records show that January 7, 1952 would have been the earliest he could have been released. 

No one knows for sure what happened to Arthur after his release. We do have his death certificate showing his date of death as February 27,1961 at the Maple Lawn Rest Home in Palmyra Missouri.  Arthur's brother W C Rigney (who was a witness at trial) was the informant.

Am I done with research on Patsy and Arthur? No!  I have a photo taken at a family reunion of Arthur's family and we believe it contains my grandmother Patsy and mother Grace as well.  I just have to find a picture of Patsy to prove it.
So who do we work on next...

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Rigney Gets 35 Years on Charge of Murder

Arthur's attorney sought to withdraw the guilty plea to murder and enter a plea of manslaughter.  the judge denied the motion. 

The state attorney did not seek the death penalty but requested a heavy sentence. The plaintiff attorney plead for a light sentence asking for the minimum term.

Judge Eldredge advised: "There are two things which excuses a person from killing another. One is in defense of his own life, family or property and the other insanity. There is nothing else which gives any person the right to take the life of a human being. Voluntary intoxication is no excuse for crime. That is the law the world over."  He was sentenced to 35 years in the State Prison at Joliet Illinois.  He started the sentence on April 5, 1933. 

Palmer Byrne the attorney appointed to defend Arthur was then awarded $150 for his defense of Arthur.

WOW!  Lots of information on what happened to Patsy! What happened to Arthur? See ya...

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Judge Hears Testimony to Fix Penalty

Arthur Rigney took the stand at 11:10 am on March 31, 1933. Through questions from his attorney he told the story of his life. He told of giving Patsy money and of alleged illicit relations with her. He testified about his wife and daughter in New York. He told of proposing marriage to Patsy. 

He was born on a farm in Palmyra Missouri a part of a family of four boys and three girls.  He spoke of residing in Hannibal with his wife, daughter and in laws and their move to Cicero New York. He left New York because his mother in law mistreated him.

He told he met Patsy a year ago January via an introduction by Earl Smith in Naplate.  Patsy was residing at the same house but with the Webb family.  Arthur saw her regularly.  He told of taking Patsy to shows and dances and that after he broke his leg he recuperated at the Webb home with Patsy. He was in love with her when he started his three week stay there and more in love when he left.

He said on one or two occasions he talked with Patsy about marriage and once asked her if she would like to be his wife. She laughed and asked if he was married and he said yes and she told him he needed to get a divorce.  He said he was giving Patsy money and she only asked for money on two occasions. Once was for $10 to buy a coat and another to loan Mrs. Webb $10.  He said Patsy never bought a coat but bought someone else a present. He said Patsy was not running around with any man but him. 

It is amazing the detail you can find in newspaper accounts.  See ya soon....

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Rigney Pleads Guilty to Charge of Murder

TIP #7: By reading these older articles you will notice and learn about the justice system then and the major differences between then and now.

Arthur Rigney plead guilty to a murder charge before Judge Edgar Eldridge in the circuit court on March 27, 1933.  The judge did not immediately sentence him but scheduled the next morning to hear evidence in the case. 

Before accepting Arthur's plea the judge appointed Palmer Byrne as Arthur's attorney.  The judge reminded Arthur that if he plead guilty the court was mandated to sentence him to a minimum of 14 years and possibly life imprisonment or the death penalty. Arthur confirmed knowledge and plead guilty. 

Palmer Byrne advised that Arthur was going to take the stand and it would take 2 days to present evidence in this case.

Harley Patterson a co-worker testified that Arthur was drunk the night of the shooting.  W O Rigney brother of Arthur testified about Arthur's unhappy married life. He alleged that the parents of Arthur's wife interfered in their life. He advised Arthur was a good provider. He said that shortly before the marriage Arthur advised his father he did not love the girl and did not want to marry. The girls mother and step-father owned allot of land around Hannibal Missouri and the girl insisted on going with Arthur.  Shortly after they married Arthur started to build them their own house. Once the foundation was completed his mother in law told Arthur her daughter would never be allowed to reside there. The wife and mother often went out to shows together and Arthur would have to go out alone. When the family all moved to Syracuse New York, Arthur and his wife separated and Arthur returned to Hannibal and then to Ottawa.  Many character witnesses were called and they advised Arthur never had been seen drunk before that night. 

Come back for more...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Slayer Paces All Night In His Jail Cell

Arthur explained, "I loved the girl and just lost my head."

Arthur, at the county jail ate regularly and until the night before the verdict was due, slept with no problem. This night (February 25, 1933) he paced the floor of his cell all night keeping others awake. 

March 8, 1933 it is decided to present the case to the grand jury March 13, 1933.

March 15, 1933 fire destroys auto, garage at murder scene. Fire of an unknown origin destroyed the garage
at the John McCormick home, where Patricia Schubnell was murdered.  A year prior the garage was struck by lightening and destroyed. the structure that burned was a new structure.

March 17, 1933 A murder indictment was returned by the grand jury against Arthur Ringney. 

Another interesting article is: Raymond Hall of Naplate was indicted on a bill charging him with assault with a deadly weapon and intent to roll Felix Wajculas, Naplate junk dealer. Wajculas sustained a fractured skull in a holdup in January.

Who is Raymond Hall?  Have to check back for that answer...

TIP#6: While you might be reading the news article for certain facts, be open minded about what else is on the page.  The particular page about the murder indictment has been read by myself 5 or 6 times before I saw the next paragraph about Raymond Hall.  Raymond plays a part in Patsy's life as well.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

John P McCormick testifies

The murder happened at the home that John P McCormick was renting and Patsy was residing in. John advised that he resided in Chicago two years prior and knew Patsy then.  They were never sweethearts.  John only knew Arthur Ringney by the name "Geranium".  He had met him 2.5 months prior at his home. Geranium came there to see Patsy. He was not sure if they were in love, and never thought it was a serious case. Patsy went to shows and things like that with other fellows. Geranium thought she should stick to him better then she did.

McCormick said he went to bed about 1:30 and was awaken around 2:00 am by the click of a gun. Patsy was lieing on the bed next to him fully clothed with the exception of shoes and stockings. He asked Geranium what he was doing with the gun and Geranium told him he was going to kill her.  He then turned and ran downstairs.  John told Patsy to go to the other room to quiet things down.

Geranium came back upstairs and told her several times he was going to kill her. Patsy told him he was yellow. Then "I saw him fire the gun". He took the gun from Geranium and Geranium ran from the house. John placed the gun on the table by the door and it later disappeared.

The Jeffries testified as well as Felix Wacjulas. The witnesses were released from custody after their testimony with the exception of Felix. He was taken back to the jail for further questioning about the gun. Felix was a junk dealer. More about the verdict and jury...

P.S. Reading through the news account makes you feel like you were there. Wish they could find the original court transcripts.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Divorcee, 21, Murdered by Jealous Lover

Arthur Ringney was married but separated from his wife and child.  The wife and child were residing in New York with her parents.

Fern Saunders sister to Patsy was notified and said relatives would come to Ottawa to claim the body. (How did they know to notify Fern versus Patsy's father Elmer?) Elmer and Fern went to Ottawa the afternoon of Thursday February 23, 1933. They first spoke with the sheriff and then the witnesses at the jail.

Patsy is survived by three brothers Elmer, Stephen and Joseph as well as her sister Fern and father Elmer.

Thursday evening February 23, 1933 the coroner's jury heard testimony in the murder of Patricia (Patsy) Schubnell and held Arthur Rigney over for the March grand jury. 

Several individuals testified in front of the coroner's jury including Arthur.  He advised his associates know him as "Geranium".  He had been working for Congress Construction Company at Marseilles. He had been off work for about three weeks and had spent most of that time at the McCormick residence with Patsy.  He advised he had known Patsy for about one year and three or four months and had been keeping company with her for eight or nine months.  They went to shows and dances and were sweethearts.  They were not planning on getting married right away.  He thought he had a claim on her.

Tip #5: Newspapers contain so much information. They can lead you to various other discoveries.

Come back and I will reveal the testimony of John P McCormick...

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Divorcee Slain By Lover - Killer Arrested as He Returns for Coat and Hat

The headlines were a real eye catcher.  Who could resist reading the story. 

The paper: Daily Republic - Ottawa Illinois - Thursday February 23, 1933
Price of the paper was THREE CENTS

"Infuriated because he found his sweetheart in the bedroom of another man, Arthur Ringney, 46 a Hannibal MO, steel workers employed on the waterway at Marseilles, shot and killed Mrs. Patsy Schubnell, 21, a beautiful titian haired divorcee, at the home of John McCormick on the Ottawa avenue road in Naples, at 2:30 this morning."

Lots of clues here: 1. Arthur Rigney - 46 - from Hannibal MO
                             2. Arthur's place of employment
                             3. Patricia aka Patsy - hair color
                             4. Location and time of murder

The article goes on to include Arthur returning to the McCormick residence 45 minutes after the shooting for his coat and hat. (Remember this was Illinois in February).  He made a statement: "I'm sorry I didn't have more bullets to shoot McCormick." He was taken to the county jail were he confessed to Sheriff E J Weiter and Elmer Mohan state attorney.  The witnesses McCormick, Wajculas and the Jeffries were jailed as witnesses until after the coroner's inquest.

The article then relates how Patsy ended up being there in Ottawa, residing in the McCormick home and her plans to return to the Chicago area the day of her death.  It is said that Ringney was going to accompany her to Chicago.

McCormick and Wajculas shared a room while Patsy stayed in the other bedroom.  Around 1:30 am McCormick and Wajculas went to to bed and the Jeffries went to Patsy's room to sleep.  Patsy and Arthur stayed downstairs for a short time and Patsy told Arthur she was going upstairs to sleep in her room. When Arthur went upstairs a short time later he found Patsy laying fully clothed on McCormick's bed.

McCormick was not aware Patsy was there until Arthur started yelling that Patsy was double crossing him and pressed the trigger of the revolver that failed to fire.  He then went downstairs and loaded the gun. During this time Patsy went to her own room and closed the door. Arthur returned, taunted back and forth with Patsy about killing her for double crossing him, and he shot her five times. One was in the region of the heart, another a short distance away and three in the face. 

McCormick grabbed the gun from Arthur, who then ran down the stairs and out the front door in his shirt and pants.  McCormick placed the gun on the table by the front door and ran after Arthur.  During this time the gun disappeared and according to all accounts was never recovered.  Much more information to come including contact with Arthur's living relatives....