Brutal Treatment of a Woman: The Assailant Held For Murder 1880


The Eagle yesterday announced the death of Mary Blake, aged 20 years, at St. Peter's Hospital, from wounds received at the hands of John McLaughlin, with whom she had lived at 493 Baltic street. The assault was committed on Tuesday night, and the difficulty arose out of money matters. The particulars ascertained today are as follows:

John McLaughlin, a laborer, aged 34, had lived in the tenement house, 493 Baltic street, for some time with Mary Blake, a woman described by the police as possessing "more than ordinary intelligence," and who had some claims to good looks. Mrs. Ellen McLaughlin, John's mother, lived with them, and although far advanced in years, mainly attended to the household duties. The three persons were accustomed to drink freely, and John McLaughlin has more than once been arraigned in Justice Ferry's Court on a charge of intoxication. On Tuesday night, after the beer kettle had been twice emptied, McLaughlin insisted on the return of some money that he had given to Mary Blake, a trivial amount, not worth quarreling about.

The woman refused to give it up, saying that it had been given to her, and that it therefore belonged to her and her alone, and that nothing could persuade her to give it up. The reply greatly enraged McLaughlin, and he attempted to overpower Mary, but she hastily put the money in her mouth and closed her teeth upon it. He first attempted to force the mouth open, and failing in this struck her A STUNNING BLOW on the side of the face. Still Mary held on to the money, and then McLaughlin knocked her down and repeatedly kicked her, once on the head. Suffering from her injuries the woman left her home and proceeded to the Third precinct Station House on Butler street, where she narrated the facts to Captain Leavey. The result of the conversation was that a complaint of felonious assault was lodged against McLaughlin, and an officer was sent to arrest him. At first he denied the assault, said that the story against him was concocted, and refused to accompany the officer. But a little violence induced him to change his ideas, and walked to the station house as meek as a lamb. Meanwhile, Mary Blake had fainted, and it was deemed advisable to summon an ambulance and remove her to St. Peter's Hospital, corner of Hicks and Warren streets. The physicians there said that she was suffering from "bodily bruises." This was evident, for both her eyes were badly discolored, her lips were cut, and there was a compound fracture of the lower jaw, beside severe internal injuries. Her condition RAPIDLY GREW WORSE, and she died within six hours after her visit to the station house between four and five o'clock in the morning.

McLaughlin, who was under lock and key, was told that the woman had died, and that instead of being held for felonious assault he would be held for murder. He took the matter very quietly, and did not seem to realize the brutal nature of his offense. He admitted the assault, but desired to excuse himself by saying that he was intoxicated, that he did not know what he was doing and that even if he did, he had sufficient provocation for the assault. He passed the night in the station house, and would have been arraigned this morning before Justice Ferry on a charge of felonious assault, had not his victim's injuries RESULTED FATALLY.

As it was, he was sent to jail, where he will remain until such time as the District Attorney is able to attend to his case. His mother, Mrs. Ellen McLaughlin, who witnessed p art of the disturbance, has been held as a witness. Coroner Simms did not take the ante mortem statement of deceased because he was not notified in time. A boy entered his office yesterday and told him that he was wanted at the hospital, but when he arrived Mary Blake had been dead for some time. The case is one of many that occur in every great city, and from all appearances the justification for the assault, if any assault there were, was very slight.

The inquest will probably be held tomorrow.

Website: The History
Article Name: Brutal Treatment of a Woman: The Assailant Held For Murder 1880
Researcher/Transcriber Miriam Medina


The Brooklyn Daily Eagle August 5, 1880
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