Monday, September 30, 2013

Lacer Murder 1905 Wabash County

The gossip in Sumner and the southern part of the county in 1903-1905 was the Lacer Murder.  While it happened in Wabash county, the Sumner Press ran the following article and photo:  Dec 14, 1905

The interest in the Lacer murder mystery has again been revived by the presentment of indictments by the grand jury against William Lacer, Mrs. Allison Lacer, and August Nelson, charging them with having caused the death of the first named’s mother. By agreement of the attorneys for the defense and the prosecution, the defendants were admitted to bail in the following sums: William Lacer $3000, Mrs. Allison Lacer $2000, August Nelson  $2000.

Mrs. Elizabeth Lacer, widow of Adam Lacer, was shot and killed at her home near Guards Point, 9 miles Northwest of Mt Carmel, a few minutes after six o'clock Saturday night, December 30, 1903. She was at the table eating her supper. The only person in the house with her was Mrs. Catherine Schrodt, her sister age74, since deceased. The daughter, Mrs. Laura Reinsmith, had gone to church a short time before.  The shot was fired through the window and struck the old lady in the head.  She sank back in her chair and died instantly.  Mrs. Schrodt heard the rattle of a shutter, saw the flash of a gun, heard the crash of glass, and in a second, saw that her sister had been shot, and rushed to give the alarm. 

After some investigation William Lacer, the only son of the deceased, was arrested for the crime.  He was brought before Judge E.E.  Newlin on a writ of habeas corpus, and after a careful hearing, was admitted to bail in the sum of $5,000.  The matter was presented to the succeeding Grand Jury April 1904 but no bill was returned and the defendant was discharged from his bond.  Two subsequent Grand Juries also ignored the case. What revived the old matter is difficult to say.  The grand jury examined a very large number of witnesses and there are forty five names on the back of the indictment.  As the case will now probably come to a trial, it would be manifestly improper to comment upon the evidence. 

The engraving shows the Lacer home where the crime was committed.  The young man to the right is William Lacer, charged with the terrible crime.  The young lady is his sister, Mrs. Laura Reinsmith, next to her is Mrs. Elizabeth Lacer, the murdered woman. The older man is her husband, Adam Lacer who died before the trouble came upon the family.