Friday, May 30, 2008

So what happened at Monmouth…

As I’ve mentioned before finding information about the Monmouth murders is quite difficult. Resources are scarce, even newspaper reports. But through tenacious digging and pissing off more than a few state and county employees I have been able to put together a reasonable amount of data about the crime scene.

The Dawsons had lived in their home for about eight years (possibly six) and this was another small cottage. The house was located several blocks south of the railroad tracks and was in an area inhabited mostly by black families which meant, at that time, a very poor neighborhood. The descriptions of the layout of the house vary and some do not match up with the only known photograph of the crime scene (an exterior shot of the house with arrows pointing to the rooms in which the Dawson’s bodies were found). I know the house faced east and contained five rooms. There was a kitchen with a back door which lead into the living room in the middle of the house. On the north side of the house were two (or three) bedrooms. Directly across from the kitchen was the bedroom in which Georgia was found. Her parents were found in the bedroom next to hers. Across from the parent’s bedroom was the bedroom two other daughters shared although it is possible one of them shared the room in which Georgia was found. The bodies were covered by bed clothes and the windows were covered by curtains. The parents appeared to have been killed without waking up but Georgia was found differently. According to one source:

[Georgia] was found in her bed shoved down off the pillow and with one hand raised above her head as though she had attempted to pull the covers over her head when she saw harm coming.

A rumor ran through the crowd standing outside the crime scene that Georgia had been raped but I haven’t seen anything to corroborate this. Is it possible that Georgia was posed in much the same position as Lena Stillinger would be eight months later?

The weapon was not immediately located and was at first believed to have been a hammer. More than one report indicated the victims had been dispatched with a single blow. Bloodhounds followed the trail west out of town to a pond near the southbound railroad tracks. On the bank of the pond was found a two foot length of one-inch gas pipe covered in blood and hair. This was sent to Chicago for analysis and it was confirmed the blood and hair was human. There were bloody fingerprints on the weapon and these were supposedly photographed. No mention of evidence the killer washed up at the scene and there weren’t any “open” flame light sources found. Several months later the wire fence at the back of the property was being removed and a pocket flashlight was found. The flashlight is a key piece of evidence and deserves its own post. The fence was in the path of the alleged escape rout so it is very possible the flashlight was used to commit the crime then was dropped as the killer crawled through or over the fence. I have yet to find anything on how the killer gained entrance or from which point entrance occurred. I’ll put up my observations about the flashlight in my next post.

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