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The Body in the ReservoirMurder and Sensationalism in the South$
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Michael Ayers Trotti

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780807831786

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807899038_trotti

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Images of murder

Images of murder

The Visual Revolution of the Halftone

(p.145) 5 Images of murder
The Body in the Reservoir

Michael Ayers Trotti

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter focuses on the murder of Lillian Madison in 1885, which spawned dozens of engravings in the regional press and drew crowds to the courtrooms, jail, and police station. Everyone was interested in discovering what a criminal like Thomas Cluverius looked like—even the police officers themselves. Richmonders also yearned to hear a confession, to see Cluverius “crack.” This close scrutiny, then, was an effort to probe for guilt written on his body, for physical signs that would betray Cluverius's practiced calm—and every perceived or imagined slip was taken as proof. For his part, Cluverius argued that the public had misinterpreted his own behavior and that this mistaken indifference was a factor in his conviction.

Keywords:   Lillian Madison, Thomas Cluverius, Richmonders, mistaken indifference, conviction

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