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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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The Public Suspense is Over

The Public Suspense is Over

Chapter:
(p.181) 6 The Public Suspense is Over
Source:
The Body in the Reservoir
Author(s):

Michael Ayers Trotti

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/9780807899038_trotti.10

This chapter describes how, before the 1886 Christmas holidays, the Richmond Dispatch and other papers again carried daily front-page articles about Thomas Cluverius. In June of 1885, the local hustings court had convicted the prisoner of Lillian Madison's murder, and in recent months, the Virginia Supreme Court rendered a four-to-one decision against his appeal. Some questions often asked were: Would the governor commute his sentence of death? Would Cluverius confess? What did the jurors now feel about his impending execution? The papers reviewed the trial, witnesses, and evidence, and retold the story of the crime over and over again. On January 14, 1887, virtually the entire issue of the Dispatch recapitulated the case, described the state of the last-minute appeals to the governor, and painted the scene at the newly erected gallows inside the jail walls.

Keywords:   Richmond Dispatch, Thomas Cluverius, hustings court, Lillian Madison, Virginia Supreme Court

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