The Electrocution of Baby Lawrence: A Murder That Shook a New England Town (Hardcover)

The Electrocution of Baby Lawrence: A Murder That Shook a New England Town By James E. Overmyer Cover Image
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Was it a "mercy killing?" Was it an accident? Was it murder? Read the full account of the death of baby Lawrence Noxon and subsequent arrest, trial, and conviction that divided a 1940s small town. Publishers Weekly calls it "an enlightening and discomfiting account of a horrific crime."

With no witnesses and destroyed evidence, questions still surround the mysterious death of baby Lawrence Noxon. This the account of the 1940s murder case, arrest, trial, and conviction of John Noxon as well as a story of changing city and state. It's not every day that a prominent citizen, a highly successful lawyer, no less, is arrested for murder. The case itself drew in newspaper readers from coast to coast, and Lawrence's death was often characterized as a "mercy killing," at a time when euthanasia societies were publicly advocating for the selection out of mental defectives from American society.

Noxon consistently maintained the electrocution was accidental, although admittedly due to his own negligence but the prosecution was pushing for the death penalty. Based on scientific, or forensic evidence, they recreated some of the lost evidence and called upon university medical faculty, chemists, and electrical engineers to show the death could not have been an accident. The defense, of course, had its own cadre of witnesses from those disciplines to testify just the opposite.

Despite the complicated technicalities of the evidence, the jury deliberated only about five hours before finding Noxon guilty of first-degree murder, which, at the time carried an automatic death penalty.

About the Author

James E. Overmyer was the public safety and criminal courts reporter from 1974-1979 for the Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. He regularly reported on felony cases in the Superior Court, included several murder trials. From 1979 through 1983, he was an administrator in the Berkshire County District Attorney's Office in charge of case preparation for both felony and misdemeanor cases. Until retiring from public service in 2010, he worked in both the Massachusetts and New York state governments in a series of positions associated with state court systems. He currently lives in Tucson, AZ.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781538181294
ISBN-10: 1538181290
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Publication Date: July 2nd, 2024
Pages: 324
Language: English