One night, the 19-year-old complained of a headache. She took a quinine pill a medical student had prescribed for her. Within hours, after waking momentarily and telling classmates she was having fantastic dreams, she was dead.
Reporters, captivated by the mysterious death of a wealthy good girl, began digging around. What they found dominated newspaper headlines for years.
Harris must have regretted it, because he rather quickly stopped seeing Helen—who soon told him she was pregnant.
After an abortion (or “operation,” as The New York Times put it in this article), Helen enrolled at the Comstock School. The following January, her life was over.
In 1892, Harris was hauled into court. Prosecutors insisted that he put a lethal dose of morphine in Helen’s quinine pill so he could be free of her.
After a three-week sensational trial, which hinged on whether Helen’s body showed signs of an opium overdose, Harris was convicted of murder.
He was electrocuted at Sing Sing in May 1893, insistent that he was innocent.
Tags: Carlyle W. Harris, Comstock School, dead rich girls in New York City, electrocuted for murder, famous murders NYC, Helen Potts, morphine murder New York City, New York in the 1890s, Sing Sing electric chair