Grisly murders rock 19th century Staten Island

Polly Bodine, in her 30s, was a suspicious character in 1843 Staten Island, a rural enclave with just 10,000 or so residents.

A “fallen” woman, she lived with her parents in Graniteville after separating from her husband. She had a lover, a druggist in Manhattan.

So on Christmas Day, when the bodies of her brother’s wife and baby daughter were found bludgeoned and burned in their home across the street from the Bodine’s, suspicion fell on Polly.

On one hand, she was known to be very close to her sister-in-law.

But at her murder trial that summer in Richmondtown, witnesses claimed to have seen her hawking Emeline’s things at a pawn shop.

That trial ended in a hung jury. A second trial, in Manhattan, returned a guilty verdict, which was later invalidated. Perhaps the jury was biased by a P.T. Barnum wax figure of Polly kicking Emeline to death displayed near the courthouse.

At her third trial, held upstate—the only place they could find an “unbiased” jury—Polly was found not guilty and set free. She died in 1902.

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One Response to “Grisly murders rock 19th century Staten Island”

  1. Wedding couple turn back the clock Says:

    […] Grisly murders rock 19th century Staten Island « Ephemeral New York […]

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