Of course, Nan Patterson, a pretty chorus girl in the 1900 smash Broadway hit Florodora and daughter of a Treasury Department bigwig, insisted she didn’t kill her married boyfriend, gambler Caesar Young.
But the evidence against her was strong.
On the morning of June 4, 1904, Nan and Caesar were taking a hansom cab to a Hudson River pier where Caesar and his wife were to board a transatlantic ship.
At West Broadway and Franklin Street, a shot rang out from the cab. Caesar lay dying in Nan’s lap, a bullet in his chest.
Nan told police Caesar shot himself, upset that she was leaving him. The cops said no way: the bullet entered Caesar from an angle not compatible with suicide. And anyway, Caesar’s gun was found in his pocket.
“The prosecutor concluded that no jury would unanimously believe that such a sweet young thing could commit so brutal a crime,” writes Patrick M. Wall in The Annals of Manhattan Crime.
[Photo: Bain News Service; Floradora program cover, 1900]