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The Christmas that May Glenn killed her husband in Phoenix, Arizona 1918


Although when I'm history adventuring, I usually time-travel just in my imagination, this actually happened. The story that you are about to read is true, and no names have been changed. I found the article in the December 1918 Phoenix newspaper, and I'll try to explain what happened.

First of all, yes, she shot and killed him, and yes, she was exonerated as it was declared justifiable self-defense. The charge was manslaughter.

Mary was 29 and Robert was 52. She was young and pretty, and he wasn't. He was a violent alcoholic. And according to her testimony, he beat her on several occasions. And yet she said that she never intended to kill him that night (or morning, it was 2 am) while he was playing cards at their Christmas party, which was at 514 N. 9th Street (9th Street and Taylor). She said that she intended just to scare him, and apparently she wasn't a very good shot with a gun. That Christmas night when he got drunk and hit her, she shot him. And it would be the last time he would ever do that.

Phoenix had never been a place of "frontier justice" and while it apparently seemed obvious to everyone right away that after a long history of abusing his wife, that this man was just asking to be shot, the official process of making charges, and having a trial, was done.

January 3, 1919, Phoenix, Arizona.

At the trial, she explained. To quote from the January 3rd, 1919 newspaper, she said, "He beat me unmercifully. Every time he got drunk it would mean trouble. He would beat me with anything he could lay his hands on and call me vile names. But I did not mean to kill him. I loved him better than my life, and I meant only to fire to frighten him."






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