Monday, September 30, 2013
Robert N. Maloney -- Willard the Wizard
Unemployed for a month since last performing his magic act in Hancock, Maryland, Maloney (billed as "Willard the Wizard"), with his wife Othello and their one-year-old daughter, Frances, moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, in November 1913. In the Queen City, the 27-year-old magician stayed on a month-long drinking binge, often consuming a quart of whiskey a day. In the early hours of December 29, 1913, a drunken Maloney returned to his room at the Hotel Walton and loudly accused his wife of being unfaithful. During the ensuing argument (according to Maloney's police statement), he saw the "devil" in Othello's eyes and in the sacred pictures on the walls of the hotel room. The crazed magician produced a gun and rapidly fired three shots into his wife, striking her in the stomach, right temple, and both ankles. Seeing similar devils in his child's eyes, Maloney shot Frances in the back of the head, and crushed the infant's fingers with the butt of the pistol. "I beat them like you'd beat meat and potatoes," he told sickened detectives. Maloney was apprehended one hour later running through the streets in his underwear. A court-ordered psychiatric evaluation of the double-murderer concluded: "Insanity due to excessive drink, taking the form of delusions of infidelity on the part of his wife." Awaiting trial on two counts of first-degree murder in the Central Station Jail on June 21, 1914, Maloney climbed to the second-floor tier of cells and shouting, "I said I was going to do it, and I'm going to!" dove headfirst to his death on the concrete courtyard forty feet below.