Thursday, January 23, 2014

Percy C. Melrose -- Always Blame the Wife

Melrose, 57, a former circus performer in a bicycle act, made a small fortune in the teens manufacturing patent medicine in the Columbus, Ohio, area.  Married with two children, Melrose began an affair with his neighbor's wife, Eva Tootle, the 27-year-old mother of a small child.  The affair ended in tragedy on May 16, 1918, with the discovery of their bullet-riddled bodies in the front seat of Melrose's car near Lockbourne, just south of Columbus.  A passing motorist found the pair when she noticed that the windshield of the car was covered with newspapers and its curtains were drawn.  Ballistics and a note found on the car's rear seat told the story of a murder-suicide.  According to authorities, Melrose shot Tootle three times in the head during a struggle (as evidenced by defensive wounds on the woman's hands) then fired one bullet into his head just behind the right ear.  A note found at the scene read, in part:  "Facts:  A ruined home and a ruined life, all because my wife was so extravagant.  We have not loved each other for three or four years.  I love little Eva because she is so pure.  God have mercy on my soul and grant that my wife will rear my two children in the right way."

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