Photo of the Day

Marion, Mrs Parker, Marjorie. [Photo courtesy LAPL]

The Tragic Tale of Marion Parker

 Warning, some parts of this story are disturbing.

It is every parent’s most horrific nightmare: a child’s violent death at the hands of a predator.

Nearly five years before the internationally reviled kidnapping of aviator Charles Lindbergh’s 20-month-old son in New Jersey in 1932, Angelenos reacted with that same horror and fear at the abduction and murder of a local girl, 12-year-old Marion Parker she went to school in a wealthy part of Los Angeles. The perpetrator swiped her and proceeded to send her family notes entitled ‘Death’ and simply signed ‘The Fox’, hence his self-titled nickname.

The grisly crime that left the child lifeless, dismembered and discarded along the streets of Los Angeles triggered one of the biggest manhunts in the West, and the first insanity plea under a new state law. National press coverage turned the 1927 tragedy into what many then considered the “crime of the century.”

Because the child and her parents, Geraldine and Perry Parker, were not global celebrities, the grim deeds are now mostly forgotten, eclipsed by more recent outrages. But few have been more revolting.

Angelino Heights is an odd little neighbourhood. Old market buildings, charming Victorian homes, and wood frame homes in all states of repair sit high on a hill, cut off from the badlands by the buzzing 101 Freeway. In the heart of Los Angeles, minutes from downtown there is now called the Brownstone Lofts, an imposing red brick apartment building that seems too massive for its quaint surroundings. It was pretty hard to believe that within this gentrified building, where one-bedroom apartments go for over $2,000 a month, the grisliest, strangest murder took place. Adding to the strangeness, for reasons that will soon become apparent, is the fact that just down the road, there is a little street called Marion Avenue.

The Brownstone Lofts in Angelino Heights. Photo: Los Angeles Public Library.

Marion Parker, (also known as Marian) (born 1915, died December 17, 1927), was the 12-year-old daughter of Perry Parker, a prominent banker in Los Angeles. She had a twin sister named Marjorie. On December 15, 1927, Marion was abducted from her school by William Edward Hickman, who called himself “The Fox.”

The story of her murder has been sung about in folk songs. Songs and some reports about Marion frequently misspell her name as Marian.

Despite his angelic appearance, Hickman was a sociopath of the first order, with a string of crimes already under his young belt. Hickman was raised in Arkansas and Kansas by a family plagued by mental illness and instability. The fatherless boy was one of the top students in his high school class, with many friends and mentors. He was even voted “best boy orator,” and seemed to be college-bound. But around the time of his senior year, all that abruptly changed. They were not caught, and Hickman soon began working as a page at First National Bank. He was soon caught stealing money from the bank, convicted and sent home to Kansas with his mother, Eva.

In 1926, the teenagers put Kansas City behind them and headed to Los Angeles, where they lived with Hunt’s grandparents in Alhambra. (Hunt would later testify that Hickman once confided that ” . . . it was his wish to get someone and chop them up into little pieces and throw them along the highway.”)

On Christmas Eve 1926, the pair were holding up a Los Angeles drugstore when they were caught in a shootout that left one police officer shot in the abdomen and druggist Clarence Ivy Thoms mortally wounded. After lying low for a time, the two resorted to jobs as messengers at a downtown bank. There they met Perry Parker, the bank’s chief clerk and the father of a son and twin girls.

The work at the bank had evidently not stopped the teenagers’ crime spree. On May 24, 1927, the morning after Hunt’s grandfather withdrew a large sum from his bank, his body was found beneath Pasadena’s Colorado Street Bridge. The money was gone, but five suicide notes were left behind–written in two hands.

Hickman, in the meantime, had forged $400 worth of checks at the bank. He was fired and prosecuted. Out of work, he pulled off several penny-ante holdups. But by December, Hickman figured he had a sure-fire way to make money.

Ten days before Christmas, he walked confidently into Mount Vernon Junior High School and told a secretary that his employer, Perry Parker, had been hurt in an auto accident and wanted his “younger” daughter by his bedside. The secretary summoned Marion–not her older twin Marjorie–and she left with Hickman. It was the last time anyone saw her alive.

Within hours, a bizarre telegram arrived at the Parker house, followed by a letter demanding $1,500. “Get this straight,” it said. “Your daughter’s life hangs by a thread and I have a Gillette [a razor brand] ready and able to handle the situation.” It was signed “FOX-FATE.”

When Parker went the next night to drop off the ransom at 10th Street and Gramercy Place, Hickman was spooked when he saw police and, with the child still in the front seat of his coupe, drove back to his apartment. A second exchange was arranged, but Hickman never intended to return the child alive.

PHOTO IS COURTESY OF LAPL.

Manhunt

P.M. Parker: Fox is my name. Very sly you know. Set no traps. I’ll watch for them…Get this straight! Remember that life hangs by a thread and I have Gillette [razor] ready and able to handle the situation. Do you want the girl or the 75 $20 gold certificates U.S. Currency? You can’t have both and there’s no other way out. Believe this, and act accordingly. Before the days over I’ll find out where you stand. I am doing a solo, so figure on meeting the terms of Mr. Fox or else.-Fate.

Please Daddy; I want to come home this morning. This is your last chance. Be sure and come by yourself or you won’t see me again. – Marian

One of the telegrams Hickman sent | Photo: Los Angeles Public Library. Within days,  Perry Parker began receiving strange and taunting letters from the kidnapper. These letters were ransom notes. They demanded $1,500 in cash (or as some sources claim in $20 gold certificates), and furthermore, they demanded that Parker himself drop the money off at an agreed upon rendezvous. Each letter bore a strange signature, including “Fate” and “Death,” but it was one, bearing the signature “The Fox,” that truly embedded itself in the public’s mind.

It had taken less than two years for Aggie Underwood to work her way up from switchboard operator at the Los Angeles Daily Record, to a part-time assistant for one of the paper’s columnists, Gertrude Price (who wrote the Cynthia Grey column).

On December 15, 1927, just a couple of days away from Aggie’s twenty-fifth birthday, she was working in the newsroom when reporters learned that twelve-year-old Marion Parker, the daughter of Perry Parker a prominent banker, had been abducted from her school.  Marion’s twin sister Marjorie had not been taken.

The kidnapper had arrived at Mount Vernon Junior High School where the twins were students and gone directly to the office of Mary Holt, the school’s registrar.  The young man told her that Perry Parker had been seriously injured in an automobile accident and was calling for his youngest daughter. Times were different then. Holt never even asked the man for his identification, nor did she ask him what he meant by youngest daughter since Marion and Marjorie were twins and presumably separated in age by mere minutes.

Any moment of doubt that Mary Holt may have had before releasing Marion into the custody of a maniac (who didn’t look maniacal at all) was overcome when the man insisted that he was an employee at Parker’s bank. When she was questioned later, Holt said the man had seemed sincere. He had been quick to suggest that if Holt doubted his word, she should phone the bank. If only she had.

He introduced himself as Mr Cooper and said that he worked for First National Bank downtown. Perry Parker, the chief clerk at the bank, had been in a serious auto accident. Parker was asking for his “younger daughter,” and he had been sent to fetch her. At first, the secretary and teacher in the front office were confused — Parker had two children at the school — 12-year-old twin girls named Marjorie and Marian. Why would he specify that he wanted the younger one?

Mount Vernon Middle School | Photo: Los Angeles Public Library

Cooper was “quiet and courteous,” and said the women were more than welcome to call the bank. They declined and pulled an excited Marian, the youngest twin, out of her classroom’s Christmas celebration. Her father later recalled:

Marian was just a healthy, normal sort of child. What some might call “tomboyish.” She was full of life and play all the time. The child had her own mind, too, but her two main attractions seemed always to be her parents and her schoolwork.

Although she did not know Mr Cooper, Marian was eager to comfort her father. In an act unthinkable today, school secretary Naomi Britten let her go with the stranger. Marian got into the man’s car and vanished into the California sunshine.

Witnesses would later recall that the man helped Marion into his coupe and “…patted her reassuringly on the shoulder”. As Marion’s friends watched the coupe drive away they had no idea that they were witnessing a kidnapping, or that the abduction would result in one of the most heinous murders in the city’s history.

Marjorie came home from school alone, unaware of where her sister had gone. Her mother, Geraldine, began to fret, wondering where Marian was. When Perry Parker got home, he opened a telegram that had been sent to him:

Do positively nothing till you receive special delivery letter, Marian Parker

Another telegram arrived shortly after. It read:

Interference with my plans dangerous George Fox

The family called the police. Soon a long letter arrived. Headed with the word death, the missive stated, “Use good judgment. You are the loser.” It instructed Parker to obtain a relatively paltry 75 $20 gold certificates and to “leave out the police and detectives.” Failure to comply would mean “no one will ever see the girl again except the angels in heaven.” It was signed “Fate,” and included a heartbreaking postscript in Marian’s hand. Over subsequent communications, an exchange was planned for the next evening at Tenth and Gramercy. Parker (who unbeknownst to him had been followed by police) arrived at the agreed upon time, the requested money in his pocket. But the kidnapper never showed up. And Marian remained missing.

Once it had been determined that Marion had been kidnapped, terror and helplessness replaced calm and security in the Parker family home. They could not name a single enemy. The Parkers were prepared to meet any ransom demand, they simply longed for word that Marion was unharmed.

LAPD, the LA County Sheriff, and the District Attorney’s office put all available men into the search for Marion. At that time it was the largest single manhunt in the city’s history.

Marian Parker’s grandmother, left, mother, and father | Photo: Los Angeles Public Library

The Parker family waited in agony for Marion’s return, or at the very least for a communication from her kidnapper. They didn’t have long to wait. The day following Marion’s abduction the first of four ransom letters was received. The kidnapper demanded $1500 in cash for the girl’s release with the threat of death if the demand was not met. The first of the ransom notes was signed “George Fox,” the last of them were signed “The Fox”.

On the morning of December 17, 1927, Perry Parker received a telegram reiterating the earlier demand for $1500 in exchange for his daughter’s life. That evening Parker took a call from the kidnapper. The man instructed Parker to drive to the corner of Fifth Street and Manhattan Place in Los Angeles and told him not to inform the cops or Marion would die. The plan was for Parker to sit in his car and wait for the kidnapper to pull up next to him and show him that Marion was alive. The kidnapper would then collect the ransom money and drop Marion off a block down the street.

Parker followed the kidnapper’s instructions to the letter. He waited briefly at the designated meeting place for a few minutes before a Chrysler coupe pulled up beside him. He looked over and caught a glimpse of Marion sitting in the front seat. Parker sensed that something was wrong with the girl — maybe she was bound or drugged. Nothing could have prepared Mr Parker for the reality.

The driver of the Chrysler had a white handkerchief over his face and pointed a large calibre weapon at Parker. The man said: “You know what I’m here for.  Here’s your child. She’s asleep. Give me the money and follow instructions.”  Parker did as he was told. He was too close to getting his little girl back to make any move that would spook the man with the gun. The money was exchanged and Parker followed the coupe to 432 South Manhattan Place. The passenger door of the car opened and Marion was pushed out onto the lawn.  Parker tried to get the license number of the car, but the kidnapper had bent the plate so that only a few numbers were visible.

The Chrysler roared off and Parker ran over to Marion. He felt a few moments of relief, his girl was going to go home with him and everything would be as it was. Except when Parker got to Marion and took her in his arms he saw that not only was she dead, but she had been savagely mutilated. His screams made an unholy sound that reverberated throughout the neighbourhood. Someone phoned the police.

Marion Parker’s body was wrapped in towels. Her legs and arms had been hacked off and she had been disembowelled, the cavity stuffed with rags. A wire was wrapped tightly around her neck and then drawn up and wrapped around her forehead. Her eyelids had been sewn open so that she would appear alive when Perry saw her from a car length away.

Bundles of Marion’s body parts had been scattered around town. A woman who lived about a block away from where Marion had been dumped discovered a suitcase that contained blood-soaked papers and a spool of thread. The thread was a match for that used to sew Marion’s eyelids open.

A reward of $1,000 was offered, but contributions from people all over the city brought the final total to $50,000 (over $600k in current U.S. dollars).

Fearful residents retreated to their homes. School attendance fell. Mexico’s governor closed the border to prevent the “Fox” from escaping into Mexico. Radio stations and newspapers appealed for information, and rewards for the killer’s arrest totalled $60,000.

After an autopsy found a blood-stained towel marked “Bellevue Arms Apartments” stuffed into Marion’s torso, police closed in. Detectives talked with Hickman, who was registered under an alias. But he slipped away under cover of night.

Pandemonium reigned for days. One man who resembled Hickman was arrested seven times within eight hours. He finally asked to stay in jail. Another look-alike was severely beaten by a mob. For safekeeping, police took him to jail, where he hanged himself.

Marian Parker | Photo: Los Angeles Public Library

A man named Donald Evans, who matched the description of the kidnapper, had rented a room in the building.  Evans was soon discovered to be an alias used by nineteen-year-old William Edward Hickman. Hickman had been a messenger at the same bank where Perry Parker worked but lost his job after pleading guilty to forgery. He had had the audacity to return to the bank later and ask for his old job back, but Parker showed him the door. Parker also refused to supply a reference for Hickman when he applied for a job with another company.   The cops were beginning to glimpse a motive.

When the police arrived at the Bellevue Arms to search the apartment they discovered that Hickman had fled, but they picked up a couple of solid bits of evidence. A piece of a Brazil nut was found in a trash can in Hickman’s apartment, and it fit perfectly with another piece that had been found in the pocket of  Marion’s dress. The Chrysler coupe had been discovered and prints from the car matched prints on the ransom notes.  At least that’s what they thought; the prints on the car were later discovered to belong to someone other than Hickman

Fingerprints or not, the rest of the evidence was compelling enough to formally charge William Edward Hickman with the murder of Marion Parker.

Hickman was formally charged with the kidnapping of Marian on Tuesday, December 20th. But he was nowhere to be found. The west coast went on lockdown — traffic stops were conducted up and down the coast, and Hickman’s photos and physical description were plastered on the front page of every paper. The serial numbers of the gold certificates he had gotten from Parker were read out over the radio and sent to stores. A $60,000 reward was offered for his capture. If you were a good looking young man with wavy black hair — you were in trouble. Many men were arrested multiple times. A man named Michael O’Neil was held five times, another seven, and one felt so harassed that he hung himself when he was taken to jail. According to the Los Angeles Times:

Life was getting scary for men who had the misfortune to resemble Hickman. One poor fellow was arrested five times before he was given a “get out of jail free” letter from the police.  Another man who resembled Hickman was chased down and surrounded by a mob at Sixth and Hill streets in downtown Los Angeles. The police arrived just in time to save the man from being strung up on a light pole.

The real Hickman had left town the day after collecting the ransom from Parker. He’d carjacked a 1928 Hudson sedan on Hollywood Blvd, taken $15 from the driver, and headed north.

The hunt for “The Fox” was on.

Welby Hunt and William Hickman [Photo is courtesy of LAPL.]

The news of the kidnapping and brutal mutilation murder of the twelve-year-old schoolgirl, Marion Parker, had shocked Los Angeles residents more than any crime in recent memory.

Everyone in the city was following the hunt for Hickman. Aggie Underwood watched the case unfold from the special vantage point of the newsroom at the Los Angeles Daily Record. She read the copy as it was transformed into the headlines that kept Angelenos on the pins and needles awaiting word of Hickman’s capture.

The citizens’ outrage manifested itself in the near-lynching of a young man who had the misfortune of resembling William Edward Hickman. Other Hickman-look-a-likes were tracked, taunted, and threatened all over the city. More than 7,000 police officers, augmented by 12,000 members of the American Legion, and cops from neighbouring cities were out hunting the killer.

Because Hickman’s photo was on the front page of every newspaper from L.A. to San Francisco and beyond, cops were beginning to get a picture of him not only as Marion Parker’s killer but as a bandit.  People were coming forward who were able to I.D. Hickman as a drugstore robber, and it seemed that when he hadn’t  been sticking up pharmacies he had been cashing bad checks.

Reporters were digging into every corner of Hickman’s life, including the inevitable interviews with neighbours, who described him as a “mild boy”, and his mother who predictably sobbed and referred to him as a “good, clean boy”.

Mrs Hickman’s good, clean boy had managed to elude the law from Los Angeles all the way up to Pendleton, Oregon where Hickman was on the run in a stolen coupe. But his luck ran out on Thursday, December 22nd, in Seattle, where he stupidly used one of the gold certificates to purchase a coat and other cold weather accoutrements. The suspicious clothier matched the certificate’s serial number with one that had been read on the radio. Police finally arrested Hickman outside Pendleton, Oregon, after a short chase. When confronted with his real name, Hickman reportedly shrugged and said, “I guess it’s all over.”

Parents all over America breathed a sigh of relief. When reached for comment, Perry Parker summed up his feelings in three short words: “I am thankful.”

Eva Hickman, Mother of “The Fox”.

From the moment of his arrest, the public clamoured to see the baby-faced killer. He was paraded in front of spectators at the Pendleton jail and interviewed by countless reporters. Hickman couldn’t keep his mouth shut and seemed to love to bask in the spotlight.

Aggie was in the newsroom when the wire came in reporting the capture of William Edward Hickman.  In her excitement, she decided to phone her husband with the headline that everyone in Los Angeles was waiting for. Aggie’s friend and mentor Gertrude Price overheard the conversation, and when Aggie was finished Gertrude took her aside and told her that she must never tell anyone, even a family member, about a story until it appeared in print.  At first, Aggie was crushed, she’d never have done anything to disappoint Price.  It didn’t take Aggie long to realise that Price wasn’t upset, angry, or disappointed, she was teaching her a fundamental lesson about the newspaper business. It was a lesson that Aggie would never forget.

It took Hickman only a few minutes in captivity to begin to shift the blame for Marion Parker’s atrocious murder onto the shoulders of an accomplice he named as Andrew Cramer. He began to weave a story that absolved him from everything that had happened to Marion except for the initial kidnapping.

Hickman explained how he had come to know of Marian when he was working at the bank. According to Hickman, Marian was often with her father, who “would take her down and buy her lunch and she was around the bank like she was a big man.” He had nothing personally against Parker and had not planned on killing Marian. In fact, he “liked” her.

Hickman said: “Marion and I were like brother and sister.  She liked me but she did not like Cramer, and she said she would like to stay with me all the time.”  He went on to say that he had been gentle with Marion and had even taken her to see a movie on the night before she was killed.

As long as he was in a confessing frame of mind, Hickman admitted to several of the drugstore robberies that he’d been suspected of committing. He claimed to have had an accomplice for those crimes as well.

Cops had to follow up on Hickman’s assertion that his accomplice, Cramer, had been the one to murder and mutilate Marion Parker. What they discovered was that there really was a Cramer, three of them actually — and it was Kramer, with a “K”.  The Kramer in question had an unbreakable alibi; he’d been in jail since mid-August. The other two Kramer brothers were also exonerated, which left no one but William Edward Hickman as the sole perpetrator of the unspeakable child murder.

As for motive, Hickman’s explanations varied. In one instance, he claimed that he needed the $1,500 for college. Hickman wanted to study the Bible, and as an ex-con, he desperately needed the money. In other another instance, Hickman blithely stated: “I am like the state; what is good for me is right.” While this utterance points to Hickman as yet another wannabe Nietzschean, most considered him a young punk simply out for revenge against the Parker family and its patriarch.

Whatever the motive, Hickman was doomed regardless. Even though Hickman’s defence used the then newly established plea of “not guilty by reason of insanity,” the jury, the public, and the press weren’t buying it.

Prior to being returned to Los Angeles, Hickman was examined by Dr W. D. McNary, superintendent of the Eastern Oregon Asylum for the Insane. Dr McNary said that Hickman’s mind “…seemed clear. He told a straight, coherent story and never was at a loss for words. There was nothing about him to indicate insanity. He did not differ a bit from hundreds of thousands of other young men”.

Hickman revealed to Dr McNary that “…he does not like girls, that he is deeply religious and that his ambition was to become a minister. Several times he made mention of God and in discussing his capture took the attitude that since God willed it, that it had to be.”

While awaiting extradition from Oregon to California, Hickman attempted suicide by strangling himself with a handkerchief. He was subdued by a guard. When the first try failed, he immediately tried again to end his life, this time by diving heard first from his bunk to the concrete floor – he was caught around the waist by one of the guards.

Hickman and his captors, Chief Davis, Chief of Detectives Cline, and District Attorney Keyes, all of Los Angeles, were soon to be headed south on Southern Pacific train No. 16.

Hickman would be finally be held to answer for his crimes. Hickman never said why he had killed the girl and cut off her legs. He was one of the earliest defendants to use California’s new law that allowed pleas of not guilty by reason of insanity.

ARTIFACTS FROM MARION PARKER CASE ARE ON DISPLAY AT L.A. POLICE MUSEUM.

On December 26, 1927, on a train taking him from Pendleton, Oregon to Los Angeles William Edward Hickman confessed to the senseless slaughter of twelve-year-old schoolgirl, Marion Parker. He told District Attorney Keyes, Chief of Detectives Cline, and Chief of Police Davis that “I am ready to talk. I want to tell the whole story.” The cops said later that Hickman seemed to enjoy recounting details of the kidnapping, murder, and dismemberment.

Hickman admitted that he’d had no accomplice. He said that his motive for the kidnapping was to get $1500 to go to college, he claimed he wanted to go to bible school. And his motive for killing Marion? Hickman said: “I was afraid she would make a noise.” He had murdered her the day following the kidnapping.

The story Hickman told was beyond comprehension.  He said that he had killed Marion by strangling her with a towel. He had knotted it around her throat and pulled it tightly for two minutes before she became unconscious. Once Marion was out, Hickman took his pocket knife and cut a hole in her throat to draw blood. He took her to the bathtub and drained her body of blood.

He cut each arm off at the elbow, and her legs at the knees. He put her limbs in a cabinet. He removed Marion’s clothing and cut through her body at the waist. At some point during the mutilations, he realised that he would lose the ransom he’d demanded if he wasn’t able to produce the kidnapped girl when he arrived at the rendezvous with her father. He wrapped the exposed ends of her arms and waist with paper. He combed her hair, powdered her face and then with a needle and thread he sewed open her eyelids. He wanted to give Perry Parker the illusion that his little girl was still alive.

The most hardened officials were unnerved by Hickman. Even seasoned reporters were freaked out by the teenage killer. A reporter for the L.A. Times recalled an eerie scene on the train:

Local newspapers became obsessed with youthful perpetrators — Hickman was only nineteen. The Record (where Aggie Underwood was watching the case against The Fox unfold) published a photo of Hickman alongside one of Richard Loeb under the headline: “Why Youths Commit Most Brutal Murders.”

The photos of Hickman and Loeb compared their features in an attempt to reveal the outward signs of a homicidal youth. The two young men look nothing alike to me, but that didn’t keep The Record from stating that their “sheik-like haircuts with sideburns, prominent foreheads, deep-set eyes, straight and regular noses, and full lips with similar chins” were signs of a killer. In particular, the eyebrows of the young men were described as “one being straighter and lower placed than the other” which, said The Record, was known as a “stigmata of moral degeneracy”!

Richard Loeb was one of a pair of teenage wanna be Nietzschean supermen (his accomplice was Nathan Leopold) who, in 1924, kidnapped and murdered fourteen-year-old Robert “Bobby” Franks in Chicago. People around the country were horrified that two young men, both of whom came from wealthy families, could commit murder based on their belief that they were superior beings and, as Leopold had written to Loeb: “…exempted from the ordinary laws which govern men.” The teenagers must have been shocked to discover that they were not exempted from ordinary laws. In fact, the two killers would have paid for the crime with their lives if not for their attorney Clarence Darrow. Darrow’s only mandate was to save them from execution, and in that he was successful.

Hickman in the Slammer.

While Hickman was being tried for Marion Parker’s murder, he was also being investigated for a series of pharmacy robberies, one of which had ended in the cold-blooded killing of druggist Ivy Thoms on December 24, 1926. Sixteen-year-old Welby Hunt was eventually identified as Hickman’s accomplice and he promptly confessed to his part in the fatal drugstore robbery. His confession saved him from hanging. Nothing would save The Fox.

Hickman didn’t have the same advantages as Leopold and Loeb, and he wasn’t represented by Clarence Darrow. He was, according to the district attorney, “…certain to hang”. Hickman was one of the first in the state to try the newly established plea of not guilty by reason of insanity, but the jury didn’t buy it. They knew he was evil, but that wasn’t the same thing as being insane.

On February 14, 1928, The Record put out an extra edition with the headline ‘Fox to Hang on April 27″. Hickman and Hunt were each found guilty of the robbery/homicide and each was given a life sentence. The robbery/homicide trial and the inevitable appeals on his death sentence for Marion Parker’s murder delayed Hickman’s date with the hangman, but only for a few months.

Before he was hanged, he told a prison guard the real reason he had killed Marian:

On October 19, 1928, Hickman mounted the 13 steps to the top of the gallows. He never expressed any remorse for what he did. His main concern was how he would be buried.

“Warden,” said Hickman, “tell me they’re going to bury me here. Honest, I don’t want my old man and my mother to spend a lot of money taking me back east.”

When William Edward Hickman arrived at the scaffold, he turned and smiled at the crowd that had gathered to watch his execution. In a taped interview a member of the press described it this way: “As he looked up and saw the new rope tied in a noose waiting for him, his knees buckled under him and he passed out.” They had to carry him up the 13 steps. He never regained consciousness. As they were putting on the

“As he looked up and saw the new rope tied in a noose waiting for him, his knees buckled under him and he passed out.” They had to carry him up the 13 steps. He never regained consciousness. As they were putting on the noose and black hood the hatch he was standing on opened. Hickman dropped. On the way down, he hit his head. It took him 14 minutes to die. He strangled to death…the coroner stood there for 14 minutes with a stethoscope on Hickman’s chest.  The body continued to sway and the coroner stayed on him with the stethoscope until Hickman’s heart stopped. ” There was a dispute over whether his shortened plunge caused his neck to break, or if he had strangled to death — as Marion Parker had done less than a year before.

There was a dispute over whether his shortened plunge caused his neck to break, or if he had strangled to death — as Marion Parker had done less than a year before.

A prison doctor climbed a stepladder beneath the gallows, ripped open Hickman’s shirt and put a stethoscope to his chest. As the body swung back and forth, the doctor moved with it before finally shouting “Deceased!”

An autopsy report would later state that his neck did not break. Hickman, who had at first tried to strangle his young victim, had been strangled himself.

After Marion Parker was kidnapped, a law was passed that required parents to list the names and relationships of persons allowed to remove the parents’ child from school. If you aren’t on that list – you can’t take the child out of school.

A number of years later, the owners of the former Perry Parker house on South Wilton Place in Los Angeles revealed that the house seemed to be haunted by a ghost of a young girl. The owners, sceptical of the idea of ghosts and completely unaware of the home’s tragic history, stated that they often heard footsteps on the stairs and that their cat often seemed to acknowledge someone in the room that everyone else was unaware of. The family dog, however, was disturbed by whatever presence was in the house. One day, he reacted to a noise that no one else heard (the family had caught a number of glimpses of a figure out of the corner of the eye), ran out of the front door and never returned.

Objects often disappeared from the kitchen, including utensils, cups and glasses. Things placed in one spot would often turn up in others. One week, the lights in the house began turning on and off on their own. This weird phenomenon continued all week long, to the puzzle of the owners. They later learned it was the 47th anniversary of the kidnapping and murder of Marion Parker.

Girl’s Grisly Killing Had City Residents Up in Arms – latimes

Marion Parker | Deranged LA Crimes

American Hauntings: Kidnapped! The Murder of Marion Parker

Murder of Marion Parker – Wikipedia

The Murder of Marion Parker | – The Malefactor’s Register

William Edward Hickman | Murderpedia, the encyclopedia of murderers

The Gruesome 1927 L.A. Murder Case That’s Been All But Forgotten …

Fox or “Moral Imbecile”? William Edward Hickman and the Murder of …

Marion Parker – Crime in the 1920s

My Great Grandfather found pieces of Marian Parker – Page 2 …

19 October 1928 – William Edward Hickman | Execution of the day

Ryan’s Ayn Rand obsession – Salon.com

Bedlam at Bellevue Arms: Murder and Madness in Angelino Heights …

Marion Parker – Crime in the 1920s


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