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Clay County
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Crime News
Laura Malinksy Murder
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Malinsky Remains Exhumed
Last Friday Drs. Shafer and Thompson of St. Louis, pathologists, came to Flora and at the Hancock Funeral Home made an examination of the body of Mrs. Laura Malinsky.
Following the autopsy, the internal organs were taken to St. Louis for chemist examination in a laboratory there. There has been no official information given to the public thus far.
[Flora Journal Record 12/17/1925 - Submitted by Michelle Abrajano]



Investigation Into The Death of Flora, Illinois Couple Continues
(Associated Press)
Flora, Ill. March 9-- Investigation into the death of Mrs. Laura Malinsky and H.J. Bible, described as having occurred under mysterious circumstances continued today with the former husband of one and the former wife of the other who now are married, held in the county jail on murder charges.

(International News Service)
Flora, Ill. March 9--The peculiar actions of Ernest F. Malinsky during the fatal illness of his wife, Laura reported by neighbors to authorities led to his arrest with his present wife charged with murder. It was learned here today.
Malinsky until recently a deacon in the First Christian church, just prior to his wife's death last September stayed at home from work and refused assistance of friends who wished to care for his sick wife, according to neighbors. Malinsky said after his wife's death that her illness was caused by eating spoiled watermelon. Neighbors noted however that neither Malinsky nor his little grand daughter who was living with them had been ill.
Mrs. Malinsky died on Saturday night and early Sunday morning neighbors reported Malinsky had a new housekeeper. A few weeks later, Nov. 5, Malinsky and the housekeeper Elsie Bible, were married.
Gossip among the neighbors grew until on December 5, the body of the first Mrs. Malinsky was exhumed and the vital organs sent to St. Louis where a report of the analysis brought about the arrest here of Malinsky and his second wife.



Man And Wife Are Held on Murder Charge
Flora, Ill., March 9—Earnest F. Malinsky and his wife, Elsie Bible Malinsky, were held in the Clay county jail at Louisville today on charges of murdering his first wife, Mrs. Laura May Malinsky by poisoning. The couple was arrested at their home here last night by Sheriff Cogswell.
Mrs. Malinsky who was fifty-three years old died last September 26 after ten days illness. Malinsky and Mrs. Elsie Bible were married November 5, six weeks later. The family physician is said to have reported the cause of Mrs. Malinsky’s death as acute indigestion and cerebral hemorrhage. Persistent rumors caused Coroner Holaday to hold an inquest December 8. [3/9/1926, The Daily Independent, Murphysboro, Il - Submitted by Michelle Abrajano]


Poisoner Admits Her Crime; Gets Life Sentence
Flora, Ill. March 10 - Mrs. Elsie Bible Malinsky, sentenced in circuit court here yesterday to life imprisonment when she pleaded guilty to the poison murder of Mrs. Laura Malinsky, former wife of her husband, escaped the gallows only because she is a woman.
She Shows no Emotion
Judge Thomas M. Jett, denounced her ? (unable to read word) in passing sentence and declared: “If you were a man I would hang you!”
Mrs. Malinsky will enter the Joliet prison today to begin serving her term.
She displayed no emotion when she confessed her crime to authorities yesterday absolving her husband of any connection with it and remained unmoved when sentence was passed.
Her husband, Ernest L. Malinsky, a locomotive engineer wept.
Won’t Prosecute Husband
Mrs. Malinsky, formerly Malinsky’s housekeeper said she gave the poison to his first wife in a glass of water. Malinsky, who was charged jointly with his wife with the murder denied he had knowledge of the poisoning. He is held under bond, but State’s Attorney Harold S. Williams said the charge probably would be dropped.
Laura Malinsky died last September 25 under mysterious circumstances. The body was exhumed December 14 and a chemical analysis of the visceria recently revealed poison.
Former Husband’s Death Reopened
Elsie Bible Malinsky was married to Malinsky about six weeks after the death. The state’s attorney announced last night that no further investigation would be made into the death December 11, 1923 of Havill Bible, husband of Elsie Bible Malinsky prior to her marriage to Malinsky. Bible’s death had been brought under investigation recently because of information obtained by authorities that he died “under mysterious circumstances.”
Mrs. Malinsky has been married three times. She was divorced by her first husband. She has one child, a boy fourteen years old by her second husband.
[Reno Evening Gazette, 3/10/1926 - Submitted by Michelle Abrajano]


Woman Admits Other Killings
Mrs. Malinsky Confesses in Part Two More Poison Murders
Flora, Ill., March 12--(By the Associated Press)--State's Attorney Harold S. Williams told the Associated Press last night that Mrs. Elsie Bible Malinsky, under life sentence for the poison murder of the former wife of her husband, has made a further confession substantially admitting two other poison murders.
Confronted with evidence county attorneys had obtained since her first confession to the murder of Mrs. Laura May Malinsky last fall the woman broke down late Wednesday, the state's attorney said.
Williams said she did not make a complete confession, but substantially admitted that about fifteen years ago she poisoned and killed the wife of Havill Bible in order that she might marry him, and that about three years ago she fatally poisoned Bible.
The woman is 44 years old. She has had three husbands. Her first husband, Swalbur Cope, divorced her about eighteen years ago after she had made an unsuccessful attempt to poison him, Williams said.
State's Attorney Williams said no additional charges will be filed against the woman because she is under sentence to serve a life term and he does not desire to prosecute her further.
Her present husband is under bond in connection with the death of his first wife, but the prosecutor has indicated he does not intend to push the case because Mrs. Malinsky in her confession absolved him of all blame. [The Lincoln Star (Lincoln, Neb), 3/12/1926 - Submitted by Michelle Abrajano]


POISONS MATE'S FIRST SPOUSE
(By the Associated Press) Flora, Il, March 10--Mrs. Elsie Bible Malinsky, 45, late today pleaded guilty to the poison murder of Mrs. Laura Malinsky, 53 former wife of her husband, Ernest L. Malinsky, 50, and was sentenced to life imprisonment. Mrs. Malinsky said she gave the poison to the woman in a glass of water. She absolved her husband, whom she married six weeks after the death of the first Mrs. Malinsky, of all blame. State's Attorney Harold S.Williams said he was inclined to believe her. The plea was made after an indictment jointly accusing the couple of the murder was returned. Mrs. Laura Malinsky died last September 26, under mysterious circumstances. The body was exhumed December 11 and the chemical analysis of the viscera recently completed revealed poison. The states's attorney said probably no further investigation would be made of the death of Ajbille Bible, first husband of Mrs. Elsie Bible Malinsky, who died about a year and a half ago. In passing sentence, Circuit Judge Thomas M. Jett, unleashed a scathing depunciation of Mrs. Malinsky. "If you were a man I would hang you," the judge told her. "'The fact that you are a woman is all that saves you." He described the crime as "cowardly." Mrs. Malinsky was calm as she received the life sentence and remained apparently unmoved when the judge lectured her. She will be taken to the penitentiary tomorrow. Malinsky, who accompanied his wife into the court room, cried when sentence was pronounced. He declared he had no knowledge of Mrs. Malinsky having poisoned his first wife.
[Source: "Portsmouth Daily Times" 3/10/1926 - Submitted by Michelle Abrajano]


Mrs. Essie Bible Malinsky Given Life Imprisonment At Joliet Woman's Prison, After Confessing She Gave Arsenic Poison to Mrs. Laura May Malinsky, First Wife of Ernest F. Malinsky


Essie Bible Malinsky

Murderess Taken to Joliet Today by Sheriff
Flora Citizens were surprised Monday when they learned that Mrs. and Mrs. Ernest F. Malinsky had been arrested on Sunday night at 8:00 o'clock by Sheriff Cogswell, charged with the murder of Mr. Malinsky's first wife, Laura May Malinsky.
After the report of the pathologists who examined the body had been received, stating that no poison had been discovered, many people supposed the matter was ended. However, the internal organs of Mrs. Malinsky had been turned over to a St. Louis Chemist, Dr. H.G. Bristow, and after a thorough chemical analysis, he discovered arsenic in the organs.
Acting on this new evidence, State's Attorney Williams had warrants issued for the arrests. They were commited to jail without bail.
The matter was presented to the grand jury on Tuesday and that body returned indictments, holding Mr. and Mrs. Malinsky for murder.
Tuesday, after the indictments had been found, Mrs. Malinsky manifested a desire to talk to Sheriff Cogswell and Deputy Jackson and she made a confession to the Deputy to the effect that she had poisoned Laura May Malinsky on Monday Afternoon, Sept. 21st by giving her arsenic in a glass of water. Mrs. Malinsky died on Saturday, Sept. 26th, 1925.

Given Life Sentence
Tuesday afternoon, Mrs. and Mrs. Malinsky were arraigned in circuit court, and following her confession, Judge T.M. Jett, severely lectured her on the enormity of the crime, and said that if she had been a man he would have sentenced her to hang, but he would give her the extreme penalty for a woman--life imprisonment in the woman's prison at Joliet.
This tragic scene had elements very unusual. During the plea of guilty, the talk of Judge Jett and the final sentence, Mrs. Malinsky appeared as stolid as a marble statue, but Mrs. Malinsky's big frame shook with emotion as tears trickled down his face. The wife stepped over and with her handkerchief wiped away the tear drops.
The confession of Mrs. Malinsky declared that she alone committed the act and that Mr. Malinsky or no one else had aught to do with the crime.
Taken to Prison Today
Today (Thursday) morning the murderess was taken to Joliet by Sheriff Cogswell and assistants.

Admitted to Bail
Following the sentence of Mrs. Malinsky, Smith & Smith, attorneys for Mr. Malinsky, State's attorney Williams and Judge Jett got together and bail was fixed by Judge Jett for Mr. Malinsky at $15,000. Bond was signed by Flora citizens and Mr. Malinsky was released from jail Tuesday night.
Confessed Two More Murders
From a thoroughly reliable source, we learn that Mrs. Malinsky on Wednesday morning, after being sentenced to Tuesday afternoon, confessed to Sheriff Cogswell that she had poisoned Havill Bible's wife about three years ago in order to marry Bible and that in Dec. 1923, she had become dissatisfied with Bible as a husband and had poisoned him. Thus, by her own confessions, she is a triple murderess.

History of the Famous Case
After an illness of ten days, Mrs. Laura May Malinsky, wife of Ernest Malinsky, died at their home in West Flora on Saturday, Sept. 26th, 1925, aged 53 years. The family physician gave cause of death as ptomaine poisoning and cerebral hemorrhage. Persistent rumors caused an investigation by Coroner Holaday at Louisville on Tuesday, Dec. 8th, 1925. The verdict of the jury caused the Coroner to order an autopsy and Dr. Ralph Thompson of the National Patholotical Laboratory of St. Louis, was called out to make the examination. Smith & Smith, attorneys for Mr. Malinsky, called out Dr. W.D. Collier of St. Louis University. The remains were exhumed and the vital organs taken to St. Louis for examination. Their report showed, no trace of poison found. The autopsy was held in Flora Friday, Dec. 11th. The internal organs were then turned over to a chemist, Dr. Bristow, of St. Louis, on whose report of arsenic found, the arrests were based.
Ernest Malinsky and Mrs. Essie Bible were married Thursday, Nov. 5th, six weeks after the death of the first Mrs. Malinsky. Mr. Malinsky was about 52 years old and Mrs. Bible about 43 when wedded.
Mrs. Essie Bible-Malinsky's History
Essie Trotter was a daughter of Erastus Trotter and lived with her parents in Northern Wayne county, south of Flora. Later she lived in Louisville township, Clay County. Her first husband was Wilbur Cope. He secured a divorce on grounds of desertion, after Havill Bible had been fined in the Clay county court for living with Mrs. Cope. Mrs. Cope then married Havill Bible, and his death occurred Dec. 11, 1923, Dr. B. F. Steely, the attending physician, reporting the cause of the death pleuro-pneumonia with contributory tubercular meningitis.
Mrs. Bible came to Flora in 1924 and secured employment at the shoe factory Feb. 18, 1924, working there about four months. She later worked at the Flora greenhouse when Lane Boogher owned it. She was the mother of several children by Cope and has one son by Bible.


Ernest F. Malinsky

Mr. Malinsky's History
Mr. Malinsky was a son of Wm. Malinsky and was born in Germany. Later the family came to America, locating at Altamont. Ernest worked for his father on a railroad section later becoming foreman at Iola. He was united in marriage to Laura May Williams, daughter of Green Williams at Iola, in the year 1894. They lived at Smithboro, Louisville and Washington, Ind., and at the latter place Mr. Malinsky became a fireman for the B&O. In 1907 the family moved to Flora and Mr. Malinsky has been an engineer in the yards since that time. They had two sons, Floy and Arlo, the latter now living.




Further Information provided by Michelle Abrajano:
Nellie Esther "Essie" Trotter is her maiden name. She first married Wilbur Cope, having 3 children born:
Ruby Cope, (born CA)
Pearl Leslie Cope (Male) born Clay Co IL
Mildred Cope born Clay Co IL
She married Wilbur 11/4/1900 in Clay Co., IL. First husband divorced her. Secondly she married Haville Bible with a son born named Floyd H Bible b. Clay Co., died West Sacramento CA. She gets custody of Floyd in 1924.
Thirdly she marries Ernest F. Malinsky in 1925, 6 weeks after his 1st wife died.
Nellie Esther "Essie" is sent to Joliet Prison and is released on 6/18/1950.
Nellie moved to Sacremento CA to live next to son Floyd. She died 9/23/1980.




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