Saturday, November 7, 2015

A Few Further Details on the Tireman Murder

The Detroit Free Press, September 8, 1900
This whole story seems strange to me. Lulu Terpening spent almost all of her adult life--some 50+ years--in institutions and save for one night where she murdered her ward mate, was harmlessly demented. It makes one wonder if more was going on between the women besides communal living. Not to suggest that they were intimate, though it's possible, but there must have been some tension between the two to cause a murder. But I'm stating the obvious here.

The fact that the Free Press and the asylum both were unaware of the woman's status as the sister of a prominent Detroit family makes me believe that there was some kind of cover-up. Or the asylum could have just been protecting the patient and the paper was incompetent in their fact-finding.

Regardless of the motive, Dr. Marker seemed to have performed heroically. He not only cut loose Tireman's ligature but mightily attempted to revive her. He was even cooler under the public microscope when discussing the incident, saying that it was a freak happening in an otherwise orderly system. I'm not sure that I'm buying his explanation but if this was truly the first instance of homicide in the asylum then perhaps he was correct.

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