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I have been doing genealogy for 30 years. My Great Aunt Ella introduced me to this fascinating adventure when I was a teenager and boy did I get hooked. She inspired me and taught me the importance of my roots and where I came from.

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Sunday, September 9, 2018

Margaret B Willis: Murder 1st degree

Margaret B Willis was born Margaret B Wilson in 1889 in Missouri. She married Harold K Willis whom died in an auto race accident, they had a son Harold "Sonny" Willis. He was supposedly dead in Louisiana.  

Margaret married again to Albert Scholtz in 1906 moving to Colorado where they divorced in 1906. She then left for California. She became a realtor agent and then a broker, a educated women.




Inmate #40593 San Quentin
Rec: 21 Mar 1925
Crime: Murder 1st Degree
Term: Life




Here's some newspaper articles I found:





Looks diminished a bit with avoirdupois and a weakness of the eyes that necessitated the wearing of thick glasses. But she never became altogether plain, and her personality was such that, after the sudden death of her husband, who was killed in an automobile race, several men paid court to her. Albert Scholtz was successful in hit suit and they were married. They moved to Denver, where they discovered the incompatibility of their nature. A divorce followed in 1906 and Mrs. Willis, resuming the name of her child's father, established a residence in Los Angeles. A Successful Venture. She was a woman of great self-reliance, entirely out of sympathy with those of her sex who depend n alimony for their support. Los Angeles was beginning its real estate boom. The palm-dotted hills at the edge of the city were being divided into streets and building plots and were being sold at prices never dreamed of before. Mrs. Willis became a real estate saleswoman and later, succeeding be- Doctor Took Four Plunges Into Matrimony Before death ended the amorous advent ares of Dr. Benjamin" Baldwin he had committed matrimony four times. One of his wives died, another was divorced and a third was suing for annulment when he was slain. There was no record of a divorce from the other. His fifth love affair, however, sent him to his grave at the hands of Mrs. Margaret B. Willis, herself a divorcee from her second husband. Her 15-year-old son confessed the murder after his mother had been sent to prison for life but the authorities discounted his confession. Dr. Baldwin. The writing of her name in the physician's appointment book also listed her on the roster of Tragedy. A physician is expected to take more than a casual interest in the welfare of his patients and if. as Mrs. Willis later declared, she mistook Dr. Baldwin's very evident personal attentions for no more than professional interest, perhaps she may be pardoned for her  fondest expectations, a  mistake. However, mat was not to real estate broker, with an office be her only misjudgment. of her own. Dr. Baldwin's philandering's had And then a slight indisposition I covered an area that extended from Sent her for medical attention to  Michigan to California. When  banker. Baldwin and his fourth wife lived together in Los Angeles. Their baby was six months old at the time of Baldwin's death. Not until her husband was dead did Mrs. Helrn Baldwin tell of the cruelty and humiliation she had suffered at his hands, although she had started secret proceedings to have her marriage annulled shortly before the bullet from Mrs. Willis's gun put an end to her bondage.
(Sorry for the typo this is from Newspapers.com)







Baldwin's wife told the police that her husband drank heavily, ' and when she accused him of misbehaving he beat her. Her body still bore bruises from his fists when Baldwin lay crumpled on the side of an embankment north of San Fernando.




Mrs. Willis, growing more prosperous daily. bought an automobile early in April, 1924. She told Dr. Baldwin that she wanted to learn to drive the car, and he volunteered to teach her.




 Mrs. Willis said Baldwin was in her apartment a the time his wife had telephoned. A soon as he entered that day, she said, she noticed that he was intoxicated and attempted to persuade him to leave her. Instead, he clasped her in his arms. She struggled with him, broke away and went to a closet for her hat and coat, at the same time getting a revolver. Baldwin continued to make improper advances, Mrs. Willis told the police, in spite of her warnings' and she shot him. ' Then the problem of disposing of his body arose. Mrs. Willis crammed the dead man into her new wardrobe trunk and carefully washed up the blood from the floor. She dragged the trunk into the room occupied by Bert C. Webster, a forest ranger, who lived with Mrs. Willis and whom she admitted she had loved for two years. Webster, unknowingly, slept in the room with the dead man. The next night Mrs. Willis asked his aid District Attorney Asa Keyes of Los Angeles, who heard boy's confession. in moving the trunk. She first told him that it contained books and papers which she wished taken to her new office. But when Webster had put the trunk into Mrs. Willis's automobile the woman suggested that they drive along the moonlit highways to Santa Monica, then to Venice and back to Los Angeles. Her Tale Doubted. Finally, after midnight, she told him that Dr. Baldwin's body was in the trunk and that they must get rid of it- They threw it over an embankment near San Fernando and, as it struck the rocks below, the trunk burst open, spilling its gruesome burden. Webster convinced Mrs. Willis that the best thing she could do was to tell the authorities about the killing, lie accompanied the woman to a police station in Los Angeles and there she told her story, which was doubted for a time. "Give me some coffee and I'll show you the spot where we threw his body," said the woman daringly. And, after taking refreshment, she accompanied the officers to the spot along the state highway beneath which Baldwin's body sprawled. "That's him," said she coldly, pointing down. Webster was arrested also, but he convinced the authorities that he had known nothing of the murder until Mrs. Willis told him the doctor's body was in the trunk. Webster's romance with Mrs. Willis was divulged during the police investigation. Mrs. Willis came to be known as "The Iron "Woman" during her trial because she never displayed any emotion; in fact, seemed slightly bored by the experience of having her life placed in jeopardy. Her defense, said her attorney before the trial, would be a plea of insanity, super induced by worry over the foot and mouth disease, a malady from which western cattle were suffering at the time of Dr. Baldwin's murder.  "Mrs. Willis had brooded so much over the legal slaughtering of cattle in the campaign against the foot and mouth disease that it warped her judgment of right and wrong so that she was insane when she slew Dr. Baldwin," was the novel statement of S. S. Hahn, attorney for Mrs. Willis. During her trial, however, Mrs. Willis said Baldwin was killed by a man, whom she refused to identify. Sensational Aftermath. She was convicted of murder in the first degree. The jury recommended that she be sentenced to life imprisonment instead of death.




"Sonny" was held temporarily with the authorities until his Aunt Mrs. Nelson could come get him to live with her while his mom was in prison. In 1940 him and his wife Wilma were living with Margaret and Sonny had a job at Warner Brothers.



A question of who Sonny's father is, according to the newspapers she divorced Albert and went back to Willis.   1900 is the earliest possible marriage.  She said she went to college that would be maybe 1908,  Sonny was born 1910. Just some questions being thrown out there.

"Sonny" married Wilma Nichols. He was born in 1910 in Missouri, I found he enlisted in the Air Corps at Fort Macarthur San Pedro 20 Mar 1945.

Margaret was paroled 10 April 1940 after serving 15 years in San Quentin Prison and later Tahachapi Women's Prison.

Margaret died 21 Jun 1972 in Los Angeles, CA with lots of skelton's in her closet. Where are her 6 dead children last being born in 1917?

I made her a tree which is the only one on Ancestry at this time. Hoping to add more information on both of her husbands. Possibly find the rest of the skeletons.....




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