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How went the reading-Polly Bodine Marguerite Rivas sipoet sipoet1@aol.com The Polly Bodine case was one of the most sensational in Staten Island history. I haven't sifted through all of the trial stuff yet, but from what I gather, is the following: Neighbors of the the Houseman family saw smoke coming from the house. When they investigated they found the bodies of a mother and child. Upon further examination it was determined that they had been murdered before they were set afire, probably with an axe. The sister-in-law of the victim, Polly Bodine was accused of the murder. She was apparently pregnant and one theory was that she needed the money because of the pregnancy. Her husband had left her some years before, I think. She had a lover in Manhattan. A mysterious woman in a green veil was seen pawning some of the objects belonging to the deceased in the days after the murder. Ms. Bodine was arrested and tried
According to court documents (August 1844) her trial"continued through some ten days, and the jury, after absence of about seventeen hours, were discharged by the court, on the ground that they were unable to agree upon a verdict. The trial was moved out of Richmond county, to I believe New York, where it was moved again to Orange County. The sensational nature of the case made it difficult to empanel an unbiased jury. She had been indicted for the murder of Emeline Houseman, her daughter Ann Eliza, for burglary, for receiving stolen goods and for arson. The bodies were discovered on Christmas night 1843. The husband and father of the deceased was away on a sea voyage at the time. The details of the deaths of these two victims are too gruesome to go into here. Suffice it to say that a certain fairly recent California murder seems tame compared to this one.
When suspicion was cast on Polly, she disappeared from her parents' house where she had been staying. According to the trial, synopsis, I guess, "The next morning she made her appearance at another part of the island, distant some eight miles from her residence, very much worn and haggard in looks, and seeming to have been walking all night." She apparently then went to the city and walked all night and day. She was recognized by a man who told her that she was wanted by the police and "advised her to return to her friends. She replied she 'had no friends; they were the first to suspect her." She turned herself in back on StatNisland and a few days later, apparently gave birth to a stillborn.
She was eventually tried in Orange County and acquitted, but I am sure that her life afterward was very hard given the notoriety of the the whole affair.

It's been difficult for me reading about this case. So very sad. Still, a big mystery, though.



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