Contributed by klstacy_home
Description: Laughlin Is Executed - He Killed His Wife and NieceDate: January 10 1897
Newspaper published in: Huntsville, AL
Page/Column: Page 1, Column 3
LAUGHLIN IS EXECUTED
Double Murderer Hanged at Brooksville, Ky.
HE KILLED HIS WIFE AND NIECE
Tried to Lay the Crime on Tramps, but Bloodhounds Hunted
Down the Real Fiend and He Finally Confessed His Guilt
Narrowly Escaped Being Lynched by the Indignant People.
BROOKSVILLE, Ky., Jan. 9.—Robert Laughlin was hanged here at 9:37 a.m.
In a farm near Augusta, Bracken County, Ky., on the night of Feb. 14, 1896, Robert Laughlin, a tenant and farm laborer, was guilty of the triple crime of outrage to his niece, the murder of her and his helpless wife and arson. The jury accepted his own confession of his guilt and decided that he should hang.
Robert Laughlin and his wife, Sarah, on Feb. 14 visited the family of Lee Jones, near Augusta, and returning took with them their niece, Mary Jones, then 14 years old, to remain overnight. Everything went well in the Laughlin home and all retired in fine spirits at the usual hour. About 3 o’clock in the morning of Feb. 15 Mrs. Laughlin was awakened by a struggle and a noise from Mary’s bed. Striking a light she learned her husband had attempted an outrage upon the girl, and she threatened to expose him. Thereupon he seized a heavy poker and struck his invalid wife dead with a single blow. The frightened niece attempted to escape by flight, in her night clothes, and was laid dead at the door by a blow in the back of her head.
Laughlin’s next thought was to burn the house to destroy the bodies, mutilate himself and tell the story of the assault and murder by tramps. The first part of this plan, the burning of his house, he carried out promptly. He hesitated about mutilating himself and started to Augusta, about 3 miles distant, to tell his story to O. W. Holmes, a high official of the lodge of Odd Fellows.
He changed his mind before reaching Augusta, retraced his steps, and standing near the burning house, cut his neck with a pocket knife, burned his clothing and then went to the home of his sister, Mrs. McCracken, told his story and then returned to his home and by the embers repeated his story to crowds of indignant people gathered there. Bloodhounds were put on the track of the supposed tramps. They followed Laughlin’s footsteps to near Augusta and then followed them back to the burning house. The faithful animals traced his trail to the home of his sister and followed it back to the scene of his crime.
The testimony of these dumb witnesses was too much. Suspicion was fixed on Laughlin and he was jailed at Brooksville, where on Sunday night he confessed. He was taken to Maysville to avoid lynching and after his trial and conviction he was removed to Covington, Ky., for safe keeping, where he remained until brought to Brooksville to be hanged.