HENRY ALT.
22nd June 1885
Reference Numbert18850622-625
VerdictGuilty > with recommendation
SentenceDeath

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625. HENRY ALT (31) was indicted for the wilful murder of Charles Howard; he was also charged, on the Coroner's Inquisition, with the like murder.

MESSRS. POLAND and MONTAGU WILLIAMS Prosecuted;

MESSRS. BESLEY and PURCELL Defended.

ANN ELIZA RUSSELL . I am the widow of a police-constable, and lodge at 25, Rutland Street, Whitechapel—I went to lodge there six weeks before the 1st of March—I have known the prisoner about 12 months, part of that time was when my husband was alive—he died on 4th August, 1884, Bank Holiday—after his death the prisoner on several occasions asked me to marry him—I said "No"—he said nothing but death should part us—shortly before the 1st March I took his dagger from him—that was in my parlour—he sharpened it on one of my pokers, and said it would be bright if it was wanted at the police-court, and he pointed it to me at the time—the blade of it was about six inches long, and it had a cross-bar of steel—it did not shut up—it was quite naked—it had two sharp edges—in consequence of what he said at that time I took the dagger away, and put it in my drawer—I only had it two or three minutes that day—I did not keep it in my drawer all that day because he said he would force it open if I did not give it him back, and I gave it him back—I first met Howard at my brother-in-law's—his name was Charles, but I called him George—I first met him about a fortnight before the occurrence at my brother-in-law's—I saw his frequently after that, not every day, pretty nearly—he was a farrier—I engaged myself to marry him—I did not say anything to Alt about my marrying Howard—on Saturday night, 28th February, I was all day at my sister's, Emily Murrell, 62, Charlotte Street, Whitechapel—Howard had been with me that day, not all day; he came to my sister's about 7 in the evening, we left at 20 minutes to 12 to go home—my sister's is about 5 or 10 minutes' walk from Rutland Street—as we were going home we met the prisoner, and we all three went into the White Hart public-house, which is opposite, in Turner Street, almost within a stone's throw of my house, it is the next turning—we only stayed there three minutes—we were talking quietly, all friendly—I had twopennyworth of rue gin, and the others had half a pint of beer each, in pewter pots—we were all sober—we then left the White Hart together—the prisoner was lodging at a beershop in Whitechapel Road at this time—I don't

know the name of it—they were just shutting up the shutters, when we left the White Hart—that was close upon 12—we all three crossed to the door of my house and stood there—while standing there the prisoner asked me if I would marry him—that was said in a tone of voice that Howard could hear—I said no, as I said before, as I was going to marry George—my little boy, 6 1/2 years old, was with me all day, and my baby as well—just after I had said this about marrying George, my landlord and landlady came to the door from the inside—they stood at the door, and were present when he asked me to be his wife—the prisoner said something to my landlady which I could not hear—they stood at the door until I was being stabbed, and then they shut me out—when they saw him stabbing me they shut the door—before they went in the prisoner caught hold of Howard and stabbed him first—I could not see whether he had anything in his hand—he struck him somehow on this side, and he put up his arms and staggered—I can't say for sure how many times the prisoner struck him; two or three times—Howard never said anything—after he had stabbed Howard he caught hold of me and swung me against the edge of the door, and stabbed me in the neck, six times in the chest, and three times on my back—it was done all in a moment—my little boy was with me—my baby was in bed—I had gone home about 8 o'clock and put my baby to bed—the prisoner did not say anything either to me or Howard; only made like a groaning noise every time he stabbed me—after I was stabbed I saw Howard standing at the corner of Rutland Street with his arms up and staggering—he had not said or done anything to the prisoner before he was stabbed—at the same time I saw the prisoner with his arms up stabbing himself about the side—I then knocked at the door, and the landlady let me in—I was taken to the London Hospital, where I remained nine weeks—the prisoner and my husband had not been on so very friendly terms, only speaking together and that like—two or three days before this occurrence the prisoner had given me his bank book to take care of—I had got it at the time of this occurrence.

Cross-examined. The landlord and landlady waited until they saw the stabbing, and then went in and shut the door—I knew the prisoner in my husband's lifetime, he was a particular friend of my husband's; they were on good terms—my husband and I had lodged at the prisoner's cousin's, a Mr. Schweppe, a German baker—I did not, shortly after my husband's death, tell the prisoner that I had poisoned myself, and I never did—he did not give me an emetic—I did not take, or pretend to take, poison within two months of my husband's death—I did not say to the prisoner "I have poisoned myself because I am so lonely"—I did not ask, or suggest to him, that he should marry me—I know he was called to Germany, prior to Christmas, by the death of his mother—we were lodging at Mr. Schweppe's then—before he went to Germany I had not encouraged him to believe that I would marry him—I never told him so—I never said I was going to marry him—I did not say before the Coroner that I had promised to marry him at the end of 12 months of my husband's death—I told Mrs. Burton, my landlady, so, but not in the prisoner's presence—I only told my landlady, no other person; not Murrell, my brother-in-law—I told him I was frightened of him—I did not continue to see him up to the night of 28th February; he obstructed me in the street—I went to live in Rotherhithe for about five days, at

Christmas time—that was after he had come back from Germany; that was just for a holiday—I still kept on my lodging at Schweppe's—that prisoner went to Rotherhithe with me for the five days—I can't tell exactly how long I stopped at Schweppe's after that; I have my rent-book to show—the reason I left was because I could not afford to pay the amount for the lodging—Schweppe reduced it from 6s. to 5s. a week after my husband's death, because I gave up one room—I went to lodge at Rutland Street at 6s. 3d. a week—Alt said if I would take care of his box he would pay the rent—at Rotherhithe I was on a visit—Alt paid the 6s. at Mrs. Burton's, and I paid the 3d.—he lodged at the Veteran beer-shop, in Whitechapel Road, kept by Conrad Bauer, a German—I know him—I knew that Howard was a farrier—my brother-in-law, Murrell, was foreman over Howard at the same place—Howard was something like 48 years of age; he was a widower, with one grown-up son—his sister had charge of the son—I had discussed with my sister, Mrs. Murrell, the marrying of Howard—I knew Howard a fortnight before this occurrence—the incident of the dagger with the prisoner was something like three weeks before the occurrence, or it might be more; it was before I knew Howard—I understood the prisoner very well—I gave up the dagger because I was frightened at him; he said he would have it—I had it again about a fortnight before the occurrence; I kept it over a week then, locked up in my little drawer, and kept the key in my pocket—I did not say anything before the Coroner about having the dagger a second time, it was not asked me—I did not at first say before the Magistrate that I had only had the dagger in my possession one day, and afterwards that I had had it a week—I said that I had shown it to my brother-in-law when he came with Howard—my brother-in-law was examined before the Magistrate—after he had been examined I asked permission to go back and correct my evidence—he had said that he did not see the dagger; he was under the influence of drink; he said on the sofa and went to sleep—he might have seen the dagger, I showed it to them—I know Bauer, who kept the beershop where the prisoner lodged—I saw him before the Magistrate; I did not hear him give evidence—I did not go to his beershop to see the prisoner every day up to the Thursday or Friday before this happened; I went there two or three times, because he had something belonging to me, which I wanted; I only went two or three times, because I knew I was engaged to Howard—I made that engagement about a fortnight before the occurrence—before that I used to see Alt about once or twice a week—I think he gave me the 6s. after I was engaged to Howard, I can't say for sure—he made me a present of a picture after I was engaged to Howard; I was going to buy it, and he bought it and left it on the doorstep—I did not wish to have it from him; he would not let me pay for it, he threw the money down, two five-shilling pieces; it is my property now—I was at the White Hart public-house on the night of the occurrence with Alt and Howard—I had not been there with them on other occasions; I had been with Alt, not Howard—the two might have been there, this was the only night they were in my company together—I know Mrs. Argent, of Haddington Street, Commercial Road—that was the place where the picture was bought—I did not go there on the Saturday about 8 o'clock, I took my boy home at 8—I did not go to Mrs. Argent's after buying the picture—I saw Alt in the morning about 9—I did not see him between that time

and meeting him when I was with Howard, and went into the White Hart—the two men were perfectly friendly; there was not an angry word between them that night in my presence—the lamp at the end of the street was the nearest Lamp to my house, it would be about 70 yards off—it was a dark night, but I could see by the lamp what I have described—no man went into my lodging that night—I don't know that Mr. Burton heard the footsteps of a man—Howard did not come out of the house; I did not take him in—I had not been drinking that evening, I only had one glass at that house; I had one glass at my brother-in-law's—I did not notice that Alt had been drinking on this evening, he did not seem at all as if he had; he did not say much, no words passed except what he said to me—he was in the middle of the road when he was stabbing himself, he was at a little distance from Howard, who was throwing up his arms; that was the last I saw—Howard was at the corner and Alt in the middle of the road, and I was on the doorstep—Howard was sober—he was very tall, a head and shoulders taller than the prisoner—I had not made any arrangement about Howard's son living away from us.

Re-examined. My rooms at 25, Rutland Street were the two parlours on the ground floor—the door of the house was not open before I was stabbed—I opened it with my key—I had not gone in with my little boy; I am sure of that—I only just put my market bag inside the door, and I stood at the door, I had not gone in, nor had Howard; I am sure of that.

GEORGE BURTON . I live at 25, Butland Street, and am a ware houseman—I rent that house—Mrs. Russell had two rooms on he ground floor—I was up on this Saturday night, about 10 minutes past 12 o'clock, in the underground kitchen—my wife had just gone up to bed—Mrs. Russell was out—I heard her and her little boy come in—I knew it was her because she let herself in with the latch-key—I heard her footsteps—I also heard a man's footsteps in the passage over the kitchen, and they went into Mrs. Russell's room—I heard them talking together in the front room for a few minutes—I heard Mrs. Russell—I did not know the man's voice at all—just after that I heard a noise outside of angry talking—I could hear Mrs. Russell's voice and a man's—I went up and stood at the street door, and saw Mrs. Russell and Alt quarrelling together—the little boy was outside—they were just in front of the door on the pavement—I did not know Howard before that night—he came out of Mrs. Russell's front parlour while I was standing at the door, and stood on my right-hand side, about a yard or so from Mrs. Russell and the prisoner—she said "Will you go away, Harry?"—that was speaking to the prisoner—he said "I will not go away"—she kept on asking him to go away, and said to him "I don't want to have anything more to do with you; I wish to bid you adieu;" and she said, referring to Howard, "This man is going to be my husband, are you not, George?"—Howard said "Yes"—my wife came down while the quarrel was going on—we saw that the prisoner and Mrs. Russell were getting very angry together, and shut the door and remained in the passage for I think two or three minutes, when Mrs. Russell knocked at the door, and said "Mrs. Burton, will you let me in; I am all alone"—before that we had heard high words outside in the street—my wife then opened the door, and we saw that Mrs. Russell had been stabbed—she said "I have been

stabbed"—I went at once and fetched the police, and Mrs. Russell was taken to the London Hospital—when she was let in I saw neither of the men—I did not go outside the door and look up the street—we shut the door at once after letting her in—when they were quarrelling Alt appeared to be sober, Mrs. Russell appeared to be in drink—as it was the first time I had seen Howard I can't say about him, he appeared to be sober—I had only seen Alt once before this occurrence, about six weeks before, when he helped to remove Mrs. Russell's goods to our house.

Cross-examined. The first time Mrs. Russell came about our apartments I was not at home, and my wife told her to call again, when I was—that was about the middle of January—she then said she was about to marry Harry—that was Alt—I believe he came there constantly, but I did not see him—no blow was struck before I went in—it is not true that I saw the stabbing of Howard and Mrs. Russell before I went in and shut the door—I saw no blow struck.

By the JURY. I am sure Howard came out of Mrs. Russell's room—I saw him with my own eyes—he came past me and stood on the pavement.

SARAH BURTON . I am the wife of the last witness—Mrs. Russell occupied two rooms in our house about five or six weeks before this occurrence—she was at home as a rule during the day—the prisoner used frequently to visit her—I saw him there several times; I could not say how many—on this night I had gone up to bed, and was in bed by a quarter-past 12—soon after I heard my husband's voice, and went down to the street door—my husband was standing at the door, and I said to him "What is the matter?"—he said "Mrs. Russell and this man is having a quarrel," and I said "I can't have it at this time of night"—when he said "this man," he meant Harry, the prisoner—when I came down Howard was standing on my right-hand side on the pavement, just outside the door—I said to Mrs. Russell "Will you come in and come to bed?"—I heard her say to the prisoner, "Harry, I want you to go away; I don't want anything more to do with you; this man is going to be my husband," pointing to Howard, and said to him "Are you not, George?"—he said "Yes"—the prisoner then looked at me, and said "Look here, missus, she has promised to be my wife, but she has deceived me"—high words then passed—Mrs. Russell wanted him to go away, and he would not go—I and my husband then went in and shut the door, leaving them outside—we stood in the passage for some minutes—Mrs. Russell then came and said "Mrs Burton, let me in; I am all alone"—I unbolted the door and let her in, and saw she was stabbed, and I saw a splash of blood on her face—I assisted her to her room, and she then fainted—the police were sent for, and she was taken to the London Hospital—during the time I was at the door Howard said nothing; he was very quiet.

Cross-examined. Mrs. Russell smelt of drink, and she was very excited—I did not see any weapon either in the hand of Howard or Alt—I did not see any blow struck—it was not because these people were getting angry that we went in and shut the door, I was getting cold, I had only got a cloak over me, and I said "Let us go in and shut the door"—up to the time of Mrs. Russell knocking and saying she was alone I don't know how the quarrel went on outside.

THOMAS WOODHAMS . I am a milkman, and live at 13. Rutland Street

—on Saturday night, about half-past 12 o'clock, I was standing at the corner of Turner Street—Rutland Street turns into Turner Street—what made me stop was, I saw a little boy at the corner; I thought he was lost; and then I saw two men and a woman at No. 25—they were on the step quite close to the door—I heard no talking, but I heard the woman shriek—the door was then opened and the woman went inside, and the door was closed again—before the woman shrieked I saw the shorter man (the prisoner) go like that with his right arm, hitting at the woman—I thought they were playing—that was when the shriek was—then I saw the two men running after each other; the tallest man was in front, the other man was about three yards behind him—when they got to the corner of the street the prisoner stopped, because he couldn't catch the other man, and turned to the left, towards Commercial Road—the taller man ran into Raven's shop and fell down; the prisoner stood opposite to where I was for a minute, and when he saw the man fall down he buttoned up his coat and took to his heels and ran towards Whitechapel, in an opposite direction—I saw neither of the men carrying anything—I afterwards went to Raven's shop, and saw Howard lying down in the shop—I at once went for a constable and assisted in lifting him on something to take him away to the London Hospital—he did not speak at all—I afterwards saw his body at the hospital.

Cross-examined. I was standing about 20 yards from Raven's shop—the boy was nearer to me than 25, Rutland Street—I had not got any watch with me; I might have only been standing there a minute or two—between where I was standing and what I was looking at there was a public light—I thought the two men were playing with one another—when I heard the scream the taller man ran towards the butcher's shop—it all occurred in a short time—I took notice of the prisoner—I don't think he could have been stabbing himself in the middle of the road without my seeing him—he didn't get within hand's reach of the other man; he stood till he saw him fall down, and then ran—he was right opposite the shop—I had been at the Garibaldi beershop two or three hours, and had had enough—it was the shorter man who was moving his hand up and down.

Re-examined. I saw the prisoner moving his hand up and down towards both the man and woman.

JOHN RAVEN . I am a butcher at 45, Turner Street, Commercial Road—my shop was open a little after 12 o'clock on this night; I was serving a man before closing—a man staggered into my shop and made towards me as if to speak to me, and f✗ell on the floor; he turned out to be Howard—I could not pick him up, and called for the assistance of a man outside—he did not speak—he was taken away from my door to the hospital—the man had nothing in his hand.

WILLIAM MILLER . I am a joiner—on this Sunday morning, about half-past 12 o'clock, I was in Turner Street and went to Raven's shop and saw the deceased lying there with blood on his left side—I assisted in taking him to the London Hospital—he was wounded in the chest—I don't know how he got into the shop—I had not seen him before.

ALFRED MURRELL . I am a farrier, and live at 62, Charlotte Street, Whitechapel—my wife is Mrs. Russell's sister—I knew the deceased man Howard for about 12 years, he worked in the same yard with me; he had been away twice in that time, a month or two at a time—on the

evening of 28th February Howard and Mrs. Russell were at my house when I got home about half-past 9; they stayed there till about half-past 11, they then left—they were both sober—I never saw any knife in Howard's possession; only a little pocket-knife that he used to cut his meals with—I have seen a dagger in Mrs. Russell's possession, the blade was about six inches long, and the handle was something like a common fork handle, about three inches long, with a bar across about two inches long—I saw it at Mrs. Russell's, she took it out of a drawer and showed it to me—I don't recollect her saying anything at the time—I asked her to let me look at it—she took something off the point, I think it was an old handle or something—I did not take much notice of it—I saw Howard's body at the hospital and identified it.

Cross-examined. Howard lost his wife six or seven years ago; since then he would have a glass sometimes, but he kept his place at work in the day—we had a glass of ale together on the Saturday night; all the drink we had was a quartern of gin and a pot of four ale, from half-past 9 till half-past 11—I have been the worse for drink, but never lost my place—Mrs. Russell has reminded me since she was examined that she said the showed the dagger to Howard and me, and that I was so drunk and asleep that I could not see it.

THOMAS JAMES BOOKER . I am manager of the White Hart public-house in Turner Street, Commercial Road; it is about a dozen doors from Rutland Street—on the evening of 28th February, a little after half-past 11, Mrs. Russell, the prisoner, and the deceased came in—Mrs. Russell had twopennyworth of rue gin; he men had half of bitter and half of stout-and-mild—the deceased paid for the first; then they had their glasses replenished, and the prisoner paid for the last just as they were going out about 10 minutes to 12—they sat down on a form, and to all appearance they were quite friendly together and sober—I stood at the door as they went out—they went towards Rutland Street—the prisoner appeared to be quite sober.

Cross-examined. They were customers—I had seen them together before once or twice—I heard that both Howard and Alt were paying their addresses to Mrs. Russell—she appeared to treat them both alike, she did that evening—there was no quarrelling, no angry words of any kind—I never heard any threat made use of by Alt to Howard.

WILLIAM THOMAS REECE . I was house surgeon at the London Hospital about a quarter to 1 on Sunday morning, 1st March, when Howard was brought there; he was then deed, and the body warm—I examined him, and found that he was wounded—I afterwards made a post-mortem examination—he had four wounds; the first was on the left side of the chest two and a half inches, and reached the heart; the next was at the upper part of the chest, piercing the breast-bone; the third was over the left shoulder, and the fourth over the right shoulder—they were such wounds as might have been inflicted by being stabbed by a dagger by another person; they were double-edged wounds—the cause of death was the wound to the heart; that must have caused death within a few minutes—there were no wounds on his hands—I believe the police took charge of, his clothing—Mrs. Russell was brought to the hospital about a quarter of an hour after Howard—she had six wounds on the upper part of the chest and three on her back—she remained under treatment

at the hospital till 5th May—they were wounds that might have been inflicted by the stab of a dagger; they were serious wounds.

Cross-examined. It is rather difficult to speculate upon the weapon from what you see on the body—the wound that caused Howard's death actually penetrated the heart; a depth of two inches would do that—I cannot measure the time that a person could run after receiving such a wound—I examined his hand carefully, but could not find a wound; the hand was covered with blood—the wounds on both appeared to have been inflicted with a two-edged weapon.

By the COURT. The wound that penetrated the heart was an oblique wound; it passed downwards and inwards I should think; I should think about four inches.

GEORGE BLATCHFORD . I am a cab-driver, of 50, West Street, Mile End—I was with my cab in Whitechapel about 20 minutes past 12 in the morning of 1st March—a man called me, and I drove him to the Veteran beershop, Mile End Road, which was about 300 or 400 yards from where I took him up—I am not able to identify the man; I did not take any notice of him—he got out of the cab and went into the beershop—I waited till he came out in two or three minutes supported by two men—I drove all three to the London Hospital—they did not get out there, and I drove them on to the German Hospital—the two men that were supporting him came out, and the third man was left there—when I first saw the man he was coming from the direction of Turner Street.

ALFRED VEVEY . I am surgeon at the German Hospital, Dalston—on Sunday morning, 1st March, about 1 o'clock, the prisoner was brought there—he was suffering from injuries to his chest; I found 10 punctured wounds—I asked him how he got his wounds—he said he had had a quarrel with another man—the wounds had all the same direction, from above downwards—they might have been self-inflicted; it is more likely that they were self-inflicted than otherwise—they were done with a dagger or a knife with a very thin back, I mean double-edged—they were not very dangerous—he remained an in-patient till 18th March, when he was taken into custody; in the meantime a constable had been in charge of him.

Cross-examined. I do not recollect his saying, "I had a quarrel with another man, and we fought"—I do not remember anything more than I have stated—any knife sharp at the back and front would have inflicted the wounds—I have not been shown any instrument—I do not remember that a man who had been a constable was put in the next bed to him—a constable came next morning—I did not hear him speaking to the prisoner.

HENRY PAYNE (Detective). On 1st March I went to the German Hospital, and saw the prisoner there and took charge of him—on 8th March, at 9 in the morning, he called me to his bedside—I made this note of the conversation about 10 minutes after—he said, "How is Mrs. Russell?"—I said, "She is getting better"—he then told me how it occurred—he said, "We were in the White Hart public-house, Turner Street, drinking together; we had a row together, and when we came out Howard wanted to fight me; we were all in drink; I then took my dagger out of my pocket and stabbed Mrs. Russell; Howard ran away towards the corner opposite the White Hart, when I stabbed him two or three times; I then stabbed myself and ran towards Whitechapel Road;

I saw a cab and I got into it; I then went to the beershop where I lived; the landlord, and another man took me in a cab to the London Hospital, and when I got to tho gates I would not go in, and told my landlord to take me to the German Hospital, Dalston."

Cross-examined. There was a patient in that hospital in the next bed to the prisoner, who had been in the police force—I didn't know that until about four or five days after I went there first—I didn't suggest that he should find out how it was done—I cannot remember the conversation except by refreshing my memory from my pocket-book—it does happen that the leaves just preceding what I have been reading are torn out of my book—I very often tear leaves out of my book—I do not take them out when the notes I have taken are not sufficiently full—I have got no memorandum at all between the 1st and 8 th of March—I could not say whether the leaves were torn out when I took it down—the leaves would be plain when they were torn out—I could not say whether any hospital attendant was there when I took the statement—I think there are two leaves torn out—I might have torn those two leaves out previous to my writing this down, but I don't remember it—I did not write this down twice—I wrote it in the ward—I did not ask the attendant to go back and read it out to him with me.

SEPTIMUS WESTRON (Policeman H 106). On 1st March I was called to Turner Street, and afterwards saw Mrs. Russell in the front parlour in Rutland Street—I saw she was injured, and took her to the hospital—I afterwards saw Howard at the hospital—I searched his clothing—there was no knife or weapon upon him.

FREDERICK ABBERLINE (Police Inspector H). I have made inquiries with ragard to the man Conrad Bauer, who kept the public-house where the prisoner lodged—they say he has gone abroad—on the 1st March I went to the German Hospital, and saw the prisoner—he was very ill, and I gave instructions to Police-constable Paine—about 3 o'clock the same day I went again—I was not in uniform—the prisoner beckoned me to his bedside, and said, "Mrs. Russell has my bank-book in her drawer; she brought me to it"—I simply nodded, and passed out of the ward—on the 18th March I went to the hospital again, and finding he was fairly convalescent and able to leave, I said to him, "I am an inspector of police; I have to take you into custody for the wilful murder of Charles Howard, and also for attempting to murder Annie Eliza Russell, by stabbing her on the 1st instant"—he made no remark whatever—at the station the charge was read over to him—he made no reply—I searched at the Veteran public-house to see if I could find a dagger or instrument of any kind—none has been discovered—the distance from the lamp to 25, Rutland Street is as near as possible 18 yards—the distance from Raven's shop to 25, Rutland Street is 84 yards.

Cross-examined. I measured from the middle of the roadway and across in a direct line to Raven's shop—the lamp is on the same side as 25—I was not aware until the end of the week that Conrad Bauer had gone, when I saw his shop shut up—he was served with the usual notice and was bound over—I was present at the Coroner's inquest, and heard him examined there, and also before the Magistrate, on behalf of the Treasury—he said that Mrs. Russell used to come to his house constantly to fetch Alt out.

Re-examined. Bauer was the licensed keeper of this beer-house.

The Prisoner's Statement before the Magistrate. "I am not guilty, I reserve my defence."

John Schweppe, a baker, deposed to the prisoner's good character as a peaceable well-conducted man.

GUILTY.—Strongly recommended to mercy by the Jury on account of his acting under extreme jealousy .— DEATH.


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