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Fannie Sprague Murder Still Unsolved

They found Fannie Sprague Body

Dramatic Maine Murder Trial

The noose tightens

By the third day of the trial spectators carrying box lunches filled the courthouse gallery as a parade of witnesses, including Fannie’s brother, sister, and father, were called to testify. They established that Fannie had worked briefly at Edwin Knight’s house in November of 1899, five or six months before the murder. A coroner reported that the victim was five to six months pregnant at her death.

State attorney general Seidman then began to tighten his case. He argued that pieces of a wooden cart owned by Knight had been used to bludgeon the victim and that the accused then attempted to hide and repair the cart. The defendant’s knife was introduced as the second murder weapon. Witnesses agreed that Knight had been seen in the vicinity just prior to the murder. His rubber boots matched the plaster cast. And there were damning blood spots visible on his clothes later that day, and the pockets on his clothes were crudely patched to disguise other blood stains. Knight had known the victim for at least 10 years according to witnesses.

Knight turned pale, according to the Biddeford Daily Times, when Fannie’s nervous four-year old son Freddie testified on day four.

"What happens to boys who tell wrong stories?" the prosecuting attorney asked Freddie, whose tiny frame barely showed above the witness rail.

"God punishes them," Freddie replied.

"If anyone tells lies, what will happen?" Attorney Yeaton then asked the boy.

"God won’t let them go to heaven," Freddie said.

Freddie Sprague testified that Edwin Knight had gone into the barn wit his mother on the day of her murder. The state even implied that Freddie was Knight’s illegitimate child. But George Yeaton made a plea to the jury that the boy was too young and had "too little intelligence" to testify. Besides, Yeaton suggested, the boy had obviously been coached and his answers memorized.

Witness Samuel Locke


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Monday, February 19, 2018 
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