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Murderer Louis Wagner Arrives in Maine Jail 1873


Smuttynose Murder Press Clip File #02

EDITOR'S NOTE: This early article just five days after the murders show the media's immediate fascination with the appearance and conduct of Louis Wagner that later led to a popular belief among some that Wagner was innocent because he was a likeable character.  


March 11, 1873
Portsmouth Journal of Literature and Politics
Wagner's conduct and appearance at Saco
Read Text Version Below


The arrival at Saco of the supposed murderer of the Cristenson (sic) women at the Isles of Shoals, created considerable excitement. Crowds of people thronged to see him just as they did here, and the impression made by his appearance was the same as we have stated, it was among the hundreds who saw him at our police station. The following report published in a Portland paper, from one who visited Wagner on Sunday, will be perused with interest:

I found Wagner seated upon the bedstead and apparently much annoyed by the looks which his many visitors, the greater part of whom were women, cast upon him. He is a young, blue-eyed, fair-haired man, with a very mild expression of countenance, and easy assured manner. He possesses one of those faces to which you would naturally take a liking, though there is about it a weak appearance, which grows upon you the more you look upon him. I offered him a cigar and addressed a few words to him in his native tongue. He seemed quite pleased and readily entered into conversation. There were about him no marks of guilt, and the quiet, composed manner in which he spoke went far to induce a belief in his innocence. He betrayed but little emotion except in speaking of the mob at Portsmouth, when he trembled and turned pale. He indulged in bitter complaints of the many thousand people who came to look at him in Portsmouth, and spoke in a sad tone of the taunts and insults which they hurled at him. He stoutly maintains his innocence, saying that he can explain where he was at the time of the murder, though shortly after that he drank two glasses of ale, which so intoxicated him that he can remember nothing further. He claims that the blood upon his clothes came from cleaning fish. Speaking of the murdered women Anethe and Kareh Christenson, he said that they were always his good friends, and particularly exclaimed, "My God!- how think you I could ever go to kill them? It is not so." The sad tone in which he said this, and the slightly marked accent, made it very effective. I came away certainly not impressed with a conviction of his innocence, but still cherishing a reasonable doubt and feeling much kinder toward him that on entering the cell. Great crowds of people have been to see him, the majority of whom the officers admitted. -- Courtesy


This Smuttynose Murder news clipping feature:
Created, designed and hosted by
With thanks to The Portsmouth Public Library
& Portsmouth Athenaeum
Primary researcher: Richard Winslow
For more info see SMUTTYNOSE MURDERS  


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