Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Hall-Mills Murders

The Pig Woman

Jane Gibson lived with her son, William, in a converted barn near De Russeys Lane. She raised hogs. She told police that her dogs were barking around nine oclock that Thursday night and she had seen the figure of a man in her cornfield. To ward off thieves, she mounted Jenny, her mule, and went after him, toward Easton Avenue. She said she spotted four figures near a crab apple tree. Then she heard a sharp report and one of the figures fell to the ground. A woman screamed, "Dont! Dont! Dont!"

Gibson turned her mule away, heard a volley of shots and saw another person slump to the ground. Then she heard a woman shout, "Henry!"

She said she had tried telling this story to police after young Hayes was falsely arrested, but they had been too busy to pay her any attention.

The story she told sounded good, but conflicted with Halls autopsy report, which indicated someone standing above him had shot him. Stricker thought Gibsons account was good stuff, but Beekman found it all too vague for a Grand Jury. Special prosecutor Mott called it his most valuable evidence, particularly since the Pig Woman said she could identify the killers. With reporters eager to hear her story, she provided further details:

Pig Woman's Home
Pig Woman's Home
She had noticed an open touring car parked on Easton Avenue, like that seen by the chauffeur. (The Halls owned a touring car and a Sedan.) It was when she turned around and cut across a field down a small lane that she saw two men and two women standing near a crab apple tree, arguing bitterly. A car coming into the lane behind her illuminated the people and she saw a woman in a long gray coat, and a man with a dark mustache and bushy hair, walking together toward the abandoned farm. A little later, she said she heard a woman ask, "How do you explain these notes?" Then she added another item: She had seen Mrs. Mills run away after Halls murder, and they caught her and dragged her back, shooting her three times.

But that wasnt all. The Pig Woman soon recalled something else: She had lost a moccasin and at one a.m., rode back to look for it. As she came near the crab apple tree, she heard a woman crying. She went near and saw Mrs. Hall kneeling next to her husbands body, sobbing. She was later to say that she had seen a "big lady" with "white hair."

Mrs. Fraley, who lived directly across De Russey's Lane from the Phillips farm, contradicted her story. She had heard none of the sounds described by Gibson, nor had any of her boarders. In fact, she had seen Gibson right after the murders and the hog farmer had said nothing.

The Pig Woman vehemently defended her story to all who challenged her.

However, reporters soon dug up some information that put her credibility into doubt: she said that her deceased husband had been a minister, when in fact he was not dead and worked as a toolmaker. The man, William Easton, refused to talk, saying only that she had a brilliant mind. Gibson denied that Easton was her husband. She also claimed that she had told reporters one story, authorities another, and would offer a third one on the witness stand.

Around that time, two women discovered two unexploded cartridges about one hundred feet from the crab apple tree. Mason ordered state troopers to close it off and make a more thorough search.

 

 

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