Hawley Crippen was once the most famous murderer in England — and may now be the most famously wrongly accused and executed man in England. The Michigan-born homeopathic physician was executed in November 1910 for the poisoning and dismembering his showgirl wife. The conviction turned on human tissue found beneath some steps in the cellar of his London home. A pathologist testified that it had an abdominal scar consistent with the Cora Crippen’s medical history.
The jury took only 27 minutes to convict Hawley Crippen on the evidence. For 10 months until his hanging, he insisted that he was innocent. Now, DNA has cleared him of the crime — at least based on the only direct evidence used by the prosecutors.
Michigan medical researchers say their examination of DNA evidence proves conclusively that the human remains were not those of Crippen’s wife but of someone else. It is only the latest case of exoneration based on DNA and will probably be cited by advocates who want to substitute of the death penalty with life without parole. Roughly half of American now support that option as support for capital punishment falls with such proven cases of innocence. For the full story, click here