September 29, 1935
Chestertown, Maryland
A woman who murdered her mother in-law with a hatchet meets with alienists (an archaic term for psychologists) to determine her level of sanity.

During her subsequent trial, she claimed she didn’t remember murdering the elderly woman. She stated she grabbed a hammer to fix a towel rack in the bathroom, though in reality she picked up a hatchet and beat her mother-in-law to death. When she returned to reality and found herself covered in blood, she contacted the sheriff and expressed a desire to be hanged for her crime. She also shook the hand of the prosecution lawyer during trial saying “let’s be friends,” and wrote a poem which was taken as evidence of her failing mental health. The poem read:

“Then a breathless hush in the close tonight
Lea to make and the watch to win
A bumping pitch and the blinking light
Play up, play up and play the game.”

Thelma Buxton was found not guilty by reason of insanity and was placed in an asylum. She was later released into the custody of her sister.

Article: The Chicago Daily Tribune, September 29, 1935

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