January 1, 1911
The body of Leon Beron, bludgeoned and stabbed during a robbery, is found
Beron was a slumlord, owning several dilapidated houses he rented out. When his body was found, bludgeoned, stabbed 3 times, and 2 curious S shaped cuts (“like the f holes on a violin”) carved into his cheeks, there was no shortage of possible enemies to investigate. However, suspicion fell on Steinie Morrison who had a fair amount of evidence against him, though largely the evidence was circumstantial.
The suspicion grew when Morrison produced an alibi confirmed by a teenaged girl who claimed she, Morrison, and her sister had gone to the theater, and purchased tickets for a shilling at the door. The alibi was not suspicious in itself until the theater manager confirmed the show had been sold out for weeks, indicating the trio could not have purchased tickets at the door, and that the prices had increased to 1s 6d. A cab driver placing Morrison at the scene of the murder sealed his fate, despite his attorney attempting to persuade the jury to believe the Beron was a police informant and the Ss carved upon his cheeks represented “spiccan,” Polish for “spy.”
The theory was comical at best and the jury took 35 minutes to find Morrison guilty of murder. The judge handed Morrison a death sentence and added, “May the Lord have mercy on your soul.” Morrison shouted back, “I decline such mercy! I do not believe there is a God.”
Despite his original death penalty, Winston Churchill commuted the sentence to life in prison. Morrison disagreed with this reprieve and repeatedly appealed to have his death sentence reinstated. He died in prison on January 24, 1921, his body weakened from multiple hunger strikes.