October 27, 1927
New Orleans, Louisiana
Henry Moity (30) kills his wife and sister-in-law and dismembers their bodies
Henry, his brother Joseph (35), Henry’s wife Theresa (25), and Joseph’s wife Leonide (28), shared a home. Also in the home were the three young children of Henry and Theresa. The brothers reportedly “had been having difficulties from their wives because of attentions they accepted from other men,” which led to mounting tensions within the home.
October 27, Henry beat his wife to death in a jealous rage then beat his sleeping sister-in-law to death as she slept, presumably because he blamed her for being a “bad influence” on Theresa. Once the women were dead, Henry, a former butcher, used a 2-foot (61cm) long sugar cane knife to dismember their bodies. The corpses were beheaded and their limbs removed at their respective joints at the torso. Each woman’s body parts were then packed into trunks, the knife was put in the trunk with Theresa’s remains, and Henry fled.
Within a day, a cleaning woman happened upon the “blood-splattered” room. Her screams alerted two passing insurance salesmen who in turn alerted police. Bloody footprints were upon the floor and severed fingers were found in a bloody mattress. The fingers were discovered to belong to Theresa, cut from her left hand, possibly to extract her wedding ring which was missing. The ring was later found shoved into a gaping wound in her back. In addition, a page from a fictional story Leonide was writing, containing in part the line “Marriage is a life sentence. Be careful,” was also found.
Joseph surrendered the day after the bodies were found and claimed both brothers had killed their wives out of jealousy. This confession was later dissolved when Henry confessed to both murders after he was captured, four days following the murders.
“I did not think of killing my wife,” Henry stated in his confession, “even though I knew of her infidelity, until she said she was leaving me and my children next morning. First, I thought of killings myself and the children, but my children were young and had had no chance at life. I hated her that night, but I loved her every moment up until that hour and I love her now. She was a beautiful woman.”
Henry was sentenced to life imprisonment, and was released after serving 21 years. He was convicted in 1956 for assaulting his wife Alberta Moity with a deadly weapon after shooting her, and sentenced to another 1 to 10 years, though he stayed out of newspapers after this conviction.
“One To 10 Years For Shooting Wife.” The Valley Times [North Hollywood, California]. May 16, 1956
“Alleged Killer on Trial Again.” Johnson City Staff-News. June 18, 1928
“Moity’s Fate is in Hands of Jury to Decide.” Daily Clarion-Ledger [Jackson, Mississippi]. March 4, 1928
“How Jealously Turned a Devoted Husband Into a Demon.” Orlando Evening Star. December 18, 1927
“”Life Sentence” Slain Wife Said About Marriage.” Crowley Daily Signal. October 28, 1927
“Trunk Horror Speeds Police To Find Guilty.” Crowley Daily Signal. October 28, 1927