November 10, 1899
Albert Becker is hanged for the murder and dismemberment of his wife
Becker killed his wife Rachael on January 27, 1899. He then dismembered her body — an easy task for a professional butcher — before he boiled her body parts. The pieces that survived the boiling process were then brought to various locations and burned. Becker explained away his wife’s absence by claiming she absconded with a man known only as “Mike.” Two weeks after Rachel’s disappearance, Becker married 17-year-old Ida Sutterlin.
Police investigated the Becker home on suspicion of murder and found blood splatter in the seldom-used front room. Becker claimed he was practicing his trade in the room and the blood and minuscule bits of gore was the result of butchering an animal. Eventually, however, Becker confessed to drowning Rachael in a fit of rage as well as the methodical disposal of his wife’s remains. He later recanted the confession and claimed his new father-in-law, George Sutterlin, had been the killer. Becker carried this claim to the scaffold. He professed his innocence until his hanging on November 10, 1899, less than 10 months after Rachael’s murder.
Hearn, Daniel Allen. Legal Executions in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky and Missouri. Jefferson: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2016
“Hanged for Wife-Murder.” The Wilmington Messenger. November 11, 1899
“August Becker Guilty.” The Big Stone Gap Post. July 13, 1899
“Blood Is A Clew.” The Daily Inter Ocean [Chicago, Illinois]. February 28, 1899