Illinois

Teen dies in a faked suicide orchestrated by mother

March 13, 1922
Chicago, Illinois
Margaret Shader (16, pictured) is fatally shot

According to Margaret’s family, the teen had become despondent when her mother refused to allow her to marry her boyfriend, Frank Lee (16), on the basis of his race. The location of the pistol used to take Margaret’s life was near the body and so her death was officially ruled a suicide. However, after Lee, along with Margaret’s brother and mother, were arrested for theft, Lee gave a different story.

According to Lee, Margaret had not taken her own life but rather had been killed for not wanting to take part in her family’s crimes. “She was a good girl—that’s why she is dead,” Lee stated. “She didn’t kill herself. She was murdered. She did not want to marry me as they said. She wanted to be good.” Lee further explained Margaret’s father had also been killed for a similar reason, though Mr. Shader’s death was deemed justifiable homicide after Margaret’s brother, 19-year-old Charles, claimed to have shot his father to protect his mother. Lee described Mrs. Shader as a “voodoo woman” who “was going to put a spell over me if I didn’t obey her.”

Due to the vague details given by Lee, no one was charged in the deaths of Margaret or her father. Lee and Charles were, however, tried and convicted for the murder of police officer Harry Busse who had been killed in January 1921 following a mugging. Both teens were sentenced to life in prison.

Charles participated in a prison break in 1926 which resulted in the death of Deputy Warden Klein, who was slashed to death with knives and scissors. The killing of the deputy warden earned Charles and his compatriots a death sentence which was fulfilled on October 10, 1928.

(Newspapers cannot seem to agree on names or their spellings for the family. Some spell the family’s surname as Schader, one reported Margaret’s name as Catherine, and the only time I could find either of Margaret’s parents named referred to them as Mr. and Mrs. Edward F. Shader though Legal Executions in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky and Missouri recorded the father’s name as William.)

Sources:
Hearn, Daniel Allen. Legal Executions in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky and Missouri. Jefferson: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2016
“Hang Shader For Killing Jail Warden.” The Green Bay Press-Gazette. October 10, 1928
“Group of Slayers Foiled When They Dash For Liberty.” Wilkes-Barre Times Leader. March 12, 1927
“Two Youths Given Life Imprisonment.” Los Angeles Daily Times. September 14, 1922
“Chicago Police Find Crime Ring.” Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune. March 20, 1923
“Forced Boys Into Crimes.” Atchinson Daily Globe. March 20, 1922
“Hold 2 Youths, Fagin Mother, For 200 Crimes.” Chicago Daily Tribune. March 20, 1922 (image source, via newspapers.com)
“Hold Brother of Girl Suicide as Murder Suspect.” Chicago Daily Tribune. March 18, 1922

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