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SOMERVILLE, NJ–On Friday, October 10, the Somerset County Courthouse will begin displaying an exhibit highlighting a famous muder case that captivated both the City of New Brunswick and Franklin Township more than 92 years ago.
The unveiling of the exhibit will take place in the Jury Assembly Room of the courthouse, located at 20 North Bridge Street, from 2 to 5pm.
The murder, which occurred on September 14, 1922, was dubbed as Somerset County’s “trial of the century,” and was eclipsed nearly a decade later by the famous Lindbergh baby trial.
The case, which went to trial on November 3, 1926, saw no indictments from judges Charles W. Parker and Frank Cleary. The case remains officially unsolved today.
The bodies of the two victims, Evangelist Episcopal Priest, Edward Wheeler Hall, and choir singer Eleanor Reinhartd Mills, were discovered in Franklin Township on September 16, 1922, both on their backs with gunshot wounds. Mills was wounded three times, while Hall was only shot once.
There were also torn up love letters placed between the two victim’s bodies.
By the time police arrived, it was said that curiosity-seekers had trampled the scene, and also had taken several souvenirs from the victims and the surrounding area.
The four suspects from the trial were the wife of the the priest, Frances Noel Stevens Hall, along with her two brothers and cousin, Henry Hewgill Stevens, William Carpender Stevens, and Henry de la Bruyere Carpender.
Carpender allegedly owned the same .32 caliber pistol that was used in the murder.
One key witness, Jane Gibson, testified in the trial. She lived in a converted barn on Easton Avenue and heard gunshots around 9pm on the night of the double homicide. Upon investigation, Gibson saw two people, a man and a woman, yelling, “Don’t!” multiple times before falling to the ground.
Gibson also said that she heard the name, “Henry,” called out before the shots were fired.
After Gibson’s testimony, the prosecution was sure that Hall and her two brothers had the means and motive to be proven guilty of the murders, but there was not enough evidence to convict them.
The exhibit from the trial will feature photos, clothing, a love letter and journal entries, and bullet casings and shells from the scene of the crime.
The exhibit will be on diplay for public for viewing by appointment on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays for the foreseeable future after the unveiling. Appointments can be made by calling the Trial Court’s Administrative Office at (908) 203-6151.