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Bessie Newton, 1907

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Bessie Newton, 1907

Posted: 19 Jul 2000 6:00AM GMT
Classification: Obituary
Edited: 23 Apr 2003 3:24PM GMT
Surnames: NEWTON
Several newspaper clippings were saved detailing the murder of Bessie Newton. They were not identified as to the paper, though they appear to be Sioux City, Iowa papers. Bessie's parents were Edward and Jane (Heidy) Newton. Her brothers were Will of Obert and Oliver I. of Ponca.

LOVE PRODUCES INSANITY AND THEN A MURDER
Physicians Thus Explain Killing of His Sweetheart by Frank Brink, of Ponca, Yesterday

NOT IN HIS RIGHT SENSES
He Was a Prosperous, Sober Farmer Until Attacked by the Disease of Love - Miss Newton Was to Marry Today.

If a Jury of Sioux City doctors were selected to pass sentence on Frank Brink, a Ponca, Neb., farmer, who yesterday shot and killed Miss Bessie Newton, who had rejected his love for another, he would be cleared of murder in the first degree on the ground that love can produce insanity.

Brink, late yesterday afternoon, at Ponca, called Miss Newton, who was to have married Edward O'Donnell tomorrow, to the door and deliberately shot her to death. He returned to a barber shop, where his overcoat was hanging, secured a fresh supply of cartridges, reloaded his pistol, and going into an alley, shot himself twice - once in the head and once in the left breast.

Say He Was Insane.
Out of ten Sioux City physicians interviewed today every one believed that the man was insane when he called Miss Newton to the door and shot her through the heart, and that the tragedy which sent the young girl to her grave on the eve of her wedding was nothing less than the work of a man in whom love had worked as a sort of disease.

"The mere fact that the man attempted to commit suicide after shooting the girl is evidence that he was insane," said Dr. Grant J. Ross, member of the Woodbury county insanity commission. "No sane man would do that. If Brink had made an attempt to escape to protect himself from the consequence of his rash deed, why then we might think it was done with malice or ? ? revenge. I believe judging from the newspaper accounts of the tragedy, that the man was insane, the result of constant brooding over the fact that the girl was to marry another."

Should Be Behind Bars.
Dr. Dunlavy, who has given the subject of insanity much study, would not convict the man of murder in the first degree, but believes that he should be combined in the insane asylum for life.

"It is undoubtedly a case of emotional insanity," he said, "And although it would not be right to sentence him to the penitentiary for life or condemn him to death, I believe that some measure should be taken to ostracize him. That is, he should be confined for the remainder of his life."

"It is my belief that he was temporarily insane when he committed the murder, and there is no reason why, if set at liberty, he would not repeat the act. There are many clever criminals who feign insanity and after a few years are allowed to go out, but in this case, I don't believe there is any chance of a mistake.

Other physicians interviewed hold the same views as to the man's insanity, believing that the question of malice and vengeance were entirely foreign to Brink when he fired the fatal bullet. If they were called in the case as experts their judgment would be that he was the victim of emotional insanity.

GROOM FINDS HIS BRIDE SLAIN BY RIVAL
Special to The Tribune.

Ponca, Neb., Feb. 6 - When Edward O'Donnell, of Humboldt, Ia., arrived here today to wed Miss Bessie Newton, of this place, he found her dead.

She was murdered yesterday afternoon by her rejected suitor, Frank Brink. The latter shot himself, but he may recover.

Both young people had lived here most of there lives, were much liked and their parents were rich and prominent. Jealously of the heart consuming and judgment destroying kind animated Brink. No one believes he was insane. He returned Saturday night from serving on the federal jury in Lincoln and has always been rational.

For five years Brink and Miss Newton were sweethearts. Some time ago, when she visited Humboldt, Ia., she met Mr. O'Donnell and fell in love with him. From the time that she told Brink that she was going to marry the Iowa man, he asserted positively that she would not. Girl friends of the dead girl say today that he had threatened to kill her if necessary to prevent the nuptials. Miss Newton had told them of this threat.

Came Prepared to Kill
Murder was in his heart when Brink came to town yesterday from his father's farm one mile southeast of here. He was bold enough about his purpose to prevent the wedding that he told Town Marshal Warren Beller that "She will never marry anybody but me."

The officer took no notice of the man's implied threat. When Edward Newton, father of Miss Newton, entered the cigar store of William Groth where Brink and some friends were playing cards the young man excused himself and left the place. He went directly to the Newton home and although there was no one to witness the tragedy, it is believed that the shooting was done immediately after the young woman admitted him. She was seen to ? from her house and fall in front of the house. She died in fifteen minutes from bullet wounds in her right breast and in her back.

Reloads Gun and Shoots Himself.
Brink almost ran from the house to the barber shop of John Doyle. Here he nervously took cartridges from his coat and reloaded his revolver and went out. The men in the barber shop did not realize what was happening until Brink had gone. They followed him only to see him turn his revolver on himself, shoot twice and fall in the street. One bullet struck him in the right breast and the other entered his head through the right ear, but followed the cheek bone and came out the nose or mouth, it is thought. He is under the care of physicians and may recover. He is able to talk a little but cannot yet be interviewed.

Brink is 28 years of age. He claims to have served three months as a civil guard in San Francisco following the earthquake. Miss Newton was 26 years old. Both were very popular and before the appearance of the Iowa man they were always together at social affairs and supplied much of the life of the company.

The wedding of Mr. O'Donnell and Miss Newton was to have taken place tomorrow night. All preparations for the event having been made.

Fiance Almost Prostrated.
Mr. O'Donnell arrived here today noon. He was taken to the home of his dead sweetheart by a girl friend of the latter. There he was overcome with grief. He learned of the tragedy while at Omaha enroute here for the wedding. O'Donnell is a prosperous farmer, 30 years of age.

Brink, who did the shooting is getting better rapidly and is expected to recover.

THE SENSATIONAL TRAGEDY AT PONCA, NEB.
Followed by photos of Bessie, the "home of the murdered girl," and Edward O'Donnell

MURDER IS BEING PROBED
CORONER'S INVESTIGATION IS STILL ON AT PONCA
FRINK REMAINS UNDER GUARD
The Slayer of Bessie Newton is Prisoner in Doctor's Office Under Care of Nurse - Prospects Are Good for His Early Recovery.

Ponca Neb., Feb. 7. - Special: The coroner's investigation of the sensational murder of Miss Bessie Newton by her former sweetheart, Frank Frink, is still in progress this afternoon. Many witnesses were heard by the jury during the morning session but little new light was thrown on the tragedy. An interesting development, however, was the fact that no one has been found who saw Frink enter or leave the Newton home, although there is not the least doubt that he killed the girl.

Frink is still under guard at the office of Dr. Young, and is attended by a nurse from Sioux City. His father, who lives about a mile from Ponce, is also assisting in caring for him. Frink is still quite weak and has not made any statement regarding the shooting. The prospects for his early recovery from his self inflicted wounds are still bright.
Murdered Girl Buried.

The funeral of the murdered girl was held this afternoon from the Lutheran church, and the services were attended by a large crowd. The interment was in the Ponca cemetery. Edward O'Donnell, of Humboldt, Io., the dead girl's fiancée, who was to have been married to her last evening, was one of the principal mourners. He is completely prostrated over the tragic fate of his fiancée. His first knowledge of the murder was gained from a newspaper while on his way here.

The coroner's jury began its investigation last evening. The members of the jury are Pearl Barker, Eli Heidy, Charles Eyhler, Frank Mattison, Patrick McCabe, and W. N. White.

Previous to the opening of the inquest the corner, Dr. J. O. Jolley of Dixon, assisted by Dr. O'Connell, of Ponca, conducted an examination which brought out some interesting circumstances in regard to the shooting. The young woman was lying on a couch when Frink began firing. The first bullet missed her prostrate form and lodged in the couch. The second hit her in the shoulder. It is presumed that she then jumped up from the lounge. The third bullet pierced her heart. She staggered through the room, out of the front door and fell lifeless in the front yard.

GIRL'S SLAYER STILL ALIVE
FRANK FRINK'S SELF INFLICTED WOUNDS NOT FATAL
PROSPECTS ARE FOR RECOVERY
Man Who Killed Miss Bessie Newton at Ponca Because She Had Rejected Him is Under a Close Guard - Girl Was to Have Wed Tonight.

Ponca, Neb., Feb. 6. - Special. Frank Frink [hand corrected to Brink], a prosperous farmer, a rejected suitor for the hand of Miss Bessie Newton, of Ponca, who while insanely jealous, shot and killed the girl late yesterday afternoon and then turned his revolver on himself, inflicting serious wounds, has recovered consciousness and the attending physician states that he will likely recover unless unlooked for complications develop. The girl was to have been married this evening to Edward O'Donnell, of Humboldt, Io.

Frink who is being closely guarded by the sheriff, is still very weak from loss of blood, and has made no statement regarding his terrible crime. Frink fired three bullets in his desperate attempt to end his own life. One bullet carried in a pocketbook which he carried in a pocket over his heart, and was deflected, causing a slight flesh wound. Another ball entered his breast and caused a serious wound, and the third entered his head near his ear, followed the cheek bone and came out in his nose. The breast wound is the most dangerous and the bullet has not been located.

It was stated by friends of Frink [hand corrected to Brink] today that he had made the statement that "he would never allow any other man to marry Miss Newton."

The tragedy caused a great sensation in Ponca, and the facts leading up to the sensational shooting are the chief topic of discussion on the streets of the town today.

Plans Crime Deliberately.
While alone in her home late yesterday afternoon, busying herself with preparations for her wedding this evening, Miss Bessie Newton answered a rap at the door to find herself confronted by Frank Frink [hand corrected to Brink], who, almost instantly killed the defenseless girl.

Frink, who is a well to do farmer, aged 30, living a mile southeast of her home, then turned the gun on himself, inflicting serious wounds in the head and breast,

Miss Newton was 26 years old and lived with her aged father. As -- (illegible for a short space)

The crime was committed at 3:30 o'clock p.m. Frink had driven in from his farm early in the afternoon and was loafing in the cigar store of William Groth. Just before the shooting Mr. Newton, the girl's father, came into the store and Frink was seen to leave the place immediately. A few moments later the Newton neighbors were startled by the report of a revolver, and were horror stricken to see Miss Bessie reel from the house and fall upon the ground in the yard. Frink was nowhere to be seen.

The neighbors rushed to the girl's assistance and carried her into the house, but life was already extinct.

Turns Gun on Himself.
A moment later the occupants of Doyle's barber shop were surprised to see Frink breathlessly enter and walk directly to his overcoat, which hung upon a hook on the wall. He hastily extracted several loaded cartridges from one of the pockets and dashed from the shop loading his gun. It was done so quickly that no one had time to prevent him or to even think of doing so.

Frank McCabe was the next person who saw Frink. McCabe had just driven his sleigh into the alley behind the Commercial hotel when a shot rang out just behind him. Turning in his seat, he saw Frink reel to the ground and in an instant recover his balance long enough to fire another shot and stagger to the street a half block distant. Here Mr. Bolton carried him into Dr. Young's office.

The facts leading up to this most distressing tragedy were of an unusual nature. This evening Miss Newton was to have married Edward O'Donnell, a farmer near Humboldt, Io. Although at the time to this man she was still receiving the ardent attentions of Frink, with whom she had been keeping company for some five years. Frink was well aware of the existence of a rival and notwithstanding the fact that the girl had refused his offer of marriage he had, on more than one occasion, made threats that he would never let Miss Newton marry O'Donnell.

Made Threat to Officer.
Only yesterday he had informed the marshal that he would never let O'Donnell marry "his girl," but the marshal had no idea of the seriousness of the threat and was entirely unprepared for the crime.

It is supposed that Frink, knowing of the intended wedding, came to town prepared for the desperate work he had set himself to do. While waiting in the cigar store, he saw the girl's father enter and formed his plan of action at once. Knowing the girl would be alone at home he went there at once, committed the murder without parley with the girl, hurried to the barber shop for his overcoat, got the shells and ran around behind the hotel building, where he made the desperate attempt to put an end to his own existence.

Frank Frink was known to be a sober, temperate man and the deed cannot be attributed to an intoxicated condition. The only explanation that can be made is Frink's [hand corrected to Brink] unreasonable jealously of the girl.

Previous to this time, Frink had been in San Francisco where he served with the guards on the ruins left by the earthquake.

INSANITY MAY BE DEFENSE
LIKELY TO BE PLEA OF MISS NEWTON'S SLAYER
BRINK SLOWLY RECOVERING
Friends Are Stating that He Was Roused to Uncontrollable Anger by the Actions of the Girl - Coroner's Jury Returns Verdict.

Ponca, Neb., Feb. 8. - Special: It seems probably that Frank Brink's defense for the shooting of Miss Bessie Newton will be insanity. Already his friends are telling how he was roused to uncontrollable jealously and anger by Miss Newton's actions and words.

It is being told that Brink does not yet realize that the girl is dead. He is said to have remarked to his nurse that he would like to have the girl call and see him. He is still in the office of Dr. Young, where he is recovering from the effects of the self inflicted bullet wounds.

The coroner's jury last evening returned a verdict to the effect that Miss Newton came to her death by a pistol shot from the hands of Brink, "to the best of our knowledge and belief."
SubjectAuthorDate Posted
@@JBParts@hea... 19 Jul 2000 12:00PM GMT 
merrily_t 30 Apr 2010 5:35PM GMT 
kjohns7900 18 Aug 2010 3:02PM GMT 
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