Thursday, January 14, 2010


One of the fascinating things about history is that you quickly realize how much things change over time--and how little they change.

Take dad WALTER LIDDLE. Back in 1922, his wife decided she would no longer live with him. (Given what comes next, her reluctance to do so is completely understandable). Out of his "desire to get even with his wife," Liddle drowned their 6-month-old infant son in the bathtub. And like the vast majority of killers, he takes no responsibility for his actions. In fact, he's under some deluded notion that he's "saving" the child from being killed by the mother. Hmm. Got it. Basically the same crazy sh** we hear over 80 years later.

Actually we printed the February 1922 article on the murder a few months ago, but this article provides the follow-up.

From the archives of the New York Times, June 15, 1922:


Father's Act "to Get Even With His Wife" Gets Him Ten Years

Walter Liddle, 19 years old, of 507 East 179th Street, who on Feb. 28, last, out of revenge for his wife's refusal to live with him, drowned their baby boy, Billie, 6 months old, in a bathtub, was sentenced yesterday by Judge Louis D. Gibbs, in the Bronx County Court, to serve not less than ten and, not more than twenty years in Sing Sing Prison. Liddle had pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the first degree.

"This is one of the most heinous crimes ever brought to my attention," said Judge Gibbs in passing sentence. "It was the case of a deliberate murder and a most extraordinary instance of the disregard of human life, for here is a man who murdered his own child."

Dr. Menas Gregory of Bellevue Hospital, who was on the the lunacy commission which reported Liddle to me a mental defective but sane, said Liddle told him he was laboring under the idea that either his wife or his mother-in-law would eventually kill the child. Liddle explained his act of placing the child in the tub with a pillow beneath its head and then turning on the water and feeling to the street, where he notified persons of what he had done as "a desire to get even with his wife."