30 July 2012

Dresden Murder - Part 1

Alfred Farrell Arrested At Dennison Hotel Where He Had Used False Name

Bloody Shirt and Trousers Found in Man's Bedroom

A former convict, 43-year-old Alfred Farrell, was questioned today in connection with the brutal murder of his mother, Mrs. Nellie Farrell, 73, whose bruised and battered body was found last night at her home in Dresden.

Farrell was arrested shortly before midnight at a Dennison hotel where he had registered falsely under the name of "Brice Buell of Zanesville."

Confronted by a blood-stained shirt and trousers, found in his room at Dresden, Farrell admitted they were his but professed to be unable to explain the bloodstains.

He told Marshal James Lacy of Dresden and Sheriff Harry Bealmear that he was drunk yesterday and did not remember where he was or what he did.


Neighbors found his mother's body bound hand and foot by clothes line cord, in bed at her home at Sixth and Chestnut street in Dresden.

Mrs. Clarence Fortune and Mrs. George Vickers became suspicious when they failed to see a light in the house. Investigating, they saw the body on the bed. Whereupon they summoned two other neighbors, Edgar Cox and Max Brennen, who entered the house with them and found the body.

Participating in the investigation last night were Marshal James Lacy of Dresden, Deputy Sheriff Frank Mattey and two Zanesville police Detectives, Captain Robert Snelling and James McCoid.

With the help of Dennison police, they arrested Farrell at 11:50 p.m.  in his room at the Hotel Ohio in Dennison where they had traced him with the help of a Coshocton taxicab company.

Marshall Lacy said neighbors saw Farrell leave his mother's home shortly after 4 o'clock yesterday afternoon and that he was later seen in a Dresden restaurant.  He caught a Coshocton bus at the north edge of town and, upon reaching Coshocton, hired a taxi which took him to Dennison.

At the hotel, it was said Farrell retired early after having a couple of drinks of whiskey and a bottle of beer.

He was sleeping in his room when the officers entered by means of a pass key.

Today he insisted that he did not remember what happened yesterday.

"I was drunk," he told Sheriff Bealmear, who questioned him at some length this morning.

The police detectives and Marshall Lacy also queried the man, who was taken to the Baughman funeral home at Dresden to view his mother's bruised and beaten body.

It was said that Farrell betrayed no sign of emotion when he viewed the body.

"He just stood their as though he was looking at a dead tree," Detective Captain Snelling said this morning.

Prosecuting Attorney Clarke B. Barbour was scheduled to take up the questioning this afternoon in an effort to break the man's composure.

Farrell, who had worked two days this week at a Coshocton bakery, was employed for a time last year at the General Electric plant in Coshocton.

Dr. D. K. Mathews of Dresden was summoned last night soon after the body was discovered.  He expressed the belief that the woman had been dead for perhaps three or four hours which would fix the time of the killing at about 4 p.m.

Dr. Mathews said the woman had been fiercely beaten, but that her death appeared to have been the result of strangulation from a strip of bed linen which had been tightly drawn about her neck.

Meanwhile today, Coroner S. S. Daw was conducting an autopsy at Bethesda hospital with the assistance of Dr. Emrich Van Hamm, a pathologist with the University hospital in Columbus.

Because the woman was said to have been subject to heart trouble, Dr. Daw said he would not return a verdict on the cause of death until laboratory examination of the woman's vital organs had been completed.

Although he conceded Mrs. Farrell had been badly beaten, he would not assert that this was the cause of death.

Sheriff Bealmear earlier speculated that robbery was the motive of Mrs. Farrell's slaying.

The woman's hands were tied behind her back, and her ankles bound with pieces of a clothes line.  A pillow case was knotted around her neck.

Officers said they had learned the woman cashed a $55 pension check earlier in the week and that she had spent only a few dollars of it.  They found no money in the house.


Records of the Ohio pardon and parole commission in Columbus show that Alfred Farrell of Dresden served one year Ohio penitentiary for automobile theft.  He entered prison Feb. 2, 1944 to serve a one to 20-year term, was paroled Feb 25, 1945, and obtained his final release Oct. 11, 1946.

Mrs. Farrell has three sons, Mark, of Cleveland; Alfred, of Coshocton; and Robert Farrell of Zanesville.

A sister, Mrs. Ella Barron of this city, also survives.  Mrs. Farrell was a native of Dresden and the widow of Brice Farrell.  She was an aunt of Charles Barron, Linden avenue furniture merchant.

Source: The Zanesville Signal, 29 Jan 1949, page 1

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