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My never-ending quest to top the Sarah
Ware case led me to a little town called Readfield. 12 miles northwest of Augusta, 1905 the entire town followed by
the state and country was swept up in the murder of the century.
In a case that almost echoed Sarah Ware, poor Mattie Hackett was taken from the
safety of her home and left strangling with a cord wrapped around her neck, so tight, it had buried itself in her throat.
The following article was done
seven years after Mattie's death, when new evidence had finally surfaced, the suspect all along, a jealous pregnant woman
at the time, was finally taken to trial:
The Washington Post April 7, 1912
HELD AS A STRANGLER
Woman Accused of Murder Committed 7 Years Ago. Jealousy Given As Motive Victim was Called
from Her Home in Evening and Choked to Death with Cord--Woman Now Accused Under Suspicion at Time, but Evidence Was Lacking--Taken
From Her Baby. Special to the Washington Post.
Augusta, Me., April 6.--After resting for seven years under suspicion,
though no official charge was made against her Mrs. Elsie Hobbs Raymond tonight occupies a cell in the Kennebec County jail,
under indictment fro the murder of Mattie Hackett in 1905. "Thank God!" was her only comment when informed of the
indictment. She and the other members of the Raymond family welcome the trial of the case. The parting from her husband and
4 year old daughter, Evelyn, moved the jailers to tears. The child clung to her mother until the last moment and was then
hurried away by her father to avoid the ordeal of seeing the iron doors close behind her. Baffled Best Detectives. The Strangling
of pretty, 18 year old Mattie Hackett near the door of her home at Kent's Hill, 2 miles from Readfield, seven years ago,
was one of the most mystifying crimes that ever took place in this State. Time and again attempts have been made to clear
up the murder, but so cunningly had it been planned and executed that the keenest detectives gave up the trail in despair.
Finally, evidence from an unexpected quarter and the facts were presented to the grand jury. The name of Mrs. Raymond had
been connected with the tragedy before. She was questioned immediately after the crime. The report was that she was jealous
of Mattie Hackett. But Mrs. Raymond denied that she was jealous of the girl, and asserted that she knew nothing about the
strange crime. Notable Fight Is Expected. The fight for the freedom of Mrs. Raymond--there is no capital punishment in this
State--will prove one of the most thrilling murder trials that ever took place in Maine. Mattie Hackett was the daughter of
a respectable farmer.
On the evening of August 17, 1905, she was washing the supper dishes. Somebody called her out
of the house. Afterward she was found unconscious by the roadside a short distance away. The murderer had throw a cord about
her neck, drawn it tightly, tied it, and left the girl slowly strangling to death. In the darkness the cord, imbedded in the
flesh of the neck, could not be discerned when she was found by her father. Though carried into the house at once, she died
before the cord could be cut from her neck. Jealousy Charge Made. Mrs. Raymond had been employed at a Readfield hotel as a
waitress, and her husband was a hostler there. Both had frequently met Miss Hackett and it was claimed that Miss Hackett and
Raymond had often gone driving together. In following up possible clews to the murder, a book in the Readfield public library
figured recently. One of the stories was of a murder in Australia, in which a cord was used to strangle the victim. It is
now alleged that this book was taken from the library by Mrs. Raymond, and was in her possession for some time previous to
the killing of the Hackett girl.
Two grand juries made investigations, which were fruitless. Now it is understood that
among the new witnesses who have testified before the present grand jury is one who say a strange woman walking up the back
road toward the Hackett house. This witness, it is stated, believed he recognized the woman. "I am innocent of this terrible
charge," said Mrs. Raymond tonight. She was repeatedly asserted her innocence, and her husband today declared that now
that his wife has been indicted, the whole case will be settled for once and all.