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Frederick Smalls Case Study
Transcript of Frederick Smalls Case Study
By: Timothy Blankenship and Wendy Araujo
Frederick Small was married to Florence Small. Frederick had left to go to Boston with a headmaster of some local private school to take care of some business and Florence had stayed home. On September 28, 1916 while Frederick was traveling, the cottage they were staying in had burned down, with Florence still inside of it.
The fire had burned in a uniform pattern throughout the house and did not start at a single point.
Fredrick and Florence had taken out a joint life insurance policy worth $20,000 on March 16, 1916. In this policy, if one of the spouses would die the other spouse would receive $20,000. Fredrick might have killed Florence for this money.
The primary suspect is Frederick Small, the husband of the deceased Florence Small. He was the primary suspect because at the scene, investigators found multiple objects that could have caused the fire such as an alarm clock, spark plug, fire screen, clock spring, hairpins etc suggesting that Frederick made a device that could have started the fire, like a timed device. Frederick Small was known as a tinkerer who enjoyed mechanical projects.
One indicator that showed that the fire was not accidental was that the burn pattern was uniform and did not show that the fire had started at a single point. The second indicator was the evidence that was found on the scene suggested that a device was made to start the fire. The evidence found was an alarm clock, spark plug, fire screen, clock spring and hairpins. Also resin, kerosene, and other accelerants were found.
One technique that could have helped solve the case would be the grid method search. It allows you to search the crime scene thoroughly without disturbing any evidence.
When the fire broke out at the house, Frederick Small was in Boston. He set up a mechanical device that was able to start the fire in the house when he was not there.
"1916 Lake Murder Victim Memorialized." Ossipee Lake Alliance. Web. 17 Apr. 2017.
"Frederick Small." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 08 Feb. 2017. Web. 17 Apr. 2017.
"Frederick Small and the Imperfect Murder of 1916." New England Historical Society. 05 Oct. 2015. Web. 17 Apr. 2017.
"Florence Small Lost Her Head." Florence Small Lost Her Head ~. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Apr. 2017.
"1916 Lake Murder Victim Memorialized." Ossipee Lake Alliance. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Apr. 2017.
The body was found floating in the flooded basement. Mrs. Small's skull was crushed and also had a cord wrapped around her neck. She had also been shot, and there was evidence she had been chloroformed. The body would have been destroyed by the fire except for the fact that the fire had compromised the floor of the cottage.
On September 28, 1916 a coachman was summoned to pick Smalls up at 3:30 p.m. He shouted out goodbye to his wife.
At 8:40 p.m. Smalls checked into the hotel and mailed his wife a postcard.
Smalls returned to the hotel at midnight where he was informed his cottage was on fire.
Smalls rushes home to Ossipee after receiving the news.
At the scene a search party is able to retrieve some of the wife's remains.
Evidence is collected and an investigation is put in progress.
Frederick Smalls was found guilty of murder on January 8, 1917
Frederick Smalls was hung in Concord Prison on January 15, 1918
What were the motives behind Mrs. Smalls murder?
Small sued Soden his previous wife , and after a three-year trial he was given a divorce and a $10,000 settlement.
In 1914 one of his houses burned down in the Salem fires. He received a "hefty settlement" according to an insurance adjustor.
His Southborough property was also set on fire. He was accused of leaving an incendiary device behind, but it was never proven. He collected $10,000 in insurance money.
He had a $20,000 life insurance policy on him and his wife and a$3,000 policy on the cottage
What evidence linked Frederick to the crime scene?
Frederick had a perfect alibi for the day of the murder and had it not been for the remains of her body and the other evidence collected he would have gotten away with murder.
After further analysis was preformed on Florence they discovered her time of death and cause of death did not correlate with the fire. She had shot wounds and cord marks around her neck.
An alarm clock, spark plug, fire screen, clock spring and hairpins were also collected and believed to be used to cause the fire.
What happened to Frederick after the murder?
Small never admitted to the murder
He protested he’d been a hundred miles away when the fire broke out but the evidence collected proved otherwise.
Insisted the coachman had seen him kiss his wife goodbye but the coachman assured he had only seen him shout goodbye.
On January 8, 1917, Frederick Small was found guilty of murder.
He was sentenced to death and hung on Jan. 15, 1918