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Albert Patrick Trial: 1902

William Marsh Rice Murdered

Holt retained Patrick to obtain evidence from anyone who had ever known Rice that could be used to prove that Rice was legally still a Texan. During his investigations, Patrick met Rice's personal valet and secretary, Charles F. Jones. Patrick and Jones thought up an ambitious scheme to murder Rice, plunder his estate by cashing forged checks on his New York bank accounts, and get at the rest of Rice's assets through a forged will naming Patrick and Jones as beneficiaries. Patrick himself drafted the fake will, also deliberately inserting generous legacies to Rice's relatives at the expense of the institute in the hope that the relatives would not challenge the will.

On the night of September 23, 1900, Jones covered the sleeping Rice's face with chloroform-soaked towels. The old man died without a struggle. Patrick and Jones were unable to carry through their scheme, however. Rice's Texas lawyer demanded an autopsy and came to New York to begin an investigation. When Patrick tried to cash the forged checks at Rice's bank, the bank officials became suspicious and notified the authorities. Patrick and Jones were soon arrested for Rice's murder. After unsuccessfully trying to commit suicide, Jones confessed and agreed to testify against Patrick in return for leniency.

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Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1883 to 1917Albert Patrick Trial: 1902 - William Marsh Rice Murdered, Patrick Tried And Convicted, Suggestions For Further Reading