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Henry Stevens Frances Hall and William Stevens Trial: 1926

"a Sort Of Genius"

Cross-examining, Simpson asked Willie Stevens if it wasn't "rather fishy" to look for the missing minister in the middle of the night. Willie Stevens said, "I don't see that it is at all fishy." The prosecutor wanted to know how Stevens could prove he had been in his room during the evening of September 14. "If a person sees me go upstairs," said Stevens, "isn't that a conclusion that I was in my room?"

The press hailed Willie Stevens. The deflated prosecutor called him "a sort of genius."

Frances Hall testified that her husband was "absolutely" devoted to her. Her interest in and devotion to Eleanor Mills was demonstrated by the fact that she had taken Mills to the hospital for a kidney operation in January and paid her bills there.

Having heard 87 witnesses for the state and 70 for the defense, the jury deliberated for five hours. It found the three defendants not guilty of the murder of Eleanor Mills. The next morning, Justice Parker granted the New Jersey attorney general's motion for dismissal of all remaining charges against them. All charges against Henry Carpender were then dropped.

Willie Stevens, Henry Carpender, and Frances Hall sued the Daily Mirror for libel, each asking for $500,000. Later they sued William Randolph Hearst and the Evening Journal. All suits were settled out of court for undisclosed sums.

On the books of the Somerset County prosecutor, the Hall-Mills case continues to be unsolved.

Bernard Ryan, Jr.

Suggestions for Further Reading

Kunstler, William M. The Minister and the Choir Singer. New York: William Morrow & Co., 1964.

Nash, Jay Robert. Almanac of World Crime. Garden City, N. Y.: Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1981.

Sifakis. Carl. The Encyclopedia of American Crime. New York: Facts On File, 1982.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1918 to 1940Henry Stevens Frances Hall and William Stevens Trial: 1926 - "i Have The Greatest Of All Blessings", A Mule-riding Pig Woman, "a Sort Of Genius"