The Sensational Murder of Helen Jewett
A Suspect Revealed
That night, citizen-officers Dennis Brink and George Noble went to the address on
The investigators went there and woke a servant girl, who confirmed that Richard Robinson boarded there, sharing a room with James Tew, also a clerk.
Tew responded to their knock. Another bed in the room was occupied and they woke that person as well. According to several sources, Robinson immediately said, This is an odd business.
Yet he showed no surprise or any other emotion when they identified themselves as police officers. They ordered him to get dressed and accompany them to the station house on
On the clothing that he did wear, the officers noticed a white spot on the trousers. They recalled the white fence in the backyard of
Instead of going directly to the police station, they took Robinson to the
There were seven more night patrol officers at the scene when they arrived, as well as the magistrate, Oliver Lowends, and the city coroner, William Schureman.
They led Robinson up the steps and down the hall to Helen Jewetts room. Her body still lay there on the bed and Robinson was forced to look at her. They watched him but he showed no signs of agitation or distress. Instead, he insisted that he had been home that night, asleep in his bed. His roommate, who had come with him, confirmed that Robinson had indeed come in but he waffled on the actual time.
Then Robinson made a narcissistic gesture when he told those who were there that under no circumstances would he blast his brilliant prospects with such a ridiculous act. He repeated this statement, noting that he was only 19, but the police arrested him anyway.
As several officers carted him away, others examined the evidence they had found. Besides the cloak and hatchet from the yard, beneath the pillow on Helen Jewetts charred bed was a mans handkerchief. Its initials did not match those of Richard P. Robinson. Oddly enough, according to Patricia Cline Cohen in The Murder of Helen Jewett, Robinson actually knew about this item and said that because of it, hed never be convicted.
Yet Mrs. Townsend insisted that only one man had been in Helens room that night: it had been Frank Rivers, a.k.a. Richard Robinson. She had seen him there and no one else had come in. Others affirmed her report.
Robinson continued to deny his involvement in the brutal attack, but the investigation was picking up momentum.