Sympathy for the Devil: The Emmanuel Baptist Murders of Old San Francisco

Virginia A. McConnell

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Sympathy for the Devil: The Emmanuel Baptist Murders of Old San Francisco

Sympathy for the Devil The Emmanuel Baptist Murders of Old San Francisco On the day before Easter Sunday four women entered the Emmanuel Baptist Church in San Francisco s Mission District to decorate the altar with flowers When they opened the door to the little room

  • Title: Sympathy for the Devil: The Emmanuel Baptist Murders of Old San Francisco
  • Author: Virginia A. McConnell
  • ISBN: 9780275970543
  • Page: 371
  • Format: Hardcover
  • On the day before Easter Sunday 1895, four women entered the Emmanuel Baptist Church in San Francisco s Mission District to decorate the altar with flowers When they opened the door to the little room containing the library, they were greeted with a horrible sight the stabbed and strangled body of 21 year old Minnie Williams, her blood coating the floor and spattering thOn the day before Easter Sunday 1895, four women entered the Emmanuel Baptist Church in San Francisco s Mission District to decorate the altar with flowers When they opened the door to the little room containing the library, they were greeted with a horrible sight the stabbed and strangled body of 21 year old Minnie Williams, her blood coating the floor and spattering the walls A search of the church revealed another grisly discovery in the belfry the decomposing body of another young woman, reported as missing ten days before She, too, had been strangled But unlike the victim in the library, Blanche Lamont was lovingly laid out as if for burial Clues led the police to a friend of both victims, a medical student who was also the assistant superintendent of the church s Sunday school But those who knew Theo Durrant denied that this highly respectable young man could have had anything to do with these horrible crimes.The young man who committed these two apparently motiveless murders was depicted by the popular press at the time as a monster, a devil in disguise, only pretending to be religious McConnell demonstrates that he was exactly what he seemed to be a genuinely good man whose life went terribly wrong because of the biological, genetic, and mental problems from which he suffered problems he was not even aware of Sympathy for the Devil examines the extensive and sensational press coverage of the case criticized by the Governor and by the California Supreme Court , the effect of the murders on San Francisco, and also analyzes what turned an apparently upstanding young man into a vicious murderer.

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      371 Virginia A. McConnell
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      Posted by:Virginia A. McConnell
      Published :2019-01-13T03:45:21+00:00

    One thought on “Sympathy for the Devil: The Emmanuel Baptist Murders of Old San Francisco

    1. Rose on said:

      In April 1895, two young women followed a man they trusted into the Emmanuel Baptist Church in San Francisco’s Mission District and did not emerge alive. The bloody, disfigured corpse of 21-year-old Minnie Williams was found in the library the day before Easter Sunday, and soon afterward searchers discovered the naked body of Blanche Lamont, who had been missing since April 3, in the belfry. Clues and witness statements directed the police to Theo Durrant, a young medical student who also happ [...]

    2. ♥ Marlene♥ on said:

      In the first 12 days of february I have read a lot but apparently I forgot to review the books I read not did I add them to the having read shelf.This was one I bought secondhand of which I received a hardback copy and I am glad I did. Thought it a well written book. I liked that it had quite a few photos. Not sure if I agreed with the analysis of the murdered at the end of the book but a very interesting read. This is the area where newspapers were very competitive and combative, where it all s [...]

    3. Laura on said:

      True crime, particularly when the crime happened a long time ago, is somehow a perfect read when you're feeling sick - this book fit the bill in much the same way that P.D. James' The Maul and the Pear Tree did a few years ago.The murders of Blanche and Millie took place in April 1895, in San Francisco, so there was no way to process the crime scenes in a modern sense: no "Bones", no "CSI" and no BAU to profile the murderer. Instead there was a lot of circumstantial evidence, conflicting witness [...]

    4. Stephen Durrant on said:

      I do not usually read true crime books, but in this case the famous murderer shares my surname, so curiosity drew me in. Theo Durrant murdered two young women in a San Francisco church in 1895. Three things make this case noteworthy: first, nothing in Durrant's previous behavior points toward such violence--in fact, he seems to have been a decent, hard-working chap; second, although almost certainly guilty, he proclaimed his innocence right up to the moment he was hanged; and third, the sensatio [...]

    5. Susanne on said:

      One of the things I particularly liked about this historical true crime story was that the author hypothesized as to the perpetrator's motive. Normally I don't like fiction (speculation) in my non-fiction, but this was such a shocking and uncharacteristic crime, yet the perpetrator was practically caught red-handed, what could possibly have driven him to commit murder? The author underpins her theory with a solid base of facts, and you can tell a lot of thought and research went into this book. [...]

    6. Suzanne on said:

      If I could, I'd rate this 3.5 stars. It was obviously well researched, and I enjoyed the historical aspects of the crime, the trial, and the media's coverage. On the negative side, sometimes the book felt more like a recitation of facts than a cohesive story. And while I'm usually okay with loose ends, it bothered me that there really was no answer to the question, why?

    7. Kathy Kernan on said:

      The author was my instructor for a recent English class I took here in eastern Washington. She did a great job of putting fresh insight into this old San Francisco murder.

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