(by Student #30 AMH 2010 1115)
My case is an intriguing one that took lots of time to understand. I picked a murder document, but it seemed to be a simple one. I picked a murder document because I have always been into solving crimes and trying to understand why that person may have committed that crime. While doing my research I hope to find something crazy that will be able to take me back years into the family, maybe to see if anyone else in the family may have suffered the same thoughts and actions as this person. My case is a 61-year-old widow named Grace V.A. Warren Du Bois.
I first started looking through ancestry and unfortunately didn’t find much at all. The only thing I found on ancestry was where she was born and how many children she had and how many survived after birth. After looking through ancestry I went onto newspaper and that’s where I found all the information I needed about my lady. I found that the child she murdered was her eldest son and that her other son testified against her. This information led me to look into the day of the trial and what was going to happen to Mrs. Du Bois. After looking through newspaper, I found plenty of information on my case.
Grace V.A. Warren Du Bois came from a wealthy family. Her father was one of the most respected physicians of the old South. Mrs. Du Bois though didn’t marry someone with money, she struggled constantly after having her children. The only way she lived life was by living in the past. Life was already too much for her and she thought the only way for her to survive was to always gloat in glory of her ancient and noble ancestors. Mrs. Du Bois had two sons, Charles and Ted. Charles worshipped the ground she walked on, while Ted didn’t. On the morning of December 17, 1935 at 10:30 a.m., their whole lives changed forever. Charles was a doctor and still living with his mother, but just recently had gotten engaged. The story Mrs. Du Bois gave the cops was that Charles was out in the kitchen cleaning his gun because he was going on a rabbit hunt with a man she didn’t know. While in the kitchen she was in the other room when she heard the shot and rushed out. What she saw was Charles slumped over the table, still seated with a hole in the back of his head and the man was standing over him with his right hand in a tea towel that supposedly help a weapon. After she saw the horrific scene she had ran outside and told the landlord something terrible had happened and called the police and told them about the unknown man that took off after committing the crime. After a few days of searching and asking around for this man, they never found anyone, but found out that Mrs. Du Bois not a friendly person and months before had purchased a gun and told the seller she needed it for protection because she lived alone.
Finally, during questioning she admitted to murdering her 41-year-old son, Charles Du Bois. When asked why she murdered him she said he was “too noble to live.” She said she always sought to discourage morbidity in her children. Even after admitting to murdering Charles, she still clung to the rabbit-hunter story. She was held without bail until trial. For an entire month she was studied by alienists and was declared sane. She entered the trial with a double plea not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity. Right before the jury was impaneled though, Mrs. Du Bois proudly withdrew her second plea of not guilty by reason of insanity. During trial, her son Ted Du Bois and landlord, who stayed unknown took the stand. Ted stated that at various times in life his mother tried to wipe out the entire family. During his time at the family home Mrs. Du Bois tried to get the idea in his head that he was incapable of coping with modern life and its problems. She had constantly preached to the family about the futility of existence, always suggesting they all commit suicide to end the shame of carrying on their ancient family line. He even said she tried to get just him to commit suicide. Once Ted got of age, he left home because of all his mother’s craziness and insanity. Ted got married and she urged him to not have children so the Warren line would die out.
The second person to take the stand was the landlord. The landlord stated that when Mrs. Du Bois came out to tell him something terrible had happened, he ran inside to check the scene. He saw that the gun was laying on the kitchen stove and had one empty shell in its chamber. During the time of the incident, the landlord had been working around the house and not once saw anyone come in or out of the house. The jury of seven women and five men found her guilty and sentenced her to life imprisonment. She would be dead by the time parole came around. The defense made a notion to reenter a plea “not guilty due to insanity,” but the new trial was denied. After receiving her sentenced, she sobbed and wished they had just sentenced her to death instead of prison because she would rather be dead than living with lower forms of humanity. During all of this time she still had her form of very exaggerated family pride. Everything was based on her family pride.
My overall findings unfortunately wasn’t as much as I wanted. I couldn’t find any information of her children or her deceased husband. By reading all of my information though, I can concur that this women may have been sane, but her thought process, heart and mind were insane. She believed her family was too good for the world that they would be better off dead than alive. Her son, who was obviously doing great in life and recently engaged and worshipped his mother lost his life because of how good he was. Mrs. Grace V.A. Du Bois lived her life based on the past and that drove her mind to go insane to think that her family would never be able to handle the world and its problems, but in reality it was just her herself that couldn’t handle anything life threw at her, but took it out on her eldest son Charles Warren Du Bois.
Summary: Mrs. Grace V.A. Du Bois was very prideful about the Warren side of her. She thought so highly that she believed her family needed to die to end the family line. She took it into her own hands, to end her sons life Charles, age 41, which then ended her life. Fortunately, for her younger son he was able to get out of the mess, but lived with the fact his mother was the murderer of his brother.