m. 29 Mar 1838
Facts and Events
A Double Murder. Mrs. Joseph Goodley and Her Four Year-Old Son, Foully Murdered Her Daughter Severely Beaten and Left for Dead Robert Hepler, The Murderer.
On Sunday afternoon, January 17th a telegram was received in Lamar, announcing that Mrs. Joseph Goodley had been murdered, and that officers were wanted immediately. Mr. Moran was found first, and left immediately for Kenoma. He was soon followed by Constable Stanley Wilson. Moran returned before midnight with the man charged with the crime, and placed him in jail. But little could be ascertained of the details of the killing, as all was excitement in the neighborhood. On Monday morning, W.J.Harrison, of Kenoma, come to Lamar after the coffins for Mrs. Goodley and her little boy, and from him we learned the following: About five o'clock on Sunday afternoon the two older daughters of Mrs. Goodley, who had been spending the day at Kenoma, came running into the town, crying that someone had killed their mother, and was robbing the house. Messrs. Harrison, Schreiner, and others, immediately started for the house and having surrounded it, Messrs. Harrison and Schreiner went in. On the floor, in the sitting room, was Mrs. Goodley, with the top of her head pounded into a jelly, her jawbone broken and the right side of her skull mashed in. Beside her was little Jay Leslie Goodley, a bright, four-year-old boy; the wall near the stove told the tale of his death. His brains had been beaten out. At Mrs. Goodley's feet was her little daughter Eva, with an ugly gash on the back of her head and another on the side. The gentlemen shook her, and she opened her eyes, but was unable to tell who committed the crime; finally she was able to speak and tole them that Robert Hepler was the murderer. Messrs. Harrison and Schreiner went after Hepler, who lived about half a mile south of the Goodleys, the others remaining with the bodies. After knocking at the door the fourth time, Hepler threw it open. Mr. Schreiner noticed blood on his clothes and that his boots had been freshly washed. A hard scuffle ensued, in which Hepler was downed; the balance of the family beat the men with broomsticks. They finally got him out of the house, where another scuffle ensued, and he refused to surrender, even at the point of their pistols. In the scuffle Hepler lost his coat and vest. After they had tied him, he asked for his coat, and Harrison went to get it. While he was thus engaged, Hepler slipped the ropes, drew his knife, and ran rapidly for his kitchen. Harrison met him, and drawing his pistol, fired, the ball breaking the skin on the left side of his forehead. In the fight that followed Hepler caught Harrison between the door and the facing, and was getting the better of him, until aided by Schreiner. Together they dragged him out again, put him on a horse, and all three started for the Goodley home. While on the road, Hepler jumped from the horse, and fought like a tiger for his liberty, but was pounded into submission, and taken to the house in which he had committed a most hellish crime. In the presence of the dead bodies of his vicitims he was not abashed, and placed his hands on the corpse of Mrs. Goodley. An examination was made of the house, and blood was found on the stairway and door. The upstairs was in the utmost confusion clothing had been thrown over the floor, and bureau drawers eptied of their contents. This shows plainly that his motive was robbery. The little girl was taken to Dr. McCombs, and we are informed she will recover. After Mr. Moran arrived the prisoner was turned over to him, and he landed him in jail. Robert Hepler, the murderer, is an ill-visaged young man, about thirty-five years of age; heavy built, dark brown hair, wears a mustache, has a cast in his right eye. He has a wife and five children, in destitute circumstances. Mrs. Goodley was a splendid woman, and commanded the respect of all who knew her. At the time of her death, she was 42 years, 11 months and 21 days old. It will be remembered that Joe Goodley, being financially embarrassed, left here sometime ago, but had been in communication with her since his departure. Little Jay Leslie Goodley was named for our well-known hardware merchant, J.J. Humphrey. He was a bright little fellow, and the joy of the household. On Monday evening, Sherrif Garrett, fearing that the enraged people of Kenoma would attempt to lynch his prisoner, Hepler, conveyed him to the Missouri Pacific depot in a closed cab, and took him to Nevada, and placed him in jail. Since then he has endeavored to commit suicide in his cell by hanging himself. He tried to do this in the Lamar jail, on Manday last, before he was moved away. THe prisoner is still at Nevada, and under a close watch. Prosecuting Attorney Essex has visited Kenoma, and had physicians examine the bodies of the dead, locating the wounds, their extent, etc. and has also reduced to writing the statement of the little girl and says he does not think it necessary to hold an inquest, that he had secured the necessary evidence. The man Hepler has been playing off crazy since his arrest, and there are some who have seen him who think that remore of conscience will in the end deprive him of his reason. The feeling against him is bitter, very bitter, indeed. The crime is the worst that has ever been committed in this county and the people were anxious now that it is positively known, that Hepler is guilty, to ride the earth of the scoundrel without cost of a trial. Joe Goodley, the husband, and Joel Goodley, his brother arrived on Wednesday morning. The funeral will take place today, Thursday, the sermon being preached at the church at Kenoma, and the interment will be at the Lake Cemetery in Lamar at 3 p.m. 21 Jan 1892 Copy of Newspaper clipping Lamar, Missouri