The Trial and Execution of H.h. Holmes
Part three of Holmes’ biography.
While Holmes sat in prison in Philadelphia, the Chicago police investigated his operations there, and the Philadelphia police began trying to unravel the situation regarding Pitezel and his family, particularly the fate of the three missing children. Detective Frank Geyer was given the task of finding out, and his search received wide publicity. His discovery of the children’s remains sealed Holmes’ fate.
Holmes was put on trial for the murder of Pitezel and he confessed to 27 murders in Chicago, Indianapolis and Toronto, and also six attempted murders following his conviction. The Hearst papers paid Holmes $7500 in exchange for his confession. He gave several contradictory accounts of his life. First, he claimed he was innocent, and later, he claimed that he was possessed by Satan. It is difficult to ascertain any truth on the basis of his statements because he was so apt to lying.
Holmes was hanged at Moyamensing Prison, in Philadelphia om May 7, 1896. Holmes remained calm and showed very few signs of fear, depression or anxiety. Holmes died slowly, as his neck did not snap. He twitched for several minutes before finally dying. He requested that he be buried in concrete so he could not be dug up and dissected, as he had dissected so many others, and his request was granted.
The Chicago Tribune reported on March 7, 1914 that, with the death of the former caretaker of Holmes’ hotel, Pat Quinlan, the mysteries of the hotel would remain unexplained. Quinlan had committed suicide, taking a lethal dose of strychnine. His surviving relatives claimed Quinlan had been “haunted” for several months before his death and was having problems with sleeping.