Dayton, Ohio physician Oliver C. Haugh was quite an item back in the day. In the early 1900’s he made international news for all the wrong reasons. He was accused of murdering his father, mother and brother and then burning down the family home to conceal the crime. Apparently that was just the tip of the iceberg, you see after reading the article below Dr. Hough piqued my interest and I went on to discover he was quite a prolific killer. Fancying himself a real life “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” it seems he was responsible for the deaths of at least 13 people. Hough’s drug addiction, heinous crimes, multiple marriages and his potential influence in Wilbur Wrights pursuance into aviation history. Wait what?? During his youth Hough even had a run in with Wilbur Wright, permanently injuring him with a blow to the the mouth, which you can read more about here.
The following is transcribed from the March 10, 1906 edition of The Cincinnati Enquirer:
Is Guilty of Murder- And the Dayton Physician Must Go To Chair- Condemned Man Indifferent To His Fate- But Quailed at the Story of the Prosecution- In Which the Heinous Crimes of Slaying His Father and Mother Was Skillfully Set Forth
After one of the most strenuous fights In the history of Ohio criminal jurisprudence. Dr. Oliver C. Haugh. was found guilty of murder. In the first degree, the Jury returning this verdict, accompanied by a recommendation of mercy, at 6 p. m.. having been in deliberation this hour. The prisoner received the news In his usual spirit of Indifference, but the heaving of his mighty chest and the twitching of his eyelids showed eloquently the conflict of emotion that dictated the killing of mother; father and brother in a dual spirit of revenge and greed. The verdict shows that 12 men who constituted the Jury believed, after carefully weighing all evidence. that the accused was guilty of the heinous triple crlme, the equal “of which has never been known In this vicinity.
The Closing Scenes
The closing scenes of the trial were dramatic in the extreme, the speeches of both counsel and defense being eloquent and forceful, Under the withering fire of the state’s summing up. In which the long line of facts and circumstances wer skillfully set forth. Dr. Haugh quailed and trembled, but was careful to conceal as much as possible all traces of his emotion. Judge Brown gave his charge, which was a strong and graphic portrayal of the law governing the crime of murder, to the jury at 3:45. Immediately after the reading of tha verdict Attorney Mattern, counsel for the Defense, made a motion for a new trial. The crime for which Haugh has been convicted and for which if the spirit of the law as represented in the verdict be carried out, he will die In the electric chair, was the burning of the home at which he was bom and reared, and which, at the time the torch was applied, was occupied by his parents, Mr. And Mrs. Jacob Haugh. and his elder brother, Jesse at an early hour of the morning of November 5th.
Saturated With Oil
The prosecution, during the trial, also established the fact that the bodies of the victims were saturated with kerosene after he had administered to them hyoscene, a deadly drug which produces paralysis of the nerves and attendant unconsciousness. Perhaps the most damaging testimony introduced during the trial, aside from that given by neighbors of the Haugh family, who were early on the scene, was that produced by Mrs. Delia Betters, who was secretly brought her and who testified that she had married Haugh several years ago at Ludington. Mich., after he had represented to her that he was a single man. She also testified that she left him immediately after he had brought her to this city, when she met his present wife, then first learning of the arch fiend’s duplicity. During the progress of the case, which has extended over 10 days. there wer 54 witnesses examined, and the public has shown an intense interest In every detail of the case. In an effort to convince the jury that he was not responsible for his acts during the trial and therefore establish the plea of Insanity. Haugh has ingenuously feigned insanity and in this way succeeded In dodging the witness stand. The counsel for the defense, however, evidently convinced of the futility of an effort to secure his acquittal on the grounds of his mental deficiency, made no attempt to use this as a means of defense, apparently believing that the circumstantial evidence was not sufficiently convincing to justify a verdict of guilty.