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Reason First: Roland Molineux and The Case of the Alleged Toxic Playboy

Born into a well-to-do family, Roland Molineux ran into trouble in his early adulthood.

By Skyler SaundersPublished 3 years ago 3 min read

Does having a stomachache or a headache include being murdered? Henry C. Barnet’s and Katherine J. Adams' cases of why they died remain unsolved to this day. Roland Molineux allegedly provided the toxins to them and led to their deaths from diptheric poisoning and mercury cyanide poisoning, respectively.

While no evidence could pin down whether Molineux dispatched these two people, a cloud of suspicion continues to hang over both cases. Molineux set his sights on a comely, one-eyed woman named Blanche Cheeseborough. Mr. Barnet had vied for her attention as well. In the autumn of the year 1898, Barnet ingested what was supposed to have been Kutnow Powder, a trusted name in digestive problem relief. Sickness struck the man and he was dead after this illness. Molineux and Cheeseborough wed that same November.

Molineux’s next alleged victim was intended for Harry Cornish to whom he had just lost a weightlifting match. Instead of Mr. Cornish taking a dosage that was supposed to have been Emerson’s Bromo Seltzer, in fact it was as toxic as a romantic relationship with a beater or a cheater. Cornish handed the bottle to Katherine Adams. She would imbibe the potion and within a few moments, she had died. Investigators found a resemblance between Molineux’s handwriting and forgeries sent to medicine makers allegedly made by Molineux. The murder case concerned Mrs. Adams after police investigated the matter.

After the first trial, Molineux received a guilty verdict and the judge said that he should die by electrocution. However, In the court of appeals, Molineux accepted a not guilty verdict.

What all of this states is the fragility of the men at law. The prosecutor, James W. Osborne had gotten sloppy and made legal mistakes. In time, Molineux’s guilty verdict would be refuted.

In his later years, Molineux divorced Cheeseborough in 1903. In 1913 he married Margaret Connell. And even though he had taken up the profession as a writer, he would suffer from syphilitic infection and die in the New York Hospital for the Insane at King’s Park, Long Island.

This entire story concerns the power of persuasion and understanding the psyche of a man. Someone who felt entitled to be the top dog in everything he endeavored and to have the woman in his life without giving much thought to his competitors did allegedly corrupt the mind state of Molineux. He was a sore loser. While he was found not guilty of the murder of Mrs. Adams, the suspicion still lingers like a spectre in some ghoulish story.

Molineux supposed that he could keep his frame of mind together after all of the tests, tribulations, travails and trials that he encountered. His nervous breakdown may have been brought on by his guilty conscience even though he was innocent in the eyes of the law.

A man of wealth and influence in his youth, it seems that with everything that he encountered, he had sustained too much for his mental apparatus to take. Not to mention the syphilis may have done damage to his brain. Neurosyphilis might have been the reason for his ultimate demise.

Seen as a landmark case, Molineux would spend time in Sing Sing awaiting the day that he would one day be free. His psyche had been damaged allegedly by killing two people. He couldn’t handle the stress and strain of knowing that he was an accused murderer. The weight of everyone pointing fingers at the supposed poisoner played an indelible role in his deteriorated mental state. His collapse in his own mind led to harsh days in the asylum in New York.

For not speaking about the real murder(s) it leaves one to wonder just who killed Mr. Barnet and Mrs. Adams.

Will we ever know the fullness of the truth?


About the Creator

Skyler Saunders

I am a man who claims his father as his only inspiration.

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