Hearing someone break into his home in Chicago, Carl Wanderer, a First World War hero who had been awarded a number of medals for gallantry, decided to “have a go.” But in the ensuing affray the intruder shot dead Mrs. Ruth Wanderer, 20. Wanderer pursued the killer and during a struggle shot him dead.

Carl Wanderer was acclaimed as a hero again, but some people thought he was behaving rather oddly. At his wife’s funeral, for instance, he seemed to be positively overjoyed.

Police decided to investigate the crime, and what they discovered was that Wanderer was gay. His circle of gay friends admitted he hated his young wife and all other women too, and the idea of being a father disgusted him. So he had paid a tramp, Al Watson, $50 to fake a robbery and kill Mrs. Wanderer – and then double-crossed him by shooting him.

Wanderer was charged with double-murder and sentenced to death. Two reporters wrote a gallows speech for him, but because his hands and feet were tied he couldn’t read it. Instead he hummed a tune as he mounted the scaffold at Cook County Prison, Chicago, on Friday, September 30th, 1921.