Nobody disputed Charles Chapin’s ability as the New York Evening World’s news editor. But none of his staff liked him, and when Chapin was jailed for his wife’s murder one of his reporters wrote to the prison warden, “I hope you keep him long and carefully.”

One day a newly hired reporter complained that his first week’s cheque was a day short. “I started a day before the week began,” he told Chapin. “If they don’t add it on now, I’ll never get it.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Chapin replied. “I’ll keep it in mind. When I fire you, I’ll fire you one day early!”

And he fired many, but never, he claimed, for being drunk: only for falling down on stories or lying.

Like many a martinet in the office, he was a lamb at home, devoted to his wife. But gambling was his undoing. He played the commodity markets, and when Germany declared war in 1914 he was said to have lost $100,000.

Heavily in debt, his increasingly desperate speculation only plunging him into even deeper trouble, at 60 he finally faced financial ruin. And it was to save his wife from disgrace and poverty that he shot her to death on SEPTEMBER 16th, 1918.

Ironically, the news editor had written his own headline…with a gun. He intended to shoot himself as well, but his nerve failed him.

Spared the death penalty, he tended his prison’s garden and became known as “The Rose Man of Sing Sing,” where he died in 1930, 12 years after his conviction for his wife’s murder.