Forty-three-year-old Hattie Decker, a farmer’s daughter of Montville, New Jersey, had two suitors for her hand in marriage – Samuel Monich, 45, a Hungarian immigrant, and John Bolk, a local grain and feed retailer, in whose store Hattie used to buy provisions for her father’s farm. Monich became so jealous of Bolk that he bought his rival’s business just so that he would have the satisfaction of Hattie as a regular customer.

From then on Monich gave her the best deals on merchandise, threw in free delivery and special discounts, and made a point of being the deliveryman himself whenever Hattie called for supplies. None of this worked for him though because, to his increasing fury, Hattie still preferred John Bolk.

On January 17th, 1906, Monich hit the bottle and, learning that Hattie and her chosen one had gone shopping together, armed himself with a revolver and hid in her barn. When she came that evening to close up the barn he shot her five times, deliberately saving the last bullet for himself.

Monich ran all the way home, lay on his bed, and shot himself in the stomach. The wound proved more messy than dangerous, although when the police arrived he was unable to move without help. He was taken to Newark hospital and arrived just at the same time as Hattie was brought in. “That’s the man who shot me!” she exclaimed, then she died.

Monich was patched up, tried and sentenced to death. In the death cell he suffered a severe nervous breakdown, unable to feed himself, get dressed or wash himself. On Friday, August 10th, 1906, too infirm to walk on his own, he had to be carried to the specially erected gallows