Charles Arthur Preller

Charles Arthur Preller

Birth
Death 5 Apr 1885 (aged 31–32)
Burial Saint Louis, St. Louis City, Missouri, USA
Plot Block 193 Public Lot 24 Space 741
Memorial ID 27905782 · View Source
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English silk salesman. His body was found in a trunk in Room 144 of the Old Southern Hotel in St. Louis, Missouri. Preller became acquainted with Hugh Brooks, a.k.a. Walter Maxwell, on board the steamship Cephalonia on their way to America. Brooks was without means, but Preller was generous and the pair arranged to proceed to Australia after having seen the United States. Preller rejoined Brooks in St. Louis, where they were last seen together on Easter Sunday 1885. The next day Brooks left the hotel alone, leaving two trunks and a handbag behind. Disguising himself, he headed for San Francisco to sail to New Zealand a few days later. Suspicions were confirmed at the Southern Hotel when the abandoned trunks were opened. The body of Preller was found in one of the trunks with a note attached reading: "So perish all traitors to the great cause." It was felt that this note was left to make the crime appear an act of vengence on the part of the Fenian Brotherhood, a very active group at the time, with many Irish-Americans sympathizers in the United States. However, Brooks was captured in Australia and returned to the United States to stand trial for his cold-blooded crime. His defense was that Preller died under the influence of chloroform, but that murder was never intended. Brooks claimed that he administered chloroform at Preller's request in order to insert a catheter into his urethra, but the fatal results caused him to strip Preller's body and place it in the trunk. After taking steps to evade the authorities and prevent his identification and taking all of Preller's money, he fled in the hope of escaping arrest and trial. He claimed that his subsequent conduct was due to mental distress and liquor. On the night of June 4th the case was submitted to the jury and on the following morning a verdict of guilty was returned. Brooks appealed to the Supreme Court for a new trial, but the governor declined to intervene and Brooks was hanged on August 10, 1888.


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  • Created by: Connie Nisinger
  • Added: 29 Jun 2008
  • Find A Grave Memorial 27905782
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Charles Arthur Preller (1853–5 Apr 1885), Find A Grave Memorial no. 27905782, citing Bellefontaine Cemetery, Saint Louis, St. Louis City, Missouri, USA ; Maintained by Connie Nisinger (contributor 74) .