The Richmond – Murder on the 19th hole
Most murders don’t make the headlines. Without the requisite attractions of celebrity, sex, money, politics, revenge, carnage, blood, espionage, perversity or Nancy Grace, most homicides are relegated to the back pages or completely ignored by the fourth estate. Occasionally a killing has a quirky charm making it worthy of notice.
The circumstances of this case can be best understood by liberally quoting from the October 2, 1951 article in the San Francisco Chronicle.
“When police called at a stately old home, at 335 Thirty First Avenue yesterday they found that Alex Craig, 54, had ended a round of golf by killing his wife.
…He had feared for weeks that his wife of thirty one years was planning to leave him…On the eighteenth hole he reached a fateful decision. Then he and his wife went home…After exchanging heated words in the kitchen Craig snatched an ivory handled steak knife and plunged it into Mrs. Craig’s back…. . He propped his wife’s body against the wall in a sitting position. He stepped outside and plucked a pink geranium and placed it at the throat of her housecoat. Then he located a snapshot of himself and his wife in happier days, soon after their marriage. He placed this picture in Mrs. Craig’s lap. He decided to commit suicide by drowning himself in the bathtub and filled the bathtub with water.He did not want to be interrupted while he was drowning so he nailed the front and rear doors shut. But before he did this he decided to leave some mementos to his grandchildren.
He carefully unpacked the three dolls that his wife had bought them for Christmas and arranged them on a bed upstairs, leaving individual notes that said “We both loved you.”
Then he arranged all the financial papers in a neat pile on the kitchen table. His bankbook showed a balance of exactly $1. Next he began to write notes to family members. While he was writing he began to drink from a bottle of whiskey.
One note read, ‘We played golf this morning and I said on the eighteenth I would not be out again. I can say truthfully she was the only woman in the world for me. We raised five swell kids and eight swell grandchildren…You work steady for thirty years and are in debt and cannot get out….I was more than a continual nag to mother and she could only se her way.’
Somehow all of Sunday night passed without Craig climbing into the bathtub of water. Yesterday morning Craig’s son William became alarmed and called at the home. When he found the front door nailed shut he pounded on the garage door. His father let him in. Homicide officers called to the house said the elder Craig was too drunk to tell a coherent story, To one question Craig mumbled ‘It was an accident.’
The son said Craig had been jealous and brooding in recent weeks believing that his wife was going to leave him for another man- a fellow employee at the department store. Police booked Craig on suspicion of murder.”