Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Did He Do It?

Shubal Coy Family:
  • Shubal Coy was a Medina businessman, dealing in livestock.
  • He had a wife and a young son.
  • Was a well liked family.
  • The family was "known to be live happily and peacefully together."(1)
  • Shubal routinely kept money from his business dealings in his home.
  • He had just earned $1200 from a livestock deal.
 Frederick Streeter
  • Was a ne'er-do-well.
  • Was considered slick. 
  • Deserted from the Union Army.
  • First wife almost died in a fire that many considered was Streeter's attempt to get rid of her.
  • Moved to Medina from VT.
  • Tried to raise troops for the Union Army. Failed.
  • Was a gambler.
  • Didn't hold a job
  • Married a second wife.
  • Photo at Medina Co. Historical Soc.
  • Wasn't liked. 
  • Was known to visit the Coy home.
 Early in the morning of July 2nd, 1863, neighbors discovered the Shubal Coy house on fire. When they entered they house, they found every member of the family murdered, their throats slashed. A stained envelope was found on the floor near the bodies.
Suspicion quickly focused on Streeter, as the only man the townspeople knew who might commit such an atrocious act.

He and his new bride left town shortly after the murders. Medina officials tracked him down in Kenosha, Wisconsin and took him into custody. The money in his possession had stains on it.

Streeter went to trial and four days later, after an hour of deliberation, he was convicted and sentenced to hang.

Photo at the Medina Library

He escaped jail but was recaptured, hiding in the hay of a farmer's barn.

He was hung on February 26, 1864.

Did Medina's only hanging execute an innocent man?

  • No other suspect was ever considered or investigated.
  • The doctor testified that it was indeed blood on the envelope, but also admitted he couldn't tell if it was human blood or an animal's.
  • Streeter claimed the money was gambling winnings.
  • Streeter also maintained his innocence throughout the proceedings.

What do you think? Did Medina hang an innocent man or was Streeter guilty?

1. Medina Gazette article, July 1863.
2.The Arrest and Trial of Frederick Streeter for the Murder of the Coy Family compiled by Frank Munz.


Anonymous said...

If this was on Dateline, I would say, "guilty". Very circumstantial though.

Anonymous said...

I think he was not the most lawyerish sense of the term not guilty.

Anonymous said...

Although he seems a likely suspect, that definitely isn't enough evidence to convict somebody for a capital crime.

Anonymous said...

That is fascinating!

Anonymous said...

All evidence points to "yes"... but I'm not so certain!

Kat said...

I know, right!?! Part of me thinks they convicted him just because no one liked him!

Anonymous said...

e did get a speedy trial...but since it was so speedy...he might have been framed. I'm going to say...not guilty.

Anonymous said...

I'd have to go with guilty, but the fact that I feel uneasy about it says a lot!

Anonymous said...

I'm going to say not guilty...but I'm not so sure.

Anonymous said...

i say that the case would definately benefit to todays foresnic science. It would be a hang man with me because you can't judge a person by the cover. Alot of people are labeled and shouldn't be

Anonymous said...

There doesn't seem to be enough evidence to have convicted him, so I'd say he should've been found not guilty. That doesn't mean he was innocent, though...