125 Years Ago: Williamston’s Martha Haney Commits Grizzly Murder & Decapitation
Exactly 125 years ago on April 23rd in 1897 in the small town of Williamston, Michigan near Lansing, one of the grizzliest and most sadistic crimes in Michigan's history took place by a young woman named Martha Haney. The story is a brutal one, as historians have accounted. The home it took place in belonged to Alfred and Martha Haney who also lived with Alfred's 80 year old mother Mariah. When he came home for lunch, he discovered that his mother's head that had been chopped off with an axe and served on a dinner plate, with silverware next to the plate:
On the floor was the remains of his mother, in flames, when Martha poured Mariah’s body with kerosene and set it on fire. And then Alfred saw Martha sitting calmly by herself in their bedroom. Alfred immediately left the house and went straight to the police. But when police arrived at the Haney house, Martha was nowhere to be seen. Just outside the back door, Martha was found digging a hole with only her bare hands. Having been found insane at her trial, Martha was sentenced to years at Michigan Asylum for the Criminally Insane.
Martha told authorities that her dead mother in law spoke to her, convincing her to decapitate her mother-in-law.
Martha Haney died on September 24, 1898 and her burial plot is still unknown to this day. The Haney house which once resided at 320 Elevator Street was burned down by the Williamston Fire Department in 1990, so looking for it won't do you any good.
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