When young Albert Tirrell killed his lover Maria Bickford on Beacon Hill, it sparked a scandal that rocked Victorian Boston in the 1840s. It was a tale of seduction, murder, and the unlikeliest of defenses. In the end, he would be found not guilty, in the first successful use of sleepwalking as a defense against murder.
We apologize for Nikki’s head cold, some rough cuts that resulted from editing out her sniffles, and the couple of sniffles that made it into the final cut.
The Case of the Somnambulist
- A highly sensationalized, largely fictional account of the murder published in 1845.
- A modern case of the somnambulist defense, in a 2012 robbery at Mohegan Sun.
This Week in Boston History
- August 28, 1774: John Adams dotes on his children, but sets exacting standards for their education.
- August 29, 1905: Italian-American baseball fans brawl with trolley crews in the Federal Street Riot.
- August 30, 1850: Professor John White Webster is executed for the murder of Dr. George Parkman.
- August 31, 1954: Hurricane Carol topples the famous steeple of Old North Church.
- September 1, 1897: The first trolley carries passengers through Boston’s first-in-the-nation subway.
- September 2, 1904: Boston issues a speeding ticket to a driver traveling at the pavement-melting speed of 19mph.
- September 3, 1633: Puritan minister John Cotton and his family arrive in Boston.