Warren Avenue Baptist Church - Boston
On December 5, 1873, Bridget Landregan is found beaten and strangled to death in the Boston suburb of Dorchester. According to witnesses, a man in black clothes and a flowing cape attempted to sexually assault the dead girl before running away.
In 1874, a man fitting the same description clubbed another young girl, Mary Sullivan, to death. His third victim, Mary Tynan, was bludgeoned in her bed in 1875. Although she survived for a year after the attack, she was never able to identify her attacker. Residents of Boston were shocked to learn that the killer had been among them all along. Thomas Piper, the sexton at the Warren Avenue Baptist Church, was known for his flowing black cape, but because he was friendly with the parishioners, nobody suspected his involvement. When five-year-old Mabel Young was found dead in the church's belfry in the summer of 1876, and witnesses stated they saw Piper with the young girl the day of her murder, he then became the prime suspect. Piper, who was dubbed "The Boston Belfry Murderer," confessed to the four killings after his arrest. He was convicted and sentenced to death, and was hanged in 1876.
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