Dead Woman Walking: Louise Peete, Part 2

peete_indictmentOnce Jacob Denton’s body had been unearthed from its “basement sepulcher” the search for material witness, Louise Peete, was on.

peete-oct28-1920-colorMrs. Peete was finally located in Colorado where she was living with her husband, Richard, and their four year old daughter, Betty. Accompanied by her family, Louise Peete returned to Los Angeles as a voluntary witness. Louise was taken to the house at 675 South Catalina Street to view Jacob Denton’s make-shift crypt. Louise offered nothing except her tale of the Spanish-looking woman with whom Denton had allegedly argued.

The District Attorney didn’t believe a word of Louise’s story, and she was hard pressed to explain the silver and furs belonging to Denton that had been discovered in her possession.  She also found it difficult to explain why she had purchased two expensive gowns, under the name of Mrs. J.C. Denton, prior to her departure from Los Angeles. And when she was grilled about broken furniture and wild parties at the house she had to be warned by both her attorney and her husband not to “overtalk”. Louise seemed certain of her ability to talk her way out of any situation. Arrogance and garrulousness have tripped up many sociopaths.spanish_woman_headline

Grudgingly I have to hand it to Louise; she was nothing if not ballsy. She told reporters that she was being crucified:

“I am being crucified upon a cross. But I can say, as did Christ, ‘Father, forgive them for they know not what they do’.”

Of course the law knew exactly what it was doing and Louise was indicted for Denton’s murder. The cause of Denton’s death had been determined to have been a bullet to the head. The gun responsible for the fatal wound was found in the closet where Louise’s dresses and other personal belongings were kept.

Trying to sort out the various absurd stories told by Louise in her defense is nearly as frustrating as trying to untangle the story of her life. Louise was an adept and inventive liar.

Louise told the authorities that she and her husband were without the resources to hire an attorney to defend her; she said:

“I have no intention of changing counsel. The Public Defender is entirely satisfactory to me. Mr. Peete and I are entirely without means to employ counsel.  Any rumor relative to a large amount, or any amount, of money being or having been raised for my defense is entirely without foundation and unknown to me.  I am innocent. I did not kill Jacob C. Denton.”

Thousands of people thronged the streets and sidewalks during Peete’s trial just to catch a glimpse of her.peete_crowd

On February 8, 1921 Mrs. Louise Peete was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Jacob C. Denton and she was sentenced to life in prison.

Richard Peete had served Louise with divorce papers before she was named as a suspect in Denton’s murder, but he stood by her during the trial. Once Louise was sentenced to life the divorce went forward, and Richard was granted custody of their young daughter Betty.

Louise filed motions for a new trial to no avail. She would spend 18 years in prison.  Was she rehabilitated during that time?  Hell no. Louise would kill again.

NEXT TIME:  Louise Peete finally gets her comeuppance.

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