Winnie, Minnie, and Baby Norman

winniehowardLast week, we learned of a baby found dead in a Main Street flophouse, apparently strangled, with cotton stuffed in his nose and mouth.  Police were looking for the woman who’d registered for the hotel room, a Mrs. W. Howard, who’d left the establishment the day before the infant’s body was discovered.  Since then, things have gone from curious to curiouser.

Police found a bundle of little Norman Howard’s sleepers stashed in a downtown department store shortly after the body was found.  Captain of Detectives Bean said, "The mother is probably wandering around in a deranged condition and I believe she will either attempt to take her life or will put in an appearance at some institution within a few hours."

While they continued to search for Howard, police investigations uncovered some information about the missing mother and her recent activities.  Winnie Howard, 35, and her husband, Frank, had purchased a chicken farm in Norco, but separated soon afterwards; Winnie left the farm when she could no longer make the payments.  Since then, she’d been staying with her baby in hotels around Riverside and Corona, finally going to her twin sister Minnie’s home in Reseda.

 
Minnie Fabbro said that Winnie had left a few days before the baby was killed, and that she’d experienced a psychic vision where she saw her sister’s body floating in the ocean the night before police came to question her.

After days of searching, Winnie Howard was finally found on the evening of August 26, not in the ocean, but at a Sierra Madre campground.  She’d registered there under a false name, but had never claimed her campsite.  Instead, Winnie had spent the four days since the death of her son wandering the hills without food or water.  She was taken into custody, and placed under psychiatric watch.  Upon hearing of Howard’s plight, a group of philanthropic club women took pity on her, and retained Attorney Milton Golden to defend her.

Today, homicide investigator Eddie King files an insanity complaint against Howard, and the District Attorney’s Office warned that if Howard was found sane, they would charge her with murder.  Golden replied that, despite this, they would fight the insanity charge.  He said, "Mrs. Howard is not insane.  She accidentally rolled over on the child in her sleep and caused its death.  If the District Attorney’s office wants to file a murder complaint, we are ready to go to trial."

As far as the Los Angeles Times shows, it never came to that.  On September 6, Howard was declared sane and sent to a sanatorium for two weeks to complete her recovery.  Afterwards, she was released into Minnie’s custody.

Centennial Ramblings


Feb. 5, 2007
Sierra Madre

Because it’s celebrating its centennial this month, I paid a visit to Sierra Madre and while savoring a cinnamon dolce latte at the local Starbucks, watched the sun set on a historic Union 76 ball. A perfect fusion of two projects.

And here’s Sierra Madre’s Old North Church, with the artillery piece in the park across the street. Note the problem I encountered with lighting. Architectural photography is surely not my forte.

Now for the business at hand. I’ve often thought that with a century of lawmaking under its belt, the state Legislature might want to take the afternoon off. After all, with more than a century of making laws, what’s left to regulate?

The Times provides a tidy answer to my question. Here’s what the Legislature was wrestling with 100 years ago:

· The Senate unanimously passes a ban on docking horses’ tails and prohibits anyone from bringing horses with docked tails into the state. Those who own horses with docked tails would have to register them with the local county officials.

· The Senate passes a bill authorizing the governor to declare “Bud and Arbor Day.â€Â

· The Senate passes a bill setting dairy standards and a bill to keep the polls open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

· A committee urges the Senate to pass Sen. Black’s tax exemption bill for all the buildings at Stanford as well as the bonds the university holds in trust.

· Sen. Wolfe introduces a bill making all robberies committed with a deadly weapon between sunset and sunrise punishable by death or life in prison.

· Assemblyman Grove L. Johnson introduces a “no seat, no fareâ€Â bill providing that railroad passengers who cannot find a seat need not pay. The bill would include streetcars.

· Assemblyman Johnson introduces a bill requiring firearms dealers to keep records of gun buyers’ names and addresses.

· The Assembly passes a bill by the late Assemblyman Burke making it illegal to spit on sidewalks or in trains, cars and other public conveyances.

· Sen. Sanford introduces a bill seeking to restrict corporate donations to political campaigns. I’m so glad the Senate wrapped that up 100 years ago so it can get on to more pressing matters.

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