Police to Charge Wife With Killing of Holyoke Man

by Laurel | March 20th, 2012

Note: This is part one of an interesting murder case. Mrs. Mary Walence is arrested for the murder of her husband. The death of Paul Walence, a Polish immigrant and successful Holyoke businessman, occurred on July 11, 1932. The trial and jury verdict was the following March — and even in March there was more riveting drama surrounding the case. This case was headline news during its duration and the funeral of Paul Walence was a spectacle that drew thousands and caused traffic jams in Holyoke. Further research indicates the family moved west after this incident and there are no descendants residing in Holyoke that I am aware of.

12 July 1932

Mrs. Mary Walence to Be Arraigned Today on Circumstantial Evidence

Woman Maintains She Knows Nothing

10-Hour Questioning Fails to Change Story and She Remains Calm Except for Occasional Tears

Holyoke, July 11 — Not a single word escaped the lips of Mrs. Mary Walence today or tonight, that would indicate that she knew anything about the slaying of her husband, Paul Walence, whose bullet riddled body was found by police at 2:30 this morning at the home at 71 Linden Street. Ten hours of intensive questioning failed to change her story.

She will be arraigned in the morning on a charge of murder however, officials declaring that the circumstantial evidence against her was so heavy that no other course is left open. She remained calm most of the period of questioning except for occasional tears and expressed a wish to be “let alone.”

Cold Calculating Crime

Police declared that the shooting of the husband was a cold, calculated crime for although he was shot four times in the chest the gun mus have been placed under the sheet that covered his body for not a single powder mark was found on it. The other shot from the .25 caliber automatic revolver entered his forehead and was probably the cause of his death. No report of the autopsy was available at headquarters tonight.

Shown the weapon, found outside the home on the lawn at the rear of the home on Linden street by Officer James White soon after the shooting, Mrs. Walence declared that she never had seen it before as did her eldest daughter, Stella. One shell remained in the gun, the other five having been discharged.

The fact that the screen was thrown up in the bedroom where the murder took place was dismissed by the police. Mrs. Walence’s bed was alongside this window, they said, and anyone entering through the window would have had to disturb her. The revolver found outside the home was not thrown out of the window as would be generally supposed by was carried out from the rear of the house and placed where it was found, the police assert. It could have been carried out of the side door leading to a porch, found open by Officer Michael Baker, who was the first on the scene after the shooting.

Investigation Continues

Marshal John J. O’Connor, Assistant Marshal Edward F. Gilday and Capt. Peter Cullen of the detective bureau were continuing their investigation tonight, working on a theory that Walence was murdered by his wife who was jealous of his alleged attention to another or other women. marshal Gilday said tonight that they were not yet ready to declare that this was the whole basis but that they have been giving attention to that phase of the case. Walence and his wife had a heated argument when he entered his home about midnight last night, the woman admitted this afternoon.

She declared that it was because she had questioned him as to where he could have been at that hour of the night. Police declared tonight that there had been many quarrels between the couple during the past two years.

Walence had returned home about midnight, according to the investigators, and as was his custom undressed himself in the bathroom adjoining the bedroom. He did that nightly, they declared, so as not to disturb her if she was asleep. His clothing was found hanging there has he had left it, police said.

Stella, the 21-year old daughter, was permitted to fo to her home about 3 this afternoon when police had finished questioning her. She clung to her original story given the police when they arrived at the home soon after 2:45.

No Finger Prints

There was no possibility of securing finger prints from the revolver police said because all that could be taken off would be that of the trigger as the side of the weapon were made of a corrugated metal that would break up any identifying lines.

Walence was a fairly prosperous individual, owning the splendid home on Linden Street which he erected Several years ago and maintaining two automobiles. He had been engaged in the grocery business and jointly with this business is declared to have sold liquor, for his place was raided by police several times in charge of Lieut. Patrick Gaughan of the vice squad. Evidence was secured each time.

He had a family of five children, the eldest being Stella, 21, who lives at home. All are girls, Joan, Josephine and Viola, all at home with Stella, and Helen, a student at Rider College, Trenton, N.J.* He also leaves his mother, Mrs. Frances Walence in Poland, two bothers, Stephen Walence of Indian Orchard and Joseph studying for the priesthood in the Salcsian Order at Krakow, Poland, two sisters, Sister Mary of the Franciscan Order at St. Louis, Mo., and Mrs. Wanda Waszecki of Poland.

The man was a member of the local lodge of Elks, YMCA, the Polish National Alliance and the Holyoke Fish and Game Association. He was married in 1909 to Miss Mary Czernick of Indian Orchard and had been a resident of this city for a number of years.

Mrs. Walence was permitted to go in the custody of Marshal O’Connor and police inspectors to the undertaking rooms of Symaski this afternoon where she selected a coffin and made arrangements for the funeral and burial of the man.

Atty. Thomas Maher was tonight retained as counsel for Mrs. Walence and will appear in her interest at the hearing in district court tomorrow.

Adapted from The Springfield Republican.

* In the 1930 U.S. Federal Census, just two years prior to this incident, the family is comprised of :

Walence Family, 1930 U.S. Federal Census

Walence Family, 1930 U.S. Federal Census

This is Part 1 of a Series, for other articles, see:

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