Walence Case, Part XII

by Laurel | May 2nd, 2012

19 March 1933

Star Witness Found Dead in Holyoke Home
Mary Kostek, on Whom State Bases Case, Victim of Cerebral Hemorrhage
Employer Discovers Her Body in Bedroom
Number of Newspaper Clippings of Walence Trial in Her Pocketbook — Strain Possibly Led to Death

While a superior court jury yesterday was deliberating the case of Mrs. Mary Walence of Holyoke, charged with the murder of her husband last July 11, Holyoke authorities were investigating the sudden death of the star witness in the murder case, Mary Kostek, 25, of Hatfield, who was found dead in bed yesterday morning.

The murder case was given to the jury at 10:10 yesterday morning following a lengthy charge by Judge Daniel T. O’Connell. Simultaneously, Holyoke police were probing the death of the woman whom the prosecution had brought in as a witness in an effort to establish jealousy as the motive for the killing. The investigation was based on the theory that the mysterious death today of the Kostek woman might have been suicide.

An autopsy performed by Assistant Medical Examiner Stanley Cox of Holyoke showed, however, that death was due to a hemorrhage of the brain, possibly induced by the strain of the trial.

Miss Kostek, who was charged by the state in the murder trial with having kept company with Paul Walence, the murdered man, was found dead in bed in the home of Robert E. Barrett of 71 Fairfield Avenue, Holyoke, president of the Holyoke Water Power company, in whose home she had been employed as a maid for the last 18 months. There were no marks on the body to indicate immediately the cause of death and an autopsy was ordered by the district attorney.

Case Based on Miss Kostek

It was on the Kostek woman that the state based its charge of jealousy as the motive for the shooting. Walence was killed in his bed at 71 Linden Street, Holyoke, early in the morning of July 211 by an assailant who pumped five bullets from the .25 caliber revolver into his head and chest.

The state’s case against Mrs. Walence was based entirely on circumstantial evidence.

Barrett Discovers Body

When Mr. Barrett became alarmed at the nonappearance downstairs for the morning meal he went to the Kostek woman’s room which is located on the third floor of the Barrett home and found her clothed in a nightdress on the bed. There were no notes of any nature.A number of newspaper clippings on the Walence trial were contained in the girl’s pocketbook on the dresser in the room. There were several bottles of medicine in a bureau drawer, but none of them contained poison.

Miss Kostek, who appeared as a witness in the murder case, was asked on Wednesday by the district-attorney if she had seem Mrs. Walence since the day in July 1931, when she met her at the House of Providence at Holyoke. Miss Kostek replied in a low voice that she did not want to see Mrs. Walence. Judge O’Connell cautioned her that, although the question might embarrass her, she would have to answer. Dist. Atty. Moriarty then asked is she saw the woman in court. Finally Miss Kostek looked at the defendant and broke into a fit of weeping, whereupon Judge O’Connell recessed court to allow her to recover.

She testified that she lived at Hatfield but was employed in housework at Holyoke. She declared that she knew Paul Walence for About 2 1/2 years and that she first met him when she was 22. She said she did not know at first that he was married but when she leaned he had a wife she tried to break away from him.

She told of her inability to do this because of his insistence that they continue to keep company and of his threats to kill her and kill himself should she refuse to continue going with him. These threats so terrified her, she said, that she acceded to his requests and continued to see him Ahe admitted having gone to his place of business. There was drinking there, she stated, and girls frequented the place. She used to see him twice a week, she declared.

On July 6, 1931, Miss Kostek visited Walence in the House of Providence Hospital at Holyoke, she testified. While there, Mrs. Walence came in and asked her who she was. Walence declared that Miss Kostek was a nurse, but Mrs. Walence shouted she was not a nurse and grabbing her tore her dress to pieces, the witness said.

Brain Hemorrhage Blamed.

The death of Miss Kostek was caused by a hemorrhage in the right cerebellum with a marked degeneration of that section of the brain, a post-mortem examination held this noon in the Symasko funeral parlors at Holyoke disclosed.There was no evidence that the heart ailment for which she had been treated about six months ago, was a contributory cause of the sudden death of the woman.

Medical Examiner Frank A. Woods stated following the autopsy that the hemorrhage might have been caused by the ordeal of the trial, and also that there was no evidence of violence. The autopsy was conducted by Associate Medical Examiner Cox, assisted by Dr. S. A. Mahoney, Jr., and Dr. Edmund Zielinski, both of the Memorial clinic of Holyoke. Sections of the stomach and brain will be sent to a Boston laboratory for chemical and pathological diagnosis.

Captain of Detectives Peter A. Cullen was present at the autopsy.

Mrs. Kostek was born in Newark, N.J., the daughter of Agnes (Zielinski) and the late Thomas Kostek, and had lived on Elm Street, Hatfield, since early girlhood. Besides her mother, she leaves two sisters, Frances and Mildred, and three brothers, Stanley, Edward, and Michael. The body was placed in charge of W. Lipinski & So of Hatfield. The funeral will be held tomorrow morning at the home, followed by a high mass of requiem at Holy Trinity Church, Hatfield. Burial will be in St. Mary’s cemetery, Northampton.

Adapted from The Springfield Republican.

Previously published articles about this case:

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