Walence Case, Part XIV

by Laurel | May 7th, 2012

21 March 1933

Sensational Trial Ends When Judge Imposes Sentence
Mrs. Walence to Spend 18 Months at House of Correction — Attorney Breaks Down on Mercy Plea

Eighteen months in the house of correction was the sentence handed down to Mrs. Mary Walence, 43, mother of five children, by Judge Daniel T. O’Connell in criminal session of superior court yesterday morning. Mrs. Walence had been convicted Saturday, by a jury, of manslaughter after a trial of a week on the charge of murdering her husband, Paul Walence, Holyoke grocer and speakeasy proprietor, in their bedroom at their home at 71 Linden street, that city, at 2:20 the morning of July 11, 1932.

The sentence was imposed amid scenes of great emotion. Mrs. Walence and her daughters wept bitterly during the proceedings and just before the imposition of the sentence Atty. Thomas C. Maher, chief counsel for the defendant , had broken down and wept in the midst f his plea for mercy for the woman. A three minute recess had been granted to give him time to recover. Dist. Atty. Thomas F. Moriarty, who conducted the case for the commonwealth, sat beside Atty. Maher and talked in low tones to him during that recess.

Atty. Maher’s plea for a light sentence and for confinement in the house of correction rather than state prison was granted by Judge O’Connell, for under the statute the defendant could have been sentenced to a maximum of 20 yeas in state prion or a fine of $1000 and 1 1/2 years in the house of correction.

When Mrs. Walence was brought into the courtroom the composure which was so marked during the trial last week was lacking and she was so near a collapse that she was assisted to her chair by the jail matron, Miss Elizabeth Mahoney. She cried constantly during the proceedings and her sobs were echoed by her daughters who sat on a bench outside the rail behind her. Seated with the daughters and attempting to console them was Stephen Walence, Paul’s brother.

Dist. Atty. Moriarty made a brief address asking that the court impose sentence and explaining that, in line with his custom, he would not suggest to the court what that sentence should be. Atty. Maher then made a deeply emotional plea for a light sentence. In the midst of this plea he was overcome with his own emotion and the judge declared a three minute recess to give him a chance to recover

At the conclusion of Atty. Maher’s plea Judge O’Connell, imposed the sentence, the house of correction being expressed by Assistant Clerk James M. Healy as “common jail” as he read it to the defendant.

After court adjourned the five daughters crowded around their mother and kissed and embraced her. They also expressed their appreciation to Atty. Maher for his battle on her behalf.

Following his imposition of the sentence Judge O’Connell made a brief address in which he commended the lawyers on both sides for the dignity, sincerity and ability with which they had conducted the proceeding. In imposing sentence the judge took into consideration that the defendant had been in jail eight months awaiting trial.

When the court came in yesterday the sitting was held in the second session room because the first session room had been turned over to the naturalization sitting of superior court. Although the spectator’s part of the room outside of the rail was filled to capacity, there were only three lawyers in the space set aside for members of the bar. During the week of the trial a large number of lawyers were in daily attendance.

Before leaving the courthouse yesterday morning Atty. Maher paid a high compliment to the aid that had been rendered in the preparation and trial of the case by his assistants Attys. Gregory J. Scanlon and Stanley F. Closek. Dist. Atty. Moriarty was aided in the prosecution of the case by Asst. Dist. Atty. John J. Granfield.

Adapted from The Springfield Republican.

Previously published articles about this case:

  • Part I: Police to Charge Wife With Killing of Holyoke Man
  • Part II: Probable Cause Found in Murder Trial at Holyoke
  • Part III: Thousands Gather at Walence Rites
  • Part IV: Indictment Given to Court By Grand Jury
  • Part V: Executors Appointed, Source of Gun Held Accountable
  • Part VI: Judge Assigned, Jury Selected
  • Part VII: Trial Testimony Starts at Holyoke Today
  • Part VIII: Marital Relations of the Walences
  • Part IX: Testimony and the “Other Woman”
  • Part X: Mary Walence Takes the Stand
  • Part XI: Final Arguments and Summation
  • Part XII: Sudden Death of Star Witness
  • Part XIII: Star Witness Found Dead
  • Part XIV: Sensational Trial Ends, Judge Imposes Sentence
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