MSU scientists turn tables on century-old murder

Jan 07, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- It was one of the most infamous murders in British history: Hawley Crippen, a doctor from Michigan, was convicted and hanged in 1910 for murdering his showgirl wife and burying some of her remains in their London cellar.

But now, a hundred years later, a team of led by Michigan State University’s David Foran has provided evidence that those were not Cora Crippen’s.

In fact, they were not even from a woman.

In a study published in the January issue of the Journal of Forensic Sciences, Foran and colleagues compared the DNA from tissue used in the century-old trial that helped convict Hawley Crippen to that of Cora Crippen’s maternal relatives.

If the remains were Cora Crippen’s, they would share specific DNA characteristics with her current day relatives. But there was no match, said Foran, a forensic biologist and director of MSU’s Forensic Science Program.

“Based on the genealogical and mitochondrial DNA research, the tissue on the pathology slide used to convict Dr. Crippen was not that of Cora Crippen,” Foran said. “Further DNA testing showed that the tissue was male in origin.”

The research team also includes Brianne Kiley and Carrie Jackson from MSU and John Trestrail, who’s now retired from the Center for the Study of Criminal Poisoning in Grand Rapids.

To learn more, read the study and a previous special report on the Crippen case.

Explore further: Study shows more than half of peer-reviewed research articles published during 2007-2012 are now open access

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NickFun
3 / 5 (1) Jan 07, 2011
I suppose it's a tad late for an apology.
dieseltaylor
1 / 5 (2) Jan 08, 2011
Reading the case it may be the right result even if it were the wrong body. On balance I think justice was probably done.
Justsayin
not rated yet Jan 10, 2011
Sounds like he was framed by his girlfriends new boyfriend whom she ran off with.
frajo
5 / 5 (1) Jan 10, 2011
This case just shows that death penalty supporters don't care for innocent victims.
As a consequence they are not innocent anymore.