Monday, September 27, 2021

September 27: The Tragic Bride

In early September of 1931, Jane Coult, the daughter of a Newark, New Jersey judge, secretly married John Merrill. The couple had a public wedding at the bride's home on September 22.

Five days later, Jane was dead.

She had been under the care of  Dr. Aloysius Mulholland, age 35, from September 24 through 26th before being admitted to Polyclinic Hospital in New York. Police said that Jane had paid Mulholland $500 of a $600 abortion fee. An autopsy confirmed that her death was due to a criminal abortion.

Both Mulholland and Jane's new husband were charged with murder. Each was released on $7,500 bond. Mulholland made no statement on the advice of his attorney. This turned out to be very good advice, because the case didn't end up going forward.

Mulholland was later charged with the abortion death of Katherine DiDonato and again remained free. He was finally imprisoned in 1943 after being charged with several abortions which were not fatal to the mothers.


  • "Doctor Arrested for Bride's Death," Asbury Park Press, October 1, 1931
  • "Serious Charge Against Doctor," The Standard Union, October 1, 1931
  • "Doctor Held for Death of Bride After Operation," New York Daily News, October 2, 1931
  • "Merrill Granted Delay In Hearing Until October 13," New York Daily News, October 5, 1931
  • "Husband Freed in Merrill Death," New York Daily News October 21, 1931

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