Monday, August 15, 2022

August 15, 1909: Failure of a Faked Death Certificate

Dr. Robert J. Hamilton
Due to errors and ambiguity in the Homicide in Chicago Interactive Database, I previously posted that on August 15, 1909, Lillian Swing, age 15, died in Chicago from an abortion performed on August 9, and that Dr. Hamilton Shaver and his wife were held by the coroner's jury. The source document doesn't indicate that the case went to trial.

I've discovered that the girl's name was actually Lillian Schwinn and that the doctors involved were Dr. Robert C. Hamilton and Dr. Evangeline Shaver.

Hamilton testified at the inquest that he believed that Lillian's death was due to acute yellow atrophy, which was the cause of death on the death certificate. Shaver testified that she had signed the death certificate based not on her own conclusions, but on what she'd been told by Hamilton. Hamilton and Shaver were released on bonds of $25,000 and $10,000 respectively.

Coverage of Hamilton's trial for the 1922 death of Frances Guest seems to indicate that Hamilton's trial for Lillian's death resulted in a hung jury.

Watch "Silent Press on 1909 Death" on YouTube.

New source: 
"Doctors Held to Grand Jury for Death of Young Woman," Chicago Tribune, August 26, 1909

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