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By Harold Schechter

A MONSTER PREYED UPON the youngsters OF NINETEENTH-CENTURY BOSTON. HIS CRIMES have been APPALLING -- AND but HE used to be LITTLE greater than a baby HIMSELF.

while fourteen-year-old Jesse Pomeroy was once arrested in 1874, a nightmarish reign of terror over an unsuspecting urban got here to an finish. "The Boston Boy Fiend" used to be imprisoned ultimately. however the advanced questions sparked by way of his ghastly crime spree -- the hows and whys of vicious juvenile crime -- have been as appropriate within the so-called Age of Innocence as they're at the present time.
Jesse Pomeroy was once outwardly repellent in visual appeal, with a grotesque "dead" eye; within, he was once deformed past imagining. A sexual sadist of anxious precocity, he chuffed his atrocious appetites by means of abducting and torturing his baby sufferers. yet quickly, the teenager's bloodlust gave method to one other obsession: homicide.
Harold Schechter, whose true-crime masterpieces are "well-documented nightmares for someone who dares to appear" (Peoria magazine Star), brings his acclaimed mixture of page-turning storytelling, outstanding perception, and interesting old documentation to Fiend -- an unforgettable account from the annals of yankee crime.

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The “boy torturer” who terrorized Chelsea and South Boston in 1872 was once no longer a serial killer—not but, at any fee. yet he was once already a budding sexual psychopath with the sadistic drives (if no longer but the actual services) of a vintage lust-murderer. Criminals of this ilk in general own an urge for food that (to paraphrase Hamlet) grows via what it feeds on, turning into extra urgent—even frenzied—with every one new atrocity. And this might end up to be the case with the Boston “boy torturer,” whose assaults on little kids may develop more and more frequent—and more and more savage. It used to be in the course of his subsequent attack—committed on Thursday, September five, 1872—that the “boy torturer” first used a knife. His sufferer was once a six-year-old baby named Harry Austin, who used to be taken to a place underneath a railroad bridge in South Boston. There, his tormentor stripped off his outfits, beat him black-and-blue, then pulled out a pocket knife and stabbed the shrieking baby below each one arm and among the shoulder blades. elevating the bloody knife excessive within the air, the older boy capered approximately his sufferer, guffawing and cursing. Then, squatting on his haunches, he compelled the Austin boy’s legs aside, took carry of his penis, and attempted to chop it off. * * * The 7th assault occured below one week later, on Wednesday, September eleven. This time, the “boy torturer” lured a seven-year-old named Joseph Kennedy to a vacant boathouse close to the salt marshes of South Boston bay. as soon as contained in the development, he slammed his victim’s head opposed to the wall, stripped him bare, and administered a ferocious beating, breaking the little’s boy’s nostril and knocking out a number of of his tooth. Then, pulling out his pocketknife, he compelled the seven-year-old to kneel and ordered him to recite a profane travesty of the Lord’s Prayer, during which obscenities have been substituted for Scripture. while younger Joseph refused to devote this blasphemy, his tormentor slashed him on his face, his again, his thighs. Then he dragged the bleeding baby right down to the marsh and—laughing delightedly on the little boy’s suffering—doused his wounds with salt water. * * * simply six days later, at the afternoon of Tuesday, September 17, 3 railroad staff, jogging alongside a distant stretch of the Hartford and Erie line in South Boston, chanced on the limp and bare physique of a five-year-old boy, lashed to a telegraph pole beside the tracks. The boy’s scalp have been slashed and his face used to be soaking wet in blood. He was once carried to Police Station Six, the place a doctor was once known as. ultimately, the boy—whose identify was once Robert Gould—was in a position to supply a coherent account of what had befallen him. He were enjoying close to his condominium while an even bigger boy approached and requested Robert if he desired to cross see a few squaddies marching in a parade. Robert, who had by no means obvious a parade earlier than, eagerly agreed. best Robert to the railroad line, the larger boy had marched him alongside the tracks a substantial distance. finally, Robert started to become bored and harassed. He couldn’t see any infantrymen. in reality, he couldn’t see anyone else in any respect; he appeared to be in the midst of nowhere.

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