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Book Cover
Author Rounds, Leslie Lambert

Title I Have Struck Mrs. Cochran with a Stake Sleepwalking, Insanity, and the Trial of Abraham Prescott
Published Ashland : The Kent State University Press, 2020


Description 1 online resource (286 p.)
Series True Crime History
True Crime History
Contents Cover -- Copyright -- Contents -- Acknowledgments -- Introduction -- Part I: The Murder -- 1. The Killing -- 2. The Cochran Family -- 3. Sally and Chauncey Cochran -- 4. Nighttime Attack -- 5. The Prescott Family -- 6. Indictment and Incarceration -- Part II: Abraham Prescott's Trials -- 7. The Prosecution Presents Its Case -- 8. The Defense's Opening Argument -- 9. The Defense Discusses Sleepwalking -- 10. The Avery Connection -- 11. Mental Illness in the Prescott Family -- 12. The Physicians Begin Their Testimony -- 13. More Physicians for the Defense -- 14. The Prosecution Rebuts
15. The Defense Begins Its Closing Argument -- 16. Closing Arguments Conclude -- 17. Verdict and Retrial -- 18. Reprieve, Riots, and Execution -- Part III: Somnambulism, Insanity, and Prescott's Legacy -- 19. New Hampshire's Need for an Asylum -- 20. The Sleepwalking Defense Evolves -- 21. The Insanity Plea -- 22. The Question of Responsibility -- Epilogue -- Notes -- Selected Bibliography -- Index
Summary How the forgotten case of murder while sleepwalking changed history After creeping out of bed on a frigid January night in 1832, teenage farmhand Abraham Prescott took up an ax and thrashed his sleeping employers to the brink of death. He later explained that he'd attacked Sally and Chauncey Cochran in his sleep. The Cochrans eventually recovered but--to the astonishment of their neighbors--kept Prescott on, somehow accepting his strange story.This decision would come back to haunt them. While picking strawberries with Sally in an isolated field the following summer, Prescott used a fence post to violently kill the young mother. His explanation was again the same; he told Chauncey he'd fallen asleep and the next thing he knew, Sally was dead. Prescott's attorneys would use both a sleepwalking claim and an insanity plea in his defense, despite the historically dismal success rates of these arguments. In the two murder trials that followed, Prescott was convicted and sentenced to death both times.Prescott's crime has landmark significance, however, notably because many believed the boy was mentally ill and should never have been executed. The case also highlights the discriminatory role class plays in the American justice system.Using contemporaneous accounts as well as information from other insanity and sleepwalking defenses, author Leslie Lambert Rounds reconstructs the crime and raises important questions about privilege, societal discrimination against the mentally ill and the disadvantaged, and the unfortunate secondary role of women in history
Analysis Murder
True Crime
Notes Description based upon print version of record
Subject Prescott, Abraham, 1815?-1836--Trials, litigation, etc
Cochran, Sally, -1833
Trials (Murder)--New Hampshire
Form Electronic book
ISBN 9781631014307