STRANGE GH: Couple thought they killed each other

Ottawa County has had its share of outrageous murders having to do with lovers in dysfunctional relationships.
Kevin Collier
Oct 15, 2012

The first sensational one involved a man named Jordan Turpin of Spring Lake, who was having an affair with 22-year-old Sarah Haskins, the wife of William Haskins, who was nearly twice her age.

At about 5 a.m. May 26, 1855, Haskins went to Turpin's cabin with an axe in hand, and found his wife sleeping there. A fight ensued and Turpin grabbed a butcher knife — and some say with the help of Sarah, stabbed William Haskins to death.

Turpin was sentenced to life on Oct. 27 that year and sent away to Jackson Prison, where he died in 1868 at the age of 58.

But perhaps the strangest lover's quarrel took place on Thanksgiving Day 1964 in Grand Haven, when a husband and wife had gotten into an argument that resulted in fisticuffs. Police responded to a call in which a husband and wife both reported that they had killed the other.

The wife had “clobbered” her husband on the head, sending him to the floor. There he stayed, motionless. The terrified woman checked for breathing, then called police, telling them she had killed her husband “with a blow to the head.”

Police officers Delbie DeGram and Leonard Sleutel raced to the address thinking they had a homicide on their hands. But when they arrived, they found the husband very much alive and standing over his “dead” wife.

The husband, sobbing, told them he had accidentally killed her during their Thanksgiving knock-down, drag-out fight.

But if she was dead, how did she call police to report her husband's murder? It left both officers dumbfounded.

DeGram and Sleutel checked what they feared was a corpse and discovered that the woman was very much alive. She was rushed to the hospital, where she made a full recovery.

By that Saturday, the officers closed the books on the strange case after sorting it all out.

Apparently, when the husband went down after being clobbered in the head, he was merely knocked out. His distressed wife, who thought she had killed him, grabbed the telephone and called the Grand Haven Police Department to report the killing.

As soon as she got off the telephone, she collapsed and hit the floor. The woman recently had endured an operation, rendering her quite weak. She had fainted due to all the excitement.

Her husband then regained consciousness and rose to his feet. When he spotted his wife's motionless body on the floor, he thought he had killed her during their fight.

The most amusing aspect of the story is when the wife awoke at the hospital, both she and her husband were overjoyed to see that they had not killed each other.

“She and her husband have decided to be compatible again,” a story by United Press International said. “The husband was glad to learn he hadn't bumped off his wife, and vice versa.”

“The policemen were glad to write a happy conclusion to the case,” the article added.

 

Comments

Tri-cities realist

An the good old days lol

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