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Episode 29 // John Arthur Pender: The Pardoned Killer?

The Book The Man from the Train describes dozens of axe slayings in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, many of which authors Bill James and Rachel McCarthy James believe were committed by what would be the nation's most prolific serial killer. But a 1911 double homicide near Scappoose, Oregon, doesn't fit the mold.

On Sept. 3, 1911, someone entered a cabin and fatally shot Daisy Wehrman and her 4-year-old son Harold. Authorities quickly zeroed in on John Arthur Pender, who was eventually convicted and sentenced to death. Doubts would swirl about his guilt, however, leading some to lobby for Pender's pardon.


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