Palace of Death
by H.M. Fogle, 1908

Chapter 20
Charles Hart
April 12, 1895

An illiterate lad of 19 years, from near Paulding, Ohio. He decoyed two little children--a boy of 9 and his sister aged 7--into the woods; and tieing [sic] the boy to a tree he cruelly ravished his sweet little sister before her brother's eyes. He then killed and beheaded both children and curned their bodies upon a brush heap. Hanged April 12, 1895.

A Boy Ravisher Receives His Just Desserts

Charles Hart, serial number 26,131, a half-witted, illiterate boy of nineteen summers, was the twentieth victim to shuffle off this mortal coil in the Prison Annex. Perhaps there never was a more revolting crime than that by which the good people of Paulding, Ohio, were startled on Sunday, November 4, 1894. There had lived in that community one David Hart, a ne'er-do-well, who led a promiscuous life, and eked out a miserable hand-to-mouth existence by day labor; and while not openly dishonest, was given to taking advantage of those with whom he came in contact in matters of small import. He, like most of his class, was unable to read or write; but generally he was considered by his neighbors a harmless barnacle on society.

The wife of David Hart was a slatternly, vulgar, shameless woman, whose chief delight seemed to be in practcing [sic] the calling of lewd women; and while she was not known to possess criminal instincts, was classed as a degenerate of the lowest order. Such were the parents of Charles Hart, the perpetrator of a crime so fiendish and unnatural that it would put to shame the Caesarians of the Dark Ages.

The boy's education and early training had been sadly neglected. He had never gone to school a day in his life, and was ignorant and illiterate in the extreme. He had a bad countenance; could never look anyone squarely in the face, but had a listless, expressionless countenance--more like that of the brute creation. He was ignorant and lazy, but had never shown evidence of either of insanity or criminality.

On the morning of November 4, 1894, Ashley Good, a boy of nine years, and his little sister Elsie, a girl of seven, were playing along the roadside, when they were approached by this human monstrosity, and induced to accompany him into the woods. By one pretext or another he led the little unsuspecting children deeper and deeper into the gloomy woods. After he had gotten the little ones far from any human habitation, he tied the little boy to a tree, with his hands behind his back, then in his presence cruelly assaulted the little seven year old sister.

After he had satiated his hellish lust, and saw his little victim unconscious, and in the agony of convulsions, his sluggish mind began to realize the enormity of his crime; and fearful of the results of a disclosure, he decided to murder the helpless children; and with the little boy still tied to the tree he deliberately beat his brains out with a heavy hickory club. This accomplished, he turned to the prostrate form of his suffering victim, and with the same instrument of destruction he murdered the little sister, beating her head almost to a pulp. The deed was done. The quiet of a peaceful Sabbath prevailed over the world, and the murderer was alone with the mute evidence of his crime. The bodies must be secreted or destroyed. About this he proceeded in a manner that showed the utter depravity of his nature.

The children were first decapitated, then disemboweled. He cut them up in this manner so that they would the more readily be consumed by the flames, for he had decided to burn the bodies. After mutilating them as above described, he placed them upon a small pile of brush; then piling more brush upon them the fiend set fire to the whole horrible mass.

But a crime so revolting cannot be concealed. Nature refuses to hide within her changes the gruesome evidence of the ghoulishness and depravity of her creatures. The fire refused to consume the bodies, and they remained as mute evidence to confront the fiend who took the life of innocent childhood. The parents became alarmed, and searching parties soon discovered the charred and mutilated remains.

Charles Hart was at once arrested on suspicion, and when confronted with the evidence, he confessed the whole horrible affair to Edward Staley, the Sheriff of Paulding County.

Reader, what must be the plenitude of that mother's sufferings! Think of the days and nights of mental anguish that she has endured as she weeps and bewails the fate of her darling children! You who have hearts of pity; you who have wept and still weep over the mouldering ruins of murdered loved ones--you only can enter into this reflection. And yet in the face of all this misery and suffering there were those who looked upon the execution of Charles Hart as legalized murder. Such sickening sentiment is largely responsible for the fiendish crimes that are almost daily being perpetrated.

Charles Hart was speedily convicted of murder in the first degree, and sentenced to hang, April 12, 1895. He was immediately transferred to the Annex, and entered upon that long period of waiting which is the real punishment to he who has violated Nature's primal law.

Unlike the most of those who have spent the last few months of their misspent lives in the Place of Doom, he was unable to pass the time in reading or writing to his friends. He was compelled to sit all through the long days and brood over his approaching doom.

But all too soon the time arrives. The 12th of April has come, and Charles Hart, quaking with fear, and trembling in every limb, approaches the scaffold; the rope is adjusted; the trap is sprung, and the murderer shoots straight through the opening. The neck is broken by the fall, and the boy ravisher dies without a struggle. In eight minutes after the trap is sprung the fluttering heart ceases to beat; his suffering is soon over. But how about the distracted and heart-broken parents of the Good children? They still suffer and must continue to suffer until the Lord of mercy calls them their little ones in that land where sickness, sorrow, pain, and death are felt and feared no more.

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Palace of Death
The Ohio Penitentiary