Winnie Ruth Judd's Phoenix

"My Life with Winnie"
by Christopher G. McPherson

On October 16, 1931 two women were murdered in a duplex bungalow in Phoenix. In 1932, Winnie Ruth Judd was tried and convicted of the murder. My father often told me stories about Judd, including that our family had a distant connection to the case: my grandmother (his mother) worked at the state mental hospital while Judd was housed there (after she was declared insane). Judd was the stuff of Phoenix -- and family -- legend. (It is probable that she was innocent of the crimes, and had taken the fall for her boyfriend.)

Fifty years after the trial, through a very bizarre series of events, I found myself in Danville, California, having dinner with Judd -- who was then going by the name of Marian Lane. I had been told by a friend of mine (and co-worker of Lane's) that Lane was Judd, but he made me swear to not mention it to her -- as a condition of the dinner. Knowing what I did about Judd, how could I refuse?

One afternoon, my friend and I went to the estate where they both worked, and to her little apartment off the main house. Here I met the nicest elderly woman ever. She made us fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and peach pie. We sat and talked, and then said good night. I always wondered whether this wonderful woman was really Judd -- or if my friend was playing a joke on me.

About a decade later, I heard that a journalism acquaintance of mine was writing a book about the case. I telephoned her, told her the story and asked: "Is it possible this Marian really was Winnie Ruth Judd?" She said not only was that the name Judd had been using, but that Judd was living in Danville in 1982.

Fast forward to a cloudy day in September 2007. I grabbed my digital camera and my boyfriend and decided to take pictures of the places in Phoenix that had a connection to Judd.

William Judd, the husband (1931).

J.J. Halloran, the boyfriend (1931).

The victims, Anne (l) and Hedvig (r) (1931).

510 West Lynwood Street, Phoenix (2007)
The house where Judd worked when she first moved to Phoenix.

514 West Lynwood Street, Phoenix (2007)
The home of J.J. "Jack" Halloran, later Judd's boyfriend, who was somehow involved in the deaths.

926 East McDowell Road, Phoenix (2007)
The Grunow Clinic, where Judd worked and met Anne LeRoi, a co-worker.

10th Street and Brill, looking East (2007)
The apartment where Judd lived at the time of the murders is gone, but once stood about where the parking garage is to the right. If I turned 90-degrees left, and walked about 100 feet, I would be at the Grunow Clinic.

2947 North Second Street, Phoenix (1931)
Anne LeRoi and Hedvig Samuelson were killed here.

2947 North Second Street, Phoenix (2007)
Long thought to have been razed, the death house still stands.

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All original contents of this page (c) by Christopher G. McPherson. All rights reserved.