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Murder he wrote

April 7, 2009
By Howard Riley, hjriley@adelphia.net

The title of this column was the subject of an e-mail I received from my pal and compatriot Phil "Bunk" Griffin, and it was loaded with clippings of more Saranac Lake murders.

If you missed the "Bunk" interview in the Enterprise recently by Caper Tissot, look it up; it will be worth your while.

He has the best Web site on Saranac Lake and the area but is a very quiet guy a man of few words, as they say. So my hat is off to Caper, who not only managed to get a whole pile of words from "Bunk" but arranged them into a great story.

Article Photos

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So here's the deal

Whether you love or hate the murder stories (and from the response, most readers love them), the following clips from the past have a special impact. Some are from "Bunk," and some from the Adirondack Room of the Saranac Lake Free Library.

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Mr. Mooney died in the electric chair at Dannemora (Clinton Prison) on April 5, 1905 when he was age 29 years old. The murders were committed in 1901. The first electrocution at Clinton was on Aug. 2, 1895, and it was used 26 times until it was discontinued in 1913.

Bill McLaughlin once took my picture sitting in the electric chair. We had a private tour of the jail from Ed LaVallee, my cousin, the longest-serving state employee in history.

The logo over one story reads the "Observer," which was a short-lived rival publication to the Enterprise. It was tabloid size and officially named the Saranac Lake Observer with offices in the unfinished fifth floor of the Hotel Alpine. The Alpine, which was located in the parking lot next to the Rusty Nail Bar & Lounge, had seven stories, but only four were finished.

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(Editor's note: This article appeared in the print edition of the Enterprise on Saturday, April 4. We regret forgetting to post it online right away.)

 
 

 

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