On a cool, spring day in 1897, Alfred Haney left his Williamston, Michigan home to earn a day's wage. He knew his wife's peculiar behavior had become more frequent, and he had planned on her seeing the town doctor, but she assured him she was feeling much better. They would go the following day instead. When he returned home later that day, he discovered a macabre murder so bizarre that it shook the entire community to its core. His mother's severed head was set on the dinner table, adorned with a knife and fork on either side. Lying nearby was the old woman's body, soaked in kerosene and set ablaze. Screaming, Alfred Haney ran from the house in search of the law, and while neighbors tried to extinguish the smoldering, beheaded corpse, Haney's wife, Martha, removed herself to the back yard and began digging wildly with her hands. Shortly after the discovery, a sheriff's deputy arrived, taking Martha into custody and lodging her in the local jail at the village hall. Ingham County Sheriff John Rehle, known as J. J. among his constituents, arrived by train and surveyed the carnage. He and his deputy discovered the murder weapon, an axe, hidden behind some boards under the rear stoop. Rehle organized a Coroner's Inquest that was held inside the house where the old woman's body lay. In an attempt to determine her state of mind at the time of the crime, local doctors interviewed the murderess. She told them she spoke frequently with her own dead mother, and her mother had told her to kill the old woman. Over the next several days, court hearings decided her ultimate fate. A panel of three doctors was commissioned to determine her sanity. In the end, there would be no prosecution. Deemed insane, she was sentenced to the Michigan Home for the Dangerous and Criminally Insane in Ionia. What made Martha Haney snap and behead her mother-in-law? TO HELL I MUST GO: The True Story of Michigan's Lizzie Borden-Rod Sadler
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