William Murray and Frederick Myers

On the evening of November 11, 1874, German-immigrant Frederick Myers and his companion, William Murray, robbed and shot German immigrant Gotthard Wahl in a remote area north of Pittsburgh. Like Frecke and Marschall before them, the companions who had reportedly come to Pittsburgh only days earlier, made their livings through crime. Like Foerster, Wahl, a father of seven, was chosen because he was traveling alone, on an isolated road near Perrysville, and appeared to be a man of some means.

image001
Pittsburgh, 1876

Murray, the leader of the two, fired the fatal shot. Wahl died the next day. After returning to their Third Avenue boardinghouse, an employee there who had heard of the killing became suspicious of their conduct and alerted authorities.

They were arrested on November 14.

image002
Pittsburgh Post, November 21, 1874

Murray and Myers were convicted in separate trials in March 1875, and sentenced to death.  Though there was some surprise that Myers was convicted of first-degree murder despite his secondary role in the case, their convictions were sustained on appeal (Myers and Murray v. Commonwealth, 79 Pa. 308, 1875).

image001
Pittsburgh Post, March 27, 1875

William Murray and Frederick Myers were executed on January 6, 1876, before a reported crowd of 500 people, said to have been the largest crowd ever to see an execution inside the jail. Murray is reported to have suffered a slow and lingering death twenty minutes after the trap was sprung.

image001

Author: Bill Lofquist

I am a sociologist and death penalty scholar at the State University of New York at Geneseo. I am also a Pittsburgh native. My present research focuses on the history of the death penalty in Allegheny County (Pittsburgh), Pa. This website is dedicated to collecting, analyzing, and sharing information about all Allegheny County cases in which a death sentence was imposed. Please share any questions or comments, errors or omissions, or other matters of interest related to these cases or to the broader history of the death penalty in Allegheny County.

One thought on “William Murray and Frederick Myers”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s