Nicholas Glazner

Nicholas Glazner, a well-known trolley motorman, dated Margaret Hall, who lived and worked as a servant in the 412 Atwood Street home of John M. Roberts, a downtown jeweler. Glazner, who was 46, was separated from his disabled wife, Louisa. Hall was 35 and single.

412 Atwood St., 2020

After returning from an evening together in the city on February 10, 1903, Glazner and Hall were heard by neighbors to be arguing near the rear door of the Roberts’ home. Glazner then shot Hall once in the face. He attempted suicide immediately after the killing, but sustained only a minor bullet wound to the head. He was moved from the hospital to the jail on February 11.


Prior to his trial, Glazner claimed Hall was the shooter, having shot him before taking her own life. At trial on September 28, 1903, however, Glazner refused counsel and insisted on pleading guilty. The state’s efforts to encourage him to withdraw his plea and go to trial were unsuccessful.

Testimony given to determine the degree of murder refuted Glazner’s claim that he was drunk at the time of the killing. Rather, the story that emerged was that Hall was involved in a relationship with another man, also a trolley motorman, and that she had received and worn two rings from that other man, Isaac L. Glump. Glazner’s murderous jealousy related to that relationship, rather than any diminished capacity on his part.

Glazner was sentenced to death on December 5, 1903. His pardon request, which was financed by his fellow motormen and which advanced a claim that he suffered from post-typhoid insanity, was rejected.

As with the Woodley case eight years earlier, newspaper accounts seemed to struggle to reconcile Glazner’s crime with his race and station in life, referring to him as “intelligent looking” and emphasizing the atypicality of his crime.

Nicholas Glazner was hanged on July 21, 1904, steadfast to the end in his refusal to discuss his crime. The speed of his death made his “one of the most successful hangings that has taken place in the county for years.”

Glazner’s past legal troubles were not mentioned during his trial.

Pittsburgh Press, August 12, 1892

Louisa Byerly Glazner died in Pittsburgh on June 11, 1911.

John M. Roberts & Son Jewelers, which originally opened in Pittsburgh in 1832, closed in 1997.

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.

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