Bernard S. McAneny and his wife, Margaret, adopted an abandoned child in 1917. That generous act apparently introduced tremendous tension into their marriage. Believing that his wife was showing undue attention to their child, Mary Elizabeth, Bernard quarreled frequently with Margaret.
On December 5, 1920, the argument became so heated that Margaret called the police to their McKeesport home. That incident led the couple to separate. Three times over the subsequent week, McAneny came to his wife’s new Spring St. home to reconcile and each time he issued threats and pulled his gun when his wife refused to return home.
Then, on December 11, 1920, McAneny, 36, a member of the infamous Coal and Iron Police who worked at the massive Clairton steel plant, went to the nearby home in which his wife and four year old daughter were living and shot and killed them both.
McAneny was arrested later that day in Clairton and confessed to the murders.
With McAneny’s confession and the eyewitness testimony of Rose Hamburger, in whose home the victims were living when they were killed, McAneny was found guilty of first-degree murder on June 21, 1921. His trial had lasted only several hours. He was sentenced to death the same day.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 22, 1921
Bernard McAneny’s clemency request was rejected on March 22, 1922, and he was executed on March 27, 1922.
From the Allegheny County Jail Murder Book, courtesy of Ed Urban