Bernard S. McAneny

Bernard S. McAneny and his wife, Margaret (Igims), 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.


Pittsburgh Press, December 11, 1920

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 Margaret, 30, and Mary Elizabeth were living and shot and killed them both.

Pittsburgh Sunday Post, December 12, 1920

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.

image001Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 22, 1921

Bernard McAneny’s clemency request was rejected on March 22, 1922, and he was executed on March 27, 1922.

Screenshot 2019-02-01 08.58.20From the Allegheny County Jail Murder Book, courtesy of Ed Urban

Margaret Igims McAneny was born in Spokane, Washington in 1889 (according to her death certificate; newspaper accounts of her death list her as 29 years old, suggesting a birth year on 1890 or 1891; her marriage license – a less authoritative source, particularly given her youth – indicates she was born in 1884). In 1904, at age 14, she served time in the Allegheny County Workhouse for prostitution. She married McAneny the following year.

Spring St., McKeesport

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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