Juan Ignacio Blanco  


  MALE murderers

index by country

index by name   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

  FEMALE murderers

index by country

index by name   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z




Murderpedia has thousands of hours of work behind it. To keep creating new content, we kindly appreciate any donation you can give to help the Murderpedia project stay alive. We have many
plans and enthusiasm to keep expanding and making Murderpedia a better site, but we really
need your help for this. Thank you very much in advance.




William Hooper YOUNG






"The Pulitzer Murder"
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Grandson of Brigham Young - The actual motive for the murder was never determined
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: September 18, 1902
Date of arrest: Same
Date of birth: March 13, 1871
Victim profile: Anna Pulitzer
Method of murder: Stabbing with knife
Location: New York City, New York, USA
Status: Plead guilty to second degree murder on February 10, 1903. The judge accepted the plea and sentenced him to hard labor in state prison for the duration of his natural life. Paroled in early 1924. The date and place of Young's death are unknown

William Hooper Young (March 13, 1871 – after 1928) was a convicted American murderer. In 1903, he was convicted of the "Pulitzer Murder" in New York City and was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Early life

Hooper Young was born in Salt Lake City, Utah Territory. He was the son of John Willard Young, an apostle in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). Hooper Young was a grandson of Brigham Young, the president of the LDS Church and founder of Salt Lake City.

As a young adult, Hooper Young became an elder in the LDS Church, and in 1891 and 1892 he was a Mormon missionary in the eastern United States. In 1893, Young left Salt Lake City and began moving from city to city and from job to job. During his travels, he lived in Seattle; San Francisco; Portland, Oregon; Chicago; New York City; Washington, D.C.; and Hoboken, New Jersey. Young drifted away from the LDS Church and according to his relatives in Utah Territory, had become a morphine addict. There were also rumors that he had left Salt Lake City because he had killed someone.

Pulitzer murder

Scene of the crime: the Young apartment

On September 19, 1902, the body of Anna Pulitzer was found in the Morris Canal outside Jersey City, New Jersey. Her abdomen had been stabbed and there was bruising on her head.

Pulitzer was married but had been arrested a number of times for solicitation of prostitution. A New York cabman was found who claimed that a few days previously he had taken Pulitzer and an unknown man to an apartment in New York City that was the home of Young's father, John Willard Young.

In the apartment, police found empty beer bottles, a bottle with chloral hydrate crystals in it, a carving knife with blood on it, and blood on bedsheets, in a closet, under the kitchen sink, and on the floor and walls. The words "blood atonement" were scrawled in a notebook, and underneath were several references to verses in the Bible that discuss atonement for crime. It was determined that Pulitzer had died of a drug overdose from chloral poisoning and that the head brusing and abdomen stabbing occurred after her death.

Hooper Young linked to death

It was discovered that John Willard Young had been in France when Pulitzer had disappeared, but that Young's son Hooper used the apartment when he was away. Hooper Young was arrested in Derby, Connecticut, where he was found drunk and dressed like a hobo.

Initially, Young denied his identity, but eventually he admitted who he was. Young claimed that he, Pulitzer, and a third person named Charles Simpson Eiling had been in the apartment on the night of Pulitzer's death, and that when he had temporarily left the apartment to purchase whiskey, he returned to find Pulitzer dead. Young said that Eiling had murdered Pulitzer and that he had decided to help Eiling hide the body because he was afraid of disgracing his father when the matter became public. Young said he tried to cut Pulitzer's body up into small pieces, but that after he made a cut to the abdomen, he lost his nerve and was not able to do it. He did not admit to dumping Pulitzer's body in the canal, but he indicated that he was aware of what had happened to the body. A search was made for Charles Eiling, but no one of that name could be located.

Motive speculation

When the New York newspapers discovered that the prime suspect in Pulitzer's murder was the grandson of Brigham Young, much speculation began about the motive for the murder. Because of references to blood atonement that had been found in the apartment, some speculated that Pulitzer was killed in accordance with the Mormon principle of "blood atonement", whereby a person atones for sinful behavior through the shedding of their own blood. Others suggested that Young and Pulitzer had had an illicit affair years earlier, when Young was a Mormon missionary in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, which was Pulitzer's hometown. The actual motive for the murder was never determined.

Murder trial and conviction

Young's murder trial began in New York City on February 4, 1903. Young pleaded not guilty. His trial commenced, but on February 10, Young told the court that he was willing to plead guilty to second degree murder. The judge accepted the plea and sentenced him to hard labor in state prison for the duration of his natural life. The judge stated that he was not willing to impose the death penalty because medical experts had suggested that Young was probably medically—though not legally—insane. Because a full trial was not completed, Young's motive or the truth behind his claims about another man being involved were never fully examined in court. Young served his sentence at Sing Sing in Ossining, New York.

Parole and later life

In early 1924, Young was paroled. He was living with his father in New York City when his father died in February 1924.

The last recorded location of Hooper Young was that he was in Fair Oaks, California in 1928 trying to locate one of his half-sisters. The date and place of Young's death are unknown.


The Pulitzer Murder case

On September 19, 1902, the body of a woman named Anna (Nilsen) Pulitzer was found in the Morris Canal just outside Jersey City, New Jersey. A twenty-pound weight was attached to a leather strap around her waist. Her skull was fractured in two places, and she had been stabbed in the abdomen as well.

A motorman named Howell was the first person to see her. He ran the trolley car that went from Newark to Jersey City. The police immediately saw that the culprit was not a local person, who would have been aware of the tides there. At low tide, the water was only about six inches deep; it was hardly the place to conceal a body.

On the night of the 18th, the men who tended the bridge saw two men in a rig drive by, with the curtains of the rig drawn tightly closed.

In New York City, a man had reported his wife missing. Joseph Pulitzer, a tailor living at 160 West 46th Street, read of the discovery of the woman's body and went at once to the Hoboken police. He identified her immediately. Joseph said that she had gone out a few nights before to buy bread, was last seen at the bakery. After questioning Joseph at length, the police were fairly sure of his innocence: after all, he had reported her missing the morning after she vanished, and he had been at a public meeting with many witnesses.

Joseph and Anna were both known around the neighborhood for their colorful ways. Anna "was well known in the Tenderloin district" and "was a very bad woman" who had been arrested several times for soliciting, said Captain Titus, the head of the New York police investigation. Joseph was described by those who knew him as a flashy dresser who liked to flirt with young ladies; many witnesses were surprised to learn that he was married.

Joseph Pulitzer had married Anna Nilsen in Manhattan in November 1898. He was the son of August/Ignatz and Josephine (Meth) Pulitzer. Anna was the daughter of Radmus Nelson and Clara (Jacobson) Nilsen.

At this point, a Mr. Anzer, who had been following the case in the papers, went to the Jersey City police. He was a friend of a man called William Hooper Young - they had worked together on a Hoboken newspaper called The Weekly Counselor. Mr Anzer said that Young had been to his house on the previous Thursday. Young stated that he was returning a hired gig to Charles K. Evans' livery stables. Charles K. Evans identified Young and said that Young had made a special request: he wanted a weight along with the gig.

A New York cabman testified that he had taken Anna Pulitzer and the mystery man to 103 West 58th Street, which was an apartment building called the Clarence. This was the home of John Willard Young, a promoter who was in Paris at the time of the murder. He was the son of the great Mormon prophet Brigham Young. John Willard's 31 year old son, William Hooper Young, often used the Clarence apartment when his father was not there.

In John Willard's apartment, the police found empty beer bottles, one with crystals of what turned out to be chloral hydrate, and a bloody carving knife. There was blood everywhere. All the evidence was pointing towards one man: the grandson of Brigham Young.

William Hooper Young was born at Salt Lake City on March 13, 1871, son of John Willard and Elizabeth (Canfield) Young. His mother, who was divorced from John Willard, said that Hooper had been damaged by being sent out to a cattle ranch when he was a child, by himself. She said that he was forced to work on the railroad when he was 18, which left him homeless. She mentioned that Hooper's brother was in jail for robbery.

Hooper's relatives in Utah were not fond of him. They said that Hooper was weak minded and deranged. They said he was a morphine addict who led a double life (there was some talk of his possibly having committed a murder in Salt Lake City in 1893, which is the year he left that city). He was a drifter, "a bum" who had lived all over the United States, from Seattle to Chicago to New York, since leaving Salt Lake City. He worked sometimes as a newspaper writer, in Washington, D.C. as well as in Hoboken, New Jersey. In Washington he was open about being Brigham Young's grandson. He was strongly anti-Mormon as well.

Residents of the Clarence said that Hooper had come in late on September 18th, with several packages. On the following day, he had them shipped somewhere, in a trunk. The neighbours (who were a curious lot) watched all of this; and then they told the police, who were asking around at the Clarence for information. The police contacted the shippers, who checked the records. Oh yes, that trunk had been sent to Chicago.

And so the Chicago police were told to look out for a mysterious trunk addressed to a C.S. Eiling, which had been sent on September 18th from New York. Chicago police were unable to find anyone by the name of C.S. Eiling in that city. When the trunk arrived in Chicago, the police opened it. They found women's clothing, a knife, a pawn ticket for a Mr. Stiner and a memorandum book with Hooper Young's name in it. All of these items were smeared with blood.

The police caught up with Hooper Young in Derby, Connecticut. He had been spotted in Brooklyn just before this, at a rooming house on Roebling Street (not far from where my Reed great great grandparents were living at 269 Roebling Street, in 1902). He was dressed like a tramp, drunk on whisky, and very upset and nervous. He did not admit to who he was until his old friend and ex-employer showed up. The friend's name was Mac Levy.

Levy told the New York Times that Hooper had lived from March to May 1902 in Brooklyn and had been training with Levy during that time. He said Hooper did not drink (contradicting the barman in the saloon across from the Clarence) but was "a cigarette fiend." Levy didn't see Young from May until August. At that time, Young looked terrible and haggard; he said said he wanted to go "to the Rocky Mountains." He had no money, so Levy offered him a job gave him a week's pay in advance. The next time Mac Levy saw Hooper Young was in jail. Young was insisting that he was not Young but a "Bert Edwards."

Hooper made his first confession to Levy. He said that Anna had been killed at his father's apartment and that the following night she had been dumped in the Morris Canal. Young said that Charles Simpson Eiling had murdered Anna at the Clarence, and that he had only been Eiling's accomplice. He said that he went out to get whisky, and that Eiling had killed Anna while he was out. He said he wanted to go to the police but was afraid of "the disgrace" that would come to his father and himself. Young did admit to taking the body to New Jersey and putting it in the canal.

Young was tried early in 1903 and convicted of murder. In the 1910 census, he was a prisoner at Sing Sing prison, in Ossining, New York.

There was much debate at the time, concerning the role that the Mormon idea of blood atonement might have played in the Pulitzer murder. In fact, Anna was found to have died of chloral poisoning. The bottles at the Clarence, with crystallized chloral hydrate, as well as the evidence of the autopsy, proved this to be so. The mutilations of her body occurred after her death.

Anna Pulitzer was taken to her old hometown of Perth Amboy, New Jersey, where she was buried. Her family still lived there. They said that she had once been "a belle of Perth Amboy." In fact, some people in that town said that Anna had actually met Hooper 9 years earlier, when he was part of a Mormon proselytizing band that came through Perth Amboy (the villagers chased them out of town, they said). Anna went to New York City a few weeks after this, and some people thought that she went there to join Hooper Young. But that story - like so many pieces of this fascinating case - was never proven.

Brian Evenson, a former professor at Brigham Young University, has written a novel in which the protagonists research the Pulitzer case in some detail, called The Open Curtain (Coffee House Press, 2006).



home last updates contact