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Eva Coo was entrusted with the care of one of her employees, a slow-witted handyman named Henry Wright, after the death of Wright's mother. Coo embezzled Wright's inheritance and burned down his house for insurance money. After purchasing several life insurance policies on Wright, Coo then conspired to murder him with another employee, Martha Clift. On 14 June 1934, the two women drove Wright to an isolated location outside Oneonta, New York. There, Eva allegedly hit him with a mallet and Martha ran over him with a car, a Willys-Knight. They then dumped his body beside a road to simulate a hit-and-run accident. Though little evidence has been provided to corroborate the bludgeoning with the mallet, it remains the symbol of the murder and the trial to this day.
Police suspected homicide and Clift confessed after an interrogation. She was convicted of second-degree murder and served thirteen years in prison, while Coo was sentenced to die in the electric chair. New York Post writer and editor, Joseph Cookman, wrote an account of Eva Coo's execution.