Why Was Alice Crimmins' 1971 Double Murder Conviction So Controversial?

Alice Crimmins, born Alice Mary Burke in 1939, was raised in an Irish Catholic family in the Bronx. Edmund Crimmins was her high school sweetheart, and they married in 1959 when she was 19 years old, per ATI. The couple had their first child, Edmund Michael or Eddie, soon after and Alice Marie, or Missy, was born one year later. While Edmund worked, Alice was left to care for their children. Her husband often went out drinking with friends and Alice felt neglected. She had only been with one man her whole life, and wanted to explore her options, especially when her husband didn’t give her the attention she wanted.

Alice got work as a cocktail waitress, and she started seeing some of her customers. The two eventually separated in 1964, and Alice no longer had to hide her affairs from her husband. At one point, Edmund caught Alice with another man in their home. According to Hazliit, it seemed that Alice neglected her parental responsibilities after the separation. She went on a cruise to the Bahamas with a boyfriend and left the children in the nanny’s care. In June 1965, Edmund filed for sole custody over the two children and claimed that his estranged wife was an unfit mother. Alice’s own mother called her “mentally ill” and agreed with Edmund and said he was a better fit to “take good care of the children.” The custody hearing was scheduled a few days after Eddie and Missy disappeared.

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