THE CASE OF RUTH SNYDER AND HENRY JUDD GRAY

By Tim Lambert

Ruth Snyder killed her husband with the help of her lover Henry Judd Gray. The press called them The Granite Woman and the Putty Man. Ruth was born in 1895 and she worked as a telephonist until she married Albert Snyder. He was the art editor for a magazine and the two lived comfortably in Long Island, New York. But the marriage was not happy. Ruth was bored and dissatisfied and she called her husband 'the old crab'. In 1925 Ruth Snyder met a 33 year old corset salesman named Henry Judd Gray. Gray was married with a daughter but he began having an affair with Ruth Snynder. In 1926 Ruth took out life insurance on her husband and she made several attempts to kill him. Twice Albert woke to find the bedroom full of gas and he survived attempted poisonings. Eventually Ruth Snyder persuaded Judd Gray to help her murder her husband.

On 19 March 1927 Albert Snyder was sleeping in his bedroom when Judd Gray hit him with a sash weight. Ruth took the weight and hit Albert again. She pushed a chloroform soaked piece of cloth into his nose. The couple then garroted him with picture wire. Judd Gray then tied up Ruth, gagged her and left. Five hours later Ruth Snyder wriggled into her daughter's bedroom. The frightened girl removed the gag and summoned help.

When the police arrived Ruth claimed she had been attacked by burglars. However it was a very inept crime. Ruth Snyder claimed she had been knocked unconscious for several hours but a doctor found no signs of an injury that could have caused that. Jewelry had been stolen but the police found it hidden in her house. They also found the name Judd Gray in an address book. The police arrested Gray and he confessed. When informed of this Ruth Snyder also confessed.

The Trial and Execution of Ruth Snyder and Henry Judd Gray

Ruth Snyder and Henry Judd Gray went on trial 27 April 1927. Both blamed the other. However the jury found both Snyder and Gray guilty of first degree murder on 9 May 1927. Both were sentenced to death.

Ruth Snyder and Henry Judd Gray were both executed in the electric chair at Sing Sing prison on 12 January 1928. A photographer named Tom Howard smuggled a camera into the prison strapped to his leg and he took a picture of Ruth Snyder strapped into the electric chair. It was published in a New York newspaper. The picture on time.com

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