|This article originally appeared in Murder will Out! A Unpublished Manuscript by the late Glenn H. Waight.|
A 22-year-old Dixonville woman, returning from church with her family, was shot to death in the spring of 1943 by a steelworker with whom she had ended a three- year friendship.
Phoebe Ann Peachey, a domestic worker, was gunned down by Francis "Frank" Holland, 42, of Pennsylvania Ave.
Miss Peachey along with her mother and brother were walking along Boyd St. about 9:45 p.m. Sunday, May 2, when Holland drove up and stopped to talk to her, asking that she get into the auto.
Her mother, Mrs. Willis Peachey, suggested Holland come to their nearby house "to talk things over." As Holland got out of his car, the young woman starting running toward the home of William Malkin. Holland ran after her, pushing aside Mark Peachey who tried to stop him.
Chasing the girl, Holland fired, missing once, the second striking her in the back. She continued to advance, but Holland overtook her in the Malkin backyard, shooting again, this time in the right cheek. Holland returned to his car and drove off.
Police launched an all-night manhunt, checking his rented room, his Midland hang-outs, a Wellsville place where his wife, separated for years, resided, and on roads in the area. The next morning, he turned himself in at City Hall. The .38 caliber revolver with three empty chambers was found under his car's floor mat.
A World War I veteran, Holland was employed at Mackintosh-Hemphill in Midland. Officers learned he once was a patient at Dixmont State Hospital near Pittsburgh where he was treated for a mental condition.
WHEN BOUND OVER to the Grand Jury in Municipal Court, Holland reluctantly pleaded not guilty on advice of his lawyer. At first he rejected such a plea, saying he 'Wanted to tell the truth." He had signed ,a confession, saying he had shot the girl because she had frequented taverns and played slot machines in Alliance.
Miss Peachey had worked as a housekeeper there before returning to the city a few days before the shooting. He said he had warned her several times to stay away from such places "if you don't want to get hurt."
Holland said he had spent the night in his car parked on a road near Lisbon. He denied ever being in a mental hospital, but said he had served time in the Allegheny County (Pa.) workhouse for robbery, and once shot a man in the leg arguing over payment of a bill when he was "living in the West."
To jail officers he appeared very religious, and told them he was disturbed over Miss Peachey's conduct and refusal to continue the relationship.
He appeared more concerned about the food at the Mahoning County jail than his future. A request was relayed to officials for a pound of fig cakes, two apple pies, three jelly roll cakes, two pounds of apples and a half-dozen oranges.
Indicted, his trial set for July 8. But a sanity test was ordered, and Massillon State Hospital's superintendent ruled that Holland was insane, suffering from an organic brain disease which usually worsens.
Holland was sent by Judge Sharp to Lima State Hospital for the criminally insane.