October 26

This Day in History

Crime

Oct 26, 1948:

An abused wife gets revenge

Betty Ferreri kills her husband, Jerry, in their Los Angeles, California, home with the help of house caretaker Alan Adron. When Jerry, a notorious womanizer, brought a young model to the couple's home in the upscale Hancock Park neighborhood, Betty became upset and threatened him with a large wrench. Although Jerry fled, Betty was worried that he would return in a violent state, so she asked for Adron's assistance. When Jerry later returned, he began dragging Betty by her hair. Adron shot him twice, but the gun jammed before he was dead, so Betty finished him off with a meat cleaver, striking him in the head 23 times.

Betty and Jerry met in New Jersey in the early 1940s. Although Betty's parents disapproved, she and Jerry, a small-time thief and the son of a well-connected New York politico, eloped and moved to Los Angeles. Jerry rarely worked, but his parents gave them enough money so that they could buy a 15-room house in Hancock Park.

But their marriage had more than its share of problems. Beating Betty on a regular basis, Jerry once asked his wife to have sex with an auto mechanic to pay off a bill he owed. When she refused, he ruptured her eardrum. Then, angry about the doctor's bill, he struck her other ear, reportedly saying, "Maybe he'll give you two for the price of one." On another occasion, he brought a puppy home for the couple's young child but then killed the poor animal with a baseball bat in front of the boy. Despite the clear evidence of abuse, prosecutors decided to charge Betty Ferreri and Alan Adron with premeditated murder.

At first, the defendants' attorney wanted to claim that Adron was mentally incompetent and unable to stand trial. But Adron refused and hired his own lawyer, who argued that he was only insane at the time of the killing. Due to the salacious details about Jerry's prodigious exploits with other women, the trial became the talk of the town.

In 1949, both Betty Ferreri and Alan Adron were acquitted.

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