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Darling, It's Death

September 24, 2007 |  6:29 am



Sept. 24, 1957
Los Angeles

Darling_death02_3 1957_0924_jane_millerAnthony and Jane Miller had argued and fought in their four years of marriage, but never like this. So when he couldn't rouse her that morning, he went next door and asked for help.  The neighbor woman came over, looked at Jane and called the police.

The Fire Department was unable to revive Jane, 46. Homicide detectives searching the home noticed a book on her nightstand: "Darling, It's Death."

Anthony, a 41-year-old unemployed mechanic, sobbed out his story at the police station. On the Sunday night before his stepson Gilbert Crane, 12, was due back from summer camp, he and Jane decided to get some Chinese food for dinner. She took the car while he waited at their home, 190 Freeman Ave.

Hours passed and Jane never returned, so Anthony went out on a bicycle to look for her. He discovered the family car parked near a bar about a mile and a half from home, but he couldn't find Jane. Maybe as he drove home in the car, he started thinking about how she had been drinking and taken off with some man.

He got home about 2:30 a.m. and she was waiting in the living room.

"She wouldn't tell me where she was or who she was with," he said. "She wouldn't tell me the truth. She lied."

Jane and Anthony fought for the next 90 minutes, then Jane went around the corner to ask Ruth McDonald, 518 E. 126th St., to call police. Jane had gone to the police station any number of times because Anthony had beaten her, but she always refused to sign a complaint so nothing ever happened. Jane and Anthony had reconciled two months earlier after a brief separation.

McDonald said, "it was only another of their drunken arguments" so she told Jane to go home and didn't bother to call the police. 

After another hour of fighting, Anthony took off his belt and strangled Jane.

He said: "She went limp. I put her in bed with me and tried to warm her up. She didn't come around by 7 o'clock so I called the police." 

The Times never followed up on this story, so we don't know whether Anthony was ever charged in the killing. In addition to the boy who was away at camp, Jane had an older son from a previous marriage, Clark Crane, 16, who was living with friends in Tacna, Ariz. When he told officers that Gilbert was due back from camp that day, Anthony said: "A fine homecoming that'll be."

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