Jesse Harding Pomeroy (November 29, 1859 – September 29, 1932) was the youngest person convicted of the crime of murder in the first degree in the history of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He killed two people and brutally tortured many others; and he was only 14. Jesse, the 2nd of two sons, was born in Charlestown, Massachusetts, to Charles and Ruth Ann Pomeroy, not a happy family. Charles used a horse whip on Jesse. A trip behind the outhouse meant a savage beating and bloodshed. Charles stripped his children naked and sexually assaulted them before a beating, helping Jesse forge a link between sexual satisfaction, pain and punishment. Jesse reveled in the pain and terror of his victims. He got pleasure from seeing them in agony. The Pomeroy family was unable to keep pets in the house because strange, violent things seemed to happen when no one was looking. The last time the family had birds they both ended up dead, their heads completely twisted off their bodies. Watch Jesse Pomeroy
Jesse looked different from other children: his right eye was pure white. His mother blamed the cataract on a reaction to a vaccine. Jesse was sensitive to his large head. He asked a cellmate locked in the cell next to his if the boy thought he looked strange, “What do you think of me, my appearance? Do I look like a bad boy?” Jesse was bigger than many boys his age and had facial features that seemed large. Like many killers, Jesse grew weary of torturing animals and looked for human targets; his first known torture victim was William Paine. In December 1871, two men walked up Powder Horn Hill in South Boston. They heard a soft cry coming from a cabin. barely louder than a whimper. The men were shocked by what they saw. Billy, 4 years old, was hanging by his wrists, nearly unconscious and half-naked. The cold weather had turned his skin pale and his lips blue. Watch the Childhood of a Serial Killer
On March 18, 1874, Jesse attacked and killed 10-year-old Katie Curran, cutting her throat, and severing her head. It was April 1874 when Jesse tortured and killed 4-year-old Horace Millen, slashing his throat. That evening Jesse was arrested for Horace’s murder and he eventually confessed. The penalty in Massachusetts for murder was death but the state had never executed anyone as young as 14. However Jesse was found guilty of first degree murder and sentenced to hang although this was later commuted to a life sentence.