Emma Ledoux

One evening in March 1906, a large trunk was delivered to Stockton’s Southern Pacific railroad depot in route to San Francisco. Employees became suspicious of this peculiar smelling trunk, so police were summoned only to find the lifeless body of Albert McVicar inside. Police traced the trunk to a merchant who had delivered it to the California Hotel for a woman hotel staff believed to be the late Mr. McVicar’s wife.

The woman—whose name was Emma LeDoux—was arrested and details about the grisly crime were splashed across the nation’s newspapers during her trial. Found guilty and sentenced to hang, Emma became the first woman in California to receive the death penalty. She appealed the decision and was eventually paroled, but Emma continued to have run-ins with the law for the remainder of her life. The infamous trunk is on view at the Haggin as a reminder of one of Stockton’s most intriguing court cases.

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