Crescent Cherry Cream Cheese Cobbler

Crescent Cherry Cream Cheese Cobbler

My husband and I own a camping lot in a rural recreation park about 100 miles away from our home. We have a pop-up camper that sits on the lot all year round and we try about once a month during the spring, summer and fall to spend a weekend there with our dogs, just communing with nature and mainly getting away from everyone and everything, especially the phone. Earl and "the girls"

Whenever we go, I like to make a couple meals ahead of time so all we have to do is heat the meal up in the microwave. (I didn’t say I liked RUSTIC camping!) So for this last weekend, I made a pot of chili, a breakfast casserole (Incredible Breakfast Bake) and this Crescent Cherry Cream Cheese Cobbler. My husband is always generous with his praise but I can tell the difference between when something is good (or passable–he’s a man, he will eat most anything) and when something is REALLY good. This dish rated a “Oh my gosh, this is absolutely GREAT!” I have to agree with him, and I don’t necessarily like cherry pie filling, but he and I finished off the entire thing in two days. Next time, (and there will definitely be a next time) I think I’ll make it strawberry!


1 – 8 oz tube crescent rolls
8 oz block of cream cheese softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 can cherry pie filling (or any flavor you prefer)
1/2 stick butter, melted (optional)

1/4 cup powdered sugar
1-2 Tbls. milk


Preheat oven to 350F degrees
Spray an 8×8 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
Unroll the crescent rolls. Lay four (4) of the rolls in the bottom of the baking dish. Spread them out to cover the bottom of the baking dish, pinching the seams together as much as possible. Bake this layer for 5 minutes (this helps prevent the crust from getting soggy).

While this is baking, combine the cream cheese and 3/4 cup powdered sugar. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth; add vanilla and beat again. Once the crust has cooled, spread the cream cheese mixture over the crescent rolls to within 1/2″ of the edge of the crescent roll.

Spoon pie filling over the cream cheese layer and spread evenly. Top this layer with the remaining four crescent rolls. Stretch the rolls as much as possible to cover all the pie filling. Pinch the dough seams and seal the top and bottom edges together.

Pour the melted butter over the crescent rolls, if desired. (I omitted this step to save just a few calories). Bake for 35-45 minutes (I baked mine for 40 minutes) or until the crust is golden brown.

Remove from oven and let cool completely. Once cool, mix the remaining powdered sugar with milk, one tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached. Either spread or drizzle icing over cooled crust. You can see from the photograph that I forgot to do that before I took the picture.

To download a PDF of this recipe, click here: Crescent Cherry Cream Cheese Cobbler photo

Adapted from

Emma Heppermann, St. Charles Black Widow–Epilogue

Return to Part I-Prologue & Investigation
Return to Part II-The Inquest
Return to Part III-Murder Warrants
Return to Part IV-The Trial


When Edna Heppermann was arrested, she was at the home of her daughter and son-in-law Frank P. and Elmina E. Henerberg, 1138a Talmage, St. Louis, Mo. Also living in the home were Frank and Elmina’s three children: Delores, age 7, Beverly age 4 and Frank A. age 2.

The proverbial “apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” is apparently true in Emma’s family. Emma’s grandson, Frank A. Henenberg, was convicted of murder in 1970 for the shooting death of Martin Zlogar in McHenry County, Illinois. Zlogar had apparently picked Henenberg up while Henenberg was hitchhiking; Henenberg shot him and stole his vehicle and credit card; both of which were in his possession at the time of his arrest. He was sentenced to die in the electric chair for this homicide but in 1973 the Illinois Supreme court overturned this conviction on the grounds that his Miranda rights had been violated. The case was remanded to McHenry County were again he was found guilty of murder and armed robbery and sentenced to 150-300 years on the murder charge and 50-150 years on the armed robbery charge. Both sentences to run concurrent.

On June 28, 2013, St. Louis Post Columnist Bill McClellan wrote an article on Emma Hepermann entitled: “McClellan: Remembering Emma’s Deadly Potato Soup”.

“Aloys Schneider was a farmer in St. Charles County in the years between the World Wars. Lou Kampman is one of his grandchildren. Kampman wrote me a note after reading Monday’s column, which was about a poisoning case in Springfield, Mo.
“Today’s column reminds me of my own grandfather’s death from arsenic poisoning. He was murdered by his third wife, Emma Hepperman. She was convicted of murdering Mr. Hepperman and attempting to murder his teenage daughter. Prior to these, she poisoned several other people,” he wrote.

That was enough to send me to the clips to look up some old stories.
Emma Sarana was born in Steelville in 1894. She married her first husband when she was 14. He was 33. He died 17 years later, allegedly from drinking ice water while overheated. There was no autopsy.

Emma went on to have six more husbands. Most of them died. Suspicions were first raised after the death of her fourth husband, Bert Roberts, and his mother. They died after eating potato soup. The doctor who treated Roberts insisted he had been poisoned. A coroner’s jury decided he had died of acute gastritis.

Little is known of the fifth husband.

Schneider was number six. They were married in 1937. Schneider’s six kids from his first marriage were already grown. One of those kids was Antoinette Hepperman, Lou’s mom. She later told Lou that none of the family trusted Emma.

The newspaper stories confirmed that. Three years after Schneider’s death and shortly after Emma was arrested for the poisoning death of her seventh husband, a coroner’s jury was called to investigate Schneider’s death. One of the witnesses was Alphonse Schneider, the dead man’s brother. He told the jury he had lived with his brother and Emma on the farm for a short time, but he left because he couldn’t get along with Emma.

Here is the way the newspaper described his testimony: “She told me three times she wanted to kill me,” he testified. “One day, in the midst of a quarrel, she said she wanted to cook me some soup.” Schneider leaned close to the jury and said, “I sure am glad I didn’t eat any of that soup.”

But nothing seems to have come of the coroner’s jury. Most of the clips deal with the death of Tony Hepperman, Emma’s seventh and last husband.

He was 53, a widower who lived on a farm 3 miles west of Wentzville. Three years after Schneider’s death, Emma placed an ad in a St. Louis newspaper. It was under Situations Wanted. She gave her name as Emma Lee. Frank Lee had been her second husband. (The newspaper stories noted that his whereabouts were unknown.) Emma listed herself as a “housekeeper for a motherless home; neat and pleasant.” Her address was a rooming house on South Vandeventer Avenue.

Hepperman responded to the ad. Emma came out to take a look at the farm. She reportedly said, “I like the place, but what I really want to do is to get married. I don’t want to be a housekeeper. I’ll tell you what I’ll do, I’ll work for two weeks. If you like me and want to get married, we’ll do that. If you don’t like me, I’ll go back to St. Louis and you won’t owe me a cent.”
Hepperman took the deal.

By the way, Emma was 46. She was described in one of the stories as “plump and white-haired.”

Her ad ran in March. She married Hepperman in April. He died in May. They had been married six weeks.

One of Hepperman’s daughters lived with them. She became very ill, too. She lost 23 pounds in three weeks. She testified that whenever she felt nauseated, Emma would say, “Eat some soup.”

Potato soup was Emma’s specialty.

Emma was arrested after Tony Hepperman was taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital in St. Charles. He told doctors he thought he had been poisoned. After his death, an autopsy confirmed his suspicions.

The trial was moved to Franklin County because of publicity. Emma faced a jury of farmers. That probably did not work to her advantage. Too many of her husbands had been farmers themselves.

A store clerk testified that Emma bought fly paper soaked in arsenic and said she wanted it for water bugs. One of Hepperman’s sons said he had visited several times and noticed that Emma never seemed to eat. She always said she wasn’t hungry, he testified.

Emma was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. She served 27 years. Her sentence was commuted in May 1968 and she was released without supervision. I was unable to find any notice of her death.

She left a strange legacy. Lou Kampman told me that nobody in his family ever ate potato soup.”

Emma went on to serve 27 years in the Missouri Department of Corrections before she was released, presumably gravely ill, and returned to Steelville where she died in October 1968.

Go Back to Part I-Prologue & Investigation
Go Back to Part II-The Inquest
Go Back to Part III-Murder Warrants
Go Back to Part IV-The Trial

Download a PDF of this story here: Emma Heppermann, St. Charles’ Black Widow

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Emma Heppermann, St. Charles Black Widow 1940, Part IV-The Trial

Return to Part I-Prologue & Investigation
Return to Part II-The Inquest
Return Part III-Murder Warrants

Part IV–The Trial

Dateline: St. Charles, Missouri
Wednesday February 26, 1941
St. Charles Weekly Cosmos-Monitor

Counsel for Defense Gets Affidavit of Fifth Person
For Venue Change at Last Minute
Geneva Schaefer, Ira C. Jones and Tyrell Robinson,
Local People Who Approve Change

Prosecuting Attorney David A. Dyer announced he would seek an immediate setting for the Hepperman poison murder case after Circuit Judge Woolfolk today sent the case to Franklin county of which Union is the county seat, on a change of venue.

The venue change was granted after affidavits of five St. Charles county residents are of the opinion the defendant, Mrs. Emma Heppermann, cannot get a fair and impartial trial here, were filed with the court.

A last minute affidavit was responsible for the venue change when the court was ready for trial today. Harold Pellett, counsel for the defendant, was ready to present affidavits of six persons, only four who reside in this county. Prosecuting Attorney David A. dyer pointed out that affidavits of five residents of the county would be necessary and Pellett was allowed an hour and a half to secure the fifth signature. Tyrell Robinson, a Negro laborer, was the fifth county resident who signed the affidavit.

The early ones to ask for the venue change were Miss Geneva Schaefer, St. Charles drug clerk, Ira C. Jones, St. Charles contractor, Clint Brown, Foristell farmer and William F. Meyer, a farmer, who resides three miles south of Wentzville. Those from Lincoln County who signed affidavits were R. S. Bettis of Troy and J. B. Mudd of Millwood.

Pellett opposed the case going to Warren county because of its proximity to St. Charles while Dyer suggested Warrenton because of its possible convenience. Judge Woolfolk said in view of the statements he would send the case to Franklin county.

The defense objected to the case being tried in the 35th Judicial district which includes St. Charles, Lincoln and Pike Counties.

Dyer said the next term of the court at Union began the second Monday in March and he would ask that the case be tried the earliest possible date.

Mrs. Heppermann is charged with the murder last May 28 of Anton Heppermann, her seventh husband and fifth one to die under mysterious circumstances. The state charges her with feeding him arsenic poison in his food which caused his death.

The costs of jurymen and witnesses, including mileage for their appearance in court today will run over $750, a court attachee said. If the venue change would have been filed earlier, the state would have been spared the extra costs.

Dateline: St. Charles, Missouri
Wednesday, March 5, 1941
St. Charles Weekly Cosmos-Monitor

Woman Charged With Poison Murder of Husband
Now a Charge of Adjoining County
Prisoner Who Had Been in Law Spirits Prior to Trial
Made No Comment on Transfer

Mrs. Emma Sarana Heppermann, 46, who is charged with the poison murder of Anton Heppermann, her seventh husband, last May 28, was transferred from the St. Charles to Franklin county jail at Union today where she will be kept in custody pending the outcome of her trial, sent there on a change of venue.

Chief Deputy Sheriff Les Plackemeyer, accompanied by a matron, drove the prisoner to the adjoining county seat where she was turned over to Sheriff Alvin Diestelkamp. Mrs. Heppermann made no expression on the change.

Her new prison is on top of the Franklin county court house and she will have as company nine other prisoners, including one woman, a Negro.

Thirty prisoners, including two colored women, were in jail here when Mrs. Heppermann was taken away.

The change of venue to Franklin county was obtained Monday morning when the case was scheduled to go to trial here. The lawyer for Mrs. Hppermann had to buttonhole people on the street in a last minute effort to obtain a fifth affidavit, which was necessary for the venue change.

During her last few weeks in jail here, Mrs. Heppermann seemed slightly worried, a deputy sheriff stated.

The woman will not be returned here and if she is sentenced at Union, she will be transferred to the state penitentiary from there. An early setting of the case will be sought by Prosecuting Attorney Dyer.

The prisoner had more than one run in with reporters and news photographers while in jail here. It was not unusual for her to let go with a verbal blast at the boys when they attempted to snap her picture or obtain an interview.

Dateline: St. Charles, Missouri
Wednesday, April 30, 1941
St. Charles Weekly Cosmos-Monitor

Prosecutor Charges Woman Poisoned Wentzville Man
Two Weeks After Their Marriage
Herbert Hepperman Tells of Father Feeling Sick Shortly After Marriage to Defendant

From Tuesday’s Daily:

Testimony in the trial of Mrs. Emma S. Hepperman, charged with the poison murder of her husband, Tony Hepperman, Wentzville, Mo., farmer, began today at Union, Mo., before a jury in the court room of Circuit Judge Ransom A. Breuer, at Union, where the case was taken on a change of venue from St. Charles. The state is asking for the death penalty.

Prosecuting Attorney David A. Dyer, in outlining the State’s case to the jury, charged that Mrs. Hepperman, whose marriage to Hepperman was her seventh, had poisoned him shortly after they were married following a two-weeks’ courtship. Mrs. Hepperman, attired in a black and white print dress, listened intently as her three attorneys occasionally objected to statements of the prosecutor.

The first witness today was Herbert Hepperman, 23 years old, a truck driver of Wentzville, and a stepson of the defendant. Hepperman, facing a crowded court room, related details of a three-day visit he made to his father’s farm home shortly after Hepperman married the defendant who had been his housekeeper for several weeks before the marriage.

Hepperman testified he visited his father for three days between May 11 and 13, 1940, and had a number of meals at the home. At the time, he said, his father complained of feeling sick and his 12 year old sister, Ethel, was seriously ill. The stepmother served the meals but did not eat with them, declaring she was not hungry.

Suggestions that a doctor be called were scoffed at by his stepmother, Hepperman said, who declared that if the girl were taken to the doctor she would be endangered by the ride and it was too expensive to have the doctor come to the farm home.

Dateline: St. Charles, Missouri
Wednesday, April 30, 1941
St. Charles Weekly Cosmos-Monitor

State’s Evidence Expected to be Finished Tonight;
Verdict is Expected by Saturday
Dr. Ben Neubeiser Tells How Seventh Husband of Defendant
Took Poison Through Mouth

Conclusion of the state’s evidence in the Hepperman poison murder case was expected by tonight with along parade of defense witnesses scheduled to begin tomorrow.

Several local persons were subpoenaed today by the defense to appear at Union Thursday and Friday. The case is expected to be terminated then with a verdict in no later than Saturday night.

George J. Koch, Jr., former State Highway Patrol Sergeant in the patrol’s laboratory at Jefferson City, who testified yesterday that he found enough arsenic in Hepperman’s vital organs to cause death, was under cross-examination by defense counsel this morning. He testified he could not tell from his examination how the arsenic was taken but said the poison could not have been put in the organs after death.

At a session last night, Dr. Benedict Neubeiser of St. Charles who performed the autopsy, testified it was his conclusion that the 53 year old farmer, died of arsenic poisoning, taken by mouth rather than by injection. The autopsy showed the lining of the stomach was destroyed, he said.

Dr. Neubeiser told Circuit Judge Ransom A. Breuer and the jury of Franklin County farmers and business men that when Hepperman was taken to St. Joseph Hospital, St. Cahrles, where he died last May 28, his physical condition indicated he was suffering from arsenic poisoning.

The physician expressed the opinion also that Hepperman’s 12 year old daughter by a former marriage, Ethel Hepperman, was suffering from arsenic poisoning at the same time her father was. She was a witness for the State yesterday. Witnesses testified yesterday that Mrs. Hepperman served meals to the family, but did not partake of the food herself, saying she was not hungry.

The plump, white-haired defendant, 45 year old mother of eight children, sat composedly in the crowded courtroom during the testimony of the witnesses for the State. She has steadfastly denied she poisoned her husband. The State will ask for the death penalty.

Dateline: St. Charles, Missouri
Thursday, May 1, 1941
St. Charles Banner-News

Courtroom Crowded as Son of Tony Heppermann Tells Story
Before Jury This Morning

From Tuesday’s Daily:

Testimony in the trial of Emma Sarana Heppermann, accused in the poison murder of her husband, Tony, Wentzville farmer, was begun this morning at Union where the case was taken on a change of venue. Circuit Judge Ransom A. Breuer is presiding.

Selection of a jury of 12 men was begun yesterday morning and was not completed until later afternoon. Prosecuting Attorney David A. dyer will ask for the death penalty.

Dyer, in outlining the State’s case to the jury, charged that Mrs. Hepperman, whose marriage to Hepperman was her seventh, poisoned him shortly after they were married, following a two weeks’ courtship.

Mrs. Hepperman was dressed today in a black and white dress and listened intently as her three lawyers made occasional objections to the prosecutor’s statements.

The first witness today was Herbert Hepperman, 23 year old son of Tony. He faced a crowded courtroom and related details of his three day visit he made to his father’s farm home shortly after Hepperman married the defendant.

He testified that he arrived home May 11 and had a number of meals at home. At the he said his father complained of feeling sick and his 12 year old sister, Ethel, was seriously ill. The stepmother, he said served the meals but did not eat with them, declaring she was not hungry.

Hepperman told the jury his suggestions that a doctor be called were scoffed at by his stepmother, who declared that if the child were taken to the doctor, she would be endangered by the trip and it was too expensive to ask the doctor to come to the farm home.

Dr. Ben L. Neubeiser was certified to appear in the court this afternoon. He attended Tony Hepperman at St. Joseph’s hospital and obtained a statement from him. Several State Highway Patrolmen and residents of Wentzville have been subpoenaed.

Session Will Be Held Tonight;
Defense Witnesses Will Be Heard Tomorrow

From Wednesday’s Daily:

The murder trial of Mrs. Emma Sarana Hepperman, accused in the arsenate poisoning of her seventh husband, Tony, a Wentzville farmer, was resumed today at Union, where the case was taken from St. Charles on a change of venue. Prosecuting Attorney David A. Dyer expected to finish his case in chief by this evening or early tomorrow morning.

George J. Koch, Jr., former State Highway Patrol Sergeant at the patrol’s laboratory at Jefferson City, testified yesterday that he found enough arsenic in Hepperman’s vital organs to cause death. He was under cross-examination by defense counsel this morning. He testified he could not tell from his examination how the arsenic was taken, but said the poison could not have been put in the organs after death.

Dr. B. L. Neubeiser testified at the night session yesterday. He said that when Hepperman was taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital, where he died May 28, his physical condition indicated he was suffering from arsenate poisoning.

The state is seeking to show that the defendant, who was married to the deceased five weeks before his death, put the arsenic in his food. Her motive, it was contended, was to obtain his $6,000 farm and $1,000 in United States savings bonds.

Dr. Neubeiser expressed the opinion that Ethel, 13 year old daughter of Tony, was suffering from arsenate poisoning at the same time. Witnesses testified yesterday that Mrs. Hepperman served meals to the family but did not partake of the food herself, saying she was not hungry.

A large number of witnesses from St. Charles County have been subpoenaed by the defense. They include County recorder Harry Sullentrop, Attorney Warren Dalton, Lon Hueffle of Wentzville, Dr. Raymond G. Cooper, and two St. Charles Newspapermen.

Court was expected to remain in session tonight.

Three Called to Testify Last Night; Only One Heard;
Trial May End Late Today

Defense counsel for Mrs. Emma Hepperman in the murder trial at Union indicated today that testimony would be offered to show that tony, the defendant’s husband who died last May, had suffered from a stomach ailment long before he met the defendant.

First testimony for the defendant was given last night when Attorney W. R. Dalton of St. Charles took the stand. His testimony was limited merely to the fact that he prepared an inventory of the estate. Two newspapermen, Darby R. Tally and Harold C. Crabill, summoned by the defendant, were not required to testify after the reporters were questioned privately by Mrs. Hepperman’s attorneys.

A defense demurrer was overruled yesterday by Circuit Judge Ransom A. Breuer. It was expected that the trial, which began Monday, would close late today. The State seeks a death penalty.

The courtroom was crowded last night as the defense began presenting its case. The prosecution has sought to show that the defendant, who married Hepperman five weeks before his death, put arsenic obtained from fly poisoning in his food.

Witnesses for the State yesterday included Steve Heppermann, brother of Tony and Mrs. Rosie Simpson, Negro laundress, who worked occasionally for the Heppermans. The brother testified that four days before his death his brother had known he was poisoned. Mrs. Simpson testified that Mrs. Hepperman told her shortly before Hepperman’s death, “Hep has $1,000 and I’m going to get it.”

Mrs. Hepperman has remained composed throughout the trial. Last night she told a Banner News reporter:

I just sit here and listen. That’s all I’ve got to do.”

Her Attorneys were debating last night whether or not to put her on the stand. The jury hearing the case is made up mostly of farmers.

Dateline: Union, Missouri
Wednesday, May 7, 1941
St. Charles Cosmos-Monitor

Verdict After Nine Hours Deliberation
Defense Counsel Immediately Filed Motion For New Trial;
Hearing Set For Next Week

From Friday’s Daily:

Mrs. Emma s. Hepperman, seven times married woman, was found guilty by a jury of twelve men in the circuit court of Union, shortly before noon today and was sentenced to a term of life imprisonment in the Missouri penitentiary. The verdict was returned after deliberation of nine hours.

Three ballots were necessary before her punishment was fixed. Two of the jurors held out for the death penalty on the first vote while one voted for death the second time. The third ballot was unanimous for life. Counsel for the defendant immediately filed a motion for a new trial. The hearing being set for next week in Circuit Judge Ransom Breuer’s court at Union, before whom the case was hard.

Closing arguments in the trial of Mrs. Hepperman charged with poisoning her husband, Tony, a Wentzville farmer last year were completed at 5:20 p.m. Thursday and the case given to the jury. After a short recess for dinner the jury remained closeted until 10:20 p.m. and asked to be locked up for the night. They resumed deliberations at 9:00 o’clock this morning.

The State asked for the death penalty in the final argument and Assistant Attorney General Oliver Nolen told the jury to

“say by your verdict that when a man eats the food prepared by his wife and when he places his head upon a pillow at night he won’t have to fear death in her hands.”

Judge Ransom A. Breuer, in his instructions to the jurors told them they could make one of three findings: “Guilty with the death penalty, guilty with life imprisonment penalty, or an acquittal.”

As the state was unable to produce any witness to testify that Mrs. Hepperman poisoned her husband, Judge Breuer pointed out that

a crime may be proved by circumstantial evidence if the circumstances are consistent with one another and when taken together shall exclude any reasonable hypothesis of innocence.”

Defense counsel argued that the State’s case against Mrs. Hepperman was

built upon the poison of the mind instead of poison of the body,

because the relatives of Tony Hepperman resented her marriage to him a short time before his death last May.

It was asserted by the defense that the State had not proven conclusively that Hepperman had died of arsenic poison from fly paper and other insecticides. Mrs. Hepperman, who was referred to as the “little woman” by the defense, did not testify.

The State referred to Mrs. Hepperman as having a heart as cold as the tombstone on her husband’s grave.

Mrs. Heperman displayed her first signs of emotion in the closing arguments. When Nolan asked for the death penalty, she grinned at the jury. When he pointed an accusing finger at her and called her the murderer, she visibly paled and shook her head violently as if saying: “No”.

The verdict was a notable achievement for Prosecuting Attorney David A. Dyer who with law officers of the county and state did a find job of solving the fiendish crime.

From Thursday’s Daily:

Rebuttal witnesses were expected to be called by the state today in the Hepperman poison murder case at Union as the as the trial is rapidly drawing to completion. At the rate the trial is progressing arguments are expected to be presented tonight or Friday with the jury getting the case no later than noon Friday.

Defense counsel for Mrs. Emma S. Hepperman, indicated they would seek to show by testimony of witnesses called today that Hepperman had suffered from a stomach ailment long before he met Mrs. Hepperman some nine weeks before his death last May 28. Relatives of the dead man called by the prosecution which rested its case yesterday, testified that Hepperman had been in good health before he knew Mrs. Hepperman.

A defense demurrer was overruled yesterday by Circuit Judge Ransom A. Breuer.

More than 250 persons, the largest crowd since the trial began, jammed the court room last night as the defense opened its case. Only one witness was called, W. R. Dalton, St. Charles attorney, who gave evidence about the inventory and appraisal of Hepperman’s estate.

The prosecution has sought to show that the defendant, who married Hepperman five weeks before his death and less than a month after she became his housekeeper, put arsenic obtained from fly paper in his food. Her motive it was contended was to obtain his $6000 farm and $1000 in United States savings bonds.

Prosecution witnesses yesterday included Steve Hepperman, brother of the dead man and also a Wentzville farmer, ad Mrs. Rosie Simpson, Negro laundress, who worked occasionally for the Heppermans. The brother testified that Hepperman, four days before his death, knew that he had been poisoned. Mrs. Simpson’s testimony was that Mrs. Hepperman told her shortly before Hepperman’s death, “Hep has $1000 and I am going to get it.”

An earlier prosecution witness, Miss Rosaline Karrenbrock, clerk in a Wentzville general store, testified that Mrs. Hepperman bought fly paper, which it has been established contained arsenic, on several occasions between April 13 and May 9, 1940. The witness said Mrs. Hepperman stated she wanted the fly paper “for water bugs” and rejected a suggestion that another insecticide would be better for the purpose.

F. A. Upsher Smith of St. Paul, Minn., chemist for the company that made the paper, testified under cross-examination by the defense that sodium arsenic was used in the manufacture of the paper.

He gave his opinion that sodium would show up in a chemical analysis of the contents of the stomach after death, had the fatal arsenic come from the fly paper. The report of the analysis presented by the prosecution showed arsenic trioxide, but not sodium.

Defense counsel said they had not yet determined whether Mrs. Hepperman would take the stand. The defendant mother of eight children, is 46 years old. Plump and white haired, she has sat in the courtroom and followed the trial with composure. She has fixedly denied she poisoned her husband.

Hepperman’s Letter Told Advantages of His Household

Anton Hepperman, whose first wife had been dead for eight years, was a lonely man, so when he saw the newspaper advertisement for a position as housekeeper in a “motherless home”, inserted by Mrs. Emma Hepperman, now on trial charged with his poison murder, he wrote a long an simple letter stating the advantages of working in the Hepperman household. The letter, dated March 1, 1940, which was read to the jury, said in part:

I am a kind-hearted working man, and I know it would suit you if you would see my place. I have two houses, two mules, three cows, ten hogs, 200 chickens, a lot of canned fruit, lots of milk, eggs and butter. I butchered five hogs this winter. Well, you know that don’t sound like starving. Well, I’ll be waiting for an answer from you.”

Dateline: Union, Missouri
Wednesday, May 14, 1941
St. Charles Cosmos-Monitor

Emma Hepperman To Begin Serving Life Term in State Penitentiary
Within a Few Days
Counsel Takes Case to State Court After Franklin County Circuit Judge
Refuses Second Trial

The gates of the state penitentiary will be swinging open soon to receive Emma Hepperman, whose motion for a new trial, was overruled Thursday in Franklin County Circuit Court by Judge Ranson A. Breuer.

Convicted of the arsenic poison murder of her seventh husband, the woman was sentenced to a life term by a jury a week ago. Her counsel filed a motion for a new trial contending the state failed to make a case and pointed out alleged technicalities.

Immediately after the court refused a new trial an appeal to the Supreme Court was filed and granted.

The Franklin County sheriff will take the 46 year old woman to Jefferson City within the next few days where she will begin her life term for the crime.

Continue reading Epilogue

Return to Part I
Return to Part II-The Inquest
Return to Part III-Murder Warrants

Emma Heppermann, St. Charles Black Widow, 1940 Part III-Murder Warrants

Return to Part I-Prologue
Return to Part II-The Investigation

Murder Warrants

Dateline: St. Charles, Missouri
Thursday, June 6, 1940
St. Charles Banner News

From Wednesday’s Daily:

Mrs. Emma S. Heppermann, 46, accused in a warrant of first degree murder, will be given a preliminary hearing in the court of Justice of the Peace Gus Temme at Wentzville next Wednesday. She was returned to St. Charles County Jail where she is being held without bond.

Mrs. Heppermann, charged with administering poison which caused the death of her seventh husband, Tony Heppermann, was accompanied by her lawyer this morning. She made no comment. A first degree murder warrant was served on her in her cell late yesterday by Sheriff Joe Borgmeyer.

Coroner John H. Buse’s jury, which yesterday inquired into the death last September of Aloys Schneider, sixth husband of the suspect, returned the following verdict:

We hold that Aloys Schneider came to his death as a result of arsenic poisoning administered to him by a party or parties unknown.”

The jury then referred the case to Prosecuting Attorney David A. Dyer.

In the form of a prepared statement, Dr. Neubeiser testified yesterday that death of Schneider was do to “arsenical poisoning.” Sergt. George Koch, technical officer of the state highway patrol, said on the stand that an examination of vital organs of Schneider showed that there were about 3 grains of arsenic in his body. This is enough to cause death, he said.

Mrs. Lucy Schneider; sister-in-law of Aloys, told the jury that when Aloys became ill, she called at his residence. This was on the Friday prior to his death, she said. Mrs. Schneider testified that in answer to an inquiry, Emma told her that she did not know what was wrong with him. Later, out on the porch, she said, Emma told her that a St. Charles doctor had given him strychnine for a heart ailment. The doctor, however, who appeared on the stand, showed the formula he had prescribed and it contained no strychnine.

Another St. Charles doctor testified that he had been called to the Schneider home by Aloys’ sons and he found him in a dying condition. The doctor ordered the man taken to the hospital where he died a few hours later.

Mrs. Robert Illy of St. Peters said that the suspect frequently mentioned to her that she had in the past taken doses of poison and that she planned again to take poison because she “couldn’t live with Aloys any more.”

August Barthelmes and Mrs. Barthelmes testified that Emma many times impressed upon them the fact that Aloys frequently ate vegetables and melons from the garden after they had been sprayed with a poison containing arsenic.

Alphonse Schneider, a farm hand and a brother of Aloys, told the jury that three times Emma threatened to kill him. One time, he said, she offered to cook me some soup. He ended his testimony by saying: “I’m sure glad I didn’t eat any soup.”

Jurors hearing the evidence were George Bohrer, Frank Haake, t. G. Koelle, Fred Hackmann, Hugh Meyer and H. A. Schrader.

From Thursday’s Daily:

A newspaper reporter recently interviewed Wm. Vaughn, fifth husband of Mrs. Heppermann. Vaughn is employed as a laborer on a farm near Cook Station, Mo. Said the St. Louis Star-Times in describing the interview:

He was hoeing corn under a noon day sun when the reporter approached him. He put aside his hoe, went into the living room of the farmhouse and puffed on a pipe as he told of his life with “Emmy.”

Now 66 years old, Vaughn was 20 when Mrs. Heppermann was born at Steelville, Mo., only eight miles from Cuba, where Vaughn’s family lived. He knew her first husband, Charles Schwack, and also her fourth, Bert Lee Roberts, both of whom were Crawford County residents. Both are dead.

“Well, sir,” began Vaughn, as he rubbed a hand across his bald head, “I thought I knew women because I had had four wives before, but Emmy fooled me.

“About a year after Bert died (Roberts died July 21, 1933), I met Emmy at a carnival at Cuba. I saw her off and on after that, and in 1935 she became my housekeeper. She kept the house as neat as a pin.

“The first thing I knew we were on our way to Potosi and I was a married man again.

“On the way back to Cuba from Potosi she told me I ought to make her the beneficiary of a $1,000 life insurance policy I had. I told her that policy was for my four children and I wasn’t going to change it. About a month after we were married we separated and I left the house.

“A few weeks later she coaxed me back, but the house burned down and she went off to St. Louis. It was alright with me, but doggone if she didn’t come back and bring some furniture with her and we got a new house three miles outside of Cuba.

She commenced nagging me and I finally told her to get out.”

Vaughn married Mrs. Heppermann October 29, 1935 and they finally separated April 9, 1936. She obtained an uncontested divorce from him October 20, 1937, according to records at the Crawford county Courthouse.

Dateline: St. Charles, Missouri
Wednesday, June 12, 1940
St. Charles Weekly Cosmos-Monitor

Mrs. M. J. King of Cuba Died in 1933 After Soup
Prepared by Mrs. Hepperman
Divorced Husband of Seven Times Married Woman
Relates She Constantly Nagged Him

A death of a mother-in-law of Mrs. Emma Sarana Hepperman, charged with murder, is being investigated by the State Highway Patrol.

The investigation is into the death of Mrs. M. J. King, mother of Bert Roberts, fourth husband of the alleged poisoner, who died July 21, 1933. Mrs. King’s death occurred in March of the same year. The woman died at Cuba where she was living with her son and daughter-in-law, Mrs. Heppermann. The patrol learned from a relative that Mrs. King became suddenly ill after eating potato soup which Mrs. Hepperman had prepared.

William Vaughn, one of the two husbands of Mrs. Hepperman, who were divorced from her now resides at Cook Station, Crawford County, Mo. He said she constantly nagged him. The couple was married October 29, 1935 and separated several times before the final departure April 9, 1936. The marriage, the fifth for each one, ended in divorce which was granted October 20, 1937.

Vaughn related the woman wanted him to make her beneficiary of a $1000 insurance policy while returning from the wedding ceremony to their home in Cuba. Vaughn refused stating the insurance was for his children. “Emmy certainly fooled me, “ Vaughn was quoted as saying.

Wednesday morning the woman was taken to Wentzville where she was arraigned before Justice of the Peace Gus Temme and her preliminary hearing set for June 12th. About twenty-five townspeople crowded around the two room shoe repair shop of Temme to get a look at the woman. The hearing was held in the rear room of the shop.

Sheriff Borgmeyer and Deputy Cunningham took the prisoner and a Negro boy, the latter who is charged with larceny of a watch, to Wentzville in an automobile.

Borgmeyer said the woman seemed to enjoy the ride and carried on a general conversion, her only intimation to the poison case was that she enjoyed being kept in a basement cell at the jail where it is nice and cool. The cell where Mrs. Hepperman is kept is for juveniles. Several years ago, two youngsters made their escape fro the cell by pulling out pieces of the wire. Since then the wire has been welded, making escape by similar methods practically impossible.

Lawrence McKim, attorney for the defendant, was anxious to conduct the preliminary yesterday. He said he was anxious for speedy disposal of the case since the charge of first degree murder is non-bailable and his client must remain in jail.

Dateline: St. Charles, Missouri
Wednesday, June 19, 1940
St. Charles Weekly Cosmos-Monitor


Daughter of Poison Victim Who Is In St. Joseph Hospital
Was Not Called to Testify

Wild cheering prevailed at Wentzville Tuesday afternoon when Mrs. Emma Sarana Hepperman was bound over to the Circuit court on a charge of murdering her husband, Tony Hepperman, Wentzville farmer, who died May 28.

Justice of the Peace Gus Temme, before whom the hearing was conducted, lost no time in announcing his decision. More than 500 persons who had gathered in the Wentzville Community hall for the proceedings, broke out with a bedlam “that almost shook the building.” As Temme stated “I think the evidence sufficient to indicate a crime has been committed and bind the defendant over to the Circuit Court.”

Sheriff Borgmeyer was as quick to act as Judge Temme and immediately took the prisoner from the building and started on his return to the county jail here where she is being held without bond. On the return trip the accused prisoner remarked she was well pleased with the work of her counsel.

The hearing was started last Thursday and continued until Tuesday. Witnesses at the conclusion were state highway officers who gave technical evidence, Sergt. Hagan, who found poison in the Hepperman home, Miss Rosalind Karrenbrock, a store clerk who sold articles containing poison to the defendant prior to her husband’s illness and death, Herbert Hepperman and Mrs.. Isabelle Eagan, children of the victim, who repeated evidence they gave at the inquest.

Ethel, 12 year old daughter of the victim, who is being treated for symptoms of arsenic poison in the St. Joseph’s Hospital was not called as a witness, because of her condition.

Hepperman was the fifth husband of seven time married woman to die suddenly. Aloys Schneider of St. Peters, the sixth husband, died last September 19, and after his body was exhumed it was discovered, he, like Hepperman, died from the effects of arsenic poison.

Dateline: St. Charles, Missouri
Wednesday, June 19November 13, 1940
St. Charles Weekly Cosmos-Monitor

“Snickering” Provoked Mrs. Isabelle Eagan
Whose Father Died of Arsenic Poisoning
Says Woman Held in Poison Murder Said If He Could Wear Shoes
To Funeral He Could Get Married

Depositions were being taken at the court house today in the poison murder case of Mrs. Emma Hepperman, 46 year old woman, whose seventh husband died May 28, the result of arsenic poisoning according to reports.

Oliver N. Nolen, an assistant attorney general and specialist in murder cases, was here to assist Prosecuting Attorney Dyer. Nolen said he had been in consultation with Dyer for some time but this was his first public appearance in the case. Harold Pellett of St. Lous represented Mrs. Hepperman at the procedure.

While Mrs. Isabelle Eagan, daughter of Tony Hepperman, the poison victim, was testifying this morning Mrs. Hepperman snickered and Mrs. Eagan shouted, “You needn’t laugh either.” The sate cautioned Pellett to keep his client quiet and it was pointed out the sheriff was there to keep the two women apart, if that becomes necessary.

Mrs. Eagan said she didn’t approve of Mrs. Hepperman. She told of the woman being at her father’s home before the marriage and related at one time she remarked if he could wear shoes to a funeral he could wear them to get married in. That occurred early in April and the couple was married on the 13th of the same month. Mrs. Eagen said her father froze his feet and had trouble wearing shoes.

Mrs. Eagan wept when she was called to identify a wedding picture of her mother and father published in a detective magazine. She wept at various times when questioned concerning her father’s death.

Dr. Leland Keller, Wentzville dentist, told of Hepperman and the defendant coming to his office May 25, to have his teeth extracted. Dr. Keller testified he told Mrs. Hepperman that Tony was in poor health and could not stand to have all his teeth taken out to which she replied, “Go on Tony, let the doctor do it, you will feel better.” Dr. Keller said he pulled eight teeth and told the pair to come back later.

Mrs. Hepperman was showed the effects of being in jail and gained several pounds since her arrest. In contrast to the preliminary hearing inO Wentzville when a thousand persons heard the evidence, only five spectators were in court this morning.

Dateline: St. Charles, Missouri
Wednesday, November 13, 1940
St. Charles Weekly Cosmos-Monitor

Negro Neighbor Said Mrs. Emma Hepperman Told Her
She Was Going to Get “Heps” $1000
Deposition Hearing in Murder Case Continued;
Defendant Provoked

Depositions of nine persons were taken Tuesday in the Hepperman murder case at the court house after which the procedure was continued until next Tuesday.

During the testimony Mrs. Hepperman laughed at the witnesses and was admonished several times by Oliver Nolen, assistant attorney general of Missouri, to refrain from such practice. At one time Nolen informed the defendant “before this is over we may have that smile wiped off your face.”

Mrs. Heppermann, heavier by several pounds since her arrest, prompted her counsel during the questioning, especially concerning two women, described as old friends of her seventh and last husband.

Ethel, 13 year old daughter of Tony Hepperman, who died May 28 of arsenic poisoning, was the main witness during the afternoon. The child said she did not approve of her dad marrying Mrs. Hepperman and related she told her father she was an O.K. woman but really didn’t think so herself. The child also told of finding additional fly paper in a cupboard at the home after her dad died. The child also told of Emma making beer for the family early this year.

Arlie Broyles and Mrs. Rosalene Karrenbrock employees of the Wentzville mercantile company, told of Mrs. Hepperman buying various articles containing arsenic to kill roaches with. Broyles said he suggested sodium flueride instead of the more deadly arsenic but the woman insisted she wanted the arsenic containing articles. Ethel previously said there were no roaches in the house.

Mr. Claude Drace and Dr. H. C. McMurray told of treating Hepperman before his death.

Rosie Simpson, Negro neighbor of the Hepperman family said that last May 22, she helped Mrs. Hepperman do some washing and was given a quantity of meat for her services. In previous testimony Ethel said her step-mother told her the meat was tainted and caused her illness. Mrs. Simpson, when questioned concerning the meat, beamed and replied, “We ate the meat it wasn’t poison and it sure was good.” She said that during her visit with Mrs. Hepperman the latter told her “Hep” had $1000 and she was going to get it. Mrs. Simpson said the woman did not comment further on how she planned to get the money.

George Thielmann was the last to take the stand and told of Tony’s physical condition.

Dateline: St. Charles, Missouri
Wednesday, November 20, 1940
St. Charles Weekly Cosmos-Monitor

Refusal of Son of Murdered Man to Answer Question
Causes Action by lawyer for Defendant
Deposition Hearing continued Until Wednesday Morning;
Ten Have Taken Stand

An effort to have Herbert Hepperman committed to the county jail for failure to answer a question at the deposition proceedings in connection with the poison murder case, was overruled by Clarence Leritz, Notary public of Clayton, before whom the depositions are being taken.

Attorney Harold Pellett of St. Louis, who is defendant 47 year old Mrs. Emma Hepperman, who is charged with the poison murder of her seventh husband, sought to have the victim’s son committed when he refused to answer questions concerning a conversation with Prosecuting Attorney Dyer.

When Pellett submitted the question, Oliver N. Nolen, assistant attorney general said the question was without merit in the case whereupon Prosecuting Attorney Dyer advised Hepperman to refuse to answer. Pellett then resubmitted the question and the witness replied, “I ain’t answering.”
Pellet said the evidence was relative to the case and refused to question Hepperman further or allow the state to make querry until a ruling was rendered by the Circuit Judge.

The lawyer packed his brief case and stalked out of the court room only to return within a few minutes and put the question to the witness again. When Hepperman refused a second time to answer, Pellett asked Leritz to commit the witness, and Leritz’s overruling the motion, causing Pellett to pack his brief case for a second time and start out of the court room.

Pellett finally agreed to continue and said he wanted the records to show the procedure and that a ruling be obtained later.

In his testimony Hepperman said he left home March 8, two days after the defendant came to their home. He worked in Illinois and said all the folks were well on his first visit home April 6. He told of eating meals prepared by Mrs. Hepperman then and May 10 when he visited again only to find his sister, Ethel, critically ill in bed and his father not feeling well.

He said his father was in good health during the past seven years and was ill only three or four times. He told of discussing the proposed marriage with his father and told him

Mrs. Hepperman is not the right kind of woman for him to marry and that he better lay hands off of her.”

The lone witness during the morning session told of using fly stickers, which hang from the ceiling around their home and that other types of fly killer was something new. He said he found eight sheets of a black fly paper, containing arsenic, under an oilcloth in the cabinet after his father died. He added that he never saw any cockroaches or water bugs in the basement. Previous testimony revealed Mrs. Hepperman said she wanted to kill water bugs.

The young man also told of a St. Louis woman writing a story for a detective magazine abut the death of his father and said he refused $50 to sign his name to the story.

The evidence continued until two o’clock this afternoon before adjournment.

Because the Circuit Court room was being used the depositions were taken in the county court room today. Nine persons preceded Hepperman to the stand a week ago when the case was continued until today.

A short afternoon session which adjourned until 9 o’clock Wednesday morning. Hepperman told of finding his sister sick on May 10th and stated when he insisted she be taken to a doctor at Wright City that Mrs. Hepperman objected because the expenses would be too much.

Continue Reading Part IV–The Trial

Go Back to Part I-Prologue & Investiation
Go Bank to Part II

Emma Heppermann, St. Charles Black Widow 1940, Part II-The Inquest

Return to Part I


Coroner’s Inquest Testimony of Steve Hepperman, brother of Anton Hepperman

Q. Tell the jury what you know of Anton Heppermann’s death, and pick up the story from the time you first knew that Anton Heppermann was married or to be married to Emma Heppermann.
A. The first time I saw this woman I came from Wentzville and she was across the road at the wood pile across the road, and she was going up the road and my brother was standing at the road and I stopped and began to talk to him, and he said that is the lady that works for me now, and she taken the wood and walked across the road, and he said what do you think about her Steve, I said well good enough, and he told me she came with agreement to work two weeks, and if he gives satisfaction I am to marry her, she would not work for wages, then if she does not suit she is going back to St. Louis. I said for God sake, you are not going to do nothing like that, why not try her out a year, and if she gives satisfaction might talk about marrying. I said that might be right way to do it. He said she is not going to take me up on no year, then I said why don’t you tell her to go back, you surely would not want to marry a woman in two weeks, he said she is not going to do that he said; of course that went on after she went into the house, and so that is the way he did it, the two weeks business, that went on a while and I have forgot the date it was they was robbed, it was the same morning I got there at the bridge and my car was out of gas, I went to Geo’ Thielman and when came there with two gallons of gas I passed the gate she stopped me at the barn and said tony we got robbed last night of $53.00 ad $75.00 gold wrist watch, I stood there a while thinking, and she said don’t you think Chas Kemmel did that he went by here last night going to town or some where, I said Chas Kemmel, I said I saw him quite a while talking to him and he said he was going to take a bus bound for his brother in law’s Sheets, she asked me three different people, I said no, Chas Kemmel did not do that, and she said colored Rosy washing here yesterday, and she saw the pocket book in the cupboard don’t you think she got it, and I said I do not think so, I don’t think a colored person would have done that, and they came back at eight o’clock; I said a colored person has not got enough nerve to go into this house, that takes nerve, she named some other colored people, fellow by the name of Boston, and Albert Hunter, and I said nothing to that, and we went on, and the next day that evening I was ready to eat supper and Tony and her came in the car, she asked me if I would go to the house, three men up there, wanted to write them out insurance; said will you go along, and I said yes, I will go along, I will eat supper, and I eat supper and taken a gun and put in the coat, and got back in the car, and they taken me to the place, I told them to let me out, so they let me out, and I got out on the right side, and Tony was on the right side and I grabbed him by the arm, and called him, he said what do you mean about what is going on, I said can’t you think; can’t you see something is rotten around here; he said do you think she is doing this or her folks, I said can’t you think, it is not for me to say, can’t you think, after just a little she said Tony come here get into the car, and they talked a while, and I guess about 3 or 4 minutes and he got out, she said to me, I heard you say that I did this or my kin folks did this. I said no, you never heard me say that, I never said that; I asked Tony if he could not think. And see that something was rotten around here I said now lady listen you know something is rotten around here; I said listen you know those colored people are not robbing you, she said three people in the woods could it have been the hunters; I said no, this time of year lady no hunters, she said could it have been some neighbors looking for a cow or something; I said this could not have been neighbors looking for a cow, I told her none of those mentioned did the robbing. She said no I know they didn’t, and so then she got back into the car and she talked to him three or four minutes, she said Mr. Steve do you care if we go into the house; I was sitting on the wagon tongue I said no, they went into the house and pulled the curtain down; I staid there about four or five minutes, and his daughter Mrs. Higgins came in with her husband, I told Isabel how things were going, I told her she better to into the house and talked to her dad, and see if she could get him in the motion to go to a doctor, she went in and talked to him quite a while, I stood around there at the wagon I judge about ten minutes; I could hear them talking; they was talking loud, I walked up to the room window and Isabel was trying to get him to go, but they was not going to no doctor, nothing doing, so finally I walked through the door and she was calling him honey we are going to a doctor. I said just get up, I raised him up and told her we are going to a doctor, she looked at me a little bit and said alright; she began to put his shoes and stuff on and got him into the car, and I told Tony I said you better let Roy Haggins run this car, that is Isabel’s husband, his wife seemed so nervous I thought I would let Roy run the car, and leave her stay at home, he did not want to do that, she said Tony don’t you want me along, he said yes, that settled that, and so Tony and his wife and myself and Isabel we got him in the motion to go to Dr. McMurray; I judge that was about nine o’clock, I would say some where around there, maybe a little sooner or a little later.
Q: Do you know what evening that was?
A: The next evening after the robbing
Q: What else?
A: Just kept saying honey keep it down, honey don’t you think it would be better to keep it down, he said I am just so sick, she said you are afraid, he said I am not afraid, I am just so sick he leaned over and tried to vomit, never threw anything out, she said don’t gag better hold it back; don’t do that honey, I never seen him throw anything out, he tried to vomit and could not.
Q: Did you get him to Dr. McMurray?
A: Yes, and I would judge it was around 9 o’clock, would not say maybe earlier or later, but he would not be back he was in St. Louis; we wanted to take him to Dr. Drace, he would not go to Dr. Drace under no event, and she is going to take him back home.. I thought that was going to be his last night he was sick enough to die at any time; I said I am going to get him by the arm and take him home and leave her, when I grabbed him he said no Steve I cannot talk to you unless she hears it, and if I talked without she hears it she will leave me tonight, and he began crying, and she took him and went into the house with him; they got out and I got out, I thought I would see if I can get him and take him home with me; I told him that would be his last night he was sick enough to die at any time; I thought I am going to get him by the arm and take him home and leave her, when I grabbed him he said no Steve I cannot talk to you unless she hears it, she just told me if I talked without she heard it she will leave me tonight, and he began crying, and she took him and went into the house and him about that time Sargt. Arr he came in then, and I told him Sargent there has got to be something done here or he will not live until morning; he said I will go in and I will talk to them, and see what I can do; he was in there about a half hour talking to them and came out, and he said I do not know anything to do tonight. We had them blowed up in the air, I believe they will sleep, I do not believe she will do anything more tonight; he finally went home and I said I would stay there; I went into the barn; she told me before that the brooder shed is open, and that she was afraid to close it somebody might shove me down when I close that brooder shed, I said no I will be here tonight I will protect you, I would not close it, as far as I know she left it open, and I would judge about 10 o’clock it was, and about half past 11 when I was in the barn she came with a flashlight and she went across this road and got an arm full of wood and took it into the house I knew she was not afraid to close the brooder shed door.
Q: Who was at the house at the time this took place that evening?
A. Roy Higgins, Isabel Higgins, his daughter, they were there, and I was there, my son Melvin, he did not go into the house, he staid out at the barn
Q: What took place in the afternoon or night you found out that your Brother Tony was moved to St. Louis?
A. She told Tony not to speak to me anymore that night or she would leave him; I would judge that was Friday night, or Thursday, Friday night I judge, she told him she would leave him if he spoke to me anymore, and he would not be allowed to speak to her any more. I never bothered any more that night. I went to the merchant, I told Pitman; I worked on the state highway that morning, I told Pitman to go down and see Mr. McMurray and send him out to see Tony, that he had not got to see him that night, to send him to see Tony and see what he could do for him. Pitman he did not do just that, rang up Dr. McMurray over the phone, and he said he went and she would not leave him in; he never got to see him, she would not leave him in to wit on him. That was all there was of that, and then Saturday I did not do anything any more. Sunday morning I told my wife and Elroy when you come back from church you stop and see Tony; he exchanges papers with us, the Cosmer and the Kansas City Star, I said you go by and talk to him and see how he is; she is not going to suspicion anything; I am satisfied nothing will happen, and everything will be alright so when he come back I said how did you find Tony, and he said awful weak, Saturday she had upper teeth pulled out and Monday she was going to pull out the rest; I said my God, and you go up to Geo’ Tillman’s ___tell him that was right after dinner, see Tillman and see what he will do, see if he will see and let me know how things going on up there; he did, he taken his wife and she staid in the car so he went in, and talked to them a while, so when he got up to leave Tony’s wife told Geo’ Tillman will you please go down and telephone Chas. Kellerman that I want to see him I want him to take care of my stock I want to rush Tony to St. Louis to night; I want to take him to St. Louis, that she was going to leave about seven o’clock with Tony; I said my god, that will be the last; I jumped into my car and went to Wentzville, and I saw Sargent Hagen and I told him how things were going, and I told him I said if we do not get power and catch him before morning, I am satisfied he will be dead; I know it, and we talked around a while, and he said well, so from there we went to Gus Timmy J. P. at Wentzville, and I asked him if he would go along with us and he said he would so we came back then to Sargent Hagen’s place and we got into the car of Sargent Hagen, and Timmy and myself and went to look for Dave Dyer, and found him at Harvester at a picnic, we went to St. Charles then and there and met Sargent Anderson and Dave Dyer, and Sargent Hagen, and myself, and we went into the court house and had a warrant fixed up.
Q: Did you go into St. Louis, how did you know your brother was moved to St. Louis?
A: Geo’ Tilman, by him saying they was going into St. Louis that night; then when we got back to Wentzville, we came to the Justice of the Peace office, and I signed the warrant there, Isabel, Tony’s daughter said that he left at seven o’clock came by Geo’ Tilman when they went for St. Louis; that was the first time I knew he was on his way; the first stop that we made was at Kirkwood.
Q: You finally found him in St. Louis, where was he?
A: Yes 1138 Tilmage
Q: What did you do then?
A: Sargent Hagen and Dave Dyer they went into there and they brought her out and they taken her into Sargent Hagen car, Dave Dyer was with them; they taken her to jail, Emma Heppermann
Q: What did they do with your brother Tony?
A: I waited in the car; they told me to stay in the car, I was in that car, me and Leland Cunningham
Q They brought your brother to St. Charles?
A: Taken him in the back set with me
Q: Was he sick all the way?
A: I thought he would die on the way laying in my arms
Q: What time was it when you got to the hospital?
A: One o’clock when we left 1138 Tilmage Ave.
Q: What time did you get to the hospital?
A: About 2 o’clock I think when we struck the hospital
Q: What day was that?
A It was Monday morning; I started at four o’clock Sunday evening with this
Q: There at the hospital did your brother make any statement to you?
A: He did after Neubiser taken him off of the table
Q: What statement did he make?
A: When got back wheeled him on a chair to his bed, and he looked at me and he said my god who would have thought she would poison me, and he asked me, do you think why would she want to poison me I was so good to her he said where is she, and I said in jail; He said then keep the dam old bitch there.
Q: He appeared to be perfectly conscious?
A: He knew everything
Q: Did he make any other statements?
A: When I left him at four o’clock he shook hands with me and thanked me for saving his life
Q: That was the last time you saw him until he was laid out?
A: Yes
Examination by Mr. Dyer
Q: When you had the first conversation, you told about in your testimony that was at the wood pile, was this woman present?
A: She was supposed to be
Q: Was she able to hear it?
A: She could have
Q: Do you think she did?
A: She might have, she was close enough; she never did get acquainted with me, she told me that night in the lot I understand that you have tried from the start to break us up.

Dateline: St. Charles, Missouri
Wednesday, June 5, 1940
St. Charles Weekly Cosmos-Monitor


Prosecuting Atty. Dyer Announced First Degree Murder
Charges Would Be Filed

Prosecuting Attorney Dyer said Mrs. Emma Sarana Hepperman would be charged with first degree after a coroner’s jury returned an open verdict at the inquest into the death of Tony Hepperman, held at the Dallmeyer funeral home today.

The complaint will be signed by Steve Hepperman and Mrs. Isabelle Eagan, brother and daughter of the poison victim, Dyer related. He said the warrant would be issued in Justice of the Peace Gus Temme’s court of Cuivre township.

The jury held that Hepperman, who passed away May 28, died as the result of arsenic poisoning and returned an open verdict, referring the case to the prosecuting attorney for further consideration. Members of the jury were Robert Dudley, Robt. Darnell, John Denning, David Borgmeyer, Dick Abeling and Thomas Spalding.

At 3 o’clock this afternoon, evidence was started at the inquest into the death of Aloysius Schneider of St. Peters, the woman’s sixth husband, who also died the result of arsenic poisoning. If the evidence is sufficient Dyer expects to file another murder charge against the 46 year old seven-times married woman.

Mrs. Hepperman, mother of 12 children by her first marriage, identified herself at the inquest but did not testify, upon the advice of her attorney.

Highlighting the inquest was the reading of a deposition of Dr. Ben L. Neubeiser’s testimony, taken previously because of his inability to attend the inquest. Dr. Neubeiser who treated Hepperman in the hospital said that Hepperman told him

that he could hardly believe it but was convinced now that his wife was poisoning him with poison, probably put in soup.”

Dr. Neubeiser related the patient told him he had a bad taste in his mouth for the past week or ten days and this she convinced him was the result of indigestion and that she made up a soup which he ate several times daily for indigestion. Dr. Neubeiser related more of the conversation with Hepperman in which he said “there was a box of poison on the kitchen table which had been opened and partly used although she hadn’t mixed or used any for spraying potato bugs." The victim told his doctor that he had some baby bonds in his possession, payable to his daughter and himself and that she suggested of cashing these bonds and also wanted him to sell the farm and move to St. Louis.

When it was apparent Hepperman was going to die, Dr. Neubeiser told him he was about to die and asked if he wished to make a statement. Hepperman said, “Yes” and that he believed his wife had poisoned him.

Steve Hepperman, brother of the victim, related his meeting with his brother’s wife and told of his suspicions of her actions. He told of a $50 robbery which she reported. Steve said the woman told him the Thursday before her arrest that someone broke into their home and took $50 and a $75 wrist watch of hers. He told of the woman suspicioning several Negroes. Although not brought out at the inquest, Mrs. Hepperman later found the money in the house, saying it was misplaced. Steve said when his brother informed him she would stay at the place two weeks and if he liked her they would get married, he suggested a year’s trial.

The brother said that after Tony was brought to the hospital he said

My God, who would have thought she would poison me. Why I was good to her. Where is she now?”

When told she was in jail the sick man said,

I hope they keep the ______ there.”

Sergt. Frank Hagan told of finding a can of London purple which contained arsenic and a daisy fly pad, also containing a large amount of arsenic in the Hepperman home.

Sergt. George Koch, state patrol toxicologist reported that arsenic in sufficient quantities to cause death, was found in Hepperman’s body.

Dr. C. W. Drace of Wentzville, related he treated him about a week before he was brought to the hospital here. He told of the woman and Hepperman coming to his office and that she complained of them both being sick from eating sausage which she said was poisoned. The doctor said Hepperman was in great pain but the woman did not appear to be suffering. The woman returned several times later for medicine but did not bring specimens from Hepperman upon the doctor’s request. He also told of treating Ethel, 12 year old daughter of the victim. When the doctor suggested the girl be taken to the hospital the woman said, “No, Tony would never consent.”

The doctor said the woman told him she was taking her husband to St. Louis because the children were causing trouble and she wanted him to be where he could be quiet.

Rosalind Karrenbrock, a clerk in the Wentzville mercantile Co., told of selling the London purple, the daisy fly pad and fly paper, which also contained large quantities of arsenic to the woman shortly after her marriage to Hepperman last April 13.

The three children of Hepperman were called to testify. Herbert, 22, told of an advertisement the woman placed in a St. Louis paper march 3 and that his dad answered it the following day and she came to the farm on March 6.

Mrs. Isabelle Eagan of Foristell, 20 year old daughter, said she noticed hr dad and sister were sick early in May. When she suggested Ethel be taken to the hospital she said her stepmother said it was too expensive and besides the girl was too weak. Mrs. Eagan said that on the Friday before her dad’s death he told her his wife had talked him into the notion of selling the farm and getting away as everyone was butting into their business.

Mrs. Eagan related that her sister slept for a two and a half day period after taking a sleeping pill. She said an open envelope which contained three other sleeping pills was found on the floor and that her stepmother said that Ethel probably got up in her sleep and took them.

She related that when she went to see her dad, he told her, “Sis, shut up, you’re butting in and breaking us up.” The girl said she asked her father later if he thought she was butting in and he said, “No, Emma thought you were.” The oldest daughter said that after her father was brought to the hospital he told her that when he was in St. Louis the Sunday evening his wife brought him coffee with the poison in it and also water with the same stuff in it but he refused. “She sat at my bedside, waiting foe m to die,” the victim told his daughter. Shortly after that the officers came and took the woman away.

Ethel, who at one time was near death from the results of poison, said she weighed 88 pounds and dropped to 65, after becoming ill. She said she got sick shortly after her father’s marriage. She told of conditions at home and that at tone time the woman made her go outside and lay on the ground for three hours. “you don’t get outside enough, no wonder you are sick” the girl said her stepmother told her.

Five of the seven husbands of Mrs. Hepperman died under mysterious circumstances. She was first married when she was but 14 years of age.

From Wednesday’s Daily:

Mrs. Emma Sarana Hepperman, who is charged with first degree murder in the poison death of Tony Hepperman of Wentzville, was taken before Judge Gus Temme at Wentzville today where her preliminary hearing was set for June 12.

The murder warrant was issued Tuesday after a coroner’s jury held that Hepperman’s death resulted from arsenic poison and returned an open verdict. Further investigation of the case was referred to the prosecuting attorney. The warrant charged the woman with administering arsenic poison in the food of Mr. Hepperman.

An open verdict was also returned in the death of Aloysius Schneider of St. Peters, sixth husand of the woman, who died last September 19. The jury held that Schneider’s death resulted from arsenic poisoning administered by the hands of a person or persons unknown. The case was also referred to the prosecuting attorney. No formal charge was filed immediately in the second case. Dyer announcing that he was still conducting his investigation.

When served with the warrant in jail last night the cold gray eyed woman replied, “Alright, is that all for tonight?”

The woman maintained her prolonged silence when called as a witness in the Schneider death. She refused to testify upon advice of her attorney. When asked her name she said Mrs. Emma Schneider but quickly added it is now Hepperman.

Sergt Koch, state toxicologist gave testimony that arsenic in sufficient quantities to cause death was found in Schneider’s body.

Dr. Will L. Freeman, former coroner, said he treated Schneider shortly before his death for a heart condition. He related the woman told him her husband ate food which was heavily sprayed with paris green. Dr. Raymond Cooper, another one of Schneider’s physicians said the wife was reluctant for him to go to the hospital.

Neighbors of Schneider were the other witnesses. Mrs. And Mrs. August Barthelmes said the woman told them at least a dozen times she was afraid Aloys was going to die because he ate arsenic sprayed vegetables from the garden without first washing tem. Mrs. Barthelmes added the woman told her at times her husband took left over food along with him to his work which she knew was soured.

Alphonse Schneider, a brother said the woman inquired about his brother’s insurance and also if he had any himself. Alphonse said his sister-in-law asked him to board with her “which he did until she started serving soup. He added

she threatened to kill me three times but I thought she was only kidding. I sure am glad now I didn’t eat the soup.”

Mrs. Robert Illy related the woman told her she wanted to take poison and hinted trouble with a daughter that she no longer wanted to live with Aloys were the cause. Mrs. Illy said the woman also accused a physician of giving her husband a poison which possibly caused his death.

Mrs. Lucy Schneider, a sister-in-law of the victim said the woman told her she had put some beans and arsenic away and evidently cooked them by mistake. She added she feared her husband might have eaten the beans.

Another witness was Clarence Schneider, son of the victim. He said the woman got about $500 in insurance after funeral expenses were paid and also told him she was entitled to a child’s share of his estate which is valued at bout $5,500.

Schneider’s hody was exhumed after it was discovered Hepperman was suffering from poison. The woman admitted being married seven times, five of her husband are dead.

The coroner’s jury in the Schneider case were George Bohrer, Frank Haake, T. G, Kaelfe, Fred Hackman, Hugo Meyer and H. O. Schrader. Coroner Buse was not pleased with verdict in the Hepperman case contending the evidence was sufficient to prove criminal responsibility.

Dateline: St. Charles, Missouri
Thursday, June 6, 1940
St. Charles Banner News


Victim Believed in Wife’s Guilt,
Doctor’s Statement to Jury Reveals Today

From Tuesday’s Daily:

Prosecuting Attorney David A Dyer said this afternoon he will file an affidavit in Justice of the Peace Gus Temme’s Court at Wentzville and will seek a warrant for Mrs. Emma S. Heppermann on a first degree murder charge in the death May 28 of her seventh husband, Tony Heppermann.

A coroner’s jury, after listening three hours to evidence in the death of Tony Heppermann, returned an open verdict today and referred the case to the prosecuting attorney. Mrs. Emma Heppermann, wife of the deceased, has been held since last Monday at the county jail on a warrant charging that she administered the poison that killed her husband.

Numerous witnesses were placed on the stand, including doctors, state highway patrolmen and children of Heppermann. The suspect on advice of counsel declined to testify.

Testimony of Dr. B. L. Neuheiser, offered in the form of a sworn written statement, revealed the dying words of Tony Heppermann that he believed his wife had poisoned him.

The prepared testimony stated: “Mr. Heppermann repeatedly told me that he could hardly believe it, but was convinced now that his wife was poisoning him with poison probably in soup. He had a bad taste in his mouth, he stated for the last week or 10 days and this she convinced him was the result of indigestion.”

“There was a box of poison standing on the kitchen table which had been opened and partially used, although she hadn’t mixed or used any for spraying potato bugs.”

The doctor’s written testimony went on to state that Heppermann had said “That he had some Baby Bonds in his possession payable to his daughter and himself and she suggested cashing these bonds. She also wanted him to sell the farm and move to St. Louis.”

Heppermann’s dying declaration, Dr. Neubeiser’s statement said, was that “he believed his wife had poisoned him.”

Steve Heppermann, Wentzville farmer and brother of Tony , told the jury that when he noticed his brother was very ill, he urged that he go to a doctor. The doctor was not in, he said, but later Dr. McMurray of Wentzville called to see Tony, but the suspect would not let him in.

Steve Heppermann said he began to realize there was something wrong” when Tony said “I can’t talk to you unless my wife hears me.” He testified that his brother tried many times to vomit, but Mrs. Heppermann kept saying, “hold it back.”

Steve told the jury that when Mrs. Heppermann moved her husband to St. Louis after first making arrangements with a neighbor to care for the stock, he went to Sergt. Hagan with his complaint.

Tony’s three children, Herbert 22, Mrs. Eisabel Eagen, 20, and Ethel, 12, were also put on the stand. Ethel testified that she became ill sometime before her father did and once was ordered by her stepmother to lie for three hours on the ground outside their home.

Dr. C. W. Drace of Wentzville, when called to the stand, spoke of the sickness in the Heppermann family and quoted Mrs. Heppermann as saying that they had eaten some “spoiled sausage.”

Isabel said that her stepmother charged her with interfering when she offered to get a doctor for her ill sister and father.

Sergt. George J. Koch of Jefferson City, who examined vital organs of Heppermann’s body after death, told the jury that there was enough arsenic in his body to cause death. Later, when Miss Rosalind Karrenbrock, a clerk in a Wentzville store, was called to the stand, she told how Mrs. Heppermann had made several trips to the store between April 13 and May 9, when she purchased considerable quantities of fly poison and once bought London Purple, a poison containing arsenic.

Mrs. Egan, who lives near Foristell, testified that once during her sister’s illness, Ethel slept two nights and a day. “Emma,” she said, “told me Ethel got up in her sleep and had taken four sleeping pills.”

Ethel, who lost 23 pounds in weight during her illness, had to be helped to the witness stand. She aid her stepmother fussed at her because she vomited frequently. Her diet during her illness, she said, was soup, salmon and pork and beans. She added that her ste4pmother had given her a table and her long sleep followed.

Sergt. Hagan told the jury that he entered the case on the evening of May 22 when he visited the Heppermann farm to investigate a reported robbery. Steve told the jury that his brother and the suspect had told of missing $53 and a gold watch. He said that after Heppermann was taken to the hospital, he again visited the home and found quantities of London Purple and Daisy Fly, which both contain arsenic.

Tony Heppermann died at St. Joseph’s hospital last Tuesday. Just prior to his death, Coroner Buse ordered the exhumation of the body of Aloys Schneider who died last September 19. The body of the sixth husband of Mrs. Heppermann showed signs of arsenic poisoning according to a report made to the coroner. An inquest into this death as started at Dallmeyer’s parlors at three o’clock this afternoon.

Herbert Heppermann told how his father had met the suspect through a classified ad for a housekeeper’s position. Steve Heppermann broadened the testimony by relating that his brother had taken the woman into his home on a trial and “if he liked her” he would marry her. The wedding was held in St. Charles in April.

Mrs. Heppermann, who is 46 years old but looks much older, seem unperturbed when she faced the coroner. Showing no sigh of emotion, she listened to the oath being administered then on advice of Lawrence McKim, her counsel, she declined to testify. She was then promptly led from the basement room where the inquest was being conducted.

Jurors picked by Constable Duckworth to hear the evidence this morning were John Denning, Robert Dudley, Dave Borgmeyer, Dick Abeling, Thomas Spalding and Robert Darnell.

Continue reading Part III-Murder Warrants

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