Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Jesse Harding Pomeroy

Blood Lust

Jesse's bloodlust was far from sated. Oblivious to the danger of being caught, he continued to try to lure young children into the fens and deserted buildings of South Boston with promises of trips to the circus, candy and money. Most of the children were smart enough to refuse the offers, although in one case he came dangerously close to luring his next victim into his trap.
He approached the five-year-old boy and asked the youngster if he knew where Vernon Street was. When Harry Field told Jesse that he did indeed know Vernon Street, Jesse offered him five cents to take him there.

They walked hand-in-hand down the street, Jesse clutching a broom handle in his free hand. When Jesse and Harry reached Vernon Street, Harry asked for his nickel. Instead, Jesse pulled the boy into a doorway and ordered him to keep his mouth shut. He then led Harry through a maze of streets in search of a good spot to commit his crimes.

Fate was on Harry Field's side that day. As the two boys rounded a corner, Jesse came face-to-face with a youthful acquaintance from the neighborhood who knew of his reputation. The neighbor yelled at Jesse and as the two teens started arguing, Harry yanked his hand from Jesse's and fled down the street. He ran all the way to his house, burst through the front door and into his mother's arms.

Undoubtedly the anonymous youth who had happened along at just the right moment had saved young Harry Field's life. The next boy Jesse enticed was not so lucky.

It was April 1874 when the Millen family moved to Dorchester Street, right across the street from the unhappy Curran family. The youngest Millen child was four-year-old Horace, who was described as almost angelic in appearance. He had dark brown eyes, bow-shaped lips and shiny blonde locks. His mother enjoyed dressing him in fine clothes and on his last day on Earth he was dressed especially well. He wore a fine black velvet hat with a golden tassel, a black and white jacket, a red and white checked shirt with velvet trim and black knickers.

Horace loved sweets and on this chilly early spring morning had succeeded in liberating a couple of pennies from his mother to spend at a nearby bakery.

Along the way he encountered an older boy who asked him where he was headed. The two set off for the bakery together. The older boy was Jesse Pomeroy.

Horace bought a small cake at the bakery and shared it with Jesse, who innocently suggested a trip to the nearby harbor. Happily, Horace slipped his hand into Jesse's and they set off.

A number of witnesses saw the two boys set off toward the bay. One woman recalled a look of excitement on the older boy's face that was much too emotional for someone who was just taking a walk to the bakery. The expression was so odd, she would later testify, that she went inside to get her glasses to study the boy in more detail.

The second witness, out wandering near some remote railroad tracks in the marshy area south of the city remembered seeing two brothers come by. This was about 40 minutes after Jesse and Horace left the bakery. It was unusual to see children out this far alone, but the older boy looked to be a responsible lad, so the witness said nothing.

A boy just a little older than Jesse who had been digging clams spoke to the pair as they crossed a ditch in an area of the marshland known as the "cow pasture." As gunshots cracked in the distance, Jesse asked the teen what they were shooting. Wild ducks was the reply. The clam hunter remembered thinking that the little boy was too well dressed to be wandering around in the muddy fens.

Finally, about 20 minutes later, the last person besides Jesse Pomeroy to see Horace Millen alive watched the two boys from a distance. This beachcomber noticed that the older boy kept looking over his shoulder as if he was being pursued, but the man saw that no one was following the pair. He shrugged and went back to scouring the shoreline for flotsam.

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