"His weakness was his belief that evil had boundaries."
- Frank P. Geyer, the Philadelphia detective who was responsible for apprehending Holmes (Larson, 349)
The Scheme That Went Wrong
In 1894, Holmes used his longtime associate, Benjamin Pitezel, to assist in what was supposed to be a successful con. In this plan Pitezel was to fake his own death and have his wife collect the ten thousand dollar policy. This money was supposed to be split between the Pitezel family, Holmes, and the lawyer, Howe. Pitezel was supposed to fake his death by pretending to be blown up in a lab explosion and then he was instructed to go into hiding. Instead, Holmes actually killed Pitezel. Holmes made the death look like a suicide (Mrs. Pitezel was kept in the dark about the drastic change in the plans) and was therefore able to collect the money.
Preceding the Capture
Becoming concerned that the five Pitezel children might expose him, he went away with three of the children, eventually killing them. A Philadelphia detective, Frank P. Geyer, had tracked Holmes, finding the decomposed bodies of the two Pitezel girls in Toronto buried in the cellar of 16 St. Vincent Street. He then followed Holmes to Indianapolis, where Holmes had rented a cottage. Holmes was reported to have visited a local pharmacy to purchase the drugs which he used to kill Howard Pitezel, and a repair shop to sharpen the knives he used to chop up the body before he burned it. The boy's teeth and bits of bone were discovered in the home's chimney.
I chose the opening quote because it, again, reflects the time period in which Holmes was active. The ones he murdered were mere children and killed in such a way that was unheard of at the time.The fact that a human being could possibly murder another person, let alone multiple, was thought to be an impossibility at the time. Holmes was then the very first that shattered this thought.