“Until death do us part” was Eva’s belief,

Freda Savahl
4 min readFeb 15, 2022

But Arthur had murder on his mind!

Photo by Bruno Aguirre on Unsplash

The Amarillo attorney & his family were church-going pillars of the community.

Arthur Payne professed moral superiority and contempt for the weaker humans committing all kinds of transgressions.

In the fall of 1929, fate tempted the forty-year-old criminal defense lawyer. The beautiful blonde Verona Thompson filled in as his secretary.

In no time, Arthur became infatuated with the young woman. Thus, the secret romance would soon be the talk of the town, except Eva, his wife, had no clue.

Arthur wanted his freedom to marry Verona, but he was aware of Eva’s steadfast belief in the sanctity of marriage. She would never allow a divorce.

In the 1920s, contested divorces were hard to come by & even harder to live down for a small town prominent attorney if he walked out on his faithful wife & three children.

The story is an actual historical incident.

So Arthur decided that his wife had to die. So he insured her life for $20,000 & began planning her demise.

During the Christmas holidays, he made excuses to retire in separate bedrooms since he felt sick & did not want to disturb Eva’s sleep.



Freda Savahl

Retired Nurse Practitioner WHC /Contract Provider Deployment Military Services. US Citizen. Immigrant from South Africa 1978.