On June 7, 1955, an
Information was filed in the Superior Court of Maricopa County,
Arizona, charging the defendant LESTER EDWARD BARTHOLEMEW with the
crime of MURDER (FIRST DEGREE), THREE COUNTS, felonies.
COUNT 1 was for the murder of the defendant's wife,
COUNT II was for the murder of the defendant's son,
Rickie Bartholomew, age 3 years; and COUNT III was for the murder of the
defendant's daughter, Pamela Bartholomew, age 2 years.
On June 9, 1955, the defendant was arraigned and
entered a plea of guilty of Murder (Second Degree) as to Marie
Bartholomew, Count I, and a plea of guilty of Murder (First Degree) as
to Rickie Bartholomew and Pamela Bartholomew, Counts II and III.
On the 22nd day of June, 1955, before judge Renz L.
Jennings in Division 6 of the Superior Court of Maricopa County,
Arizona, the defendant Lester Edward Bartholomew was sentenced to death
for the murder of Rickie Bartholomew as charged in Count II in the
Information, and was sentenced to death for the murder of Pamela
Bartholomew as charged in Count III of the Information. The Court fixed
the time for execution for the 31st day of August, 1955 within the walls
of the Arizona State Prison at Florence, Arizona.
After the plea of guilty and before sentence was
passed, there were two psychiatrists appointed to look into the
defendant's mental condition, said doctors being Dr. William B. McGrath
and Dr. Bruce Hart. Both doctors stated that in their opinion the
defendant is legally sane and knew the difference between right and
wrong. The facts and circumstances surrounding the commission of the
crime are as follows:
On or about the 28th day of May, 1955, in a motel
court at 2133 East Monroe Street, Phoenix, Arizona, the defendant shot
and killed his wife, Marie Bartholomew, and two of their children,
Rickie age 3 years and Pamela, age 2 years, by using a 22-caliber semi-automatic
The young boy, Rickie, was shot in the back and the
little girl, Pamela, was shot while she was lying on a bed. The wife was
shot in the front a little below the left nipple. There was another
child involved but this child was not harmed due to the fact that the
wife of the defendant, Marie, in some way prevented the defendant from
shooting the third child.
The shooting of the wife and children shows a
completely wanton disregard of human life and shows a malignant heart on
the part of the defendant. The killings were brutal, without provocation
or cause and investigation disclosed that there had been some
premeditation for some days before the actual shootings.
The defendant states that his true name is Lester
Edward Bartholomew; that he is 28 years of age; that he was born in
Fayettville, Arkansas; that his father is deceased; that his mother and
one sister live in Phoenix, Arizona; one brother and one sister live in
Chandler, Arizona, and one sister lives in Fayettville, Arkansas. The
defendant states that he is an American citizen and that he has lived in
Arizona and in Maricopa County for 19 years. The defendant has made his
living as a truck driver: The defendant has one child in Phoenix,
The defendant has been arrested numerous times on
charges including Petty Theft, Bogus Checks, Simple Assault, Assault
with a Deadly Weapon and Aggravated Assault. He was arrested March 18,
1955 in Phoenix, Arizona on the latter charge. In March, 1953, he was
sentenced to serve a term of 1.5 to 2 years in the Arizona State Prison.
Respectfully submitted this 22nd day of June, 1955.
WM. P. MAHONEY, jr