The Austin authorities had a penchant for rounding up the "usual suspects" every time the Assassin struck. In this case the "usual suspects" were exclusively black men and poor whites. Interrogation consisted of being manacled to an iron ring attached to the floor and being beaten severely. None of the black men who endured this torture ever admitted to the crimes. Some were interrogated more than once and most were under almost constant surveillance. Eventually an election year came along and charges were made. Three men (all the husbands or boyfriends of victims) were tried. Two of the men were severely wounded by axe blows to the head by the murderer and the state attempted to convince the juries that each had killed his companion and then wounded himself to cover the crime. One man was convicted but the verdict was overturned on appeal as the prosecution presented no proof that the defendant actually did the crime.
The Assassin and the Ripper crimes never were solved. In an age where criminology was in its infancy, law enforcement floundered in the darkness of its own incompetence. These tragedies call out to us through the centuries. What kinds of monsters do such things? We still are trying to figure that out as the descendants of Jack the Ripper, the Midnight Assassin, Dr. H.H. Holmes, and too many others still walk among us, They remind us that not all nightmares happen during sleep.