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Stella Hyman
Murder Case,
1920


Stella Hyman Tells of Murding Two

Lincoln Sentinel, May 13, 1920

One of the most sensational murder cases in the history of Lincoln county came to light on Tuesday with the confession of Miss Stella Hyman, who calmly told of taking the life of her own sister, Mrs. Lizzie Bunch, and that of Ed Bunch, husband of Lizzie Bunch, and attempting to end the life of her niece, Miss Nancy Bunch, by poisoning her in the same manner that the others were did away with.
The confession came after ceaseless efforts of County Attorney M.J. Healy, Sheriff Sim Hoover and Marshal M.J. Driscoll of this city.
The officers had been working on the case since the death of Mrs. Bunch, Aug. 1, 1919, although they were not convinced that murder had been done until the death of Ed Bunch, the husband, two weeks later on Aug. 14. The confessed slayer is now confined to the county jail under guard and Lee Bunch, the nephew, also occupies a cell there and has confessed to being an accessory before the act.
County Attorney Healy had the Hyman woman arrested on the charge of incest as a means of working ot the end of procuring a confession. She stoutly maintained her innocence until Mr. Healy, by tangling her statements, led her to divulge the whole sordid tale. The confession follows:

Confession of Stella Hyman
State of Kansas
County of Lincoln, ss.

Stella Hyman, of lawful age, being duly sworn, upon her oath, says: My name is Stella Hyman. I am 29 years of age. I am the sister of Lizzie Bunch, deceased, who was the wife of Ed Bunch, deceased. About a year and a half ago I had improper relations with Lee Bunch and wanted him to marry me. Lee Bunch is my nephew and Ed Bunch and Lizzie Bunch were his father and mother. Nancy is his sister and is my niece.
Mr. Bunch, Mrs. Bunch and Nancy Bunch always treated me mean and they would not let Lee marry me. I poisoned all three of them. I used fly paper. It was poison off of a piece of dark brown fly poison that Mrs. Bunch had in the house. I poisoned Nancy first. Mrs. Bunch made a tomato pie. There was a piece in the cabinet and I had been fixing this fly poison and had drained the water off of the paper and poured some of the water in to the piece of pie Nancy ate this piece of pie. This was about 11 o’clock. She took sick that noon. Along in the evening they called Dr. Higgins. The reason I poisoned Nancy was that she was so mean to me. She chopped me in the hand with a knife and wouldn’t let me leave the house after I got there. This was before my baby was born.
About a couple of weeks after that one noon I poured the water off of the fly-paper into the cup of coffee for Mrs. Bunch. She drank the coffee and along in the afternoon she took sick. Artie called Dr. Higgins. Mrs. Bunch was sick two or three days and they took her to Salina where she died. The reason I poisoned my sister was that she was mean to me; knocked me around; wouldn’t let Lee go with me and treated me mean all the time.
After Mrs. Bunch died, Mr. Bunch came home and tried to treat me mean and attempted to make an assault on me. He had a revolver and all of the little children told me he went and got some shells and said he was going to kill me. He wouldn’t let me leave the place and I thought I might as well kill him as to have him kill me. About two or three days after my sister died, I put the same kind of poison in the cup of coffee Ed Bunch drank. This was at supper time. The next noon he came home from his work sick. He was sick a couple of days and Harry Bunch called the doctor for him. He would not have Dr. Higgins because he owed him some money so they called Dr. Kerr, and he died two weeks after Lizzie died. I put it in his coffee two or three times. I can’t give the exact dates or times.
I am making this statement of my own accord and free will and under no threat of any kind whatsoever, but I cannot stand to keep this confession any more as it is bothering me and has been on my mind ever since I have done it. I don’t know now why I did it. The only reason I can give is because they were so mean to me.

Miss Stella Hyman
Subscribed in my presence and sworn to before me this 11th day of May, A.D. 1920.
E.D. Harlow,
Clerk of the Distirict Court

Confession of Lee Bunch
State of Kansas,
County of Lincoln, ss.

Lee Bunch, of lawful age, being duly sworn, upon his oath, says that he is the son of Ed Bunch and Lizzie Bunch, deceased, and the nephew of Stella Hyman, who is the sister of Mr. Bunch, deceased; that Stella Hyman told him before the death of either of his parents that she was going to poison them – because they would not let him marry her; that said Stella Hyman also told him before Nancy took sick that she was going to poison her and was going to use fly paper poison, and that, after said Nancy Bunch took sick, she told him that she had poisoned her with fly paper poison.
That before his mother took sick, said Stella Hyman told him she going to poison her in the same way and that after Mrs. Bunch was taken to Salina. Stella Hyman told him she had poisoned her; that she also told him before Ed Bunch was taken sick that she was going to poison him in the same way, and that after he was taken sick, she told him she had poisoned him by the use of fly paper poison.
That at all of said times, said Lee Bunch never told her not to do it, and after all of said events and at no time prior to this date has said Lee Bunch ever informed any of the officers as to what he knew of the circumstances connected with the death of said parties, either before or after the administration of poison.
This statement is made of my own free will and accord and under no threat or force of any kind whatsoever.

Lee Bunch
Subscribed in my presence and sworn to before me this 11th day of May, A.D. 1920.
E.D. Harlow,
Clerk of the District Court

Miss Nancy Bunch, the niece, has been confined to her bed since she received the dose of poison early in July last year and at times has been near death’s door. Through it all, however, the aunt and confessed murderer has maintained a calm indifference. Nancy Bunch, physicians say, will be a helpless invalid the rest of her life.
Stella Hyman is a shrewd, designing creature, who would brook no opposition, even though her own sister must be put to death to satisfy her animal passions. The nephew of the Hyman woman, Lee Bunch, with whom she confessed to having improper relations and the father of the illegal offspring of the loathesome pair, apparently [can’t read] fear of consequences of his part in the murder of his mother and father.
Life imprisonment is the least that either of the prisoners can expect. Feeling here is not as freely expressed as it was at the time of the crime and the passing months have allayed the sentiment to some extent. If the confession had followed the deaths immediately the guilty pair might well have feared for their safety. The niece of Miss Hyman, who has so patiently borne her unwarranted sufferings, does not know of the confession.
The preliminary hearing it set for tomorrow morning at 10 o’clock.

Stella Hyman Makes Another Statement

Stella Hyman, under questioning by M.J. Healy, County Attorney, made the following statement late yesterday afternoon.:

Second Confession of Stella Hyman
State of Kansas
County of Lincoln, ss.

Stella Hyman of lawful age, being duly sworn upon her oath, says that she has a further confession in regard to what she has done in connection with the poisoning of the Bunch family.
Said affiant says that she didn’t tell all about the affair, and couldn’t rest until she did; that she poisoned Nancy Bunch by giving her fly poison in a piece of pie, as stated in her former confession, and that every day that Nancy Bunch was at the house, she gave more poison in the following manner, to wit: She placed the poison in lemonade which she made; in milk; in water; tea; and coffee, and put it in every kind of food that she had to eat several times each day.
That the same is true of Mrs. Bunch, and that while she remained at the Bunch home, she gave her poison in the same way several times each day and as she did in the case of Ed Bunch, and that she put poison in his drink the day he died; that she cannot tell exactly how many times she give poison to the above named persons, but knows she did it at least several times each day and that she always used the water off of the fly paper; that she talked the matter over with Lee Bunch before she did it, and that she talked it over again with him after she did it in each of the cases above-named.
That she raised and altered the following checks, which were given to Lee Bunch by Fred Ryan, to wit: Check dated Jan. 20, 1920, $3.00, raised to $5.50; check dated Feb. 16, 1920, $2.00, raised to $10,000; check dated March 5, 1920, $4.00, raised to $10.00; check dated March 13, 1920, $7.00, raised to $11.00; check dated March 10, 1920, $6.00, raised to $10.00.
That all of the statements made herein are true and correct and that they were made without solicitation on the part of any one, but that she desires to make her confession complete in every way.

Subscribed in my presence and sworn to before me this 12th day of May, A.D. 1920.
E.D. Harlow,
Clerk of the District Court

Stella Hyman Found Guilty

Lee Bunch Acquitted by Jury This Afternoon

Lincoln Sentinel, May 27, 1920

The Stella Hyman case was one of the speediest First Degree murder cases on record in Kansas. The whole trial consuming less than a 12-hour day. From the time the first evidence was taken last Friday morning till the jury returned a verdict at eight o’clock in the evening the case never lagged. Miss Hyman was found guilty of first degree murder.
The jury in the Lee Bunch case brought in a verdict of not guilty late this afternoon. This case has occupied several days time and has caused no little excitement. Bunch will be given a preliminary hearing tomorrow on the charge of incest.
John J. McCurdy, attorney for the defendant, suffered a nervous breakdown yesterday morning and was unable to proceed with the case. Kagey of Beloit was secured to take over the defense.

Hyman and Bunch to Lansing

Lincoln Sentinel, June 3, 1920

Sheriff Sim Hoover took Stella Hyman and Lee Bunch to the Lansing penitentiary last Monday where the former will remain the rest of her life and Bunch will serve a 7-year term. Neither of the prisoners seemed much concerned over the momentous trip.
Lee Bunch, acquitted by the jury of the charge of murder last Thursday evening later pled guilty to the charge of incest and received the 7-year sentence for that crime.

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