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Sixteenth Century: Arson Case Study

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Within the sixteenth century while there were fifteen reported cases of arson four crimes that are attributed to women (Appendix B), two of these cases involve couples (David Clary/Elizabeth Gombert and Mary Davis/Edwards Davis). The two involving the couples are of importance since they both had entirely different verdicts. In the case of Mary and Edward Davis, the witness Richard Dyer, when asked if anyone was in the house, swears that, “Not a creature.” Dyer swears that nobody was in the house during the fire, and since the evidence fell short of proving the house had been set on fire, they were both found not guilty. This is a common factor in most cases that involve arson in the 1700’s since there was little evidence to condemn the couple for their actions, they were both let free. In the case of David Cary and Elizabeth Gombert, this cannot be said. During the trial,…show more content…
Unlike the case involving Mary and Edward Davis, this case has a higher amount of witnesses that testify against the couple. Compared to other cases in the sixteenth century, prosecutor Silvester believed that the crime was done due to the fact that the suspects were looking to attain insurance money from the burning which Clary replies, “it is a thing we never do.” The court asks Clary to point out the clerk and Clary says, “I could know the gentleman if I saw him.” Unlike the previous case which had no circumstantial evidence against the couple, this case has an overwhelming amount of evidence against the couple. Although there is evidence claimed against both suspects, only one gets a guilty verdict and is sentenced to death, and that is the male, David Clary. The reasoning is that women had no operate legal identity, the fame covert held that any woman who committed a felony in company with her husband could argue that she acted under his discretion and thus gain an
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