As reported in the Riverside Enterprise – Friday, August 15, 1936
HUSBAND HELD AS DYING WIFE ACCUSES HIM
John McNeill, Temecula, Denies Beating Woman In Fatal Fracas
Whispered statements from the dying lips of Mrs. Melvey McNeill branded her husband, John McNeill, Temecula blacksmith and deputy constable, as the “prowler” who beat her fatally in her Temecula home Thursday.
Three times before her death, Mrs. McNeill repeated her accusations. She told Undersheriff S.F. Lynch, her son John, and her doctor that it was her husband who attached her with the rubber covered roller from a clothes wringer and clubbed her into insensibility. She was unable to state a motive for the deed.
Sheriff’s officers questioned McNeill Thursday night but were able to obtain from him only conflicting versions of his first story that his wife had been murdered by some “prowler”.
An inquest into the woman’s death will be conducted at 10 o’clock this morning by Deputy Coroner Seymer L. Cash at the mortuary of Acheson and Graham, Inc. Findings of an investigation conducted by Sheriff Carl F. Rayburn, Undersheriff Lynch and deputies are expected to bring out testimony at the inquest which may assist in solving the murder mystery.
A three inch fracture of the skull was revealed by an autopsy performed yesterday afternoon on the woman’s body, in addition to three rib-fractures on the right side of the body and numerous bruises and contusions.
Investigation at the scene of the crime revealed the death weapon carefully hidden on the porch on the home. The house had been turned topsy turvy, bureau drawers had been emptied, but money lying in the home had not been disturbed.
Fingerprints found at the house are being checked by identification officers in an effort definitely to link a slayer with the killing.
Mrs. McNeill was discovered bleeding and unconscious, in the kitchen of her home in Temecula yesterday by her son John, 16, when he returned for lunch from the grocery store where he worked. He immediately called the sheriff and the county ambulance which took the woman to the county hospital where she died at 7:45 last night. A few moments after the boy had called, Mr. McNeill also called the sheriff and announced that a ‘murder had been committed.”