A very unusual “Executed Today” story

Another one of my Executed Today entries: Abraham Prescott, hanged in New Hampshire on this day in 1836. The tale of his life, crime (if indeed it was) and death is one of the weirdest I’ve written about on Executed Today and I find myself puzzling over the guy. I invite Charley Project blog viewers to contribute their own opinions as to what really happened on that fatal day.

13 thoughts on “A very unusual “Executed Today” story

    • Meaghan January 6, 2013 / 8:04 pm

      No, actually, I haven’t, though I’m aware of the book. It’s on my to-read list, but from what I’ve heard it doesn’t say anything new.

  1. Peter Henderson January 6, 2013 / 2:06 pm

    Oh a offer to speculate! I can’t resist those.

    Well my two cents, based on your report. I think Abraham Prescott’s first account after being arrested is probably the most accurate. We have a young man with mild mental impairment coming to live with the family in his mid teens, with the emotional development of lets say a 10 to 12 year old.

    At first I think he viewed the Cochran’s as surrogate parents but as he grew older he developed sexual feeling’s for Sally Cochran, feelings he was not fully able to understand.

    It would not surprise me if he became a voyeur, viewing the Cochran’s in sexual situations without their knowledge. This would both excite and bewilder him and it would come at a time Sally was continuing to treat him fondly, like a younger brother or son. But now Abraham was viewing Sally in a very different light.

    Ultimately it lead to feeling’s of lust, probably coupled with a misinterpretation of Sally’s words and actions. The result; “Abraham said that while he and Sally were picking berries, he had done or said something “improper” to her and she threatened to tell her husband.”

    A local case that may have some bearing on the circumstances surrounding Sally’s murder.

    A young man, Francisco Cruz, 19, murdered a 16-year-old Waterbury, Connecticut girl, Chloe Monique Ottman, a few years ago.

    They had been good friends for several years.

    At around 4:00 p.m. on July 15, 2010, the day he strangled her, the two met in a chance encounter at the Brass City Mall. They walked to his home at 17 Hickory Street in Waterbury, chatting along the way. Then he asked Chloe if she wanted to share some alcohol he had managed to buy.

    It was mid summer hot and humid. Like most !6-year-olds, Chloe, a popular Crosby High School student and championship soccer player who was entering her junior year in six weeks, said yes.

    They went to a abandoned attraction which is just to the other side of I-84 from the mall. It was once a religious themed park called Holy Land USA, and they went there to smoke cigarettes and drink. It closed down decades ago but a fifty foot cross that sits atop a hill is still there, and that’s where they sat down to talk.

    Chloe wasn’t a missing person for long. Two days later her raped and strangled body was found hidden amide some brush and scrub trees, not far from the cross.

    Cruz said he kept trying to “make his move” on Chloe that night. But she already had a boyfriend, Jeremy Reyes, who she loved. She wanted no part of it. When she pushed him away and hit him on the face with her elbow, knocking his glasses off his face, he said, “I got so mad at her. I hate when people hit me on the face.”

    He choked Chloe until she passed out then started to rape her. In the middle he had a sudden realization, “I’m raping her, I could go to jail.” Cruz told police that Chloe woke up, “gasped for air like two different times,” and that is, “when I decided that I had to kill her.”

    He choked her again and also stabbed her in the neck with a pocketknife several time to make sure she was dead. The Connecticut Medical Examiner’s office said Chloe’s cause of death was sharp force and blunt force trauma injury to her neck. At his arraignment the judge ordered a psychiatric evaluation for Cruz.

    Cruz said the afternoon/early night started out much different and Chloe went willingly with him. I believe that much is true, she viewed him as a friend. Cruz said he had a crush on Chloe. I also think he dreamed of a sexual relationship with her for some time and he misinterpreted her willingness to drink with him as a implied agreement that she wanted the same.

    Somewhat like Sally willingly went with Abraham to pick berries. But just like Cruz, Abraham misinterpreted their relationship, then murderer her when she resisted his advances. And just like Cruz he tried to hide her body after the fact.

    Cruz’s psychiatric evaluation reveled he had emotional problems, but he was not legally insane. I don’t think Abraham Prescott was either, but I do think he had diminished capacity and should have been given a life sentence in prison, not the death penalty.

    Postscript:

    Cruz was sentenced to 55 years to life. The judge told him, “the place he will be waking up in, is the place he will die.”

    Chloe’s dad, Derek Ottman, brought a father’s day card she gave him to court the day Cruz was sentenced.

    Cruz did not offer a statement of remorse, he said nothing. “If he ever does do that, it’s kind of worthless if it’s not genuine and heartfelt. I don’t know if he ever will. And still, it doesn’t bring her back,” Mr. Ottman said.

    Chloe was a huge supporter of Keep A Breast’s cancer awareness, wearing her “I Heart Boobies” bracelet every day – she was wearing it when she was found. Many of her friends continue to wear them in her memory. Her ashes were scattered on the waters of a local lake she loved to swim and sunbath at.

    • Meaghan January 6, 2013 / 8:01 pm

      Which is all well and good, but where does the sleepwalking come in? What about the first incident where he clobbered both of them in the head with an ax? Maybe he really WAS sleepwalking the first time, which gave him the idea to try to use that excuse the second time? Maybe he wasn’t sleepwalking in either case but in some kind of fugue state that could be mistaken for such?

    • Meaghan January 6, 2013 / 8:06 pm

      Also: lol at “I love boobies.” Reminds me of the breast cancer charity “Save the Ta-Tas”

      • Peter Henderson Jr. January 7, 2013 / 9:14 am

        As far as the first attack goes I don’t know if Abraham was sleepwalking or not but I think it’s immaterial. I think it demonstrates his conflicted feelings at the time.

        Here is a couple who had given him a home, job and love. But by the time of the attack Mr. Cochran had also become a rival for Sally‘s affection, at lest in Abraham’s mind. And it would not be the first time and certainly not the last were a mans obsession for a woman turned from love to hate in a heartbeat.

        Still it was a halfhearted attempt, he could have easily killed them both. Today it would be seen as a desperate cry for help from a man who confused mind had the potential to turn lethal. As it did a few months later.

        The “I Heart Boobies” was a interesting campaign to help raise awareness about breast cancer. It became controversial because in addition to the bracelet’s they issued t-shirts with the same logo. A number of teenage girls got in trouble for wearing them to school. The girls said it was just a cancer awareness campaign but school officials said the shirts were to provocative in high schools filled with testosterone fueled boys. Normally I always side with the students in this type of case but I think the administrators got this one right.

      • Meaghan January 7, 2013 / 9:25 am

        It’s a very interesting theory you have and it certainly makes sense. (I have noted elsewhere on Executed Today that an axe doesn’t make a good murder weapon because, among other problems, there’s a good chance you’ll just injure the person you’re attacking.) I really don’t get why the Cochrans still let Abraham sleep in their house after he attacked them with the axe. Even if they believed his sleepwalking story, that made him a menace to everyone who lived there and they should have, at minimum, locked him up in the barn at night or something. Shrug.

  2. BeLa January 7, 2013 / 12:16 am

    My sons are/were chronic sleepwalkers. Oh the stories I could tell. I’ve also researched the topic extensively, though I’m certainly no expert. In my opinion I have a hard time believing even the first incident was a sleepwalking one. On the other hand it isn’t outside the realm of belief for me either. But nothing about the murder scenario rings true to what I know about sleepwalking. Plus what did he do up and decide to take a nap mid berry picking excursion?

    • Meaghan January 7, 2013 / 12:30 am

      To play the devil’s advocate, there have been legitimate cases of sleepwalkers committing homicide. You probably know this yourself, since you researched the topic. As for the berry-picking nap — he said he was sick, had a toothache. I don’t know about those; I’ve never had any teeth problems myself.

  3. Peter Henderson Jr. January 7, 2013 / 11:36 am

    BTW while I am posting on Charley, Stephen Locke Packard, the young man last seen with Linda Lee Lovell, had his picture added to NamUs so you can add him to Charley.

    My profile listed them as being missing from Stinson Beach, Marin County, California and their last confirmed contact as being June 10, 1974. That’s the date Stephen called his family who lived in New Jersey from a pay phone and Linda sent postcards back home to Missoula, Montana
    .
    Some reports list June 20, 1974 and Westport, Mendocino County, California as Stephan’s last known location as a travelers check baring his name was cashed their. This location; going north on Highway 1, would correspond with the couples planned route, but it is unreported if investigators have confirmed that Stephan signed it.

    And you need to do a update for Linda, as you made the same mistake I did originally. The Worlds Fair they were planning to visit was not in Seattle, that fair took place a decade earlier. ( I only realized my mistake a couple of months ago while writing about my first girlfriend. My first real date was in the spring of 1964, and the movie we went to see was something with Elvis Presley and it was based at the Seattle Worlds Fair) The 1974 Worlds Fair they were planning to visit was in Spokane, Washington. It was a environmentally themed fair, known as Expo ’74.

    NamUs – Stephan Packard
    https://www.findthemissing.org/cases/show/14418

    NamUs – Linda Lovell
    https://www.findthemissing.org/cases/show/9136

    • Meaghan January 7, 2013 / 11:39 am

      I know; I actually wrote up his case during my vacation and it’s waiting to be added along with a lot of others. I’m adding those cases more or less randomly.

  4. Melissa Kent January 8, 2013 / 3:53 am

    Interesting! I tend to think he was not sleepwalking at the time of either of his offending episodes, but who knows? I form this opinion based on my experience and qualifications in forensic psychology, so I may have a little more credibility than your average Joe!

    PS – when are they going to stop calling you a ‘guest’ contributor on ET? Surely you’ve earned your stripes by now! 😉

    • Meaghan January 8, 2013 / 8:01 pm

      Jason (the blog’s owner) has said as much: “You’re practically staff.”

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