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Judge Joe Peel and the Chillingworth Murders

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When the usually punctual Judge failed to turn up for work the next day the alarm was raised by noon. The house seemed in order, but the porch light had been smashed and officers found two rolls of adhesive tape, as well as bloodstains on and around the wooden stairs leading to the beach.
Boats and a helicopter scanned the water and divers combed the ocean floor, but the Chillingworth’s bodies were never recovered.
“Five years were to pass before the police would arrest their murderers.”
The police heard that Holzapfel had been bragging that he knew who killed the Chillingworths. For three days in a Titusville motel room, two undercover policemen got Holzapfel so drunk he confessed to the murders. In an adjacent room an officer was taping everything and on 1st October 1960 Holzapfel was arrested.
The very thing Peel had been trying to avoid when he ordered the judge killed happened when he was suspended for 90 days over the non-divorce case. Peel quit as a judge soon after and resigned from the Bar in 1959. After Holzapfel’s ‘confession’ Peel went into hiding, but a friend set him up and he was arrested in Chattanooga a month after Holzapfel’s arrest.