WARREN - Akron-based author Jane Ann Turzillo drew a crowd of about 45 people to hear her speak on the "wicked women" of northeast Ohio, the topics of her recent nonfiction work, at the Warren Trumbull County Public Library Sunday afternoon.
"You see these things in the movies, but you don't think that kind of thing happens in your area," said attendee John Johnson of Leavittsburg.
Among the women she discussed were "Akron Mary" and Rose Tauro; both got into trouble with the law out of love.
Tauro, of Niles, swore to her murdered husband that she would avenge his death in 1901. After her husband's accused murderer, Frank Augusta, was released on $50 bail, she acquired a gun and tracked him down. Carrying her baby on one hip, she found Augusta in Niles and pointed the gun to his head ...
"And she says, 'You killed my husband, and I will kill you.' Pow! and she nails him deader than a doornail," Turzillo said.
Gleeful of her deed, Tauro sang opera in the jail before being released days later on $1,000 bail. She stayed in town for a while, but when her trial date arrived, she was nowhere to be found.
Mary Alice "Akron Mary" Chambers also went into hiding for four weeks after her lover, "Pittsburgh Hymie" was arrested in connection with the murder of a Cleveland councilman in 1931.
Turzillo's book "Wicked Women of Northeast Ohio" features 10 women. Johnson had already read through the book and said he was surprised by several of the women.
"It was pretty interesting. The one I liked had to do with McKinley," he said. "McKinley's brother-in-law was killed by a woman."
Having found an interest in crime after being a local cops reporter, Turzillo has spent the last several years writing historical nonfiction books. She spent about 10 months researching for "Wicked Women" by traveling to many, if not all, of the libraries in northeast Ohio.
"She did a lot of her research here in our history section," said Cheryl Bush, the library's public relations manager.
Turzillo also penned a couple Arcadia books and a nonfiction work on train robberies in Ohio. She is currently writing about train wrecks in Ohio. Her books can be borrowed from the Warren Trumbull County Library system.