|Rev. Lyn George |
Smithsonian Magazine said Kelly was well-known in the area as a sexual pervert. Just days before the murders, he had been observed peeping into windows in Villisca.
Detectives arrested Kelly in 1917 and charged him with murdering the Moore’s, and for a while, it seemed as if they had the case wrapped up.
Kelly made a written confession.
He saw a shadow by the Moore house while he was out walking. “Something prompted him to follow it. He saw an ax. He picked it up. Then came a voice saying: ‘Go in. Slay utterly.’”
He crept up the stairs and into the children’s bedroom. The voice came back. “Slay utterly. Suffer little children to come unto me.” He replied, “Yes, Lord, they’re coming quick.” Chop—went the ax.
From there, he went into Joe and Sarah’s room. “More work yet. There must be sacrifices of blood.” Again, the ax did its work.
Downstairs, he discovered the Stillinger girls. “More work still.” The ax resumed its work.
Eight people were dead. The voice was satisfied.
The next day Kelly repudiated the confession. He did not remember making it.
The court acquitted Kelly on November 26, 1917.