From the Oregonian, dated July 26, 1909:
Mrs. Collins Now Denies Her Guilt
Declares Husband Shot Himself, but Officers Scout [sic] Her Statement
Police, However, Believe Woman’s Only Chance to Escape Penalty of Her Crime Lies in Insanity Plea
Mrs. Kate Collins, who shot and killed her husband, Dr. Roy A. Miles Collins, in the basement of Major J.A. Sladen’s home at 723 Flanders street, Saturday morning, now declares in her hysterical moanings that her husband took his own life, and that her one regret is he did not kill her also. Since the moment of the shooting, Mrs. Collins has not been rational, though at times she quiets down under the influence of an opiate, only to resume her ravings when the influence of the drug dies out.
Since the official examination of the woman Saturday noon by Chief Assistant District Attorney Fitzgerald, no one has been permitted to question her. It was stated, however, by a physician in charge of the Mountain View Sanatorium, where Mrs. Collins has been since early Saturday night, that she will probably be in condition to make a rational statement of the tragedy this afternoon. In fact, the change in the tenor of her moanings with reference to the manner in which Dr. Collins met his death, is taken as an indication by detectives that she is returning to her rational self and is now preparing a defense.
Story Comes Too Late
Patrolman Gill, who was sent by Chief Cox to guard Mrs. Collins at the sanatorium yesterday morning, is responsible for the report that Mrs. Collins now intimates that her husband shot himself and that she did not shoot him, as she repeatedly confessed immediately after the tragedy.
If Mrs. Collins had contended from the first that her husband took his own life, officials declare, it would not have been an improbable story and would have been a stable defense for her, considering the circumstances. They further say that had it not been for the fact, as related by Dr. Charles B. Frisbie, close personal friend of Dr. Collins, that Mrs. Collins had previously threatened to kill her husband and had on one occasion pointed a loaded revolver at him with that expressed intention, it would not be a wholly improbable contention now. This latter view is taken of the case in view of the madness which apparently seized her after the shooting and her incoherent and unintelligible statements, which would be discredited in court.
That Dr. Collins had faced much trouble and was in hard financial straits is testified to by numerous witnesses, among them Dr. Frisbie and Countess Viggo von Holstein Rathlou, his former wife, now living at 326 Tenth street, an interview with whom appeared in The Oregonian yesterday morning. These witnesses also state that Collins was despondent and downhearted.
Collins Had Much Trouble
It is further recited in support of the suicide theory that Dr. Collins had gone through two unsuccessful marriages. His first wife eloped with a Danish nobleman and left him with a 3-year-old baby to care for. His second wife was much older than himself, and after the first month of their married life, his wife proved to be of a suspicious and jealous disposition and frequently threatened his life. They had agreed to separate and were, on the morning of the tragedy, preparing to end their marital relations. He had been humiliated ever since his first wife’s elopement and Count Rathlou, and his practice in Portland virtually ruined. His financial condition was such that he was compelled to borrow from his wife, which added to the unpleasantness of their relations.
The officials, upon which the burden of prosecuting the woman-slayer rest, however, are not inclined to think that she will urge this contention after counsel has been employed and the case comes to trial. They are unanimous in the opinion that her only hope of escape from conviction lies in a plea of insanity.
Rathlous Flee From Publicity
No trace has yet been found of the letter which Mrs. Collins says she wrote to Countess Rathlou Friday morning. A close watch was kept on the flat occupied by the Rathlous yesterday and visitors at the house were not answered – which leads to the belief that they have left the city in order to get away from the notoriety.
“We want to live a quiet life,” said Countess Rathlou Saturday night, “and are anxious to avoid any publicity which this may give us. It seems as though we can’t go anywhere without the reporters finding us.”
Mrs. Collins’ daughter, who lives near Ferrys Landing on the Columbia River, 20 miles below Portland, was sent for yesterday and arrived at the sanatorium at 4 o’clock in the afternoon. The meeting of mother and daughter was without unusual incident and no pathetic scene was enacted, as was feared by attending physicians. The younger woman shed no tears and the mother’s greeting was to throw her arms about her daughter’s neck and weep softly.
The inquest over Dr. Collins’ body will be held at the Dunning morgue this morning at 10 o’clock. A post mortem examination Saturday night simply confirmed the fact that only bullet was fired. It entered the left breast and came out on the right side. The range of the bullet is strong proof that the shot was not fired by Dr. Collins himself, unless it was accidental, say those who made the examination.
Mrs. J.B. Miles, of Salem, the aged mother of the dead man, will come to Portland this morning to attend the Coroner’s inquisition into the case. She will be accompanied by her husband, Dr. Collins’ stepfather. Since news of the shooting was conveyed to her Saturday morning, she has been prostrated with grief, according to Salem dispatches.
Dr. Collins’ body will, in all probability, be taken to Iowa, his native state, for burial. As a boy, he was known there as Roy Miles. Dr. Collins was 34 years of age. Mrs. Collins is 49.
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