The Cases of the Murdering Wives – Clarice Covert

(This is research for a law school paper – not my family line)

All of my earlier posts on the “Cases of the Murdering Wives” have focused on the parties involved in Kinsella v. Krueger.  The Supreme Court combined two cases and besides calling them the cases of the murdering wives, the case was known by the name of the first case where a writ of habeas corpus was filed, Reid v. Covert. I haven’t written much about the people involved in that case, so it is time to start.

Clarice B. Covert murdered her Air Force Sargeant husband, Edward Eugene Covert with an ax, crawled into bed with his corpse, got up the next morning, bathed and dressed and went to see her base psychiatrist.  She told him that she has killed Eddie.  At that point she was arrested, tried and found guilty by court-martial.  She was sentenced to life at hard labor in the Federal Women’s Reformatory in Alderson, West Virginia.  Here attorneys appealed her conviction to the Military Court of Appeals in DC, winning her release on was basically a technicality.  The Air Force intended to retry her, she was jailed in DC awaiting the trial.  Her attorneys files a habeas corpus on her behalf, claiming that the military has lost jurisdiction by imprisoning her in a DC jail.  Clarice spent very little time in jail and was out on bail when the cases went to the Supreme Court.

Clarice and Edward had three young sons, one born while Clarice was in prison.  I have not been able to determine where the boys went after their father’s murder, but there is some evidence that at least one of them might have spent time with Clarice’s father in Arizona.  Initially, they were probably sent to Edward’s family in Indiana.

I have traced Clarice’s roots back several generations and there are some interesting facts and some intriguing mysteries in the background information I have uncovered.  More on the history of Clarice tomorrow.

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2 thoughts on “The Cases of the Murdering Wives – Clarice Covert

    • The Supreme Court overturned both the convictions of Mrs. Covert and that of Mrs. Smith. Neither could be retried by a civilian court, so both were free after the Supreme Court decision. The case is fascinating.

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