Beulah Annan and Belva Gaertner, Social Opposites

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The roaring twenties was a new era, WWI was over and that was cause to celebrate.As music radio and motion pictures became very popular in the early 20's, people stop taking life so seriously, "you only live once" became the anthem of the time.Everything was changing, many women started drinking smoking and wearing make up. They started rebelling against their parents and victorian standards were thrown out the window. These women were called flappers, for their short provocative skirts and actions.

Belle Brown Overbeck Gaertner A.K.A. Belva Gaertner, once known as the "Queen of Chicago's cabarets,"was a 38 year old cabaret singer, she had been divorced twice. She was wealthy and stylish, despise work and grew easily bored with her milionare husband. A Hyde Park socialite who felt halfes dressed without gaudy jewelry. Belva was a party lover and a heavy drinker.

She was dating a man who was 10 years younger, Walter Law.

march 11, 1924 Walter turned up missing ,he was found in an automobile registered to Belva gaertner.He had a gunshot wound to his head, a pistol and empty bottle of gin on the floor.

All evidence clearly pointed to the performer herself as the shooter. She was found with Law's blood on her body, and the gun used in the shooting in her possession. said she had been drinking and had no memory of what happened Gaertner may have fared better. Police questioned Belva her response was, "I don't know, I was drunk." Later she was also quoted as saying, "It's silly to say I murdered Walter. I liked him and he loved me--but no woman can love a man enough to kill him. They aren't worth it, because there are always plenty more."

W.W. O'Brien was Gaertner's lawyer, he had reshaped the facts to come up with an ...

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...s their male counterparts. That sense of blind idealism allowed "The Girls of Murder City" to be the media darlings of the day.Others wouldn't have it quite so lucky, we learn. Where Beulah traded her looks and Belva her class for assured acquittals, neither Kitty Malm (aka "The Tiger Girl") or Sabella Nitti (the first woman ever sentenced to death in Cook County) had the beauty or grace to do likewise. Indeed, we find that cultural prejudices and aesthetic considerations played as big a role in their respective fates as their actual deeds, guilt or innocence. The circus style nature of the media coverage and the trials themselves can all be summed up in the musical "Chicago"'s declaration, "It's all show biz, kid". In fact, times haven't changed that much from Beulah Annan and Belva Gaertner up through O.J. Simpson and, yes, former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.

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