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Two murderer portraits

Two murderer portraits

Two jail portraits of murder suspects, both by former staff photographer Paul Calvert, show different placement of a single light source. At left is a strongly side-lit March 12, 1949, image of Arthur Clayton Hester, 19. At right is a Jan. 23, 1946, portrait of Arthur Eggers lit by a flash gun placed near the floor.

Hester’s capture was reported in the March 13, 1949, Los Angeles Times:

Arthur Clayton Hester, 19, who admittedly clubbed his foster father to death in a Ft. Worth (Tex.) suburb last Tuesday, according to police, was captured here yesterday at the home of a half sister.

Hester, clad in a letterman’s sweater and travel-stained slacks, surrendered peaceably to officers and calmly told them he had administered the fatal beating to Dr. John Lord, distinguished educator and dean of the Texas Christian University graduate school, with a section of lead pipe…

An April 30, 1949, Associated Press story published in the next day’s Los Angeles Times reported that Hester was convicted and sentenced to 50 years by a jury in Cleburne, Tex.

The caption under Eggers’ portrait in the Jan. 24, 1946, Los Angeles Times reported:

JAILED–Charged with suspicion of murder, Arthur Eggers, clerk in Sheriff’s Temple City substation, in cell of San Bernardino County jail, maintained the icy calm which he displayed while identifying torso as the body of his wife, who disappeared Dec. 29.

Eggers was convicted and sentenced to death. A United Press wire story published in the Oct. 16, 1948, Los Angeles Times reported

SAN QUENTIN, Oct. 15, (U.P.)–Arthur R. Eggers, 54-year-old former Los Angeles Sheriff’s clerk, was executed in the San Quentin Prison lethal gas chamber today for the 1945 mutilation murder of his wife.

Eggers was pronounced dead at 10:12 a.m., nine minutes after the tiny green death chamber was flooded with gas.

The frail, bespectacled little clerk went to his death denying that he beheaded his wife, Dorothy, and hid her mutilated body in the San Bernardino Mountains.

“Shot her I may have,” Eggers declared, “but I never cut her up.”…

Former staff photographer Paul Calvert’s portrait of Hester was published on Page 1 of the March 13, 1949, Los Angeles Times. Calvert’s portrait of Eggers was published on Page 3 of the Jan. 24, 1946, Los Angeles Times.

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