Ruth Snyder's Last Meal of Chicken Parmesan & Pasta Alfredo
She murdered her husband in cold blood. For nothing more than her own self gain. She had devised a plan with her lover Judd Gray, whom she had been having an affair with, to murder her husband, Albert Snyder, and financially benefit off the Life Insurances, Businesses and Properties he possessed.
Her plan went horribly wrong and now Ruth Snyder was set to be sentenced to death at Sing Sing Prison by means of electric chair. She had been found guilty of murder, along with her lover Judd Gray, and although her lawyer painted a picture of Ruth as a innocent, loving housewife ; the jury had seen straight through this facade.
The police also seen through another facade. When they arrived at 222nd Street in Queens Village that Spring morning in 1927, they initially thought that this had been a routine robbery with an unpredicted murder carried out by one of the many criminals operating in New York in the Roaring Twenties.
I mean, why wouldn't they? The house was trashed as though someone had been trying to desperately rummage through every nook and cranny for anything valuable and like a magpie, clutch something shiny and fly away. There was a model-citizen, cowering and shell-shocked housewife tied to a chair who so grief-stricken was reduced to tears and a colour of white only displayed by a human when they had witnessed death.
The death, in this case, was that of the housewife's husband, Albert Snyder. It seems the opportunist whom had broken into the detached colonial wasn't banking on the husband and wife waking up when they entered the master bedroom. It seems, in a frenzied attack, that said opportunist happened to have a heavy object with him in which he struck Albert across the head with and then managed to tie his wife up and then proceeded to suffocate him in front of her, or so she said.
The only thing that the Police couldn't add up is why the jewellery, which Ruth knew every exact piece stolen, was hidden under the mattress. Why this said opportunist, or burglar, had left no evidence of breaking in and why the terrorised housewife's tears were only momentarily and her complete demeanour, mindset and attitude towards the horrors she had just apparently witnessed, were not consistent of cases they had policed on before.
That's because it wasn't consistent behaviour of a terrorised housewife because Ruth Snyder wasn't a terrorised house wife, she was a murderer.
An eagle-eyed policeman at the scene had noticed a lapel with the initials 'JG'. This was a lapel that Albert Snyder wore at all times as a tribute to his deceased, former fiance ; Jessie Guischard. Jessie had died of pneumonia a few years before Ruth met Albert and was a contributing factor in her decision to get rid of him. Albert had never gotten over the death of Jessie, whom was the love of his life, and even insisted in having a picture of her hanging from a wall in the very bedroom he was murdered in.
Ruth was now back at the station being questioned after the police became suspicious of her story and demeanour when they got the call regarding the JG Lapel. The questioning officer asked Ruth who JG was. Ruth, mistakenly, thought that the Police were referring to her secret lover Judd Gray. She asked the police if 'Judd had made a confession'. The police, not yet knowing who Judd was, said yes and eagerly awaited Ruth's reply.
The reply is more than they could of ever banked on. Ruth offered a full confession, no details spared, and blamed the whole thing on her lover Judd Gray. She told police they could find Judd at a hotel in Syracuse and where the chloroform rag and the weight they had struck Albert in the head with could also be found.
Judd gave Ruth the same treatment and explained that he was a church-going, married man who had been manipulated and brainwashed by a younger, pretty woman. He said Ruth was the architect of the crime and he was reluctant to help. He did, however, help and for his participation in the murder of Albert Snyder he too was found guilty by a Long Island jury in just 98 minutes and sentenced to die, or fry, in the electric chair.
On January 12th 1928, a few hours before her fate was sealed in Sing Sing Prison, Ruth Snyder requested a last meal of Chicken Parmesan and Pasta Alfredo with a Milkshake or 2. It is said she enjoyed the meal, finished it all, and calmly proceeded to be executed with her last words, borrowed from the Crucifixion, being 'Father, forgive them. They do not know what they do.'
It is that last meal that is the focus this week on The Last Supper. If you'd like to know more about the life & crimes of murderer Ruth Snyder - please scroll down after the recipe.
1 Chicken Breast
250g Golden Breadcrumbs
300ml Double Cream
240g Fresh Mozzarella
30ml Marinara Sauce
A handful of Parsley
50ml Vegetable Oil
1. Slice the Chicken Breast in half lengthways and pound out to the thickness of a £1 coin (or an inch).
2. Whisk 2 eggs in a large surfaced bowl and pour the breadcrumbs into another large surfaced bowl or tin and season with salt & pepper. (Add 75g grated Parmesan if wanted but, for my taste, and with the pasta being Parmesan-heavy, I opted not to).
3. Using the wet-hand, dry-hand technique (as shown in the video) coat the chicken breasts in the egg mixture and then in the breadcrumbs, apply some pressure on the breadcrumbs as to stick them into the meat.
4. Heat 1.5/2inches of oil in a pan of your choice and when you think the oil is hot enough, drop a pea-sized amount of the breadcrumbs from the chicken parm in the oil, if it instantly bubbles, the oil is hot enough.
5. Lay the chicken in the oil and fry for around 1-2 minutes on each side until they are a deep, golden brown & crisp.
6. Coat the bottom of a baking dish in about 1inch of Marinara Sauce. Drain & Transfer the chicken and lay on top of the sauce. Season with salt & pepper and tear the fresh mozzarella on top evenly.
7. Bake the chicken in a 350F preheated oven for around 8-12 minutes until the mozzarella has melted and turned golden brown.
8. Whilst the Chicken is baking melt the butter on a low-heat in a pan and then slowly add the double cream, bit by bit, whisking to combine.
9. Bring the cream mixture to a gentle simmer and add the grated parmesan, again bit by bit, and then season to taste.
10. Add your Fettuccine (the pasta should be 1/2 minutes from al dente) and finish cooking in the sauce - make sure to not increase the heat here otherwise the sauce will split.
11. Transfer the pasta alfredo to a plate and remove your chicken parmesans from the oven, laying on top of the pasta.
13. Walk slowly to the Electric Chair and meet your fate!
14. Just joking! But please don't kill your husbands.
The Life & Crimes of Ruth Snyder
Ruth Snyder was working in a telephone switch board during the height of the roaring 20s. She was young, pretty and although not the most academically gifted, she was taking night-classes after her day job to further her career.
On one shift at the switch board, she accidentally called a man named Albert Snyder, instead of a manufacturing company. Albert Snyder was a wealthy man who was the editor of his own magazine, Motorboat. He had recently suffered tragedy in his life, the love of his life and his fiancé, Jessie Guischard, had died of pneumonia.
When Ruth accidentally rang Albert, he wasn't too pleased. He vented his anger and frustrations onto the young telephonist. Ruth repeatedly apologised and eventually Albert Snyder calmed down. He explained to Ruth about his recent sufferings and felt guilty at how he had treated Ruth for accidentally calling him. He asked Ruth where the switch board was located and the next day he offered Ruth his apologies in person.
Albert was instantly infatuated with Ruth, 12 years younger than him, and he began to meet her before her shifts. He would often treat the pretty 19-year old to coffee & breakfast and before long he employed Ruth at his magazine as a reader and copyist. He now could see his sweetheart every day and after a few weeks, they began courting.
Although Albert was physically attracted to Ruth, she didn't stimulate him mentally. Intellectually Ruth was absent. She never read books, didn't keep up to date with current affairs and was only interested in settling down and becoming the stereotypical housewife. Despite the unfulfillment in the relationship on Albert's side, he asked Ruth to marry him. After a months of marriage, the now Ruth Brown Synder found out she was pregnant.
Ruth was understandably ecstatic that she was to birth a child, however Albert didn't echo her excitement. He never got over the death of his aforementioned fiancee, Jessie Guischard. He kept a photo of Jessie in the bedroom and wore a pin with the initials JG at all times. The couple's baby was born in 1917 and they named her Lorraine.
Albert became more distant and their relationship was snowballing downhill. Albert's magazine sales were at an all time high, which consequently led to him being away from home a lot more than usual. When he was home, he preferred to spend time in the garden or working on his car in garage, and not with his family. Ruth, 12 years younger than Albert, was equally frustrated with the relationship.
Ruth was still in her 20s and wanted her husband to be more outgoing. The roaring 20s were in full swing and she wanted in on the party. Albert hated the fact that Ruth was fun-loving and didn't take life too serious. He often told Ruth it was a pity he wasn't more like his deceased fiancee Jessie, and Ruth often felt like there were 3 people in the relationship – and one of them was 6 foot under.
Ruth, unsatisfied from her marriage, began going out and socialising in the speak easies and hotels of Manhattan. In 1925, she met a corset salesman named Henry Judd Gray, who everyone referred to as Judd. They hit it off instantly and fell in love after a few weeks. Judd was also in an unhappy relationship and wanted out.
The often frequented hotels and as the relationship became more intense, they began to concoct a plan to get rid of Albert. Ruth took out a number of life insurance policies out on her husband and in March 1927, they began to put their plan into action. Albert, Ruth & their daughter Lorraine attended a neighbour's party one evening.
Albert had a few drinks and when drunk, Ruth was able to sprinkle some powder in his glass to make him sleepy. Whilst they were at the party, Judd entered the Snyder family home through the back door that Ruth had left open for him. When they returned at 2:00am, Albert complained that he wasn't feeling too well and went to sleep. Ruth put Lorraine to bed and moments later, Judd and Ruth went into the master bedroom.
Judd picked up a weight and struck Albert in the head with it. Lacking the strength to kill with one blow, Judd panicked as Albert awoke however Ruth was on-hand to smother her husband’s face with a rag soaked in Chloroform, which made Albert lose consciousness. They then held another rag to his face, eventually suffocating and killing him.
Judd tied Ruth to a chair and trashed the house to make it look like a robbery, however when the Police arrived the next morning, they found inconsistencies in Ruth's story and picked up on the lack of emotion that a housewife was showing after she had just been terrorised, tied up and made to witness her husband's murder.
She was eventually found guilty after a series of details that didn't make sense. The jewellery she said was stolen was found under her mattress. The Police also found the JG lapel that Albert wore on the floor and when questioned who 'JG' was, Ruth thought they were referring to her lover, Judd Gray. She asked the Police if Judd had made a full confession, to which they said yes, and she spilled the beans blaming everything on Judd.
She said that was manipulated by Judd and that he had orchestrated the crime – wanting to financially benefit from the life insurance policies. the estate and business that Albert Snyder possessed. Ruth told Police they could find him at a hotel in Syracuse and they quickly picked him up.
When he was arrested he turned on Ruth as she had done to him. He said that he was a church-going, married man who was manipulated by a younger woman. He told police that Ruth was the architect of the crime and he was innocent.
Ruth Snyder was portrayed as a lonely housewife at the trial and a model citizen, however it took the jury of the Queen's County Courthouse in Long Island just 98 minutes to find them both guilty of murder and the judge sentenced them both to death.
The press and the public followed the trial religiously and whilst on Death Row in Sing Sing prison, Ruth Snyder received 164 offers of marriage from men who thought she was innocent, or simply had sympathy for the 32-year old.
On the 12th January 1928, Ruth Brown Snyder was executed in the electric chair. 10 minutes later, her former lover Judd Gray was executed in the same chair. Ruth became the first woman to be executed in Sing Sing Prison in the 20th Century.