Josephine Terranova

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Josephine Pullare Terranova (April 21, 1889, in San Stefano, Sicily, Italy – July 16, 1981, in Marin County, California) was the defendant in a sensational murder trial in New York City in 1906.[1] After years of alleged sexual abuse at the hands of her aunt and uncle, the 17-year-old Terranova stabbed the pair to death. A jury acquitted her in what was widely regarded as an act of jury nullification.[2]

She later settled in the San Francisco Bay Area, allegedly with the financial assistance of William Randolph Hearst.[3][4] She died in Marin County, California in 1981, aged 92.

The case was a major national news story at the time, leading to a widespread public debate on the proper role of psychiatric expertise in judicial proceedings.[citation needed]


  1. ^ ITALIAN GIRL STABS HUSBAND AND WIFE; Bride Avenges Her Wrongs and Then Escapes. VICTIMS LIKELY TO DIE; Tragedy in William's Bridge Italian Quarter That Has Some Likeness to 'Tess of the d'Urbervilles'". The New York Times. February 24, 1906
  2. ^ "TERRANOVA SEEKS FREEDOM.; Begins a Suit for Annulment of His Marriage, Alleging Fraud", The New York Times, June 14, 1906
  3. ^ "INSANITY PLEA RAISED IN TERRANOVA CASE; Italian Girl Will Soon Be Tried for Double Murder. Mr. Palmieri, Her Counsel, Says She Could Not Appreciate Her Guilt - Seven Jurors Chosen", The New York Times, May 15, 1906
  4. ^ "Josephine Terranova Promptly Acquitted", Boston Daily Globe, June 2, 1906