No known photo of Emmet Robinson
exists. This photo of an unknown child
is used to show the dress and hairstyle
of boys Emmet's age during this time
Emmet did not like that he was no longer the only child in the household. His new baby sister seemed to be getting all of the attention and love once lavished on him. So Emmet Robinson bashed in the skull of his month-old sister, Gladys, in a fit of jealousy. Emmet was not yet three years old.
The October 12, 1904 edition of The Boston Globe reports that little Emmet Robinson of Nyack, New York, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Nicholas Robinson, was furious about the birth of Gladys. “He hated the sister. He ran away, hid himself … was found weeping, sobbing, choking with childish rage.” The Robinsons knew Emmet’s anger had escalated when they caught him striking little Gladys. And he was caught overturning her crib while she lay in it. “I want the baby to go away,” he had told his parents. (p.1)
Emmet was two years and seven months old on a Saturday, October 8, 1904. His mother would later report how, about eight o’clock in the morning, she took a bronze statuette from the mantle to let Emmet play with it and left him in the same room with Gladys sleeping in her cradle. She told the coroner it was about five minutes later when Emmet yelled to her, “Mama, hurry; come look at baby!”
Mrs. Robinson found her son standing over Gladys’s cradle with the bronze statuette, now covered in blood. She saw blood covering the baby’s head.
Emmet was locked in another room and his mother ran for the doctor, Dr. C.D. Kline. But by the time Dr. Kline arrived, Gladys had died; the cause of death a fractured skull. Gladys had received six blows to the head with the statuette, which weighed a pound and a half. The coroner would later call it “a remarkable instance of infantile crime” (Jealous Brother Kills Babe).
Gladys’ funeral was held the following Wednesday. Emmet was observed pulling at his mother’s skirt and his father’s sleeve as they grieved. Reporters felt the boy was still seeking attention.
Dr. Kline believed, and Coroner Bittig’s inquest confirmed, Emmet was guilty of the crime. “I am convinced that the boy knew just what he was doing and that he deliberately intended” to kill his sister. Because of his age, Emmet could not be held legally responsible.
According to Coroner Bittig, when he asked Emmet where his sister was, the boy laughed and said, “Baby has gone away” (Jealous Boy Kills…). Once Gladys was buried the Robinson family no longer made the news, and they faded into obscurity.
From Jealousy: Nyack, NY Boy Kills Infant Sister. (October 12, 1904) The Boston Globe. Boston: Mass. p.1.
Jealous Boy Kills New Baby. (October 17, 1904). The Salt Lake Tribune. Salt Lake City, Utah. p. 11
Jealous Brother Kills Babe. (October 20, 1904). The Weekly Republican. Plymouth, Indiana. p. 2