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Planning for murder, 1900

Last will and testament of William M. Rice, forged by Albert T. Patrick, dated June 30, 1900

At first it seemed that attorney Albert Patrick was only interested in the settlement of Mrs. Rice’s contested will and was looking for any way to win the case. He convinced Charlie Jones, William Marsh Rice’s valet, in the spring of 1900, to start poisoning Mr. Rice with mercury pills as a way to avoid a court battle. By the summer of 1900, Patrick came up with the idea to forge a will that left the majority of Rice's estate to himself and small sums to relatives and friends. The forged will was dated June 30, 1900.

Examples of authentic signatures of William Marsh Rice, assembled as evidence in Rice murder trial

The signatures on the forged will were proved to be fakes by comparing a glass plate photographic reproduction of each signature. The glass plates were stacked and projected in the courtroom, showing each signature in the forged will was exactly the same as the others, which is impossible in natural signatures.

Planning for murder, 1900