Police Sergeant Shoots Mistress and Takes Own Live

     On Monday, April 6, 1914, Richmond, VA Police Sergeant Phillip Neisz left his home to go on duty.  Before leaving his home, he informed his wife that he was going to kill “that woman” and also threatened his wife.  According to the Tuesday, April 7, 2014 edition of the Times Dispatch from Richmond, VA, Sgt. Neisz and his wife had been experiencing domestic problems for a while.

     Sgt. Neisz had been carrying on with Mrs. Roberta Lester, “that woman” whose husband had abandoned her.  After a Richmond Police investigation of the affair, it appeared that Sgt. Neisz was no longer seeing Mrs. Lester.  Events on Monday, April 6, 1914 would prove that the affair had continued but would soon end tragically.

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Police Sergeant Phillip Neisz from the Times Dispatch of Richmond, VA

     Sgt. Neisz went on duty and checked in through the call box system at 07:30 p.m., 08:30 p.m. and 09:26 p.m.  His last check in was at Lombardy and Broad Streets.  It appears that Neisz then went to Mrs. Lester’s home at 714 West Broad Street, which is now part of Virginia Commonwealth University.  Sgt. Neisz entered her home most likely through the rear door, where two locks had been broken.

     Mrs. Miller, a neighbor, heard Mrs. Lester scream.  Mrs. Miller entered the home and found Mrs. Lester partially clothed and cleaning a wound to her cheek.  Sgt. Neisz had struck Mrs. Lester during an argument.  Sgt. Neisz jacket was lying on Mrs. Lester’s bed.

     Sgt. Neisz yelled, “She broke up my home and I’m going to kill this woman.”  He reached over Mrs. Miller’s shoulder and shot Mrs. Lester.  After she fell, he immediately put the revolver to his head and pulled the trigger.  Sgt. Neisz collapsed into a pool of blood.

     Two Richmond, VA police bike officers responded to the reported shooting.  They found a critically wounded Mrs. Lester, Sgt. Neisz in full uniform except for his jacket and Mrs. Miller hysterical and with powder burns on her dress.  They realized Sgt. Neisz was alive and rushed him to the City Hospital but Neisz perished in the ambulance.

     Sgt. Neisz had been carrying on with Mrs. Lester for sometime.  When it was brought to his superiors attention, he was ordered to stay away from Mrs. Lester.  It appeared that the 42 year-old Sgt Neisz stopped seeing Mrs. Lester but he had not.  The continuing affair was straining his marriage, which Sgt. Neisz inexplicably blamed on Mrs. Lester.

     Sgt. Neisz was probably fortunate that he died from the self-inflicted gunshot wound.  The amount of time that expired after he first made the threat that day showed premeditation.  Neisz would have faced the death penalty.  He was also carrying a cloth soaked in chloroform.  As a former policeman, he would have been in constant danger in the Virginia prison.   Tragically, Neisz, who had been policeman since 1900, left two children.  Mrs. Lester also left a three and a six year old, who were staying with her mother at the time.

     Most policeman have been brave public servants that risked their lives to protect their communities.  Sgt. Neisz and other “bent coppers” have been the exception.

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