Sgt. Jenks Talks to Killer Kring
St. Louis Police Sergeant Peletiah Jenks handled a number of high-profile cases as the Third District Police Station Desk Sergeant. One of the most infamous cases involved Charles F. Kring, who shot his lover Dora Broemser on January 4, 1875. After killing her, Kring turned himself in to Sgt. Jenks at the police station between 7 and 8 pm.
Charles F. Kring met Mrs. Broemser through her husband, his partner Jacob Broemser, in a drug store. Located in Mud Creek (now St. Libory), Illinois, Kring and Broemser originally ran a successful business. Despite their initial success, Charles Kring exhibited strange behavior, which often put off community members in the small rural town. Trying to prevent the business from failing, Mr. Broemser announced the business was actually owned by his wife Dora Broemser. They claimed Kring was only a clerk.
Compounding the difficulties of the business partnership, Mr. Kring began an affair with Dora Broemser. Despite both being married and having children, Kring and Broemser carried on the affair in a brazen manner. Mrs. Broemser often had one of her four children carry notes to Kring at the drug store. Mr. Broemser was also away on business to St. Louis frequently making it easier for them to arrange trysts at the Broemser home.
Soon it was an open secret in the small community. Mrs. Kring was aware of the affair but didn’t expose her husband, who appears to have treated her well. However, Dora Broemser began to fear Charles Kring due to his often erratic behavior.
With all the issues around the partnership, it isn’t surprising that the business began to fail. Mr. Broemser decided to use a far too common tactic in dealing with his failing business. Jacob Broemser burnt the store down. After burning down the store, Broemser found out about his wife and Charles Kring. However, he could not expose him for Kring knew about the arson, so the Broemsers took the insurance money, picked up and moved to St. Louis. Dora had family in St. Louis.
Charles Kring would not be put off so easy. He also picked up his family, which included his wife and young son, and moved to St. Louis. Kring attempted to continue the affair but by this time, Dora Broemser feared Kring.
On his 30th birthday, January 4, 1875, Charles Kring decided Dora would be his wife or she would die. Kring first went to her father’s house and drank a bottle of wine with him. Kring stated that he wanted to settle things once and for all. However, Dora’s father refused to accompany him to Dora’s house. Dora’s younger sister Amanda did agree to go though.
They travelled to the Broemser home at Fifteenth and Mullanphy Streets. Dora at first refused to see him. After some coaxing, she decided to walk up and down the sidewalk with Kring. Kring asked her to marry him. Dora told him that he would have to get Mr. Broemser to agree.
Kring again asked if she would marry him. Dora said, “I don’t want to answer because you’ll kill me.” Kring told her to search him. He didn’t have a gun on him. Momentarily relieved, Dora said, “No. I won’t marry you.” Kring immediately pulled a revolver from his coat and shot Dora twice. The leg would wasn’t serious but the bullet, which struck her in the chest, proved to be fatal.
Kring calmly turned himself into Sgt. Jenks several hours later with a simple, “I’m the man you are looking for.” Kring had a letter in his possession explaining his love for Dora and why he shot her. Kring would never leave the St. Louis Jail.
Kring would be tried five times over the murder and sentenced to death twice. However, he cheated the gallows by dying at 38 years of age in St. John’s Hospital at 23rd and Morgan Streets on May 17, 1883. His loyal wife Margaret was at his side, when he took his last breaths. After his death, she returned to their old home in St. Libory.
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Sources: St. Louis Post Dispatch, January 22, 1879 edition, p. 4 and May 17, 1883, p. 1