Somerset County News

Heritage Trail publishes new book on Hall-Mills trial

People jammed the Somerset County Courthouse for the Hall-Mills murder trial, dubbed "The Trial of the Century" in the 1920s.

SOMERVILLE, NJ - The Heritage Trail Association has published a new book about the Hall-Mills murder and trial, known as the “Trial of the Century,” long before the Lindbergh kidnap case and trial in Flemington and the double murder trial of O.J. Simpson.

Titled "Cold Case: Hall-Mills Murder Revisited," the book includes the full text of "The Girl in Lover’s Lane" by Charles Boswell and Lewis Thompson; photos of the crime scene and the trial from university and library archives; an excerpt from "Memories of a Half Century at the Bar of New Jersey" by defense attorney Robert Harris McCarter; Messenger-Gazette "Hindsight" columns by Jessie Havens; and a commentary by Jessie Havens.

Priced at only $20, the book is available at the Phoenix Café, 24 West Main St. (908-218-0815); the Somerville Public Library, 35 West End Ave., (908-725-1336, x 12); and through the Heritage Trail Association (732-356-8856;

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On Sept. 16, 1922, two bodies were discovered in Lover’s Lane, off today’s Franklin Boulevard on the border of Somerset and Middlesex counties. The bodies of the Rev. Edward Hall and his girlfriend, choir singer Eleanor Mills, were posed side by side, with love letters strewn between them and his business card at his feet.

Later that year, a Somerset County grand jury considered the matter and voted “no bill.” Four years later, the case was reopened. After a month-long trial, the jury determined that the Widow Hall and her brothers were not guilty. Ninety years later, this murder is still a cold case.

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