Oct. 3, 1944
The sensational trial of Frances Andrews, 37, in the shooting death of Jay Lovett, 19, prompts a crackpot confession letter (a popular pastime in the 1940s, as found in the Black Dahlia case). This one included receipts that allegedly bore the victim’s bloodstains.
On July 15, 1944, Jay Lovett, 19, was found shot in the head at the gateway to the Carmel Valley ranch of his wealthy and socially prominent employer, Frances Andrews, whose husband, Cpl. Frank Andrews, was at a party at the ranch of movie actor Victor McLaglen in Clovis. A .25-caliber semiautomatic found next to the body belonged to Andrews.
On Aug. 3, 1944, Andrews, 37, was indicted in Lovett’s death. In a jailhouse interview, the “blond and chic” suspect said that Lovett had committed suicide. Prosecutors, however, charged that Andrews killed Lovett out of jealousy over his relationship with a neighbor, Nancy Linde, whose husband was a San Francisco doctor.
Andrews said that on the night in question she called Lovett at Linde’s home and asked him to return to the ranch to care for a sick calf.
Lovett returned to the ranch and three hours later, Andrews reported finding his body after hearing a gunshot. The Times said there were no fingerprints on the gun and no powder burns on Lovett’s body.
Subsequent testimony revealed that Lovett and Andrews had taken a trip to San Francisco together and that she had paid some of his medical and dental bills.
An older brother, James Lovett, testified that Lovett referred to Andrews as “dear” and said that during a truck ride about a week before the killing, they had put an arm around each other.
A neighbor, Irene Ball, said she had seen Andrews and Lovett together in a cocktail bar. Lovett had his arms around Andrews, who was “sort of snuggled up to him,” Ball said.
Lovett’s younger brother Luther, 17, testified that on the day before the killing, they had stopped by the Andrews home with a load of hay and had a glass of beer with Andrews. Luther testified that he went on alone while Jay stayed behind.
Luther said that on the night of the killing, Andrews drove to the Lovett home and invited Jay to dinner, but that he said he was having dinner with Linde.
However, Lovett’s mother testified that shortly after the shooting, Andrews said that on the night of the killing he had promised “to have dinner with me and take me to the movies.”
It was while Lovett was at Linde’s home that Andrews called and asked for Lovett come back to the ranch and tend to the ailing calf, which was put to death two days later.
The Lovett family was unanimous in describing Jay as showing no signs of depression or thoughts of killing himself.
Testifying on her own behalf, Andrews denied that there was any improper relationship between her and Lovett. She also denied making any “ribald remarks” about Lovett and Linde, and insisted she never put her arm around him, called him “endearing names” or snuggled up to him in a bar.
She said she scolded him for claiming that he was going to the movies instead of saying that he was having dinner with Linde.
Andrews also said she didn’t know how to use the pistol and had only fired it once to frighten a stray dog. Lovett had used the gun many times, she said.
On Oct. 14, 1944, Andrews was acquitted in Lovett’s death.
The Times said:
Before she entered her big, gray sedan to return home, Mrs. Andrews posed for photographers. When one of them exploded his flashlight bulb, she exclaimed: “Oh bang.”Someone asked her to smile.
“I’m so tired of smiling,” she smiled.
Then, with her husband, she got into her car and drove off.