Died: May 4, 1948
Married: Luisa Pavan
Children: Maria Amelia
Adirondack Daily Enterprise, May 5, 1948
Murder, Suicide Verdict Given in Double Tragedy
A verdict of murder and suicide was returned last night by E. N. Lawrence, Franklin county district attorney, and Dr. W. A. Wardner, county coroner, in the deaths of Francis E. Hennessey, 55, of Ampersand avenue and his son, William Francis Hennessey, 28, of 1 Riverside drive.
Young Hennessey, object of drag-net search by state police following the murder of his father shortly before 3 o’clock yesterday afternoon, was found dead by his own hand about 5:40 a. m. in the woods near, the Forest Home road about 3 miles from Saranac Lake.
Events leading up to the tragedies were reconstructed by state police and were reported to have started in the early afternoon when the father and son were alone at the Hennessey residence on Ampersand avenue.
A taxi operator, James G. Yelle, 19, who was taking Mrs. Mary Farrington, cook at the inn, to the inn, was reported to have seen on arrival there the elder Mr. Hennessey lying on the lawn with the younger man standing over him. As the taxi stopped, he said, the younger man swung a rifle so it pointed to the chest of the victim and he heard gun fire. Without stopping the taxi operator drove quickly to police headquarters and reported to Chief William A. Wallace. Wallace and two patrolmen sped to the scene where they found the dying man alone on the ground. He was rushed to the General hospital and was pronounced dead on arrival.
State police were immediately notified and a large detail of troopers from Malone under the direction of Lieut. W. H. Mather sped to Saranac Lake to join local state police in the hunt for William Hennessey. A drag-net was put out, road blocks established and all cars entering and leaving Saranac Lake were halted and investigated. Troopers systematically covered all roads of the area and shortly before 5:30 o’clock young Hennessey’s car was found abandoned on the Forest Home road.
About 200 yards from the road the troopers found the body of young Hennessey with the .22 calibre rifle used in the shooting of his father lying beside him. He had shot himself in the head tween the eyes.
Both bodies were taken to the Keough Memorial chapel where the coroner, district attorney, state and local police gathered for the inquest. The verdict of murder and suicide was then returned.
Police stated that three bullets had pierced the body of Francis Hennessey, two of them fatal. One struck him in the heart and the other two had entered his back. Three bullets were found in the walls of the grill, police reported. The coroner said that the father and son “apparently had fought over money matters.”
Mrs. George Doty testified at the inquest that young Hennessey had borrowed a rifle at her house shortly before the shooting. He explained to her that he was going fishing and squirrel hunting and she said, “he seemed all right.”
The elder Mr. Hennessey was widely known restaurateur and had operated his establishment on Ampersand avenue for a number of years. He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Eva Hennessey who has been in Schenectady visiting relatives, and two daughters, Mrs. James Sheffield of Lake Placid and Miss Elizabeth Hennessey of this village.
Young Hennessey was a native of this village and had served during World War II with the Air Force. He left Saranac Lake in 1940 with the National Guard, saw overseas service with the 27th Infantry division and later transferred to the Air Force.
After release from the service he became a pilot for an oil company in Venezuela. Two years ago he returned to Saranac Lake and entered business with his father.
He is survived by his wife, the former Luisa Pavan of Venezuela and his four-year-old daughter, Maria Amelia.
Funeral arrangements were incomplete this morning pending the return of Mrs. Hennessey from Schenectady