On January 21, 1926, as 19-year-old Mary Elizabeth Christy lay dying, she made a statement before witnesses that Dr. James H. Coleman, age 75, had perpetrated a fatal abortion.

Coleman had lived and practiced in Carterville, Illinois for four decades. He was out on bail pending trial for another murder charge dating back to 1924. He asserted that he had never met Mary Elizabeth.

Mary finally breathed her last on January 23.