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Jean-Bazile Michot
Occupation Unskilled labourer
Born 1832
Bléneau, France
Died

January 1885 (aged 52)
Orléans, France

Cause of death Pneumonia
Penalty Found to be insane
Spouse(s) Pauline Michot
Attack information
Date April 19, 1875
11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Location(s) Saint-Maurice-sur-Aveyron, France
Killed 7
Weapon(s) Sickle
Fork

Jean-Bazile Michot was a French labourer who killed seven people in Saint-Maurice-sur-Aveyron, France on April 19, 1875. He was arrested, found to be insane, and brought to a mental institution in Orléans, where he died in January 1885.[1][2][3]

LifeEdit

Michot was born in Bléneau in 1832 as one of ten children in the family. By the time he committed the murders he had lost his parents – his father died of old age and his mother of a stroke – as well as one of his seven sisters, and one of his two brothers, while his second brother, who was described as an imbecile, was held at a mental institution in Auxerre since 1873. Michot, who was said to have been remarkably gentle, reportedly was of average intelligence, but he remained an analphabet throughout his life and scratched a living as an unskilled labourer.[4][5][6]

Michot, an epileptic, suffered from convulsions during childhood and had occasional enuresis up to the age of thirteen. When he was twenty years old he began to be afflicted by fits of dizziness which recurred at the time of full moon until 1859, but nontheless, he was found fit enough to be recruited by the military and served his time in the navy. He took part in the Crimean War aboard the Suffren and during the Italian War was stationed in the Mediterranean near Messina aboard the Èbre. A few months after the peace of Villafranca he was sent back home and eventually released from service.[4][5][6]

After his dismissal from the military Michot married for the first time in 1860 and a daughter was born to the couple shortly thereafter, but his wife died in 1864. At the time he still suffered from bouts of vertigo occasionally. One day in 1865 Michot was woken by a fire at a neighbouring farm, but thinking that it was his own home that was ablaze he became horrified and severely agitated. The same evening he had his first epileptic attack. A short while later he married a woman identified only as Pauline J. and had two children with her, a girl and a boy, aged eight and three years respectively at time of the murders. Michot didn't inform his wife about his illness and when she was surprised in 1866 by a nocturnal epileptic fit of his she became angry, complained that he didn't tell her before their marriage, and energetically declared that she would stay his wife, but would not continue to spend the night at his side.[4][5][6][7]

From that point on Michot had a change in character; he became melancholic and later on violent, and furthermore began to feel persecuted by the villagers, developing the belief that they had cursed him with a spell that caused his illness. He withdrew from society and rarely talked to others, while the people in the community began to avoid him, because they considered him a dangerous person. Michot continued to have three or four seizures every year between 1866 and 1873 after which he would often threaten and abuse his wife, and once or twice a year he suffered from bedwetting, whereas his vertigo disappeared. In August 1873, several hours after an epileptic attack, he felt for the first time the urge to harm others. Semi-conscious of his violent impulses he returned home and went to bed, and when his wife entered and asked him if she could do something for him, he became terrified and yelled at her to go away, whereupon she fled to neighbours. Awaking the next morning his emotional state had returned to normal. Around November the same year Michot had a fit near Renaude in the commune Le Charme, and when he returned home barefoot and bareheaded he locked himself in and mistreated his wife. She took her two children and fled to Moreau to evade further abuse.[4][5][6]

MurdersEdit

On April 17 Michot had an epileptic fit, which caused him to be depressed the following day and in the evening of April 18 he had a second serious seizure. Agitated he was unable to sleep and quarrelled with his wife during the night. Eventually he drove away in his cart, but fell off near the cemetery, where he then visited his parents' graves. Afterwards he drove to the bottom of a ditch and spent the night there. The next morning he wanted to find work and returned to his home in Breuille, though he got into an argument with his wife again, in which he complained that she and the family Jarry had harmed him. At 5:30 a.m. their daughter fled to a neighbour out of fear that Michot would beat his wife, whereupon said neighbours went to his home and tried to calm him down. At 8 a.m. François Paillon persuaded Michot to come with him to work in the woods, but when they arrived in the forest Michot stated that he wanted to return home to see what was going on there, since his wife had threatened to leave him and take the furniture with her.[4][5][6]

Once back home the quarrel between the couple flared up again. At one point Michot crushed his cat and eventually grabbed his wife by her hair, wrestled her to the ground and repeatedly beat her head on the tiles. He may have killed her at this instance had his neighbours, the Billon's, not intervened. They wrested Michot from his victim, tied him to a chair, and then took Pauline Michot to their home, where they told her to lay down and rest. Meanwhile Michot gnawed at his bonds and after an hour managed to free himself. He armed himself with a gaujard (a large sickle), made his way to the home of the Billon family, and tried to break through the bolted door. Realising that his efforts were in vain he then broke through a window and entered the building. While the Billon's escaped through a back door Michot discovered his wife sleeping in a bed. In wild fury he began to strike her with his sickle causing a deep wound in her neck and fracturing her occiput. He also broke her left humérus, shattered her left elbow, and cut off a part of her left index finger, and with a number of missing blows hacked the bed to shreds. Pauline Michot staggered towards the window, but collapsed, whereupon her husband hit her several times in the back.[4][5][6][7]

Michot went eight kilometers, killing people in his path, went to Milerois and decapitated the widow Faisy in field, Charles Rocher, pastor of the village, with a man named Demerger and four-year-old child, Michot passed the, then turned around and killed Rocher by splitting his head, Demerger and child escaped, went to farm, found abandoned, went back, hacked Rocher's head into four parts, killed Mr. Tonnelier at the farm Bûcherons by striking him on head, fatally wounded his wife by cutting off her hand when she rushed to his aid, she died at the hospital in Montargis the following day,[8][4][5][7][9]

headed to farm La Tuilerie, found two children playing at door, killed Adrien Thierry by fracturing his skull, handle of his weapon broke off, the second child escaped, three kilometers further at hamlet Les Dorsoirs, found Mr. Tellier sleeping, when Michot closed door Tellier awoke, Michot grabbed a fork, when Tellier approached him he hit him on head with fork that handle broke, By that time Father of killed Thierry and others had armed themselves and searched for Michot,[4][5][7][9]

At half past twelve he came upon a Mr. Baratin near Fontainejean, asked him for a handshake, since he didn't blame him for anything, Baratin agreed, but on the condition that he'd lay down his weapon, When Michot complied Baratin called several farmers, they subdued and bound him, took him to gendarmerie in Saint-Maurice in cart, rampage lasted an hour and a half[4][5][6][10][11][12]

VictimsEdit

  • Mrs. Faisy, 75
  • Pauline Michot, his wife
  • Charles Rocher
  • Mr. Tellier, 53
  • Adrien Thierry, 9
  • Mr. Tonnelier
  • Mrs. Tonnelier, wife of Mr. Tonnelier

AftermathEdit

was guarded by villagers, interrogated at 3 a.m., only had a fuzzy recollection of the murders, asked why he killed his wife replied that he didn't love her, that she didn't want to sleep with him, wanted to see him only once or twice a week, stated that he killed the others because of all the evil he had to endure, but couldn't or wouldn't explain the nature of this evil, called people barbarians who wanted to burn and kill him[13][4][5][6]

six victims were buried on April 21, burial was attended by a crowd of about 5000 people, the prefect of Loiret, as well as several other officials.[14][15]

was taken to mental institution in Orléans on April 20, 1875, On April 22 cried for a quarter hour, because it was the best time for him to earn money and he was locked away, had two fits on April 29 and during night from April 29 to April 30, was interviewed by physicians on May 6 for several hours, doctors Legrand du Saulle and Payen who had examined him reported to investigating judge that Michot was with absolute certainty insane,[4][5][6]

In asylum was mostly peaceful, at times was angry at guards, accused them of keeping him chained like a beast, had epileptic fits five or six times a year, was treated with bromide. In January 1885 Michot died of pneumonia. An autopsy of his brain by Dr. Riu found no significant abnormalities.[4][5][6]

BibliographyEdit

ReferencesEdit

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