From a collection of San Quentin prison inmate mug shots
The Inmate Photo description board says mayhem but
The booking record says she ''cut her husband's penis off with a razor while in bed.''
Bertha "Bessie" Zettle Boronda
Born March 14, 1877 in Minnesota, Died January 18, 1950 in San Francisco California. She was the daughter of Xavier Zettle and Mary Reese. She Married Narcisso (Frank) Boronda on December 25, 1901 in San Jose California. The marriage didn't work out. She married Alexander Patterson May 24 1921 Los Angeles California.
Police scoured the city, but Boronda eluded them for more than 24 hours. Finally, she was spotted - wearing men's clothes and preparing to mount a bicycle to ride away from the city.
Police took her to jail and she confessed to Police Chief T. W. Carroll.
The Daily Mercury reported that she admitted to Carroll that ''she had inflicted the terrible wound on her husband in the dark. As an excuse, she stated that she had become enraged at Boronda and had quarreled with him over the reports that he intended deserting her and going to Mexico. After his two-day trip to San Francisco, their relations had been far from cordial, she said, and thinking that her husband intended leaving her forever, and so seeking revenge, she lost her senses for a time and committed this terrible deed.''
The newspaper never said exactly what she had done. It used descriptions like ''terrible wound'' or ''frightfully maimed.''
Boronda's booking record is more graphic, saying she ''cut her husband's penis off with a razor while in bed.''
Her trial for mayhem began Jan. 13, 1908, with a long search for 12 men to act as jurors. Frank Boronda was the chief prosecution witness.
He testified that the only thing that happened the night of the crime that even approached a quarrel occurred when Bertha reprovingly asked him about a recent trip he made to Oakland, Calif.
His wife's defense was simple. She claimed she didn't remember that night; her mind was a blank.
It took the jury only two hours to return a guilty verdict. Bertha Boronda was sentenced to five years in state prison.