That weekend, Brown hoped for a marriage proposal from Gillette. What she got was killed. Gillette took her for a ride in a boat, clubbed her with his tennis racket and left her to drown.
The murder trial became a sensation. Brown's love letters were read in court and printed in newspapers. Gillette was executed in 1908.
Journalist Theodore Dreiser saved the clippings from the trial for several years before writing "An American Tragedy." The massive book, published in 1925, explores the dark side of the American dream and is considered one of the greatest American novels.