Crime History: Virtuous L.A. woman turns murderous

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Crime,Scott McCabe
On this day, March 16, in 1881, Francisco "Chico" Forster, one of Los Angeles' most eligible bachelors, was killed by his jilted lover.

Forster, 40, was the son of California's wealthiest landowners and an incorrigible cad with two out-of-wedlock children. Lastania Abarta, 18, was the beautiful daughter of a tavern owner. She played guitar and sang for adoring audiences.

Abarta ran off with Forster to a hotel where he took her virginity. Afterward, Forster left to find a priest so the two could marry. When Forster failed to return, she and her sister scoured the streets until they found Forster gambling. With a single shot to the eye, she shot him dead.

Abarta was acquitted after a doctor testified that "Any virtuous woman when deprived of her virtue would go mad, undoubtedly."

-Scott McCabe

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