Murder in South Paris: Who Killed Dr. and Mrs. Littlefield?

It was October 16, 1937. Mainers were just beginning to wrap their heads around the outrageous scene that played out in the streets of downtown Bangor in the days before. Alfred James Brady, Al Brady, and other members of the infamous Indiana-bred Brady Gang were killed in the streets of downtown Bangor an FBI shootout.

The story would dominate the news cycle for days and weeks following, and so on October 16, 1937, when the excitement was still fresh in the minds of civilians and law enforcement alike, everyone had their eyes peeled for more Brady gang activity in Maine and beyond.

So when police came upon a vehicle with a Maine license plate on the side of the road in Arlington, New Jersey, it raised considerable suspicion. Police would soon learn that this had nothing to do with the Brady Gang at all, but what they found inside that car would lead back to one of Maine’s most sensational crimes of the early 1900s.

As police approached the vehicle, sitting there on the side of the road, they could see a young man, slumped and apparently sleeping in the driver’s seat. The young man was 18-year old Paul Dwyer. His face was red, showing either his adolescence or his exhaustion as the New Jersey officers asked him what he was doing in New Jersey, so far from home. With the Maine license plate, they were already suspicious, and he certainly didn’t look like the type to be driving a luxury sedan. He was brought in for questioning.

The clearly nervous teenager sat inside the station and consented to a search of his vehicle. They didn’t have to look very hard to uncover the secrets inside. An officer popped the trunk to reveal the bloodied body of an elderly man amongst disheveled luggage. He sprinted inside, clutching the young suspect by his shoulders, yelling into his face, “You’re a murderer, there’s a body in the trunk!” Paul told him, “There’s one in the back seat, too.”

Arlington police arrested Paul on the spot, and as Police Chief George Shippee began his extensive line of questioning, Paul confessed the bizarre series of events that began back in South Paris, Maine. Even today, over 80 years later, residents of South Paris, Oxford County, and the state of Maine argue over who is responsible for the death of Dr. James G. Littlefield and Mrs. Lydia Littlefield. 

This is the murder of Dr. James G. Littlefield and Mrs. Lydia Littlefield.