The Death of William Costello

She smiled and twirled in front of the cameras, flowing through poses and alternating a serious gaze with a bright and beaming smile. She was wearing her signature black dress with a draped neckline and white piping — her second outfit of the shoot. 

Between flashes she adjusted her hat and the Buddy Poppy pinned on her chest, a symbol for the sacrifice of the World War veterans like her husband. Though she said little in response to the photographers’ eager questions, it was clear Jessie Costello loved the attention. 

A woman shouted from the window above, “They’ve had enough, Jessie, come on.”

But Jessie operated on her own terms. She let the camera shutters continue to click a while longer until finally she announced to the lot, “You’ve had more than enough.”

Jessie sashayed back towards the steps, scowling at the harsh gray stone walls that served as the backdrop for the impromptu photoshoot. She asked to go somewhere with flowers and trees, some nature to fill up the frame behind her, but Jessie’s request was shot down. Because Jessie Costello wasn’t a model or a starlet on the set of a photoshoot… Jessie Costello was an accused killer awaiting trial, facing the death penalty for the murder of her own husband. 

When Captain William Costello was found unresponsive on his bathroom floor, the responding doctor assumed he suffered a heart attack. No sooner was the last flower laid at his tomb did the rumors begin to swirl. It seemed no one believed the Fire Captain died of anything natural. All eyes were on his wife, Mrs. Jessie Costello, who seemed to love the attention.

I’m Kylie Low and this is the story of William Costello and his wife, Jessie Costello, on Dark Downeast. Press play for the full episode.

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