Frederick Crill was born in New Jersey in the early 1800s, and married Ann Slack on April 12, 1836; the couple divorced soon thereafter. According to later reports, he remarried and moved to Paterson, New Jersey, where he was rumored to have murdered his second wife, though he was never charged with the crime. He and a third wife, Elizabeth, lived in Vernon, New Jersey, in the mid-1800s, and had at least four children: Henry, Hannah, Elizabeth (Eliza), and Harriet. Around 1875, they moved in with their daughter Eliza and her husband, William Babcock. On June 5, 1879, Frederick Crill shot and killed Eliza after a minor dispute; his wife witnessed the crime. After being indicted later that day, his formal trial began on October 15, 1879. Judge Van Cleve Dalrymple presided, Lewis Cochran acted for the prosecution, and Lewis J. Martin, Michael S. Kimble, and Martin Rosencrans served as Crill's defense. After unsuccessfully attempting a plea of insanity, Crill was convicted and, despite a brief reprieve from New Jersey Governor George B. McClellan, was hanged on April 24, 1880.