Episode 4. The Littlefield Murders

In the early morning hours on October 16th, 1937, Paul Dwyer was taken to the police station for questioning on suspicious activity. When the police searched his car, they made a shocking discovery.

Listen to “The Littlefield Murders” on Spreaker.

America’s most wanted Al Brady was killed today during a shootout with FBI and Local police in Bangor Maine, authorities are on edge as the search continues for gang members on the run across the country.
In the early morning hours on October 16th 1937 in Arlington, New Jersey. Sgt Louis Kaufhold and patrolman Michael Knabe were making their rounds. With Al Brady dead there were still other men in his gang that were on the run. While on their patrol they noticed a new Buick with Maine plates parked off the road behind a gas station. Thinking about potential gang members, they made their way up to the parked car.

The officers stopped as they noticed a worn pair of shoes hanging out of the window. It seemed odd to the police since the car was so spiffy looking. Once police got to the window, they were surprised to see a skinny teenager asleep in the front seat.

“Why, he’s just a kid”

The patrolman knocked on the car and the teenager awoke, sat up and wiped the sleep from his eyes. The officers asked for his Drivers License, the teen smiled and quickly handed over his license.

“Thank you Mr.– Dwyer. Where is your registration?”

Paul Dwyer smile waivered and he began to stammer. He reached over to the glove box and handed the cars registration over to the officer. It wasn’t in Paul Dwyer’s name. The officer noticed Paul’s cool demeaner slipping and he said.

“How about we all go back to the station house? I’ll follow you back in Mr. Dwyer’s car Mike.”

After the Sgt and Dwyer went inside, Knabe stayed outside to look over the car.  That’s when he made the shocking discovery.

“Oh my god.”

Knabe raced into the station house and right into the room where Paul was being questioned.

“You’re a murderer!”

“I didn’t kill them!”

“What do you mean.. them?”

“What did you find?”

“A woman’s body in the back seat.”

“Well if you look in the trunk, you’ll find a man’s body there but, I didn’t kill them.”

The officers left the room to further search the car, sure enough when they opened the trunk there lay the body of a man. The victims were identified as 67-year-old General Practioner James G. Littlefield and his wife 63-year-old Lydia Littlefield. James and Lydia appeared to have both been strangled. However, James also suffered a head injury.

Paul was now the prime suspect in a double murder. After further questioning, Paul finally admitted to the muders. His story was as Follows:

“Not too long ago, I had gone on a date with a dance hall girl named Belle. Well, after spending the night together, a buddy of mine had suggested that she had given me more than “Just a good time.”  So I asked the doctor to come over and check me out. I was already heated that the doctor was giving me such a hard time. But, then he tells me that my old girlfriend was going to be a mother. I pushed him and he fell into the bathtub and hit his head, but he got up and started to fight back. Then, I struck him with a hammer and once he was dead I dragged him out to the trunk of his car.”

Police Chief
“And how did Mrs. Littlefield, get wrapped up in this? Why’d you kill her Paul?”

“I walked up to the house and rang the doorbell, once she opened it I told her that the Doctor had been in an accident. He had hit two people and left them for dead in a ditch. I told her that he got on a train to Boston and sent me to get her.”

Mrs. Littlefield was shocked, how could this have happened? But it’s been said that Doctor Littlefield was addicted to Morphine, so Paul’s story wasn’t that hard to believe. She also had no reason not to believe him. To her, Paul is a good kid, he had worked for them before as a Chauffeur. What she doesn’t know however, is that she is about to leave the house with a murderer.

Over the next two days they drove to Boston, then to New Hampshire, then back to Boston. At each stop, Paul claims to have spoken to the doctor and is told that he had to keep moving so that he isn’t caught. So they kept driving. Lydia never knew she was closer to her husband than she thought. Finally, when Paul turns around and starts back towards Maine, her suspicions grew stronger.

“We pullover over in New Gloucester around 6 am on October 15th. I killed Mrs. Lydia Littlefield because I felt she suspected that I killed her husband. In fact, she had said “You killed him, I’m going up the road to bring help.” I then choked her and tied a belt around her neck.”

Paul places her in the back seat and starts driving. He claims that he wanted to be arrested. He ran multiple red lights and was even pulled over a couple of times, but was allowed to go on his way. Altogether, Paul traveled 800 miles with his victims. When he emerges from the Holland tunnel in New Jersey, he pulls over into the North Arlington gas station to sleep, and that’s where he was found by the arresting officers. After Paul finishes his statement, the Chief starts the booking process.

While other officers are doing a thorough search of the Littlefield car, they find a suitcase with love letters from a girl named “Barb.”

“My dear little hubby, 
 I don’t think what I have let you do is supposed to be done, but I’m not sorry for it.”

Barb just so happens to be the daughter of South Paris deputy sheriff Francis Carroll, who dislikes Paul for his romance with his daughter. So when Paul learned that officers from Maine were coming to take him back Paul said.

“I hope that they don’t send Carroll, he’ll throw me off the plane.”

Paul is taken back to Maine and police go to the Dwyer home to search for evidence to to back up Paul’s account of Dr. Littlefield’s murder. What they find however, are numerous inconsistencies. One of which was non of Paul’s exes are pregnant.

On October 18th, Paul is taken to his home with Sheriff Francis along with Deputy Sheriff Francis Carroll, under questioning Paul then changes his story.

“I killed Dr. Littlefield because I needed money, I merely meant to hold him up I panicked and did what I mentioned in the previous confession. The girl angle was all a big mistake, and was started over some letters found in my suitcase in New Jersey.”

With the murders and the change in his story, Paul is sent to Augustus State Hospital for observation prior to the start of his trial. There Paul changes his story again. The following is a statement that was given at the Hospital:

“I had made an agreement with Dr. Littlefield, he was to come to my house for the purpose of mixing medications. I talked to him around 2 o’clock on October 13th, and arranged to meet him that evening because the doctor was “Expecting trouble.” I took a wrench from Smith filling station in South Paris, met the doctor around 7:30 pm and drove to my house. 

I grabbed the doctor’s bag from a closet, took it to the doctor and left him alone in the bathroom. Shortly after, two men showed up and I took them to the bathroom. Not long after I heard shouting and ran upstairs, they were arguing about money. One of the men had a gun pointed at the doctor, while the other was choking him and hit him four or fives times with a hammer. 

He had hit him so hard that the handle broke. They made me tie a belt around his neck, we rolled him up and the other two men put him in the trunk. The men then threatened my mom, and my girlfriend, threw some dope in the car and told me to drive. Before I left, they told me to pick up Mrs. Littlefield. They followed behind us through Concord, New Hampshire where we were supposed to meet. We stopped to eat in Gloucester, and that’s when the men killed Mrs. Littlefield. 

They put more dope in the car and I started for New York, they followed me as far as New Rochelle. The two men got in front of me and I followed them to Canal Street in New York. They took the stuff out of the car and left.”

Paul claims that he tool the Holland tunnel by mistake, he wanted to go home. But he was arrested shortly after.

“Then those officers caught me and took me to the police station. I didn’t dare tell them the real story because I was afraid it would get out and I was afraid for my mother and my friend.”

Paul didn’t know the names of the men, but said he he saw them he could identify them. Paul said that he told Clark C Hunt and Francis M Carroll (the two officers that committed him to the hospital)

“The sheriff up there know now that I didn’t kill the Doctor and his wife. I have told them the story and they have sworn not to tell the papers. It so happens that the girl I’d be going with is the Deputy Sheriff Francis Carroll’s daughter. Naturally they didn’t like having her mixed up with it. I have done everything I can to help locate the two men with the Sheriff’s department. They are working it quietly, I don’t have much idea on when they will be apprehended.”

“That’s the truth, is it?”


“If you were to be hanged, would that be the truth?”


After being found sane with no psychosis, he is discharged November 15th. He is deemed able to stand trial the next day for the murders of James and Lydia Littlefield. He initially entered a plea of Not Guilty, but two days into his trial he changes his plea of guilty. The courtroom is abuzz with excitement. Why? Why would he change his plea if he was innocent?

“The honor of a woman.”

Paul’s story changed, again. This time, he said he did it to protect his sweetheart.

“I called the doctor to come over, but it wasn’t to examine me. It was to examine my sweetheart, Barbara Carroll. We, we wanted to see if she was pregnant.”

Dr. Littlefield’s examination revealed she wasn’t pregnant, but that didn’t stop the doctor from saying Barbara was a disgrace to her family.

“He called her a hussy, and I just lost it and killed him. I love this girl, and I would gladly give my life for her.”

Finally, it seemed as if the truth was known. Paul had killed the doctor for insulting his girls honor. Mrs. Littlefield unfortunately, was just a loose end. Paul was sentenced to life in prison in Thomson Prison with no possibility of Parole.

Wait… You didn’t think that was the end of the story did you? Well, hold tight. It isn’t over yet.

Six months into his life sentence, Paul sat down and started writing a letter. But the letter wasn’t for his sweetheart Barbara, it was to the Warden of the prison. Paul gave one final story of the Littlefield murders. Paul didn’t admit guilt, he pointed the finger at another person. A person that Paul states was responsible for the murders.

That person was the Deputy Sheriff Francis M. Carroll, Barbara’s father.

What Paul then wrote, became national news. It would turn everything upside and to this day would still be debated. Paul started with how he and Barbara became sweethearts. Barbara was fifteen, when they started dating and Paul fell in love with her. Shortly after the relationship began, things became sexual. Paul said that he noticed she wasn’t acting herself and asked what was going on. Barbara didn’t answer right then, but Paul received a letter from her soon after.

Barbara said that she was happy that he loved her, that she didn’t regret that night she spent with him. She only regretted that she couldn’t give him her virginity, she said that choice was taken away from her. By her father.

Barbara was ashamed and wrote to Paul that it had been going on for a while. In his letter to the Warden, Paul wrote that he was outraged and confronted Francis Carroll. He demanded that the molestation would stop, and to not repeat it with his other daughters. Paul threatened him by saying that if he didn’t stop, he would share the letter from Barb to his wife Ruby.

Francis demanded the letters, and Paul refused to hand them over. Carroll then dropped a bombshell that Barbara was pregnant and he blamed it on Paul. Carroll said that he would have it taken care of if Paul handed over the letters.

A few days later Paul called Dr. Littlefield over to examine Barbara. Not long into the examination, Barb started crying and the truth was revealed. Shocked and appalled the doctor Francis Carroll and had him come over. Paul told Barbara to head home and he’d talk with her soon.

Francis came over and the doctor went right into why he had called him.

Dr. Littlefield
” I know the whole story Francis, and if it’s true, you belong in State Prison.”

Francis lashed out and attacked Dr. Littlefield, and Paul was knocked out in the process. When Paul finally woke back up, the doctor was dead. Carroll demanded the letters, which Paul only handed over a few of them. Carroll told Paul to go get the car and pull it into the driveway. After he put the body in the truck, he said to take care of Mrs. Little field and left, but not before threatening Paul’s mother if he said anything.

Paul cleaned up the mess as best he could, and changed his clothes. He then called over to the Littlefield house and told Lydia had ran over two men. Which began the 800 mile drive across many stated. It was the return to Maine that Mrs. Littlefield began to get suspicious. Paul then told her what happened and she demanded to speak with Mr. Carroll.

It was October 14th when Paul and Mrs. Littlefield parked nearby the Carroll house, it was late but there were still lights on in the house. Soon after, they saw Mr. Carroll come out and drive away. They followed behind him. Paul overtook his car and Mr. Carroll pulled over. He managed to get the gun away from her and knocked her unconscious with the gun. Mr. Carroll put her in the front seat of the car, got in the back, and ordered Paul to drive to Turkey Hill.

Once they got there, Paul said Carroll handcuffed him to wheel and gagged him. Mrs. Littlefield started to come to, Carroll then choked her to death and put Paul’s belt around her neck. After being released, Paul drove around for a while, and finally parked to eat something. He then put Lydia into the backseat and headed south. He took her rings, watch and $250 from her purse. That’s when he made it to New Jersey, fell asleep and then was arrested.

Paul said that all of his other confessions were made from duress. But when he was returned to Maine, and was placed in Jail, Carroll threatened him again. Paul said that Carroll looked drunk and smelled of alcohol.

After the Warden read the letter, he turned it over to the Attorney General. An investigation was ordered. Shortly after the Attorney General appointed a Portland Attorney Ralph Ingalls to represent the state. Francis M Carroll was indicted, not only for the murder of the Littlefield’s but also crime on Incest.

The trial was set for August 1st 1938. During the trial, Paul gave his statement on what happened that night. Some things had changed again.

“Dr. Littlefield and Carroll met at the top of the stairs where Carroll had hit the doctor in the groin. The doctor hunched over, and I ran upstairs with the wrench and hammer and I swung at Carroll. The wrench fell apart and Carroll took the hammer away from me. Carroll then hit the doctor several times in the head with a hammer and the handle broke.”

Paul states that the doctor was unconscious, and Carroll left to get whiskey to revive the doctor.

“When the doctor started to come to, I helped him up and we walked around the bathroom. Carroll then returned with a .45 automatic and hit the doctor on the head with it, knocking him out of my arms and onto floor where he took my belt and tied it around the doctor’s neck.”

But this time, he didn’t say that he was handcuffed and gagged.

The trial continued, and Carroll initially plead guilty to the charges, so that Barbara wouldn’t be called to Testify. He didn’t know that Paul still had some of the letters Barbara wrote to him, which were now going to be read in court.

Letter 1.
“The ball is tomorrow evening, I’ll be at a campfire til half past 4 or quarter til 5. Yes, you may have seen me. Yes, I like to show. I’m sorry you didn’t like it well. I think I regret telling you what I did yesterday. Not that I wasn’t glad to get it off my chest, but, it’s bothering you and it’s hell for me to be around where you can see me and you know what you know now. That’s one reason it hurts when you say you’re not decent enough to go with me because, It’s me that’s not decent.  Don’t say it isn’t because I know differently.

Goodbye my darling, I feel too rotten to write anymore. Just, keep what I’ve told you under your hat.”

The next letter from Barbara was a little longer and was entered into states evidence exhibit 18.

Letter 2.
“To my own pure little sweetheart,

That was the sweetest, dearest and loveliest little that I have ever received. It was wonderful! I’ll always keep it. It is terrible separating us like this, but I guess I won’t say anything about it. Dad hasn’t said anything yet, and neither has mother. I pity dad when he does say something, because I am going to remind him of a few things! 

I have never cried as much as I have cried tonight in all of my life. I love you, love you so much buddy. Why can’t I have you? I can have anything can’t I? I will try my hardest to be good enough and ideal for you to follow. I am glad you love me. I love you, with every single part of my body. 

You’re wonderful, pure, lovely and darling to me, always stay that way. I will stay as I am now for you. 

Goodbye darling, for the present at least. The one that will always love you, no matter what happens.


Letter 3, State’s Exhibit 14
“Well Darling,

I’ll tell you now, the thing that bothers me now is that I don’t think you’ll leave me and it hurts to think that you’re going to stay with me when I’m not really what you want. You should have a girl that hasn’t been touched and although I know you love me and I am positive that I love you. You really deserve something better than I can give you. That is the reason that I feel so rotten in a small group of words. Is that I can’t give you everything you deserve.

Always yours, until something changes your mind.”

Letter 4, State’s Exhibit 15

I’m so sorry for what I said about your not loving me as much as I love you. If that’s what you got so sore about. Please keep the secret for my sake, I’m sorry about this afternoon. I know you’ll keep still about it, even if you hate me. I want you back, but it’s hard to say so, because I don’t know as you want to come. 

It’s about 11 o’clock, I’m so sleepy. I hope you’ll come back darling, I need you and want you.”

The last letter the state gave as evidence.

Letter 5
“My dearest little darling, 

You know that I shall always love you no matter where you are, or what you’re doing, I love you darling, remember that. I gave you everything I could darling, because I loved you. Except, my virginity. If you think you ought to be forgiven, I mean if you think you’ve done something that you want my forgiveness for. I forgive you darling, with all my heart, soul and body. You’ll probably meet all kinds of people and be tempted to do all kinds of things but, if you love me as much as you showed me that you do. You won’t drink nor make anyone. This last thing wouldn’t happen anyway, but I had to say it! 

I’ll be waiting for you with open arms, heart and soul, Buddy. I hope you’ll receive me the same. I love you, your own. 


I’m glad I belong to you”

The first set of witnesses were the Moore sisters. Virginia Moore states that about 7:30 or a little later she was walking by the Dwyer home and another car was parked in the country club parking lot. With an unidentifiable man in it.

“You didn’t recognize him?”


“Then, we’ll leave it to that you couldn’t tell because of the darkness who it was?”

“That’s right.”

Virginia stated that she returned in about 15-20 minutes, saw the two cars and saw Paul Dwyer walking around in front of his house.

Next to testify was Virginia’s sister Priscilla.

“My statement would be the same as my sisters. Except for the one fact that I did not see a person in the car, in the country club parking space. As for time? It was in the whereabouts of 7:30 or 7:45 and Dr. Littlefield’s car was parked beside the house. Lights were on both up and down stairs,and Paul did walk out the front door to get fresh air. He did say “Hello girls.”

Each witness was called to testify.

Witness 1
“Paul told me not to believe the story he had told me in the Judges chamber that afternoon. Paul said “I’ve got to plead guilty, I can’t go through with it! My life had been threatened and so was my mothers. I want to get out of this, and be where I can be quiet and safe.”

“Did he tell you who threatened his life and that of his mother?”

Witness 1
“Francis Carroll”

Witness 2
“I was returning home, when I saw a car parked in a sloping field around midnight. Near the foot of Turkey Hill. I noticed it because it was off the road more than I had ever seen before. It had no lights.”

“Did you go down to see what the trouble was?”

Witness 2
“No, I did not.”

Witness 3
“I woke up one night to hear a shrill, piercing shriek of a feminine voice as an automobile passed by our house and went on up the street. It was around midnight.”

In total there were 15 witness called to testify. Each given their account of both Paul and Francis.

Now finally, it was Francis’ turn to take the stand. Carroll admitted that he had long time thought that Dwyer must have had outside help. But then he testified that Paul had the strength to take out Dr. Littlefield and could have killed him on his own. He also denied ever threatening death to Paul if he didn’t take the blame for the killings.

He did confess that he was mad that Paul brought his daughter and family into it. But he said that he had never intended to hurt Paul. He claimed that he had no knowledge of the letters that Barbara had written to Paul.

“So, Mr. Carroll. Where were you from October 13th to the 16th?”

“On the night in question, I was at a legion supper then went with Sheriff Francis to answer a complaint and from there we went to the Sheriff’s office before going to the home of Mr and Mrs Maurice Prince for cards and refreshments. Until 1 the next morning, then we went home.”

Mrs. Carroll accounted for her husband on the next night. She said they were at his mothers house for supper. Stayed there during the evening, then went home together.

On October 16th, when Paul was arrested. They were in Reading Massachusetts, visiting her brother. He didn’t learn of the murders until a newsman can to Reading to meet with Barbara for an interview.

“And yet, you still say that you returned Sunday night? Did you harbor any resentment towards Dwyer?

“I can’t say as to that, but naturally I had some feeling toward the youth for what he had done. I didn’t know that Paul had intimate with Barbara, though I did see a letter in the Papers. It made me mad, but I didn’t see Paul until he was apprehended and we took him to his home.”

“Did you remove any stains from the door or the bathroom floor?”

“I did not”

“You felt pretty mad at Dwyer, for bringing you and your family into it didn’t you?”

“Yes, I was told by the Sheriff on the day that Paul went to prison. That he had made some statement about him or his family being mixed up in the death of the doctor. At the time I had admitted that I have no love for Paul Dwyer.”

“Where is the letter that Dwyer wrote to you from the prison?”

“I don’t have it. He asked me to come there, saying he had something he wanted to tell me.”

“Trying to get him to say that you had nothing to do with it?”


“But trying to get him to tell you something?”

“Yes, the sheriff once asked me to have Barbara examined. But I told him there no need for it. He asked me, if I had talked to her about the talk I had with Paul and I told him that I hadn’t.”

“And that was no concern to you?”

“I couldn’t see at the time that it was absolutely necessary to have her examined.”

“Just what in the world convinced you to go twice to see this young man who hurt you and your family so much?”

“The day that I took Paul to the State Hospital, I told him that I’d like to know the truth about what happened in the bathroom the night that Dr. Littlefield was killed. Paul told me that if he ever told he would tell either me or deputy Hunt.”

“Why did you think there was someone else with him?”

“Well, I always had a feeling Paul was always a good kid.”

“Didn’t you know there was no motive as to why Paul would kill Dr. Littlefield?”

“I never thought his had a motive.”

“Never thought he had the strength either did you? Is it your notion Paul Dwyer could even lick Dr. Littlefield?”

“Yes, I think he could. The first time I went to interview him at the prison. He looked quite sick and he looked ugly at me.”

“He didn’t frighten you, did he?”


“Did he threaten you?”

“He did not.”

The trial continued and Carroll was accused of trying to bribe the witnesses to vouch for his whereabouts. Finally, the lawyers gave their closing statements and the Jury retired to deliberate at 3:15pm. It took them 5 and a half hours to reach a verdict and at 8:50pm they returned to the courtroom.

“Have you anything to say before sentence is passed upon you?”

“The only thing I can say sir, is that I am not guilty.”

“Is the respondent Guilty or Not Guilty?”


The courtroom was silent, and Carroll did not flinch. But his face turned pale, his wife started to sob loudly. The court was excused, and left in silence. The atmosphere was tense.

Francis Carroll was sentenced to life in prison. Carroll still denied that he had anything to do with the murders and denies doing anything to Barbara. He didn’t deny at the trial, since his counsel advised him against it since they would have had to call Barbara to testify. If she indeed made a positive accusation, it would have been highly prejudicial.

Now there were two men serving life sentences for the same crime and that was all there was to it for a time. All the while Paul and Francis tried to proclaim their innocence.

It wouldn’t be until 1950 that Carroll would win his freedom. That was when legislature ordered the Attorney General to re-investigate the case. It was determined that no matter what the investigation found. Carroll could not be charged with incest, nor could he be retried for the murder of Dr. Littlefield. However, both Carroll and Paul could still be tried for the death the Lydia Littlefield. Since they were never accused of killing her.

At the end of the investigation, that was published in 1952. It was determined that there was indeed reasonable doubt of Carroll’s guilt. He would not face any additional charges. Carroll was a free man, and eventually Paul would be freed on Parole for good behavior.

In total, Carroll served 12 years in prison while Paul served over 20.

If you ask those of Oxford county today, what they think happened. You’d still get a good argument on who really did the murders.

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