Bodine, Levi

Farm laborer
Accused murderer
Born in the poorhouse at Kingston, NY as the unwanted child of a slave mother raped by her white master. He was bound at age 7 as an apprentice slave to Daniel Hasbrouck, a prominent man in Ulster County, NY but also a cruel taskmaster to his slaves. Bodine grew up with a sadistic and violent temper, often taking pleasure in mistreating animals and several times threating to kill Hasbrouck. Post-Civil War, Hasbrouck's slaves were freed in legal theory but in practice still under Hasbrouck's control. One day in 1870, when Hasbrouck demanded that Bodine do some disagreeable work, Bodine took up an axe, struggled with his employer and then killed him with axe blows to the head. Placed on trial in Kingston, NY on Oct. 7, 1870, he was found unable to stand trial for lack of education and the judge ordered him sent to the New York Institution for the Deaf and Dumb to be sufficiently educated that he could understand the nature of the charges against him. However, he never went to the school, possibly in part because the sheriff could not see the point in educating a deaf person just to hang him, and in part because the school's superintendent expressed opposition to having an alleged murderer among his students. Eventually Bodine was transferred to the state asylum for insane criminals at Auburn, NY, where he lived out the rest of his life, still uneducated.
Deaf Murder Casebook, p.37-40.