Glensheen Mansion Murders: 40 Years Later

June 26, 2017 09:00 AM

Forty years ago, on June 27, 1977, a Minnesota millionaire was found dead in her bed in Duluth. The mystery of who killed 83-year-old Elisabeth Congdon and her night nurse Velma Pietila remains a topic of intrigue and speculation. 

The man charged and convicted with the murders was Roger Caldwell, the spouse of Congdon's adopted daughter, Marjorie. Authorities found a handwritten "will" by Marjorie Caldwell promising $2.5 million of her expected $8 million inheritance. 

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RELATED: 40 Years Later, Congdon Murders Still Fascinate

Marjorie Caldwell was charged, but she was tried and acquitted. She has maintained that she is innocent and was framed for murder. 

Roger Caldwell, sentenced to life in prison, was offered a deal that if he confessed to the murders instead of getting a new trial, authorities would him let him go.  In 1988, he committed suicide, leaving a note that he didn't commit the murders.

Marjorie Congdon continued to have legal problems throughout her life. Besides being wanted for bigamy, she faced arson, fraud and murder charges.

The Glensheen Mansion is now owned and operated by the University of Minnesota-Duluth. 

Timeline of Marjorie Congdon's Life

  • 1951- Marjorie Congdon married Richard "Dick" LeRoy  – the couple had seven children; moved from St. Louis to St. Louis Park, Minnesota
  • 1952 to 1954 -  the LeRoys lived at 2744 Salem Ave. in St. Louis Park (The family briefly moved to Mankato)
  • 1955 - Lived at 3330 Huntington Ave, St. Louis Park
  • 1957 - Moved to 4705 Fremont Ave. N, Minneapolis
  • 1971 - Marjorie and Dick LeRoy divorced April 29,1971
  • March 20, 1976 – Marjorie married Roger Caldwell - lived in Golden, Colorado
  • June 26, 1977 - Glensheen murders 
  • July 10, 1978 – Roger Caldwell given two consecutive life sentences
  • July 21, 1979 – Marjorie found not guilty
  • 1979: Glensheen Mansion opened to the public as a museum, operated by the University of Minnesota-Duluth
  • Aug. 6, 1982 - Roger's conviction was overturned, freed on his five years time served after he confessed to two counts of second-degree murder.
  • May 18, 1988 - Roger committed suicide 
  • Aug. 7, 1981 – Marjorie married Wally Hagen in North Dakota; Marjorie had not divorced Roger and was wanted for bigamy in North Dakota 
  • Jan. 13, 1984 - Marjorie was given 21 months in the Shakopee Women's Prison for burning down her and Wally's home in Mound, Minnesota  
  • Oct. 19, 1986 – Marjorie and Wally moved to Ajo, Arizona  
  • March 24, 1992 – Marjorie was arrested for burning down her neighbor's house
  • Oct. 30, 1992 - Wally was found dead, a day before Marjorie was to report to prison. Marjorie was charged with murder, but charges were dropped
  • Jan. 5, 2004 - Marjorie was released from prison
  • March 23, 2007 – Marjorie was arrested in Tucson, Arizona at her assisted living facility on charges of computer fraud and other counts  
  • Nov. 2008 - Marjorie pleads guilty to fraud 
  • March 4, 2009 - sentenced to three years probation.  
  • Today – 84 years old, living in Tucson, Arizona

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