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Coffin House Shooting
The Eagle described the event as follows:
- At about 10:30 p.m. one Saturday in April 1958, a shotgun blast from the street blew out a front window of the Coffin family home at 7 Southworth St. Coffin and his wife were not home, but their 3-month-old daughter, Amy, and a baby-sitter, Ruth Morgan of Williamstown, were in another room.
- (Contrary to local legend, the baby-sitter that night was not Jeb Stuart Magruder, who was a Williams student at the time and would later serve as an aide to President Richard Nixon and spend time in jail for his role in the Watergate conspiracy. However, at a speech on campus in December 2004, Magruder confirmed that he baby-sat for the Coffins on several other occasions).
- Williamstown Police launched an investigation that immediately focused on students, because of Coffin's remarks about fraternities. As part of the investigation, they questioned each of the 55 students on campus who were known to own shotguns. During the course of the investigation, someone set off a pair of cherry bombs in the Coffins' backyard as well.
- After five days, two brothers of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity came forward and confessed. [The two students] were charged with malicious damage to property, fined $125 each, and expelled by the college.
- According to their statement as quoted in the newspaper, the two men said they had been riding around with a borrowed shotgun and thought it would be "a good idea" to shoot up the house. They passed the house several times, and thought there was no one home.
- When asked by Williamstown District Court Judge Samuel E. Levine why they chose that particular house, [one student] replied, "I'd rather not say anything about that."
- "One Night in April", EphBlog, April 14, 2006