December 1924, Billings, Montana, saw one of the most gruesome murders in the town's Forty Two year history.

Piecing together what I can from Distinctly Montana and, this is the story.

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On the night of December 8, 1924 Nels and Annie Anderson were murdered in a barber shop in Billings.

The police surmised that the couple was leaving the shop when they were attacked by someone with an axe.  An axe owned by victim Nels Anderson that was kept in a shed behind the barber shop.  Police reported an unreal amount of blood in the shop, yet there were no signs of a struggle.

Mr. Anderson was found in a chair in the barber shop wearing his coat and one glove. Mrs. Anderson was found in the rear of the shop with the axe laying next to her.  They figure she was killed in the marcel parlor because it contained groceries and an extraordinary amount of blood, then dragged to the rear of the shop.

The Anderson's weren't found until the next day.  Mr. Anderson's sister grew worried when the couple never came back home to their children.  She called the police, and that's when the gruesome scene was discovered at the barber shop.

Police ruled out robbery gone wrong.  Both victims had money on them when they were found and the cash register hadn't been touched.  The murderer had enough sense to wipe down the axe handle and wash his hands before he left the scene.  The police were never able to retrieve fingerprints even though they didn't believe the killer was wearing gloves.

The theory was that after the murder, the killer jumped on a train and left the area for good.

No one has ever been arrested for the crime.  Today, it still stands as one of the most infamous murders in Billings' history.

Getting to Know Billings From A to Z

New to Billings or not, the Magic City may look like an industrial town from the freeway, but take any exit and you'll discover a city with idiosyncrasies and a whole lot of Montana personality.


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