Mug shot: A photograph of someone’s face especially one made for police records. The word ”mug shots” comes from the British slang word “mug” meaning “face.”
Early in the morning on May 30th, 1907, Bertha, believing her husband was planning on leaving her, took a razor and sliced off his penis. While her husband ran to get help, she fled their San Jose home. Police scoured the city, but Boronda eluded them for more than 24 hours.
Once caught, Bertha was charged with “Mayhem.” Her trial began January 13, 1908. It was a long search for 12 men to act as jurors. Frank Boronda, her husband, was the chief prosecution witness. He testified that the only thing that happened the night of the crime that even approached a quarrel occurred when Bertha asked him about a recent trip he made to Oakland, California. Bertha’s defense was that she didn’t remember that night.
It took the jury only two hours to return a guilty verdict. Bertha Boronda was sentenced to five years in a Minnesota state prison.
The following is the article from the Santa Cruz Sentinel on June 2, 1907, only a few days after the event:
Propped up in his cot at the Red Cross Hospital shortly after noon today Fire Captain Frank Boronda swore to a complaint before Justice Brown charging his wife, Bertha Boronda, with the crime of mayhem. Though the maimed man is still weak from his injuries his physicians states that he will undoubtedly live. The only danger which he faces is that blood-poisoning may set in.
The crime with which Mrs. Boronda is charged is a felony defined by the criminal code as follows: “Every person who unlawfully and maliciously deprives a human being of a member of his body or renders it useless, or cuts or disables the tongue, nose, ear or lip, is guilty of mayhem.”
Section 204 of the code states that “Mayhem is punishable by imprisonment in the State prison not exceeding fourteen years.”
A little after midnight Thursday morning Mrs. Boronda without warning attacked her husband in the dark with a razor, maiming him fearfully. He ran screaming into the firehouse on San Pedro St., which adjoins his home, while his wife rushed through the streets in her night dress to the North End, where she procured a suit of men’s clothes which she donned.
Boronda was taken to the Red Cross Hospital, where his injuries were treated. For several hours the police searched for the woman and finally captured her near the Broadgauge depot as she was mounting a bicycle on which she hoped to scape. She was taken to the city prison, where she is still being held. Mrs. Boronda has admitted to the police that she maimed her husband, but she has expressed no regret for having done the awful deed. Her only excuse is that she wanted to be revenged on Bordona, whom she believed intended deserting her and leaving for Mexico. Mrs. Boronda up to this time has not employed counsel. She will probably be arraigned before Judge Brown some time Monday.