However, four weeks after her death, Zona appeared to her mother in a series of dreams and told a story of murder.
Dreaming of Ghosts
Zona appeared to her mother and told that her death was in fact murder and that the killer was her husband Erasmus (Edward) Stribbling Trout Shue. The reason for the killing... that she had not cooked him any meat for dinner. He had struck out in a rage and broken her neck. It was at this point that the ghost of Zona turned her head completely around on her shoulders, in order to illustrate this point.
Mary took this information to the local prosecutor who no doubt didn't buy the story. but she was able to convince him to exhume her daughters body and perform a thorough autopsy. It was here, with the potential killer husband present, that it was discovered that Zona did indeed have a broken neck.
Murder had been discovered... revealed in a dream by the ghost of the victim.
A Short Lived Marriage
However, she met a man named Edward Stribbling Trout Shue who had moved into the county to begin life anew. Both looking for a new start and a brighter future, fate would have them meet and fall in love soon thereafter.
It was on October 20, 1896 that the pair were married, though against the wishes of Zona's mother Mary. The couple lived quite peacefully for the time they were to remain together. Well so it seemed from the outside.
On January 23, 1897, barely three months after their marriage, the body of Zona Heaster Shue was discovered at her home by a young boy running errands. She was lying on the ground, at the foot of the staircase.
The cause of death was listed as 'everlasting faint' and later changed to 'childbirth', though it is not known whether Zona was in fact pregnant.
During the funeral, Edward Shue never strayed far from the head of his wife's open coffin. No one was able to get close to the coffin, and later into the service he tied a scarf around his deceased wife's neck.
When she was able to convince the county prosecutor to reopen the case, she new Edward would be found guilty. The prosecutor saw many friends and neighbours of the Shues interviewed, and many were of the opinion that Zona had likely been murdered. When the exhumation was set to take place, Edward was told he would have to be present as he was the next of kin to the deceased. It was then that he stated he knew he was going to be arrested.
A new examination was carried out, and the broken neck was discovered. Zona's windpipe had been broken and finger marks were found on the neck. Zona had been savagely strangled to the point that the vertebrae were dislocated and the ligaments torn. Edward Stribbling Trout Shue was arrested on the spot for his wife's murder.
Edward Shue was found guilty of murder on July 11, 1897, and sentenced to life imprisonment (although most jurors were keen on the death penalty, it was not unanimous). He nearly did not make it that far after a lynch mob formed in order to see greater justice carried out. However they were dispersed, and Shue was jailed at West Virginia State Prison where he died three years later, one of many who died during an undiagnosed epidemic of deaths.