Was Sir Charles Baskerville murdered in The Hound of the Baskervilles?
This document says in paragraph two that Sir Charles Baskerville was 'murdered'. This is not correct. He was an old man, in waning health with a heart problem. He was found dead, with no marks on his body. There were canine footprints well away from the corpse. There is NO evidence that he was murdered. Even if an elderly person with heart disease died of a heart attack after a dog ran towards them (but nevertouched them), is that murder?
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Sir Charles Baskerville was murdered by Stapleton, because Stapleton set the dog on him and purposefully made it as frightening as possible.
In order to murder someone you don’t have to shoot them with a gun or push them off a cliff. In fact, murder is causing another person’s death. There are a variety of creative ways to do this, and getting a giant dog and painting his nose with phosphorous so that he glows is one of them.
Stapleton was aware of the family legend of the hound. He knew that people believed the Baskerville family was cursed, and would accept the presence of a creature that looked like the Hound of Hell as a supernatural element. It is not too hard to scare an old man with a hard condition to death.
Holmes agrees that Henry’s death was murder, and Stapleton intends to murder Charles too.
“It is murder, Watson—refined, cold-blooded, deliberate murder. Do not ask me for particulars. My nets are closing upon him, even as his are upon Sir Henry, and with your help he is already almost at my mercy…” (ch 7, p. 88)
Your evidence is all correct. The victim was in poor health, and the dog did not attack. He didn't need to. Seeing the dog was enough. A large part of proving murder is intent. Stapleton intended to kill Charles, and later Henry. He wanted the Baskerville fortune. It was premeditated (planned out) murder. Any jury shown the evidence would surely convict.
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