Two women were charged under the state law against prostitution Wednesday after rulings by two Minneapolis judges that the city ordinance on the subject is void.
— Star Tribune, Minneapolis, Minnesota, October 19, 1967
The other day in my Facebook group, vintage mugshot photography, someone posted the 1967 mugshot of a woman identified on the photograph as “Carol L. Andrews.” The image has become a sort of Internet meme and digital photo tools were used, at some point, to change the name on her mugshot to “Donna Lethal.” Makes sense, because if looks could kill…
As Donna, she’s been accused of shoplifting at a dollar store, having a felonious Chiclets habit and being the teen victim of a pedophilic teacher, among other things.
What’s the true story behind the mugshot that’s captured the imagination of so many people? I did some research to try to find out why the Minneapolis police photographed Carol and what happened to her.
The unaltered mugshot is a real one that was taken in Minneapolis, Minnesota, when Carol was five days from turning 22. She was 5 feet 6 inches tall and a slender 125 pounds.
Carol and another woman, identified as “Sherrie La Mere” were arrested at 11:50 p.m. on October 17, 1967, in a Minneapolis parking lot on suspicion of being prostitutes. Apparently both women gave the police non-existent home addresses. Carol had been arrested previously — her mugshot is dated July 10, 1967.
The two ladies were held in jail without charge until 5 p.m. the following day. The women’s attorney argued at their hearing that a Minneapolis city law regarding prostitution, which carried a milder penalty — a maximum of 90 days in jail or $100 fine — should take precedence over a new, harsher state law. The 1967 state law carried a punishment of one year in jail or a $1000 fine.
“This new law is one of the tools I need to accomplish my job,” said James O’Meara, supervisor of the Minneapolis police morals squad. “Having it to back us up can make the difference as the whether or not we have an influx of prostitutes and panderers every year, who bring with them narcotics, assaults, forgeries and robberies. Prostitution breeds felonies.”
— The Minneapolis Star, October 20, 1967
Carol and Sherrie were both charged with a “gross misdemeanor” under the state law. They were two of only five Minneapolis women who were charged under the harsher state law between July and October of 1967. During the same time period 31 women were charged under the milder city law.
Carol’s bond was set at $1,000 and her hearing was scheduled for November 8th. She was found guilty and sentenced to a year in jail, as was the woman she was arrested with, whose name was reported as “Sherrie L. Taylor.”
What happened to Carol after she got out of jail is anyone’s guess. Was Carol Andrews actually her name, or was it an alias? There was no subsequent newspaper reference to a “Carol Andrews” who was arrested in Minnesota for any reason.
The Minnesota Supreme Court upheld the “get tough” prostitution law in June 1968. As part of the opinion, Justice Oscar Knutson, said that prosecutors could use “some selectivity” in deciding what charges to bring against a suspect, as long as they had “reasonable ground” for it.
Featured photo: Carol L. Andrews’ mugshot from the collection of Mark Michaelson, aka leastwanted, via Flickr.