February 11, 1935
May it please your Honor, Mr. Attorney General, his staff, gentlemen
of the defense, ladies and gentlemen of the jury:
I believe in approaching this case that I do it with a great feeling of responsibility.
I wish to give you a text from St. Matthew: "Judge not lest ye be judged,"and ask of you in the consideration of this case that you bring into your hearts and into your consciences the feeling that you are weighing that which you cannot give back, if you take away - life.
And I can readily appreciate, ladies and gentlemen, at this time, after hearing the distinguished Prosecutor of the Pleas of this County in his statement, that your condition of mind must be more or less to the effect that this defendant must prove his innocence, - and that is not the law.
You are faced with a difficult task. But you are big enough, and you are American enough to be honest, and despite the position and prestige and the wealth of the distinguished family who find themselves in the position here of being bereaved, the scales of justice under that flag which is over your heads will bring to your minds the realization that despite the fact that this carpenter from Germany is on trial, our Constitution, our laws, our justice and our decency compel the great State of New Jersey to prove this case not according to the theories of the prosecution but according to the law of this and of every state of our Union. Not guesswork, not "maybe's," and not speeches.
The evidence that comes from that witness stand has got to be evidence that convinces your conscience and that it points toward this defendant as the murderer. And that is the only thing we are interested in in this courtroom today.
Now I read to you the indictment in plain language; it is the pattern by which you must go. [I]t says that this defendant alone on the 1st day of March, in the Township of East Amwell, nowheres else, did wilfully, feloniously, and with malice aforethought kill the young Lindbergh baby.
Now what do I mean by pattern? The women use a pattern for dressmaking. The men use it in machinery. If you make some other kind of dress it doesn't fit the pattern. In all kinds of games there are rules, and it is the same in a case at law. Here, when you are charged by his Honor at the close of the case, he is going to say that the State of New Jersey is relying on these facts, that this defendant, alone, planned this crime, alone. Nobody else. If you find it was a gang, the pattern is wrong.
In their opening statement they said they would prove he planned it, came here alone, committed that burglary and this child was killed.
Of course every defendant is presumed to be innocent, but in this particular case it is quite apparent, from the beginning, from the time he was arrested, that the burden shifted to him, placing him in the position of proving his innocence. Let me say this: this is the crime of the century. There isn't any doubt about it. Let's face this, because this case has come down to common ordinary horse sense. We are going to look at the evidence given by each witness and say to ourselves, what would be the natural way for that person to act? Against that we are confronted with a lot to technicians and experts who at so much a day give us their opinions of things.
So I am appealing to your common, ordinary David Harum inherent American horse sense. I say at the beginning that this is the crime of the century and it is the worst crime and the lowest type of crime ever committed. But it is not the defendant who is guilty of it.
No on holds in higher admiration than myself the distinguished father of this unfortunate child. My opinion of Colonel Lindbergh and his wonderful flight has never changed and never will. And the distinguished family into whose midst he married, I have great admiration for - the family of the ex-Senator from this state, Dwight Morrow. And of course it was a terrible thing, but we cannot be swept off our feet when there is no evidence. Bruno Richard Hauptmann never drove a nail in that house; Bruno Richard Hauptmann was never on those grounds; Bruno Richard Hauptmann was never standing on any road near Princeton, nor did any man see him standing on any road February 17th, 18th and 19th.
Does the evidence fit with guilt? They would have you in one breath believe that this man Hauptmann was a master mind, that he planned this himself and, the next minute, they would have you believe he was the worst fool in the world, that he was dumb, that he didn't know anything; he would wear gloves making a ladder so his fingerprints wouldn't be left behind; and he would sit an hour and a half talking to Condon with his face exposed; in one the careful master mind, in the other the perfect fool. Now you cannot carry water on both shoulders...
I don't care about handwriting. I don't care anything about wood. Nor do I care about the ransom money for which this man is indicted in the Bronx and for which he has to stand trial there. I am not going to allow you ... to say, "Well, because he had the money he must be guilty of something; therefore we will send him away for something." Let New York take care or that indictment. That has nothing to do with this fact: how did Hauptmann know anything about Lindbergh's home? Is it possible for any man, I don't care who he is - possibly the architect or any of the people that worked on that house, but not a man in Bronx County, 100 miles away - to know anything about Colonel Lindbergh's home.
Colonel Lindbergh was stabbed in the back by the disloyalty of those who worked for him, and despite the fact that he courageously believes that there was no disloyalty in the servant's quarters, I say now that no one could get into that house unless the information was supplied by those who worked for him. And this is no fairy tale. I am talking from the record, from the evidence in this case.
And what is the evidence? The evidence is, sir, that the first time in the history of Colonel Lindbergh's life that he ever stayed a Tuesday night in that house was this Tuesday night. Every other week-end was over Sunday night or early Monday morning. That is his own evidence. Who knew the baby had a cold and had to stay in Hopewell on Monday? Not Hauptmann. No doctor gave out the news. No trades people were suspected of giving out news. Sunday night came and Sunday night passed, and this ridiculous assertion "I have planned this for a year" is ridiculous because nobody in God's world but Colonel Lindbergh, his wife, his butler, his butler's wife, Betty Gow, the servants in the Morrow home, and Red Johnson knew that Colonel Lindbergh was going to be in New York Monday night. Then comes Tuesday, and Mrs. Lindbergh sends for Betty Gow. Now, the Colonel can have all the confidence in the world he pleases in Betty Gow. I have none. He doesn't know where she comes from. She came from an ordinary employment agency. She comes from Scotland, and she comes here when they give her $700; otherwise, she wouldn't come. I don't know what her background is, and neither do you, but she was the only living person who knew on Tuesday afternoon that Mrs. Lindbergh was going to stay at Hopewell Tuesday night, except the other servants in the Morrow estate. And they had many. A first chauffeur, a second chauffeur, five or six maids, they must have had gardeners. What do you know about the antecedents of them? Nothing.
Do we know who Betty Gow talked to when she got the message from Mrs. Lindbergh? She never communicated with Hauptmann. [W]ith [the] regularity of this family always returning to Englewood on Sunday night or Monday morning, how can we place that knowledge in Hauptmann's possession? You can't.
As the house was constituted that night there was the butler, his wife, Betty Gow, Colonel, Mrs. Lindbergh and the baby; nobody else. But there was one agency in the house that night that would only respond to its master - the fox terrier dog; and it is very important in this case. I hope there are some dog lovers on the jury and some that have kept fox terriers, - the snappiest, scrappiest, quickest on-the-trigger dogs alive, when it comes to a watchdog. Who controlled that dog's movements? The butler. These dogs can smell a stranger on the grounds, and that dog never even barked.
I say the circumstances point absolutely along a straight line of guilt toward that butler and the servants who were disloyal to the Colonel...
You have got to place Hauptmann in that room because the State says that's the way the crime was committed: Hauptmann was in the room. Now, let's see if he was or not. The little baby is put to bed, the lights are put out, but before that Mrs. Lindbergh and Betty Gow, without any gloves on, go from window to window, closing and locking every window but one.
You remember the French window was closed and locked, but the blinds were left to allow some air. The French shutters were closed and locked. That's the evidence. When they entered that room after the child had been taken, the closed shutters were in the same condition as they were when they were closed and the baby put to bed. Now, in order to kidnap that baby, as they would have you believe it was done, Hauptmann would have to know a lot of other things about that house, wouldn't he? Now a man can't be convicted - and now I am appealing to the ladies on the jury, because of this fact, a woman's intuition, and a woman's sense of reasoning concerning babies and concerning nurseries comes to her as a God-given gift, and it is your duty, ladies, to recall to your minds what you know about children, sick children and young children. If you do that, you will have no difficulty in this case in acquitting this defendant.
Public clamor is not going to have, in the squares of Flemington, a man drawn to his death because the mob wants it. You women and men have too much respect for your conscience, your oath and your Americanism to do that. Hauptmann would have to know in addition to the fact that Colonel Lindbergh was going to stay there Tuesday night, he would have to know the exact room in which the baby was kept, wouldn't he? Do you remember the Colonel's testimony: "My child was kept away from strangers; my child only knew the family and the servants who came in contact with it."
Hauptmann would have to know what room the child was in and whether the Colonel and Mrs. Lindbergh were home or not; he would have to know who was home, when the baby was put to bed, when there was no person in the nursery at that present minute. Is there any evidence he knew anything like that? You cannot infer, you cannot guess, you cannot say maybe. Before you can go any further in the case, you have got to put Hauptmann in that room.
A man can't come up to a house with a ladder and stock it up against the wall and run up the ladder, push open a shutter, and walk into a room that he has never been in before. That is what they would have you believe. This is a scenario they have written, but it doesn't ring true to common sense. The ladder is put into the mud. They would have you believe that he had gloves on, - 30 inches below this windowsill. Now he has to reach up. He reaches up and finds that the shutters are just closed together. He opens them. Now how long do you suppose two loose shutters would stay back with a gale howling? They would be banging, banging, banging back and forth. But nevertheless, with those shutters banging and a gale blowing, this man has to take himself by his two hands, and I don't see how he could get above the second section of the ladder because he would have to hold on to the side of it, and he would have to hold on to the wall as he went up, to steady himself; but finally he is on the top rung now, and he is reaching three feet through the air, gripping the bottom of the window sill, of a house he has never been in, of a house where he doesn't know who is inside the room - and any fool would know that a Colonel of the United States Army would have a gun somewheres around and put a bullet through your heart; but nevertheless he pulls himself up until he gets in a such a position that he can shove the window up. That makes him at least five feet away from the top rung of the ladder. Now he has got to shove the window up; and here is a window with a shelf, and a beer stein on it for decorative purposes, and I don't care where it was, he didn't know it was there, if anybody ever went in that window, and a strange man is able to swing himself in the window without knocking the beer stein down, and in a room that is absolutely dark, mind you, in which there are toys, furniture, table and chairs, and he has never been in the room before and a crib that he never saw before - this man is able to navigate without bumping into the table or falling over a chair, gets over to the crib where there is a sick child, - why, that child would sense immediately the presence of a stranger! The moment anyone put their hand on that child, its cry ringing out would have brought the mother from the room across the hall.
Now I will leave it to you mothers: the person that picked up that child knew that child and that child knew that person. It is humanly impossible to pick up a child of 20 months, unless the child had been doped - then it wouldn't cry. But who gave the medicine? Not Hauptmann. Who gave the physic? Not Hauptmann. They would have you believe that Hauptmann, this man who never saw the child, never knew the child and the child didn't know him, with a dog downstairs - now you have got a strange man and all the doors open, goes back with a 25 or 30 pound child in his arms, swings himself out the window in the darkness, and is able to find the top rung of the ladder, three feet below the window shelf, that rickety old ladder, and then as he finds himself on the window seat and his feet touching the top of the ladder, is able to turn, with a child in his arms and feel his way down the side wall and still hold on to the child and find the ladder, so that he can come down the ladder to the part where the dowel pin joins it together, and then they say the dowel pin broke - but unfortunately what they say is not evidence, because this is resting in mud, this is resting in mud.
Let's assume this is in the mud, and this breaks in the middle and goes in; wouldn't it throw mud up in the form of a mound? Here is the photograph [of the foot of the ladder]. There is the soft mud. There is no mound. That ladder was a plant and nobody went up that ladder that night, if it was ever against the house. Nothing in that photograph but just two holes stuck in the mud. You cannot overcome the law that applies to certain things. Two sticks in the mud; break the stick in half; move it forward; throws the stick back into the mud and throws up a mound of mud. Well, now what happens to the man on the ladder? The man on the ladder with the baby would fall, wouldn't he? He had nothing to hold onto. He would fall and, in falling, make so much noise that the whole family would be out. But there isn't a sound.
And if he fell in the mud, a man his weight, with a baby, wouldn't there be some impressions in the mud? None.
You can't get away from these physical facts. There is absolutely nothing, but one footprint of a man and one of a woman. That is the evidence.
Any plaster casts of that footprint? No. Dr. Condon's son-in-law could take one in St. Raymond's Cemetery, but the footprint in the ground and the footprint in St. Raymond's Cemetery, neither one of them fit the footprint of the defendant, because if it did, the Attorney General would have in twelve copies of it, one for each of you.
I say that that points out very strongly that no one went up that ladder. Remember the evidence of the officer who found the ladder, the picture of the mud, the ladder over in the bushes, fifty to seventy-five feet away, and not a footprint between the house and the ladder. Guesswork, dead guesswork; and you can't convict on guesswork. Not a bit of mud on the ladder; and yet, if there wasn't any mud on the ladder, how in God's name could there be mud on the carpet in the nursery? No mud. They don't even say that there was mud on the bottom, where it was stuck into the mud. They brought the ladder into the house; no mud on the bottom rungs. The ladder was divided into two parts, two sections one part, one section another place. Now a man with a baby that he has just stolen from the most popular American of the day - what did he do with the baby? Did he just put it down someplace and direct his attention to carrying an old wooden ladder? Because that's what somebody must have done, if you believe the State.
How did he get off the grounds? Nobody heard a motor; or an automobile. Nobody heard anything.
Oh, it was so well planned by disloyal people, so well planned. What do you know about Red Johnson? I don't know a thing about him. But I do know this: he was Betty Gow's pal, and the State of New Jersey spent thousands of dollars to bring the Fisch family over here, with nurses and everything else - your money - and they didn't raise a finger to bring back from Denmark the man that talked to Betty Gow while the Colonel was eating his dinner - Red Johnson.
Who is hiding things here? Who is hiding the truth? Why wasn't Red Johnson brought back here? He entered this country illegally and he was allowed to go home.
No, the signal was given, "The coast is clear", while the Colonel was eating his dinner. That child came down one of those staircases, wrapped in the arms of some person he knew.
You have got to put Hauptmann in that room. We must take the Attorney General's theory of this case; that's all it is, is just guesswork. You can't convict anybody of disorderly conduct on theories, much less murder in the first degree...
Now they would have you believe - and this is more of their moving picture scenario - that with a gale blowing, this note was left there. Either the kidnaper had time to lay it the note down on the window when he came in - and if he did I wonder how long it would rest on the ledge before the breeze just took it and "st-st-st-st" across the room. It wasn't nailed, it wasn't pinned. Nothing on top of it. It was just resting there. Or if he left it as he went out the window, he has a baby in his arm, holding the baby. He is fiddling for the ladder. He turns around and lays the note down so quickly that he can shut the window behind him so it wouldn't blow away.
And the window was closed when they entered the room, and the shutters drawn. And yet the note is lying on the window seat, and the stein hasn't been disturbed.
But when it was time, when the child was gone, Betty Gow suddenly decided at ten o'clock at night she had better go downstairs and look at the child. It is the testimony. The dog is quiet; nothing is disturbed; a note is there and the child is gone. Now they say there was mud on the floor. Well, Colonel Lindbergh said he dashed out of the house with his gun and went through the woods and of course he stepped in the mud and when he came back he went up to the baby's room again and walked around. It is just as consistent that the mud came off his shoes as it is that it came off anybody else's shoes, because this mud on the window which they claim was there - where is the photograph of it? There isn't any. Where is the photograph of the footprint on the floor on the rug? There isn't any.
And another thing: a 175 pound man cannot stand on a suit case, that is the suit case they exhibited here, without going through it. No marks, no broken suit case.
No, that baby came down those stairs; the circumstances and inferences about the ladder don't ring true according to good common sense.
Then they send for Kelly, the fingerprint man. Now you cannot obliterate fingerprints by blowing them off something; they didn't even find fingerprints on the glass that Betty Gow had handled when she gave the child the physic. Who rubbed them out? Who rubbed them out? Now, Kelly comes in and Kelly says, "I am the fingerprint expert. I went all over the room, looking for fingerprints. I didn't find one."
Then hundreds and hundreds of others arrive. Here is where the bungling of your State Police begins; and don't think they didn't bungle it. Within fifteen minutes after this case was discovered, what would you or I do? We would turn out every bloodhound in the neighborhood. Not an effort was made that night to trace this child, and you don't call that bungling?
I don't know what was behind this kidnapping, whether for greed or for gain, for spite or vengeance. I don't know. And, my God, it couldn't have been planned by any one person. It had to be planned by a group.
But the State says, "Kill Hauptmann. Close the pages. Let everybody else sink into oblivion and security. Kill the German carpenter!" But circumstantial evidence is no evidence at all. Many a respected citizen if this county has been placed on trial, wrongfully. Right in this courtroom 19 years ago in the Wyckoff case, the prosecutor then cried to heaven for the blood of a man, tried before this very distinguished jurist who is now on the Bench, I believe, and defended by Judge Large, who is part of the prosecution -
Mr. Wilentz: If your Honor please, it is not in the evidence.
The Court: No, it is not in the evidence.
Mr. Reilly: I am only calling it to your minds. What you and I want is somebody that saw Hauptmann do something, something in connection with the murder...[W]here from the evidence is there any proof that Hauptmann was ever in that room or ever touched that baby? And where is there any proof in this case when the baby died, what place, and how? I shall ask his Honor if I may now stop for lunch.
[Recess from 12:27 P.M. until 1:45 P.M.]
Mr. Reilly (continuing summation):
Now may I address my remarks to these notes. Expert evidence is
nothing more nor less than opinion evidence. Courts and judges have decided
for years that a jury has a perfect right to disregard expert evidence
altogether and that is what I am going to ask you to do in considering
the ransom notes. When a man, an expert, is approached, you have a right
to assume that all they have to do is examine these letters and then say
that Hauptmann wrote them, and they immediately go to the State's list
of witnesses, and they expect to be paid and paid well - out of your pockets.
And yet, to take one word, "is," out of all those lines and say that "is"
in your opinion looks something like an "is" that he wrote, that is pretty
slim evidence, opinion evidence, guesswork evidence.
Every expert that took the stand said this was disguised handwriting. If this is disguised handwriting, where is there any standard by which it can be examined with the certainty that you will send a man to his death? One "is," one "is."
...Then we come to the picture of what General Wilentz describes as a patriotic gentleman of the old school. I don't share that opinion of Dr. Condon. Condon stands for something in this case that is unholy, and I will bear it out by his testimony and by his actions. Here over in the Bronx is this man, close to the waterfront. He may have all the college degrees in the world. Many a criminal had that. That is no criterion that, because you are a college man, you are the best person in the world as far as character goes. I don't know a thing about Condon's background. I did ask him a question as to why he was transferred from one school to another. It was objected to.
But the one thing that sticks out is this: Red Johnson, the man in Denmark - he was a suspect under cover, they were investigating him. The Condon in the Bronx knew nothing about Red Johnson unless he had a connection with him, and what is Condon's testimony concerning Red Johnson?
"Q. Then why did you pick out a local borough paper with a circulation of 150,000 with all of New York's six million people, to insert your ad?
A. Because these papers all led to one poor miserable fellow that I thought was innocent. His name was Arthur Johnson."
Now why should he think? Here was a man under suspicion, the man that received the telephone call from Betty Gow. Why should Condon come to the rescue of the only person in the world they haven't brought back here if he didn't know him? Building up in 1935 an alibi for a man he knew was in Denmark and that they dared not return to this country.
Then a question was popped at him quick: "Did you learn that he - meaning Johnson - phoned Betty Gow at half past eight the night of the kidnapping?" Caught off his guard, here is his answer: "I knew that the night of the kidnapping." There is your record: "I knew that the night of the kidnapping." Now, does he figure in this band that robbed Colonel Lindbergh of his child? Then all of a sudden an unheard of thing happens. You wouldn't do it. I wouldn't do it. Mr. Condon goes to the Bronx News, as he tells us, and inserts a letter.
Did you ever see the letter? I never did. I don't believe there ever was a letter, but I believe there was the same kind of signal that passed between Betty Gow and Red Johnson that night when Condon put something in a small, inconspicuous paper. The minute that ad appears, instantly comes a reply to Dr. Condon. The ad was put in the paper on the 7th, printed on the 8th, the child kidnapped on the 1st. Between the 1st and 2nd, before he put his ad in the paper, nobody asking him to, he says he is around investigating the background of Red Johnson.
March 8th, ad in the paper. I have never seen it - just another one of those little things they kept out. And here comes the answer right back. Doesn't that indicate something to you, ladies and gentlemen, somewhere a person was waiting for a signal from the Bronx News? If it was in the New York Times, with a circulation of a million and a half, with this thing planted on the front page, you might expect a reply. But here is a little paper tucked away and the minute it appears, the next day comes an answer: "If you are willing to act as go-between." What does Condon do? Does he go to the police? He does not. He goes to a restaurant and he calls Colonel Lindbergh. So he goes down there, and the letters keep coming in, and all the other letters, nobody ever saw him receive any, always Condon alone, always Condon alone. From that time on, Condon is always doing everything, always alone.
And it is just as secure as the testimony of Betty Gow, when she comes here and blandly tells us that thousands of State Police, Government agents and investigators, photographers and everybody else had passed over for days, and days and days, fine-combed with rakes, she is calmly walking down in the afternoon of a lovely day, and she picks up the baby's thumbguard. Now do you believe that? This thumbguard, exposed to the elements of March, snow, rain, mud, dampness in Sourland Mountain, is picked up by Betty Gow as clean as the day it came out of the factory.
This case is planted, planted against this defendant, and that thumbguard stands out like a monument. It was found on the roadway within one hundred feet of the headquarters of the State Police. Everything seems to be planted in this case.
Now here we have got Hauptmann [allegedly] with a sprained ankle or something, hav[ing] just fallen off a ladder, and [he] is able to jump over a nine foot wall, run down the street with Condon after [him]. Do you believe that? Look at that gate [handing the photograph of the cemetery gate to jury]. Condon says the man was inside the cemetery and the gates were closed. "Come out," he says, "come out, don't be a coward, come on out," and the man climbs up nine feet, and of course he had to jump off the top, because there is a spiked gate, and he runs, and the 71-year old athlete, the great American is able to run down the street and catch up with him.
Now imagine a man who is writing ransom notes, who has stolen Colonel Lindbergh's baby, sitting down on a bench with Condon for an hour and a half, and his face not covered. Why, I don't believe any such fancy story in my life, and neither do you. Why didn't somebody grab somebody in this case, before Hauptmann? Bungling. If Colonel Schwarzkopf knew there was going to be a meeting, wouldn't he have Condon shadowed and the people in contact with Condon arrested; and if they gave those suspects the same kind of grilling and a beating that they gave this defendant, they would likely get some information. When they had people delivering these notes three times, they let them slip through their fingers.
And then, finally we come down to the preparing of the money. Where is the box? Where is the footprint of the man that took the money that night? Missing. Dr. Condon says, "I have got a note April 2nd. We had better be ready." And they bring the money, seventy thousand dollars, in a box.
Colonel Breckinridge is not a detective. Colonel Lindbergh is not a detective. Al Reich, I don't know what he is, - ex-pug, hanging out with Condon, up in this cheap restaurant. Somebody advised the Colonel, "You don't need any police." They advised the poor Colonel to stay in the car, a hundred feet down the street. And the Colonel comes on the stand and he says, "The voice I heard was the voice of the defendant." But Colonel, I say to you, it is impossible to remember the voice of a man two or three years afterwards, a voice you never heard before and never since. It is the man of iron, who holds his grief within his heart, who tries not to crack, and who sees before him a man charged with the crime, who can unconsciously and subconsciously make a mistake of judgment. And that, Colonel Lindbergh, I think you have done in this case.
Why that graveyard should have been surrounded by police. Who saw Condon hand the $50,000 over the railing, or over a bush? Nobody. Condon alone, gave him the money, Condon alone, always alone.
Sitting on a bench, the golf bench in the park: Condon alone.
Woodlawn Cemetery: Condon alone.
They let Condon get away with that story.
And the little baby's body is found at Mount Rose and they bring it to the morgue. Now I dislike very much to review that harrowing scene. But you remember the testimony, and this is very, very important; it goes back to the pattern, to the indictment. Here was this little baby, who had lain some days in this shallow grave. No proof in the world that Hauptmann ever dug that grave. There is no evidence. Now they must prove the cause of death by direct evidence. So they called in the Coroner's Physician - a big, swaggering, blustering individual who says he is a doctor. [But] he doesn't belong to any hospital. He doesn't belong to anything.
And the poor baby's body was so badly decomposed that all of the impro5tant organs were missing, and the detective unfortunately, in lifting up the body - and even the Doctor had to admit that the baby's skull, of that tender age, would be more or less in the same condition that you might have a decaying orange or grapefruit: it would be easy to lay it aside, open it up.
This detective, with the best intentions no doubt, picking up the body with a sharp stick, and as a result of his picking up the head with the stick, he with sufficient force punctured a hole in this little child's skull. If it was sufficient to force into it, it would be sufficient to almost crack it open. No one watched him perform the autopsy. No inquest, no Coroner's jury called. Where is the security in a report of that kind of medical man. "Supposing, Doctor, you had died before anybody was arrested: What would happen to your evidence?" "Well, I don't know." No photographs, no backing up by any other physician, no record that you can bring to court, except for the filing of a form, "Baby come to its death by blow, external." Nor is there any doctor living that can tell from the examination of that baby's body at that time, under those circumstances, when it died.
And remember, you are limited to March 1st, between ten o'clock and midnight. Mr. Wilentz in his opening said this: "I will show you that when the ladder broke the baby was smashed up against the wall and then fell, I think on the catwalk." Where is any evidence of that?
What is happening all this time around Hopewell? People are being questioned. Now a girl who is sophisticated and worldly enough as Violet Sharpe to go out on the road and flirt with fellows - that may be harmless - and ride off with them in cars, to speakeasies, even though she drinks coffee, who can always get a position as a waitress, doesn't commit suicide because she fears losing her job. Life is too sweet. But the net is closing in. Sharpe has said something, given a clue. And a poison which is never permitted in any home, cyanide of potassium, the most deadly, effective and quick-acting poison in the world, this girl drained when she knows Inspector Walsh had found something. She didn't do it because she feared losing her job. She did it because the woman from Yonkers, Mrs. Bonesteel told the truth. She was at the ferry with a blanket and she was at 42nd Street with child and that child was the Colonel's child.
And Whately, who controlled the dog, his wife goes to Europe, he is suddenly stricken, - he is dead in two days.
Sharpe, - Dead!
$50,000 handed over a grave; given to a stranger. There is $35,000 of this money missing. Where is it? If it was in circulation they would spot it immediately. He [Hauptmann] had fourteen thousand some odd dollars in his garage; a couple of hundred dollars were spent. $35,000 missing, that never went through a bank, trust company, or anywheres else. The inference I draw is this: that somewhere, in a safe deposit box, under an assumed name, that $35,000 that Isidor Fisch had is resting. Hauptmann hasn't got it. And all this nonsense this fellow from Washington telling you the money came in so fast [the government's call of gold certificates] that they didn't look for ransom money is a lie. Thirty-five thousand dollars of that money is someplace. Not a dollar of that ransom money ever went through Wall Street. Not a brokerage account, not a bank account from anybody in the world found a dollar of this money.
And the defendant finds this box, shoe box, cardboard box. Now we are not trying this defendant for possession of Lindbergh money, and he can't be convicted of murder in New Jersey because he was in possession of Lindbergh money in New York; but that's what they have tried to build up here - a perfect case of extortion, in the hope it will strike home and register with you people in a murder in the first degree verdict.
All right, for a minute the mastermind, let's say he has the money and he knows it is Lindbergh money, and he goes around the Bronx, leaving it in stores where he deals all the time; he goes to a gas station where they can write down his number; he uses ten or twelve of these bills, openly and aboveboard, in full sight of everybody. He doesn't change his name, he doesn't move out of his house, or the city; he doesn't go back to Germany. And when the man said to him, "Have you got any more home?," he said, "Sure, I have got ten or twelve or a hundred more home," - now if he had the guilty knowledge wouldn't that inquiry from the gasoline man put him on his guard?
Doesn't it strike you that he was acting just as an innocent man would act? He didn't run away. It was money that Fisch had left and Fisch owed him money. Now whether morally, legally or ethically you approve of that conduct, that conduct is not sufficient to find him guilty of murder.
And so he was arrested. Hauptmann says, "Sure, I will write and I will spell what you tell me to spell." Well, of course he is in the hands of the New York City Police, not New Jersey. There is not any bungling over there, because if there is anything lacking, they will make it themselves.
So they'd have you believe, the New York City police - past masters in fixing evidence on people, that a man that never had a telephone in his life - because there is no evidence here that he did - would crawl into a closet and would turn around in the dark closet and would take a board, and over in a corner of the board he would write Dr. Condon's telephone number as it was three or four years ago, before they made the change. Of all the plants that were ever put into a case, this board on the inside of a closet is the worst example of police crookedness I have ever seen.
And who found it? The ordinary patrolman? No. A detective? No. A lieutenant? No. A captain? No. You go all the way up the grades, with all these fellows, these bloodhounds all over the house, a little voice led big husky Inspector Bruckmann into the closet and he turns around in the dark closet, and he says, "Aha! I have found it." The Chief Inspector of the Bronx.
Well, they haven't a very good case in the Bronx against Hauptmann up to now, but they have got the telephone number - they rip out the board. There has got to be something else. We will rent the apartment to the New Jersey State Police at sixty or seventy-five dollars a month and we won't let anybody look at it. When we were getting ready for trial, when we ask permission to go into the Hauptmann apartment, it is denied. What are they hiding? Even after the trial starts we can't get in the house...
Now the Attorney General said, when he stated in his opening: "I will hang this ladder around Hauptmann's neck." Five hundred fingerprints taken off the ladder. Not a fingerprint, but they had to pin this crime on Hauptmann, that is all there is about it. It was going to be pinned on him if they tore his house to pieces or tore down his garage. Now do you suppose this board was ever taken out of any attic? There isn't a mark on this board from any hammer. You know they would have to take a pinch bar and pry it in and lift up. It would be a toss as to whether these square cut nails would stay in the crosspiece they had been driven into, or whether they would come out with the board. Not a mark of a hammer, not a mark of a pinch bar, not a mark of anything!
Now why plant these things in the case? Why are they so desperate?
Mr. Koehler comes in, and we come back to expert evidence against horse sense. He is nothing more nor less than what we call a "lumber cruiser." He goes around the country spotting groves of trees to see what they are good for. He'd have you believe by his testimony - and I don't see how he can sleep at night after giving that testimony where a man's life is at stake - that this carpenter, this defendant, who could buy any kind of wood in a lumber yard up in the Bronx, went out and got two or three different kinds of wood to make this ladder. And he says to himself: "My goodness, I am short a piece of lumber! What am I going to do?"
There is a lumberyard around the corner. There is wood in the cellar, belonging to Rausch, so he crawls up into the attic and tears up a board and takes it downstairs some place and saws it lengthwise and crosswise and every other wise to make the side of the ladder, the upper joint of which he never used or never needed.
I don't know as much about lumber as Mr. Pope. I wish I did. Mr. Pope is a very distinguished lawyer who has other good qualities. He has been close to nature, living out here in Jersey, I suppose he has been more or less a man who has been in the woods and in gardens and everything else and understands those things. I couldn't drive a nail without busting my thumbnail. He could very likely build a house.
Now the standard, as I understand, in these mills is the same the world over. A two-foot measurement of gauge in a mill in North Carolina is the same two feet in Alaska. And the bevel is the same. The log goes into the mill and it is cut into one or two inch boards; then it is planed down. Here we have down in North Carolina, South Carolina, billions and billions of board feet a year. And then Koehler has the nerve to come in here and tell us, I suppose they are like fingerprints, - there never were two boards in all the billion feet alike; and he says, "This board here was once a part of this board here."
DeBisschop says, "Nothing of the kind. The grain isn't alike; the knots are not alike."
"How do you know?" says the Attorney General.
"Well, here are two boards," he says; "they perfectly match." He shows it to you. One, he says, forty-seven years old; the other, five years old. Both the same age when their individual and respective trees were cut, and they match perfectly, the grain, the age.
Mr. Pope's examination developed, as you will remember, perfect markings in these two.
Koehler is testifying for glory, vanity, preferment, advancement. DeBisschop, not a dime; carfare not even paid; never saw Hauptmann in his life. Comes down here - what for? Because he read in the paper this fellow Koehler's testimony. Would he come down here and commit perjury, make a fool of himself? He points out to you that board and that board were never the same. We can't get into the attic and see where the board came from.
This case is too perfect from the prosecution's viewpoint and what they produced here. No, I am afraid this board was prepared for this trial. I am pretty certain these pictures [close-ups of the ladder railings] were prepared. You and I take pictures and we write the date and the place. Here we are dealing with a police agency. They are trying to perpetuate and keep something for a future trial. No date. No name. And they come in here so lovely and fresh.
This board brings us back where we first started: How did Hauptmann get in the house, how did he get into the room, how did he know what was going on? You come right back to the start, a perfect circle of circumstantial evidence.
Now what does Hauptmann say? "I was not there. I was up in Fredricksen's calling for my wife." Mrs. Fredricksen says, "I was out." Fredricksen says, "I was there. I didn't see him, but Anna was waiting on the place. I imagine a restaurant, a bakery like that, people coming in and out, Hauptmann calling every Tuesday and Friday night for his wife, wouldn't be bothering them, minding his own business.
Young Christenson says, "I was there. I went up to see a girl. It was too late and I didn't see her. I liked her. I went in and I ate. Hauptmann was there." I believe Christenson. Not a dime from us, no bought and paid testimony like these experts for the State. He was there. Well, if he was there, he wasn't in Hopewell.
Do you believe the people that were at his birthday party: good, honest decent people? Yes, they were friends of his; but hardworking, industrious people; no crooks, no convicts.
April 2nd, he is supposed to be in St. Raymond's, behind a fence, getting $50,000. Kloppenburg said, "I was in his house." The records show he worked all day. They played cards, they played music.
And so it goes down the list and down the line, witness after witness comes down here and testifies for the defendant.
And all of a sudden Isidor Fisch goes to Mrs. Hoff, and he has some bundles, and he wants to leave them. She says, "No, you can't leave them here." And Isidor Fisch gives Hauptmann the bundle and he puts it up in the closet. And after that, in 1934, the water comes down and the closet is wet, and the plumber comes here and he says, "I looked at it and I went up in the attic and the board was not missing." In order to get over to the leak you would have to walk along the catwalk. But he didn't find anything missing.
What's he lying for? He doesn't know Hauptmann. He was Rausch's plumber. Everybody connected with the defense came here to help this man who is unjustly charged with crime, must be a perjurer?
And so I could go on all the way down the line, but I am not going to. I am through. I said I would limit my summation to one day. I believe this man is absolutely innocent of murder. Whatever other charge is against him in the Bronx will be disposed of.
In closing, I wish to say that I appreciate the care and consideration that you have given us and the patience you have given to this case.
And may I just extend to the distinguished jurist on the Bench, at this time, my thanks for his courtesy, and to all the lawyers connected with the case.
And I feel sure, in closing, even Colonel Lindbergh wouldn't expect you to do anything but your duty under the law and under the evidence. May I say to him in passing that he has my profound respect and I feel sorry for him in his deep grief, and I am quite sure that all of you agree with me, his lovely son is now within the gates of heaven.
The Court: It is the usual recess time. I understand that the Attorney General is ready and would like to have some additional time tonight. But we have, by common consent, settled upon 4:30 in the afternoon as a proper time for recess, and I do not feel that there is any such emergency as would induce me to break that rule here, because the air is not good in this courtroom and we all of us have to conserve our energy and strength; so we will take a recess now until tomorrow morning at ten o'clock. The jury may not retire.
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