New York Times (April 13, 1907)
Thaw Mistrial; Jury Was 7 to 5
Majority for Conviction After Forty-seven Hours of Deliberation.
The Prisoner Is Brave
Bitterly Disappointed, but Shows No Breakdown in Court.
New Trial In October
Jerome Says It Can’t Be Before That—Will oppose Release on Bail.
Crowds Awaited Verdict
Cheered Thaw’s Wife and Family When They Left After Hearing of Disagreement.
to agree on a verdict after more than forty-seven hours of
Thaw jury was dismissed at 4:30 o’ clock yesterday afternoon....
For several ballots the vote stood 8 to 4. Then there was one more change, which increased the number of those who would set Thaw free in the ground of insanity at the time of the killing to 5.
the final vote stood yesterday to 5, and the jury is said to have
For Conviction: For Acquital:
With no hope of a change from this attitude the jury was relieved of its task and all the work done since the first talesman was examined on Jan. 23 had gone for naught.
But Harry K. Thaw will be tried again for the murder of Stanford White. District Attorney Jerome says it will be October before the new trial can be moved. When court reconvenes on April 29 an application may be made for admitting the prisoner to ball. Mr. Jerome will oppose it.
while bitterly disappointed at the result, bore up bravely. His family
discharge of the jury and the declaration of a mistrial were brought
without dramatic effect. Harry Thaw had been told before entering the
that the jury hopelessly disagreed, and that his counsel thought it
concur with the District Attorney in proposing the dismissal of the
The young Pittsburger had earlier in the afternoon again bundled up the mass of letters and documents which he meant to take with him from his cell. He was even at the eleventh hour hopeful of acquittal. He thought that the appeal of Mr. Delmas, who pictured him as Sir Galahad rescuing forlorn damsels, would impress the jury so greatly that he would be liberated before the setting of yesterday’s sun.
he was told by Mr. Peabody and Mr. O’Reilly of his counsel that there
a mistrial he dropped his bundle of documents to the floor. The
his disappointment was beyond words. He faced months more of
then the strain of another trial.
some words of encouragement from his lawyers Thaw braced himself and
his prison guard into the courtroom. He slipped into his chair at the
the table reserved for the lawyers for the defense so quietly that few
in court noticed him. Evelyn
Nesbit Thaw slipped into the room from the door which leads to the
chambers. Instead of taking her accustomed seat she swung a chair
in which her husband sat. She knew the result: she had been told by the
who have made the fight for her husband’s life and liberty.
she sat close to him Thaw dropped his right hand toward her, caught her
hand, and held it fast.
court attendant pressed a button and the drab of a cloudy April
relieved by the glare of many electric lights. Clerk Penny arose from
and called to Thaw to stand and face the jury. He then turned to
B. Smith and called to him and his eleven associates to face the
stood up. In the glare of the electric light his face showed plainly
that comes from long imprisonment. The lines from the curve of his
down to the chin seemed to have deepened, as if the keenly sharpened
adversity had suddenly furrowed them. A few moments before he had sat
pitiful little treasures in his lap, all neatly bundled and ready to
to the great life of which he had been deprived for nearly a year.
even arranged a tour abroad with his wife.
Thaw rose he threw back his heavy shoulders and put his chin in the
air. He looked
squarely at Foreman Smith and Smith
looked at Justice Fitzgerald. The end of the case was brought quickly.
asked if the jury had reached a verdict. Mr. Smith said simply that it
not. He then plumped himself suddenly into his chair, and Thaw sank
Justice Fitzgerald said:
Mr. Jerome added: “For
known to your honor this room of court should be kept open, and
adjourn sine die, but to a date which your
honor may choose.”
Jurors jumped from their seats in the box, entered the jury room,
hats and overcoats, and hurried from the building.
Sad Parting For Thaw
Thaw, realizing that for the time being, his hopes of freedom were
about him in a dazed fashion.
His mother and his sisters, Lady Yarmouth and Mrs. Carnegie, and his brothers had slipped into the room and were sitting behind his chair. The mother dropped her veil, and if she wept none saw it.
spoke to her husband, pushed back her chair, and hurried through the
newspaper reporters and court attendants.
Thaw pulled his overcoat over his arm and once more stood up and turned to follow his prison guard. At the door leading to the path toward the Tombs Thaw cursed and looked over his shoulder in the direction of the place where his mother sat. He seemed to desire a moment with her or with some one of his own [illegible] and kin. Evelyn Thaw had already left the room. Her face was placid: her husband’s was terribly drawn.
Yarmouth stared toward the bench, which Justice Fitzgerald had already
abandoned. Mrs. Carnegie, whose face has shown almost as haggard as the
her brother on trial, stretched out her hands, and to Mrs. William Thaw
signified that it was time for them to depart. The police cleared a way
their waiting automobiles. Josiah and Edward Thaw walked together from
The Final Day of Strain
The day was one of anxiety not only to Thaw and his family, but to his counsel and to Mr. Jerome. In the early morning, after rumor had it that a verdict would be reached within an hour or two, Evelyn Nesbit That, still attired as a schoolgirl, sat in the room adjoining the chamber of Justice Fitzgerald with others waiting for the final word of the jury.
All of them felt that the end was near, as the hour for dinner recess approached. There was still the slight hope that the jury would agree and bring in a verdict at 1 o’ clock. When that hour came the hope was not met.
Out of the building straggled the waiting groups, and they had to fight their way through the crowds that swarmed about the Criminal Court Building. The one among them who was not most calm and pleasant of countenance, who was not worried by the crowds, nor dismayed by the multitudes of crampling and curios people was Evelyn Nesbit Thaw.
went with one of the counsel for her husband, not to the French
her return there was such a swarm of curious humanity about that
Building that Sergt. Kellerer, in charge of the court squad of police,
compelled to ask for assistance. Again, from
In this mob were many women: some of them carried children in their arms. The police were compelled to use force to clear a way for the prisoner’s wife.
over in the Tombs, Thaw had written a communication to all of the
explaining his action in going armed while in
During this noon hour Thaw was told that the child of one of his keepers was dying. Thaw said to him, “Old man, you are in a sadder plight than I.”
his luncheon, Thaw was again brought back to the guards’ room for
wait. This ended with the summons at
Thaw’s Comment on the
his return to the Tombs, Thaw issued a second statement. It read:
“First statement since the disagreement and second and last statement today.
“ I believe that every man on the jury, possessing over average intelligence, excepting possibly Mr. Bolton, comprehended the weight of the evidence and balloted on acquittal.
“ All my family bid me good-by with courage.
“ I trust, D. V., we may all keep well.”
statement was signed with Thaw’s name. The reference in it to the
the jury aroused considerable comment and discussion as to just what
by it. It became generally accepted, however, that it had been thought
advisable by the Thaw counsel to keep the real ballot of the jury from
that the prisoner may, in consequence, have issued his statement in the
that the jury had stood at ten or eleven for acquittal.
Jerome Tells His Plans.
District Attorney Jerome was unwilling to comment at length upon the outcome of the case.
“There is little that I can say with propriety,” he declared. “ I may say, however, that, in the view of the evidence which has been presented, and the attitude of the jury, I feel it my duty to again present to a jury the evidence for the acquittal or conviction of this defendant.
“There are, however, many homicide cases now under indictment; fifteen of them are murder cases of the first degree. These demand attention, and it would be improper to try them in any other than their regular order. In the meantime the retrial of Thaw must wait.”
Mr. Jerome estimated that the cases deserving prior attention to the Thaw case will occupy the time from now until late coming Fall. With good luck, the Thaw case may be again reached by next October. In the meantime Thaw will be confined in the Tombs Prison. In regard to the admission of Thaw to bail, Mr. Jerome said:
for admission to bail is a motion which any defendant has a right to
which the court must entertain. In view of the evidence adduced at this
however, and in view of the discussion which has gone on in the
the attitude of the jury on the question of whether Thaw is guilty or
guilty, I should consider it my duty to oppose such an application, and
the facts in this case become well known to the court, I am of the
no Judge under any circumstances would grant admission to bail.”
Change of Venue Not
Mr. Jerome was asked concerning the generally accepted belief that a retrial of the Thaw case will be held elsewhere than in this city. He replied that in his opinion now such a course is extremely unlikely to be adopted.
“It must be remembered,” he stated, “that a change of venue is not a mere arbitrary matter to be settled as pleases the District Attorney or as pleases the court. The application for a change of venue has to be based upon satisfactory reasons set forth in sworn affidavits.
“The only ground upon which a change of the place of trial can be made in a case like this ne, is that it would be impossible to obtain a jury in this county which would try the case fairly. Now, in view of the precedents of the past, notably in connection with the trial of members of Board of Alderman in 1884, in relation to which there has been that newspapers even going so far as to print exact copied of the testimony, yet for which a second jury was readily empaneled, I do not a present see any reasons to believe that it will be necessary to have a change of the place of the trial in this case.
see nothing at present which leads me to believe that twelve men cannot
selected from the lists of those liable to jury duty in this great
twelve men who will be able to serve acceptably to this great
Think Jerome is Elated.
Mr. Jerome’s refusal to divulge his own opinion of this outcome of the
persons who have has an intimate knowledge of the trial from its
declare that the District Attorney cannot fell other than elated at the
more pleased perhaps at the disagreement than he would have been at
It is pointed out by these persons that almost from the beginning of the trial Mr. Jerome has felt that Thaw, if not insane in the legal sense, was certainly mentally deranged from a medical view-point. A conviction would, therefore, these persons point out, have placed the District Attorney in the unenviable position of having successfully prosecuted for murder in the first degree, a man whom he himself believed beyond the pale of the law.
As the case now stands, Thaw will be kept in the Tombs Prison for several months. The mental suspense as well as the physical strain of these months of imprisonment and enforced idleness cannot, it is believed, fail to bring to a crux any mental ailment. Thaw may now be suffering from. Jerome’s course in such an event would be easy. He would no longer be compelled to bring Thaw again to trial for his life. Instead, he might, this time with some hope of success, apply for a second Lunacy Commission which would send the young Pittsberger to Matteawan Insane Asylum.
Thaw, on the other hand, successfully withstand the ordeal to which he
submitted for the next few months, those who think they know Jerome’s
feelings, say that his last doubt of Thaw’s sanity will have been
he will be enabled to bring him to the bar the second time with the
of his own conscience.
Thaw’s Lawyers Undecided.
Clifford W. Hartridge, counsel of record for the defense, said late last night that he could not discuss the matter of an application for bail for his client at that time.
will be necessary for counsel to get together and consider this
Thaw’s Family Surprised.
the members of Thaw’s family reached their hotel, the
“Isn’t it terrible? I can’t understand it,” she said.
It was said that the Countess sent a cable message to her husband saying: “Great disappointment.”
Evelyn Nesbit Thaw arrived a few minutes after the others. She was alone. The same dull incomprehension of what had happened and why it had happened was the note of her cry. As she was asked what she thought of the end of it all she said was “I can’t understand it. I don’t see why they couldn’t have come to an agreement.”
“I don’t believe it,” she cried. “On the evidence they ought to have acquitted him.”
Neither callers nor messages were received by the Thaws last night. For a long time no word could be had from their apartments, but at length a telegram was delivered to Mrs. William Thaw. It asked her if there was anything she wished to give out and whether there was anything in the rumor that Thaw intended to drop all his counsel except Daniel O’Reilly. To this she sent the reply:
Thaw has nothing to say. She has made no statement since she has been
The disagreeing jurors in the Thaw case were awake all of Thursday night. Occasionally one would doze off as he sat in his chair, but the others would arouse him, and once more pour into his ears the interminable arguments about the sanity or insanity of Thaw at the time of the shooting.
They had nothing but the table and chairs to rest upon, and although they brought in with them the padded seats from the jury box, these were slight comforts for men who had already passed a night without laying down. They darkened the room, but kept up their debate all night.
It was a welcome relief to all when the time came for breakfast. The court attendants were in almost as hard a fix as the jurors. They had to act as attendants in court all day and as special officers at night. One of them said yesterday that in fifty-six hours he had been asleep for exactly three.
The jurors left the Criminal Court Building soon after 7 o’ clock. As they straggled up Broadway to the Broadway Central Hotel they were guarded closely by Capt. Lynch and his men, but there was no attempt to interfere with them. They looked a thoroughly washed-out lot, hardly able to drag their feet along.
Breakfast made a vast difference in them. It revived their spirits, and almost as soon as the meal was over they began to argue together again. They seemed careless of appearances in their anxiety to reach a verdict, and men who passed the hotel to their work could see part of the deliberations which would decide the fate of Thaw carried on in full view in the window. Malcom S. Fraser was to be seen gesticulating with energy as he tried to convince Oscar A. Pink that the insanity plea was utterly out of the question, and Joseph B. Bolton, the juror the death of whose wife delayed the trial for so long, could be made out reclining wearily in the chair while Charles D. Newton talked to him.
Bernard Gerstman and Harry C. Brearley were together in a corner apparently running over the arguments which already for many hours they had been enforcing upon the attention of their colleagues.
the procession back to the Criminal Courts, which began soon after 8 o’
the same preoccupation seemed to possess all of them, and only Bernard
and Oscar A. Pink seemed to have found any subject on which they could
without serious disagreement.
Thaw’s Troubled Night.
himself had passed nearly as troubled a night as his jurors. He tossed
side to side on his prison bed and caught only naps the whole night
had been warned by his counsel that the jury had already almost endured
than the human frame could stand and he was haunted by the idea that
disagreement would condemn him to at least another six months’ weary
confinement, or that those who favored his acquittal might submit to a
compromise which would send him to sing for the best days of his life.
Still he kept up the marvelous pluck which has astonished all who have come near him. When he was called he declared he felt “fine,” and ran to the shower bath for a toning up for all the day might bring forth.
was over in the
For a time he was left alone with Mr. Hartridge. His wife and family had come down to the Criminal Court Building and were ready to stand by his side when the last ordeal came, but for some reason or other they did not hasten up to the Sheriff’s room. They remained in the little room which has been placed at the service of witnesses for the defense since the trial began, and allowed the defendant to pass the first part of the morning without their comfort.
seems to have been because Thaw has made up his mind that he should
another statement. Mr. Hartridge did all he could do to dissuade him.
assured him that it would be absolutely useless so far as is own case
concerned, and that it might be misconstrued. He pointed out that the
absolutely beyond the reach of outside influences, and the utmost that
accomplish would be to satisfy morbid curiosity. The defendant,
insisted, and about 11 o’clock Thaw’s latest thoughts were revealed to
Thaw Tells of Being
At the very moment when his fate hung in the balance, when hundreds of men and women were gathered in the building to hear at the first possible moment the verdict of the men who had tried him, he seemed to worry most about the opinion that the outside public might have of his personal courage. He wrote: “I wish the jury and everyone else to understand that no one despises a person who carries concealed weapons more than I.
only after my life was in jeopardy as I was informed by persons and as
communicated to me by professional detectives, did I protect myself.
employed the Pinkertons, and they could neither prove these attempts so
invoke the protection of the law or disprove them so I could safely
“Then doubting my judgment, I consulted an ex-Chief of Police and respected in his community, and he advised that my duty was to protect myself.
this trial I wished my case soley and simply based upon the law of the
and upon the evidence which had convinced not only me, as I reviewed
evidence in quiet, but also the District Attorney, that I am innocent
written law of the State.”
Efforts to Get Into
To get past the police lines which barred the way to the courtroom all sortes of subterfuges were used. But by Justice Fitzgerald’s order none but reporters were to be admitted, and women particularly were barred. One tackled the big Sergeant who has been so conspicuous a feature of the scenes of the trial.
you know the Lee Avenue Station at
“I used to be stationed there.”
“And?” she asked innocently.
“There’s no ‘and’ about it. I was stationed there and that’s all there is about it.”
“What a wonderful memory for faces you do have,” said the woman. “I used to think I could get around any man, especially the handsome ones.”
that did not touch the Sergeants heart, but somehow or other later in
persistency won. The woman actually got seated in the courtroom, and
out immediately by the hard-hearted court officers. She spent the rest
day in the corridor watching the lawyers as they passed to and fro.
The Crowd Outside.
Just after noon it was made known that the jurors saw no chance of early agreement, and that they thought it would be well to get something to eat. This was taken as a sign that nothing would happen until the middle of the afternoon. Justice Fitzgerald announced that the court was adjourned until 2 o’ clock, and went off himself to lunch.
Twelve o’clock is the dinner hour in all the workshops in the neighborhood of the Criminal Court Building. Thousands pour out on the streets at that hour and a godly proportion of them thought that they would like to get a glimpse of the women of whom they had heard so much in connection with the trial. They came down to the Courthouse, and would have gone in if the police had not been ready for them.
they stood outside on the
McCluskey was on hand to keep them in check. He had fifty men under his
and the crowd was pushed back up the side streets nearly as far as
Thursday, Evelyn Nesbit Thaw had gone to Pontin’s to lunch, and
attention was paid to keeping the way clear as far as that.
Rush to See Thaws Family.
The first amusement the spectators got was the departure of Mrs. William Thaw, Mrs. Carnegie, and Lady Yarmouth from the building. As usual they got into their automobiles and started rapidly uptown for the Hotel Lorraine. At once the crowd broke through the police lines. The women scrambled upon trucks, the men surged across the street, and children came running up from all directions. Two, or three thousand people were rushing wildly along to see three heavily veiled ladies drive away in automobiles. They were wildly excited and cheered the relatives of he defendant heartily. However, the automobiles soon escaped them, and they turned to see who else was worth to notice.
Nesbit Thaw was the next to come out. She was too anxious to go as far
Court House as the hotel and she wished to be back again as soon s her
had returned from his lunch in the Tombs. At the same time, she had no
go through the unpleasant experience of Thursday, when she was mobbed
way back from Pontin’s. So, with Daniel O’Reilly, she decided to go to
restaurant on Park Row, where her identity would not be so likely to be
discovered. She started in an automobile and was greeted with the same
and the same rush as Mrs. William Thaw and the others.
Small Fire in the
the family of the defendant had departed, the crowd had an unexpected
excitement. From the windows of the Criminal Court Building, directly
As a matter of fact, it was Harry K. Thaw himself who discovered the fire. As he was going across the bridge to his lunch, he smelled smoke. He called the attention of his guard to it and Superintendant Coppers of the building was also warned. He instituted a search immediately and found that the smoke was coming from a small examination room attached to the Tombs Police Court.
An old umbrella thrust behind a radiator was the cause. Some one had thrown a cigarette end upon it and the fabric was smoldering. It was quickly extinguished, but in order to do so a part of the partition had to be chopped away.
no one expected that the jury would have anything to report before 3 or
o’clock, everyone was on hand again promptly at 2 o’clock. Once more
led across the
Delmas on the Bench.
In the courtroom the reporters and a few privileged persons sat around and amused themselves as best they might. They formed little knots and talked or they sat at the long table writing their copy. Even rumors were scarce and speculation as to the progress of the jury was almost dead. Infinite weariness beset everyone and the most that anyone said about the case was to wonder whether there was to be a third night of tedious vigil.
But one incident broke the monotony of the day. Mr. Delmas suddenly appeared sitting in the Judge’s chair on the bench as he signed his name for a woman reporter in her copy of the great hypothetical question compiled by Mr. Jerome.
“Order in the court!” some one called out, and in a moment Daniel O’Reilly appeared smiling as ever at the bar.
it please be your Honor,” he began, but his motion did not please the
for in a moment the learned counsel from the
With all the apparent flippancy of the assemblage and the absence of set decorum the sense that a great crisis was impending was never absent. Men laughed and joked because they had nothing else to do.
Counsel, court officials, and reporter had been under a great strain for hours and were expecting a still greater one. They sought relief in the best way they could, but kept an anxious eye the whole time upon Capt. Lynch of the court squad.
From him only could authentic news of the jury’s proceedings come. The guard sitting outside the door of the conference chamber had to report to him, and he took such action as the occasion demanded. He was willing enough to give out any information that was legitimate, but sternly refused to give a hint of the way they were getting along with their deliberation.
About 8 o’clock a rumor spread that there was almost a fight behind their closed doors. Angry voices, it was said, could be heard even at the distance that the jury room is separate from the court. But Capt. Lynch professed himself ignorant of anything.
“Nothing to say, “he replied to all inquiries.
Soon after 4 o’clock however, he had news of the utmost moment to communicate, and a his intimation that at last the jury were coming in, counsel and the reporters flocked in from the hall, and everybody was on the alert for the end of the great trial.
While the jury was in court the doors were close and locked. By the courtesy of Capt. Lynch arrangements were made by which bulletins could be passed out by the side door leading past the Judge’s chambers to the main hall, but no one was allowed to disturb the proceedings by leaving his seat.
the police lines outside the court a number of reporters stood waiting
first intimation of what had taken place. Others were at the telephone
bolding the wires to their offices. As the bulletins were passed out
to intercept them, but they were handed quickly to boys and rushed out
building. For five minutes no one could tell what was in progress.
Crowd Hear The Result.
Suddenly the door leading to the passage way from the side door of the court was burst open. Three r four men rushed out. “Disagreement!” they shouted. They plunged wildly for the stairs leading to the telephone booths, and it was lucky no one was in the way of their rush.
“Disagreement” took up the crowd in the corridor, and a great shout went up. Down the stairs pelted the reporters, and in a minute the news was being flashed over the wires to the newspaper offices and called along the street.
Inspector McCluskey had been just outside of the side door of the court while the jury was in. He rushed out at the clamor and gave hurried orders to the police. He bade them clear everyone off the main floor of the building, whether they had legitimate business here or not. Happily, the men who have been guarding the courtroom for the last three months have got on good terms with the reporters. They knew that there was no one there but had work to do, and they interpreted the Inspector’s orders with judgment. They made the crowd move, but they cared not where they went. The reporters stepped quietly behind them and were able to attend their business without molestation.
The jury were sent back to their room as soon as they were discharged There is an unobtrusive little door leading to it which has been provided for just such occasions as this. From it the twelve men issued and vanished as quickly as they could down the elevator.