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Sickles is found not guilty...



Item # 221368

April 27, 1859

THE NEW YORK TIMES, April 27, 1859.

* Daniel Sickles not guilty of murder
* Philip Barton Key
* 1st report


The front page is entirely taken up with reports on:

* "The Sickles Tragedy" and its final verdict, it being: "Verdict Of Not Guilty". This was the trial of Congressman Daniel Sickles for the murder of Philip Barton Key, son of Francis Scott Key.

It created a national sensation because of the lurid details, as Sickles suspected Key of having an affair with his wife, and when caught pursuing her he shot him at point blank range shouting, "You must die! You must die!".

Sickles' defense ultimately was that he could not be held responsible because he was driven insane by the knowledge his wife was sleeping with Phillip Key. This was the first use of the "insanity plea" for a murder case. Among the first column headlines are: "The Sickles Tragedy" "Trial of Daniel E. Sickles for the Murder of Philip Parton Key" "Verdict Of Not Guilty" "Extraordinary Scene of Excitement in the Court-room" "How the Verdict was Received" "Mr. Sickles Carried Off in Triumph by His Friends" and more.

Not only does this extensive reporting take the entire front page but it carries over to take most of a column on the back page. 

Complete as a 8 pg. issue never bound nor trimmed, very nice, clean condition.

source: wikipedia: Sickles' career was replete with personal scandals. He was censured by the New York State Assembly for escorting a known prostitute, Fanny White, into its chambers. He also reportedly took her to England with him, leaving his pregnant wife at home, and presented White to Queen Victoria, using as her alias the surname of a New York political opponent.[1] In 1859, in Lafayette Park, across the street from the White House, Sickles shot and killed Philip Barton Key, son of Francis Scott Key and U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, whom Sickles had discovered was having a blatantly public affair with his young wife, Teresa.[2] He was tried on a charge of murder, but was acquitted after a sensational trial involving the first use of temporary insanity as a legal defense in U.S. history. (His defense attorney was Edwin M. Stanton, later to become Secretary of War.) Sickles "withdrew" briefly from public life due to the notoriety of the trial, although he did not resign his congressional seat. The public was more hostile to Sickles' reconciliation with his wife after the trial than to the murder and his unorthodox acquittal.

Category: Pre-Civil War

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