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Lindbergh baby kidnapping trial...



Item # 559594

September 29, 1934

THE NEW YORK TIMES, New York, NY, September 29, 1934

* Lindbergh baby kidnapping trial
* Bruno Hauptmann


This 34 page newspaper has a three column headline on the front page: "BLADE MADE BY HAUPTMANN FOUND HIDDEN IN HIS CELL; INSANITY PLEA IS FORECAST" with many subheads. Much more inside.

Light browning, otherwise in good condition.

wikipedia notes: Hauptmann was charged with kidnapping and murder. Conviction on even one charge could earn him the death penalty. He pleaded not guilty.

Held at the Hunterdon County Courthouse in Flemington, New Jersey, the trial soon became a sensation: reporters swarmed the town, and every hotel room was booked.

In exchange for rights to publish Hauptmann's story in their paper, Edward J. Reilly was hired by the Daily Mirror to serve as Hauptmann's attorney. Two other lawyers, Lloyd Fisher and Frederick Pope, were co-counselors. David T. Wilentz, Attorney General of New Jersey, led the prosecution.
Trial exhibit comparing handwriting samples

In addition to Hauptmann's possession of the ransom money, the State introduced evidence showing a striking similarity between Hauptmann's handwriting and the handwriting on the ransom notes.
Photograph introduced at the trial showing the similarity of the wood grains in the ladder and Hauptmann's attic floor

Based on the forensic work of Arthur Koehler at the Forest Products Laboratory, the State also introduced photographic evidence demonstrating that the wood from the ladder left at the crime scene matched a plank from the floor of Hauptmann's attic: the type of wood, the direction of tree growth, the milling pattern at the factory, the inside and outside surface of the wood, and the grain on both sides were identical, and two oddly placed nail holes lined up with a joist splice in Hauptmann's attic, a remarkable piece of forensic detection. The ladder is now on public view in the New Jersey police museum.

Photograph introduced at the trial showing Condon's address and telephone number written in Hauptmann's house

Additionally, the prosecutors noted that Condon's address and telephone number had been found written in pencil on a closet door in Hauptmann's home. Hauptmann himself admitted in a police interview that he had written Condon's address on the closet door: "I must have read it in the paper about the story. I was a little bit interested and keep a little bit record of it, and maybe I was just on the closet, and was reading the paper and put it down the address." When asked about Condon's telephone number, he could respond only, "I can't give you any explanation about the telephone number."

The defense did not challenge the identification of the body, a common practice in murder cases at the time designed to avoid exposing the jury to an intense analysis of the body and its condition.
Lindbergh on the witness stand

Condon and Lindbergh both testified that Hauptmann was "John." Another witness, Amandus Hockmuth, testified that he saw Hauptmann near the scene of the crime.

Hauptmann was ultimately convicted of the crimes and sentenced to death. His appeals were rejected, though New Jersey Governor Harold G. Hoffman granted a temporary reprieve of Hauptmann's execution and made the politically unpopular move of having the New Jersey Board of Pardons review the case. Apparently, they found no reason to overturn the verdict.

Hauptmann turned down a $90,000 offer from a Hearst newspaper for a confession and refused a last-minute offer to commute his execution to a life sentence in exchange for a confession.

He was electrocuted on April 3, 1936 just over four years after the kidnapping.

Category: The 20th Century

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