STATE V. HAUPTMANN
February 12, 1935
The Court: That aisle will have to be cleared. The courtroom is manifestly overcrowded. There is no question about that. I will ask the Sheriff to see to it that that doesn't happen at the afternoon session.
The people who are here must remain quiet. There is to be no demonstration of any kind at any time.
Mr. Wilentz: May it please your Honor, in connection with your Honor's statement about demonstrations, might I ask, too, that so far as the defendant and his wife are concerned, I may have the right to proceed without any demonstration from that quarter.
The Court: You certainly may. Let that be perfectly understood.
SUMMATION BY MR. WILENTZ:
Mr. Wilentz: May it please your Honor and men and women of the jury: I want you to know how I feel about the very patient and kindly consideration that you have given us. We are also very deeply appreciative of the very kindly help that has come from the Court.
As far as I am concerned, of course I have been governed with the thought that I am here as the Attorney General of New Jersey, men and women, but I am here representing the people of this country.
My delightful adversary says that you are not to be governed by the clamor of the mob that wants the life of this man. Let me say to you that if there is such a clamor, if there is such a demand for the life or for the sentence of this man, it is not because of anything that you have done or that I have done. It must be because of the evidence that has come down from the lips of credible witnesses sitting here under oath.
The American people aren't swung so easily. It seems to me that if there is such a clamor, there must be a good basis for it. But after all, you are the judges of the fact, and you are to determine whether or not that clamor is based on the truth.
I have spent every minute since October, 1934, and applied myself every moment; and each day and each night, the more I proceeded, the more convinced I was that I was pursuing a righteous and proper cause. "Judge not, lest ye be judged," my adversary says, but forgets the other biblical admonition, "And he that killeth any man shall surely be killed," "Shall surely be put to death."
For all these moments since October, not during one moment has there been anything that has come to the surface or light that has indicated anything but the guilt of Bruno Richard Hauptmann, and no one else. Every avenue of evidence leads to the same door: Bruno Richard Hauptmann.
It is a great honor to represent the people in this cause. I have lost more weight in this case than the defendant, only because I wanted to be sure, to be certain, to be positive.
I have never prosecuted a man in my life. Why, the very thought of prosecuting a man for a crime goes against the very soul and the very grain of my system. It just so happens by a freak of circumstance that I happened to be Attorney General when this case comes, and it is a small county. Just one lone prosecutor, and [so] I am called. I have to do my duty. But I am unafraid. No defense counsel can worry me or frighten me or intimidate me - what if ten years from now somebody else confesses! That is the old army game, of trying to intimidate men and women sitting in a jury box - why, everything is possible, everything is possible. If it were the law of the land that we were to be governed by merely possibilities, we wouldn't try these cases.
No, my responsibility is coming to an end soon, and I welcome that end, let me tell you. I am naturally a homeloving person. I want to get back evenings to my children. I know how it must be with you who have been locked up. At least I have seen them over the weekend. I know how it must be with you; weeks and weeks locked up. But that is not my fault. That is not the Court's fault. Everything that has happened in this courtroom, ladies and gentlemen, everything, you may lay to the door of the gentleman sitting over there between the guards.
And so it is not only my responsibility, but now comes yours, and yours is a distinction, too, and an honor. As long as you live, and as long as your children's children's children live, they will remember that you as citizens made this sacrifice, that you served this county and served this State and served this Nation.
If you are going to do your duty, do it right. All we ask of you, we do ourselves. My friend the Prosecutor, Judge Large, Colonel Lindbergh and all of us - we don't ask from you one thing that we would not do ourselves and that is to do your duty. You can't compromise with murder and murderers. If you get the feeling that this case is what Mr. Reilly says, a perfect case, it is your solemn duty to find a verdict of murder in the first degree.
Oh, yes; there have been cases in which a jury properly makes a recommendation of mercy. When a man is charged with murder, because he kills somebody that seduced his daughter, a jury can probably say, "Well, there is an aggravation there, there was a provocation there, he was a father. True, he had no right to violate the law. We will find him guilty, but we recommend mercy." That is a proper case, maybe, for mercy, but this is not. Either this man is guilty or he is innocent. And if he is guilty you have got to convict him.
Now, Mr. Reilly says for the defense that we have got to prove, in order to sustain this indictment, he says we have got to prove that Hauptmann did this job and did it alone. Well, that is a matter of law, that is not anything else. You don't have to worry about that. And I say to you jurors that is not the law. So far as Hauptmann is concerned he could have fifty help him; if he participated in this murder that's all you have got to deal with. Now all this talk about others is clearly the effort of an experienced criminal lawyer to confuse and befuddle a jury. If the jury will only be confused by some question they can't answer in their mind, he is hopeful that that will implant the germ of reasonable doubt to such an extent that they will recommend mercy. There is nobody at that table that doesn't feel he is guilty; I don't care what they say. There may be some questions you can't answer, but there sits the man that can answer them. He will be thawed out, he is cold; yes he will be thawed out when he hears that switch; that's the time he will talk.
Now, men and women, you ask yourselves many questions - such a crime, who would do such a thing? Well, I can't comprehend, you can't imagine, because you are not so constituted, you haven't that sort of a system. Could you ever believe that in this land anybody, anybody would even get the thought of going down to East Amwell Township to Lindbergh's home to take this child? It just can't be believed.
What type of man would murder the child of Colonel Charles A. Lindbergh and Anne Morrow, Colonel Lindbergh who, once a poor boy, for the sake of achievement, for the sake of science, one evening stepped into an aeroplane and spanned the ocean, risked his life, subjected himself to the waves, and, of course, he flew with a few letters of introduction, and the next day found himself the most popular and the most glorious man in this world; a man who has been an inspiration to every child in this world.
Anne Morrow, the cultured daughter of a former Ambassador to Mexico and a late United States Senator, a man who, surely, if he had lived, would be President of the United States.
Who would be the type of person that would take a child like that and murder it? Who could there be? Why, men and women, if that little baby, if that little curly-haired youngster were out in the grass in the jungle, breathing, just so long as it was breathing, any tiger, any lion, the most venomous snake would have passed that child without hurting a hair of its head.
Now what type of man would kill the child of Colonel Lindbergh and Anne Morrow?
He wouldn't be an American. No American gangster and no American racketeer ever sank to the level of killing babies. Ah, no! Oh, no, it had to be a fellow that had ice water in his veins, not blood.
That is the first thing. It had to be a fellow who thought he was bigger than Lindy, that when the news of the crime came out he could look at the headlines screaming across the page. It had to be a fellow that was an egomaniac, who thought he was omnipotent. It had to be a secretive fellow. It had to be a fellow that wouldn't tell his wife about his money, who would conceal the truth from her. It had to be a fellow that wouldn't trust a bookkeeper, the kind of fellow that could undergo hardship, that could stow away on a boat and travel three thousand miles to sneak into this country in a coal bin, without food, without water, and when he was apprehended in court he would say he would go back again and try it over again. That's the type of man. Try it over the second time and then the third time. It would have to be the type of man that wouldn't think anything of forsaking his own country, that would leave everything behind and flee to another land. It would have to be the type of man that would forsake his own mother, sixty-five years of age, and run away. And let me tell you, men and women, the State of New Jersey, the State of New York and the Federal authorities, have found that animal, an animal lower than the lowest form in the animal kingdom, public enemy Number 1 of this world, Bruno Richard Hauptmann; we have found him and he is here for your judgment.
And how does the defense attempt to meet this perfect case? Why they start out by trying to assassinate the character and reputation of everybody that dared to come here and be useful. A defense that starts right out to rip the heart and soul out of Americans that are sworn to do their duty and are here only for that purpose.
If the State were on the level! Did you ever hear in a courtroom a statement like that before? If the State were on the level! Who in the State is not on the level?
Schwarzkopf, please stand up. Jury, look at Colonel Schwarzkopf. Take a look at his eye. Does he look like a crook, a graduate of the United States Military Academy; a man who served his nation against his Fatherland, on the fronts in Europe. Does he look like a crook? For three years, with suspects here, suspects there, nobody was brought before this jury. Why? Because they didn't have the right man.
Schwarzkopf has been pilloried around this State and around this Nation by ambitious newspapermen and others, and here this calm, delightful father of children sat by year after year, just trying to do his duty, and he has finally got to come into this courtroom to have somebody from New York call him a crook. He is good enough for Colonel Lindbergh who suffered this terrific loss, he is good enough for Anne Morrow and the Morrow family, but for the gentlemen of the defense and Mr. Hauptmann he suddenly becomes a crook.
What do you think of that?
Why, men and women, this case is a perfect case. Why I sleep it, I eat it, I dream it, I live it, and every moment it is Hauptmann, Hauptmann, Hauptmann, all the time!
Unfortunately under our system of government, men are permitted, with the protection of the courts, are permitted to assassinate men of good character. What do you think of that? Why, we have gotten to the stage in this country where criminals think they can do anything, if they get the right lawyer. All they need is the right mouthpiece.
I am a member of a profession, as I said before, which is a noble profession and always will be, but in this profession there are more crooks amongst the lawyers than there ever will be amongst policemen - I am not talking about anybody in this case, just generally talking, men and women.
[Mr. Wilentz proceeds to present or discuss, sequentially, William Frank, Special Agent of the Treasury Dept., Corporal Wilton of the NJ State Police, Arthur Koehler, Major General John O'Ryan, former NY Police Commissioner and other State witnesses. He discounts the defense attempts at attacking their respective credibility.]
They have got to murder and assassinate each and every one of these men, there is no giving way.
They talk about the defense not having any money. There is not a scintilla of evidence that they haven't money. I think they have got lots of money; money coming from cranks and fools and un-Americans all over the country, pouring in enough money to hire what they consider the four best lawyers available, to get the best criminal lawyer in the East; a man who has represented more criminals in the big Metropolis than any other man, according to reputation. So there must be some money somewhere; certainly they wouldn't represent a murderer just to represent him. Certainly they don't want to glory in the blood of the Lindbergh baby. It must be because of their oath to their professional duty. It must be because of that and because they are paid to do the work. No money? Who said no money?
Just an effort to prejudice this jury; just an effort to appeal to the jury. Why, I think they have probably spent more money than the State has.
Then counsel wants to know where is the phonograph record? Why sure, that phonograph record has been alive and awake waiting for him to call for it, to put his voice on for you. I would have loved if you had heard the story all over again, Condon telling about this conversation, "Will I burn if the baby is dead? Are you German, John? No, I am Scandinavian. Have you got the money? No, I haven't got the money. Doesn't Colonel Lindbergh think we are the right party?"
Mr. Reilly: We must make an objection to this, if your Honor please. I hate to interrupt the Attorney General, but he is now talking about something which he assumes would be in the record, if it was called for, and I say it is highly improper. He should be confined to the evidence in the case.
Mr. Wilentz: I am talking about Dr. Condon's testimony, and I want to remind counsel that I didn't interrupt him.
Mr. Reilly: Well, I can't help it, General, if you are going to talk about things that are not in the evidence.
The Court: Now, I haven't observed anything as yet that is irregular in the summation of the Attorney General. You may proceed, Mr. Attorney General.
Mr. Wilentz: Yes. It is stated that Colonel Lindbergh was stabbed in the back by someone in his household, someone who was disloyal to him. You know, I should love to be able to say to you that two or three people did this. It would be so much easier for me. I know just about, at least I hope I do, how the human mind operates in a situation like this. But every bit of evidence leads only to Hauptmann. Now you can't indict people, you can't convict them, dead or alive, just because some lawyer says so. I sympathize with him because he doesn't know what happened. The police for years have been investigating this case and counsel wants to solve this entire case by insinuation and reference borne only in his mind. But you are governed by the evidence, not by speeches that are made by lawyers, whether it is me or anybody else. Not one single dollar, not one ransom dollar was ever traced to anybody connected with any member of the household. If Colonel Lindbergh and Mrs. Morrow still faith in these people, don't you hold it against them; don't substitute yourself because of some query in your mind. No chisel of Betty Gow's was found on the premises. The note in the baby's nursery didn't look like their handwriting; it looked like Hauptmann's. No money found in their garages; if Whately left any money when he died it would have been found somewhere. There isn't one bit of proof that implicates any of them.
[Short recess taken]
Mr. Wilentz: (Continuing summation):
May it please your Honor and men and women of the jury:
You know, I really hate to take all this time with this jury. This is one of the evils in the practice of law - the jury, after listening to all the testimony, then has to sit down and listen to the lawyers after they have heard it all. Probably there is some good that comes out of it. I take it, at least, it must do this much good: that when the defense counsel, who properly asks certain questions as to why the State didn't do this or didn't do that, maybe it does some good, because it may arouse in the minds of the jury something important that he overlooked, which the State ought to answer; and so the State has the opportunity and, if they fail in their answer, then they ought to fail, if it is something material.
Now, let me suggest to you jurors one thing, which may not be important. Please don't get the idea that the State has got to prove everything that it sets out to prove, everything beyond a reasonable doubt. That's a joke. Just because we allege one fact, that doesn't mean we have got to prove that fact and every other fact that we allege in order to show that this man is guilty. That's not the fact at all, and we will come back to that.
You and I know, of course, that there can't be any more serious crime than murder. There can't be. And with all our civilization and with all our mad desire and rush for money and for everything else, with all the jealousies and everything that there is in the world, the taking of a life has always been considered the most serious crime.
Let me tell you, men and women, this murder even of the Lindbergh child would sink into absolute insignificance in comparison to the crime that would be committed if this man were freed. That would be the crime of the century.
To let him roam the streets of this country and make every woman in her home shudder again; that would be a real tragedy, an American tragedy! That is why I told you I am so consumed, every inch of me, every ounce of me cries out to you, "Please do your duty!"
I am not worried about myself. I get crank letters and threats and all that sort of thing. They don't bother me. I don't need any guards. My family doesn't need any guards. Nobody is really important in this world. You know, the world goes on.
We are so insignificant as individuals; but the Nation isn't. Civilization isn't. Society isn't. And if you ever freed this man - it couldn't be, it wouldn't happen, the murder of the Lindbergh child, as I say, that murder would shrink into insignificance compared to the crime of which you would be guilty in letting this man roam the streets.
Counsel says we have got to place Hauptmann in the room. Sure we have got to place Hauptmann in the room, and when I get to reenacting this crime again, as I hope to before I am through, you will be convinced, if you aren't already convinced, that he was in that room. But we don't have to prove it by anybody that was sitting there and watching him. We don't need a moving picture of it. We don't need an eyewitness. An experienced burglar doesn't need any rehearsal; he doesn't go in the room first to see how it looks. He had an elaborate education. He had a generous education before he came here. Why, let me tell you, men and women, that fellow would have been arrested within six months of the crime if one thing had happened.
You know it and I know it, and when this crime took place they knew it right away that it was probably a German, somebody of German descent.
And oh, his Nation will never forgive him for the disgrace he has brought to them. Of course, they are no more responsible for him - the German people are no more responsible for this act than was the Italian government for the murder of Mayor Cermac, of Chicago, when they tried to assassinate President Roosevelt, if he was an Italian, I don't remember. No Nation is responsible for any criminal of its own country.
But here is where the American people are up against something with this gentleman. All those words, "our, o-u-e-r, house, h-a-u-s-e, indicate clearly that it was somebody of German descent.
Now they knew that the fellow who committed this crime was no amateur, they knew he was a criminal. It would take a man with, as I said before, with ice water in his veins instead of blood. It would take a hardened criminal.
Oh, if he hadn't been sneaked into this country, if he hadn't fooled the United States Government when he came in, if his record was a matter of record, they would have struck that record.
But he sneaked in. He had a liberal education, as I said before, in crime.
Let me tell you this: this fellow took no chance on the child awakening. He crushed that child right there in that room into insensibility. He smothered and choked that child right in that room. That child never cried, never gave any outcry. Certainly not. The little voice was stilled right in that room.
He wasn't interested in the child. Life meant nothing to him. That's the type of man I told you about that we are dealing with.
Public Enemy Number One of the World! That's what we are dealing with. Take a look at him as he sits there. Look at him as he walks out into this room, panther-like, gloating, feeling good.
There was no cry left in the child. Did he use the chisel to crush the skull at the time or to knock it into insensibility? What else was the chisel there for? To knock that child into insensibility right there in that room.
Counsel wants to know why it didn't cry out. There is the answer for you.
They want pictures of the mud. Well, if we knew at the time of the crime counsel was going to defend this man and this man was going to be here now we'd have brought the mud here for him. When we don't bring in the mud, they say we should have brought it in. When we bring in the ladder, they say it is too much.
Now, one of the alleged weak spots picked out for attack by the defense is the fact that Dr. Condon was always alone. Well, that's not the fact. Let's look at the record. Dr. Condon was never alone except when he was to meet the kidnaper. Kidnapers pick out some place where they won't be seen, a cemetery - very appropriate by Hauptmann any way; everything else about him has been dealing with the dead, either morally or physically dead. The people he blames are physically dead; the people he brought here into this courtroom, most of them, are morally dead, didn't have a moral brain in their system, brought here from the jails.
He met Dr. Condon alone on those occasions; isn't that sufficient answer to the defense.
The history of crime, the history of every crime, shows that no matter how brilliant the criminal is, somewhere he slips. It was his egomaniac traits, his egotism, the Big Shot, that he could walk into that cemetery without a mask. He knew the baby was dead. He killed it.
Why, if we didn't have another thing except Condon coming in and saying, "There is the fellow I gave the money to," that would be all we would need to convict him of murder in the first degree. Do you know that men have been convicted of murder if the first degree on a note, on note, without anybody seeing him do anything?
Now, supposing Condon were dead - I don't like to interrupt by taking this drink. I suppose I really ought to pass a drink to the jury, but I have never seen it done. So maybe I had better refrain.
Well, you know, I think Mr. Reilly is such a good lawyer. I really do. I couldn't with five thousand years of experience do the job he did here yesterday, to stand up here for the greater part of the day and present the arguments he did, with five thousand years of experience I could not equal that performance.
I want to tell you that is a masterpiece, to stand up with all that massive sincerity, making believe he means it, with all the dignity that is his, and he is a good-looking fellow, too, you know, and outside the courtroom a splendid fellow, and say to you, "Do you believe that trash about Perrone?"
Why, Perrone is a delightful fellow - never convicted of a crime, never was in the insane asylum, and all Perrone did, Perrone was another victim of this defendant; he picked Perrone to deliver the note, and if Condon had died and he wasn't here to testify, if Perrone came in and said, "That is the man that gave me the note to deliver to Condon," that would be enough to send this man to the chair.
Has everybody suddenly conspired, the State of New Jersey, the agents of New York, Colonel Lindbergh and Colonel Schwarzkopf and Colonel Breckinridge; then they got hold of Dr. Condon, then they took Perrone, and they took Miss Alexander and they came over and got Hauptmann and then they called on the Attorney General and they went to Washington and they got the President... and we all sat in a room and we conspired against Hauptmann. That is the defense.
What a story! If they can feed this jury that sort of story, then something has been invented to take the place of food.
Now one of the things counsel talked about was that it would be impossible for Colonel Lindbergh to remember the voice of the defendant. Lindy, whose ears were trained to the hum and the whir of every little wheel in that motor that went across that ocean. Lindy, whose very life has been built up by that keen intellect and keen training and keen mind and keen hearing - he who had no concern about his ability to hear and to see, when one hundred and twenty million people were on their knees praying for the safe arrival of Lindbergh in France - Lindbergh with that keen hearing, when he was out in that plot, out there near St. Raymonds - the greatest moment in his life. Why, the trip across the ocean meant nothing to him.
He could almost touch him. He could have gone out and talked to him, but he didn't dare! Then that voice comes out, "Hey Doktor, hey Doktor." God! Could you ever forget it? Would anybody ever forget it? How many nights do you think he hears that in his sleep? God, it seems to me I have heard it so often, "Hey, Doktor." His hope. Why if that man said one word in this room above a whisper I wouldn't have to turn around. I could tell you it was Hauptmann. There is something weird about it, something weird. And Lindy remembered that voice. And who is to say he didn't? Are you going to substitute your judgment for his? He was in that automobile in that cemetery, not you or I. Mr. Reilly says, "Why, he couldn't - how could Lindy remember?"
Why that voice! God! I can't sleep after I hear it nights myself. And he says Lindy wouldn't remember it!
I want to tell you men and women, I have seen many lawyers with weak cases. I have been in courtrooms where there have been insinuations, insinuations that weren't warranted. They didn't go as far as we have gone in this case, I will say that. If I live to be a million years old, never again will I hear the number of insinuations, and unfair ones, that I have heard in this case.
And you know what the purpose is. Maybe it will plant a germ. And what difference does it make, the extent? You know and I know the child died, it was killed. The condition of the body - you get a look at that body. Take a look at that body where he left it in that grave, subject to the elements and to be torn and eaten limb by limb by the animals that came along there, a dead baby. Get a look at it. We have the records here.
Counsel wants to know where the missing money is. He says further that he got most of that from Fisch. The inference is that Fisch gave him the money in the shoebox. Of course, not a living soul has testified that he ever saw Fisch give him two cents. Hauptmann's wife never saw him give him a dollar. Not a living soul ever saw this man get a dollar from Fisch. Counsel says, "It must be in some vault." It must be nothing. We haven't substituted counsel's opinion for sworn testimony yet, and he won't get away with it.
There are not twelve people in this world you could put in this jury box that could believe this defendant. No sir; not alone twelve people picked from one County.
This fellow took a trip to California in October, 1931, and he had no money. He had this planned out; he stopped keeping books a month after the child was born. You may think it is fantastic. God! you have got to know what goes through the mind of a man that would crush a child. It is a different mind, it is a different soul, it is a different being.
You haven't dealt with that kind of animal, the lowest form of animal, - that is what you are dealing with: no heart, no soul. The only thing he has is the appearance of a man.
[Recess for lunch.]
Mr. Wilentz: May it please your Honor, men and women of the jury:
I know it isn't a pleasant task to pass judgment upon another, and one of the efforts to intimidate this jury has been reference to circumstantial evidence. Men who commit crimes do not take moving picture cameras with them, and they do the best they can to avoid detection. In many cases there is only circumstantial evidence. You are to be bound by the law, as I am. Some circumstantial evidence, when it starts to testify and when it starts to scream, all the lip evidence in the world can't overcome it.
I don't know if you have ever been out to Yellow Stone Park, but out there I think they have a lot of wild bears, at least they used to be wild. But after contact with humanity they have tamed down to where you can trust them, and they permit them to roam around. But every once in a while one of those animals returns to his real animal state and he hurts somebody. What do you think they do with that bear? They shoot him, they kill him. That bear is a menace and they put him out of the way. That's what you have got to do with this fellow.
Now the circumstantial evidence in this case is sufficient, but in addition to that, we have the positive identification of Dr. Condon. We have got Perrone. That is not circumstantial.
Now there was one thing about this fellow - he wasn't going to let any faker get the money. He had something on the note so that Colonel Lindbergh could tell that another one was from the right party. He put his signature on it. There it is. The blue circle, the red center, and the holes; "B" in blue, for Bruno; "R" in red for Richard; holes, "H" for Hauptmann. So he has this symbol. And he never put a dollar mark down but what he didn't put after the numbers. I won't say that is only peculiar to one man, there may be some other foreigners do, but the fellow that wrote these notes, he had this same peculiarity. He never puts a dollar mark in any of his writings where it should be.
In addition, ... we have Perrone, the man who delivered the note to Dr. Condon. Perrone didn't know a thing about Hauptmann's arrest until 1934. Did he give the description of Hauptmann in 1932, so as to be a plant?
A plant - I think that possibly must be the way some criminals get away with their crimes in New York, and I think the word "plant" is a favorite one of lawyers, criminal lawyers, who try to have their clients escape justice, blame it on the police and call it a plant. Can you imagine Perrone planting something in 1932? You know, Hauptmann never denied that he gave that note to Perrone on the stand. That is my recollection of the testimony. I don't think he ever mentioned it.
Be that as it may, Perrone gives the description of the man. Five foot nine; about thirty to thirty-five, or something like that; of German extraction; at least he spoke with some German accent, he thought; muddy blond hair - fitting Hauptmann to a T.
Now jurors, you have got to decide it was the right man. The fellow that was in that room took that baby, and the fellow that took the baby had the sleeping garment. What more do you want? Is it possible that you would want anything else?
Now, we have got another piece of evidence, with the sleeping suit - all right, what is next?
The money is prepared and they go down to St. Raymond's Cemetery. Colonel Lindbergh hears his voice, "Hey, Doktor." Another piece of evidence. All right. Who was it that got the money? This was asked all before this trial, all before Hauptmann got arrested. When he dipped his hands into that box to take out some money, when he was writing that letter, he was not only willing, he not only murdered this child, he wasn't satisfied, he wanted to steal their money too. That is the sort of animal, the sort of a murderer we are dealing with.
And so he takes that money and we have got another clue. We have fifty thousand dollars in money which we circulated, another clue. So we sit and wait, and what happens? Some fellow in a shoe store gets a twenty-dollar bill. Who gave it to him? A man about five foot nine, of German extraction, muddy blond, athletic - the same description.
Do you remember the testimony about the Faulkner money? Nobody could tell who deposited twenty-nine hundred, or something like that in gold? Somebody walked in and exchanged twenty-eight or twenty-six hundred - I forget which it was - that was an exchange, not a deposit, with the name of J.J. Faulkner, the name of a man who never could be found. Nobody knows who exchanged that money, but around that time in May or whatever the testimony shows, 1933, you will find over $3,000 in one deposit in Hauptmann's account.
Now Colonel Lindbergh has flown up there, looking for his child - sent him off on this wild goose chase - cruelty. Why he would cut your heart honestly with a razor and think nothing of it and go upstairs and eat. That's how cold-blooded this murderer is. As time goes on, some people forget, but the Government doesn't forget. Every time a bill comes in, they try to find him: in New York, New York, New York - all the money is in New York. They draw a circle around where it is being circulated. He suddenly started to become a shopper, this carpenter. And so he gives a ten-dollar bill to this gas station attendant and the attendant sees it, and Hauptmann doesn't know that he has written down his number. And the gas station attendant doesn't think anything about Lindbergh. He sees it is a gold bill, and so he marks down the number, thinking they may have some trouble about it, and they trace his car. Then there is an arrest. You see, I am trying to go as fast as I can. We have got another clue. Who is the fellow that passed the bill? We have got the number, the registration number.
All right, we arrest him. Do we get a clue with his arrest? Sure. Talk about shrewd, canny! He said, "This twenty dollar bill is part of $300 which I have saved because of inflation and because of gold. The rest of the three hundred I spent already, and this is the last one."
Well, that was fine, wasn't it? What could you do to a man that had a twenty-dollar bill? You couldn't do anything to him, he hadn't committed a crime, except possibly he violated the gold laws of the country. They took him back home and they found nothing. Now he gets down to the station and they ask him to write. You remember what he said? He made those misstatements - "singnature" - because they were dictated to him. Now, you weren't there and I wasn't there. I don't believe all this hokum about police and all those things they try to hand us. But just the same, that's his testimony.
Did they tell him to spell it that way? I am going to prove to you conclusively that when he swore on the stand here that they told him to spell "singnature" with an "n" that he committed downright and absolute perjury, just like he did in most of his testimony. In order to do what? What is perjury?
Perjury is the willful misstatement of a material fact under oath. Why, do you know if we should get perjury rampant in this country, I mean if people would take those things lightly and swear to false things, do you know what would happen? If I had a piece of property or a chattel or something, they would swear it away from me. There wouldn't be anything worth a dollar. Your life wouldn't be worth anything if perjury became rampant - if you take the sacred oath on the witness stand.
If you can't believe that, then there isn't an American institution that means a thing. Why would a man commit perjury, such a serious offense, second only to murder, I think? Why would he do it? He would do it only because he would want to escape from the electric chair.
Now, he swears we told him to spell it that way. You go through every one of those misspelled writings and there isn't the word "signature" on one of them to show that we ever asked him to spell it, right or wrong. What do you think of that?
And still he swears on the stand in this court that we told him to spell "signature" with an "n." What a fake! What a fraud! What a joke! Defense! Wasting the taxpayers' money here. Sure, if there is any wasting, that is where it is, with that kind of phoney defense. Perjury is a joke in this case. They seem to take it so lightly. They would swear to anything - to save Hauptmann.
Well, now, I think before I got into the "singnature" we had him at his arrest with the twenty-dollar bill. He is arrested and they ask him to write these papers. Is this the man's handwriting? This is murder - this is important - nobody is going to take a chance on this. No lawyer, no prosecutor, is going to walk into this blindly. He is not going to be made a fool of and let his State become the subject of ridicule. So they send carpenters up. They go to his garage. Lo and behold! They find concealed somewhere along the window a fake compartment, two thousand dollars - he says, "that's all there is." And they keep working and the next thing you know they find an oil can concealed underneath in another secret compartment, about ten thousand dollars, and he still says that's all. And when they have got it altogether, then he says, it was Fisch that gave him that money.
Now the search goes on. We have got the man and we have got his handwriting, and he has got the money. And they find this board. We are looking for the man that got the dough from Condon; that's the fellow. What did he conceal it for? Because he participated in the crime, because he is the murderer. Men and women of the jury, when you get this board in your room, you look at the notes and take a look at the handwriting. You don't need an expert. You will be convinced. He is the all-powerful. He thought he could sit on that stand and withstand anything. And he didn't, he squirmed. He is accustomed to telling others what to do. He will order his counsel around, he would order the Court around if he thought he could get away with it. Strong! That fellow has got a will power and a won't power. Steel that comes right from the heart.
All right, we are still working, and we get up into his attic. Oh, they say we wouldn't let them get up into the attic. The poor boys, we wouldn't let them - terrible thing, we wouldn't let the defense do this and we wouldn't let them do that. They have had six or seven weeks of a trial here and anything they are entitled to they can get from this Court. The only trouble I find is that we have treated this fellow entirely too well. I never even walked in to ask him a word. I never went in to annoy him for a second. I wouldn't get close enough to him. If I had my choice I wouldn't get in the same room, I wouldn't become contaminated, I wouldn't want to breathe the same air. I feel itchy, I feel oozy.
We have treated him too well, and they say we won't let them get up into the attic. Why do they have to get up into the attic? He has lived there. Why can't they get all the information. No, counsel wanted to go up there on a Sunday morning while the Attorney General was home sick in bed, and I told him another morning, but no, it had to be Sunday morning. What have we got to hide up in the attic, or anywhere? What difference does it make to the Attorney General of New Jersey what the outcome of this thing is? Are we going to make any profit on it? No. There is the board from the attic. You can see the knotholes even in it now, just as plain as anything in the world.
But it doesn't make any difference. We don't have to prove that to you. We don't have to prove that rail comes from that attic. My God! We don't have to give you a moving picture of this crime. We don't have to give you one iota of proof about this ladder to convict this man. But it is there and we are giving it to you for whatever it is worth.
How do they try to get away from that? They bring in Dr. Hudson. I want to tell you what I think about Dr. Hudson. He entered this case in order to attract the attention of the world to what he considers a good chemical solution for fingerprinting; and if Hudson gets away with his testimony, he would make millions of dollars. That's what would happen. Everybody in the world, if he could only say that his testimony freed Hauptmann.
If you believe there was only one nail hole on there, he might get away with it. Well, I don't know how many nail holes were in this board in 1932. I wasn't there. You weren't there. Mr. Betts, from Washington, comes down. He came down here and the next morning he is on the stand, peruses the report - four nail holes - in 1932.
They could have gotten carpenters from all over if they just wanted carpenters. They could have gotten carpenters from the State of New Jersey. But no, they had to get a fellow that has a nursery up in Connecticut. And I have no quarrel with him, if he can profit at the expense of Colonel Lindbergh and the State of New Jersey. Lord knows, there are enough people who have tried, with more power to him, unless he is caught! Now you aren't to let a little poppycock like that destroy the testimony of a man like Koehler, who has devoted hi services to this all his life.
Now we have the ladder and we have the lumber, and we have the attic board and we have the board in his room. We have all these things. And we have the money and we have the notes - and he wrote them. Everything Hauptmann. And we ask ourselves the same question Mr. Reilly asked yesterday: where is the rest of the money. So we investigate bank accounts and brokerage accounts, and lo and behold, Hauptmann again. We find the money. We find $50,000 of unaccounted wealth, within fourteen dollars.
He was a wonderful bookkeeper. Oh he was a carpenter, he was a burglar, he was everything else, he was a murderer, but he was a good bookkeeper too. He was the writer of notes, and he is the fellow that surrendered the sleeping garment. Why, that is all we need.
I want to talk to you about the handwriting for a minute.
[Hands jurors books of photographs of the handwriting exhibits. Compares several with the request writings.]
All right. Now, men and women, you will have plenty of time. You don't need an expert. I want to tell you, when you are through with it, take it home, show it to your children. They will tell you who wrote it, one guess. [Y]ou can compare his own writing, his own two admitted writings and you will find some dissimilarities. But when you have 13 or 14 notes and a lot of his own writing, you can find him screaming all out of it. The two admitted Hauptmann writings don't look at all alike there, and so it is right down the line. So you have the dissimilarities, too.
[Recess for a few minutes.]
Mr. Wilentz: I know some members of the jury have been ill, and I wasn't told until a minute ago that one of them has been quite ill, and I wouldn't have taken as much time.
Now I will try to conclude. One of the important things in this case is the question of when this gentleman stopped his work. We said he quit on the 2nd of April, or the 4th of April, said he worked two days in April. And the record book here shows that he did not work on April 2nd, but did come back and resign on the 4th. Whatever it is, he hasn't done an honest day's work since, that is the day the ransom money was paid. He didn't try to get a job any other place. Of course not. He had too much money. He had more money than this jury and myself, all of us put together.
I didn't want to get away from the handwriting without giving you the opinion of J. Clark Sellers, one of the most famous men and one of the most delightful citizens of this world, from Los Angeles, a man that was appointed by the Court in the Rudolph Valentino case, in the case of Jean Harlow's husband, the man who was called upon to determine the handwriting in the Hickman murder case - that was another kidnapping and murder case - and the man whose record on this stand never indicated one reversal.
And that sums up the opinion of every one of these men: Osborn, Stein, Tyrrell, Walter Cassidy, Souder.
Now what did Hauptmann do? He left his home in the Bronx, he came down here with his automobile; he had been planning it. He was seen in the vicinity one or two or three times. Oh, it doesn't matter; he may have been seen there before or he may have never been seen there. Criminals, as I said before, never rehearse these things. He came down here with that ladder. Why, if this ladder was up, I would climb up it for you. It is a cinch. And he walked in there, this fellow with the panther step, this fellow with the big hands, he walked in there, into that room and in to that baby, and he grabbed that child; out he came, out that window. Oh, it was a little difficult; it would have been easier if there were two or three of them.
And down he comes. The child is dead. He had crushed that child already, mind you, into insensibility before he came out of the room. The ladder breaks and down he comes. And there, knowing the child was dead, as he walked out to get to his car, as he was sneaking out, still on the Lindbergh estate, he took the sleeping garment and he ripped it off that child, and he had the sleeping garment.
If he left the body right there he would never collect the money. He had to hide it. He didn't need the body, all he needed was the sleeping garment to get the money.
I told you before: if we had to prove by an eyewitness, the Court would have told you in the first place. Civilization and society would sink to such low levels that nobody would be protected, there would be no society; there would be no civilization; if we cannot cope with murderers and criminals in the fashion that we are. The trouble about civilization, the trouble about people, decent people, is they have bent over backwards trying to be fair. Criminals go forward, thinking of nothing. We are all trying - we are scared to death - somebody says we are not treating them nice enough.
Here is a poor carpenter, that had slaved for $100 a month, frugal, thrifty, and he spends $400 for a radio. When? During a time when the country was in the midst of the worst depression in its history, 1932. $125 for field glasses. Field glasses! Talk about luxury! Trips to Florida. Why, that radio should convict him. Why, I remember some of the jurors when they were being questioned, one of the jurors said no, he never owned a radio - this fellow with a $400 radio without a job, not working, not looking for work.
He buys a canoe. He sends his wife to Germany when he isn't working. He dresses her. He gives her a trip to Germany. She bought a chest of silverware there. God! I don't care if she buys five thousand sets of silverware. I am not a bit envious of anybody. But all I want them to do is not to take this money as the result of a murder. That is all. She bought the silverware in Germany with money and the fruits of this ransom money which he got because he had the baby's sleeping suit.
Now, the State of New Jersey takes no pride in this prosecution, men and women. We have only tried this case for the same reason that you are. Hauptmann made us the victims; he picked Hunterdon County, he picked the State of New Jersey, as the scene of his crime and we, as victims, have got to suffer for it. Very likely, [if the crime were committed] up in Newark or in New York, the courtrooms are larger, it would be more convenient, but no, we had to come to Flemington because of Hauptmann. And so here we are, to do nothing except our duty. And all we ask is that you do your duty.
We are not concerned about what the mob is clamoring for, as counsel refers to it, but I have sufficient faith in the American people to know that it is their honest belief and conviction that he is the murderer. Otherwise, there would be no clamor, if there is one.
This fellow has been the inspiration for the greatest series of the meanest crimes in the history of the world. Why, the American gangster never knew what it was to murder a child or murder anybody kidnapped. He would take the person and return him for money. There was some honor among thieves. There was some honor among those gangs. He taught them a new system. He taught them that and since that time this country has been cursed with the meanest and worst series of crimes it has ever experienced. He hastened the death of Violet Sharpe. He disgraced Betty Gow. He has brought shame down upon Condon, unfair shame, in this courtroom, vilification and abuse. He has caused more sorrow in millions of homes in this country than anybody could calculate. Panic in every home, sorrow in every home.
We can't restore this child. We can't do it. But if this jury will do its duty, we can translate Colonel Lindbergh's loss into some gain for civilization, we can crush these snakes, we can crush these criminals, that society isn't so weak that we can't deal with them. That's the job you can do.
There isn't a thing in the world that the Attorney General wants except to be left alone, to lead a normal life. He doesn't want any promotions; he has no ambition, the Lord has been good to him. If he should die tomorrow he would have no feeling of regret. I am here just to do my duty, as you are. Let me tell you, all we want is a square deal. Gosh! How we have worked for that, to present this case and this proof with fairness, with decency, so that the world will feel, "Yes, we will convict him, but we convict him fairly."
As I told you, there are some cases in which a recommendation of mercy might do. But not this one, not this one. Either this man is the filthiest and vilest snake that ever crept through the grass, or he is entitled to an acquittal.
Now I want to say something about the members of the profession that have participated in this trial. Just forget us all. If you know any of us, if you are at all friendly with any of these men at the table, just remember that we are merely doing our share and our part in this case. [T]he friendships that you may have with any of the members, or the relation, if there is any, no matter how distant, remember it has nothing to do with this case.
Did you ever see the scale, the American scale of justice? Here is how it hangs now (indicating), way up there is the testimony of the State of New Jersey, way down in its lowest ebb is Hauptmann, Hauptmann, dangling on there, dangling on the hope and on the straw, right at the bottom of the scale, hoping that one juror, one juror may do it, may do it for Fisher, may do it for Reilly, may do it for somebody else, hoping that he will get life imprisonment instead of death.
What does life imprisonment mean? Nothing. Maybe in fifteen years he will walk the streets again. The scales are up there with Hauptmann dangling down there.
You convict this man of murder in the first degree. Jurors, it is up to you. You have got a chance to do something for society that nobody else in the entire county of Hunterdon will ever have. If you bring in a recommendation of mercy, a wishy-washy decision - yes, it is your province, I will not say a word about it. But it seems to me you have the courage, if you believe with us, you have to find him guilty of murder in the first degree.
Of course, if you want to line up with Hauptmann, if you want to go over to that side of the rail, provided it is on the testimony -
A Voice: If your Honor please -
Mr. Wilentz: If your Honor please, I want that man taken out. Take him out.
Mr. Reilly: May we have the jury polled as to whether they heard what he said?
Mr. Wilentz: Did he say anything?
Mr. Reilly: He shouted out something. I think he ought to be committed to an insane asylum. They tell me he is a rector of a small church up on the banks of the Hudson here, more of a mission. He came to see me once and I threw him out. He was here the very first day dressed that way and I had the troopers throw him out. He is the brother of that man that escaped in Georgia, Burns.
Mr. Wilentz: I think he ought to be put in jail anyway. After the jury is out.
(Further conference of counsel was held at the side Bar.)
Mr. Wilentz: If your Honor please, counsel have agreed that if the jury heard whatever the intruder said, they will disregard it. And at the conclusion of this case, your Honor deal properly with the gentleman who interrupted the proceedings for contempt of Court.
The Court: Yes.
Mr. Wilentz: Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I don't imagine the jury heard anything that this man said, except his exclamation, but you [are to] utterly and entirely disregard anything that you heard and forget the scene.
[The Attorney General then asks the judge to wait until the next morning to charge the jury and sits.]