Flemington, N. J., Jan. 2.--Two years and ten months from the date of the tragedy at Hopewell, Bruno Richard Hauptmann was placed on trial for his life here today, charged with the murder of Charles A. Lindbergh Jr.
With the sometimes ponderous machinery of criminal trials moving at an unusually rapid speed, ten jurors had been selected when court adjourned this afternoon, after having been in session for a little more than five hours. It was believed here tonight that the remaining two jurors would be chosen before noon tomorrow, and that the State of New Jersey would begin during the day its effort to prove the accused man "guilty beyond a reasonable doubt."
A crowd of about 500 persons, including 150 prospective jurors, 150 newspaper writers and officials, prominent members of the bar and spectators, filled the century-old trial room of the Hunterdon County Court House to capacity.
Outside in Main Street several hundred others, who could not get into the court house, pressed against the doors and windows and milled around in the middle of the thoroughfare. Curiosity- seekers, they watched for glimpses of the principals in the case and edged their way forward when pictures were taken for the newspapers and news reels.
Colonel Lindbergh Present
Colonel Lindbergh attended the opening session, sitting inside the rail in front of the bench, in the same row as the accused man, and only four seats away from him. Mrs. Lindbergh did not appear.
It was observed that Colonel Lindbergh was carrying a pistol in a shoulder holster. Although his coat concealed it most of the time, it was visible when he leaned forward to consult with the lawyers at the State's counsel table.
This gave rise to a rumor that the colonel had received recent threats against his life, but this was denied in an authoritative quarter. It was explained that Colonel Lindbergh has carried a pistol for five years, two years before the kidnapping, and is an expert small-arms marksman. From time to time, dating to a period before the kidnapping, it was added, the colonel and his family have received threatening letters, mostly from cranks and persons obviously disordered mentally, but no such letter has been received for a long time.
Follow Procedure Closely
Both Colonel Lindbergh and Hauptmann followed the proceedings with close interest, but in different ways, while the prospective jurors were examined as to their qualifications. Colonel Lindbergh was obviously intensely interested. He rested his chin on his hand, sometimes leaned forward eagerly, frequently made notes on a small pad of paper, and always peered searchingly into the face of every venireman or woman who took the stand. Hauptmann kept his eyes fastened on the occupants of the chair also, but with a peculiar kind of stare which has been characteristic of him in all his public appearances since his arrest. Sometimes the spectator believes this look in his eyes to be apathetic, at other times it seems to be an unusually penetrating expression of interest.
Six men and four women are among the jurors chosen today. All except one man are married and have one or more children. The women are all housewives, and one is a stenographer also. Another is a widow. The men include two farmers, a machinist, a salesman, a railroad worker, and a CCC camp director.
Fifty-seven prospective jurors were examined during the day. The State used seven of its twelve peremptory challenges and the defense fifteen of its twenty, to eliminate men or women whom lawyers for the respective sides regarded as not the right type of juror. Others were challenged for cause, such as being disqualified for having expressed opinions prejudicial to one side or the other, or were excused because of illness or because of special reasons making their presence at home necessary.
The Ten Jurors.
In the order in which they were chosen, the ten jurors selected were:
1. Charles Walton, Sr., 50 years old, machinist, of High Bridge.
2. Mrs. Rosie Pill, 55, widow of a clothing merchant, of Califon.
3. Mrs. Verna Snyder, about 36, wife of a blacksmith, of Centreville.
4. Charles F. Snyder, 40, farmer, of Clinton Township.
5. Mrs. Ethel Stockton, about 30, a stenographer and wife of a machinist, of Pattenburg.
6. Elmer Smith, 42, salesman, of Lambertville.
7. Robert Cravatt, 30, unmarried, assistant educational director of a CCC camp, of High Bridge.
8. Philip Hockenbury, 54, railroad worker, of Annandale.
9. George Voorhees, 45, farmer, of Clinton Township.
10. Mrs. May F. Brelsford, about 38, wife of an electrician of Flemington.
It was noted that none of the jurors was especially young, none especially old, the youngest being 30 and the oldest 55. It was also shown by their examination that their children were mostly grown up or in their teens, and that none of the children was as young as the Lindbergh baby when it was kidnapped--20 months.
Lawyers Speed Questioning.
The speed with which the jurors was selected was caused largely by the fact that the lawyers for both sides kept closely to a few main points in their questioning and did not touch on extraneous issues or engage in court-room duels to any great extent.
Anthony M. Hauck Jr., prosecutor of Hunterdon County, who questioned the prospective jurors for the State, in most cases asked only two questions. These were whether the person being examined had any religious or conscientious scruples against the death penalty and whether they had formed any opinion which would prevent them from giving a fair verdict. Only in a few cases did the prosecution go beyond these questions.
Examining for the defense, C. Lloyd Fisher of Flemington asked whether anything the prospective jurors had read in the newspapers or heard on the radio, or heard in discussion with others, had affected their judgment; whether they had formed or expressed any opinion prejudicial to the defense and whether they had any malice or ill-will against the defendant.
He also asked whether they understood the rule of law that places the burden upon the prosecution to prove the defendant guilty rather than upon the defense to prove him innocent; whether they would give him the benefit of reasonable doubt in accordance with this legal rule in considering whether the State proves its case, and similar instructions. In more than half the cases Mr. Fisher did not go beyond such questions.
Asked About Pamphlet.
The defense also asked prospective jurors whether they had been influenced in any way by the pamphlet, criminal file No. 2,310, dealing with a fictitious case like the Lindbergh kidnapping, which was recently mailed to members of the jury panel from an unknown source, and whether they bore any resentment against any one because the pamphlet had been sent to them.
By far the great majority of those called asserted that they had not been influenced either by the pamphlet, by the newspapers or radio, or by their discussions with friends and relatives, and that they did not form any opinions on the case.
Many of the jurors were asked by the defense whether they had served on the jury which convicted John H. Curtis, Norfolk, Va., shipbuilder, in the Summer of 1932 of hoaxing Colonel Lindbergh and obstructing justice in alleged negotiations with the kidnappers.
Justice Trenchard disqualified those jurors who swore that they were opposed to capital punishment on religious or conscientious grounds, or that they had such strong opinions that no evidence could change them. One of the latter was a Milford clerk, who said he had formed such an opinion after a law partner of Mr. Fisher, of defense counsel, had given him information which was "not favorable to the defense."
The court house was thrown open to the public at 9 o'clock in the morning and the public seats, for which no tickets had been issued, soon were filled. After that, the doors were closed except to ticket holders, who included newspaper reporters and special writers, members of the jury panel, witnesses, officials and lawyers and members of the bar. Before court opened, photographers took pictures of the scene inside the trial room, as they did after court, but they were not permitted to do so while court was in session.
Shortly before 10 o'clock, the prosecution lawyers arrived and took their seats around a table next to the jury box. They were Attorney General Davie T. Wilentz of New Jersey, Assistant Attorney General Joseph Lanigan, Mr. Hauck and former Judge George K. Large of Flemington, acting as a special assistant Attorney General. Close behind them came the defense counsel--Edward J. Reilly of Brooklyn, Frederick A. Pope of Somerville, Egbert Rosecrans of Blairstown and Mr. Fisher of Flemington--and seated themselves at a table further away from the jury box.
Messrs. Reilly and Pope wore formal attire, dark gray morning coats with gray striped trousers, Mr. Pope's coat being a swallowtail. The other lawyers on both sides wore business suits.
Old Formula Opens Court.
At 10:10 o'clock, the court crier called the familiar old cry with which court is opened. In a sing- song intonation, he said:
"Oyez! Oyez! Oyez! Oyez! (Hear ye! Hear ye! Hear ye! Hear ye!) All manner of persons having business with this Court of Quarter Sessions--Oyer and Terminar (hear and determine)--the Orphan's Court on this second day of January in the year of Our Lord One Thousand Nine Hundred and Thirty-five, let them draw nigh, give their attention and they shall be heard, His Honor Justice Trenchard."
With these words from old English court procedure, appropriate to the antique court house and to the Eighteenth Century English judicial system upon which New Jersey's system is based, the court was officially in session, and Supreme Court Justice Thomas W. Trenchard of Trenton came from his chambers and took his place on the bench.
The seventy-one-year-old jurist, gray of hair and mustache, ruddy-faced and kindly, but stern and grave in manner, wore his black judicial robes, and his face showed a calm and serious expression which was reflected in his conduct of the court's procedure as the day progressed. More than once he took part in the examination of prospective jurors himself, urging the serious nature of the case upon them, and seeking to unravel difficult situations in a common-sense way without too many legal technicalities.
Now, a few seconds after 10:10 o'clock, came that solemn moment when the accused man, nearly three years after the crime with which he is charged, was brought before the bar of justice to answer the indictment of murder in a trial in which his life is at stake. Suddenly there was a murmur which swept through the court room. Everybody knew what it meant, and a thousand eyes converged upon a single point--the door behind the judge's bench which now framed the stocky figure of Hauptmann.
He was led into the court room from the adjacent county jail by three guards--two New Jersey State troopers in their colorful uniforms of sky-blue coats with gold facings, black Sam Browne belts, and dark blue trousers with gold stripes, and a deputy sheriff in plain clothes. He was not handcuffed, contrary to expectations.
Dressed in a mixed grayish-brown suit, with a handkerchief showing in his breast pocket, cleanly shaved and with freshly trimmed hair, Hauptmann walked slowly through the section inside the rail. He was pale from his confinement since his arrest three and a half months ago, and his sunken eyes seemed more sunken and his high cheek bones seemed higher than ever.
Apparently Hauptmann did not see his wife, who had taken a seat against the wall near the door which he entered. Mrs. Rosencrans, wife of one of the defense counsel, sat near her. His wife smiled at him as he passed and stopped a second to say a word to Mr. Reilly at the counsel table. He then turned so that he faced almost the whole audience in the court room. For a moment a faint trace of a smile appeared to flutter across his lips as he felt the concentrated gaze of 500 persons upon him; then his features resumed their customary immobility which has baffled most of those who have seen him in their efforts to determine whether it is real apathy or a mask to conceal some other feeling. That is the great riddle of the prisoner's personality which almost everybody feels on seeing him for the first time.
Hauptmann turned and slumped into a chair near the middle of the row just inside the rail. It was the wrong chair and a trooper poked the prisoner on the arm, pointing to the right chair. Hauptmann got up and seated himself in his proper place.
Mr. Fisher turned around from the counsel table and shook hands with him. A trooper sat on one side of Hauptmann and the deputy sheriff on the other. The second trooper sat beside the deputy.
In another moment there was a second sensation in the court room as Colonel Lindbergh strode in with a free, swinging gait which contrasted as much with the prisoner's slow pace as the colonel's keenly interested countenance contrasted with the apparent stolidity of the prisoner, or as the colonel's tall and slender figure contrasted with the other's short and stocky one. Colonel Lindbergh walked quickly past the accused man's chair, without looking at him, and Hauptmann kept his face studiously averted from the father of the murdered child.
Wearing a light gray suit without a vest, Colonel Lindbergh sat down behind the prosecution table and shook hands smilingly with the lawyers for the State. Colonel H. Norman Schwarzkopf, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, sat at his left, the side toward Hauptmann; and Detective William Rittenhouse of Hunterdon County was on his right.
Every one now being in his place, and with the bright sunlight of a clear Winter's day pouring into the court room from eleven good-sized windows on three sides so that no artificial light was needed until late in the day, Justice Trenchard ordered Sheriff John H. Curtiss to draw the jury from the forty-eight names of a special panel which had been placed in a box.
The sheriff shook up the square glass-and-wooden container in which were the names written on pieces of paper, and the drawing of the jury began. The names were taken from the box by the Sheriff one by one. As each prospective juror was called to the witness chair in turn to be examined, an oath was administered. The ten who were selected for the jury had to take a second oath before assuming their places in the jury box.
Woman Is First Called
The first person called, an elderly woman, was dismissed when challenged peremptorily by the prosecution after she said she was opposed to capital punishment, but had no religious or conscientious scruples against it. The State used the peremptory challenge also against Mrs. Bess Slack of Frenchtown, a relative of Miss Frances Opdyke, a Flemington nurse, at whose home Mrs. Hauptmann and her year-old son, Mannfried, have been boarding since Hauptmann was brought here in October. Miss Opdyke was excused by the court after she told of her close connection with the Hauptmann family.
Others whom the State disposed of by peremptory challenges were a young married woman from Raritan, a Bloomsbury painter, a Lambertville housewife and a Califon carpenter, with no assigned reasons.
A farmer from White House Station, who has a daughter 19 months old--almost the same age as the Lindbergh baby when it was kidnapped--was peremptorily challenged by the defense. So were a Lambertville housewife, mother of three children, and a Lebanon Township law student, who admitted he had too strong opinions on the case, although they swore they would not let their opinions control against the weight of evidence.
Defense Challenges Several
The defense used peremptory challenges to get rid of a Lambertville clothier, who was asked if any relationship with defense counsel would affect his judgment; an East Amwell farmer, who said his place was only about five miles from the Lindbergh estate where the kidnapping occurred and a Flemington painter, who admitted expressing a strong opinion about the case after he knew he might be called as a juror, although he denied saying he would "fix that fellow if he got a chance" to a group in a local store.
The defense also used peremptory challenges against Elmer Stockton of Union, a machinist, whose wife was accepted for the jury; a Frenchtown merchant, a Flemington housewife, a Frenchtown housewife, a High Bridge young woman, a Readington housewife, a Union farmer and a Tewkesbury truck driver.
Miss Opdyke, the nurse at whose house here Mrs. Hauptmann boards, was excused by the court after she told of her close daily contacts with the prisoner's wife and baby, including frequent talks and eating at the same table.
After the special panel of forty-eight names had been exhausted, Justice Trenchard directed the Sheriff to draw from the remaining names on the regular panel of 150. Nine names were called from the big panel before court adjourned.
The last venireman questioned this afternoon was Frank B. Borowiec, a Readington farmer, who astounded the spectators by saying that he had never heard of the Lindbergh case or of Hauptmann until he received his jury notice, and that even then he did not know what "Hauptmann trial" on the notice referred to. He said he had not discussed the case with any one, read anything about it in the newspapers, or heard anything about it on the radio. Later he qualified this statement by admitting in a strong foreign accent that he "might" have known something about the case, but he became so involved in contradictions that Justice Trenchard, shaking his head patiently, disqualified him.
During the luncheon recess from 12:30 to 1:45 o'clock, the court caused four constables--two men and two women--to be sworn in and then to escort the jurors then chosen across the street to lunch in the Union Hotel.
When court adjourned this afternoon, Justice Trenchard directed the same constables to escort the ten jurors to the Union Hotel for the night, with orders not to let them discuss the case with outsiders, read about it in the newspapers, listen to the radio about it, or attend public gatherings.
Justice Trenchard then ordered Hauptmann remanded to the custody of the Sheriff for the night, whereupon the prisoner's guard led him back across the "Bridge of Sighs" to his constantly lighted cell in the jail, where none of the guards is allowed to talk to him.
The trial will be resumed at 10 o'clock tomorrow morning.
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