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Hauptmann Guilty, Sentenced to Death for the Murder of the Lindbergh Baby

February 14, 1935 By RUSSELL B. PORTER

Flemington, N.J., Feb. 13.--Bruno Richard Hauptmann was convicted of murder in the first degree at 10:45 o'clock tonight for the killing of Charles A. Lindbergh Jr. at Hopewell on the night of March 1, 1932.

He was sentenced to die in the electric chair at the State prison in Trenton some time during the week of March 18.

The jury of eight men and four women returned its verdict after having been out for eleven hours and twenty-four minutes since it retired from the court room at 11:21 o'clock this morning to deliberate in the jury room.

Handcuffed to two guards, Hauptmann stood between them silent and motionless, his face ashen white and terror in his deep-set eyes, while he heard the jury state its verdict and the judge pronounce sentence.

A few minutes later he was led away to his cell in the county jail. He did not even cast a glance of recognition toward his wife, who sat a few feet away. She looked at him with red-rimmed eyes, but did not weep.

Colonel Charles A. Lindbergh, who attended every session of the thirty-two court days of the trial from its beginning on Jan. 2, six weeks ago, and who heard Supreme Court Justice Thomas W. Trenchard deliver his charge to the jury this morning, was not in court when the verdict was returned. He had returned to his home in Englewood in the afternoon.

Woman Juror Near Tears

Mrs. Verna Snyder, juror No. 3, was biting her lips to keep from crying and her eyes were wet with tears as she left the jury box. According to well-founded report, she and Mrs. Rosie Pill, juror No. 7, had held out to the last ballot for a verdict of guilty with a recommendation providing imprisonment at hard labor for life.

All the rest of the jurors were grave but appeared serene, as if they were satisfied that they had done their duty.

At 10:28 Sheriff Curtiss came out of the judge's chambers and gave an order to a deputy sheriff. The latter left the room and mounted the stairs to the cupola on the roof of the white court house. In a moment the 125-year-old bell, older than the court house itself, began to toll. By an old custom, revived a few years ago, the bell is rung to notify the town that a jury has reached a verdict and is about to return to the court room.

"There's the bell!" the whisper spread through the court room.

"Quiet! Quiet!" cried the guards as the reporters murmured among themselves, but both the murmurs and the shouts were drowned out by the noise of the crowd in the street, which at this moment rose to a roar.

Prisoner Is Brought In

Mr. Fisher of defense counsel came in and indicated that Hauptmann was already on the way from his cell. At 10:31 the prisoner was brought in. The sheriff and five State troopers led the way.

Hauptmann's gait was unusual as he appeared in the doorway. In a moment the reason was clear. For the first time since the trial began, he was brought into court manacled. His right wrist was handcuffed to the hand of a State trooper, his left to the hand of a deputy sheriff in plain clothes. Previously, they had simply held him by each arm as they led him in and out.

Walking through a crowd inside the rail, Hauptmann looked ahead, his head bowed slightly and his eyes now up and now downcast. His face was very white, and there was even then a look of terror in his eyes like his expression in the very first half hour of his cross-examination, when the Attorney General took him by surprise by showing him his own notebook, in which he had spelled the word "boat" "b-o-a-d," just as it appeared in the final ransom note.

Mrs. Hauptmann Calm

Mrs. Hauptmann came in a moment after her husband. Her expression was emotionless as she took her regular seat at her husband's left, separated from him by two guards. She smiled half-heartedly at him, and he looked at her without smiling. Mr. Fisher talked with Hauptmann, Mr. Reilly with Mrs. Hauptmann. Then man and wife leaned across the guard's knees and talked briefly.

Troopers and detectives virtually surrounded the couple, and a dozen troopers in uniform formed an aisle from the door to the jury box. Through this aisle the jury filed in at 10:35, led by Sheriff Curtiss, Chief Constable Bagstrom, and Charles Walton, foreman of the jury.

The jurors, their demeanor grave, did not look in the direction either of the Hauptmann or his wife, who watched them with mute hopefulness, following them with their eyes to the jury box. Mrs. Snyder was biting her lip in an apparent effort to keep from tears. It was obvious that the verdict was guilty.

The jurors took their seats. There was a long wait, in deep silence, while the judge remained in his chambers. Hauptmann sat dejectedly in his chair. He watched the jurors for a few minutes, apparently looking into every face as if in search of some hope. Then he turned his eyes away and sat staring straight ahead.

Attorney General Wilentz got up and conferred with the Sheriff, and Mrs. Reilly and Mr. Fisher got up and walked toward them. All looked toward the judge's door, behind the jury box. Finally the Sheriff went into the judge's chambers. At last, after a wait of eight minutes, during which the mass reaction of those in the room to the suspense was apparent, Justice Trenchard came out of his chambers.

The court orderly intoned the familiar "Oyez! Oyez!" and everybody rose until the judge was in his place. He tapped gently twice with his gavel and sat down.

The jury was polled by a court attendant, each juror answering "Here!" as his or her name was called.

"The jury is in the box!" announced the court crier, a white-haired man with a flat voice.

Verdict Is Announced

Justice Trenchard gave a motion of his hand and the court clerk said:

"The jury will rise!"

All the jurors rose in their places, and every eye in the court room was fixed upon them.

"Let the defendant stand!" ordered Justice Trenchard.

Hauptmann stood up with his two special guards, still handcuffed to him, so that his hands were straight down at his side.

"Members of the jury," asked the court clerk, "have you agreed upon your verdict?"

"We have!" came the answer in subdued tones from the twelve.

"Who shall speak for you?"

"The foreman."

"Mr. Foreman, what say you: Do you find the defendant guilty or not guilty?"

"Guilty. We find the defendant, Bruno Richard Hauptmann, guilty of murder in the first degree."

It was exactly 10:45 by the court room clock when Mr. Walton, the foreman, announced the verdict.

There was a murmur in the court and a rustle of papers as messenger boys apparently tried to get to the door with press bulletins. Justice Trenchard ordered that no person leave.

Hauptmann continued to look straight ahead as the court clerk asked:

"Members of the jury, you have heard the verdict, that you find the defendant Bruno Richard Hauptmann guilty of murder in the first degree, and so say you all?"

"We do!" the jurors replied in chorus.

Mr. Reilly demanded that the jurors be polled individually and the court clerk did so.

When each of the twelve jurors had pronounced his verdict, Hauptmann, still standing silently, had heard his doom spoken thirteen times, since the foreman had spoken it twice. A wall calendar between the judge and the jury bore large numerals "13," which could be seen all over the court room.

Sentence Passed at Once

Attorney General Wilentz, at the court's suggestion, moved for immediate sentence, and the judge called for the indictment. Declaring that the statute required that he fix a time within a certain week, which must begin not less than four weeks after the issue of the warrant, Justice Trenchard announced that he would impose sentence.

"The defendant may stand," Justice Trenchard said, and Hauptmann stood up again, rigid in his manacles between the two guards.

"Bruno Richard Hauptmann," began the judge in his quiet yet firm tone, looking down from the bench at the prisoner through his horn-rimmed glasses, "you have been convicted of murder in the first degree.

"The sentence of the court is that you, the said Bruno Richard Hauptmann, suffer death at the time and place, and in the manner provided by law. And the court will hand to the Sheriff a warrant appointing the week beginning Monday, the eighteenth of March, 1935, as the week within which such sentence must be executed in the manner provided by law.

"You are now remanded to the custody of the Sheriff."

It was exactly 10:50 when his guards led Hauptmann out of the court room. His face was white as a death mask, his eyes sunken. The jurors were still sitting in their places as the condemned man disappeared from view.

At 10:51 Justice Trenchard excused the jury after thanking them "most sincerely for the service that you have rendered in the performance of this jury duty."

Others in the court room were instructed to keep their seats until the jury left. Led by the Sheriff and the chief constable, the jurors picked up their hats and coats and walked out of the court room single file, down the stairs, out into the street and through an aisle formed by State troopers to the hotel.

At the time the verdict was returned Hunterdon County Court House was surrounded by thousands of persons. The roar of the crowd could be heard in the court room, until the windows were closed a few minutes before the jurors filed back. Flares from moving-picture and sound-reel trucks made the scene from the windows of the court room almost as bright as day and women in a building across an alley could be seen peering into the room until the dark green shades on the windows were drawn.

The public was barred from the court room at the time the verdict was rendered. It had been cleared of all spectators but officials, lawyers and newspapermen soon after Justice Trenchard had completed his charge to the jury this morning, and was cleared again shortly before the jury returned.

After leaving the court house, the jurors were locked up temporarily in the rooms on the top floor of the Union Hotel, across the street, where they have spent their time outside of court since the beginning of the trial. They were guarded by a large number of officers, who prevented any one from seeing them.

Five Ballots Reported

It was reported that the jurors had taken five ballots, but details of the vote on each ballot could not be learned. Although the report could not be confirmed, it was said in well-informed circles that on the first the jury stood ten for the death sentence and two for life imprisonment, changed to nine to three, and then back to ten to two, before they voted unanimously for the death penalty.

Justice Trenchard, in his charge, gave the jury the choice of three verdicts--guilty without a recommendation for mercy, guilty with a recommendation, and acquittal. He explained to them that if they wished to return a verdict with a recommendation for life imprisonment at hard labor the law required that they so specify.

The judge completed his charge, which lasted an hour and ten minutes, at 11:13 A.M. Eight minutes later the jury filed out to the twelve by twenty foot witness room in the county jail just back of the court house, and over Hauptmann's cell. At the noon hour they sent out for luncheon from the hotel across the street. They called for a magnifying glass at 3 P.M., apparently to examine the ransom notes or the telephone number and address of Dr. John F. Condon, the "Jafsie" of the ransom negotiations, on the door jamb brought from a closet in Hauptmann's Bronx home.

Jury Closely Confined

At dinner time the jurors received sandwiches and coffee in their room, furnished only with chairs and two tables. Justice Trenchard at 7:45 P.M. sent for Chief Constable Oden Baggstrom, in charge of the jury guard, and informed him that the jury would not be allowed to leave the room under any consideration until they returned a verdict. It was understood to be the judge's intention to keep them locked up all night, all day tomorrow and perhaps tomorrow night, rather than accept a disagreement in such an important case.

The jurors sent out for cigarettes, which were supplied to them at 9 o'clock.

Hauptmann was led to his cell at 12:09 o'clock this afternoon, having been kept in court until his counsel finished filing objections to points in Justice Trenchard's charge to form the basis for an appeal to the Court of Errors and Appeals. The appeal will be pressed, it was announced by defense counsel after the verdict was returned.

Tries to See Counsel

The prisoner was impassive when he left the court room, and was reported as calm during the afternoon. At 7 o'clock tonight he sent word that he wanted to see C. Lloyd Fisher of Flemington, one of his counsel, but Mr. Fisher could not visit him because of the New Jersey law that prevents counsel from visiting a client while the jury is out.

As he spent the hours of waiting under the eyes of the three guards who have kept him in view every moment without talking to him, and under the glare of the electric light that has illuminated his cell and exercise pen day and night since he was brought here on Oct. 19 last, the strain began to tell on him. Reports from his guard an hour before the jury returned were that Hauptmann had become extremely nervous, pacing up and down his pen, and giving signs of breaking for the first time since his arrest.

At 10:20 P.M. the Attorney General, after receiving word from the Sheriff, faced the court room and called:

"Get those guards out there and close those doors. Lock them, and put a guard at each window."

Chief Assistant Attorney General Joseph Lanagan and others of the prosecution staff entered the room.

The jury box was cleared, a police whistle sounded outside, and the court orderly arranged the bench for the arrival of the judge.

With suppressed excitement, the small crowd in the court room waited. Mr. Wilentz and Mr. Reilly stood talking and laughing together, and the Attorney General loudly made a joke about betting on a horse race--"first degree or nothing; right on the nose."

Then came the scene as Hauptmann and the jury entered the court room, and the verdict and the sentence were pronounced.

2D Degree Verdict Barred

Justice Trenchard's charge left the jury no room for a verdict of second-degree murder or manslaughter.

The judge made it incumbent upon the jurors to decide whether Hauptmann committed a burglary, as the State contends, by breaking and entering the Lindbergh house at night, committing a battery upon the child and stealing it with its clothing, and whether the child's death occurred in the perpetration of the burglary.

"If you find that the murder was committed by the defendant in perpetrating a burglary," Justice Trenchard said, "It is murder in the first degree, even though the killing is unintentional. If there is a reasonable doubt that the murder was committed by the defendant in perpetrating a burglary, he must be acquitted."

Hauptmann's four lawyers--Mr. Reilly, Mr. Fisher, Mr. Rosecrans and Frederick A. Pope--filed thirty-one exceptions to the charge as a basis for an appeal.

Defense counsel asserted that even if a burglary was committed, death had occurred after the burglary, and therefore first-degree murder could not be proved. They said there was no evidence of premeditated murder. According to the defense, the State had not proved that the child died on March 1, 1932, in Hunterdon County.

Object to Judge's Phrases

The prisoner's lawyers also objected to phrases used by Justice Trenchard in discussing particular items of evidence with the jurors, such as: "Do you believe that?" "Does not the evidence satisfy you?" "Do you think that there is any reason to doubt?" and "Is there any evidence to support that?" According to the defense, such questions by the court tended to "withdraw from the jury their right to depend entirely on their own recollection of the evidence."

Justice Trenchard's remark that a "strange and broken" ladder had been found outside the Lindbergh house, "with indications that it had been used to enter the nursery window," was said by the defense to conflict with the evidence, which, according to the defense, did not prove that the ladder had been used. Defense objected to the use of the words "as seems likely" in the judge's sentence: "If you find, as seems likely, that the ladder was there for the purpose of reaching the nursery window."

Mr. Rosecrans announced that funds to press an appeal would be available if necessary, but declined to name their source.

After Hauptmann was led back to jail the room was cleared by Justice Trenchard's orders of everybody except officials, lawyers, newspaper men and others with business in the room. The general public was excluded from then on and orders were issued that no spectators be admitted when the jury returned with its verdict.

During the long hours of the afternoon and night, as the lawyers and reporters waited for the verdict, there was a strange scene in the old court room in which witnesses have testified and exhibits have been shown for many weeks of formal and decorous court proceedings. In the same place where laughter and noise brought a threat to clear the court the air was hazy with tobacco smoke, men sat reading newspapers with their hats on, and women perched on tables and chairs to gossip about the case. There was an incessant hum of conversation where formerly the bark of the bailiff's "Quiet, please" had stopped even a whisper.

A large crowd gathered outside the court house early this morning, but it did not approach the size of that which took advantage of the holiday yesterday and created hectic scenes in this quiet village. Extra State troopers were on duty all around the court house at dawn this morning in their smartly tailored uniforms with light blue coats, dark blue trousers with yellow stripes, peaked caps and shiny boots. They kept the crowd in good order and did not permit anybody to enter the court house after the seating capacity of the trial room was filled.

Hauptmann's Face Pale.

Hauptmann came into the room in his habitual manner, his head bowed and his eyes downcast. As he approached his seat in the middle of the row of chairs just inside the rail which cuts off the public part of the court room, he raised his eyes and glanced about the crowded room. There was a half-smile on his countenance. His full round face was very white and his high cheekbones appeared more prominent than ever.

A reporter from the first press row directly behind him leaned over Hauptmann's shoulder, and asked him how he felt. "I feel fine," he replied.

"What do you think the verdict will be?"

"Your guess is as good as mine."

At this time he did not seem worried or nervous. He was serious and calm.

Hauptmann's lawyers followed him into the court room and sat at the counsel table directly in front of him. His three New Jersey lawyers greeted him and chatted briefly. Mr. Reilly did not seem to notice him. The prosecution lawyers were already in court. Mrs. Hauptmann came in soon, and took her regular seat two chairs away from her husband. They talked, unsmilingly, across the knees of a trooper and a deputy.

Justice Trenchard mounted the bench at 10:02 A.M., coming through the door from his chambers in back of the bench. The 71-year-old jurist from Trenton, with his gray hair rumpled over his round ruddy face with its horn-rimmed glasses and gray mustache, wore his black robe loosely flowing from his shoulders, showing his brown business suit underneath. He carried a sheaf of papers and a yellow pencil.

At 10:03 the judge began his charge in the locked court room, with its high yellow-painted walls and ceilings. All the electric lights were on, despite the sunlight pouring in through the big windows along the side of the room. A large American flag hung over the jury box. There was an oil painting of a famous New Jersey jurist on the wall behind the bench at one side, and at the other side a calendar with the large numerals "13" almost directly in front of Hauptmann's chair.

Jury Listens Intently

From the beginning of the charge, all of the jurors followed Justice Trenchard intently, with their eyes fixed upon him at every moment, except juror No. 3, Mrs. Verna Snyder, who has suffered from a cold and from nervous attacks in the last week of the trial. She was observed at times to have her eyes lowered or closed, but later she, like the others, turned her eyes upon him.

Mrs. Snyder appeared worried and anxious, whereas all the others, although grave, appeared serene.

Hauptmann followed the judge closely with his eyes throughout the charge, without showing any sign of its effect on him except for the rapid blinking of his eyes. Mrs. Hauptmann also watched the judge intently without any show of emotion.

Justice Trenchard ended his charge at 11:13 o'clock. He then directed that the clerk swear in the constables for their new duty of guarding the jury in its deliberations. The three men and three women constables stood in a semicircle, all holding their right hands on the Bible in the clerk's hand at the same time, as they recited the oath.

"Quiet, please!" the court room guards kept shouting as a murmur swept through the spectators. Justice Trenchard directed that the jurors remain in their seats, for a few moments until the witness room in which they were to deliberate was made ready.

The reasons for the delay, it was learned, were three-fold. The most important was a last-minute search of the room by Federal agents and State police to make sure that no dictographs had been concealed there. It was also necessary for the lawyers for both sides to make sure that all the many exhibits in the case were available to the jurors. Hats and coats of some of the prosecution lawyers, moreover, had to be removed from an adjoining room.

Jury Retires at 11:21.

At 11:21, the sheriff announced that the jury room was ready, and Justice Trenchard declared:

"The jury may retire."

Gathering up their hats and coats, the jurors walked across the room in single file, passing between the judge's bench on their right and Hauptmann between his guards on their left. All were grave. Not one looked in the direction of Hauptmann or his wife, although they passed within a few feet of them. Hauptmann was staring straight ahead. A few feet to his right, Colonel Lindbergh was talking with Colonel Schwarzkopf.

After the jurors had disappeared through the same door which Colonel Lindbergh and Hauptmann had used little more than an hour earlier, Justice Trenchard sat back in his chair waiting for the lawyers to decide on the exceptions they wished to make to his charge.

Prisoner Refuses Comment.

Down in the middle of the court room, a reporter leaned over Hauptmann's shoulder from behind and asked what he thought about the judge's charge.

Hauptmann frowned, shook his head and leaned away from his questioner.

"I say nothing," he replied curtly.

The lawyers, who had left the court room, returned, and defense counsel one after the other registered exceptions to the judge's charge in anticipation of an appeal.

At 12:08 P.M. Attorney General Wilentz proposed, by agreement of counsel for both sides, that the court room be cleared of spectators except for newspaper men and others required to be there by their duties, and that it be kept cleared until after the verdict was returned. Justice Trenchard directed that this be done, and it was done, over the protests of many spectators.

Justice Trenchard ordered at 12:09 that Hauptmann be "remanded to the custody of the Sheriff" until the jury returned its verdict, and this was done also. The Sheriff and his men led Hauptmann out of the room in the same fashion as he had entered, one man holding him by each arm. He gave a half-nod and a half-smile to his wife as he walked past her and went through the door to his cell with his head down and his eyes lowered. His New Jersey counsel again spoke to him as he passed them and one patted him on the shoulder, but Mr. Reilly walked off in another direction and did not look at Hauptmann.

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