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Swelling Roar of Crowd Greets Bell Announcing Jury Had Reached a Verdict

February 14, 1935 From a Staff Correspondent

Flemington, N.J., Feb. 13.--A chorus of approving shouts from hundreds of voices greeted the Hauptmann jurors as they emerged from the court house tonight.

There were thousands of persons in the throng, perhaps as many as 6,000 or 7,000. They swarmed all over the street, completely blocking traffic on Main Street. They had waited in the cold for hours to hear what would happen to Bruno Richard Hauptmann.

When, at 10:27, A. Keith Barrowcliff, a deputy sheriff, climbed up into the belfry of the court house and rang the century-old bell, which signaled that the jurors had come to a decision, a swelling shout went up from the throng.

Camera men turned day into night with flares which illuminated the court room from the outside, in competition with the inside lighting, and under the orders of Sheriff John H. Curtiss a bailiff went around drawing the shades in the room.

There was a long wait. The crowd surged out of the Union Hotel and swept over the street. A rope of New Jersey State troopers was quickly formed and a lane about four feet wide maintained across the otherwise choked street.

The crowd shouted and yelled and small boys collected used flashlight bulbs, creating a racket by smashing them against the pavement. The loud reports of the exploding bulbs made a hollow, alien echo within the tense court room where a man waited for a sentence of death.

The crowd outside shouted and yelled and laughed, and, as the minutes dragged on and still they heard nothing of the verdict, they grew quiet.

The verdict was pronounced, and as the first men were released from the court room, a messenger boy ran to a front window of the court house, opening outward from a second floor stair landing, and shouted the news.

His voice, shrill and excited, echoed into the court room where Justice Thomas W. Trenchard was, at that moment, preparing to pronounce his sentence of death. A great shout went up from outside and the throng pressed closer to the court building.

Ropes which had kept the space immediately in front of the building clear during the day and earlier in the evening were broken or overstepped in the rush.

The State troopers battled valiantly, but all they could preserve was that narrow lane through two solid walls of humanity from the court house to the hotel door. Through the lane presently the jurors went.

They were amply guarded but it was, to them, like running a gauntlet. Persons who had been standing around all evening began to fling congratulations at them. "Great work." "Swell job." "He deserved to burn." There were many others like it.

The pressure against the police line was tremendous. It was as if every one of those thousands was determined to shake the hand of each individual juror.

Through the lane the jurors went to the hotel. At that point a cordon of State police stemmed the door, but not before at least twenty-five persons had started up the steps after them.

These were turned back at the second landing, and the jurors safely reached their quarters. They were locked up there for the night, and all persons, even their relatives, were refused admittance.

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