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Bruno Hauptmann - gulty or innocent?


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#16    regi

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Posted 16 July 2012 - 01:07 PM

View PostAntilles, on 16 July 2012 - 10:57 AM, said:

You hear someone, 2 years ago, speak 2 words to someone else and you remember that voice so completely that you can positively ID the voice?

Lindbergh wanted if not revenge then justice and I can fully understand that. The cops go hey this is the guy and Lindbergh goes yeah, absolutely, I remember his voice.

Well if no-one else has ever found that to be an incredible story then let me be the 1st. :yes:

If it had been an 'ordinary' trial then such testimony would never have been allowed.

Hauptmann never had a chance at a fair trial.

Hasn't been established? Hauptmann didn't get a fail trial, but re: guilt or innocence- apart from Lindberg's ID of the voice- what other evidence do you question?

Re: Lindberg, I don't doubt for a second that he knew this case inside and out, that is, what the evidence was, and what it wasn't.


#17    Antilles

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 12:51 PM

No, you get me wrong. I myself have no doubt that Hauptmann was involved, I just don't believe he was the only one.

But he didn't get a fair trial and if you read about the case, these points are important: the handwriting evidence that he wrote the original kidnapping note. H said he was told to write the note with the wrong spelling which he did. His explanation of how he had the ransom money in his house - he said Fisch left it but the prosecution never proved that didn't happen. The timber found in his house I believe was used in the ladder and he was a carpenter but it was never proved that H made the ladder or that he took it to Hopewell or that he climbed the ladder and took the child.

It's all circumstantial and while it's strongly circumstantial it wasn't proved beyond a reasonable doubt. The hysteria around the case because it was Lindbergh's child made it almost certain that whoever was put in as defendant would be found guilty.

I also think that if you look at the time of the trial, you have growing unease with Germany because of Hitler. Here's a guy who's come to the USA illegally not once but twice. He's obviously involved. Lindbergh recognises his voice (and that was a travesty of justice allowing that testimony but understandable) so Hauptmann must be guilty.

Think of this case in a court today. With DNA and all our sophisticated CSI, he might be found guilty of being an accessory but that's it. Let's face it, if CSI couldn't convict OJ Simpson, then it couldn't convict Hauptmann.


#18    regi

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 03:05 PM

I agree, Antilles. The timing of the trial-  the consciousness of the culture, the defendant's nationality, and who the victim was, may have been insurmountable circumstances for any defendant to overcome to receive a fair trial.
And you're right... if we know it wasn't a fair trial, then we have to question the credibility of the evidence.

I recall that about Hauptmann saying that he spelled words as he was told to, but if he was guilty, then it's an obvious thing to say. It seems to me that either side could have obtained other samples of his handwriting to support or contradict that.

What bothered me the most about Hauptmann was his story about the money. And if he had an accomplice, where is he? It seems only Haumptmann used the money.

Edited by regi, 25 July 2012 - 03:06 PM.


#19    Antilles

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Posted 26 July 2012 - 06:37 AM

Maybe H was just so dumb that he made up whatever story and he got stuck with it.

There is always that possibility.

But that just doesn't ring true to me. And Fisch is fishy, no doubt about it.

He got the box from a guy wh's dead and he kept the box. Then one day he got curious and opened it.

In a nutshell, that's H's story. To me, there are 3 possibilitiies.

1. He was just that dumb and thought people would believe his lie.

2. He was protecting someone really important enough to him that he would die for them.

3. It was the truth.

But no matter which way you look at it, he did not receive a fair trial. There was serious, circumstantial evidence that tied him into the crime but nothing to convict him of the child's murder.


#20    regi

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Posted 26 July 2012 - 02:43 PM

Well, yesterday, for the first time, I read excerpts from the trial transcripts, and I've been giving it and the case a lot of thought.

First off, I really don't figure that Hauptmann- or anyone else- would have had an accomplice. An accomplice certainly wasn't necessary for what occurred, and then the way things played out- that the notes were certainly written by the same person...that the meetings in the cemetery were surely with the same person each time, and that was the same person who handed over the baby's clothing-...the taxi driver gave the same description, and the one man in which the evidence is connected is of the same description, and the money is found in his home, hidden away in honey holes, and he at first lied about the money when first confronted about it, he said he had had three hundred to begin with that he had from savings, from the bank and from friends. It was later he pinned all the money on Fisch.

From trial testimony:
He didn't know Fisch before March 1, 1932.
He resigned from his job April 4th, 1932. (post ransom money), and lied about the reason. He'd had the job only a couple of weeks, said that they didn't pay him what they said they would, but his pay receipts reflected that they did.
From then until his arrest in 1934, the prosecution said he never looked for work. His wife quit her job in June, 1934.
Hauptmann said he worked the stock market and did carpentry.
During this same period, Hauptmann acknowledged that he spent $400. on a radio, $125. on field glasses, a canoe, trips to Florida, and had sent his wife to visit in Germany.

I think it was clear in this exchange of testimony, that it was Hauptmann's intention to cast further speculation on Fisch.
Q. So, Isidor Fisch didn't write the ransom note, did he?
A. I never said that.

According to info from a book which includes this case, what was most convincing to the jurors was the ladder. There was a lot of evidence surrounding the ladder, but I think it was the association of the ladder and Hauptmann's attic
When asked on the stand if he built the ladder, Hauptmann didn't immediately deny it as I would have expected, but he remarked that he was a carpenter.
I think this is an interesting point. The fact that the ladder was both crude (in over-all construction, yet clever in that it was designed to fold is significant. I think that shows that the ladder was built by one with carpentry skills, but built for one purpose only, and never intended to be used again.

On to the handwriting (mainly 'cause I'd wondered about it)....
Each of the handwriting experts (one prosc. witness, the other defense wit.) testified that there were other samples of handwriting... "documents having to do with drivers licenses", and then there was mention of (what I think is) some sort of contract called the Haberland agreement." Anyway, I think it's possible that there was nothing else located or maybe even in existence which could demonstrate Haumptmann's misspelling of words because he might have preferred to write in German whenever possible.
There were letters written by Hauptmann to Fisch's brother which had to be translated, but of course, I wouldn't expect to see such misspellings if he were writing in his native language.
To believe Hauptmann, we'd have to also believe that the police intended to frame him from the get-go.

One more thing, I found this exchange from the trial testimony interesting, and I can only imagine how it came across to those present.
Q. And when you saw this piece of wood with writing on it you said "That's my lumber." Isn't that so- in the Bronx.
A. I did.
Q. You did.
A. I said "Yes," without thinking.
Q. You usually don't do things without thinking.
A.  No, my physical condition was so bad this time I could hardly think.
Q. Well, I say, you weren't thinking. You have a very good mind, haven't you?
A. I don't think so, not so good.
Q. Oh, you really think so, don't you?
A. (No answer.)

Edited by regi, 26 July 2012 - 02:54 PM.


#21    regi

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 01:56 PM

I forgot to comment on the chisel.
A chisel was located on the grounds of the Lindberg's estate, and was brought to the attention of Lindberg, who said it didn't belong on the property.
Hauptmann was questioned on the stand about his chisels.
Q. And are there any chisels missing from this box?
A. There are three Stanley chisels missing, them chisels they are no good at all, they were laying in the garage. But the Stanley chisels, good chisels, but I see it disappeared.
Q. When did you last see them in the box?
A. I would say a couple of days before I get arrested.

I guess he was suggesting that some unknown person must have taken his three chisels.
He was indeed clever; a chisel of a particular size which was collected from the kidnap scene and a chisel of the same size missing from his box is incriminating, and the only way to lessen the coincidence is to have more than one chisel missing.
The one particular chisel was missing, and he had to account for it's absence, so all he could do was attempt to lessen the obvious implication.


#22    Antilles

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 06:21 AM

Geez, I just don't know. Maybe he thought he was that good a liar and everyone would take his statements as the truth. But when he's on trial and it's his life on the line, if I'd been lying I'd be spilling my guts. He never did. He may have changed details but his basic story was always the same.

As I've said I believe he was involved. Without question.

But it was never proved beyond reasonable doubt.

H got a show trial really not that much different from what was going on in Germany. Like Sanco and Vachetti back in the 20's.


#23    regi

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 01:14 PM

Well, the way I see it, I don't think Hauptmann had any other choice but to lie. I think he knew he was done for- that either way he'd spend the remainder his life behind bars.

Re: his story about the money, one point I find interesting is that he claimed the discovery of the money was a surprise, yet he kept it from his wife. Also, he said he didn't count it. I find both of those things unbelievable.
It seems to me that he'd wonder 1) why Fisch left the money, 2) why Fisch didn't tell him about it, 3) what Fisch's plans were for the money, and 4) where the money came from.
Anyone in their right mind would wonder those things.
If he decided that Fisch actually owed him the money- as he claimed Fisch did- then there was no reason to keep it's discovery from his wife.
By the time of his trial, Fisch was dead, and Hauptmann's life was on the line, and he had a family depending on him. I don't believe that if Fisch had been his accomplice- or if Fisch was the guilty one and Hauptmann suspected him- that he'd spare Fisch. Also, he claimed Fisch owed him money. If that was true, then why didn't Fisch just give the money to Hauptmann before he left?

I've read differing opinions on whether Hauptmann received a fair trial. I've read that there was inappropriate conduct in the courtroom by spectators, and that the jury was heckled each day as they left the courthouse. I think if those things alone are true, then it should have been considered jury tampering (or whatever word they have for it) because I do think the jury would have felt pressured to convict Hauptmann. Still, the evidence seems to be overwhelming. I know it doesn't say much to say that people have been convicted on lesser evidence, but I think there was just too much to be disputed. I don't know anything about the conduct of the attorney's and judge during trial, but I do know that there were appeals...

One thing interesting that I've come across that I haven't given any thought to that $2,990 was exchanged in Manhattan under the name of J.J. Faulkner, address 537 West 149th Street New York City. A person by the name of Jane Faulkner had lived at that add., but more than a decade before.
The woman had moved after marrying a German man named Geissler, and they were tracked down, and the only further info is that they denied involvement.
Well, clearly, someone gave a bogus address when exchanging that money, but surely they must have had a certain amount familiarity with the people/address.

A point I've seen made re: the ladder is that if there been an accomplice- at least at the kidnap scene- that the ladder wouldn't have been left behind. I think that's a good point because the ladder was carried away for some distance to where it was abandoned.
Also, the point's been made that because the ladder broke might have been another reason (or reason alone) that it was left behind. I realize that there'd be no further use for the ladder but I wonder why it was carried away to where it was located if it was intended to be left behind anyway.

Edited by regi, 30 July 2012 - 01:16 PM.


#24    Antilles

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 10:38 AM

I think your point about the ladder is good.

Why take it away from the house and dump it?


#25    regi

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 01:45 PM

Right. If the intention was to leave the ladder where it was later found, then there was no reason to use time and effort at the risk of detection after the objective was accomplished.
I think it's possible that since it broke, that might have hindered it from folding... or for some other reason, the ladder was perceived as too much of a problem, and so it was at that moment that it was decided to just abandoned it where it was.

There doesn't appear to have been an accomplice at the scene... we also have the chisel.
It follows that the perp who dropped the chisel was the same perp who went through the window. One perp. Same perp.

It doesn't make sense that if there was an accomplice, that he wouldn't be present during the most critical aspect of the crime, and there's no indication that there had been more than one person there.
I think the evidence shows more that there wasn't an accomplice at the scene, and the subsequent evidence reinforces that it was only one person involved.


#26    Antilles

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Posted 02 August 2012 - 11:31 AM

See, I think just the opposite.

I think the ladder being taken away is a sign of at least 2 being involved. One has the kid, one deals with the ladder.

Of course, that's assuming Lindbergh Jr made it down the ladder alive but let's say he did.

H goes up the ladder, he take the kid, he goes down and takes him to the car. It's cold, really cold and H wants the kid alive for ransom. H  gets the ladder, they leave, dump the ladder.

The partner realises the child is dead, they dump the child.

You know, there's nothing to suggest that H's partner wasn't a woman.

The nursery maid I think killed herself not long after.

But it makes sense don't you think. A man takes the child and a woman is there, waiting, to look after him.


#27    regi

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Posted 02 August 2012 - 05:05 PM

Well, Antilles, I like your curiosity and I appreciate your thoughts, but they're based on speculation. I think your fitting the evidence into a scenario that you might prefer rather than following the evidence and considering it together as a whole.

Re: the maid, I try to keep in mind that because something is perceived as suspicious, it doesn't mean that the perception is accurate, that it even is suspicious, or if it is, that it's suspicious for a sinister reason. If there's no evidence, then it's speculation, and I try to follow the evidence minus speculation.

You're absolutely right...there's nothing to suggest that Hauptmann's partner was/wasn't a woman, but I think that's because there's no evidence that he had a partner to begin with.

I think it was always Hauptmann's intention to kill the baby. He certainly had nowhere to keep the baby. He had the baby's clothing, and I don't know if the clothing contained any blood evidence- which could indicate that the baby was killed before being undressed, but Hauptmann was obviously had forethought when he took the baby's clothing, and if the clothing was removed first, then it's clear what his intention was.

Edited by regi, 02 August 2012 - 05:08 PM.


#28    maxcred

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Posted 02 August 2012 - 05:23 PM

But there was never any solid proof that he went anywhere near Lindbergh's house or that he took the child. The ladder and the money tie him in but they don't make him solely guilty.


There is actually proof that Hauptman was at the house - the ransom note. It was written in his handwriting which was very distinctive. The ransom note is still in the hands of the New Jersey State Police. It is possible that it could be tested someday for DNA from the saliva that was used to seal it.


#29    Antilles

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Posted 03 August 2012 - 11:41 AM

View Postmaxcred, on 02 August 2012 - 05:23 PM, said:

But there was never any solid proof that he went anywhere near Lindbergh's house or that he took the child. The ladder and the money tie him in but they don't make him solely guilty.


There is actually proof that Hauptman was at the house - the ransom note. It was written in his handwriting which was very distinctive. The ransom note is still in the hands of the New Jersey State Police. It is possible that it could be tested someday for DNA from the saliva that was used to seal it.

You're having a bet both ways. Hauptmann was there, he wasn't there. Your 1st statement I agree with. The ransom note does not prove H was anywhere near Hopewell.


#30    Antilles

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Posted 03 August 2012 - 11:43 AM

View Postregi, on 02 August 2012 - 05:05 PM, said:

Well, Antilles, I like your curiosity and I appreciate your thoughts, but they're based on speculation. I think your fitting the evidence into a scenario that you might prefer rather than following the evidence and considering it together as a whole.

Re: the maid, I try to keep in mind that because something is perceived as suspicious, it doesn't mean that the perception is accurate, that it even is suspicious, or if it is, that it's suspicious for a sinister reason. If there's no evidence, then it's speculation, and I try to follow the evidence minus speculation.

You're absolutely right...there's nothing to suggest that Hauptmann's partner was/wasn't a woman, but I think that's because there's no evidence that he had a partner to begin with.

I think it was always Hauptmann's intention to kill the baby. He certainly had nowhere to keep the baby. He had the baby's clothing, and I don't know if the clothing contained any blood evidence- which could indicate that the baby was killed before being undressed, but Hauptmann was obviously had forethought when he took the baby's clothing, and if the clothing was removed first, then it's clear what his intention was.

I have never wavered from my original belief that H was involved but not the only person involved in the kidnapping.





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