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Suspect charged with murder of kidnaped Lindbergh son

By DELOS SMITH, United Press Staff Correspondent
German-born carpenter Bruno Richard Hauptmann was charged on September 21, 1934 with the murder of the kidnapped son of Charles Lindbergh and Anne Morrow Lindbergh. The Lindbergh kidnapping was known as "The Crime of the Century." Photo courtesy of the Flemington Police Department
German-born carpenter Bruno Richard Hauptmann was charged on September 21, 1934 with the murder of the kidnapped son of Charles Lindbergh and Anne Morrow Lindbergh. The Lindbergh kidnapping was known as "The Crime of the Century." Photo courtesy of the Flemington Police Department

NEW YORK, Sept. 21, 1934 (UP) Bruno Richard Hauptmann, German convict, today was charged with the murder of the kidnaped son of Col. and Mrs. Charles A. Lindbergh in an extradition warrant demanding his return to New Jersey for trial. Federal authorities accuse him of planning and executing the kidnaping which was climaxed with the finding of the tiny victim's body in the underbrush near the Lindbergh home.

Hauptmann, a tall, chestnut-haired carpenter, stubbornly resisted all efforts to wring a confession from him that he either kidnaped the infant or that he received the $50,000 Lindbergh ransom money.

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The murder warrant stated specifically that Hauptmann was wanted for trial in Hunterdon county. There has been some question as to whether the child was actually killed in Hunterdon county or in Mercer county. The Lindbergh home was in Hunterdon county, while the baby's body was found in Mercer.

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The extradition warrant was signed by Gov. A. Harry Moore at Trenton, N.J.

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Hauptmann was arrested Wednesday after a search of two and a half years by federal, state and city authorities. He was held by police, who made no announcement of his arrest until yesterday.

His capture came about through tracing of gold certificate notes which were known to be in the Lindbergh ransom money, part of which was recovered in his possession.

In the dazzling white lights of the police lineup this morning, with his nervous voice magnified by loud-speakers, Hauptmann insisted that the ransom money was given to him by a friend who later died in Germany. The prisoner was a shaken and hesitant figure when he mounted the platform at police lineup prior to being arraigned on extortion charges in the Bronx.

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Apparently he had rested some since a long ordeal of questioning and he was freshly shaved. But he was nervous and at times slightly uncertain as he stared through the glaring lights to the auditorium where detectives and patrolmen watched. An assistant police chief, standing at a microphone in the center of the room, shot questions in a clear, booming voice over the loud-speaker system.

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He sought to clear up the links of the chain which federal agents say link Hauptmann to the crime - the ransom money, the "partial" identification of the prisoner by Dr. J.F. (Jafsie) Condon, the fact that Hauptmann, a carpenter, worked near the Lindbergh home in New Jersey, the fact that a carpenter undoubtedly made the kidnap ladder and the fact that Hauptmann quit work, but had more money than ever in the summer of 1932 after the kidnapping.

To each question, Hauptmann gave a careful and studied reply which was designed to clear himself.

The ransom money, of which $13,750 was found, he said, was given him for safekeeping by a friend (apparently named Fische, who was once a partner of the prisoner in fur dealings), who later went to Germany and died there.

"I didn't know it was the ransom money until yesterday," he insisted doggedly. He said the friend gave him $14,000 but that he had spent $125 or $150.

"In addition I made some money in Wall Street and made about $10,000 in fur deals," he said.

He admitted he had worked at Lakewood and Freehold, N.J., but said he had never been in Hopewell, which is nearest the Lindbergh home. He said he had no work since April, 1932.

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Despite constant questioning for almost 48 sleepless hours, Hauptmann sullenly maintained his innocence.

Hauptmann stood nervously under blazing lights while being questioned. He spoke with a heavy accent.

Q.: How long have you been in this country? A.: I have been here 13 years.

Q.: How did you come over? A.: I came as a stowaway, getting on the boat at Bremerhaven.

Hauptmann told police that he had made his home in New York, living first at 9798 Amsterdam Avenue, moving in 1924 to W. 170th street. He lived there a year until he became married, when he moved to Park avenue at 121st street.

In 1926, he said, he moved to Needham avenue in the Bronx, living there four years-then to his present home.

Q.: Have you been living on this money since? A.: Yes.

Q.: What did you do with the money? A.: I dug a hole in the ground and I put some money in the garage wall three weeks ago.

Q.: How much did you have? A.: The man left me $14,000.

Q.: What did you do with your money? A.: I play Wall Street.

Q.: How did you make out? A.: Sometimes successful, sometimes losing. I'm about even.

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Since 1930, Hauptmann said, he made about $10,000 dealing in furs for a friend. He kept no books of his transactions.

"Where did you get all this money?" the officer asked.

"A friend of mine went to Germany and gave me all his effects. He died there."

Q.: Did he tell you what to do with his property? A.: No.

Q.: What did you think his effects were? A.: I thought it was bills.

The witness testified under questioning that he had been employed for a short time in a lumberyard during April, 1932, however.

Q.: Were you in Hopewell in 1932? A.: I was never in Hopewell.

The witness was excused from the lineup platform after he had testified that he had owned an automobile since 1931.

Then he was arraigned in West Farms Court and bound over for a hearing on Monday. He was held without bond on a charge of unlawfully receiving the Lindbergh ransom money.

In a courtroom crowded with newspapermen and spectators, Hauptmann stood stolidly before the bench while the court clerk rattled off the complaint. He did not speak during the appearance.

Chief Inspector John J. Sullivan said the first visible break in Hauptmann's composure came as he talked to the prisoner. His shoulders sagged after many hours of questioning and tears came into his eyes.

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"This was not a one man job," Mr. Sullivan said later.

"Do you think Hauptmann chisled in to get the ransom?" he was asked.

"Lots of things are developing rapidly," the inspector replied. "As it now stands, if this man was not present at the kidnapping he had a hand in it. There are others in it, however."

District Attorney Samuel J. Foley of Bronx county formally charged Hauptmann with extortion today. Authorities made clear that this merely was an initial charge.

Detectives said they had learned that Hauptmann had $24,000 or $25,000 on deposit in a brokerage house. If that should also prove to be a part of the ransom it would account for all the $50,000 except about $6,000, the detectives said. About $5,000 in $5, $10 and $20 bills had been passed before Hauptmann's arrest.

One conflicting development emerged today in the efforts of authorities to complete their case. Manhattan police had said that Dr. Condon and other persons identified Hauptmann, but after he was removed to the Bronx Mr. Foley announced that no one had identified him.

After a sleepless night in the Bronx County Courthouse, Hauptmann was taken to police headquarters in Manhattan and locked in a cell.

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Hauptmann's 32-year-old wife, Anna, who had been held since last Friday, was released early today and returned to her home. Police apparently were convinced she did not even know of Hauptmann's wealth. Neighbors had said that Hauptmann kept her on a close allowance and she frequently borrowed small sums to pay for groceries.

News that the crime which shocked the world and sent thousands of police on a hysterical, months-long hunt for the perpetrators was near solution aroused the greatest excitement not only in New York but throughout the United States.

A great crowd blocked traffic around the Greenwich Street Police Station where Hauptmann was questioned until he was transferred to Bronx county last night.

Mrs. Hauptmann was taken to a restaurant by detectives for dinner. The crowd screamed insults at her and several enraged voices screamed:

"Stone her! Hang her!"

Hauptmann was spirited out the back way. Authorities had no fear of mob violence, but took every possible precaution. He will be arraigned this morning.

The circumstantial case against Hauptmann was generally considered strong:

Strongest was possession of the ransom money and his identification as the man who has been passing it $5 and $10 at a time for months. Authorities believe the ransom Dr. Condon took to St. Raymond Cemetery was paid to the actual kidnapper and not to an interloper.

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Before Dr. Condon paid he received the sleeping suit the Lindbergh baby wore the night he was stolen. His communications were signed by the same complicated geometric symbol that signed the original ransom note.

Next link in the chain was the identification of Hauptmann's handwriting as that of the original ransom note. Hauptmann is a German, given, even in conversation, to use of German idioms. The original note was so worded that experts were certain it had been written either by a German or a person with a German education.

Dr. Condon picked Hauptmann out from a lineup of 10 men. He felt he was the "John" with whom he held a moonlight conference in a park a week before the ransom was paid, but felt he should not make a positive identification.

"John" gave a taxi driver $1 to deliver a note to Dr. Condon while he was negotiating for the ransom. The taxi driver identified Hauptmann as John.

Various merchants who had received $5 and $10 bills from the ransom money during the last year identified him as the passer.

Hauptmann is an expert carpenter. He admitted he had once worked in the neighborhood of Hopewell, N.J.

The ladder which the kidnaper propped against the wall of the Lindbergh Hopewell home to gain access to the baby's room was constructed by an expert carpenter from lumber that bore a peculiar mark. Police definitely ascertained that Hauptmann had access to a lumber yard which had lumber of a peculiar mark similar to the mark on the lumber in the ladder.

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Hauptmann served three years in prison for theft after the war. He stowed away on a ship bound for America 11 years ago to avoid arrest for parole violation and has been in this country illegally since then.

Hauptmann, up until the time of the kidnaping, worked at odd carpentry jobs, complaining to neighbors of hard times.

After the kidnapping, he stopped working altogether and told neighbors there was no point in working when he could live well without working. He talked about Wall street. He always had money, maintained a car, and sent his wife to Germany for the summer in 1932.

Hauptmann stolidly withstood the ordeal of continuous questioning without sleep and with only brief interludes for rest. He kept his blue eyes focused in his lap for the most part, but occasionally lifted his head to say "yes" or "no" to a question.

At the Greenwich street police station he angrily disputed with shopkeepers who identified him as the man who gave them currency from the Lindbergh ransom.

At the Bronx County Courthouse, where he was taken later, he didn't say a word when witnesses pointed him out. He sat on a wooden bench throughout the night, flanked by detectives.

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Dr. Condon's identification was dramatic. One authoritative version of the scene is as follows:

Dr. Condon felt that he was near vindication when he was led into a room at the police station. There had been innuendos at the time he paid the ransom, and he had dedicated his life to vindicating himself.

Twenty men were lined up in the room, all staring at him. Inspector John J. Lyons invited him to pick "John" out.

"May I proceed by elimination?" he asked.

"Of course!"

Dr. Condon walked straight up to Hauptmann. He then picked out three detectives. These four he lined up and questioned individually. Particularly about the spelling and pronunciation of their names. He listened intently as each man spoke.

He then sat down and wrote two notes. The first he handed to Hauptmann.

"Read aloud," he said.

Hauptmann read: "I always keep my word. If the baby is returned in good health, I will do everything to help you."

Hauptmann was nervous, inclined to tremble. Dr. Condon ignored the other three men, handing Hauptmann the second note. Hauptmann read: "Are you ready to act? We cannot wait longer. He will smash me."

Abruptly, Dr. Condon asked each of the four in turn:

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"Did you ever see me before?"

Each answered, "No."

Dr. Condon came as close to Hauptmann as he could. Loudly, directly into his face, he repeated the question, emphasizing "you."

"No, I never saw you before," Hauptmann answered stolidly.

Dr. Condon sat down and wrote another note. Hauptmann read aloud:

"What would your mother say? She would cry."

Then Dr. Condon asked permission to talk to the prisoner alone. They conversed in a corner for a few minutes. Dr. Condon turned away without comment. Police said he had made a "partial identification."

Dr. Condon told police that his notes had repeated statements "John" made to him and he made to "John" in their conference preliminary to the ransom payment.

Hauptmann's arrest culminated the greatest manhunt in history that began a few hours after Nurse Betty Gow entered the Hopewell nursery and found her charge missing.

Never for a moment during all of the two and a half years since the tragic March, April and May, 1932, when Col. Lindbergh sought by every means, even to soliciting the aid of the underworld, to ransom the baby the kidnapers insisted was alive and well, had the search relaxed.

The United States Department of Justice, the New Jersey state police, and the New York City police ran down thousands of fruitless clews, finally centering all attention on tracing the $5, $10 and $20 bills that made up the ransom money. Dozens of these bills were traced without result, but finally one turned up that led to their man.

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J. Edgar Hoover, chief of the Bureau of Criminal Investigation of the Department of Justice; H. Norman Schwarzkopf, superintendent of the New Jersey state police, and New York City Police Commissioner John F. O'Ryan made it clear today that they thought the Lindbergh crime practically solved.

Mr. O'Ryan issued a formal statement revealing that 25 New York City detectives, 16 Department of Justice agents, and 20 members of the New Jersey state police had worked on the case exclusively for months.

Last Friday, Hauptmann drive into a filling station in Harlem, bought five gallons of gasoline and tendered a $10 gold certificate. All of the $10 bills in the ransom payment and part of the $20 had been gold certificates. In recent weeks, many of these gold certificates had been appearing in Harlem and the Bronx. Detectives had asked every filling station attendant in the district to be on the lookout for them.

Walter Lyle, station manager, received the certificate and when he went to his cash register to make change he wrote Hauptmann's license number on it. Soon afterward, detectives were surrounding Hauptmann's home in the upper part of Bronx county, not far from the cemetery where Dr. Condon paid the ransom.

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Until Wednesday his every movement was watched. Detectives hoped he would lead them to other members of the kidnap gang. Wednesday they decided the quest was fruitless. Seventy-five federal agents and police surrounded the house. Others were in neighboring streets. Hauptmann backed his car out of the garage, drove several blocks, then was stopped.

His expression did not change. He betrayed no trace of nervousness. Detectives did not answer his indignant question of why he had been stopped, but tapped him for weapons. In his pocket they found a $20 gold certificate.

"Where did you get this?"

"I've been hoarding $10 gold pieces and gold certificates for years," he replied evenly. "I'm afraid of inflation. I know what inflation was in Germany."

"How long have you had this?

"A few years, gentlemen. Only lately have I been disposing of these gold certificates one by one."

"What do you know about the Lindbergh kidnaping?"

"I know nothing at all about the Lindbergh kidnaping, gentlemen. I am a decent man. I live near here with my wife and child. I am a carpenter."

He spoke in a soft voice, with a German accent.

An hour later John Perrone, the taxi driver whom "John" paid $1 to deliver a note to Dr. Condon, was brought into his presence at the Greenwich Street Police Station.

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"That's the man," Mr. Perrone was said to have exclaimed excitedly after one look at the sullen Hauptmann. "That's the guy who gave me a dollar to take a note to Dr. Jafsie."

Hauptmann's cold blue eyes stared at his accuser.

"I never saw this man in my life before, gentlemen," he said to the detectives.

"You're the man and there's no doubt about it," the driver replied.

Meanwhile, dozens of detectives were making a minute search of the Hauptmanns' apartment in a three-family house and the garage in which he kept his car. In an oil can on a shelf in the garage they found $1,000 in $10 and $20 notes.

They tore out the floor, and a foot beneath the surface found an earthenware jar that contained about $12,000 in $10 and $20 gold certificates. Behind one wall they found another package of $10 and $20 certificates. The total find was $13,750, all part of the Lindbergh ransom.

Today detectives were digging in the Hauptmann yard. They refused to say what they sought. They pointed out the stout garage doors and the heavy padlock with which Hauptmann had protected his hoard.

A wire led from his upstairs bedroom across a dirt lane to the garage. If at night he heard a suspicious noise all he had to do was to press a button at his bedside and the garage was flooded with light.

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Meanwhile, a police emergency squad began tearing down the garage in search of more money believed hidden there.

Mrs. Hauptmann, haggard, weary and stumbling as she carried her 10-month-old son, reached home after a night in the hands of police with her faith in her husband still unshaken.

"I still believe in him," she said. "I don't believe he could have had anything to do with it."

Accompanied by her brother, Hans Muller, who also carried a small child, she entered her house after an argument with federal men guarding the place. They didn't want to let her in at first, but she convinced them that she was Mrs. Hauptmann.

Later the guards heard babies crying and a loud thump on the upper floor of the house, which the Hauptmanns share with two other German families.

They entered and found Mr. Muller unconscious on the floor. A doctor said he had had an epileptic fit and had dislocated his shoulder when he fell.

Hauptmann, police said, told several "fantastic" stories to account for his possession of the ransom money. First he said the money was the result of careful saving and was in gold certificates because he had anticipated President Roosevelt's gold embargo. Then he said it had been given to him by Isidore Fische, once his partner in fur deals. Fische died in Germany last December.

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Still later, Hauptmann said his wealth was due to success in Wall Street speculation. He couldn't explain how his money happened to be the Lindbergh ransom money.

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