Welcome to Just curious media. This is that's a crime. I'm Jason Connell.
And I'm Sal Rodriguez.
All right, Sal, we are back for episode 10 of that crime.
Yeah. And it's good to be back. I mean, it was good to be gone. But it's good to be back.
Well, it's kind of a big number.
I think. So it's been an epic journey. And we're not even nowhere near the end. I mean, we're gonna keep on going.
That's right. And we tried to get this episode before we had to take a hiatus. You know, summer months lead to plans and traveling and whatnot. So we tried to get this episode done prior. We had our notes ready, but we just ran out of time. So we decided to not rush it. Wait, come back together now in August, and do this great episode, which I believe Sal will be our longest to date.
Well, we haven't even started yet. And you think it's gonna be the longest?
I can just tell by the notes. Wow. Okay. Yeah.
It's good to be back. And for a very historic case.
Yes, indeed. And today, we are breaking down the True Crime Story of the Lindbergh baby kidnapping. In 1932.
My mother used to use this story as a scare tactic. Yeah, just to kind of remind us that there are some wicked people in the world and to be aware, I mean, my mother didn't raise us to be like, you know, all fearful. But she raised us to be aware, and she would reference this story that there are indeed, bad people in the world. Nice. I
hope it worked. Oh, yeah.
You're kidding me. I'm always looking over my shoulder.
mean, this crime is epics out. And before I even really knew what it was, I was seeing references and other things like bracing Arizona, and Randall Tex Cobb drives up and they do a whole kind of sequence that really is an homage to the Lindbergh baby kidnapping. And I didn't even know much about it as a kid and learned later. It's just one of these crimes. Now that just sticks around. And as we delved into it, as I read up on it, and did a bunch of notes, and we kind of talked about things. I had no idea it was this in depth.
I mean, how much information do we have? Well, we learned that with DB Cooper, the older the case, the more information we have, the fatter the case books are, you know, something like this. There's been a lot written about it a lot speculated about it, a landmark case, a landmark crime, for the inspiration of things like forensics, you know, there was certain circumstances, certain evidence that they toyed with in this case, that later on led to a lot of discoveries and parallels in modern day forensics.
Yeah. And as the trial went on, it got the moniker trial, the century
and a short trial. I had to do a double take on the dates. I was like, this guy got a short trial. Well, we'll get to that.
Yeah. So without further ado, we shall jump in. On March 1 1932, Charles Augustus Lindbergh Jr, 20 month old son of aviators, Charles Lindbergh and Anne Morrow, Lindbergh was abducted from the crib in the upper floor of the Lindbergh's home, entitled Highfields in East AmWell. New Jersey on May 12, the child's corpse was discovered by a truck driver by the side of a nearby road. South already a grim beginning here. Oh,
tragic. I mean, you know, anytime you have an innocent, you know, an absolute innocent, you know, it's very sad. Yeah, absolutely tragic. Yeah. Obviously, this stuff happens to people of all walks of life. But what made this a famous case was the status of the parents. We're talking about the 1% of high society. Right.
So So I find it interesting that it's a aviator couple. But as far as Charles Augustus Lindbergh goes, he was an American aviator, military officer, author, inventor and activists, and at the age of 25, in 1927, he went from obscurity as a US Air Mail pilot to instantaneous world fame by winning the Orteig Prize for making the first nonstop flight from New York City to Paris on May 20, to the 21st So there you go. Big time pilot, world renowned. Everybody knew his name, Sal.
Oh, yeah, that was a big deal. Because before that, you had to be on one of those steam ships with the giant trunk suitcases. So then all of a sudden people like how are we going to make this faster and this was the dawn of a commercial travel, commercial airline travel, you know, so people like this set in motion because before that, if you wanted to cross the Atlantic, you are definitely on a ship.
So in September 1934, a German immigrant carpenter named Richard Hoffman was arrested for the crime. After a trial that lasted from January 2 to February 13 1935. He was found guilty of first degree murder and sentenced to death. Now despite his conviction, he continued to profess his In a sense, but all appeals failed and he was executed in the electric chair at the New Jersey State Prison on April 3 1936.
Yeah, horrible. Later on, we get into some plea bargaining. They tried to get into where he could have confessed and got a lesser sentence. Well, I don't know if he called life imprisonment lesser. I don't know. I'm sure we've all thought of this. If would you rather have life imprisonment for yourself? Or would you rather be executed for yourself? You know, that's a tough one. I think I would rather choose execution I would rather not have life imprisonment. But later on Richard Hartman was offered something similar.
Right. And for a crime of this magnitude, if you will, like you said, these one percenters. They're well known this happens. This had to be huge news. Now, this is the 30s. So they were probably rushing to convict somebody find the killer and execute them, which they did. And we'll get into it later. Maybe they were rushing to judgment with the wrong person. It could have been people's but more to come more to come. Yeah,
well, you know, any police jurisdiction, especially here where you're involving the feds, you know, they want to catch somebody they want to be able to say we got someone so oftentimes, yeah, definitely rush, rush to arrest as they call it. Yeah.
So newspaper writer, H. L. Mencken called the kidnapping and trial, the biggest story since the resurrection, legal scholars have referred to it as here we go Sal trial of the century, the crime spurred Congress to pass the federal kidnapping Act, commonly called the little Limburg law, which made transporting a kidnapping victim across state lines, a federal crime.
Yeah, I don't know what that actually means. Does that mean that if you're a kidnapper, you could just kind of keep someone in the city? And as long as you're just driving around the city haven't left the county? It's not I guess
it's a state crime. Yeah, interesting. And maybe you couldn't get the Feds involved. But still, obviously, this made a lot of changes. Now, it's not as if this was the first kidnapping to date, but the profile status of it, and you're about to hear all the people that were getting involved, it had to be the first one with this type of magnitude behind because again, it's hard to understand how big this was at a time where you're just getting your news from a newspaper. You know, it was just a different time.
Oh, yeah. I liked the story of how John Wilkes Booth shot the president. Shot Lincoln. People saw there like that's that actor, you know, John Wilkes Booth, you know, and they start the chase. He makes his way to some other counties or I don't know how far he got, but he got a ways away. It was several days gone by, and people are like, Hey, John Wilkes Booth. Welcome to our town here. Here's dinner. Like they didn't know where he had made it that Yeah, yeah. So this guy is walking around the country. And people had not yet known that he killed the president.
He just stay one city in front of the news. Yeah, absolutely. And that's a really interesting story.
Yeah. Don't take the internet for granted. Because the way news travels today, forget it. Very different back then.
Yeah, it'd be there waiting for you. John Wilkes Booth. So now into the kidnapping at approximately 10pm on March 1 1932. The Limburg nurse Betty Gao found that 20 month old charles augustus Lindbergh Jr. was not with his mother and Merle Limburg who had just come out of the bathtub. Galvin alerted Charles Lindbergh, who immediately went to the child's room where he found a ransom note containing bad handwriting and grammar, and an envelope on the windowsill.
One thing I find interesting is how parents sleep their children, like some parents, keep their child with them, either in their bedroom or in their bed. But then some experts tell you No, you shouldn't do that. It creates too much attachment and you should, you know, have the child be a little more independent. And then maybe the child has their own room. I've often speculated now I do not have children. But if I did, I might be one of those parents who has us. So very small infant with me at all times. They don't have their own room. They may have their own room in there, maybe two or three. But before that I always imagined I would just kind of maybe given my room they would share the room with me. Years wouldn't have their own nurse. One day One day I can afford a nurse for myself, let alone a nurse for my child.
So taking a gun Limburg went around the house and grounds with Butler Ollie water lay. They found impressions in the ground under the window of the baby's room pieces of a cleverly designed wooden ladder and a baby's blanket. Wobbly telephone the Hopewell police department and Limburg contacted his attorney and friend Henry Breckenridge and the New Jersey State Police.
You know, I find that kind of interesting that the perpetrators designed a ladder they didn't just go by ladder, you know, again, don't take for granted you can go to Home Depot and just buy a ladder. They had to design how to make a ladder. I mean today if someone were going to try to perpetrate a similar crime, they could just would just go bilateral they wouldn't actually just go get random ladder. Yeah, they wouldn't literally make a lot underwater Oh, you know what today they made 3d print a ladder that would be an interesting take on this.
But a designed wooden ladder could also potentially not to get ahead of myself. lead back to somebody who made set ladder.
Yeah, follow the trail of creation. Yeah.
So now into the investigation, Hopewell borough police in New Jersey State Police Officers conducted an extensive search of the home and its surrounding area. After midnight a fingerprint expert examine the ransom note and ladder. no usable fingerprints or footprints were found. Leading Experts to conclude the kidnapper kidnappers wore gloves and had some type of cloth on the soles of their shoes. Now the brief handwritten ransom note had many spelling and grammar irregularities. Now sound do you want to do the honors and read this here note?
Why are you punishing me by making me read this? This is yeah, very poorly written it appears it's written by someone either very bad grammar or English is not their first language. And that's a big clue right there as far as how they came upon the prime suspect. So it's written as such, dear sir, have 50,000 Ready $25,020 bills, $15,010 bills and $10,005 bills. And then the next paragraph says after two to four days we will inform you were they mean where but it's W era where to deliver the money spelled Mo and why we warn you for making anything that's di ng public or for notify the police. The child is in good care. Now let me tell you this, I actually have some German back in my family lineage on my mother's side. And we had an uncle who had a German accent. One of my mother's grand uncle's one of those things. And instead of saying good, he would say Good, good. So this would be the child is in good care. Yeah. And then the last sentence indication for all letters are signature and three holes and holes is spelled H O H L s you know what kind of similar to Cole's if anybody knows to shop at Kohl's. It's like Kohl's but with an H holes. So there you go English as a second language or a person with bad grammar. But this was the demand letter. This was the ransom note.
Yeah. And even ready was spelled ra d y in the first sentence. So yes, yeah, this could have been a purposely bad or just bad. Like you said it wasn't their first language. Or who knows. But at the bottom of the note were two interconnected blue circles surrounding a red circle with a hole punched through the red circle and two more holes to the left and right now, whatever that sequence means that was their signature on here, these three holes, and we'll see more of this as well. I
think that's to make it official like later on, I think the Zodiac Killer. I think when the Zodiac killer would send the letters to the newspapers, he would sign it a certain way so that they knew that it was authentic.
Yep. So word of the kidnapping spread quickly. Hundreds of people converged on the estate destroying any footprint evidence, along with the police, military colonels and other well connected people arrive at the Lindbergh estate sell. This was a circus. Everybody's trying to help out. But meanwhile, too many people running around. They're not helping sell. They're messing up evidence getting in the way. But it just shows you how powerful this couple was.
Yes, but like you said, a monumental moment for a forensic scientist and forensic fans to discuss as a reference point of how much the evidence was tampered with was destroyed, was tainted was removed or whatever, just ruined by how this was handled. But this was back before they knew you shouldn't do that.
So Lindbergh, and these men speculated that the kidnapping was perpetrated by organized crime figures. They thought that the letter was written by someone who spoke German as his native language. At this time, Charles Lindbergh use his influence to control the direction of the investigation as they contacted several organized crime figures. The list included the notorious Al Capone, who offered his assistance and returned for being released from prison under the pretense that his help would be more effective. Let me out I'm going to lead you right to the killers. I don't think they were buying that one cell.
Well, I'm reminded of what clerys and Hannibal Lecter. Right, right. Sounds of the Lambs Oh, yeah, I'll help you. But you gotta help me, you know, one of those things, but I'm surprised they didn't go for it. I mean, they could have kept him in some sort of custody. He would have gotten some press. I think he liked having some press. But yeah, they just flat out turned them down.
Yeah, the request was quickly done. died by the authorities. The morning after the kidnapping authorities notified President Herbert Hoover of the crime. At that time kidnapping was classified as a state crime See, Sal, as we were talking about, and this case did not seem to have any grounds for federal involvement. So, of course, the little lembert Law, change that cell,
it's kind of similar to where enough people gotta get hit by a car at an intersection for them to finally put a light in. It takes a horrible tragedy for them to make significant changes.
Right. So now Attorney General, William D. Mitchell met with Hoover and announced that the whole machinery of the Department of Justice will be set in motion to cooperate with the New Jersey authorities. I mean, everything else is stopping Sal, and everybody is converging in New Jersey. If I was an organized crime member living anywhere but the East Coast, I'd be going to town.
Yeah, it's one of those things where the authorities are distracted over here. So you can go about your crime business over there. And you know what, I think that I think that stuff like that actually does work. I mean, I think that if you knew there was a riot in downtown, and they were pulling police to the riots. Yeah. What have added over here 20 miles away, then you could probably get away with it. Yeah.
Should we look up? How moonshining sales were in the Midwest during this time? Is there any numbers that matter?
Because I think this is during Prohibition, I think. Yeah, so let's Capone's
era. Anyway, Eliot Ness taken down Capone Of course, if you want to see more about that, see the untouchables. You see them to me. No, you know what I haven't but I find appalling. I haven't seen the untouchables.
Well, you know what I kind of got swayed by a Geraldo Rivera and Al Capone's vault. Remember that disappointment? Oh, no, of
course. This great movie that was Geraldo Rivera, Nuff said. You should see this movie. Sean Connery wins an Oscar. Young Kevin Costner phenomenal. You know who plays Al Capone?
Robert De Niro. Yes, I tell you what, Jason, let's do a let's talk movies. The Untouchables. There you go.
Okay, so the Bureau of Investigation later, the FBI was authorized to investigate the case. While the United States Coast Guard the US Customs Service, the US Immigration Service and the Washington DC police were told their services might be required. New Jersey officials announced a $25,000 reward for the safe return of little Lindy. The Lindbergh family offered an additional 50,000 reward of their own. Now at this time, the total reward of $75,000 Sal inflation calculator
Yes. $75,000 in 1932. Money is the equivalent in 2021. Money of $1,494,000.
This was a tremendous sum of money because the nation was in the midst of the Great Depression.
Yeah, the money became greater. It's not just necessarily like for example, you can go to 1940 and do an inflation calculator. I love the inflation calculator. anybody listening? Check them out. They're they're really fun and interesting. But yeah, the Great Depression, I think made that money even bigger than it would have been otherwise.
Oh, yeah. So sound we did not run your inflation calculate on the ransom note. And that ransom note asked for 50 grand. So just give us that figure real fast.
$50,000 in 1932, money is the equivalent of $996,000 in 2021. Money,
almost a million dollars.
You know, honestly, I think we all go through these, what would I do? What I, if I were a criminal? If I were a criminal? Would I do a crime like this for a million? I don't know, especially if you have to split it with people. Forget it, this crime would not be worth it. It would not be worth it.
I don't think kidnapping of any type is worth it. Well, look,
it's not like you're gonna walk away with 20 million cash in your pocket. I mean, I'm saying like, if you're the criminal type, would you do this crime? How much would you need to do a crime like this is what I'm saying? If you were that type of person,
so and all the TV shows or books I've read or movies I've seen this portrayed, and rarely, rarely, rarely do you see someone get away with a successful kidnapping, and they get the ransom? Like rarely. So I'd say it's like, you might have a better chance knocking off a bank than pulling this off.
Yeah. Especially if the parent is Liam Neeson.
Totally. Yeah, you're done. You're totally done. So on March 6, a new ransom letter arrived by mail at the Limburg home. The letter was postmarked March 4 in Brooklyn, and it carried the perforated red and blue marks the ransom had been raised to $70,000 Sal, we need some noises for the inflation calculator like
You're like an accountant pounding $70,000 In 1932 monies the equivalent in 2021 of $1,394,000.
Wow. So just think about that this is a big sum of money they're asking for now, it's still less than the $75,000 Collective reward out there. But you know, these are no small time kidnapper says
no, you know what a smart criminal does it at this point in time, a smart criminal is able to get the ransom money and somehow be so smart, they get the reward money as well. You then the criminal double dips into the reward money and into the ransom money.
So that's a really interesting premise that I've not seen in a movie. Or maybe I'm just forgetting, but that's a really good one. You rarely see these students successful, but I want to see a movie or real life, have a kidnapper, get the ransom money, get the reward money and obviously hopefully give back the kidnapped person.
I like that. I like the intro. Liam Neeson in there and I'm buying a ticket.
Now a third ransom note postmark from Brooklyn again, and also included the secret marks arrived in Breckenridge Izmail the note told the Limburg that John F Condon should be the intermediary between the Lindbergh and the kidnappers and requested notification in a newspaper that the third note had been received. Now this is very Zodiac Sal, like how you gotta respond in the newspaper. So now I mean, just what's going on in the country? Is everyone just mesmerized by this case at this point in time?
Also, I don't know how many newspapers there were. I mean, the person would theoretically have to place an ad in multiple papers. I don't know this was the what the William Randolph Hearst era as well. So yeah, everybody makes a little money on this as they're trying to catch the criminals.
Now instructions specify the size of the box. The money should come in Sal and warned the family not to contact the police. Too late on that front.
Oh, so the kidnappers said we want a certain size box. Yeah, interesting. Okay,
and they want to work with this. John F. Condit. Now let's talk about him. During this time, he was a well known Bronx personality and retired school teacher and had offered $1,000 If the kidnapper would turn the child over to a Catholic priest, Sal. Yes.
$1,000 in 1932 Money's the equivalent in 21 of $19,900.
Wow, that's a big jump. Now, another account states that the third ransom note actually went to Condon not Breckenridge, but either way Limburg accepted the letter as genuine. So following the kidnappers latest instructions, Condon placed a classified ad in the New York American I guess that was a popular paper at the time sell.
I'm guessing. Yes. And the ad read money is ready, period. Jeff see, and that is to signify J. F. C initials, but they wrote Jeff CJF s i e,
right, because it's John F. Condon his initials. Condon then waited for further instructions from the kidnappers. A meeting between Condon and a representative of the group that claimed to be the kidnappers was eventually scheduled for late one evening at Woodlawn Cemetery, and the Bronx.
So I guess at this moment, they're considering the fact that some people would step forward and say, Hey, we're the kidnappers. Give us money. And meanwhile, they're not the kidnappers.
Yeah, this thing's going sideways sound like anybody could come forward and say we have details and there's not a lot to go on just the think they had all these colonels and all this manpower. And now John F. Condon is running the show.
Well, like I always say the criminals are always one step ahead.
Now according to Condon, the man sounded foreign, but stayed in the shadows during the conversation and Condon was thus unable to get a close look at his face. The man said his name was John, and he relayed his story. He was a Scandinavian sailor, part of a gang of three men and two women. The baby was being held on a boat unarmed, but would be returned only for ransom. When Condon expressed doubt that John actually had the baby, he promised some proof, the kidnapper would soon return with the baby's clothing. The stranger asked Condon what I burn if the package were dead, when questioned further, he assured Condon that the baby was alive. Sal, this is getting strange.
Well, also the first time the public starts to think that there's more than one perpetrator you know, before this, they might have five Yeah, yeah, there's a well, when you look at how this crime occurred, obviously we're looking through you know, modern eyes, but at the very least, someone in the household, possibly tipping someone off or leaving a window unlocked one of those things, but to think that one solitary person and committed this whole crime, I think incredibly doubtful. This had to be at least two people to pull something like this off.
Yeah, I mean, this isn't just any baby either. Yes, high profile people. Absolutely. But they also have a nurse whose sole job is to look after said, Baby, you know, I'm questioning the nurse right away or any debts that she had or, you know, here's a baby who's got extra eyes on it more than most and yet it's gone and then all the night vanished.
Yeah. And like I said, the mom was what coming out of the bath and what was the Father doing? They didn't say what the Father was doing. What up guys do in that era rich guys net. You're probably having a cigar by a fireplace
pipe. Have a pipe? There you go. There you go. And there's also a butler on duty. I mean, come on. This guy's got that house on lockdown. You don't just roll up to a house like that? Because you got to plan the middle of the night. Now there's a lot of people around. It's a yeah, this is getting sketchier by the second. These Gypsies in the night, five people living on a boat. And then to ask that question, what I burned if the package were dead, like you don't even bring that up. Because I'm not to be morbid, obviously. Because this is about a baby that actually was killed and it's very sad, but we're just examining the facts here. But you don't even bring that up because that's your collateral
if I'm the person that he says that too. I'm thinking Oh, no. Good.
So on March 16, Condon received a toddler's pajamas by mail and another ransom note, the seventh to date. After Lindbergh identified the clothing Condon placed a new ad in the newspaper sell.
Money is ready. No cops, no secret service, I come alone, like less time.
Now on April first April Fool's Day Condon received a letter saying that it was time for the ransom to be delivered. Oh, the plot thickens herself. Oh,
yeah. This is where the rubber meets the road. This is where I know we haven't really touched on this. But if this is a legitimate kidnapping, you know, horrible thing happened to two innocent parents. Imagine what's going through their mind right now trying to stay hopeful. But you know, I mean, I don't know how hopefully, you can be when when your child is taken from you. I don't know how you could have hoped. But let's assume they're hanging on to a string of hope. Their firstborn child is kidnapped. And they are waiting to see if they are alive.
Yeah. Now they had another child their second in 1932. So they're still trying to remain a family. Yeah. And this is going on, and you're trying to keep up hope and you have communication going on with the kidnapper. So you think yeah, you know, we upped the ransom. And we can get little Lindy back. So now into the ransom money, the ransom was packaged in a wooden box that was custom made in the hope that it could later be identified. The ransom money included a number of gold certificates. Sal, have you ever seen a gold certificate?
I do not have any I have seen them. And I Yeah, the whole point was that Bill represented a certain amount of gold. What it were in Fort Knox. Right? Is that where it was? So that gold that certificate that bill was backed by actual tangible gold, which as we all know, is very different from money today.
Yeah. So since the gold certificates were about to be withdrawn from circulation, it was hoped greater attention will be drawn to anyone spending them. So they've created this box, this unique ransom box that could be identified later. They're trying to stuff it with gold certificates. So that could also lead you to the perpetrators. And the bills were not marked, but their serial numbers were recorded
to call back to our DB Cooper first episode of that's a crime. So the authorities were hoping that they would be led to dB Cooper by the bills themselves. So here, same thing, they're hoping Hey, the bills the money will lead us to the kidnappers.
Exactly. On April 2, Condon met John and told him that they had only been able to raise $50,000 Now, so that was the original ask on the ransom note, and then they upped it to 70. So you've already done this, but refresh us what that is in the inflation calculator.
While it's a $20,000 difference from 70 to 50, so it would be in today's money, the equivalent of $398,000 554. So you're telling me if I'm a kidnapper, and I'm there waiting for money, and you're gonna say oh, we have nearly $400,000 less than you're expecting and you're just go okay, at that moment. That's a tell where you go I think this guy's bluffing. I don't think the kids alive anymore. I wouldn't think so. If the kidnappers are willing to go that low now on the money, they're just trying to take the money and run is what they're trying to do now.
So that's the difference in the two amounts 50 to 70. But I believe 50 was a near a million dollars. So essentially, Condon and probably with Lindbergh's Blessing has now coming in and low balling them and just go When what the original figure? Well, the man John accepted the money and gave Condon a note saying that the child was in the care of two innocent women, whatever that means.
Well, the implication is like maybe we threatened some women, hey, take care of this kid, we'll come back for this kid. And you better not give the child up or something's gonna happen to you or your family. I guess that's the idea, right? We these women are innocent. They're not a part and party of this. They don't know what they're doing. They're not part of the crime. They're just sort of innocent bystanders in this. I guess that's what that's supposed to imply.
Yeah. How can you trust anything this guy has to say, and so one thing we've not covered? And maybe we could speculate on his, how many ransom notes did they get? Were they just sifting through people claiming, I mean, this one, John and his gypsy friends could have just stood out from the rest? Who knows? Right? Because what comes next? Really pokes a hole in all these ransom notes and people and things we just don't even know. So we don't have we're not privy to all the people that claimed that they did it or how many led them on wild goose chases.
This is the gruesomeness of the story here. Yeah. For a while now, we've been focused on the money and talking about you know how much and inflation and all that but this is what my mom used to talk to me about this moment right here to remind us that there are bad people in the world.
Well, this deals with the discovery of the body and fortunate discovery of the body. And on May 12 delivery truck driver Orville Wilson and his assistant William Allen pulled to the side of the road about four and a half miles south of a Limburg home near neighboring Hopewell Township. And when Allen went into a grove of trees to urinate, he discovered the body of a toddler.
See, unfortunately, these guys would be up for some scrutiny, because I mean, what are the odds? So there you are on a stretch of road who knows how many miles and you just happen to urinate here and the baby just happens to be there just sort of an odd coincidence. I would imagine any detective worth their weight and salt would have really grilled these guys.
You make a good point, so I'm sure they had to answer questioning. But this is two and a half months later, and the skull of the baby was badly fractured and the body decomposed with evidence of scavenging by animals that were indications of an attempt at a hasty burial nurse gal identified the baby from the overlapping toes of the right foot and a shirt that she had made it appeared the child had been killed by a blow to the head. Now Sal, this is devastating because I think the money let you believe there was hope. And there was hope and that was great and this is a bad thing, but we're going to be led to the baby because these people after money. This changes everything. This poor limbered baby only made it five miles and was killed and left for dead not just taken with and held like a ransom. So who did this? And this goes back to my point on the fake kidnappers and all the ransom notes. Obviously those people had nothing to do with it that John and his gypsy crew and and maybe anyone else perpetrating that,
wait, you're saying that these mysterious people that they're meeting in the night, we're not the people who killed the baby.
It just doesn't make sense to me so that a kidnapper however many were involved, knows the baby was killed, halfway buried less than five miles from the home could easily be discovered with everybody has converged on the Limburg estate. But I'm still negotiating with Condon. And I'm taking weeks to get back to him. And like the minute the baby's discovered, the gig is up. So I just don't understand that. If this baby is my meal ticket, and even if it's accidentally killed or on purpose, who knows, I would have done a much better job. And you wouldn't have found that baby's body. But it's like, oh, yeah, we know it's just kind of laying there. But we're still going to negotiate right? That doesn't make sense to me. So maybe the people that were asking for the reward John and his friends and the people on the nearby boat were our weren't the people it just is a bad plan. So it was like, it's incredible that they extracted little Lindy from the house due to everything. We talked about the Mother, the Father, the Butler, the nurse, and maybe who knows who else was on the property of the estate. But from that point on, it was a complete botch job.
There are also a lot of questions that could potentially be answered today. Like for example, we just brought up well, where was the baby killed was the baby dropped from the window. I think today if a baby is found somewhere they can, with a large degree of assurance tell us whether or not the victim was killed there or was killed somewhere else and then brought that's one thing that you hear about a lot when you watch any given crime show. So I don't think we hear anything about that. So we don't know if the child was killed there that would lead us to believe well, maybe just toss there soon after the kidnapping itself, or later on brought back there. It's sloppy and they got lucky. They received the money and they were not identified. So at this point in time, they were successful at this moment.
So now in June, officials began to suspect that the crime had been perpetrated by someone to Limburg, new suspicion fell upon violet sharp, a British household servant at the Murrow home who had given contradictory information regarding her whereabouts on the night of a kidnapping so the Merle home must be near the Limburg home, also known as the Highfields. And it was reported that she appeared nervous and suspicious when questioned, Sal, she committed suicide on June 10 1932, by ingesting cyanide just before being questioned for the fourth time.
Whoa. Yeah. I think that's kind of incriminating, I would say I mean, if somebody had tried to say you were an accessory or involved in a murder, and okay, I think you're going to be nervous. I mean, if I'm being grilled by FBI, I'm going to be nervous. But then to kill myself, am I going am I going to do that I'm going to kill myself, because I've been accused of something
that you might be implicated. And you may be you get convicted, but you've just said, That's it. I'm out. You're committing suicide. Now. Maybe there was some other things going on? We don't know. But that's not a good sign. And that leads you to believe that maybe the suspicions are right. Maybe it wasn't inside job, which again, definitely seems plausible.
Well, you know, the the old inside job where the main perpetrator knows from the inside, who's going to be where, what time, what room they will or when, exactly which window is going to be unlocked. So this is one of those things where you wonder, especially after they kill themselves, wow, was she somehow involved? Maybe not the main perpetrator maybe even threatened? I mean, we don't know, we'll never know, I guess, definitely very odd and suspicious that you would commit suicide shortly thereafter.
Someone with an insight information would also be able to say like, oh, it's the babies window. And that's like two and a half story. So you can eat a special ladder for that. So yeah, you just temper dough. Like there's so many things that line up for me to think, Inside Job to some effect. So now we've lost violet sharp and all the information that she had. So her alibi was later confirmed and policed or criticized for heavy handedness. So okay, that's another bizarre turn. So her alibi checked out. And she didn't do it. So why is she taking cyanide? She may have had mental health issues. So we'll never know.
I think this is before anybody knew about mental health issues. Yeah, also right. True.
Condom was also questioned by police in his home search. Ah, but nothing suggestive was found and Charles Lindbergh stood by conduct during this time, so he had nothing to do with it. I know I kind of poke some holes at him earlier because it's like, hey, he came out of nowhere to run things but doesn't seem to have anything to do with it. As far as we know. Now, John Condon's unofficial investigation goes as such after the discovery of the body, Condon remained unofficially involved in the case to the public, he had become a suspect. And yeah, I could see why. And in some circles, was vilified for the next two years, he visited police departments and pledged to find cemetery John.
And he's the only person who supposedly ever had any contact or interaction with this cemetery. John was was him.
Yeah, John would lurk in the shadows in the cemetery. Yeah, it was just his words. So that's why people thought, hey, what's going on the babies found near the home. You've got the story about this. John, the cemetery cemetery, John. That should have been a song by somebody and maybe it was the band's name. So Condon's actions regarding the case were criticized as exploitive. When he agreed to appear in a vaudevillian Act regarding the kidnapping
Now that's interesting you know what why, world long before Oh, jays what if I did it book was something like this where a guy involved in the Lindbergh case, later on in a vaudeville act? I mean, yeah, what
the heck is that? Even me? I got it. I got a recreating the kidnapping. Are they recreating his scenes at the cemetery with cemetery, John, is that what's going on? It's like Lindbergh. The musical is Condon playing himself.
Yeah, I'd like to learn more about that.
So now tracking the ransom money. The investigators who are working on the case were soon at a standstill. There were no developments and little evidence of any sort. So police turn their attention to tracking the ransom payments. The She reminds me of the DB Cooper case out.
Yeah, yeah, follow the paper trail is what they're trying to do.
A pamphlet was prepared with the serial numbers of the ransom bills. And 250,000 copies were distributed to businesses, mainly in New York City. A few of the ransom bills appeared in scattered locations, some as far away as Chicago and Minneapolis. But those spin in the bills are never found. Well, Sal, it's nice to know that some of these were in circulation.
Yeah, that's interesting. Some were seen some were detected. It says they distributed 250,000 copies in 2021 copies, that is a 4,981,000 copies.
I think it's just 250,000 copies.
Okay, the the inflation calculator doesn't work with this. I got
excited, but it's just the same. Okay. So my presidential order, all gold certificates were to be exchanged for other bills by May 1 1933. A few days before the deadline, a man brought 2980 to a Manhattan Bank for exchange. It was later realized the bills were from the ransom. So Sal, how much were the $2,980 worth of gold bills worth?
$2,980 in 1933, would be the equivalent of today's money. $62,580.
So this guy walks out with 60 something grand, and he had given his name as JJ Faulkner. So turns out, no one named Faulkner lived at the address. However, a Jane Faulkner who had lived there 20 years earlier denied involvement. So in a sentence that ain't out things are in motion bills are getting spent Sal.
Well, by presidential order, the gold certificates had to be exchanged for other bills. If you wanted to have money, otherwise, it becomes I think dead money, I think is what happens like when a political regime changes hands, I think old money becomes dead. So I think you bring in your gold certificates. You get bills as we know them just regular currency. They didn't require anything. You know what I mean? They didn't require any signature. Yeah, it's just like, bring it in. And here you go. And then you walk off. I mean, because obviously this guy JJ Faulkner didn't have to prove anything. And I don't think they were fingerprinting people then I don't think
no, but they got his name. They got his information. So so one thing we didn't talk about while this is going on, at some time, this past little Lindy was discovered, unfortunately, you know, Dad, so this had to take its toll on the family, Charles and and and their other children. I mean, it just had to at some point in time, they just probably didn't even want to hear it anymore.
I think that they eventually went to Europe in a self imposed exile.
I know they were in Europe for several years, probably just to kind of try to have some sort of normalcy. I don't think Charles Lindbergh was leading the campaign like he, as much as he was in the beginning when they thought their baby was still alive.
I would just imagine they would be in a state of depression, this would be just gut wrenching have to happen to anyone.
Yep. And the beginning we talked about Richard Hawkman, and how he was convicted and then executed what we're getting to that. So now, this is the arrest during a 30 month period, detectives realize that many of the ransom bills are being spent along the route of the Lexington Avenue Subway, which connected the Bronx with the East Side of Manhattan, including the German Austrian neighborhood of Yorkville. So it took time and over 36 months they've seen a pattern sale and it's leading them closer to Hoffman.
Well, what I find interesting is that if you did indeed pull off a crime like this, you're not making efforts to launder the money instead you're actually doing what spending it along your daily route. I mean, that doesn't make any sense.
And we've gotten comfortable Yeah. So on September 18 1934, a Manhattan bank teller noticed a gold certificate from the ransom a New York license plate number cell
for you dash one three dash four one dash N Why?
penciled in the bill's margin allowed it to be traced to a nearby gas station. The station manager had written down the license number because his customer was acting suspicious and was possibly a counterfeiter. Now, the license plate belong to a sedan owned by
There it is, of 1279 East 200 and 22nd Street in the Bronx, an emigrant with a criminal record in Germany.
I imagine this guy came through Ellis Island at some point.
I As my grandfather did, but from Ireland, not German, not a criminal, not as far as me. So when hotbin was arrested, he was carrying a single $20 Gold certificate, and over $14,000 of the ransom money was found in his garage. So Sal, how much did he have stowed away in his garage?
$14,000 in 1934 will be the equivalent in today's money of $285,000.
That's a lot of money. It is. Yeah, I'll take it. Hartman was arrested and stated that the money and other items had been left with him by his friend and former business partner. Eyes adore fish. Now fish had died on March 29 1934, shortly after returning to Germany,
you know, Jason, it's not that far fetched that someone can leave stolen money or stolen merchandise with you. One time in high school, a friend of mine had a stolen BMW, I don't know where he got it. I don't know any of the details. But I do know that allegedly, the car was stolen. And he said, Hey, I'm gonna go out of town for a while. Can I leave the car with you? In your yard? And I'll deal with it when I come back in town. The hot car? Do you say that? No. But where I come from? It wasn't that big a deal. You know, that's, that's kind of the neighborhood it was. So he leaves the car with me. He's gone for a few weeks. So guess what I did? I drove the car. So I drove around and this BMW in high school. I knock on wood. I don't know why it didn't get pulled over at all. But I did. And so yeah, it is possible. It's probably unlikely, but it is probable that somebody could leave stolen merchandise with you or stolen money with you.
Yeah, but then Hartman spends it so because fish died,
you Oh, there you go. So what what would have done if my friend
were you? Yeah, you would have kept that car and you still have to still be driving it. And it's still be hot. Hartmann stated that he learned only after Fisher's death that the shoe box that was left with him contained a considerable sum of money, he kept the money because he claimed that it was owed to him from a business deal that he and fish had made. Hotman consistently denied any connection to the crime or knowledge that the money in his house was from the ransom sell. I'm not too sure about this.
One of the big things and I don't think that we're going to harp on it too much here tonight. But I think one of the big things is the German extraction, and the way the initial ransom was written, because I think it's entirely possible that a guy could have wound up. I mean, go back to dB Cooper, what if somebody would have found DB Cooper's money and just started spreading it? And they weren't DB Cooper, and they had nothing to do with the crime? You know, so I don't think it's entirely far fetched that somebody could have the money who did not participate in the crime.
Right. But again, this case needed to be concluded. They needed to find someone they have a dead baby on their hands. This is all over the nation, if not the world. And here's someone who has a lot of the ransom money. So unfortunately, if it's hot man or not, you are guilty sell.
Yes, circumstantial evidence is what that would be called in, you know, and we see how they're able to get a conviction out of that.
True. So when the police search Hartman's home, they found a considerable amount of additional evidence that linked him to the crime. One such item was a notebook sketch of the construction of a ladder similar to that which was found at the Limburg home in March 1932. Back to that homemade ladder cell,
you know, you think that if you're going to make a ladder for a crime, you're going to take it with you. You know, you want to take evidence women leave with it. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. You don't want to leave evidence behind you want to take evidence with you?
Well, you said something earlier that maybe the baby had fallen off the ladder, and then their whole plan just was like, get out, you know, get out of here. So they weren't thinking clearly. Could be I mean, again, a lot of assumptions. So additionally, John Condon's telephone number along with his address were discovered written on a closet wall. Not a good idea. So pretty damning evidence there. Yeah. Condon had met with cemetery John a couple of times. Here's somebody with his telephone number and his address penciled in the old closet wall. Yeah, that was here when I got here. I think fish did that. I'm not sure. Not looking good for Hoffman.
Yeah, you need to clean up your tracks. And if this is the guy, he did a very poor job of cleaning up his tracks.
Yeah. And if that's not enough sell, a section of wood was discovered in the attic. After being examined by an expert it was determined to be an exact match to the wood used in the construction. Another ladder found at the scene of the crime.
Okay, yeah. So this is the dawn of some forensic evidence where they're matching woods, similar to how they're matching fibers that we all know about the fibers now at crime scenes. Yeah, so yeah, this was the beginning of that they are now matching wood and wood particles.
Hoffman was indicted in the Bronx on September 24 1934, for extorting the $50,000 ransom from Charles Lindbergh. Two weeks later, on October 8, Hartman was indicted in New Jersey for the murder of Charles Augustus Lindbergh, Jr. So both counts to different states. And thus begins the trial of the century. So
as you're looking at a trial like this through modern eyes and ears, I think you have to at the end of it, think to yourself, I don't know, if they would have gotten a conviction, based on the same evidence. I don't know, if they would have gotten a murder conviction. They might have gotten something, you know, where it would have gone, it would have gone to civil trial, like, Oh, there you go, where you know, what, we can't prove you killed them, but you're somehow involved. So it could have gone there. But yeah, if this happened today, same circumstances, I don't know if they would have got a murder conviction here.
Do you know some of this is on YouTube? Some of the trial you can see it really
the actual case like there was a camera in the courtroom.
Here. I mean, this is the 30s there's cameras in here. You can see Hoffman in there. I was like, kind of blown away. I was watching all this when we were doing our research for the episode.
Has Hollywood done any movies on on this trial? Or on the case?
You know, it's I'm not sure there's never been a big movie that I can think of now, again, there's been a Matias like I talked about earlier and raised in Arizona, but and it's definitely referenced a lot. But I've never seen it in a big movie big production. Other than like documentaries, but yeah, not to my knowledge.
I would bet money that an episode of Law and Order has stolen from this case, I'd be willing to bet money. Yeah, you probably
right there. So in the trial, Hoffman was charged with capital murder. The trial was held at the hunter Don County Courthouse in Flemington, New Jersey, and was soon dubbed, like I said earlier sell
the trial of the century, reporters swarmed the
town, every hotel room was booked, Judge Thomas Whitaker trench art presided over the trial, and exchange for rights to publish Hotman story in the newspaper, Edward J. Reilly was hired by the New York Daily Mirror to serve as Hartman's attorney. That's interesting. David T. Willans, Attorney General of New Jersey led the prosecution. Now evidence against hot men included $20,000 of the ransom money found in his garage as we talked about earlier, and testimony alleging that his handwriting and spelling were similar to those on the ransom notes. Eight handwriting experts pointed out similarities between the ransom notes and Hartman's writing specimens. So not looking too good for Hotman. Here with this evidence, no,
not to mention. How did he even get away with it for this long? Again, let's assume, let's assume he's the guy. How did he get away with it for this long been this damn sloppy? Yeah, I'm
not sure. So I always thought there was more involved. And you know, we had the one lady who killed herself with cyanide pills, but then maybe her story checked out, but I still believe others were involved. Did others come by and partake in the money and Hartman's just one of them? And he did a terrible job on, you know, laundering the money and getting rid of the evidence. Yeah, I'm not sure we don't know.
But when I look at old crimes, I always imagined how it was, effectively, maybe easier to get away with stuff because there was no digital trail, because if this case happened today, you would potentially see text messages between Hauptmann and the British made Gao. Yeah, yeah, of course. Well, I
still think it's interesting that his lawyer, Riley was hired by the New York Daily Mirror like, he's not even getting a fair trial here. defend this guy. And let's just make this a big story. You know, they're just pushing this guy down the river. Yeah, this reminds me of Lee Harvey Oswald. It's like the guy or not, obviously, there was more going on more at play, but like, let's just get this guy in there. And oh, and he's whacked. So he can't even talk. Like this is Hotman. He definitely has a lot of evidence. Well, no doubt about it. But to me, he cannot be the mastermind of this plan.
That's all Yeah. Yeah. Just like you said, Lee Harvey Oswald possibly a patsy. Patsy means even if you were involved, it was kind of against your will. You were just sort of on the sidelines. You weren't the mastermind whatsoever. I would definitely look at a case like this and assume there was at least two parties involved. And when I say involved, I mean even as little as giving certain tips and certain insight into the household and so forth. So I don't think it was happening alone. Absolutely not.
Yeah, we don't know who this fish guy was his ex parte winner who died when he went back to Germany, he could have been the mastermind or someone else but not this guy. You're not this sloppy. And again, it's a rush to judgment. I'm not saying he's innocent, but there's a lot more that we could have learned. And then he's sticking to this story. Yeah. So on the basis of the work of Arthur Koehler at the Forest Products Laboratory, the state introduced photographs demonstrating the part of the wood from the ladder, matched a plank from the floor of Hartman's attic, the type of wood the direction of the tree growth, the milling pattern, the inside and outside surface of the wood. And the grain on both sides are identical. Sal, back to your point. This is like early forensic analysis.
Yeah. Because at this time, this is like Sherlock Holmes stuff, you know? Yeah. I would imagine that the council who brought this to the public's attention to the Court's attention, people were Wow, this is amazing, you know, to tie these two things together. So yeah, that was the dawn right here. And actually, you know, we're not just telling you this definitely a modern forensics experts do reference this case, as being landmark and instrumental in the creation of Forensic Sciences.
Yeah. And as to why Hartman had Condon's telephone number and address written in his closet door Hotman told police this cell,
here's what happened said, I must have read it in the paper about the story. I was a little bit interested and keep a little bit record of it. And maybe I was just on the closet and was reading the paper and put it down the address. I can't give you an explanation about the telephone number. So just imagine that said with a German accent.
That's insane. Yeah, I wrote that down. I got the address. I can't tell you about the phone number, though. I mean, that just was there. And like, come on, you've had plenty of time to come up with a better story than this. And you've had a lot more time to paint that closet.
Well, like you mentioned earlier, this guy isn't really getting a fair trial in the sense that he has actual legitimate legal counsel, his legal counsel is under the employ of the newspapers who want a story, his couch is effectively seeking an admission he's seeking the full story. He's not looking to try to get this guy off the hook, or try to have this guy proven innocent of anything. He wants this guy to be guilty so that he could get a juicy story.
That's true. And he obviously doesn't have enough wits, and maybe he doesn't know the language well enough to defend himself. In fact, Hotman would have been better off joining Fisher and going back to Germany.
Yeah, he should have taken the money with him. They could have hopped on a steamboat across the Atlantic, assuming Hartman is at least one of the guys very sloppy, sloppy guy. Yeah.
So now as for the sketch of the ladder and Hartman's notebook, Hotman, said that this along with other sketches were the work of a child. Okay, so some child yours or someone else's sketched a ladder and all these other things in there. And so, again, Hotman doesn't have much of a defense. And you're right. He doesn't have any counsel either, that's for sure. So now Hotman was then identified as the man to whom the ransom money was delivered. Other witnesses testified that it was Hotman, who had spent some of the limbered gold certificates that he had been seen in the area of the state in East AmWell, New Jersey near Hopewell on the day of the kidnapping, and he had been absent from work on the day of the ransom payment, and had quit his job. Two days later. The evidence is mounting sell.
Well, definitely incriminating. I mean, it's kind of like a you know, we all thought, well, if I win the lottery, what would I do? Well, like if I won the lottery today, I wouldn't quit my job tomorrow. I want to be low profile about this. So I'm gonna I'm gonna lay low for a little bit. I'm not going to make any sudden moves. I'm not going to have a yacht tomorrow. You know what I mean?
This reminds me of the Edmonton coin thief. Salaam car all right sound Yeah, couldn't keep his mouth shut.
No, no. What is he building luxury homes and what are you doing dude? You know, stay low. People need to stay low.
He was a light rail operator, pilfering $900 and coins a day and made millions. So a couple of million anyway. However, he could not help himself. So he kept telling people, different stories how he got the money. That did not bode well for him staying out of jail.
No, and I definitely advise our listeners to check out our previous episode about Salim Cara, in a previous episode of that's a crime.
Please do it was a good one. So when the prosecution rested its case the defense open with a lengthy examination of Hartman and his testimony. Hotman denied being guilty. Instead of that the box of gold certificates had been left in his garage by a friend Isidore fish, who had returned to Germany in December 1933 and died there and March 1934, Hartman again said that he found a shoebox left behind by fish, which Hartman had stored on the top shelf of his kitchen broom closet. Later discovering the money, which was almost $40,000 $40,000.19 34
is the equivalent in 2021. Money of $814,000.
Wow. Good job, Sal. So Hartman said that because fish had owed him about $7,500 in business funds, Hartman had kept the money for himself and had lived on since January 1934.
Jason $7,500 in 1934, please, is today's equivalent of $152,000 I really liked the inflation calculator because I really think it helps are today 2021 mind to her to get a perspective on things in today, when you hear these numbers, you hear these amounts, you're like, What 40,020 500 And that's nothing you know, but you got to put it in perspective. And I always reference still, I believe, to this day, the highest grossing movie adjusted for inflation is still gone with the wind.
Sure. So so the only thing is that this particular episode is broken records on the inflation calculator, and we're gonna need a PDF download for people to follow along with all the numbers we're giving them. But hey, this is a big episode, so it's all good. I love the inflation calculator. So the defense then called Hartman's wife Anna to cooperate the fishy story. on cross examination, she admitted that while she hung her apron every day on a hook higher than the top shelf, she could not remember seeing any shoebox there. Later, rebuttal. witnesses testified that fish could not have been at the scene of the crime, and then he had no money for medical treatments when he died of tuberculosis. Fish's landlady testified that he could barely afford the $350 weekly rent for his room.
$3.50 a week in back in 1934 is like paying $71 a week. Hey, a great deal. $71 a week in rent.
Man, unbelievable. But here's this guy, efficient anything to do with it. He took no ransom money back to Germany and died in this way. I don't buy that either. So yeah, this is really interesting. Again, not saying that Hotman did at all this, that and the other. But it's just exonerating fish from anything most likely.
And you know, what also sucks about old crimes like this is I think everybody's dead. You know, like, so let's say you could go back in time. Or you know, go back. Let's say you can go to Germany and talk to some people who were there when fish arrived back in Germany. Hey, what was he like? Did he say anything? They're all dead everything. Everybody's dead, unfortunately. What? Did
anybody leave any diaries?
Yeah, we Oh journals. Yeah. Somebody maybe wrote about what if a relative wrote about fish when fish arrived back in Germany be right before he died, wrote some stuff that would be quite interesting.
So in his closing summation, Reilly argue that the evidence against Hartman was entirely so
circumstantial. There you
go, because no reliable witness had plays hot minute the scene of the crime, nor were his fingerprints found on the ladder, on the ransom notes or anywhere in the nursery. Riley actually came through and defended hot men a little bit there. But great point, it is all circumstantial, however, it's a mountain of circumstantial evidence against him, and the public wants a villain. Oh, yeah, yeah,
somebody's gotta go down for this.
Exactly. So now this leads to appeals because Hartman was convicted and immediately sentenced to death. His attorneys appealed to the New Jersey court of errors and appeals, which at the time was the state's highest court. The appeal was argued on June 29 1935, New Jersey governor Harold G. Hoffman secretly visited Hoffman in his cell on the evening of October 16, accompanied by a stenographer who spoke German fluently. Sal, this is a very interesting development.
Where is this leading? Why is the governor doing this? He's trying to get a confession.
Yeah, are really get to the bottom of it. And maybe he also realizes that maybe Hartman was just kind of railroaded here in some regards, or just trying to get a confession. So in late January 1936, well, declaring that he had held no position on the guilt or innocence of Hoffman, Hoffman cited evidence that the crime was not a one person job and requested a thorough and impartial investigation in an effort to bring all parties to justice. Sal, I love this move. And you and I know, couldn't agree more.
Well, yeah, I mean, it's almost a little hopeful, because it's one thing if a guilty person goes down, but you want to see all the guilty people especially in a horrible thing like This, you want to see him all go down if anybody had to do with the death of a small child. Let's hope everybody goes down. But now it seems like yeah, good luck to help man he is. He is the fall guy for everyone now.
Yeah. And Hoffman, it's nice to see that there's some intelligent people without an agenda in this matter even if Hoffman's efforts, you know, are futile. It's just nice to know. Like, he's looking at the case thinking, This is ridiculous. There's no way this guy perpetrated this whole thing kept secretive. And then this is his story. He might as well say he did it take the glory that comes with that, although you're probably going to be executed. But it surely couldn't have just been him alone sell. I don't believe it to this day. So on March 30 1936, Hartman second and final appeal, asking for clemency from the New Jersey Board of Pardons was denied. Hoffman later announced that his decision would be the final legal action in the case, and that he would not grant another reprieve. So Hoffman's running out of time now.
So it seemed like Hoffman, the governor Hoffman, remember, it's the governor's who grant the stay of execution. You know, there's that old The clock is ticking for the phone.
Call off the execution. Yes, yeah.
So here we have a governor getting personally involved. I mean, I've never heard of a governor before or since visiting the cell of a condemned man. I've never heard of that before, since.
But this is the trial of the century. He doesn't want this blood on his hands. He also knows if he kills him. Maybe he's the missing link, or the one person that could identify the others, but Hoffman sticking to his story, right, like I had nothing to do with it again, even if you're going down south at this point in time, and all the circumstantial evidence, I just don't believe Hotman either, right? I believe him more if he just said, Hey, you know what, it was XYZ. And I was like, pulled into this thing, or I was the Patsy or something. But he's never changed his story, which, yeah, I don't know. He's going down with the sinking ship.
Well, this is like why brought up earlier you know, so when they come to you and say, Jason, if you just admit you did it, we're gonna let you have life imprisonment instead of execution. And you got to ask yourself, Well, hell, which is, which is worse? You know what, I'd rather be in prison the rest of my life. I mean, it doesn't say how old he is. I'm assuming, let's assume he's a middle aged guy. Let's just assume that middle aged guy the rest of your life? Or would you rather have us execute you? Ah, that's a tough decision and absolutely tough decision. So I don't know if I would profess guilt if I was not guilty when I profess guilt to get life? I don't think so.
Yeah. And then who is he protecting? If he is if this guy, you know, really knows all the others, or, you know, initially cemetery John was talking about, it's three men and two women and the babies on a boat. There's already a crew and that story. So you know, and whatever happened to content, by the way, and this whole thing seems like he would have had a little bit more insight to drop in and was Condon in this case, at all. I know that he's off doing his vaudevillian Act. Now, as we get through with this, I have more questions and answers that looks like so. Now, this leads us to the execution, hot men turn down a large offer from a Hearst newspaper for a confession, and refused a last minute offer to commute his sentence from the death penalty to life without parole in exchange for a confession. Wow, Sal, everything we talked about a minute ago, coming to light here. So yeah, this is straight out of the movies.
Really? I'm just sitting here going, what would I do? Would I rather be in prison for the rest of my life? Or would I rather be executed, especially if you have to admit to something either you didn't do? Or maybe here's a maybe, maybe Houtman was involved in this, but he's like, Hey, we're not going to actually hurt this kid, are we? But then they either did hurt the kid or accidentally killed the kid. And you're just on the sideline goes, this plan did not go how it was supposed to go. So therefore, what are you gonna do say yes, I killed a kid just to get life. He's between a rock and a hard place here. He really is.
Well, I don't know if he's that hard of a place. I mean, you're gonna get executed. I'm just saying change your tune. Even if you don't know the whole truth, or you didn't. You weren't the mastermind of at all. Either throw other people under the bus or take credit because you're going down. But he just doesn't see things this way. Maybe he was protecting others. Or maybe he thought if he changed his tune. I don't know. What's he protecting his wife? His potential kids? I don't know. That's why to me, he seems like a patsy but it's really baffling Sal. It truly is. And there's probably even more to learn about this. Recently. Someone put this book on my radar and I didn't have time to read it because we had enough stuff to go over tonight but it's called Lindbergh. It's by a Scott Berg churns out This was a Pulitzer Prize winning biography of Charles Lindbergh.
So I guess it covers his entire life, not only the murder of his child,
correct. Now, this came out in the late 90s, I believe 99. But yeah, the complete tale, and I'm sure it's a big part of it. And if they can fill in any of these things, we don't know, that would be wonderful. Or at least give us some more context, or what the Lindbergh's we're thinking during this time, because, again, we've just followed the facts of this case of the Lindbergh baby kidnapping. So there's other things factors at play, and we're just, you know, we only have so long to cover this, you could do a whole series on this particular subject matter. But anyway, fascinating stuff. But back to Hartman, turned it down. So what would you have done?
I'm not a fan, even though you and I have discussed that we're kind of interested in prison culture, and shows like ours and so forth. Shawshank in Shawshank. I have no desire to live in a dress. I've noticed I live in prison, let alone with a life sentence. You know, it's one thing if you get a couple years, and there's hope. Okay, well, I'll get out in a couple years, you know, no, forget it. I think I'll take the chair, I'll probably take the chair, especially if I have to admit to a murder that I did not commit. So let's say at this moment, Helpman is like even if he did have something to do with it. Maybe he didn't actually do the killing himself. So it's like, I'm not going to admit to killing that didn't kill the child. Go ahead and execute me. And that's what he chose. If he would have said he did it. If he would have confessed he would have gotten life without parole.
Sell. I would have sang like a canary. You want to just make this I didn't do it make stuff up? No, no, no, if I didn't do it, and I knew more than I'm leading on, I'm saying everything. I'm spilling the beans, because I got nothing to lose. But if I honestly didn't do it, no, I wouldn't say I didn't. Here's how. But I believe Hartman knew a lot more than what he's telling us. That's all. However, he chose execution. And he was electrocuted on April 3 1936. And after his death, some reporters and independent investigators came up with numerous questions go figure about the way in which the investigation had been run and the fairness of the trial. Yeah, you think you can question his own counsel, as we've just talked about earlier, including witness tampering and planted evidence twice. In the 1980s, Anna Hartman sued the state of New Jersey, for the unjust execution of her husband. The suits were dismissed due to prosecutorial immunity. And because the statute of limitations had run out, she continued fighting to clear his name until her death at age 95. In 1994,
that's a tale in and of itself. And that's kind of sad. Yeah, genuinely believed her husband was innocent. And she's trying to clear his what she believes is good name. Until 1994. And this crime happened what in 32, that glassy, that's a movie in and of itself is this woman. Wow, amazing.
And that really covers the Lindbergh baby kidnapping. It's an incredible tale tragic, of course. And I'm glad that it changed a lot of the laws as far as kidnapping goes. And the forensics, which obviously came out of this case, to hopefully cut down or eliminate this from happening again. But it's still a fascinating case. It truly is. And this many years later, we still have questions. Because as you said earlier, at this point in time, so many people related with this aren't around or less people are around and so, you know, maybe we'll never never know what truly happened. A tragic story, but one that will be told for many more years to come.
The only thing I could say to wrap it all up for me, is rest in peace. Charles Augustus Lindbergh, Jr.
Yes, yes, indeed. So Sal, that's it. Episode 10. That's a crime and the books. Great job, buddy.
Yeah, thank you. You too. Jason. This was a big episode. I wanted to respect this episode, because it's so historic, because we have so much information about it now today. I definitely want to do this. Some courtesy and some honor. And I think we did. So. I'm happy we did this. Thank you.
Absolutely. I'm glad we did it as well. So it's our longest episode. Today. We wanted to do something big for 10. It's a milestone for us. I believe we did that today. And for that I'm proud. So thank you so much for listening. And please be sure to subscribe to that's a crime or wherever you get your podcast. You can also really help us by giving the show a five star rating on Apple podcast.
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