Page 1 of 7 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 62

Thread: The Lindbergh Case: Your views?

  1. #1
    Bartender LizzieMaine's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Where The Tourists Meet The Sea
    Posts
    14,119

    The Lindbergh Case: Your views?

    It truly was the Crime of the Century: the abduction and murder of Charles A. Lindbergh Jr. galvanized the world, and even now, eight decades gone, rarely does a year pass without a new book being published or a new theory being promulgated on exactly what happened and how. With a new PBS documentary coming out in January examining the role of forensic evidence in the case, it might be a good time to see what Loungers think about the case.

    Here are my own views, based on reading too many books covering both sides of the debate, along with much of the original trial coverage in the press of the time:

    * Charles A. Lindbergh Junior is dead. He was killed the night of March 1st, 1932, and his body was found two and a half months later by a truck driver who stopped at the side of the road to relieve himself and stumbled over the remains half buried in the woods. Latter-day claimants to the contrary, that corpse was, in fact, the Lindbergh Baby. Aside from a mild case of rickets, the baby was physically and developmentally normal.

    * Neither Charles nor Anne Lindbergh, nor any member of the Morrow family, nor any member of the domestic staff of the Lindbergh or Morrow homes had anything to do with the abduction or death of the child.

    *Dr. John F. "Jafsie" Condon was exactly what he seemed to be: an elderly neighborhood windbag who liked to see his name in the paper, and who offered himself as the ransom intermediary without ever actually expecting to be taken up on the offer. He had nothing whatever to do with the actual crime.

    *The mysterious fur trader/con man Isidor Fisch had nothing to do with the actual kidnapping or murder. He may very well have helped to launder the ransom money -- without knowing of its true origin -- but there is no evidence that he actually committed the murder, or that he was in any other way connected to the case.

    *The note found in the baby's bedroom and the various messages to Lindbergh and Condon were from the same source, and were written by the same man.

    *One man committed the crime and collected the ransom money. The weight of the circumstantial evidence points to one man, and one man only: Bruno Richard Hauptmann. He may have been aided by accomplices -- such as Fisch -- in disposing of the money, but they were not involved in the main crime.

    I used to think Hauptmann was framed, but the more I read and the more I thought about the case, the more I agreed that the original jury made the right decision. Your views -- and why?
    The humblest citizen in all the land, when clad in the armor of a righteous cause, is stronger than all the hosts of error. -- William Jennings Bryan

  2. #2
    One Too Many Stanley Doble's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Cobourg
    Posts
    1,600
    My reading on the case suggests that it was badly bungled at all levels. I don't believe Hauptmann was guilty. By the way, if Hauptmann got the money from Fisch then your theory falls to the ground. If Fisch, a con man, somehow got his hands on some of the ransom money and used it to pay a debt to Hauptmann before he skipped the country then there is nothing to connect Hauptmann to the crime. The rest of the evidence that convicted him was faked up or not trustworthy. His attorney handled the case badly, in fact it was the last important case of his career before he was hospitalized with dementia caused by tertiary syphilis.

    It doesn't make sense that Hauptmann the master criminal was clever enough to carry out the crime of the century, evade a nation wide manhunt, hide the "hot" ransom money for years, then got caught passing it in his own neighborhood.

    His story that he was given the money in payment of a debt and spent it not knowing it was connected to the Lindbergh kidnapping, seems more likely.
    Last edited by Stanley Doble; 12-28-2012 at 01:38 PM.

  3. #3
    One Too Many Stanley Doble's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Cobourg
    Posts
    1,600
    There was a rather horrible theory that Lindbergh, a cruel practical joker, faked the kidnapping and accidentally killed his baby son. The rest of the case followed from his efforts to cover up. The ransom was paid to an opportunist who hadn't kidnapped anybody.

    I don't put much stock in this theory but it is plausible, given the way Lindbergh interfered with the investigation.
    Last edited by Stanley Doble; 12-28-2012 at 01:43 PM.

  4. #4
    Bartender LizzieMaine's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Where The Tourists Meet The Sea
    Posts
    14,119
    The "Fisch Story" was Hautpmann's main alibi, but there are deep holes in it, not the least of which are Hauptmann's own finances between the payment of the ransom on April 2, 1932 and his arrest in September 1934 -- despite having less than $4000 in documented assets on April 1, 1932, Hautpmann went on a spending spree that summer: stock investments, expensive household goods, a trip to germany for his wife, a canoe, and various other luxury purchases, despite not holding an actual job and despite a documented record of *losing* money in the stock market. Adding up all his expenditures during that period, combined with the $14,600 of ransom money found in his garage, you get a figure about $50 short of the total $50,000 ransom paid. Pretty damning, especially since much of this spending happened during the spring of 1932 -- before Hautpmann even met Fisch -- and continued thru 1933. Hauptmann himself claimed Fisch gave him the money no earlier than November 1933, so even if you accept the "Fisch Story", where did all the money come from that he was spending over the previous year and a half?

    I don't think Fisch is the type who could have done the kidnapping. He was a cheap street-corner con man, a wormy little hustler who eked out a living from petty swindles. He didn't think big, and it took a big thinker to steal the child of the most famous man in the world. Hauptmann was a big thinker. He had a criminal record in Germany, and his crimes weren't as petty as he made them out to be. Not only had he been a burglar, but he burgled the house of the Burgomeister of his home town, the most prominent target available. When he was sent to prison, he escaped -- and left his convict uniform on the doorstep, with a note of compliments to the warden. That's the kind of big-shot personality it would take to come up with a crime like the Lindbergh crime.

    As to the theories that Lindy himself killed the child as the result of a joke, the hoax would have to have been manufactured immediately -- the ladder was found in the yard within minutes after the disappearance of the child, and even Lindbergh couldn't have cooked up a frameup that quickly, especially one involving wood taken from the attic of a patsy who wouldn't even be arrested until two and a half years later.
    The humblest citizen in all the land, when clad in the armor of a righteous cause, is stronger than all the hosts of error. -- William Jennings Bryan

  5. #5
    I'll Lock Up dhermann1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Da Bronx, NY, USA
    Posts
    9,215
    There are a number of famous cases such as this one, where if you go back and examine the evidence, you get the disappointing conclusion that they got it right in the first place. I think the JFK assassination is another example. (PLEASE! Let's not jump on that bandwagon from this interesting thread!)
    "Hello. I'm Mr. Hardy, and this is my friend, Mr. Laurel."

  6. #6
    One Too Many
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Gone
    Posts
    1,465
    What Lizzie said and for the reasons she said it.

  7. #7
    I'll Lock Up DJH's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    4,310
    Thanks for posting this, Lizzie - a most interesting case.

    Interestingly, although I knew about Lindbergh flying across the Atlantic and a little of his political views, I had never heard about the baby kidnapping until I moved to the US and read a biography of him (I grew up in the UK).

    I might have to delve into some of these new books on the matter to learn more.
    Cheers!
    David - 21st Century Man

  8. #8
    Bartender LizzieMaine's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Where The Tourists Meet The Sea
    Posts
    14,119
    One of the things about the case that makes it so fascinating is the enigma of Hauptmann himself -- a man who, on the one hand, seemed to sincerely love his wife and son, and who was very popular with his circle of friends in the close-knit German community in the Bronx. One reason Anna Hauptmann was still proclaiming Richard's innocence as late as the 1990s is that she simply couldn't conceive of him lying to her, despite evidence that he had repeatedly done so in the matter of the ransom money. On the other hand, to do what the kidnapper did -- to kill the child, strip off its sleeping suit to use in the extortion plot, and then bury the body in a ditch at the side of the road -- suggests a truly vicious man. Could the gentle mandolin-playing "friend of nature" Richard Hautpmann be the Jekyll and the brutal killer Bruno Hautpmann be the Hyde? He took his secrets -- and he had many of them -- to his grave, and we'll never have definitive answers to what made him tick.

    Interestingly, the prosecutor in the case, David Wilentz, and the psychologist who advised the prosecution, Dr. Dudley Schoenfeld, both wanted to see Hauptmann's sentence commuted to life -- in order to study him, to try and figure out just who he really was inside. But New Jersey law at the time required a death sentence for first degree murder, and their hands were tied.
    The humblest citizen in all the land, when clad in the armor of a righteous cause, is stronger than all the hosts of error. -- William Jennings Bryan

  9. #9
    I'll Lock Up DJH's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    4,310
    And from the notes you posted Lizzie, it is quite remarkable how just about all of the ransom money ended up being accounted for. Hauptmann certainly either kept good records or left an easy to follow trail.
    Cheers!
    David - 21st Century Man

  10. #10
    One Too Many Stanley Doble's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Cobourg
    Posts
    1,600
    A lot of the evidence against Hauptmann fails to hold water if you examine it closely. His lawyer failed to challenge the evidence against him at the trial, and instead put forward a bizarre theory that it was an inside job by the maid.

    As far as the Kennedy assassination goes, the official conclusion of a US government investigation is, that there was more than one gunman, in other words a conspiracy. And according to evidence put forward by the Dallas police department Oswald could not have shot Kennedy.

    I don't know if Hauptmann was guilty in the Lindbergh case or not. Unfortunately the whole case was badly mishandled. We may never know the truth.
    Last edited by Stanley Doble; 12-28-2012 at 05:04 PM.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •