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Handwriting Analysis The Straight Dope
The key evidence repeatedly brought up at the trial was the $14,600 in ransom money that was found in Hauptmann's garage. Hauptmann may have told the truth with "The Fisch Story;" However, Fisch was dead and $30,000 of the ransom money has yet to be found. And, what happened to J.J. Faulkner? Before Hauptmann's execution Harold Hoffman, New Jersey's Governor, received a letter from someone claiming to be J.J. Faulkner who said they had arrested the wrong guy.
The second piece of evidence was found at the site of the crime.
It was a 3/4" chisel.
When the police searched Hauptmann's toolbox, they said he had no 3/4" chisel. The Prosecution argued that every carpenter would need this type of chisel because it is a standard tool.
Later, forty years to be exact, Anthony Scaduto, a crime reporter, investigated this piece of evidence and found not only the chisel from the crime scene, but also two others wrapped in a brown bag labeled "Found in Hauptmann's garage."
Scaduto wrote "Scapegoat." based upon his research in which he reveals the shocking truth - the prosecution framed Hauptmann.
Michael Melsky for the The Lindbergh Kidnapping Hoax Forum
Dead Baby - Chisels - Schippell (Jun 1, 2002)
Johnson & Daws Report to Gov. Moore and Col. Schwatzkopf, thru Commissioner
"...Charles Schipell, who inhabits a shack approximately 1,000 ft. back from
the Mt. Rose road near which the child's body was found."
"Chisels of the same manufacture as that found outside the Lindbergh home have
been found there also".
"These chisels are manufactured by Buck Brothers and are a good, though not a
very common tool."
Statement of Charles Shapple[sic], of Hopewell, N.J. 12-14-34:
"He also stated that a number of carpenter's tools were taken out of his house
when he returned later. He also stated that the hole in woods and the marking
of trees were identification marks for the burial of some one in that hole. He
also stated that the baby found was not the Lindbergh baby and he was pretty
sure the baby that was found was taken out of this hole".
"The baby's clothes found he said belonged to his daughter's doll, and he also
said that sheets were taken from his house and cut in strips"
Affidavit of Charles Schippell, 12-24-34:
"...on May the 17th following I was taken to my own property, in Hopewell by
the "New Jersey State Police officers" and upon arrival I discovered that my
home had been broken open and a New Jersey State Police was stationed there".
"There has been tools mentioned, that will be brought into evidence of tools
belonging to Bruno Hauptmann that the New Jersey State Police have. Charles
Schippell believes that some of these tools belong to him that are missing,
and if he were given a chance he would be able to identify them".
Report of Johnson & Daws to Hoffman, 1-20-36, p2:
"The tools included an incomplete set of Buck Brothers chisels. He had the
one-half inch chisel and the one-inch chisel but the three-quarter inch chisel
ws missing. It will be recalled that a three-quarter inch chisel was found
near the Lindbergh home following the crime".
Two witnesses stating they saw Hauptmann near the Lindbergh home the day of the crime also caused the jury to vote guilty. One of the witnesses, a foreman from the Majestic Corp., the same place Hauptmann claimed he was employed at the time, uncovered a time card that proved Hauptmann did not work the day of the kidnapping. However, the time card was most certainly tampered with because of differences between Hauptmann's and that of others who did not work on March 1, 1932. Hauptmann's record was the only one marked up with big blobs of ink! The other laborers had a line of zeros or checks - no blobs of ink anywhere except through Hauptmann's time line.
click here to read a letter by Employment Agent Pescia
The prosecution had no shame. They brought in a "witness" who was legally blind. When he came to collect his share of the reward money from Gov. Hoffman, after Hauptmann's electrocution, he mistook a vase of flowers for a woman's hat in the Governor's office. Yet he claimed to be able to identify a man driving a vehicle - a man he suddenly remembered seeing after Hauptmann had been arrested over 2 years later. The truth was that he told police, the night of the "kidnapping," he had seen nothing. This fact was never revealed at the trial. No discovery laws in 1935.
The police lineup in which the witnesses pointed out Hauptmann was also a mockery of the judicial system. The line-up consisted of Hauptmann accompanied by an Irish detective, a policeman in uniform, and a blond. The only person who came close to fitting the description of John was Hauptmann.
Another piece of evidence which convicted Hauptmann was the positive identification of Hauptmann in court by Dr. Condon. Prior to the trial, Dr. Condon refused to make a positive identification because he did not believe that Hauptmann was the man he met in the cemetery.
Another key piece of evidence submitted in court was a board from Hauptmann's closet. Scribbled on the board was Dr. Condon's phone number. Hauptmann said he did not remember writing the number; however, he may have since he had an interest in the case. Later, a reporter from The New York Daily News bragged to other reporters that he wrote the number there himself because his editors were pressuring him for more "front page material." This is believable since Hauptmann had no phone and if he was using a pay phone to call Dr. Condon, he would write the number on something easier to carry. Another strange fact is that one had to remove both shelves in the closet and stand in the back with a flashlight to even see the number. Why would someone write a number in such a difficult place?
click here to see a close-up of THE ATTIC FLOORBOARD
Lt Bornmann of the Jersey Police moved into Hauptmann's house after he was arrested and refused to allow the defense team into the house! All alone in Hauptmann's attic, Bornmann claimed to have found a floor board missing even though the FBI and NYC Police had gone over that attic a number of times. The missing board in Hauptmann's attic was also a key factor in the jury voting guilty since Wilentz claimed it matched the wood of the "kidnap" ladder. However, when the wood was matched with that of the wood in the Hauptmann attic, the piece from the ladder was thicker than that of the attic floor. The Governor of New Jersey, Harold Hoffman, openly stated the evidence was false when he discovered this information.
Read excerpts from Lt. Bornmann's testimony at Hauptmann's trial.
click here to read Arthur Koehler's plea for reward money
old photo of attic (right) submitted to the LKH Public Forum by John Overall
Now there is a DNA test that can be done to determine if both pieces actually came from the same tree. This is the single most important piece of "evidence" that can now exonerate the German immigrant.
CLICK HERE TO READ A RECENT LKH FORUM DEBATE ABOUT RAIL 16
But the most outrageous evidence against Hauptmann was Lindbergh's identification of Hauptmann's voice as cemetery John's. Lindbergh was a national hero- a man everyone would believe. However, he heard the voice more than two years prior to the trial, from a distance of several hundred feet. Since police records show that Lindbergh never gave consistent descriptions of what he actually heard "John" shout (while he sat in the car with the windows rolled up) how did that jury ever believe him? It is not humanly possible to recognize any voice two and one half years later even if you are at close range - but to pick out a man whom you have never met or even seen? The adoration of the jury is the only explanation for this travesty - they simply wanted to please the hero and burn the carpenter.
Friday February 16, 10:45 PM
By Jonathan Amos in San Francisco
Earwitness accounts in trials are likely to be highly unreliable and should be treated with extreme caution by juries, a major science conference in America has been told.
Although there are few cases that have hung on what a witness may or may not have heard, there have been some famous examples where voice as opposed to visual identification has formed crucial evidence.
Perhaps the most famous was the Lindbergh murder trial in the 1930s, in which Bruno Hauptmann was sentenced to death after a witness claimed the defendant's voice was the same one heard shouting "Hey Doc - over here" in a cemetery 33 months previously.
Larry Solan, from the Brooklyn Law School, told the American Association for the Advancement of Science that such earwitness accounts should be given short shrift by the judicial system - but, sadly, they were not.
"The law assumes that once someone has heard a voice, they can recall that voice and report it accurately," he said. "Research has shown that that is not the case.
"The reliability of earwitness accounts differs under the circumstances. We are quite good at recognizing voices that we're very familiar with and very bad at recognizing voices with which we're only slightly familiar or unfamiliar and have heard only once.
"And yet, the law does not make the distinctions among these different circumstances."
Studies have shown that people vary in their abilities to recognize voices. Young adults are better at it than young children and old people. We also have difficulty recognizing a voice if it is speaking with a foreign accent or is whispering.
Stressed voices can sound very different, and the number of exposures to a voice and the time since it was last heard also have a crucial bearing on recognition.
"Not only are we not good at identifying voices, but we think we're much better at it than we are," said Professor Solan. "So when we are on jury duty and we are listening to a trial and somebody says, 'Yes, the voice that I heard 11 months ago is the voice of the defendant', we will tend to overestimate the accuracy of that identification."
Professor Solan said the courts in the US had ignored the work of many linguists and psychologists. He said the system of "minimal familiarity" which meant juries were simply presented with evidence and asked to weigh its importance was flawed because the studies had shown juries gave earwitness accounts undue weight.
"It's time the judicial system sat up and took notice and started listening to what the linguists and psychologists have found."
Reeve Lindbergh has written a new memoir, Under A Wing: A Memoir in which she claims the reason her father was so intolerant of his children was because he was really hard of hearing and would never admit such a thing to anyone! Well, was the Lone Eagle a Deaf Eagle? Did he hear anything at all that night at the cemetery or did he make it all up according to Condon's story? Condon changed his description of what he heard Cemetery John shout also. Many times. So what did Lindbergh actually hear? The excuse being made, to this day, by Police apologists, is that Lindbergh wanted to spare his wife from the torment of the trial!
It is not possible for this testimony to be accurate. It is based on 2 words shouted almost 3 years earlier. Yet most people resorted to irrational thinking even though a man's life was in the balance. Most people would be more skeptical if the witness, Charles Lindbergh, was selling them a used car!
Evidently, a man was put to death, the lives of a woman and her young child destroyed - because of a need to please a hero.
click here to read more unanswered questions on the Ellis Parker website
One piece of evidence that should have been used in court was a plaster foot mold of John's footprint. The mold was made by Ralph Hacker, Dr. Condon's son-in-law,. It was found at the base of the cemetery wall that "John" jumped over. Hacker made a plaster mold of the footprint left by the extortionist in the cemetery. None of Hauptmann's shoes ever fit that mold just as none of Hauptmann's fingerprints were ever found anywhere in New Jersey. This mold is not in any archive and appears to be "lost."
Arguments From The LKH Public Forum
Hauptmann : Lucifer or Scapegoat?
Fri Apr 20 2001
The prosecution's case against Bruno Richard Hauptmann for the kidnapping and murder of the Lindbergh baby was full of flaws and inconsistencies:
1.) Police found fingerprints on the kidnap ladder and on four of the ransom notes. Not ONE of these matched Hauptmann's fingerprints, and most remain completely unidentified to this day.
2.)The plaster cast of Cemetery John's shoeprint made by BI agent Sisk was to small to have been made by Hauptmann's foot.
3.)The prosecution's handwriting experts all admitted, under direct and cross examination that there were many differences between the ransom note handwriting and Hauptmann's conceded writings. They attributed this to the defendant using a "disguised handwriting".
4.)Fingerprint expert Dr. Hudson testified at the trial that there was only one nail hole in Rail 16 when he examined it on March 13, 1932, and after the trial Gov. Hoffman produced a March 2, 1932 photograph of rail 16 with no nail holes in it. Without these holes, there could be no link between rail 16 and the nail holes in the joists in the defendant's attic.
The half board in the defendants attic that rail 16 supposedly came from had seven knots in it whereas rail 16 had only three knots. Moreover, the planed rail 16 was actually one-sixteenth of an inch THICKER than the unplaned attic board, making a match between the two extremely unlikely.
5.)The two eyewitnesses who identified Hauptmann as being Cemetery John both identified men who looked nothing like Hauptmann as being John prior to the defendant's arrest.
The two eyewitnesses who identified Hauptmann as a man lurking near the Lindbergh estate at the time of the kidnapping had both told police previously that they had not seen any suspicious characters that day.
6.)A newsman, Tom Cassidy, publicly boasted of having written Dr. Condon's name address and phone number on a board in Hauptmann's closet.
Fri Aug 10 2001
Cemetery John wasn't Hauptmann
1. Footprint doesn't match
2. Reihl said no accent from John
3. Height and weight descriptions do not match
Kidnapper wasn't Hauptmann
1. Footprint doesn't match
2. Unidentified fingerprints on ladder do not match
3. Authorities are asking Hudson how they can counterfeit
fingerprints to "set up" Hauptmann
Ransom notes not written by Hauptmann
1. Dictated request writings basis for States expert
testimony, the nature of which was never disclosed to
2. Latent fingerprints on ransom notes do not match
Michael Melsky Timekeeping Tales
on the LKH Public Forum
Aug 18 2001
March 1st - Money delivered April 2nd.
was Hauptmann's position when arrested, that he worked on 3-1-32.
the supervisor of construction, Joe Furcht, as well as employment agent E.V.
Pescia, Hauptmann worked a full day 3-1-32. Furcht made a sworn statement to
this fact and attached a copy of the pay sheet to it. Of course this pay sheet vanishes after being turned over to Inspector Harry Walsh. The records that were
not missing were clearly tampered with as indicated by Kennedy and Scaduto. Both
the time book and the payroll time record shown in Kennedy are clearly altered.
You can't look at them and tell me they aren't.
Knapp, assistant treasurer for Reliance Property Management, testified at the
Bronx hearing testified that the records for March 1st to 15th "do not
Receipt from NYPD:
Employment Card for Richard Hauptmann
Employment Card for John Fordyce
Carbon copy of payroll for period ending Feb. 29, 1932
Carbon copy of payroll for period ending March 15, 1932
Carbon copy of payroll for period ending March 31, 1932
Carbon copy of payroll for period ending April 15, 1932
above records are property of the Majestic Apartments, 72nd St. and Central
Park, West, New York City.
quotes a Times article quoting Foley as saying: "...the employment records
showed that Hauptmann quit work at the Majestic at 1p.m. the day of the
kidnapping". And quoted Wilentz as saying: "The police know definitely
that Hauptmann did not work those hours, nor did he put in a full day of work on
March first..." (page 282). Thereby proving their knowledge of records that
Knapp had testified "did not exist".
referencing Agent Seykora's report, indicates that while at Reliance Property
Management Company, where they were referred to the owners, they saw a Mr.
Birmingham. Birmingham indicated that Hauptmann's employment ended on April 2nd.
He also indicated that Hauptmann was working on April 2nd. (page 185-86
(Reliance time keeper) direct by Wilentz page 1905:
On April 2nd, 1932 tell me whether or not Bruno Richard Hauptmann worked.
No, sir; Bruno Richard Hauptmann did not work on April 2nd, 1932.
cross by Reilly page 1913-14
Then you have a check that he (Hauptmann) worked on the 3rd and 4th, haven't you
A: Yes, sir.
What day was Sunday? A: April 3rd.
26th. Now, every one of the carpenters on the 26th of March, which you claim was
a Sunday, have check marks opposite their names just as though they worked,
haven't they? A: Yes, sir.
And April 2nd, carpenters, you have an "O," is that right?
For the carpenters.
Yes, a naught for Hauptmann? A: Yes, sir.
Yes, a naught for Hauptmann? A: Yes, sir.
But you have a check marked the next day, April 3rd, haven't you?
He didn't work that day, did he? A: No, sir; he didn't.
He didn't work that day, did he? A: No, sir; he didn't.
Then you don't keep your books accurate, do you? A: Yes, sir.
Q: You think that is accuracy, do you?
(NYC Police Dept)
email to website
Sat Dec 7 2002
As a retired NYC police officer, currently employed as a medicolegal forensic investigator for the NYC Medical Examiner's Officer, I have always been fascinated by the Lindbergh kidnapping case.. My original impression was after some reading that Hauptmann was involved in the kidnapping, that he killed the infant, or was involved with the person that did, and that he was caught with the Ranson money. WHAT ELSE COULD ONE ASK IF YOU WANT TO CONVICT A PERSON. IT WAS CERTAINLY A PROSECUTORS DREAM.
However, the more I read the more it became obvious that nothing made sense. Reading of the trial transcript revealed that all of Hauptmann's witness were totally destroyed on the witness stand (abridged version). No crime nor no prosection is every perfect. The more perfect the prosecution and testimony the more suspect it becomes.
Then it came to me after doing some more research: (1) Obviously we must have had the best police department in the world whose skills at obtaining evidence and testimony bordered on unbelief, and/or (2) evidence was being manufactured, suppressed or altered, and witnesses were being threatened or change they testimony.
As a former police officer I know very well how things are manufactured and presented. To frequently the bounds of legality and morality are overstepped in an effort to convict a person. However, I believe that even by the 1930 standards these practices were totally immoral, illegal and unethical. What disturbs me even more so than the likes of Wilentz, et al, is the stonewalling of the authorities in New Jersey today. There was a saying by Cardinal Reicheliu that " the law in majestic equality forbids both rich and poor men to sleep under the same bridge." They are afraid of what new DNA forensic test will indicate. If they had any certitude about the GUILT of Hauptmann they would have jumped at the change. They are simply afraid to admit the TRUTH - and that is that Hauptmann was innocent.
I'm sorry for rambling on but I had to tell you about how I feel. I would like to commend you for your dedicating in shinning truth on a very difficult subject, when there are still people out there with a closed and biased minds, along with people unwilling to look for the truth even when it strikes them in the face.
Report on Ladder Nails Stanley R Keith
1935 Iron Age PDF
Clarifications Concerning the Table Evidence
By Mark Falzini, Archivist: NJ State Police Museum, West Trenton
Ronelle Delmont's Lindbergh Kidnapping Hoax Forum
Michael Melsky's Lindbergh Kidnapping Discussion Board
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