The Verdict is In – But Was it Right

By | Oct 16, 2012

In 1935 it was termed the ‘trial of the century’ and lasted from the 2nd day of the New Year until a verdict was proclaimed on February 13th. It was on that date that German carpenter Bruno Hauptmann was found guilty of the kidnapping and murder of Charles Lindbergh’s young son.

The media proclaimed ‘crime of the century’, the kidnapping of Lindbergh’s twenty-month old son, occurred during the night of March 1, 1932. In April the Lindbergh’s paid a ransom of $50,000. The dead body of the baby was found in May. Of course since that time, every few years there is another case that is given termed the crime of the century.

As a response to the kidnapping the United States congress passed the Lindbergh Kidnapping Law of 1932, That law made it a federal crime to take a kidnap victim across state lines. Prior to that the Federal Government had no input into kidnappings.

The kidnapping case remained a cold case until the summer of 1934. On September 18th a gold certificate that was part of the ransom payment was discovered. On it was written a license plate number. That number was on the blue Dodge sedan owned by Bruno Hauptmann.

Even with the evidence that was discovered that linked Hauptmann to the crime he proclaimed his innocence until he was put to death on April 3, 1936. It would seem that whether or not he actually did the crime he must have been involved since he was identified as the man whom the ransom money was delivered, over $14,000 of the money was found in his garage and witnesses testified it was he who spent some of ransom money.

Before Hauptmann was put to death, New Jersey Governor Harold Hoffman paid a death row visit on October 16, 1935. After this he was in doubt of Hauptmann’s guilt, however Hauptmann was still executed. As with many cases that are decided with circumstantial evidence, there are as many who are convince that he was innocent as those who believe him guilty.


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