On This Day: January 3, 1935, Testimony Begins in Lindbergh Baby Kidnapping/Murder Trial

In what was dubbed—you guessed it—the “Trial of the Century,” the prosecution’s case against Bruno Richard Hauptmannaccused in the kidnapping and murder of infant  Charles A. Lindbergh, Jr, three years after the crime allegedly occurred.

Bruno Richard Hauptmann, accused in the kidnap-killing of baby Charles A. Lindbergh, is shown above, on Jan. 3, 1935 with his attorneys at the end of the second day of his trial. Left to right are: Edward J. Reilly, Chief of Counsel; C. Lloyd Fisher and Frederick A. Pope, Assistants; Hauptmann, and Egbert Rosencrans, Assistant Counsel. Photo was made in the Hunterdon County Courthouse, Flemington, N.J. (AP Photo)
(L-R) Chief Counsel Edward J. Riley; assistants C. Lloyd Fisher and Frederick A. Pope; the defendant, Bruno Hauptmann, and Assistant Counsel Egbert Rosencrans on January 3, 1935  in the Hunterdon County Courthouse, Flemington, N.J. (AP Photo)
Lindbergh_Kidnapping_Note
The mostly-illegible ransom note left at the scene of the Lindbergh kidnapping.

20-month-old Charles Augustus Lindbergh Jr.—son of aviator Charles Lindbergh and Anne Morrow Lindbergh–was abducted from his home in Highfields, New Jersey,  on March 1, 1932. The elder Lindbergh discovered a ransom note on the windowsill, the first of many in what would become a wild—and fruitless—goose chase. 

The search for the baby was ultimately unsuccessful, and to the country’s shock, the body of Charles Lindbergh Jr. was discovered on May 12, 1932, half-buried and partially-decomposed. A coroner established that the baby had died about two months earlier, suggesting that the baby was killed about a week after he was kidnapped. 

The first day of the much-anticipated trial focused on jury selection, those selected including a merchant, two farmers, four housewives, a laborer, an insurance salesman and a camp education advisor. The full jury—consisting of eight men and four women—was photographed with Sheriff John H. Curtiss on the courthouse steps during lunch recess on January 3, 1935.

Image
The Hauptmann trial jury photographed with Sheriff John H. Curtiss (center) on January 3, 1935 (AP Photo)

The second day began with defense council Edward J. Reilly’s motion for a mistrial, on grounds that the Attorney General’s opening statement was impassioned and designed to prejudice the jury. The motion was denied.

 

Part of the crowd that gathered outside the Hunterdon County Courthouse at Flemington, New Jersey, during the noon recess on Jan. 3, 1935, the second day of the Bruno Richard Hauptmann trial. Men and women eagerly sought to glimpse some of the notables attending the trial of the man who's named as the kidnap-killer of the Lindbergh baby. (AP Photo)
Part of the crowd that gathered outside the Hunterdon County Courthouse hoping to catch a glimpse of the players in the Lindbergh baby kidnapping trial on January 3, 1935 (AP Photo)

Anne Lindbergh took the stand to testify against Hauptmann, who was facing the possibility of a death sentence. Mrs. Lindbergh identified clothes worn by the baby on the night of the kidnapping. 

3 jan 35 - mrs lindbergh takes stand
Photos of Mrs. Lindbergh delivering her testimony were taken in the dim light of afternoon, as flash shots were banned inside the courtroom (AP Photo)

The baby’s father, American hero Charles A. Lindbergh, also took the stand. He identified an architect’s map of his home in Hopewell, N.J. that showed the room from which Bruno Richard Hauptmann was accused of kidnapping Charles Lindbergh Jr. three years prior.

Col. Charles A. Lindbergh, standing center, identifies an architect's map of his home in Hopewell, N.J., which shows the room from which Bruno Richard Hauptmann is accused of having kidnapped the aviator's young son nearly three years ago. Lindbergh took the stand during the kidnap trial of Hauptmann at the courthouse in Flemington, N.J., on Jan. 3, 1935. (AP Photo)
Charles A. Lindbergh, standing center, identifying an architect’s drawing of his home before the court on January 3, 1935 (AP Photo)

Men and women eagerly sought to glimpse some of the notables attending the trial of the man who’s named as the kidnap-killer of the Lindbergh baby. Mrs. Lindbergh was captured—looking quite understandably miserable—passing the battery of camera men lying wait for her as she walked through the courthouse corridor.

Image
Mrs. Lindbergh passing a barrage of press photographers after testifying on the second day of Hauptmann’s trial (AP Photo)
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s