LINDBERGH CASE CHRONOLOGY
|March 1, 1932:
Baby taken from his crib, Hopewell, New Jersey sometime between nine and ten o'clock at night. A ladder, chisel and $50,000 ransom note left at the scene.
March 8, 1932:
NJSP officer George G. Wilton photographs rail 16 of the kidnap ladder. These photographs will be exhibits s302 and s303 at the kidnapper's trial.
March 9, 1932:
Retired school teacher, John F. Condon receives a message from the kidnapper. Lindbergh makes Condon, JAFSIE, his ransom intermediary. He will communicate with the kidnapper with an ad in the New York American.
March 12, 1932:
Condon meets with "John" in the Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx. No money is exchanged.
March 16, 1932:
Condon receives, in the mail, a package containing the baby's sleeping garment. Charles Lindbergh comes to Condon's house to identify it. The garment has been laundered.
March 21, 1932:
JAFSIE receives a letter from "Cemetery John."
March 29, 1932:
JAFSIE receives a letter from the kidnapper.
April 1, 1932:
The baby's nursemaid, Betty Gow, finds the infant's thumbguard on the gravel driveway to the Hopewell estate. JAFSIE receives another ransom letter from "Cemetery John."
April 2, 1932:
Condon, with Charles Lindbergh nearby, pays the kidnapper a $50,000 ransom at St. Raymonds Cemetery in the Bronx. In return, Condon receives a note saying that the baby can be found on the "boad Nelly." The kidnapper slips into the night with the ransom, most of which consists of gold notes. All serial numbers have been recorded.
April 8, 1932:
A $20 gold certificate ransom bill turns up in the Bronx.
May 12, 1932:
The Lindbergh baby is found dead by a truck driver a few miles from the Lindbergh estate. Betty Gow identifies the baby's clothing and Charles Lindbergh comes to the morgue to confirm the identification. The coroner finds that the baby died from a blow to the head.
May 16, 1932:
John Curtis, a Norfolk, Virginia business man who had been telling Colonel Lindbergh that he had been in touch with the kidnappers, confesses that it had all been a hoax.
May 21, 1932:
The New Jersey State Police circulate a facsimile of portions of two of the ransom notes in an effort to identify the handwriting.
May 23, 1932:
The Governor of New Jersey offers a $25,000 reward for information on the case.
June 6, 1932:
Colonel Lindbergh returns to work, leaving the investigation to the police.
June 8, 1932:
Gaston Means, a noted swindler and con man, is tried for fraud in Washington D.C. for bilking Evalyn McLean of $104,000, money she had given him to ransom back the Lindbergh baby. He is found guilty and sentenced to prison.
June 10, 1932:
Violet Sharpe, a domestic employee at the Morrow Estate in Englewood, New Jersey, commits suicide following four interview sessions with the police who are trying to eliminate her as a possible inside-job suspect.
June 22, 1932:
Congress makes ransom kidnapping a federal offense. The new crime is called the Lindbergh Law.
June 27, 1932:
John Curtis, the Lindbergh case hoaxer, is tried and found guilty of obstruction of justice. He is fined.
August 16, 1932:
Jon Lindbergh, the Lindbergh's second child, is born.
October 10, 1932:
New York City psychiatrist Dr. Dudly Shoenfeld, after studying the ransom notes, files a report with the New York City Police containing a psychological profile of the kidnapper which turns out to be remarkably accurate.
March 8, 1933:
Arthur Koehler, a federal government expert on trees and wood, files a report with the New Jersey State Police which contains his detailed analysis of the wooden homemade kidnap ladder.
April 5, 1933:
President Roosevelt orders the switch from gold notes to greenback bills. Gold notes are to be exchanged for the new currency. Suddenly the Lindbergh ransom money will be easier to spot and identify.
November 19, 1933:
Arthur Koehler locates a store in the Bronx where five pieces of the kidnap ladder were purchased.
November 26, 1933:
Cecile Barr, a cashier at a movie house in Greenwich Village, takes a $5 gold note from a man she later identifies as Hauptmann.
September 15, 1934:
A gas station attendant, suspicious of a $10 gold note, pencils the customer's license number -- 4U-13-41 -- on the margin of the bill. The car, a 1930 blue Dodge, is registered to Richard Hauptmann at 1279 East 22nd Street, the Bronx.
September 18, 1934:
The New Jersey State Police, the New York Police, and the FBI set up a surveillance of Hauptmann's house.
September 19, 1934:
Bruno Richard Hauptmann (BRH) is arrested at 9:15 am while he's en route, in this Dodge, from his home to Manhattan. Officers find a $20 ransom bill in his possession. Officers search his house and he is taken to the Greenwich Street police station for questioning.
September 20, 1934:
Hauptmann provides samples of his handwriting and is identified in a line-up by Cecile Barr, Amandus Hockmuth, Joseph Perrone, Ben Lupica, and the gas station attendant who broke the case with the license number. John Condon angers the police by withholding his line-up identification. BRH refuses to confess. BRH is taken before a magistrate and charged with extortion. New York, New Jersey, and FBI investigators find $13,760 in ransom bills hidden in Hauptmann's garage. When confronted with this evidence, BRH comes up with the "Fisch Story." According to Hauptmann, a business associate names Isadore Fisch on December 2, 1933, left in his care a shoe box which Hauptmann stored in his kitchen closet. In August, 1934 Hauptmann opened the box and to his surprise found $15,000 in cash, money he subsequently started spending due to the fact Fisch owed him $7,000. Hauptmann had kept all of this from his wife. Fisch had died of TB in Leipzig, Germany on March 29, 1934. He died penniless.
September 24, 1934:
Inspector Henry D. Bruckman, NYPD, finds John Condon's phone number and address penciled on a piece of the door trim in a closet in Hauptmann's house. Also on this board are the serial numbers to a $500 and $1,000 bill. Hauptmann concedes that this writing is in his hand. He denies, however, any involvement in the kidnapping.
September 25, 1934:
In the office of the Bronx District Attorney, Lindbergh identifies Hauptmann's voice as the voice he heard coming from "Cemetery John" at St. Raymonds when the ransom money exchanged hands.
September 26, 1934:
Police find more ransom money -- $840 -- hidden in Hauptmann's garage. They also find a .25 caliber handgun. Meanwhile, as Hauptmann is being indicted for extortion in the Bronx, NJSP officer Lewis J. Bornman finds the gap in BRH's attic floor that had once been filled by Rail 16 of the kidnap ladder.
September 27, 1934:
Police tear down Hauptmann's garage and collect the wood for Arthur Koehler, the federal wood expert, to analyze.
October 8, 1934:
Hauptmann indicted for murder by the Hunterdon County Grand Jury.
October 9, 1934:
Arthur Koehler matches Rail 16 of the kidnap ladder to the floor board gap in Hauptmann's attic floor.
October 10, 1934:
The FBI officially ends its investigation of the Lindbergh kidnapping.
October 16, 1934:
Hauptmann is taken to Flemington, New Jersey and placed into the Hunterdon County jail where he will await his trial.
November 2, 1934:
The flamboyant Brooklyn defense attorney, Edward J. Reilly, replaces James Fawcett as Hauptmann's lead attorney. Reilly is being paid by the New York Journal in return for Mrs. Hauptmann's exclusive story.
January 2, 1935:
The Hauptmann murder trail begins in the Hunterdon County Court House in Flemington, New Jersey. David T. Wilentz is the lead prosecutor and Thomas W. Trenchard is the presiding judge. Edward Reilly, Hauptmann's defense lawyer, is assisted by C. Lloyd Fisher, Frederick A. Pope, and Egbert Rosecrans.
January 9, 1935:
John F. Condon begins his two days of dramatic testimony where he identifies BRH as "Cemetery John."
January 11, 1935:
The state puts on its handwriting case comprised of eight document examiners whose testimony takes four days and 500 pages of trial transcript.
January 23, 1935:
Arthur Koehler takes the stand and impresses the jury with his wood testimony that connects the kidnap ladder to Hauptmann's attic and his carpenter tools.
January 24, 1935:
The prosecution rests its case. The defense puts Hauptmann on the stand who testifies for five days which includes 11 grueling hours of cross-examination.
January 31, 1935:
John Trendley, the sole defense handwriting witness, testifies that Hauptmann was not the writer of the ransom documents.
February 13, 1935:
Hauptmann is convicted of murder without the jury's recommendation of mercy which means, under New Jersey law, that BRH must be executed.
February 14, 1935:
Edward Reilly, Hauptmann's lawyer, visits him in jail and tried to get him to confess in exchange for a life sentence. Hauptmann refuses.
June 20, 1935:
Hauptmann's case goes to the New Jersey Court of Errors and Appeals. Fourteen judges will consider 193 points of appeal.
October 15, 1935:
Hauptmann is granted a stay of execution while the U.S. Supreme Court considers his appeal.
October 16, 1935:
New Jersey Governor Harold Hoffman visits Hauptmann in jail. Hoffman is impressed by Hauptmann's claim of innocence.
December 6, 1935:
Governor Hoffman shocks the nation by announcing publicly that he does not think the Lindbergh case has been completely solved.
December 9, 1935:
The U.S. Supreme Court decides not the hear Hauptmann's appeal.
December 12, 1935:
Hauptmann writes the first of two hand-written letters to Governor Hoffman.
December 22, 1935:
Hounded by the press and the public, the Lindberghs flee America and sail to England.
January 11, 1936:
The New Jersey Court of Pardons refuses Hauptmann's plea for clemency.
January 12, 1936:
Governor Hoffman grants Hauptmann a 30-day reprieve and orders the New Jersey State Police to re-open their investigation into the case.
January 14, 1936:
The U.S. District Court in Trenton, New Jersey denies Hauptmann's Habeas Corpus petition. Hauptmann appeals this decision.
January 16, 1936:
The U.S. Supreme Court denies Hauptmann's Writ of Habeas Corpus and a stay of execution.
February 13, 1936:
The famed attorney Samuel Leibowitz visits Hauptmann and tried to get him to confess and name his accomplices. Hauptmann says he is innocent. Four days later the attorney tried again. He fails.
February 29, 1936:
Disbarred attorney Paul H. Wendel, after being kidnapped by Ellis Parker, Sr. and others is released. He repudiates the confession he gave Parker involving his being the kidnapper of the Lindbergh baby.
March 31, 1936:
Hauptmann is granted a 48-hour reprieve while Paul Wendel's role in the Lindbergh case is being investigated. The New Jersey Court of Pardons denies Hauptmann's final plea for clemency.
April 3, 1936:
Hauptmann dies in the electric chair at the New Jersey State Prison at Trenton. He is electrocuted by the famous executioner, Robert Elliott.
May 2, 1936:
Hauptmann's article, "Why Did You Kill Me" is published in Liberty Magazine.
This page was last updated on: Wednesday, January 9, 2008