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bob mills for richard and forum
why jafsie identified hauptmann
Thu Jul 26, 2018 10:35

Wilentz might well have pressured Jafsie Condon as you suggest, Richard. But for me, the difference between Jafsie's failure to ID Hauptmann at the lineup, and his emphatic ID in court, is one simple fact: Hauptmann was being tried as a lone kidnapper, which mean the "gang" angle wasn't offered to the jury.

Let's go back to September, 1934. Hauptmann is arrested, and $14,000. of ransom money is found in his garage. His explanation ("I was holding it for Fisch") was dismissed out of hand. But when Jafsie was asked to confirm that Hauptmann was Cemetery John, he demurred, telling BI Agent Leon Turrou, "My life won't be worth five cents (if I say Hauptmann was Cemetery John)."

What could he have meant, except "Look, this was a mob operation. I don't know if this guy was the man I met at the cemetery or not, but if I say he was, and he then blows the whistle on the rest of the gang, I'm a dead man. I've been around for a few years, and I know how the mob operates. Dead people tell no tales."

Once Jafsie realized Hauptmann was on a trial as a lone kidnapper, this fear dissipated. He then could make Wilentz happy, and confirm Lindy's testimony. The jury bought it, apparently never considering that if Hauptmann had been Cemetery John, he never would have wandered around the Bronx for 2-1/2 years in plain sight of the cops, making no effort to disguise himself even though he had been Public Enemy Number One since March, 1932.

  • COndon's and Lindy's identification of BrunoRichard Sloan, Wed Jul 25 10:18
    I believe Hauptmann was at least in on the kidnapping, even if he wasn't he actual kidnapper. But you know darn well that a lot of stunts were pulled by the prosecution to convict him, even though I... more
    • why jafsie identified hauptmann — bob mills for richard and forum, Thu Jul 26 10:35
      • #1Jack, Thu Jul 26 14:21
        But in spite of being PE#1 for years the police never picked him up or showed any interest in him. He wound up goofing himself up. Condon's I.D. was so general that it fit about anybody. Shouldn't... more
        • what cemetery john fearedbob mills for jack, Fri Jul 27 12:45
          "Condon's ID was so general that it fit about anybody." I don't necessarily agree with that. But it doesn't matter. What matters is that whoever Cemetery John was, he had to have ASSUMED Jafsie... more
      • identifying Bruno, for Bob and forumRichard Sloan, Thu Jul 26 11:52
        I tend to agree with you, Bob that Condon feared reprisal if he identified Hauptmann. However he HAD identify other men, who later turned out to have strong alibis. It prompts me to wonder a.) why... more
        • jafsie and the lineupbob mills for richard and forum, Fri Jul 27 12:59
          I agree that Jafsie wasn't part of the gang, Richard, if only because when lecturing on the case at a nursing home in Connecticut years ago, I met an elderly woman who had attended the school where... more
          • for Steve RomeoRichard Sloan, Sat Jul 28 13:13
            Hey, Steve -- I lost your phone number! Call me ASAP!!
          • JFC IDsRichard Sloan, Fri Jul 27 18:04
            In the many mos.BEFORE Bruno was found, JFC was asked to ID a number of men as CJ. I'd have to look up the details.
      • Re: why jafsie identified hauptmannJoe for Bob Mills, Thu Jul 26 11:09
        I believe Condon was truly concerned for his safety within the prospect of having to identify CJ, as the prevalent opinion at that point that there were more participants in the crime than Hauptmann. ... more
        • what the mob knew, and didn't knowbob mills for joe and forum, Fri Jul 27 10:18
          Joe, if Hauptmann had been an active member of a gang hired by Capone, then when the gang screwed up his life would have been in danger, yes. For that very reason, I would argue that he was NOT an... more
    • Re: COndon's and Lindy's identification of BrunoJoe for Richard, Wed Jul 25 12:39
      Richard, I don't know about the voice ID by Lindbergh, but I would say his senses were probably on high alert that night. I don't believe Condon had much in the way of doubts but he truly resented... more
      • more on JFC 's and CAL's ID's of BrunoRichard Sloan, Wed Jul 25 12:56
        Regardless of being on "high alert," Lindy's hearing was impaired, thanks to the noises of flying in the old planes. He didn't even think he could identify the voice. Foley asked him to try. His... more
        • Re: more on JFC 's and CAL's ID's of BrunoJoe for Richard, Thu Jul 26 11:48
          Richard, are you aware of Lindbergh having had a hearing deficiency? I know he was in the habit of wearing hearing protection when flying, and I'm not aware of him having to ask people to repeat... more
          • Lindy and JFC ID's for Bob and ForumRichard Sloan, Thu Jul 26 12:05
            In one of her books, Reeve Lindbergh confirms that her dad had hearing loss due to the planes. Yes, Bruno had gained weight and had aged, but two years shouldnt have made THAT much of a difference.... more
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