Italian anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were arrested
near Boston in 1920 and charged with the murder of a shoe factory
paymaster and the guard of the factory. Frederick Parmenter and the
guard were carrying $16,000 in payroll money for the South Braintree
shoe factory on April 15, 1920. They were attacked, robbed, and shot.
The two killers escaped in a getaway car. A similar crime was
committed in the nearby town of Bridgewater four months earlier.
Bridgewater police chief arrested Sacco and Vanzetti, who were two
poor Italian immigrants, and anarchists. Vanzetti was indicted for the
Bridgewater robbery attempt. Frederick Katzmann, the district attorney
who had interrogated the two men, prosecuted him. Vanzetti wouldn't
testify at his trial. The prosecution's case was based on eyewitness
testimony. The descriptions of the witnesses were a rough match of
Vanzetti. Despite an alibi backed up by several witnesses that he was
selling eels during the Christmas Eve robbery attempt, the jury found
Vanzetti guilty of attempted robbery and attempted murder on July 1,
1920. Judge Webster Thayer gave him 12 to 15 years in prison.
Both men were then indicted for the South Braintree murders. Judge
Thayer requested and received the case. Famous labor lawyer Fred Moore
came to Dedham to defend Sacco & Vanzetti. Moore removed every
businessman and Italian from the jury. The prosecution relied heavily
upon the political beliefs of the two men. In closings, the
prosecution emphasized that the men were armed during their arrest and
lied during questioning, but never accounted for the ...
... middle of paper ...
...mpt to overcome his shyness around girls. This had the
opposite effect. Loeb, like Leopold, was a precocious but emotionally
unstable youth. The victim, Bobby Franks, was more or less chosen at
random. Their idea was to kidnap the child of a wealthy family and
demand a ransom. The money was to be thrown off a moving train at a
designated point. The boys reluctantly concluded that the only way to
avoid detection was to kill their victim, so he could provide no clues
to the authorities.
Darrow's closing statement spanned three days. Darrow's speech made a
tremendous public impression. Judge Caverly took two weeks to prepare
his decision. He was finally ready on September 10, 1924. In front of
a packed courtroom he announced that he had decided against execution
and sentenced the defendants instead to life imprisonment.
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- On August 23, 1927, Nicola Sacco and Barolomeo Vanzetti were executed in one of the most controversial legal cases in American history. Two men were shot and robbed in Braintree, MA, and two poor Italian immigrants were arrested for the crime. Although neither Sacco nor Vanzetti had criminal records, they both had pistols on them at the time, and followed a violent anarchist leader. Following their arrest, the seven-year case on the crime would drive national and international protests demanding their exoneration.... [tags: controversial legal cases in American history]
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