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The first day of the hearing opened with the Prosecution reciting what they intended to prove, followed by the defense's opening made by Clarence Darrow, in which he appealed for his clients' life, citing their age and their mental irresponsibility.
"We shall insist in this case, Your Honor, that terrible as this is, that terrible as any killing is, it would be without precedent if two boys of this age should be hanged by the neck until dead, amd it would in no way bring back Robert Franks or add to the peace and security of the community. I insist that it would be without precedent, as we learned , if on a plea of guilty this should be done."
When Darrow had finished his opening, Crowe called the first witness.
"Mr Baliff, will you call Jacob Franks."
"Mr Bachrach?" said the Judge.
"No, I don't care to make an opening statement at this time," said Benjamin Bachrach.
"While we are waiting, Mr Greshan is here. Take the stand, Mr Greshan," said Crowe.
Edwin Greshan then became the state's first witness. He was Bobby Franks' uncle. Greshan testified how, on May 22, at about 2:30 PM, under the direction of the Franks Attorney, Mr Ettelson, he accompanied two reporters to the undertaker's in Hegewisch.
He described what he saw. "The body had absolutely no clothing on. It was laying
on it's back. It had on the glasses. I removed the glasses to make sure that the
body was the boy's. I noticed further-
As Mr Greshan testified, Leopold watched pensively. Loeb glanced around the courtroom.
"That is, Robert Franks, your nephew, the son of Jacob-
The defense did not cross examine. Then Jacob Franks took the stand.
Jacob Franks testified as to the last time he saw Robert alive, at 8AM the morning of May 21. The next time he saw Robert was at 4PM May 22, at the morgue. The questioning for the prosecution was done by Mr Savage.
"Describe, Mr Franks, the circumstances under which you saw your boy the next day, the 22nd?"
"He was dead, lying at the morgue out in-
"And you recognized your son, Robert Franks, on May 22nd, in the morgue of an undertaking establishment on the south side, is that right?"
"And the boy that you recognized, the deceased in this case, Robert Franks, your son, was the same boy that you had seen the prior morning at eight o' clock, on May 21st, alive, is that right?"
"Will you describe, Mr. Franks, Robert Franks as to size and age and so forth?"
"He was born on the 19th of September, 1909."
Darrow asked Mr Franks to repeat himself.
"19th of September, Jacob Franks repeated, " 1909. He was small for his age, somewhat slight. I don't know his measurements. I hardly think he measured five feet, and possibly weighed eighty pounds."
"Small in stature for his age?"
"And the boy that you saw in the morgue on the 22nd, Mr. Franks, and recognized as your son, was dead when you saw him there, is that correct?"
"On the 21st, Mr Franks, do you remember how your son was dressed that morning, when you last saw him, as to the suit, shoes, stockings and so forth?"
Darrow objected. "I object on the ground that there is no dispute about it," he said.
The articles of clothing were entered into evidence. People's Exhibit 1 became
the boy's shoes. People's Exhibit 2 was the stocking found near the culvert. Savage
asked Franks to identify the items as belonging to his son, which he did. People's
"Mr Franks, when was the first time that you missed your son, Robert?"
"About six o' clock in the evening of May 21st."
"Just go on in your own way, Mr. Franks, and tell what happened after you had missed your son at six o' clock May 21st, 1924?"
"What did you do, if anything?" asked Savage.
"Yes, I object," repeated Darrow.
"Leaving out the conversations, Mr. Frank, just tell what you did after your son was missing, if anything."
"As to that I object."
"Oh yes. It makes no difference what he did," ruled Caverly.
Savage tried again. "Did you receive a telephone conversation after you had missed your son that evening, Mr Franks?"
"Excuse me," said Darrow. "Just a minute."
"Did you receive a telephone conversation after you had missed your son that evening?"
"Pertaining to your son?"
"Did you receive a letter the following morning?"
"I will ask you to look at People's Exhibit 4, 4-
"Yes sir, that is the letter."
"Is that the envelope, Mr Franks?"
"For the purpose of the record your honor, I desire to read the envelope and letter into the record. Envelope postmarked Chicago, May 21st, 1 A.M. 1924, Illinois. Bearing six two cent postage stamps , addressed in print "Mr Jacob Franks, 5042 Ellis Avenue, City." "Special." and underneath "special", a line drawn or underscored. Stamp mark, "Fee claimed at Chicago, Illinois." The letter was read.
"Is that offered?" asked the Court.
"Yes, your Honor."
"How long do you expect to have Mr Franks on the Stand?"
"He might come back at 2 'o clock," said State's Attorney Crowe.
"We would like to ask him one more question," said Crowe.
Savage asked the question. "Mr Franks, just going back.The first time you told about seeing your boy, that is on May 21st, alive that was about eight o'clock in the morning on May 21st?"
"That was in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois."
"And that was the last time you saw him alive?"
"The last time I saw him alive."
"Now, the next time when you saw him dead on May 22nd, in the morgue of this undertaking establishment, that was in the afternoon?"
"He said May 22nd, about 4 PM," added Judge Caverly.
"That was in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois?"
Court suspended and reconvened at 2 o'clock P.M
At 2 PM, court awaited the return of Jacob Franks, and in the interim, the prosecution called another witness. They called Dr Springer. Direct examination was handled by Mr Sbarbaro.
Dr Joseph Springer was a Physician and surgeon, the Coroner's physician for Cook County. He performed an autopsy on the body of Robert Franks with the assistance of Dr Benson.
"Who identified the body of Robert Franks?" asked Sbarbaro.
" The body was identified to me by the Undertaker, who stated there was a relative called in the afternoon and he identified the body as that of Robert Franks. The undertaker's name is Stanly Olejniczak."
"Who was the relative, Greshan?"
"What was your finding, Doctor?"
"On inspection I found a boy, fairly well nourished, about five feet tall, weighing
one hundred pounds, estimated. On inspection I found the face, involving the forehead
and cheek and nose and the mouth, the inner side of the lips and the mucous membrane
of the mouth showed evidence that some irritant had been placed on the face. I found
two inches above, on the right side of the head in the region of the hair, a small,
sharp wound, the upper surface was flattened; on the left side in the same region
I found another wound about a half an inch running longitudinally, the first wound
I found on the left side in the back of the head a bruise and a swelling, and on the right side in the back of the head I found another bruise and a swelling. The swelling and bruise were caused by external violence. On opening the scalp I found there was a large amount of bloodin the tissues underneath. On opening the forehead part of the scalp I found that the cuts were of a sharp edge and were down to the periosteum, or the bone."
"What caused the two cuts in the forehead?"
"Some blunt instrument?"
"And what, if you know, caused the two in the back of the head?"
"A blunt instrument."
"What else did you find, doctor?"
"I found on the shoulders small scratches like, extending down the right shoulder, down the back and as far down as the buttocks. I found a few superficial scratches on the forehead."
"Will you describe the face, doctor?"
The face was of a darkish hue, copper colored, which had extended all the way
down along the face, as I described a minute ago, down into the mouth, and the tongue
"What did you find the cause of that to be?"
"That was done by the acid, which I later learned was diluted hydrochloric acid."
"Did you examine the contents of the stomach?"
"Yes sir. On opening the body I found a dark discoloration extending down the windpipe, down into the right lung, and as far down as the diaphram."
"What would cause that, Doctor?"
"The absorption of fumes and suffocation. I found small hemorrhagic petite or spots of a minute character in the lung; the heart was negative; the stomach was diluted; it contained some undigested particles of food and liquid; the kidneys were congested, the liver was congested; the other organs showed no gross pathology outside of the chain of congestion. The mouth was swollen, the tongue part, and the pauces around it was swollen and congested. I removed the organs for analysis. The analysis of the lungs showed these small hemorrhagic conditions, and the bronchi was congested and inflamed; the other organs showed that there had been some obstruction in the circulation."
"In your opinion, Doctor, and from your examination of the undigested food, how long would you say that that food was in the stomach?"
"Well, I would say-
"How long would you say it was since the-
"I should say four to five hours."
"How long would you say it was since the deceased had last eaten?"
"I should say that the boy had his dinner and about five hours after the digestion
"Do you mean lunch, Doctor, or dinner?"
"What else did you find about the body?"
"In regard to what?"
"Well, anything. There was a line of demarkation surrounding the mouth, wasn't there, showing that the color of the skin surrounding the mouth was different than the color of the skin otherwise?"
"The color of the skin was as I described it, running along the mouth down as far as the left elbow, and on the left side coming up again to within about an inch of the forehead, back of that was white, this had a copper color consistency."
"What else did you find about the body that was unusual?"
"I examined the hands and there was no puckering up to show that there was any evidence of drowning. The soles of the feat showed nothing which usually we find in cases of drowning. The lungs showed me evidence of suffocation."
"From your examination, Doctor, have you any opinion as to what was the cause of death?"
"Yes sir, he came to his death from an injury to the head, associated with suffocation."
"You may cross examine."
Cross was done by Benjamin Bachrach.
"Doctor Springer, did you make a written report of your autopsy to the Coroner?"
"You signed it?"
"Have you that report here, gentlemen?"
"Have you got a copy of it, Doctor?" asked Crowe.
The report was produced by the Doctor and handed to Bachrach, who asked the State's Attorney that they be admitted as evidence, which they were. For the sake of the record, the Doctor was advised to read the report aloud.
"On the 22nd day of May I made a post mortem of the body of Robert Franks at 13300 Houston Avenue, the body being identified by Edwin M. Greshem.
Upon general inspection the body measured five feet in length and 100 pounds in weight. There was evidence of exposure to sand and water and the body was nude.
Upon examination I found two cuts on the forehead inside the hairy margin two
inches above the left and right eyebrow. The left cut was one-
("ante mortem" means before death.)
There were numerous scratches on the left side of the forehead, all of which were
There were a number of scratched on the back, over the left shoulder and over the right buttock, all of which were ante mortem.
There was one superficial sharpdge cut over the spine one inch left of the median line and just above the buttock. This was post mortem. I found no cutis anserina of the hands, and only the scrotum showed evidence of having been submerged in the water.
The genitals were intact, but the rectum was dilated and would admit easily one middle finger."
At this point in the Doctor's testimony, Richard Loeb laughed.
"There was no evidence of a recent forced dilation.On the upper left side of the tibia were two small abrasions five inches below the knee.
Upon opening the head I found the two previously described cuts on the forehead having penetrated the skin, muscles and pericesteum.
In the occipito-
Upon opening the skull I found no evidence of fracture. The brain was hypermic and large.
Upon opening the body I found the viscera presenting a peculiar slate color appearance throughout. The lungs and pleura were of the same color except for a number of hemorrhagic spots in the lungs.
The liver was discolored and congested.
In my opinion death was due to injury and suffocation."
Mr Savage now redirected. "In your opinion, Doctor, how long had the deceased been dead?"
"I figured death had occurred, at the time of my examining the body , it must have occurred about from two to five hours prior. There was no rigor mortis set in."
"That is all."
The State now called Axel F. Benson who simply testified that the body had been identified by Mr Greshan.
Jacob Franks now returned to the stand. Mr Savage conducted the questioning.
"Now after you received this letter, referring to People's exhibit number 4 for identification, Mr. Franks, on the morning of May 22nd. 1924, what did you do, if anything after that?"
"I got home from downtown about half past ten and I remained hume until got a call about three twenty, a telephone call."
"Then what did you do?"
"The call was for me to jump into a taxi that they had sent for me and to come out to an address on 63rd Street."
"You received that call?"
"Did you follow the instruction of the telephone conversation about getting into the cab?"
"No, by that time I knew my boy was dead."
"Did the cab arrive at your home?"
"Now you say you went downtown?"
"What was the purpose of your visit downtown after you received this letter, Mr Franks?"
"To procure the ten thousand dollars."
"Did you procure the ten thousand dollars?"
Mr Darrow objected. "Just a minute. That is objected to. That is not the subject matter in this case."
Crowe defended the question. "I think it is competent to show, your Honor, what
he did after retreiving-
"What difference does it make what he did? That would be competent in the ransom case, in the other indictment, but in this case I don't think it makes any difference," said the Judge.
"The motive in the murder case was t get ten thousand dollars. It is important to show, first, why they took a boy who had a father capable of getting immediately ten thousand dollars, and there is no better proof to show that fact than that this man at once got the ten thousand dollars."
"There won't be any dispute about it," said the Judge.
"I know," said Crowe, "but suppose when we argue the motive in this case later
on, in fixing the penalty-
"Well," said Darrow, "I will withdraw the objection."
"Well, counsel withdraws his objection." said the Judge. "He says to go ahead." The Judge turned to Jacob Franks. "You did procure the ten thousand dollars?"
Mr Savage continued the questioning. "In the denominations as mentioned in the letter, Mr Franks?"
"Exactly, yes sir."
"And did you prepare that ten thousand dollars as you were introduced to do-
Savage plodded on. "-
Darrow objected again. "Just a minute! I object. I think they have gone on far enough."
"Oh well, he says he had it in the denominations as required by the letter," said Judge Caverly.
"What did you do with the ten thousand dollars?" Savage continued.
"I wrapped it up as per the instructions that I received."
"And that was when you were awaiting the telephone communication which you received later?"
Savage was finished. The defense did not cross examine, and the father of the dead boy left the stand to be replaced by the mother.
Mrs Flora Franks took the stand. Mr Crowe did the questioning. Mrs Franks testified that she'd last seen Bobby alive noon of May 21st, when he'd come home for lunch.
"Now your son did not return after he left at noon that day?"
"To your home?"
"When did you next see him, or see his body?"
"The Friday following? On Wednesday evening May 21, 1924, did anybody telephone you at your home?"
"Did you receive a telephone call?"
"I received a telephone call Wednesday evening."
"About what time was it?"
"I think it was ten thirty. I am not positive about the time."
"About ten thirty in the evening?"
"Now will you state to the court what was said to you and what you said over the phone at that time?"
"Well, the phone rang and I went to the phone and they asked for Mr. Franks and I said Mr Frank was not home, but I was Mrs Franks, and I asked them what they wanted, and they said, "Your son has been kidnaped, he is all right, further news in the morning" and I said "Who is it" and they said, "Johnson". I wanted to ask something else but they rang off.
"Now will you describe the kind of a voice.Was it a voice you were familiar with?"
"Was it a masculine or a feminine voice?"
"Was there any other thing about the voice that you noted at the time?"
"Well it sounded like-
"Well how would you describe it?"
"It was more of a cultured voice than a gruff voice."
"You had no further telephone calls?"
"You are familiar with your son's clothing?"
"I will show you a pair of low shoes here and ask you who they belonged to?"
"To Robert Franks, your son?"
"And a stocking?"
"Is that his stocking, Mrs Franks?"
"Do you know whether or not he had a clasp pin or school pin?"
"I will ask you to look at that and state whether or not you have seen that before?"
"That is your son's clasp pin, is it?"
"Did your son have a belt on that day?"
"I will ask you to look at these two pieces of a belt and state whether or not they were his?"
"You must talk and nod your head so the reporters can get it. I will show you a belt buckle and ask you whether that was his belt buckle?"
"Yes, this was his. There is something on this here though, that wasn't his, something that is written here."
"Well, those are marks that we have made for the purpose of identifying them."
"That is a part of the belt buckle of your Robert's belt?
the defense did not cross examine.
Next came a myriad of short lived witnesses.
J.P Cravens, a room clerk at the Morrison hotel, testified to renting room 1031 to a Morton D Ballard at 4:24 on May 7th, 1924. He testified that Mr "Ballard" had one suitcase. Mr "Ballard" made a phone call to L 8096, and to State 3800. He testified that Mr Ballard skipped out without paying his bill of $8.20, leaving behind a rattan suitcase containing four books;
Bancroft's History of the United States,
The Economic History of Rome,
Journal of the Constitutional Convention by Madison
The Influence of Wealth on Imperial Rome.
The next witness was Thomas Tayler, questioning conducted by Crowe. Mr Tayler was the house detective at the Morrison Hotel. On May 9th, he examined the contents of Room 1031, opened the suitcase and discovered the books, and found the library card in back of Madison's Journal of the Constitutional Convention, bearing the name of Richard Loeb. The suitcase was tagged and placed in a room with other abandoned or "skipped" belongings.
The next witness was Charles E Ward. Direct was done by Crowe.
Mr Ward was cashier at the Hyde Park State Bank. He opened an account on May 7th for a "person purporting to be Morton D Ballard. He asked Mr Ballard if he knew anyone in Hylde Park. My Ballard said he did not. He gave his address as the Morrison Hotel. Mr Ward was chewing a piece of gum as he spoke.
"Will you please stop Chewing Gum?" admonished Judge Caverly.
"Yes," replied Ward. His jaw was now still.
Ward suggested the bookkeeper put a note on Mr Ballard's account file. "Be careful against uncollected funds." Mr Ballard deposited $100 on May 7th, and withdrew $100 on May 22. Ward identified the man as Leopold. Leopold was asked to stand.
"Now, when you saw him in the county jail, will you state what if anything he said, or what if anything he did?"
"He said we had no right to see him, that it was against his constitutional rights to be exhibited."
"What if anything did he do with his hands and arms?" asked Crowe.
"Was this in the jail?" asked Darrow.
"He made an effort to conceal his identity."
"Indicate what he did."
"Well, he did such as this," said Ward, shielding his face with his arms.
The defense for the first time, cross examined a witness. My Bachrach did the brief cross.
"This occasion in the county jail, was that the occasion when the State's Attorney and some police officer brought Leopold out of the cell and forced him to be exhibited to you, is that correct?"
"They brought him out into an ante room."
"Now, who brought him out?" asked Crowe.
"He didn't want to go, did he? Did he resist going?"
"I think he did."
"Did he call out in a loud tone of voice that neither the police or the State's Attorney had any right to force him to be exhibited to anybody?"
"He said they had no right."
"Did he talk in a loud tone of voice and resist?"
Now Crowe redirected.
"Where was the State's Attorney when you saw him? When you sa Leopold who was he with?"
"The State's Attorney?"
"Mr Cronson was with the State's Attorney."
"And who else? The point I am getting at is, did the State's Attorney and some police officer bring this man down to you, or did you and the State's Attorney walk up to where this man was?"
"We were brought up to where the man was."
"The State's Attorney and you and the police officers walked up to where he was in jail?"
"Did the State's Attorney or the police drag him or put their hands on him at all in your presence?"
"Just a moment," said Darrow, "this is somewhat collateral, your Honor."
"No, I don't recollect that," said the witness.
"I think I will object to that," said Darrow.
"All right," said the Court.
"Mr Bachrach brought it out. That is all."
The witness was excused.
The next witness was another teller at the Hyde Park State Bank, Arthur Doherty. He testified that he cashed the check dated May 22, 1924, made out to "cash" from the account of Morton D Ballard. The person who cashed the check was Richard A Loeb. Now it was Loeb's turn to stand and be identified by a witness.
|July 23 (cont)|
|July 25 (cont)|
|Aug 1 (cont)|
|Aug 4 (cont)|
|Aug 4 (3)|
|Defense Closing Arguments|