Tuesday, November 20, 2012

1912 - the end of 'gang rule' in New York city

The San Francisco Call
November 20 1912


"Gyp the Blood," Lefty Louie," "Dago Frank" and Whitey" Lewis Guilty of Murder
Jury Returns with Verdict after but Twenty Minutes of Deliberation

Chronology of Events in the Rosenthal Case:
July 16 --Herman Rosenthal was shot and Killed
July 29--Lieutenant Charles Beeker indicted for murder and arrested
October 5 - "Big Jack" Zelig, and important witness, murdered.
October 7 - Trial begins.
October 21 - Testimony all in.
October 23 -Summing up of both sides.
October 25 - Justice Goff gave the case to the jury. The jury retired at 4:03 to deliberate for a verdict.
October 25 - After eight hours a verdict of guilty of murder in the first degree was returned against Becker.
November 19 - "Lefty Louie," "Gyp the Blood," "Whitey" Lewis and "Dago Frank" Cirofiel are found guilty of murder in the first degree.

New York, Nov 19--"Gyp the Blood," "Lefty Louie," "Dago Frank" and "Whitey" Lewis killed Herman Rosenthal, the gambler, at the instigation of Charles Becker, and like him, must pay the penalty of death in the electric chair.  The jury which has been hearing the evidence against the four gunmen so decided today when it returned against them a verdict of murder in the first degree after but twenty minutes of deliberation.

The gunmen heard the verdict without show of emotion.  They stood at the bar, looking straight ahead as the foreman of the jury rose to make known the results of its deliberations and they continued to stare stolidly in front of the bar until the formalities of the proceedings were concluded.

Appeal to be Made
Former Magistrate Charles G.F. Wahle, counsel for the gunmen, announced that he would appeal from the verdict and, as in the case of Becker, months may elapse before their ultimate fate is determined.  When the prisoners were remanded to their cells in the Tombs, they turned and filed out of the courtroom with as firm a step as when they first entered. 

"Whitey" Lewis--he who was the most dramatic of the four when he testified on the witnes stand--alone walked with head bowed.

Outside, "Lefty's" doll faced wife wept on the shoulder of her husband's father, who vainly tried to comfort her.  "Gyp's" wife, known as "Gyps's Lillian," received the news in the house of detention.  The two other gunmen are unmarried.

Charge Takes Three Hours
The final day of the trial opened with Justice Goff's charge to the jury, which occupied three hours.  The charge emphasized many points in the testimony of the gunmen which the prosecution, in its summing up, had declared to be discrepancies, fatal to the credibility of their stories.

"If the defendants' contention that Rose and his companions, Webber, Vallon and Schepps, shot Rosenthal, would he have invited them around to the Metropole hotel to the scene of the shooting?" Judge Goff asked the jury.

"Did the defendants tell the truth when they said that they saw Rosenthal shot and were near enough to distinguish the faces of those who did the shooting, but did not see Rosenthal fall?" he asked.

"Verdict Just," Says Whitman
"The verdict was just, and will meet the approval of all right thinking citizens," said District Attorney Shitman tonight.  "It means the beginning of the end of 'gang rule' in New York city.

"Webber, Rose, and Vallon will be released as soon as their attorney makes an application for such release. They will not run away--that I am sure of.  As for Schepps, he was only held as a vagrant, and he certainly has served his term. I shall not oppose his discharge.  The jury that decided the case of the 'gunmen' did not seem to regard Shapiro as an accomplice, and I shall move tomorrow for his discharge.

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