Today in History: Bruno Richard Hauptmann Found Guilty of Kidnap-Slaying
On this day, February 13, in the year 1935, a historic trial took place in Flemington, New Jersey. Bruno Richard Hauptmann, a German immigrant, was found guilty of first-degree murder in the kidnap-slaying of Charles A. Lindbergh Jr., the 20-month-old son of famous aviator Charles Lindbergh and his wife Anne. This shocking crime had captured the nation’s attention, and the trial was closely followed by the media and the public.
The Lindbergh baby kidnapping had occurred on March 1, 1932, when the toddler was taken from his nursery in the Lindbergh family home in Hopewell, New Jersey. The crime had baffled investigators for years until Hauptmann, a carpenter, was arrested in September 1934 after passing ransom money that matched the serial numbers of the bills used in the kidnapping. The trial lasted for over a month, and the jury deliberated for less than 12 hours before delivering the guilty verdict.
Hauptmann’s conviction was a turning point in the history of criminal investigations. It was the first case in which forensic evidence, such as the matching of ransom money, played a crucial role in securing a conviction. Hauptmann was sentenced to death and was executed in the electric chair on April 3, 1936.
In addition to this significant event, other notable occurrences have taken place on February 13 throughout history. For instance, in 1633, Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei arrived in Rome for trial before the Inquisition. He was accused of defending the Copernican theory that the Earth revolved around the sun, which was considered heresy at the time.
Furthermore, in 1972, the iconic film “Cabaret” was released. Directed by Bob Fosse and starring Liza Minnelli and Michael York, the movie was based on the musical of the same name by John Kander and Fred Ebb. The film went on to win numerous awards and is still celebrated as a masterpiece of American cinema.
These historical events remind us of the significant moments that have shaped our world. They serve as a reminder of the progress we have made and the challenges we have overcome. As we reflect on the past, let us also look forward to the future, hopeful for more positive and transformative moments to come.