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Retrial Case Delayed In Torch-Slaying

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Retrial Case Delayed In Torch-Slaying

Defense Given Until March 4 To Obtain Additional Information

At the request of his lawyer, arguments over a retrial for convicted torch-murderer Frank Oliver were adjourned until March 4 in circuit court this morning.

Oliver, dressed in a loose-fitting gray herringbone suit, sat silent throughout the brief hearing.

His attorney, Walter M. Nelson of Detroit, asked for the postponement on the grounds that he has had insufficient time to introduce "additional relevant facts" in the form of an affidavit.

Information Not Disclosed

Nelson did not disclose the nature of the new facts.

He said he had received a letter from Oliver on Thursday containing the additional information, but had been unable to confer with the 37-year-old lifer except briefly this morning before the hearing.

Nelson said he was not trying to delay the procedure because his client “obviously had nothing to gain by delay.”

Oliver is asking the new trial on grounds he was the victim of “quick justice” in his conviction following the 1931 torch murders of four Ypsilanti teen-agers.

Oliver was arrested, pleaded guilty and was sentenced in one day, 48 hours after the bodies of two Ypsilanti couples were found in a burned car on a lonely Ypsilanti township road.

Four Life Sentences

Two other men, Fred Smith and David Blackstone, were arrested the same day and received identical sentences of four consecutive life terms—one for each of the killings. They are still in prison, and have made no attempt to gain a new trial.

Oliver, white-faced and grim, was returned to the County Jail under the escort of three sheriff's deputies this morning—in sharp contrast to the August, 1931, day when the trio of convicted murderers was rushed from the Courthouse through angry crowds under the protection of National Guard units.

The lifer, who was brought here from Marquette Prison for today’s hearing, is to be taken later to Southern Michigan Prison at Jackson.