Girl Friend Says Stacy Admitted Fire
Miss Clarkson Asserts Arson Suspect Told Her He Burned Haven Hall
Attractive 38-year-old, Zelda Clarkson testified in Robert H. Stacy's Haven Hall arson trial this morning that Stacy told her in August that he had set the $600,000 June 6 blaze.
Stacy the 30-year-old University teaching fellow whom she had| petitioned to have committed as insane, was "very much agitated” at the time Miss Clarkson said.
She said he told her of setting the fire during an "uninvited" visit to her art studio in Provincetown, Mass.
Miss Clarkson, told the circuit court jury that Stacy had said, "I did it to relieve the tension. I set a match to a wastebasket in a map room. I walked out of the building and across the street and watched it (the fire)."
'Watched Every Move'
Miss Clarkson, a registered nurse who was enrolled at the University from 1946 to 1948, told the court that Stacy "watched my every move" after she had told him it was better that they discontinue their friendship.
She told of "constant” letters and telephone calls from Stacy and declared that she had seen him after the break-up "because I felt so guilty about the way he was disturbing all my friend. I repeatedly told him I could not marry him. I always felt he was ill.”
Stacy told her about the Haven Hall fire after she had admitted to him that she "enjoyed the company" of Bernard Farrell, who, with another man, shared the Provincetown studio.
"He was so upset, I was frankly frightened," she said. "I notified the Provincetown police the day after told me about the fire I don't know why they didn't notify authorities in Ann Arbor.”
Admitted Over Objection
Circuit Judge James R. Breakey, jr., admitted Miss Clarkson's testimony relative to Stacy's confession after overruling an objection by defense attorney Leonard H. Young.
Young maintained that such testimony was not admissable until the fact that a crime had been committed was established.
Judge Breakey ruled, however, that it is not necessary to prove the commission of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt before the admission testimony can be accepted.
Shortly before noon today Ann Arbor police detective Walter Krasny testified that Stacy had admitted setting the fire about 5:30 a.m. Oct. 11 after being questioned all night.
Krasny told the jury that "Stacy said he was worried about his position at the University and what was going to happen to him."
Saw Man At Fire
Yesterday afternoon, Dorothy Strauss of Boston, Mass., a former graduate assistant at the University who discovered the Haven Hall fire, testified that Stacy "resembles" the man she saw walking slowly away from the fire scene after she screamed, "My God! There really is a fire!"
Miss Strauss told the jury that the man was about 25 feet away from her in the second corridor and that he continued to walk away.
"I saw his back and a very slight side view of his face," she said. "I saw no one else in the corridor. The defendant resembles that individual."
Harold E. Gauss, assistant Ann Arbor fire chief, testified that he saw Stacy at the Haven Hall blaze, the Alumni Memorial Hall fire earlier that afternoon, and a minor fire in Haven Hall July, 6, 1949.
University of Michigan - Faculty & Staff
University of Michigan - Buildings
Crime & Criminals
Courts - Washtenaw County
Ann Arbor Police Department
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Ann Arbor News
Zelda Mae Clarkson
Walter E. Krasny
Robert H. Stacy
Leonard Henry Young
James R. Breakey Jr.
Harold E. Gauss