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Crime Of A Century

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On the night of May 1 last Louisa Luetgert disappeartd. At 8 o'clock Mary Siemmering, the servant girl, retired for the night, leaving Mrs. Luetgert still about the house. A little later the boy Loui.s returned from a circus whieh had been exhibiting in the neighborhood and feund his mother sitting in a chair. It was then about 10 o'clock ' and he was sent to bed, having seen the last of his mother, perhaps forever. Mr. Luetgert came into the house a little befare the boy went to bed', and the latter left husband and wife tagether. At this point the story diverges and the most serious trouble of A. L. Luetgert'a life begina. At what hour Mrg. Luetgert left the house no one, save possibly her husband, knows. The following day - Sunday - members of the family knew that its mistress was gone. On the 17th day of May the climax came. The sausage maker, who had been almost a king among his neighbors, was dragged up the steps of the East Chicago avenue pólice station at abcut 2 o'clock in the afternoon. Luetgert's preliminary examination began before Ju?tice Kersten on May 22. Bickene;;-. Mrs. Luetgert's t.other, told of tiUiisert's indifference, old Frank Biaik told how Luetgert had spent the iught on which his wifï disappeared cooking something ;n the triidle vat, and the pólice disclosed the rings. Mrs. Agatha Tosch, Luetgert's warm friend and proprietor of the saloon which he patronized most, declared to the pólice Rhe believed him guilty of wife murder, and unexpectedly went on the stand and told how Luetgert had railed about his wife to her, and liad eaid he wished she were dead. The only person from whom the pollce could not extract a word was Luetgert himself. Sweatbox, persuasión, threats and coaxing had no effect on hlm. One Weelc to Get a Jury. The trial was begun eight weeks ago, on Aug. 23. One hundred and forty veniremen had to be summoned, and one week consumed before twelve jurymen were secured. On Monday, Aug. 30, Diedrich Bicknese, the flrst witness fcr the prosecution, was put on the stand. Louis Luetgert, the 12-year-old son of the, was one of the state's earliest witnesses. He recited the occurrences of the night of May 1, and told a powerful story for the prosecution, on cross-examination there was a surprise for the state. The boy announced that at 2 o'clock in the morning of May 2, when, according to the state, Mrs. Luetger's body was being destroyed in the vat, he heard a "rustling" in the house, and a voice which he believed was his mother's. Toung Luetgert acknowledged he had suddenly recollected this in the office of Luetgert's attorneys, and the state flatly charged that Luetgert's attorneys had manufactured the eviaence. Luetsrert's "threats, his statement that he would like to crush his wife, and that he regreted calling a doctor for her when she was ill, that the "dead. rotten beat would have croaked," were re counted by Mrs. Agatha Tofch. Frank Bialk told of Liietarert's unexplained actions the night his wife vanished. and then the state disclcsed how the potash came in the vat. Frank Odoroffky and Jaoob Lavanflowsky, two laborer? about the factory, told startllir.p stories of breakinsr rotash Into small pieces. burning their hands and faces, and puttire; it in the vat under Luetgert's orders. They described the stioky. slimy stuff m the basement floor the morning after fhe a'leged murder, when Luetfrert had partly flushed the vat by means of a hope. Had Bitter QnarrelH. Neighbors and relatives of the Luetgerts testined to the bitter quarrels between them, and Luetgert's employés related how Mary Siemmering, his servant, had visited him at the factory at unseemly hours. It was known that ■when. Luetgert sent old Frank Bialk to a distant drug store for Hunyadi water while he was busy at the vat, there were fifty bottles of Hunyadi water in the factory. Emma and Gottliebe Schimpke, two girls living across the street from the Luetgerts, went on the stand and told of seeing Luetgert and his wife going In the direction of the factory at 10 o'clock on the night of May 1. Luetgert's attorneys succeeüed in frightening them on cross-examination. There was a second sensatron when Nicholas Faber testified that on the night of May 1 he had gone to Luetgert's house to apply for work at the factory, Ernd that he also had seen Luetgert and his wife going down the alley toward the factory door. The gold rings, wlth Mrs. Luetgert's initials, were regarded as the strongest evidence the state produoed. Numer1 ous witnesses. some of whom had worn 1 the rings, positively identifled them aa : Mrs. Luetgert's. and but one witness i was ever produced who doubted their authenticity. The state began by showing the feeiing of Luetgert toward his wife. Then 1 the prosecution traced her from the 1 house on the night of May 1 almost to the door of the factory with her hus■ band. It was shown that the basement I door was barred, and that Bialk. the 1 only person in the factory that night, tad been sent away at about the time j it was charged the murder occurred. Honrs Identifled as HnniaTi, Odorofsky and Lavandowsky clisclosed ' Luetgert had caused the furnace to be 1 raked out the following day, and it was where these ashes were dumped that parts of the fragments of alU'fcd human bone were discovered. A sesamoid bone and a metacarpal, badly mutilated by the fluid, and found In the middle vat by the pólice, wera positively Identified a3 human by Dr. Dorsey, a curator at the Fielfl Columfcian museum; Dr. George V. Bailey, Working osteolcgiEt at the museum, and Dr. Ilowes, an articulator. Another fragment of bone from the heap where the furrcace rakings were áumped was identified as part of a human skull. A badly mutüated bone from the engine room was identifled positiveJy by Dr. Dorsey as part of a human thigh bone, and from the size of these i fragments the experts expressed the belief they vvere from the same individual, and that individual probably a woman. Luetgert's attorney3 caused two enïlre human bodies to be cooked in the {niddle vat and parts of Feveral others. to see whethe" crude potash wnuld deetroy them as the state elaimed. Corsetmakerr. idertified the steels found in the fumare rakingr as corset !?tef'?. ard from the bony fragments th expert? idemified the head rf a human rib. a =eoon,1 pjpce if thigh bone, and a fragment of a human toe. Afi to the lïones. Ti'hcn the defense was begun a flght was made over the dentity of thebones. Dr. Walter H. Allport declared the alleged human thigh was a part of a hog's skeleton, and that the other bones were not human. Neither Dr. Allpurt nor the experts for the defense, who were chiefly veterinarians, were able to assign the bones to any animal with the exception of the thigh. William Charles, JUuetgert's closest friend, posltively stated he had helped Luetgert dump four barrels of tallow and bones in the vat on the night of May 1 to make soap with, and other witnesses conflrmed the claim of the defense that Luetgert was making soap on the night of May 1. Since Luetgert's arrest the claim has been made that Mrs. Luetgert has appeared in at lea-t 100 different citles, from Nebraska to New York city. Some of these were investigated, and in every case but one the defense's assertion was exploded. That was the defense's claim that Mrs. Luetgert was seen at Kenosha, and in the opinión of the state it was never shown Mrs. Luetgert was there. As many witnesses, and more reputable ones. saw the strange woman there and were sure she was not Mrt. Luetgert. In all, over 200 witnesses testified during the eight weeks of the trial. The total cost is estimated at $18,000.


Ann Arbor Argus
Old News