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Carrie Brown/Ameer Ben Ali Discussion Thread Including The Trial & Aftermath

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  • Great posts, gents !

    By the way, I made a mistake on the pardon dates. It should have read 1893 and 1897.
    I also stated that Damon was respected in the printing business and held patents...and of course, was buddies with the Governor.
    What I forgot to add was that when you look up articles about Damon in the local Cranford ( and NY Herald), you find:
    * an article about him buying a previously believed dead cow.
    * his involvement ( third man in !) on a fight on a ferry
    * his brief role as Two Gun Damon...when he shot at two suspected burglars
    * his role in extinguishing a fire in Cranford just before the murder. You've gotta wonder if the Farmhand was there tossing buckets as well.
    * his over the top whining about a $1.98 vase in the NY Herald
    * his stint in court when he sued a man for 10 bucks ( he lost).....he also was asked questions about the affidavit. He clammed up. This was 3 months after he presented it to the authorities.
    *his affidavit and story recounted in June 1901. He also was called 'Publicity's Pet', a short sarcastic paragraph about how his voice was heard all across the land.

    ************************************************** **********************

    The Defence appeared confident that Ali would be acquitted (which seems more than a little naive to say the least if it was partially based on them believing that any information they got from Ali would turn out to be true and useful) so I was going to speculate - was it a combination of, the Press not being too keen on rocking the boat with the Police and the Defence believing that they wouldn’t need their evidence anyway leading to them not being called?
    -Mike Banks-

    Great question, Mike. None of the reporters said a word during the ten year Gap ( 1891-1901) concerning any offers to assist the defense.

    I also felt, at one time, that it was likely that the following scenario might have been played out, which is in line with your idea:
    I don't know how it is in Canada, England, or Denmark during the Gilded Age....but in NYC, 'beat' reporters virtually lived in police stations ( I have a photo of some
    playing cards in Mulberry Street station...Byrnes's headquarters). They got the news of a crime the moment the police did in the station and were often, as they were
    in the Brown murder, there at the scene at the same time as the constables were. In fact, as we know, a dozen of them were there before the police were.
    I'm not sure if all of them came from Oak Street ( closer) or Mulberry Street.

    It might have been something some or all would think twice about after House blabbed in the press that reporters said they hadn't seen blood ( again, why were they in a room where a murder didn't happen ? ) where the police said it was. Losing a seat in the station house might have been counterproductive to the reporter who aligned
    himself with the defense.


    If I was on the Defence team Kelly and the Reporter's would have been in the box and Ali would have been nowhere near it.
    You're preaching to the choir, Pastor Banks. Can't agree with you enough.

    ************************************************** ***********************************************


    A clearer picture is emerging of the business man and his dealings and activities which he thought egregious enough in this context of an association with a murder suspect to warrant a "white lie" or two and the odd attempt to throw a good light on himself. Getting cigars while there were investigating at the East River Hotel and then getting up and ordering beers when someone checking out of the hotel brought a key down and left it on the bar so they could compare keys without being noticed....
    -Mark Franzoi-


    Can't agree more with you either, Mark. I think Damon overegged the pudding too much....too much and to our benefit.
    If he had...and I thought about this just today....just said he was fearful of the Dane and worried about his reputation, he might have gotten away with it with us in 2022.
    He DID get away with it in 1901 because he was part of the Old Boy Network....there's no way Voorhees or Damon read his affidavit correctly if they didn't challenge his
    assumed role as judge and juror....not asking why he didn't come forward in 1893 or 1897...asking him why he came forward in 1901 ( reference to John R. Lee was in the NY Sun, not the affidavit), and not bringing in old lady Damon for a chat. The bottom line is and was this : Damon had the key to a room where a murder was committed. His affidavit should have been challenged.

    Put yourself in the spot of having a tangible piece of evidence in a murder and not coming forward for ten years. Does anyone think that the presentation of said evidence would not be accompanied by a cross examination by an attorney for the State ? I don't think so, dude.


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    • One more for the road:

      One of the basic facts regarding the East River Hotel murder has been the underwhelming interest in it. In one way, it has been a drawback considering that those
      articles which appeared in the not-so distant past were nearly always flawed based on the writer's grasp of the facts and in one or two cases, an agenda aimed at the police.

      In another way, it has worked out well. We now have the coroner report, the trial transcript, a full repository of contemporary papers,
      and an interest in the case surpassing what the average person from 1891-1902 could possibly have.

      Tom Wescott once said in reference to the WM, that as time goes by and we get farther from the murders( Ripper), in a sense, the more we know. Same principle is in effect in this Case.


      It might be worthwhile to keep these six points in mind. They have been the basic tenets of the Narrative that been considered articles of faith in the study and history of the murder.

      1. Ali was innocent without question and had no possible connection to the murder.
      2. C. Kniclo/Glenmore Man/Danish Farmhand was without a doubt the killer
      3. The Police framed Ali either by : A- Framing him by planting blood and/or B.- 'Settling' for Ali when Brown's client could not be found
      4. Ali's conviction was without foundation or merit
      5. Ali was pardoned
      6. George Damon was a real mensch with his 11th hour revelation of the key. Statue is on order.


      I really think we here have a great opportunity to explore the Case in a way never dreamed of on a message board. JTRForums is that place.

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      • Some photos from Jacob Riis......

        This is from a bar...very similar to the East River Hotel's bar.....called a 'Black & Tan' where people from various ethnic backgrounds drank together. Circa 1890

        Can you imagine Damon going in here for drinks of questionable origin and cigars of the type these dudes can afford ?



        These two are from the Oak Street Police Station, where rank and file men( and women) hung out because there was no other place for them to go at the time. Circa 1890






        Finally, this is a photo from 301 Mulberry Street. These are reporters.

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        • Originally posted by Howard Brown View Post
          One more for the road:

          One of the basic facts regarding the East River Hotel murder has been the underwhelming interest in it. In one way, it has been a drawback considering that those
          articles which appeared in the not-so distant past were nearly always flawed based on the writer's grasp of the facts and in one or two cases, an agenda aimed at the police.

          In another way, it has worked out well. We now have the coroner report, the trial transcript, a full repository of contemporary papers,
          and an interest in the case surpassing what the average person from 1891-1902 could possibly have.

          Tom Wescott once said in reference to the WM, that as time goes by and we get farther from the murders( Ripper), in a sense, the more we know. Same principle is in effect in this Case.


          It might be worthwhile to keep these six points in mind. They have been the basic tenets of the Narrative that been considered articles of faith in the study and history of the murder.

          1. Ali was innocent without question and had no possible connection to the murder.
          2. C. Kniclo/Glenmore Man/Danish Farmhand was without a doubt the killer
          3. The Police framed Ali either by : A- Framing him by planting blood and/or B.- 'Settling' for Ali when Brown's client could not be found
          4. Ali's conviction was without foundation or merit
          5. Ali was pardoned
          6. George Damon was a real mensch with his 11th hour revelation of the key. Statue is on order.


          I really think we here have a great opportunity to explore the Case in a way never dreamed of on a message board. JTRForums is that place.
          Agreed How. I’d never given the case a second look because I thought that it was pretty much cut and dried that Ali had got simply a raw deal (a poorly educated and not too bright, barely English speaking down-and-out who happened to have been in the wrong place at the wrong time.) Instead we have a guy known to have been violent toward women, who certainly knew Brown, who appears to have been a compulsive liar and who had Brown’s blood under his fingernails. I still favour Kniclo/Glenmore Man (Farmhand too) and that Ali entered the room, probably for sex, and believing that Brown was asleep put his hands on her then realising he was covered in blood.

          One issue with Damon is that no matter how much of a #*^#* he undoubtedly was for not coming forward at the time of the trial I still can’t come up with another particularly plausible way that he could have acquired the key apart from the way that he said that he had, via the Farmhand.

          Scenario time again…..

          We know that Lee attended some kind of gathering with at least one person from the legal profession there so maybe he was acquainted with a lawyer or two? Could someone have mentioned that they were considering an appeal for Ali a”if only we could find some more evidence in his favour. Like the key to room 33.”

          I know…but can dishonesty be entirely ruled out? On the downside of course, why would Damon have agreed to have created a key if the revelation of it would make him look like ‘shit of the decade?’ Unless Damon owed Lee big time? A few straws are being clutched at here but I keep trying to come up with an alternative explanation as to how Honest George came to have that key.

          Probably via the Farmhand of course.
          Regards

          Michael🔎


          " When you eliminate the impossible whatever remains no matter how improbable......is probably a little bit boring "

          Comment


          • Hi Howard!

            Do we know for a fact that Charles Brennan was Damon’s employee from the print shop or could he be the horseman from the house in NJ?

            I found a Charles Brennan born in NY c. 1866 who was the son of a horse keeper. Father was a horse shoer/blacksmith and mother a horse keeper. Hugh and Julia were both from Ireland.

            Damon described Brennan as a driver but I think that could still be interpreted as driving horses even in 1901. Or he went to work for him as a truck driver by 1901.

            Comment


            • Agreed How. I’d never given the case a second look because I thought that it was pretty much cut and dried that Ali had got simply a raw deal (a poorly educated and not too bright, barely English speaking down-and-out who happened to have been in the wrong place at the wrong time.) Instead we have a guy known to have been violent toward women, who certainly knew Brown, who appears to have been a compulsive liar and who had Brown’s blood under his fingernails. I still favour Kniclo/Glenmore Man (Farmhand too) and that Ali entered the room, probably for sex, and believing that Brown was asleep put his hands on her then realising he was covered in blood.

              In accordo, senore....that's my current line of thinking too.

              One issue with Damon is that no matter how much of a #*^#* he undoubtedly was for not coming forward at the time of the trial I still can’t come up with another particularly plausible way that he could have acquired the key apart from the way that he said that he had, via the Farmhand.

              I lean towards that line of thinking, too. Although as a printer making a key from a generic 'blank' as that key was wouldn't have been difficult,

              We know that Lee attended some kind of gathering with at least one person from the legal profession there so maybe he was acquainted with a lawyer or two? Could someone have mentioned that they were considering an appeal for Ali if only we could find some more evidence in his favour. Like the key to room 31 ?

              Mike...the problem with that scenario is that one or two prosecution attorneys were present, not Curly. Larry, and Moe, er....House, Friend, and Levy. There's no way, as I'm sure you'll agree, that a member of the prosecution would be involved with an appeal.
              It would have worked had one of the defense attorneys or Ovide Robillard been present. Then again, Curly, a.k.a. House, is on record as stating that he felt Ali was in the right place, Matteawan - NY State Prison For The Criminally Insane, a couple of years after the trial. Ali was said to have gone insane...and remarkably, sane enough to leave that prison in a matter of time.

              How ironic it is that a prosecution lawyer was the one who told Lee...who may have even told them Damon's name.....to take that key to the D.A. in Manhattan ?

              I know…but can dishonesty be entirely ruled out? On the downside of course, why would Damon have agreed to have created a key if the revelation of it would make him look like ‘shit of the decade?’ Unless Damon owed Lee big time? A few straws are being clutched at here but I keep trying to come up with an alternative explanation as to how Honest George came to have that key.

              I'm with you, Mike. It is hard to come up with a plausible reason for Damon to fabricate a key...unless, for once, he thought it'd make him look good in the papers. You saw the list of appearances I listed...nearly all made him look like a putz.
              Prof. Dekle doesn't discount the fabricated key theory although he isn't wedded to it.
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              • Damon described Brennan as a driver but I think that could still be interpreted as driving horses even in 1901. Or be went to work for him as a truck driver by 1901.
                -Mark Franzoi-


                Mark...this is an excerpt from Damon's affidavit. In the papers, he refers to him as a 'truck-man'.


                The next day I told one of my employees, who was familiar with the
                circumstances, and asked him to walk to the scene of the murder with
                me, as I did not care to go to that locality alone.


                Damon, I think, would have said, "I brought one of my employees from home" if he worked on the farm. Damon's stable man in Cranford had a broken arm at the time and Damon mentions this in the newspapers. I feel Brennan worked at 44 Beekman Street, IMHO.
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                • The next day I told one of my employees, who was familiar with the
                  circumstances, and asked him to walk to the scene of the murder...


                  The stable man had a broken arm and the real employee and Damon walked to the scene, no train or ferry involved. I'm moving on....

                  So he divulged his story the next day to Charles Brennan, a shop employee (he must have trusted him), who was already familiar with some of "the circumstances". What circumstances?

                  Presumably he didn't know about the key and bloody clothes. What did he know? Did he only know about Frank? Can that be referred to as being familiar with the circumstances? So what if he knew Frank?

                  I think he was talking about the employee being familiar with the scene of the crime and the specifics of the crime itself.

                  Comment


                  • I think he was talking about the employee being familiar with the scene of the crime and the specifics of the crime itself.

                    Bingo, gringo. That's the way I read it too, Mark.

                    Like I mentioned before, people who you trust are often pretty loyal to you in the first place and to confirm what Damon said in his affidavit wouldn't have been too much of a stretch for a guy like Brennan to corroborate. He worked for him; he was trusted; and he could have done his boss a favor and said he had gone to the hotel.
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                    • Almost forgot.....

                      There were three pardon campaigns, not just two,. My brain is somewhere else this week.
                      The third pardon attempt occurred in 1900.
                      Roosevelt was Governor.
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                      • Like I mentioned before, people who you trust are often pretty loyal to you in the first place and to confirm what Damon said in his affidavit wouldn't have been too much of a stretch for a guy like Brennan to corroborate. He worked for him; he was trusted; and he could have done his boss a favor and said he had gone to the hotel.

                        He could also have been trusted not to say that they frequented the East River Hotel area. Brennan was "familiar with the circumstances". I take it to be an inadvertent giveaway by Damon that Brennan already knew, not only Frank, but the neighborhood and that maybe he was even there when Frank was hired if that's where Damon picked him up.

                        Either way, that seems to make two people Damon knew who were already familiar with "the circumstances" surrounding the murder and/or East River Hotel neighborhood.

                        Comment


                        • He could also have been trusted not to say that they frequented the East River Hotel area. Brennan was "familiar with the circumstances". I take it to be an inadvertent giveaway by Damon that Brennan already knew, not only Frank, but the neighborhood and that maybe he was even there when Frank was hired if that's where Damon picked him up.

                          Either way, that seems to make two people Damon knew who were already familiar with "the circumstances" surrounding the murder and/or East River Hotel neighborhood.


                          That's certainly possible, Mark.
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                          • Another point to make How, and it’s an obvious one of course, is that not only was Damon guilty of withholding evidence (the key) but he was also guilty of disposing of evidence (the bloodied shirt.) No comebacks for Mr Damon though. I can’t help wondering if someone like Brennan or Fitzgerald or Miniter would have gotten away with doing the same?
                            Regards

                            Michael🔎


                            " When you eliminate the impossible whatever remains no matter how improbable......is probably a little bit boring "

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                            • Mike:

                              There's no way anyone from the lower class would have not been penalized in some fashion for coming forward a decade after someone with the clout Damon had had been imprisoned for that period of time. No way, now how.

                              And of course, the bloody shirt should have been stashed ( Why stash it ? Damon was never going to come forward without being outed by Lee) since Damon mentioned it in the affidavit.

                              This is what Luke Kummer posted today. Although he and I differ on why Ali was innocent, as he doesn't feel Ali could have been the killer and I do think he could have been the killer, Luke, you, me, Nina, and Prof. Bob all are down on Damon big time.



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                              • Wondering what anyone thinks about these four scenarios.
                                Each involves the two suspects and the presumption of their innocence.
                                Opinions welcome.

                                A. C. Kniclo, after being intimate with Carrie Brown...or maybe not....simply left taking the key with him, leaving the door unlocked.

                                B. C. Kniclo, at some point during the night, left the room to relieve himself ( if he had gone down to the bar room, no one mentions it during the Coroner Inquest
                                or the Trial )....and in the interim, Ali goes into Room 31 ; murders Brown and leaves room. C. Kniclo returns ; sees her dead on the bed ; leaves taking the key
                                and locking the door behind him.

                                C. Ali, after discovering C. Kniclo has left the room ( door unlocked) goes into Room31 ; sees Brown's corpse ; rummages through her clothes for anything of value
                                and leaves. He sneaks out, according to Fitzgerald ,the next morning.

                                D. Ali, who had a propensity for eavesdropping on other rooms and on occasion attempting to enter rooms with women in them, heard a scuffle in Room 31: After C. Kniclo left the room and after murdering Brown, Ali enters ; he comes into contact with blood from her corpse; leaves the room; waits until 5 AM and leaves the room.
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