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

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  • The first mention of door locks in relation to this case, that I know of, came up in Richard Underwood's 'Gaslight Lawyers' ( 2017).
    On page 49 of his book, Underwood states, "Actually, the doorknobs appear to have been button-like devices."

    Bob Dekle's book came out in 2021.

    His scenario of Ali depressing the button on the side panel upon departing the room ( whether only to rifle through her remains or after murdering her) seems most likely to me.

    In a scenario where C. Kniclo was NOT her killer.....it would be up to us to speculate whether :

    A. Brown got up and opened the door for Ali
    B. C. Kniclo left the door unlocked and just left. intentionally or unintentionally taking the key with him,

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    • Markus:

      A good example of the button lock

      http://diversitytomorrow.com/thread/993/0/


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      • Originally posted by Howard Brown View Post
        Here you go

        Nothing in that article proves the lock was a push button mortise lock. It doesn’t even say Mannix “left her locked in the room”.

        Underwood only says “it appears” they had buttons. I don’t see how it appears without knowing the context
        of what he’s saying unless he’s assuming Ali locked it without a key.

        Comment


        • Howard,

          I take it the hotel was demolished, otherwise you would have gone there.

          Wolf said it was probably built circa 1851. Obviously they didn’t renovate the doors as they still had skeleton keys in 1891.

          I can’t find any push button mortise locks pre-90s. They were popular apparently in the 10s and 20s through the 30s. A lot of the ones available online are c. 1910s-20s.

          Here’s one from a 1893 catalogue. 1842 is the make number.

          https://www.ebay.com/itm/12538808912...kAAOSwyY9iuJh8

          Comment


          • Originally posted by Markus Aurelius Franzoi View Post
            I don't think this was good evidence for button locks. Does anyone else?
            It seems to me that it’s quite possible that the ERH could have had button locks Mark but I agree that the 2 quotes don’t appear to provide evidence for them. Mannix could simply have locked his wife in using the key.
            Regards

            Michael🔎


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

            Comment


            • Nothing in that article proves the lock was a push button mortise lock. It doesn’t even say Mannix “left her locked in the room”.

              Mark....it bothered me to the extent I came home from work early to see if any other reference to the incident with Mannix were available. If I say I looked through 50 papers today thoroughly, that's an underestimate. I couldn't find anything other than the above and the 1897 clipping where his wife stabbed him ( Mike remembers that one).

              I take it the hotel was demolished, otherwise you would have gone there.

              I sure would have. It's a housing project now. It was demolished over 114 years ago. Mike Banks is old enough to have gone there to see it cannonballed.

              Herman Jager became the owner of the Fourth Ward/East River Hotel sometime in the late 1860's or early 1870's.

              Wolf said it was probably built circa 1851. Obviously they didn’t renovate the doors as they still had skeleton keys in 1891.

              I attached two PDFs...one with some stories from the Hotel and another about the condition of Deutsches Schauspiel in June 1891 ( NY Herald). The ERH was the first site in Manhattan where immigrant Germans conducted theatrical programs. Actually, it was earlier than '1851'....it was 1843.

              I can’t find any push button mortise locks per-90s. They were popular apparently in the 10s and 20s through the 30s. A lot of the ones available online are c. 1910s-20s.

              Good work on your end. Neither could I. In between looking for Mannix related stuff, I also tried. Prof. Dekle did provide a link to a source which you also copied in a previous post.


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

              It seems to me that it’s quite possible that the ERH could have had button locks Mark but I agree that the 2 quotes don’t appear to provide evidence for them. Mannix could simply have locked his wife in using the key.

              I agree with the underlined, Mike. I don't believe it's as complicated as things are turning out to be. With or without the button locks, Mannix could have simply locked her in until he came home.
              She'd have to leave it unlocked when she went to use the restroom and I sho' nuff hope she had enough to eat until he got back. Shifts as a coal heaver were at least 8 hours long. No toilet facilities, no refrigerators, no nuttin' in those rooms.
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              • Originally posted by Michael Banks View Post

                It seems to me that it’s quite possible that the ERH could have had button locks Mark but I agree that the 2 quotes don’t appear to provide evidence for them. Mannix could simply have locked his wife in using the key.
                I agree with everything you say, Michael. But I remember now that everything I’ve read about the button locks say that the key cannot lock the door. It can only unlock it.

                The button or toggle is the only actual locking mechanism. Unless I’m missing anything about a mortise lock key that can switch the buttons at the same time, that’s it.

                I’m not sure I see a point in having a dual locking mechanism like that where you can lock it with a key or a button when you leave. I think the point is to leave the key behind unless you want to return and get in without waking anyone.

                Does it change anything if Ali or C Kniclo or Carrie, or Mannix or the desk clerk for that matter, could not lock the door with a key?

                Comment


                • Good work on your end. Neither could I. In between looking for Mannix related stuff, I also tried. Prof. Dekle did provide a link to a source which you also copied in a previous post.

                  Here is the full bibliography for the footnotes. Both are online sources which I don't mind at all. I've already seen the second site. It doesn't mention if you can or need to lock the door with the key, only that you need a key to get in when the door is locked with the mechanism. To me, it makes sense Dekle didn't use a source that would say the key can't lock the door. I haven't looked at the iDigHardware site.

                  Green, Lori. “Toggle Buttons.” iDigHardware.
                  https://idighardware.com/2016/03/wwyd-toggle-buttons/

                  “The Evolution of Entry Hardware.” Old House [Journal] Online.
                  https://www.oldhouseonline.com/garde...-entryhardware

                  Comment


                  • I actually did see the second source as well. The IdigHardware site was one of the first ones I saw which states categorically that the key can't lock the door.

                    You can exit by turning the lever on the inside or enter by using a key in the outside cylinder, but in order to change the outside lever from locked to unlocked (or vice versa), you need to use the buttons on the edge of the door. There are different styles among the different lock manufacturers – on some locks it is a toggle switch, others use 2 buttons.
                    Doesn't this make a difference, if not in the entry of a secondary suspect, but in the police response to the question of the key vis-à-vis the importance that the press said was placed on it by the police?


                    Comment


                    • Ok guys can I be ‘idiot for the day’ and ask for a summary on the lock business please? There are certain things that I’m not good with (some on here and over on Casebook would say that there are more) and two of them are medical stuff and engineering-related stuff. When you both say that it looks like a certain type of lock wouldn’t have been available in 1891 you aren’t saying that Ali (if he was the last person to leave room 31 alive) couldn’t have locked the door are you? We aren’t exonerating Ali completely? Or are we saying that it looks like one particular type wasn’t available but the ERH could still have had a type of lock that allowed guests to lock the door without using a key?

                      My apologies for the dumb question. I’d like to blame the uncommonly hot weather that we’re experiencing in the UK but I’d be just as useless on these subjects in a foot of snow.

                      Regards

                      Michael🔎


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

                      Comment


                      • When you both say that it looks like a certain type of lock wouldn’t have been available in 1891 you aren’t saying that Ali (if he was the last person to leave room 31 alive) couldn’t have locked the door are you?

                        Mike,.,,,you might have misread a comment I made, but I didn't say a certain type of lock wouldn't have been available in 1891. I don't know what type of lock was on the door, to be honest. I provided a jpeg of one in use in the early 20th century which was probably in use during the late Gilded Age. I simply couldn't find one ( where I said 'neither could I') on the Internet yesterday, but that does not mean one doesn't exist. As I think of it, I believe I copied a photo of a door with an apparatus affixed to it which might have been the type there at the ERH. I'll look when I get home.

                        I believe Ali did lock the door on his way out but not with a key ( obviously ). To me, there's no question he had contact with her corpse.
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                        • Does it change anything if Ali or C Kniclo or Carrie, or Mannix or the desk clerk for that matter, could not lock the door with a key?

                          Of course they could lock the door with a key. The button lock enables someone leaving the room to lock the door without a key. A person on the inside can still open and close and lock the door from the inside. But once outside and having locked it with the button lock/mortise lock/whatever.....it can only be re-opened with a key....or by someone on the inside.

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                          • Howard,

                            Can you show me any evidence saying those locks can be locked with a key?

                            Even Dekle’s first source, Lori Green, says it can’t.

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by Howard Brown View Post
                              When you both say that it looks like a certain type of lock wouldn’t have been available in 1891 you aren’t saying that Ali (if he was the last person to leave room 31 alive) couldn’t have locked the door are you?

                              Mike,.,,,you might have misread a comment I made, but I didn't say a certain type of lock wouldn't have been available in 1891. I don't know what type of lock was on the door, to be honest. I provided a jpeg of one in use in the early 20th century which was probably in use during the late Gilded Age. I simply couldn't find one ( where I said 'neither could I') on the Internet yesterday, but that does not mean one doesn't exist. As I think of it, I believe I copied a photo of a door with an apparatus affixed to it which might have been the type there at the ERH. I'll look when I get home.

                              I believe Ali did lock the door on his way out but not with a key ( obviously ). To me, there's no question he had contact with her corpse.
                              Thanks How, I was assuming that I’d misinterpreted what had been said. That’s the problem with missing lots of posts then trying quickly to catch up. I should have read more carefully.
                              Regards

                              Michael🔎


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

                              Comment


                              • I actually did see the second source as well so I saw both. The IdigHardware site was one of the first ones I saw which states categorically that the key can't lock the door.

                                You can exit by turning the lever on the inside or enter by using a key in the outside cylinder, but in order to change the outside lever from locked to unlocked (or vice versa), you need to use the buttons on the edge of the door. There are different styles among the different lock manufacturers – on some locks it is a toggle switch, others use 2 buttons.
                                Green, Lori. “Toggle Buttons.” iDigHardware.
                                https://idighardware.com/2016/03/wwyd-toggle-buttons/

                                Doesn't this make a difference in the story, if not in the entry of a secondary suspect, but in the police response to the question of the key vis-à-vis the importance that the press said was placed on it by the police?

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