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

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  • Markus Aurelius Franzoi
    replied
    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

    Leave a comment:


  • Markus Aurelius Franzoi
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Howard Brown
    replied
    Markus:

    A good example of the button lock

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


    Leave a comment:


  • Howard Brown
    replied
    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,

    Leave a comment:


  • Howard Brown
    replied
    Here you go

    Leave a comment:


  • Markus Aurelius Franzoi
    replied
    Maybe the wording "Mannix went to work, leaving his wife locked in the room" would suggest that the door was already set to locked. If he locked the door with the key, it should read "locked her in the room."

    Then again, maybe they didn't wan't to word it so that it sounds like his wife is a prisoner!

    I'd have to read the original newspaper article.

    Leave a comment:


  • Markus Aurelius Franzoi
    replied
    I don't think this was good evidence for button locks. Does anyone else?

    Leave a comment:


  • Markus Aurelius Franzoi
    replied
    I found the quote in The East River Ripper about the door locks. I'm still trying to decipher the evidence he's giving.

    Hotel doors in the late nineteenth century often had mortise door-knobs with two push buttons in the edge of the door. One of the buttons would lock the outer doorknob and one would unlock it. The inner doorknob would still operate. This would allow one hotel guest to leave with the key while another was safely locked inside but still able to leave if the need arose.²⁷ We have evidence that the East River Hotel was equipped with such doorknobs. Remember that chapter 2 told of William Mannix, who left his wife locked in their room at the hotel while he went to work. With such a doorknob installed on the door to room 31, Frenchy could have easily pushed the button on the side panel and locked the door behind him without a key. He could have then waited in room 33 secure in the knowledge that the body would not be found before sunrise the next morning. All he needed to do was slip out of the hotel in the predawn hours.

    27. Green, “Toggle Buttons”; “The Evolution of Entry Hardware.”
    Frenchy apparently spent the night in the East River Hotel again on April 21 because in the early morning hours of April 22, he tried to break into the hotel room occupied by William C. Mannix and his wife. Mannix and his wife had begun living at the hotel just a few days before so that he could be closer to his place of work. Mannix arose early on the morning of April 22 and went to work,

    leaving his wife locked in the room.
    Frenchy banged on the door and demanded entry, threatening Mrs. Mannix with bodily harm if she did not let him in. She held firm, refusing to open the door, and Frenchy finally went away.²³

    23. “Not Caught Yet,” Evening World, 3rd ed., Apr. 25, 1891.

    Leave a comment:


  • Markus Aurelius Franzoi
    replied
    The button lock was first mentioned by Prof. Underwood in 2017.

    Do you have his exact wording on that?

    Dekle does make it seem like the button locking mechanism was a given. He says Ali could "easily" have locked the door that way. Obviously he would have "had" to have done it that way.

    But Dekle does leave room for your scenario on the podcast which he says could have gotten him off if he had gone with that story as it would explain the forensic evidence.

    Leave a comment:


  • Howard Brown
    replied
    It seems to me no one challenged Odell’s statement of No Key No Murderer until Dekle with his button lock theory. I don’t think he saw the door either.

    The button lock was first mentioned by Prof. Underwood in 2017.

    If there was a button/toggle locking mechanism, it opens the door for Ali but the narrative loses me. I can’t make sense out of it. Why the fuss about Damon finding the key then? The murderer didn’t need it.

    The key was issued to C. Kniclo because it was necessary for opening the door. Apparently, C. Kniclo/Glenmore Man/Farmhand took it with him to Cranford. It being found by Damon is important because it puts the Farmhand in Room 31....regardless of whether he locked the door on his way out or not. Whether he needed the key to lock it on his way out is really not the issue. The issue is that Damon found it left in the stable and it tied the Farmhand to the room if not definitely the murder.

    C Kniclo could have spent his time with Carrie and then left her, taking the key with him by mistake and leaving the door unlocked, just like the police theorized. Wouldn’t Odell have served his friend Damon better with that scenario if it was true?

    Odell and Damon weren't friends. Voorhees and Damon were friends.
    The way the proclamation from Odell is written doesn't factor in anything about the door....whether the door had to be locked with a key or by depressing a button from inside without using the key when a tenant left. It seems Odell made his decision to release Ali primarily ( but not totally) on Damon's Farmhand being in possession of the key. You just said it yourself.....that C. Kniclo may well have been with Brown...did his thing or not....left and took the key without locking it....or, possibly, locking it with the key...then re-opened if Brown got up and let Ali in herself . It is not a cut and dried affair as Odell would make it seem.
    I think it is a 'shoot from the hip' assessment by Odell in this circumstance. He's under a little pressure where the other 3 Governors weren't. Since there was nothing other than verbal testimonials in those three earlier pardon attempts, it was easier to just dismiss them. Gov. Black may have signed a similar release for Ali even before Roosevelt was Governor.....but that went to shit when Ali nearly killed a teenager while in prison on late 1897.



    He goes on to dismiss the evidence against Ali as if it was inadequate. This from a man 10 years after the trial and one he, to our knowledge, did not attend. His comments seem to have been influenced by the French Consulate and one or two of the reporters. No one, once more, appeared on behalf of the State to question any of those people appearing on Ali's behalf. I've attached
    East River Number 181 which has a bit of info on the men supporting Ali in previous pardon campaigns, not the fourth campaign.

    By the way, one of the 'disadvantages' Ali experienced was the fact no one other than himself took the witness stand on his behalf. The fault, if any, lies with the defense for not requesting his Brooklyn friends ( Jenalli and Sheikh Bozieb) appear on his behalf. At least the jury would hear someone say something decent about him as he was a different bird altogether across the East River in Brooklyn.

    Attached Files

    Leave a comment:


  • Markus Aurelius Franzoi
    replied
    It seems to me no one challenged Odell’s statement of No Key No Murderer until Dekle with his button lock theory. I don’t think he saw the door either.

    If there was a button/toggle locking mechanism, it opens the door for Ali but the narrative loses me. I can’t make sense out of it. Why the fuss about Damon finding the key then? The murderer didn’t need it.

    C Kniclo could have spent his time with Carrie and then left her, taking the key with him by mistake and leaving the door unlocked, just like the police theorized. Wouldn’t Odell have served his friend Damon better with that scenario if it was true?

    Leave a comment:


  • Howard Brown
    replied
    Mark:

    Here's the Odell paper in full....it was the first East River Echo back in August of 2021. I should have posted this a while back at the start of this particular dialogue. Thanks for bringing it up.

    A kupla two things here :

    1. The affidavits weren't challenged.
    2. Damon wasn't questioned by anyone working for the prosecution.
    3. All due respect to Gov. Odell, but he didn't see the door.
    4. With respect to what he says in the declaration, Ali wasn't pardoned/exonerated. Why ?


    Odell states, "Unless the affidavits are a pure fabrication, there can be no doubt that the prisoner was wrongfully convicted."


    In other words, the unchallenged affidavits from press reporters who didn't see blood somehow trumps the testimony from police officials who did. If you read the two extensive articles written by Charles Edward Russell, you might get the impression he was discussing another crime altogether. Russell was an affiant.
    The unchallenged and ten years in the making story coming out of Cranford need not be scrutinized because the affiant had a Governor for a friend (Gov. Voorhees of NJ). Pretty convenient, ain't it ?

    Coming from someone who agrees with you that C. Kniclo makes for the better suspect, I still have reservations about Ali's role ( that he was in the room at some point) in the crime.
    Profs. Underwood and Dekle apparently do too. In Underwood's book, as a legal scholar he is wary of affidavits.
    Attached Files

    Leave a comment:


  • Markus Aurelius Franzoi
    replied
    The Documents of the Assembly of the State of NY 1903 states categorically, the murderer had to have the key. No key, no murder.

    https://books.google.ca/books?id=J4s...tel%22&f=false

    Page 16 above

    So I’d hazard to guess the front door was exactly like mine - manual lock in the inside, key lock on the outside. What the Assembly is saying would exclude even a knob button I think. That would be no different.

    I can see a lot of practical purposes for the button lock/release on the edge of the mortise lock. But I’m thinking it’s more for modern ritzier places. I’d guess it helps with big groups having only one key. I can’t remember ever having used one.

    Leave a comment:


  • Howard Brown
    replied
    Both your scenarios require Ali to have the key and use it to lock the door, unless we have toggle switches and people playing with them.

    Not if the button lock was on the inside of the door. If C.Kniclo left the room and left it unlocked, Ali may have simply depressed the button upon his departure. This would give the impression that whoever had the key was the last man in the room. We're not talking about doors as found in the Franzoi or Brown households but shitty ones in a shitty hotel. I'm really curious now and will look into the papers again to see whether the type of lock on the door appears anywhere. I used to have a front door years ago that I didn't need to lock with a key when I left my apartment. I could just push the button on the inside on the knob. However, these are not very secure doors. I can't lock my door behind me on the way out now by pushing a button on the doorknob. I need to use a key to lock it, the lock being at eye level and not on the doorknob itself.

    We now know Frank had the key. Ali never had it. And we don’t know that he and C. Kniclo toggled the lock. or if there were any toggles at all and a key was unnecessary.

    That's right, we don't know if the door was toggled or not. But in the example above, Ali may have simply pushed the 'lock' button on the doorknob to lock it without being in possession of the key. You're also right : C. Kniclo had the key if either one of them did.

    Is this why the key turning up in Damon’s hand is what “proved” Ali couldn’t have committed the crime because he couldn’t lock the door?

    Along with the appearance of several reporters who stated that they hadn't seen blood where the police did, the influence of the French Consulate, the key was one reason why he was released....not pardoned. The key was the tangible bit of evidence that swayed the 4th Governor who had been approached ( Governors Flower, Black, and Roosevelt all denied issuing a pardon or released based on only having the first two parts in place of the three pronged presentation...the key being the third part). The key persuaded Gov. Odell to release him.

    Leave a comment:


  • Markus Aurelius Franzoi
    replied
    Both your scenarios require Ali to have the key and use it to lock the door, unless we have toggle switches and people playing with them.

    We now know Frank had the key. Ali never had it. And we don’t know that he and C. Kniclo toggled the lock. or if there were any toggles at all and a key was unnecessary.

    Is this why the key turning up in Damon’s
    hand is what “proved” Ali couldn’t have committed the crime because he couldn’t lock the door?

    A button on a “doorknob” (presumably interior) would be an entirely different thing than a toggle switch.

    Leave a comment:

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