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Souvenir From A Kill For The '13th Juror'

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  • Souvenir From A Kill For The '13th Juror'












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  • #2
    Hi Howard,

    Ive read the book but I have a question. It’s something that I just can’t recall being mentioned . Was the key reported to have been missing at the time of the murder?
    Regards

    MichaelšŸ”Ž


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

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    • #3
      Thanks for asking, Mike.

      The key was sketched and published in a few newspapers ( Evening Sun, which is where I got the one found in the East River Echo)........and was missing at the time of the murder and all the way up to the point where a key was presented to Governor Odell. Great thinking on the part of the Evening World and those other newspapers who sketched it.

      If the key which George Damon provided the authorities was really the key from the room.....it doesn't necessarily prove the man who worked for Damon was the killer.....only that the man brought the key home with him.

      For instance....if C. Kniclo went to relieve himself ( had he gone for more beer or ale, he would probably be remembered by Sam Shine, the bartender) and took a few minutes.. it wouldn't take Ali very long....IMHO...to perform the strangulation and post-mortem mutilation. Ali could have gone over to the room...figuring C.Kniclo left for good....and for whatever reason killed her and then gone back to his room. C.Kniclo comes back...sees the horrific scene...and splits, locking the room behind him and going off with the key.

      Again, thanks for asking and also thanks for the positive comments on Casebook.
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      • #4
        May I ask, Mike...after reading Bob's book......and reading my article here...do you think the possibility exists...that Damon was never going to come forward and probably held on to the key as a souvenir....or do you have another opinion ?

        Thanks !
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        • #5
          Thanks How,

          It’s a stretch I know but I wonder if the key could have turned up after the murder and someone sold it as a ‘souvenir’ of the case to Damon’s Dane? I know….I’m clutching at straws for an alternative explanation. From just reading the book I tend to think that Ali was guilty but I’m surprised that the police put there hands on him so easily. I’d have expected him to have wanted to put some serious miles between himself an that hotel.

          Im guessing that there’s no photograph of the hotel?
          Regards

          MichaelšŸ”Ž


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

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          • #6
            Go to www.carriebrown.net and you'll see a sketch of the hotel ( I have photos of where the hotel was from the early 1920's and one from 1940, I believe....but not a photo from 1891).

            Never feel like anything you suggest is like 'clutching at straws' with me, Mike....

            Allow me to provide a couple of theories for your perusal.

            IF the key that Damon turned in was the one left by the farmhand, then there was no time for someone to sell a souvenir to the farmhand as he bolted a day or so after returning to Cranford NJ.

            That Bob Dekle has firmly put Ali back in position to have been Brown's murderer is not up for debate. The cells found under his nails and in her blood alone put him back in the ballgame.

            Yes, I agree that the average person or even average killer would be more than likely to have put considerable distance between himself and a murder which he had committed. That's one of the things that always stuck out to me before when I was 'certain' Ali wasn't her killer.

            We now know that killers often hang around to see the reaction to their deeds. I'm not claiming Ali did that....but it's a possibility.
            Of course, if Ali was completely innocent, his behavior was nothing out of the norm when Lang arrested him. His litany of lies did him no good and only made him more suspect-worthy.

            On the other hand, if Ali had only burglarized her room....getting her blood (with traces of leukemic cells and lint) under his nails, he may have thought he was in the clear because the police were NOT looking for someone who had merely robbed her corpse ( pockets turned inside out). Ali was not playing with a full deck as his behavior is a combination of pathological liar and innocent man-child.

            Back to you, Mike.....


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            • #7
              Originally posted by Howard Brown View Post
              May I ask, Mike...after reading Bob's book......and reading my article here...do you think the possibility exists...that Damon was never going to come forward and probably held on to the key as a souvenir....or do you have another opinion ?

              Thanks !
              To be honest How I can’t see any reason for supposing that he ever intended to spill the beans. Why would he have gone to the time, trouble and effort to have visited the hotel to check that their keys matched the one in his possession and then, when it’s confirmed that it did, he keeps quiet? It makes no sense to me at least. His 4 excuses for keeping quiet about the key don’t show him in a good light of course whichever way you look at it. The very fact that he came up with 4 different excuses makes it difficult to believe him. I just get the feeling that something isn’t right with this key story.

              Did they ask him what made him think that ‘Frank’ was a Dane? Can we ask if the name ‘Frank’ was just conjured up because Ali was known by that name?
              Regards

              MichaelšŸ”Ž


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

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              • #8
                I forgot to mention that Bob Dekle was the one who saw the possibility that Ali had only burgled the room because of the lint. He suggests that had Ali murdered her, his filthy inch-long fingernails would have been quickly inundated with blood and the lint found by the prosecution team would probably not have been present. No way Ali doesn't wash off the hands after killing her and in the process, removing the lint....but not the blood.

                Currently, this is what I think happened. He robbed Brown but didn't. murder her...... It would be ironic if one of the very few times Ali told the truth was to Emile Sultan when he said he had been in the room and robbed her ( as an after-thought).

                As Bob and I have discussed....if Ali had testified that he had been in the room....had robbed her...but hadn't killed her....he might have made believers of the jury and only been sentenced according to what the penalty was for robbing a corpse.
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                • #9
                  How, I’ll respond to your post #6 tomorrow as it’s 12.00 and I have to be up at 4.30 which, in my world, is still night time. CarrieBrown.net is great by the way I had a quick look earlier on. I’ll have a better look tomorrow.

                  I’d never looked into this case before. It’s way more interesting than I’d expected as I was kind of under the impression that it was fairly black and white. Not the first time I’ve been wrong and it certainly won’t be the last,
                  Regards

                  MichaelšŸ”Ž


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

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    To be honest How I can’t see any reason for supposing that he ever intended to spill the beans. Why would he have gone to the time, trouble and effort to have visited the hotel to check that their keys matched the one in his possession and then, when it’s confirmed that it did, he keeps quiet? It makes no sense to me at least. His 4 excuses for keeping quiet about the key don’t show him in a good light of course whichever way you look at it. The very fact that he came up with 4 different excuses makes it difficult to believe him. I just get the feeling that something isn’t right with this key story.

                    Did they ask him what made him think that ‘Frank’ was a Dane? Can we ask if the name ‘Frank’ was just conjured up because Ali was known by that name?

                    -Mike Banks-


                    Thanks Mike......

                    The description provided by Mary Miniter and Michael or Thomas Kelly of The Glenmore Hotel indicate someone with Nordic heritage. Their descriptions are mirror images.
                    With no way to prove that Damon came up with the name 'Frank' based on the fact that that was one of Ali's aliases....I can't answer that based on anything definitive, but personally, I don't believe the name 'Frank" was based on an Ali alias.

                    Bob Dekle, like myself, and now, like you....have some serious issues with the 'key story'.
                    The statement James Jennings, hotel proprietor, made in 1901 and which was mentioned in Richard Underwood's 'Gaslight Lawyers'.....that he wasn't sure the key was one the hotel used because of some hotel renovation is questionable The hotel may not have used that style of key years after the murder when the hotel did experience some changes.....but it was the style of the key used on the night of the murder.....if the key story is true.

                    Between me n' you, doesn't Damon seem like a little kid who a bigger kid tells to throw a rock at a car and when nabbed, says, "He told me to do it !". ?

                    Not only did this 10 year period of time put Damon's reputation in a unsavory position ( something he was worried about and says as much)....but he figures, the hell with it....I'll drag Lee into it to.

                    Good questions, Mike....thanks !
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                    • #11
                      I find it difficult to believe the suggestion that Ali entered to room to steal or in search of sex and that he then discovered the body. As CB was found naked he’d have had no reason to get close enough to get blood on him; especially the blood found under his nails. There are unanswered questions on both sides though of course. Nothing’s straightforward or we wouldn’t be interested.

                      Question: was there any evidence of Ali having some kind of clean up? (I always feel guilty asking questions like this after reading a book but I just can’t recall) Surely he’d have had to at least have washed his hands (as you said)before he left the hotel, though not very thoroughly?

                      ​​​​​​….

                      Im struggling a little to see how Damon’s reputation would have been damaged if he’d have come forward with the key evidence at the time? Surely it would have been a case of ‘Prominent local businessman acts promptly and plays his part in apprehending a viscous killer?’ He’d have been telling the story to all and sundry for years. This is the problem with the key story for me. I can’t think of a legitimate or even logical reason reason why he would hold back so it can’t help but make me wonder if there was something dodgy about the key story.

                      ​​That said, it’s difficult to dismiss the story and even harder to come up with an explanation that doesn’t assume s guilty Kniclo/Frank, especially with the bloodied shirt. It also begs the question, why did his wife keep the key all those years when it was obvious that her husband had no intention of coming forward with the story and that any announcement of the key story couldn’t help but show her husband in the worst possible light with an ‘innocent’ man in prison. It even appears that Damon wasn’t even aware that his wife had retained the key.

                      The blood evidence for me shouts ‘guilty’ as far as Ali is concerned but the key story introduces doubt. It’s like having a murder suspect bang to rights with fingerprints and DNA evidence but then finding 6 unconnected witnesses who all provide him with an alibi.
                      Regards

                      MichaelšŸ”Ž


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

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I'm struggling a little to see how Damon’s reputation would have been damaged if he’d have come forward with the key evidence at the time? Surely it would have been a case of ‘Prominent local businessman acts promptly and plays his part in apprehending a vicious killer?’ He’d have been telling the story to all and sundry for years. This is the problem with the key story for me. I can’t think of a legitimate or even logical reason reason why he would hold back so it can’t help but make me wonder if there was something dodgy about the key story.
                        -Mike Banks-

                        If Damon had done something along the lines of what I mentioned at the beginning....going with an attorney to the authorities, requested anonymity and so forth, not only would he have been doing what most people have done but he would have removed this 'fear' he had for the Dane....a man he stated he had retained for further work on the estate.

                        One of the articles in the contemporary papers featured an incident in which Damon whipped out two handguns and started blasting away at a couple of fellows supposedly attempting to burglarize his home. He also got involved in a fistfight on a ferry ( with another man who was brawling with his son)....so he appears to have known what to do when the shit hit the fan.

                        His reputation, if he was worried about being called into question for doing the right thing in late April 1891....appears to have been scrutinized when he took the stand in a June 1901 trial ( the one where this cheapskate took someone to court for five dollars). The lawyer for the defendant asked him some questions about his recent disclosure of the key while on the witness stand. No one objected from what I gather ( the judge or even his lawyer) to the questions as being immaterial and irrelevant as they probably were. Damon didn't do so well. He clammed up. I'm sure people held him in a different light after the decade long secret was finally revealed.

                        John R. Lee. the friend, is mentioned in a few articles and not fondly for his supposedly slipshod contract work on city pavements and streets. I wonder if he was questioned by his social circle as he was the one specifically mentioned as being a cause for Damon to sit tight with the key. I feel Damon 'outed' him for reasons already mentioned....not the least of which was that he was irritated his story was mentioned to members of the Bar by the man who told him to clam up in the first place.
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                        • #13

                          ​​That said, it’s difficult to dismiss the story and even harder to come up with an explanation that doesn’t assume s guilty Kniclo/Frank, especially with the bloodied shirt. It also begs the question, why did his wife keep the key all those years when it was obvious that her husband had no intention of coming forward with the story and that any announcement of the key story couldn’t help but show her husband in the worst possible light with an ‘innocent’ man in prison. It even appears that Damon wasn’t even aware that his wife had retained the key.
                          -Mike Banks-


                          Good eye, Mike....the shirt is what prevented me from presenting a case against Ali last August ( 2020) because it being bloody ruins my theory of Ali slipping into the room while C.Kniclo goes to relieve himself. If C. Kniclo was innocent and a victim of circumstance then how did the shirt get blood on it ? He certainly didn't go to relieve himself bare-chested. However, men with blood on their shirts in the Gilded Age and from working class backgrounds wasn't rare...it was common. Paying for a laundered shirt cuts into drinking money...and money for drink trumps virtually everything else. Yet, the bloody shirt, as you mentioned, does cast a bad light.

                          The blood evidence for me shouts ‘guilty’ as far as Ali is concerned but the key story introduces doubt. It’s like having a murder suspect bang to rights with fingerprints and DNA evidence but then finding 6 unconnected witnesses who all provide him with an alibi.
                          -Mike Banks-


                          I vacillate on the blood, Mike...and continue to think and re-think things in regard to it.
                          Many men wore their entire wardrobe on their backs back then...and in addition, Ali was poor and a pig.
                          Nails one inch long, probably went long periods of time without washing, etc. the blood on his shirt, although no one disputed it being there, could have come from anywhere.
                          He himself said he got that blood on the bottom of his shirt from the woman Alice Sullivan, who he said was menstruating at the time ( Sully probably cringed when this was mentioned during the trial....I did and I wasn't even there ! ) they had intercourse.

                          More than the blood ( that blood which was or wasn't on the places the police said it was and the six or so people who said it wasn't), its the material found under his nails which makes me lean towards Ali....if this was the only part of the story to contend with. It isn't.

                          In my opinion, there wasn't a day that Damon was NOT aware of the key and where it was considering the significance it had. I don't think there's anyway in hell that his claim of having to recall where it was is true in the least. That's his way of minimizing what he supposedly had.

                          Affidavits, the next thing I'll get into on this thread, are only written statements and sworn to by people for specific incidents..... and are not necessarily 'evidence' of anything other than someone swearing to events, statements, or observations that, in reality, may be less than truthful and often times, a misremembering of things people thought happened.

                          Damon was lucky. None of the prosecution team was involved in the motion(s) to pardon Ali. In fact, I'm quite sure that no one challenged the alleged authenticity of said affidavits. No Wellman around to grill Damon : No Simms or Nicoll available to get Damon to elaborate fully.

                          I'm not prepared or willing to call Rees, Butler, or anyone else a liar for the content of the affidavits.......but it might have been a different story if their sworn affidavits were called into question and especially Damon's. If he grimaced on the stand in his hometown Cranford during the local trial, just imagine Damon being grilled by the trio or just one of the Ali Trial attorneys in Manhattan.......
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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Howard Brown View Post
                            I'm struggling a little to see how Damon’s reputation would have been damaged if he’d have come forward with the key evidence at the time? Surely it would have been a case of ‘Prominent local businessman acts promptly and plays his part in apprehending a vicious killer?’ He’d have been telling the story to all and sundry for years. This is the problem with the key story for me. I can’t think of a legitimate or even logical reason reason why he would hold back so it can’t help but make me wonder if there was something dodgy about the key story.
                            -Mike Banks-

                            If Damon had done something along the lines of what I mentioned at the beginning....going with an attorney to the authorities, requested anonymity and so forth, not only would he have been doing what most people have done but he would have removed this 'fear' he had for the Dane....a man he stated he had retained for further work on the estate.

                            One of the articles in the contemporary papers featured an incident in which Damon whipped out two handguns and started blasting away at a couple of fellows supposedly attempting to burglarize his home. He also got involved in a fistfight on a ferry ( with another man who was brawling with his son)....so he appears to have known what to do when the shit hit the fan.

                            His reputation, if he was worried about being called into question for doing the right thing in late April 1891....appears to have been scrutinized when he took the stand in a June 1901 trial ( the one where this cheapskate took someone to court for five dollars). The lawyer for the defendant asked him some questions about his recent disclosure of the key while on the witness stand. No one objected from what I gather ( the judge or even his lawyer) to the questions as being immaterial and irrelevant as they probably were. Damon didn't do so well. He clammed up. I'm sure people held him in a different light after the decade long secret was finally revealed.

                            John R. Lee. the friend, is mentioned in a few articles and not fondly for his supposedly slipshod contract work on city pavements and streets. I wonder if he was questioned by his social circle as he was the one specifically mentioned as being a cause for Damon to sit tight with the key. I feel Damon 'outed' him for reasons already mentioned....not the least of which was that he was irritated his story was mentioned to members of the Bar by the man who told him to clam up in the first place.
                            Yes, Lee has to shoulder his share of the blame for sitting on the story too. It was clearly still on his mind after a gap of 10 years. Damon certainly doesn’t sound like the shrinking violet-type. He’d have been used to dealing with itinerant labours and the very type of man that would have been found drinking, or even sleeping, at a dump like The East River Hotel. Plus we would have to ask, if he’d told the police about the key would Frank really have been dumb enough to show up just for revenge? As a suspect in an horrendous murder? I’d have thought anyone would have fully expected him to have jumped on a boat back to Denmark or anywhere that wasn’t the USA?

                            For me though How, despite the fact that the 4 ‘excuses’ that Damon gave for not coming forward don’t hold water, it’s difficult to simply dismiss the key story. It’s a pity the servant couldn’t be traced (how hard did they try? Did they try?)
                            Regards

                            MichaelšŸ”Ž


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

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Howard Brown View Post
                              ​​That said, it’s difficult to dismiss the story and even harder to come up with an explanation that doesn’t assume s guilty Kniclo/Frank, especially with the bloodied shirt. It also begs the question, why did his wife keep the key all those years when it was obvious that her husband had no intention of coming forward with the story and that any announcement of the key story couldn’t help but show her husband in the worst possible light with an ‘innocent’ man in prison. It even appears that Damon wasn’t even aware that his wife had retained the key.
                              -Mike Banks-


                              Good eye, Mike....the shirt is what prevented me from presenting a case against Ali last August ( 2020) because it being bloody ruins my theory of Ali slipping into the room while C.Kniclo goes to relieve himself. If C. Kniclo was innocent and a victim of circumstance then how did the shirt get blood on it ? He certainly didn't go to relieve himself bare-chested. However, men with blood on their shirts in the Gilded Age and from working class backgrounds wasn't rare...it was common. Paying for a laundered shirt cuts into drinking money...and money for drink trumps virtually everything else. Yet, the bloody shirt, as you mentioned, does cast a bad light.

                              The blood evidence for me shouts ‘guilty’ as far as Ali is concerned but the key story introduces doubt. It’s like having a murder suspect bang to rights with fingerprints and DNA evidence but then finding 6 unconnected witnesses who all provide him with an alibi.
                              -Mike Banks-


                              I vacillate on the blood, Mike...and continue to think and re-think things in regard to it.
                              Many men wore their entire wardrobe on their backs back then...and in addition, Ali was poor and a pig.
                              Nails one inch long, probably went long periods of time without washing, etc. the blood on his shirt, although no one disputed it being there, could have come from anywhere.
                              He himself said he got that blood on the bottom of his shirt from the woman Alice Sullivan, who he said was menstruating at the time ( Sully probably cringed when this was mentioned during the trial....I did and I wasn't even there ! ) they had intercourse.

                              More than the blood ( that blood which was or wasn't on the places the police said it was and the six or so people who said it wasn't), its the material found under his nails which makes me lean towards Ali....if this was the only part of the story to contend with. It isn't.

                              In my opinion, there wasn't a day that Damon was NOT aware of the key and where it was considering the significance it had. I don't think there's anyway in hell that his claim of having to recall where it was is true in the least. That's his way of minimizing what he supposedly had.

                              Affidavits, the next thing I'll get into on this thread, are only written statements and sworn to by people for specific incidents..... and are not necessarily 'evidence' of anything other than someone swearing to events, statements, or observations that, in reality, may be less than truthful and often times, a misremembering of things people thought happened.

                              Damon was lucky. None of the prosecution team was involved in the motion(s) to pardon Ali. In fact, I'm quite sure that no one challenged the alleged authenticity of said affidavits. No Wellman around to grill Damon : No Simms or Nicoll available to get Damon to elaborate fully.

                              I'm not prepared or willing to call Rees, Butler, or anyone else a liar for the content of the affidavits.......but it might have been a different story if their sworn affidavits were called into question and especially Damon's. If he grimaced on the stand in his hometown Cranford during the local trial, just imagine Damon being grilled by the trio or just one of the Ali Trial attorneys in Manhattan.......
                              The blood does appear convincing but….as you say, could there be another explanation? With the knowledge that they had at the time how certain can we be? If Ali was guilty wouldn’t he at least have had some kind of clean up before leaving the hotel? If only washing his hands. No signs of blood in a sink anywhere? Would he have just walked away with bloodied hands?
                              Regards

                              MichaelšŸ”Ž


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

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