NEW JERSEY v HAUPTMANN: TESTIMONY OF CHARLES E. WILLIAMSON, FOURTH PROSECUTION WITNESS

[NUMBERS IN BRACKETS REFER TO PAGE NUMBERS FROM ORIGINAL TRANSCRIPT]


[208] CHARLES E. WILLIAMSON, called as a witness in behalf of the State, being duly sworn, testified as follows:

Direct Examination by Mr. Wilentz:

Q. Mr. Williamson, where do you live? A. Hopewell.

Q. And where did you live on the 1st of March, 1932? A. Hopewell.

Q. Did you serve in any police capacity at all at that time in that county? A. Yea, sir.

Q. By the way, what county is Hopewell in, the Hopewell that you are referring to? A. Hopewell is in Mercer County.

Q. And how far away is it from the Lindbergh home? A. Approximately three and a half miles.

Q. What is it, a township or a borough? A. Hopewell Borough.

Q. Is it the nearest borough that has police officers to the Lindbergh home? A. It is.

Q. And on the night of March 1, 1932, did you receive word from the Lindbergh home that they wanted police? A. I did.

Q. Did you receive it from the home directly or did you get it through Chief Wolf—is Wolf the Chief? A. Yes.

[209] Q. I see. That is of the Hopewell police? A. Yes.

Q. Did you receive it from Wolf or did you get it yourself over the telephone? A. I received it from the Lindbergh home myself at my home.

Q. I see. And having received that telephone call did you communicate with Chief Wolf? A. I did.

Q. And thereupon did both of you go up to the Lindbergh home? A. We did.

Q. And when you got there about what time was it? A. Around 10:25 or 10:30.

Q. As soon as you got to that home, whom did you meet? A. Colonel Lindbergh.

Q. Where was he? A. At the front door of his home.

Q. Did he have a rifle with him at the time? A. He did.

Q. He met you at the door, then, with a rifle? A. He did.

Q. And did he take you up to the room? A. He did.

Q. Who went up to the room, then? A. Colonel Lindbergh, Chief Wolf and myself.

Q. What did you see in that room at that time? A. I saw the crib that was empty. I saw the note in the window. I saw dirt tracks or mud tracks leading from the window towards the crib.

Q. How many impressions of mud or dirt did you see? Well, I will withdraw that. Did they lead right to the crib? A. Yes.

Q. Right from the window sill to the crib, as I understand it? A. Correct.

Q. Can you tell us anything about that mud or dirt? A. Well, it was of a clay substance.

Q. And what do you mean when you say it led from the window sill to the crib? A. Well, it went direct from ‘neath the window towards the crib.

 [210] Q. About how many impressions of mud or dirt would you say there were, if they were impressions? A. I would say three or four.

Q. Three or four. About what distance, or what was the distance, according to your best recollection, from beyond the window sill, immediately beyond the window sill, to the crib? A. You mean under the window sill to the crib?

Q. Once you got into the house, right beyond the window sill there, immediately adjoining the window sill, and the packages that were there, or the valise, whatever it was, from there to the crib about how many feet? A. I would say around 12 or 14 feet.

Q. 12 or 14. And it is your judgment then that the dirt track or mud track led right from there to the crib: is that it? A. Yes, sir.

Q. All right. Now, then, I suppose you left the room? A. Left the room and went downstairs.

Q. Where did you go then? A. Went down in the living room with the Colonel.

Q. And from there what? A. Well, we talked the situation over to find out what we was going to do and I think Colonel Lindbergh called the police.

Q. The State Police, you mean? A. State Police.

Q. Yes, and then what did you do, sir? A. We went outside and looked for the evidence.

Q. Well, what did you do when you got outside? A. We walked down on the plank to the window.

Q. By the way, before we get back to that, what have you to say as to whether the windows, as to the condition of the windows and the shutters? A. The shutters was open on the east window, southeast window, and the window was closed.

[211] Q. When you say the southeast window, you mean the southeast window in the baby’s nursery? A. Correct.

Q. You know this house, do you not, Officer? A. I do.

Q. Well, will you take a look at this drawing on Exhibit S-2, and when you are referring to the southeast window you are talking about the window on the second floor at the southeast corner and the window to which I am now pointing? A. That is correct.

Q. That is to say this room on the second floor here which is marked “bedroom” and which is the baby’s nursery (indicating). A. Yes.

Q. And the window you are referring to now as the south east window is this window here. A. That is correct.

Q. And that is the window that operates, up and down, isn’t that so? A. Yes, sir.

Q. And as I understand it then, the window was closed but the shutters were open. A. That is right.

Q. How about the other window, do you remember? A. I didn’t notice the other windows.

Q. You didn’t notice it. All right. Now you didn’t touch the note, did you? A. No, sir.

Q. That was according to instruction from the Colonel? A. That is correct.

Q. But you did go downstairs to look over the territory? A. Yes.

Q. You had a flashlight, I suppose. A. Yes, sir.

Q. What sort of a night was it, Officer? A. Very cold windy night.

Q. Very cold windy night. A. Yes.

Q. In addition to being very cold was it very windy? A. It was very windy, yes.

Q. Very windy. How long have you lived in that vicinity, Officer? A. Forty years.  

[212] Q. It is a very desolate place, isn’t it? A. Yes, sir.

Q. And this particular house is located on one of the highest spots in the Sourland Mountains, isn’t that so, A. That is correct.

Q. Is that how you pronounce it, Sourland? A. Sourland Mountains.

Q. Sourland Mountains. And can you tell us, please, how far away the nearest home, living home, residence, is to the Lindbergh home, according to your best notion and judgment? A. Well, there is a house at the end of the Colonel’s private drive, approximately three-quarters of a mile, I would say.

Q. Three-quarters of a mile from the home itself is the first building, is that it? A. That is correct.

Q. And who occupied that at the time? A. No one.

Q. Was that the gate house they call it? A. Yes.

Q. Well, that is part of the Lindbergh estate, is it not? A. Of the estate, correct.

Q. I mean, excepting for that, what was the nearest home, residence, at the time occupied from the Lindbergh home proper? A. I would say the property right across the road, Mr. Hausenbaur’s.

Q. I see, across the road, you say? A. Yes.

Q. That is at least three-quarters of a mile away? A. From Lindbergh’s mansion?

Q. Yes. A. Yes.

Q. Now, when you got down there did you use your flashlight, A. I did.

Q. All right, did you see the wooden walk along the east side of the house? A. Yes, sir.

Q. A sort of a platform walk, was it? A. Yes.

Q. That is wooden boards? A. Yes.

 [213] Q. Wooden planks? A. Yes.

Q. Heavy planks, I suppose? A. Yes.

Q. And, did you, when you did use your flashlight, did you see anything right near or underneath that window in the vicinity of that window? Well, you saw two marks on the ground, didn’t you? A. I did, yes.

Q. What were they? A. They were ladder marks.

Q. Ladder marks; and you mean indentations or impressions? A. Yes.

Q. In the ground? A. Yes.

Q. And just about how far away were they from the wooden platform walk that we just discussed? A. Right near.

Q. Right near? A. Within probably six or eight inches of the walk.

Q. So that first you had the house there, then there was some little distance to the wooden walk— A. Yes.

Q. And then about six or eight feet, did you say? A. Inches.

Q. Six or eight inches away from that wooden walk, and away from the house with the impressions that you talk about? A. Yes, sir.

Q. All right, sir.

Mr. Wilentz: Now, may I see that photograph, please? I think, Mr. Reilly, you did not consent to the admission of that until we had the—

Mr. Hauck: That went in.

Mr. Wilentz: Just mark it for identification. All right, we will forget that for a minute.

[214] Q. Now, in addition to that what else did you see in the vicinity of this ladder or at the foot of the ladder? A. I saw footprints leading from the imprints of the ladder toward the ladder.

Q. You saw footprints then leading from the imprints of the ladder in the direction of where the ladder was? A. That is correct.

Q. Where was that ladder? A. I would say fifty or sixty feet from the house.

Q. Were those footprints in the general direction of the place where the ladder was? A. They were.

Q. Could you see the ladder in the glare of the flashlight? A. I could.

Q. So that, officer, if you will please just stand by for a minute.— Which map do you think we might be able to show this on now—? Possibly this one. A. Over here (indicating).

Q. All right. Taking this window, and using the diagram of the house on Exhibit S-2, would the direction of the footprints toward the ladder be toward me from that house? A. Yes.

Q. That is, in an easterly direction then, I take it? A. Yes.

Q. Easterly, directly easterly or south easterly or north easterly? A. Probably a little south easterly.

Q. Have you got a picture of the house there with that ground at all, available?

Now, Officer, finally on May the 12th, 1932, you were still a special officer of Hopewell? A. I was special officer in the township and I was an officer in the Hopewell Borough.

Q. Yes. And was your attention directed to the location of a body somewhere in Mercer County? A. Yes.

Q. Did you go to that spot? A. I did.

[215] Q. Who directed your attention to it? A. A colored gentleman by the name of William Allen.

Q. And when he attracted your attention to the situation, did you again communicate with your Chief? A. I got in touch with him right away, yes.

Q. About what time of the day was it when you and the Chief started for this place, this spot? A. Around 3:30 in the afternoon.

Q. 3:30 in the afternoon? A. Three or 3:30 I couldn’t tell you exactly. It was in that neighborhood.

Q. And where did you go? A. We went in a car to get Allen.

Q. Allen. And when you got Allen where did you go? A. We went direct to where the baby was found.

Q. Right where the baby was found? A. Yes.

Q. And you saw the child’s body? A. I did.

Q. I want you to take a look at this picture, Exhibit S-6, I think it is.

The Reporter: Exhibit S-6.

Q. Yes, S-6. Do you see Exhibit S-6 now? A. Yes.

Q. Now, with reference to the child whose body you saw there that afternoon of May 12th, 1932,  will you tell us whether or not that is the child? A. Yes.

Q. Thank you, Officer. That is all. Oh, just this: did the child still have some clothing on? A. It had an undershirt on, yes.

Q. Can you recall whether or not these pieces of clothing shown by—

The Reporter: S-13 and S-14.

[216] Q. —whether or not these exhibits, S-13 and S-14,—take your time about it if you need it, officer, and tell us whether or not you can tell whether those pieces of clothing were on that child that afternoon. A. Yes, they were.

Q. In other words, these two articles referred to just now, these exhibits, comprise the clothing  that was on this child on that afternoon when you saw the body? A. Correct.

Mr. Wilentz: That is all, Officer, and thank you very much. Take the witness, please.

Cross Examination by Mr. Reilly:

Q. Did you ever see the Lindbergh baby in  life? A. I saw pictures of it.

Q. No. Did you ever see the baby? A. No, I did not.

Q. Of course, you don’t mean to tell this jury that the baby’s body that you saw there on the ground looked anything like this picture? A. The face of it did, yes, sir.

Q. Was the face flesh colored or was it brown? A. No, it was dark color, by being in the ground.

Q. Yes. I didn’t ask you “by being.” I asked  you was it brown or not. It was colored, wasn’t it? A. It was colored, yes.

Q. Now, let me see if I can refresh your recollection about the poor little baby’s body. Wasn’t it rather thin and emaciated and wasn’t the skin on the face rather drawn and brown? A. It was dark.

Q. Of course you could recognize the light curly hair? A. Yes, sir.

Q. Were you there when the Colonel came later  to the morgue? A. I was not.

[217] Q. Of course as a police officer, you are familiar with your duties, are you not? A. I am supposed to be.

Q. You have been forty years in the township and how long a police officer? A. Around 14 or 15 years.

Q. Did you see a man there that night known as a fingerprint expert? A. I did.

Q. His name was Kelly, was it not? A. Yes, sir,

Q. What did you see him do? A. I saw him take fingerprints of the note.

Q. Well, how many fingerprints did he take off the note? A. He took fingerprints of the envelope and also of the note.

Q. Where are those fingerprints? A. He couldn’t find them.

Q. Well, how could he take fingerprints off a note and afterwards not find any? A. He tried to get fingerprints.

Q. Which is it? A. He tried to get fingerprints and couldn’t find any.

Q. Tell us what he did. Did he sift some white powder on the envelope? A. He put powder on the envelope.

Q. Did he blow it off or brush it off? A. I can’t remember about that.

Q. Can you take a fingerprint? A. I never  have, no.

Q. The fingerprinting was in charge of a man that apparently was sent there for the purpose of taking fingerprints? A. I suppose so.

Q. That was his business? A. Yes.

Q. And you didn’t interfere with him? A. I watched him.

Q. You watched him. Did you not consider it just as important to save the footprints as you did the fingerprints? A. How is that?

[218] Q. Did you not consider it just as important to keep the footprints as you did the fingerprints? A. Just as important, did you mean?

Q. Yes. A. Well, it was all very important.

Q. Let’s assume now that the footprint was an eight and a half B or a ten B and you arrested a man whose shoe was ten and a half B  and you put the shoe down on top of the footprint or photograph of the footprint and it fitted, you would consider that evidence, wouldn’t you? A. Not necessarily.

Q. No. What would you call it? A. Well, partly, I suppose.

Q. You suppose. A. There are lots of people got the same size feet, same size shoe.

Q. Well, it is pretty convincing, isn’t it, when you arrest a suspect that has the same size shoe,  has the same size fingerprint—

Mr. Wilentz: Just a minute. I object to the question as being argumentative, if your Honor please.

The Court: Well, it is argumentative, and yet perhaps he has a right to test the credibility of the witness. He may proceed within limits.

Q. Now, when you were called to the house and found the Colonel at the door with the rifle, was the house well lighted? A. Yes.

Q. Who else did you see in the house? A. Mrs. Lindbergh.

Q. Who else? A. Betty Gow.

Q. Who else? A. Mr. and Mrs. Whateley.

Q. Who else? A. That is all.

Q. How soon after you arrived did any other [219] police officials come? A. I would say three-quarters of an hour.

Q. How long did you stay there that night? A. Until about around three o’clock in the morning.

Q. Did you call to the attention of the fingerprint man the window? A. I did not.

Q. Did the Colonel call to the attention of the fingerprint man the window? A. The Colonel

wasn’t in the room when the fingerprint man come, to my knowledge.

Q. At any time while you were there and while you were in the presence of the fingerprint man, did the Colonel call to the attention of the finger print man the window? A. Well, the Colonel was in and out of the room, the same as I was.

Q. You were the first officer there, weren’t you? A. Wolf and myself, yes, sir.       

Q. Both come together? A. Yes.

Q. Did Wolf call attention to the fingerprint man the window? A. Did he what?

Q. Call to the attention of the fingerprint man the window. A. Not to my knowledge.

Q. Well, what did you send for the finger print man for? A. I didn’t send for no fingerprint man.

Q. Who did send for him? A. I suppose Colonel Lindbergh or some of the officials.             

Q. Colonel Lindbergh had nothing to do with  the officials. What official sent for the fingerprint man, if you know? A. I don’t know.

Mr. Wilentz: Just a minute. I move that part be stricken out, Colonel Lindbergh having nothing to do with the officials. He had much to do with them. that night.

[220] Mr. Reilly: I mean sending for the fingerprint man.

Q. The sending for a fingerprint man was within the view and the duty of some official, wasn’t it? A. I suppose so, yes.

Q. Well, now, what I want to know is whether  you were there all the time Wolf was there? A. Yes, sir, we went together and we come home together.

Q. Fine. Were you in the room at any time, the nursery, that Colonel Lindbergh was in the room? A. I was.

Q. Did you call to Colonel Lindbergh’s attention the footprints on the floor leading from the window to the crib? A. I did not.

Q. Did he call them to your attention? A. He  did not.

Q. Did he call them to Wolf’s attention? A. I don’t know, I couldn’t tell you that.

Q. In your presence did he call them? A. He did not, no.

Q. Did he call it to the attention of the footprint or fingerprint man in your presence? A. Not to my knowledge.

Q. Was there any effort made to preserve the footprints so far as you know? A. There was  not, not so far as I know.

Q. Now, you have told us there were three or four footprints, you are sure about that? A. Yes, sir.

Q. And it ran from the window to the edge of the crib? A. I didn’t say the edge of the crib, I said towards the crib.

Q. All right, I think your answer to the Attorney General was to the edge of the crib? A. No, I did not.

[221] Q. How far away from the crib was the last footprint? A. I would say three or four feet.

Q. How many feet from the window was the crib? A. How is that Q. How many feet from the window was the crib? A. I would say 12 or 14 feet.

Q. How many footprints, then, were between the window and the crib that you saw? A. Possibly two or three.

Q. Were they men or women’s footprints? A. You couldn’t hardly tell.

Q. Were they large or small? A. Well, it was a blurred mark, quite large.

Q. What was on the floor A. There was a rug on the floor.

Q. A rug on the floor A. Yes, sir.

Q. What color rug? A. I couldn’t tell that.

Q. Was it a rug that was a different color from the footprints? A. It was.

Q. Did the footprints stand out so that you could see them? A. They were blurred.

Q. Even if they were blurred could you see them? A. Yes.

Q. Was any effort made to sift them with a light powder? A. I didn’t see it done.

Q. Did you see anybody photograph them? A. I did not.

Q. Do you know where they are now? A. (No answer.)

Q. Were they ever preserved? A. Not to my knowledge.

Q. Did you ever hear anybody give any orders not to preserve them? A. No.

Q, Did you ever hear anybody give any orders to preserve them? A. I did not.

Q. Did you see Colonel Schwarzkopf there that night? A. I did.

[222] Q. Did you tell him about the footprints? A. I did not.

Q. How is it you can say there were three footprints between the crib and the window and Colonel Lindbergh said there was only only one?

Mr. Wilentz: Just a minute. That is a comparison.

Mr. Reilly: I will withdraw it.

The Court: Yes.

Q. You still stick to your testimony there was three, do you? A. Two or three, I said.

Q. Two or three. And you saw them? A. I did.

Q. And your eyesight was good? A. Yes, sir.

Q. Did you call it to the attention of Colonel Schwarzkopf, “Here are footprints”? A. Colonel Schwarzkopf wasn’t in the room when I was, at no time.

Q. Did he ask you anything about the footprint? A. He did not.

Q. Didn’t he ask who was the first officer here? A. I didn’t hear him.

Q. Didn’t he ask you your name? A. He did not.

Q. He didn’t ask you any questions at all? A. No, sir.

Q. Didn’t he ask you who lifted the note? Are you the man that lifted the note over with a penknife? A. I did not.

Q. Who did, Wolf? A. What Wolf? There is two Wolfs.

Q. Your chief. A. No, he did not. He didn’t touch it. I didn’t either.

Q. Where did you see the note? A. In the  window.

[223] Q. Whereabouts in the window? A. The window sill.

Q. Just whereabouts? Here is a picture. Is that the window? A. Yes, sir.

Q. Now whereabouts was it? A. right there.

Q. Lying flat on the window sill? A. It was.

Q. Did you examine the outside of the house? A. Afterwards, yes.

Q. You found two prints in the mud, did you? A. Yes, sir.

Q. Was the mud soft? A. Very soft.

Q. Very soft? A. Yes, sir.

Q. Yet it was a very cold, windy night? A. It turned cold, yes.

Q. Yes. And yet the mud stayed soft and didn’t freeze, is that what you want us to believe? A. It froze later in the evening.

Q. Oh, after the ladder was put in the ground and you took the photograph, then the mud froze? A. I didn’t take no photograph.

Q. Were you there when they were taken? A. No, sir.

Q. Do you know when they were taken? A. I do not.

Q. You went away at three o’clock in the morning and no photograph had been taken up to then? A. I could not tell you; I didn’t see.

Q. What time of the night would you say it froze, the ground froze? A. Well, I would say around twelve or one o’clock.

Q. How many footprints did you see in the soft ground leading toward the ladder? A. Three or four.

Q. Were they right in the mud? A. Yes, sir.

Q. Just as soft as the points of the ladder? A. Yes, sir.

Q. Were they men’s or women’s footprints? A. Men’s.  

[224] Q. Did you measure those? A. I did not.

Q. Did you see anybody pour plaster of Paris into those footprints to preserve the size? A. I did not.

Q. Do you know whether it was ever done? A. I couldn’t tell you.

Q. You had a footprint and fingerprint man  there, did you not? A. I don’t know about the footprint. I know there was a fingerprint.

Q. You know a man that can take fingerprints can take footprints, don’t you? A. I suppose so.

Q. You could take it if you had plaster of Paris and water? A. Yes.

Q. Did anybody take it? A. I couldn’t tell you.

Q. Did anybody ask for flour and water to take it? A. I didn’t hear it.

Q. Did you ever see these photographs before?  A. Yes, sir.

Q. But you were not there when they were taken? A. No, sir.

Q. Were you back there the next day? A. I was.

Q. What did you do the next day? A. What is that?

Q. What did you do the next day when you came back? A. I run messages up there for two or three days.

Q. Between the garage and the house? A. Between Hopewell and Lindbergh’s home.

Q. On a motorcycle? A. Yes, sir.

Q. Is the outside of Colonel Lindbergh’s house stucco? A. It was stone.

Q. Stone? A. Yes, sir.

Q. Cobblestone, was it? I have never seen the house. Is it small stones?, A. Well, they are gray rock.

Q. Gray rock? A. Yes.

Q. Irregular or regular surface? A. A little  irregular. They are painted.

[225] Q. It is not a cobblestone house? A. No, not cobblestone.

Q. It is an irregular rock house, is it? A. Yes.

Q. You say when you went into the room, you have no idea whether the casement window was open or not? A. Beg pardon?

Q. When you went into the room you say you have no idea whether the casement window was open or not? A. It was closed.

Q. That is the French window? A. That is the window where the baby was kidnaped from.

Q. I do not mean that one. Was there any other window in the room? A. Yes, sir.

Q. Did that open outward, two French doors, instead of sliding up and down? A. On the outside of the house?

Q. Yes, in the same room. A. I didn’t observe it. I didn’t take notice of those windows.     

Q. Did you examine the shutters outside what we call the kidnap window? A. I saw the shutters.

Q. Were they closed or open? A. Open.

Q. Open against the house? A. Yes.

Q. Did Kelly try to get any fingerprints from the shutters? A. I didn’t see him.

Q. Did he ever tell you he did? A. No, he never told me.

Mr. Reilly: The witness is yours.

Redirect Examination by Mr. Wilentz:

Q. Except as a private citizen, of course, you have no police jurisdiction at Colonel Lindbergh’s place? A. I have not. It is in another county.

Q. By the way, what was your salary, what was your pay those days?

[226] Mr. Reilly: I object to it as incompetent, irrelevant and immaterial.

Mr. Wilentz: All right, sir. I withdraw the question.

The Court: The question is withdrawn.

Mr. Wilentz: Thank you, Officer.

Recross Examination by Mr. Reilly:

Q. Even though you have no duty, you were acting as an official at night, were you not? A. Yes.

Q. And not as a citizen? A. No.

Q. You were there as an officer of the law, and  the first one called by telephone to that home by Colonel Lindbergh or somebody in his house? A. That is correct.

Q. Correct? A. That is correct.

Redirect Examination by Mr. Wilentz:

Q. You wanted to help and do the best you could, didn’t you?

Mr. Reilly: I object to that question.

Mr. Wilentz: Why?

Mr. Reilly: If he wanted to help. He was summoned in his official capacity.

Mr. Wilentz: All right, I will withdraw the question. That is all. Thank you, sir.