The story behind the execution of the Lindbergh baby kidnapper
One of the most notorious crimes in New Jersey, and American history came to a conclusion on April 3rd, 1936. Bruno Richard Hauptman, convicted of the kidnapping and murder of the Lindbergh baby was executed via the electric chair at the New Jersey State Prison. His trial in Flemington was dubbed the “Crime of the Century” and attracted reporters and curiosity seekers from all over the world; it is said that there was not a single hotel room to be found in town.
Charles Lindbergh Jr., a 20-month-old was abducted from the Lindbergh home in East Amwell in March of 1932 and the baby’s dead body was found by the side of a road in May of that year. His father, Charles Lindbergh, Sr. had gained worldwide fame for the first solo trans-atlantic flight. The kidnapper used a ladder to access the second story window of the baby’s nursery. A ransom note was found at the scene and the Lindberghs ultimately paid the $70,000, but the baby was not returned, according to History.com. Six weeks later, the body was found.
An intensive manhunt followed. Norman Schwarzkopf, Sr., the head of the State Police led the investigation, although it was reported that Lindbergh tried to control the investigation and slowed things down. The authorities had virtually no leads when the case broke: a man exchanged gold certificates from the ransom money at a bank in Manhattan. One of the certificates that the teller recognized as part of the ransom; it had a license plate number written in the margin because the gas station owner where the bill was used thought the man was suspicious. The licensed number was registered to Bruno Richard Hauptman, a German carpenter who lived in the Bronx. Over $14,000 of the ransom money was found in his garage along with other evidence in his apartment. Hauptman maintained that the money had been given to him as payment for a debt by a German who had since died. Hauptman was arrested and interrogated; he was charged with capital murder.
Hauptman's subsequent appeals were denied and although he was offered a large sum of money by the Hearst newspapers he declined to confess. He was electrocuted in 1936, four years after the kidnapping. His widow, Anna Hauptman maintained his innocence until her death at age 95.
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