Murderer in a Cell
CZOLGOSZ’S NERVE FAILED HIM IN THE END.
Collapsed in the Prison Hall After the Gate Had Been Safely Closed
Cringing, whining, the cur that he
is, Leon F. Czolgosz, the assassin of President William McKinley,
was received within the gates of Auburn prison just after the bells
had tolled the hour of 3 this morning.
This fiend incarnate, who had gone
so far as to plead his guilt when called before the bar of justice,
who had refused to talk with former Supreme Court Justices Loren
L. Lewis and Robert C. Titus, the eminent lawyers who had been assigned
to defend him, who had declared his contempt of existing laws and
his disbelief in holy teachings—this horrible example of the unchecked
spread of Anarchy in the United States, came to the place of his
doom a picture of abject misery. The brain that had been perverted
until it could plan and successfully execute the dastardly plan
of killing the President of the Republic which assured him life,
liberty and the pursuit of happiness, had failed; the hand that
had held the revolver that carried out the dictates of that mind
had lost its cunning.
Czolgosz, the fiend, who had declared
that he had but done his duty in striving to bereave the Nation
of its beloved Chief Executive, himself brought to a realization
of the fate that must be his, failed. Failed! Aye, collapsed! His
spirit was broken when the crucial test came as are the spirits
of those of his ilk who are brought face to face with the law’s
stern mandate for their inflammatory utterances and destructive
The law allows Czolgosz until the
beginning of the week of October 28 to live. To those nearest him
when he entered Auburn prison early this morning he appeared to
die a thousand deaths and [each?] death worse a thousand times than
the humane punishment prescribed by New York State law for offenses
of the gravity of his.
Words actually fail to describe the
condition of the wretch. Had his offense been less grievous, had
there been the slightest doubt of his mental soundness when he committed
his terrible crime, brawny men, whose eyes are accustomed to affecting
scenes, who are oftimes [sic] compelled to perform duties repugnant
to their natures, would have been moved to pity the dastard. But
there was no pity there[.]
Shaking from head to foot, his eyes
closed and his lips uttering sounds that seemed pleas for mercy,
the slayer of William McKinley was placed on one of the sitting
benches in the rear of the main hall as soon as he arrived. His
right wrist was handcuffed to the left one of Jailer Mitchell, of
Erie county [sic]. Placed in a sitting posture, Czolgosz at once
reclined on his left arm and then extended that so as to let his
head fall to the seat of the bench.
A momentary difficulty was experienced
in unlocking the handcuff which secured the assassin’s right wrist.
He turned his head so that his face was upwards. His lips did not
part but from them issued sounds as though from one in great pain.
The handcuff was unlocked and the prisoner was unceremoniously yanked
to a sitting posture. The handcuff once off he was Warden Mead’s
prisoner and two of that official’s assistants, Principal Keeper
Allen P. Tupper and Keeper John Martin were on hand to carry out
the warden’s orders. These were that the prisoner be removed to
the principal keeper’s office.
As Keepers Tupper and Martin laid
hold of him, the body of Czolgosz twitched convulsively, then his
head dropped to one side and he emitted a groan that will never
be forgotten by those who heard it. The prison officials raised
him from the bench but his legs bent under him. He had lost the
power of locomotion. He was conscious, apparently, but the climax
of the terrible strain which he had undergone seemed to have arrived
and there were those among the spectators through whose mind flashed
the thought that nature was about to cheat the law of the State,
and the Nation’s expressed will.
Czolgosz was fairly carried to the
office of Principal Keeper Tupper and placed in a chair. His body
fell forward, his legs were limp and his face, not marked by much
color at any time, was ashen. There were skeptics among the officers
who did not hesitate to declare their belief that the murderer was
shamming, but they were few. No time was lost in divesting Czolgosz
of his well worn clothing. As soon as this operation was begun the
assassin’s moans became so loud that they were plainly audible to
the crowd in the hall, separated from the principal keeper’s office
by the door thereof, a heavy door with a small wicket opening into
the hall, and several feet of space.
Warden Mead feared that the man was
in a dangerous way and sent post-haste for Prison Physician Gerin.
That officer responded with all the speed at his command but by
the time he arrived Czolgosz was minus the clothes he wore when
he entered the gate and garbed in a prison made suit of dark material,
the regulation suit given convicts on their discharge from prison
and the kind which most of his 14 predecessors to the electric chair
in Auburn prison had worn. But his cries and groans had not ceased.
Dr. Gerin took charge of the man at
once, had sufficient of his clothing removed or loosened to permit
of a pretty thorough examination and then determined that the murderer
of the Nation’s Chief Magistrate was in a highly nervous state,
bordering on collapse, a condition hastened perhaps by his speedy
and none too ceremonious journey through the crowd between the station
and the gate, supplementing his dread of bodily harm. The doctor
was of the opinion, however, that his collapse was not so serious
as appeared and that Czolgosz was shamming to some extent.