Source: Chicago Daily Tribune
Source type: newspaper
Document type: article
Document title: “Czolgosz in Death Cell”
City of publication: Chicago, Illinois
Date of publication: 28 September 1901
Volume number: 60
Issue number: 271
|“Czolgosz in Death Cell.” Chicago Daily Tribune 28 Sept. 1901 v60n271: part 1, p. 2.|
|Leon Czolgosz (incarceration: Auburn, NY); Leon Czolgosz (arrival at Auburn State Prison); Leon Czolgosz (mental health); Leon Czolgosz (public statements).|
|Samuel Caldwell; Leon Czolgosz; John Gerin; Ida McKinley; William McKinley; Patrick Mitchell.|
Czolgosz in Death Cell
ASSASSIN REGAINS HIS NERVE AFTER ENTERING PRISON.
Shrieks with Terror When Penitentiary Officers Remove His Clothes—Slayer of
President McKinley Again Denies That He Had Any Accomplices in His Crime
and Expresses Regret for His Deed and Sorrow for the Widow—May See a Priest.
Auburn, N. Y., Sept. 27.—[Special.]—In one of
the death cells at the Auburn penitentiary tonight is Leon F. Czolgosz, assassin
of President McKinley, once more cool, calm, and indifferent to his fate. He
knows he will leave the cell only to go to the electric chair, but the doomed
man has regained his composure.
There are five cells for condemned men in the prison, and Czolgosz was placed in the only vacant cell, so all now are occupied.
Two keepers are constantly in the room, which is separate from the main prison, to guard against an attempt on Czolgosz’s part to commit suicide. Two more guards have been added, and one will constantly sit in front of Czolgosz’s cell and will have a key so that any attempt at self-destruction may be frustrated.
Czolgosz, in the custody of Sheriff Caldwell of Erie County and twenty-one deputies, arrived in Auburn at 3:15 o’clock this morning. The prison is only about fifty yards from the depot. Awaiting the train was a crowd of about 200 persons. Either for fear of the crowd, which was not demonstrative, or from sight of the prison, Czolgosz’s legs gave out and two Deputy Sheriffs were compelled practically to carry the man into the prison.
Cries and Moans in Terror.
Inside the gate Czolgosz’s condition
became worse and he was dragged up the stairs and into the main hall. He was
placed in a sitting posture on the bench while the handcuffs were being removed,
but he fell over and moaned and groaned, evincing the most abject terror. As
soon as the handcuffs were unlocked the man was dragged into the principal keeper’s
As in the case of all prisoners the officers immediately proceeded to strip the condemned man and put on a new suit of clothes. During this operation Czolgosz cried and yelled, making the prison corridors echo with evidence of his terror.
The prison physician, Dr. John Gerin, examined the man and ordered his removal to the cell in the condemned row, which he will occupy until he is taken to the electric chair. The doctor declared that the man was suffering from fright and terror, but said that he was shamming to some extent.
Story of Accomplice Denied.
En route from Buffalo Czolgosz reiterated
his former statement that he had had no accomplices and declared that he never
had heard of the man under arrest in St. Louis, who claimed to have tied the
handkerchief over his hand, concealing the pistol with which the President was
shot. He said the handkerchief was not tied. He went behind the Temple of Music,
arranged the handkerchief to hide the weapon, and then took his place in the
crowd. By Jailer Mitchell he sent this message to his father: “Tell him I am
sorry I left such a bad name for him.”
Speaking of his crime, Czolgosz said:
“I am sorry I did it.”
Sorry for Mrs. McKinley.
“One thing more I want to tell.
I would give my life, if it were mine to give, if I could help Mrs. McKinley.
That is the saddest part of it. But what is the use talking about that now?
The law is right, it is just. It was just to me and I have no complaint, only
“If you had to do it over again would you do it?”
“No, I would not. It was a mistake.”
“Was your mind influenced by reading Anarchist newspapers or books?”
“I don’t know.”
“Do you know anybody in Paterson, N. J., and Anarchists?”
“No, I don’t know anybody there.”
“Was your trial fair?”
“Yes, it was fairer than I thought I would get. The Judge could not help doing what he did. The jury could not; the law made them do it. I don’t want to say now it was wrong. It was fair to me and it was right. I have nothing to say about it.”
The last question asked him was if he would have a priest and if he hated religion.
“I don’t want to be ashamed,” he said. “Maybe I will see a priest—maybe I will. It is worse than I thought it would be.”