Adam's Life in Prison
AFTER HIS SENTENCING
Four months after Adam's conviction, on Oct. 22, 1935 a poem, ran in the Kansas City Star. It was a
memorial to Charles Floyd, written and placed by Beulah, Rose, and Adam.
|We never knew what pain he had.
We did not see him die;
We only knew he passed away.
And did not say goodbye.
We are thinking of you Daddy dear,
Thinking of the past.
You left behind some broken hearts
That loved you to the last;
That never did, nor never will
Forget you, Daddy dear,
And while you rest in peaceful sleep
Your memory we shall always keep.
Charles "Pretty Boy" Floyd
Adam sat in the county jail for a little over 4 years. While in the county jail he had been fed poorly and grossly mistreated. He had
been tortured severely, being burnt on his stomach and the bottoms of his feet with cigarettes. His toenails and fingernails had
been torn off systematically, all of this to get him to talk about his involvement in the Kansas City incident. On July 8th, 1935 Adam
supposedly fell out of his bunk at the Jackson County Jail and injured himself severely about the head and face. According to an
article he had fallen several times hitting his face against the jail house bars. He was moved to a padded cell in solitary
confinement for some time to keep him quiet.
While he had spent those long hard years in the county jail, the jailers had moved him from cell to cell so that he would draw many
of his murals on the cells that he had occupied. Adam was a very talented artist and painter. While he was in jail he drew many
Adam's lawyers eventually appealed his conviction, but it was affirmed by the State of Missouri Supreme Court on May 3, 1938.
Subsequently, due to his continued abuses at the hands of local law enforcement and the jailers in charge of him, Richetti's
lawyers alleged Adam to be insane, and a hearing was held at which time his sanity was clearly established.
On August 31, 1938, Adam was again sentenced to death, this time in the gas chamber of the Missouri State Penitentiary of
Jefferson City, Missouri. Adam after spending 4 years and 3 months in the county jail was transferred to the Missouri State Prison
on September 2, 1938. It would be only another month before the end.
Adam washed his hands and combed his hair time after time that day, October 6th 1938 as he awaited his somber walk to the
gas chamber. This was the last day that he would ever see daylight, he nervously counted the hours.
He continued his refusal to talk freely with officers. He indicated he wished to spend his remaining hours in solitude, the hand
washing and hair combing continued, being a pastime for months.
Missouri State Penitentiary Jefferson City, Mo
Prison Bible issued to Adam
During the months Adam was incarcerated he frequently boasted he would not be executed and that gangster associates would
spring him. His wish almost came true. Benny Dickson a local Kansas bandit had perpetrated a fantastic plot to dynamite the
Missouri prison and free Adam. Benny Dickson's plot was to smuggle dynamite, ammunition and guns into the prison by
concealing them in furniture needing repair.
The week prior to Adam's scheduled execution a local furniture repairman, Milo Waltz who happened to be the Sheriff's brother
was called to pick up some furniture and have it repaired. Benny Dickson who once worked in the prison repair shop had thought
the furniture would be taken to the prison to be repaired as it was in the past. Milo Waltz however did his own repair work so the
plot was doomed from the beginning. Milo's men picked up the furniture Wednesday the day prior to Adam's execution and began
tearing it apart. In a pillow of the sofa he found a revolver, 50 rounds of ammunition and one stick of dynamite. Another pillow
contained an identical cache.
Benny Dickson was killed by Federal agents in St Louis the spring of the following year and his wife Stella Mae was captured by
FBI agents in Kansas City for questioning.
Adam spent his last day quietly in his cell maintaining the silence that he had observed since his capture in Wellsville, Ohio. He
had declined an offer of a private radio and grunted "No" when asked if the radios in other cells in death row would bother him.
Adam's last meal consisted of the same as the rest of the prisoners, with the exception of a few extras. His menu consisted of
eggs, steak, potatoes, eggplant, corn, gravy, bun, butter, pineapple, cookies, cake and coffee Tonight, soon after midnight, he
would be put to death. His hopes and wishes finally ending that night. Adam had dark hair and slightly balding, brown eyes, high
cheek bones and was about 5 feet 7 inches tall with a slouch and weighed 121 pounds.
40 witnesses were invited to the execution, not all attending. Among them were Louis A. Myers, detective sergeant, and Robert E.
Hermanson, patrolman, son of the slain Frank E. Hermanson, whom Adam was accused of killing, from the Kansas City police
department, hiway patrolman, Capt. John H. Yount, from Jefferson City, Merrill Chilcote and Harold Slater, both of St. Joe's Mo.
News Press, Nells R. Nelson, Kansas City Humane Society, John J. Carrol, Chief of Dectives St. Louis, MO, two agents of the
federal bureau of investigation, E.P. Guinanna, and H.L. Scott, and three deputy sheriffs from Kansas City, Ralph Depew, Joe
Phillips, and J.A. Fairdome.
Under the law, Adam was permitted to make requests for witnesses among his immediate family but choose not to have any
present. His two brothers, Joe Richetti of Bolivar, Mo., and Dave Richetti of Dunn Glen, Ohio, visited him in the death cell
Wednesday to say the family's good-bye's.
Adam, had been pressured throught out the day to
tell about the KC Massacre. The Black blind folded
was placed on him along with black shorts and
black socks, no shirt. He, taken from his cell in 'B'
hall inside the prison a long quiet, lonely walk
approximately 1/4 of a mile to the small gray
building in the court yard housing the gas
chamber at 11:30pm, Thursday the 6th of October.
He was placed in a temporary cell, his hands
shackled, where he was attended by two Catholic
B&C Hall 1938 Missouri State Penn
Temporary Holding Cell
Left - Gas
Chamber built in
Right - 2 seats
J. Frank Ramsey, warden, read the death warrant at 12:02am, Friday the 7th of October. Adam's life would now be measured in
minutes and seconds. "What is this all about?" Adam asked, when Ramsey had finished. The two priests then administered the
last rites of the church to Adam Richetti before the condemned man was stripped to his shorts for entrance into the cold deadly
gas chamber. Goggle blindfolds then were placed over his eyes and he was led the ten short steps to the entrance of the lethal
chamber at 12:06am.
Adam maintained his bravado until the leather straps were tightened around his arms and legs. Still protesting his innocence,
Adam proclaimed, "What have I done to deserve this?" he exclaimed as guards strapped him in one of the two chairs, closed the
heavy steel door at 12:10am. 15 seconds later the generator started that released the deadly cyanide eggs into a bucket of water.
Instantly vapors began to flow from the bucket onto the floor of the lethal chamber. The lips of the attending priests moved in
Prison officers believed Adam had gambled on a last minute commutation but that failed to materialize. Within 15 seconds after
the deadly cyanide eggs had been dropped the lethal fumes arose around Adam's face and when he was able to see the gas that
soon would put him to sleep for ever, his control snapped. Instead of breathing deeply, he struggled to hold his breath for several
seconds. Adam gasped deeply once, and then witnesses and attending prison officials heard an unsettling, piercing scream
come from the gas chamber from a man that they would remember forever. Adam was the first to make an outcry - five others had
died in the gas chamber before him quietly. The gas acted quickly and by 12:11am Adam had become unconscious and through
a window on one side, the guards watched him slump forward. By 12:12am Adam made no movement and sat there silently as if
asleep. At 12:14am, he was pronounced dead by the prison doctor, Dr. W. W. Rambo.
Adam silently sat in that chamber surrounded by the deadly cyanide gas for another 14 minutes until prison officials turned on the
blowers to clear the chamber of the deadly gas that they had unleashed . At 12:46 the heavy, cold steel door was unlatched and
Adam's lifeless body was unstrapped and removed from the deadly chamber that he had spent the last few remaining seconds of
his young short life, and carried to an awaiting gurney where he was officially pronounced dead, and an identifying fingerprint was
taken of his right index finger. His death thus officially closed the case of the Kansas City Massacre. Adam Richetti was the 6th
person to die in the Missouri gas chamber.
Adam's body was returned to Bolivar, Missouri, under the supervision of the Polk County Sheriff, Harry D. Butler, and the funeral
director of the Butler Funeral Home, Mr. Willard B. Erwin. There in the Butler Funeral Home services were held with Joe Richetti
presiding. Adam Richetti was buried at the Greenwood Cemetery in Section 10, lot 32, facing west to the street in Bolivar, Missouri
on October 10, 1938. Over 3,000 people attended the burial. The adjoining plots remain empty to this day.
Greenwood Cemetary, Bolivar
Adam Richetti, Born Strawn, Texas,
Aug 5, 1909. Died Missouri State
Pennitentiary Oct 7, 1938
His small, nondescript tombstone, rests alone. Joe Richetti listed Adam's occupation as a mechanic on the funeral record. Adam's
Adam Ricchetti was born in Strawn Tex., Aug 5, 1909.
The youngest son of Elizabeth and Barto Richetti.
He was baptized into the Catholic Church.
He spent most of his life with his parents
in Lehigh, Okla., and for a short time made
his home in Bolivar with his brother, Joe Richetti.
Adam Richetti passed from this life to the next
Oct. 7, 1938.
He leaves to mourn his passing his mother,
Mrs. B. Richetti of Lehigh, Ok., two brothers,
Joe Richetti of Bolivar, Mo., and Dave Richetti
of Dillonvale, Ohio, and three sisters, Mrs Eva Pittman
of Wichita Falls, Tex., Mrs Marie Freer of Lehigh, Ok.,
and Mrs. Minnie Sustik of Dillonvale, Ohio.
A private funeral service was held, Monday, Oct. 10, 1938,
at 10 am conducted by Rev Lester Greenwood.
Interment was in Greenwood Cemetery at Bolivar under the
direction of the White and Erwin Funeral Home.
CARD OF THANKS
We wish to thank our neighbors and
friends for their sympathy and help and the floral offerings
and especially do we thank Mr. and Mrs. White
and Mr. and Mrs. Willard Erwin.
Joe Richetti and family
Mrs. B. Richetti
|Three days after Adam's execution, the case US Vs Adam Richetti, in the district court of the
United States of America for the Western District of Missouri, Western Division, was
dismissed. Dated at Kansas City, Missouri, the 10 day of October, 1938. The order was
signed by Judge Albert Reeves
Thus the government closed the case of the Kansas City Massacre
A special thanks to
Hutcheson for his
effort in restoring