Adam sat in the county jail for a little over 4 years. In the first few months shortly after his capture Rose Baird
frequently visited with Adam. During her visits she solicited him for information regarding the KC Massacre in an
effort to assist the FBI with information. Rose also had kept in touch with Adam's mother often relaying information
to and from. 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 pictures
While in the Columbia city jail Adam spent time sketching with a pencil on the painted metal walls of his cell. Later
occupants have mutilated or completely destroyed all but one of these examples of his artistic expressions.
In 1940 the above picture remained although not entirely escaping the ravages of the intervening years since 1934.
The sketch a 4 foot semi-nude was covered over with a preservative to insure it's endurability. Less gifted pencils
have almost destroyed what officials say was remarkable shading. Cruder hands have attempted to place shoes
on the feet of the "Ricchetti Girl". Artists viewing the work have termed Ricchetti's instinctive sense of shading and
proportion almost amazing, given the fact the it was done without any reference models.
In permitting the "Ricchetti girl" to be photographed now for the first time Chief of Police Orville H. Pollock said:
"Ricchetti is gone. He has paid the supreme penalty for a life of crime. This picture shows that Ricchetti could
have been a successful commercial artist and a useful, constructive citizen. Instead, he became a criminal and
he paid with his life.
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
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.
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 talk 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 priests.
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 prayers.
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 opened.
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.
His small, nondescript tombstone, rests alone. Joe Richetti listed Adam's occupation as a mechanic on the funeral
record. Adam's obituary read:
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
Adam's Life in Prison
|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 Arthur Floyd
b: Feb 3, 1904 d:Oct 22 1934
d 11/16/1993 @ 84
d 7/13/1994 @ 88
|Missouri State Pennitentiary
Jefferson City, Mo.
Missouri State Penn
Gas Chamber, built in 1937
Right - 2 seats inside chamber
A special thanks to
Hutcheson for his
effort in restoring
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