Kansas City Massacre Trial Day 3
On June 13th, the first day of actual testimony, Adam presented himself as a colorful picture in the natty attire he purchased for
his trial, which began before Judge Ray G. Cowan. He wore a gray suit, black shoes, white shirt, a green and white tie and
purple socks. He was clean shaven, and well groomed and gave the appearance of a clerk or prosperous salesman rather than
the brutal killer he is pictured to be by the state. He was kept under close guard by Deputy Sheriff William Calloway sitting directly
beside him. There were also many other deputies in and around the court room.
Adam’s lawyers immediately filed a motion to quash the grand jury indictments siting numerous legal reasons. Some of those
reasons related to the 5th, 6th, and 14th amendments of the US Constitution, in addition to the Missouri constitutional rights
which they felt Adam had not been afforded during the state grand jury hearings. They had also felt the indictments were not
specific enough concerning the means and weapons that were used to murder Officer Hermanson. One of their biggest
complaints concerned the jury selection process which did not include citizens of Negro, Italian, Greek, Chinese or Japanese
nationalities. Adam’s attorneys in support of their motion had cited a recent ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court in connection with
the conviction of three Negroes in Alabama on a murder charge, which reversed the findings of the lower courts on the grounds
that no Negroes were named on the jury panel. All of their motions were overruled, and the exceptions noted.
Michael O’Hern the prosecuting attorney was the first to speak and presented his opening remarks for the state. He outlined the
story concerning Frank Nash and how he was captured and transported to Union Station. He then spoke about the various law
enforcement officers who helped with the operation. He talked about how approximately 30 minutes after Nash had been
captured that Mrs. Nash knew about it and began making phone calls concerning her husbands whereabouts, about the phone
calls Mrs. Nash had made to Verne Miller at 10pm, and then later on around midnight. He addressed Verne Miller’s residence on
Edgevale Road, and spoke of Lottie West’s up and coming testimony concerning the events at Union Station. He then moved
on and spoke concerning the events of June 16th, about Jack Killingsworths kidnapping and the incidents in Bolivar, Missouri.
Everything was going well up to that point when the defense attorney’s objected to the statement concerning Jack Killingworths
kidnapping. They objected on the grounds that statement involved an alleged crime and their defendant is on trial for this crime.
There was much discussion with Judge Cowan whereupon he instructed the jury to disregard the prosecutions statement
concerning Killingworth’s kidnapping.
The prosecuting attorney persisted on his path to link the story of the incident in Bolivar, with this trial and many objections came
about due to his statements. The jury however had already heard everything. Mr. O’Hern continued to speak about the June 16th
incident and the weapons involved. He described Killingsworth’s testimony to the jury and then moved on to the events of June
17. He talked about how the officers escorted Nash through Union Station, out the door and into the car. He spoke of the
massacre itself and those involved, and how Chief Higgins picked up empty shell casings around the seen of the crime
immediately after the incident. He told of finding Adam’s finger prints a few days after the 17th, at Verne Miller’s house, at which
time the defense again objected and interjected that the finger prints were found 12 days after the fact. He reiterated the story of
Charles Floyds death, the weapons found on him, and the weapons taken from Adam in Wellsville. He implored the jury to follow
the evidence and convict Adam.
The first witness called on behalf of the state was Arthur H. Muchow, who was the Deputy Warden of the State Penitentiary in
South Dakota. He was asked and testified to the facts concerning his knowledge of Verne Miller while he was Sheriff of Beadle
County. He identified pictures he had taken of Verne in April 1923, and also of fingerprint records.
Under cross examination the defense basically tried to question him concerning his expertise in taking fingerprints, and photos
with Arthur admitting he was not an expert.
The next witness called for the state was Tom Higgins, Chief of Detectives, Kansas City, Missouri. He testified as to being on the
police department for 25 years and that he had previously arrested Charles Floyd in Kansas City on 10 March, 1929 and then
again about eight months later. He was then ask about his relationship with Frank Hermanson, and William Grooms, and he
recalled what he had seen at Union Station when he had arrived concerning the dead law enforcement officers. The defense
cross examined Tom Higgins particularly hard especially about pictures he had hanging on his wall of Charles Floyd, and of
others he had in his files in 1933, especially when he interviewed witnesses and took their statements in his office about the KC
shooting. He told of taking these witnesses to Mr. Mastin’s office who was the prosecuting attorney. He was asked about his
relationship with Lottie West and that he had known her for several years while she was a policewoman and that shortly after the
shooting she had came to his office and he had showed her a number of pictures including Floyd, Underhill, Phillips, Bailey,
Clark, Davis and Brady and at that time she only picked out Bernard Phillips’ picture before she was interrupted by Mr. Mastin
entering the room, at which time she was still looking at the remaining photographs. Tom Higgins described how he had
worked on the case and was still working with other law enforcement agencies, and that after two years circulars had been sent
out on other men but none for Adam.
Ralph Latshaw and Michael O’Hern then exchanged a heated legal debate out of the presence and hearing of the jury with Judge
Cowan. The discussion was based on Tom Higgins remark that he had worked for almost 2 years on this case and never once
did Adam Ricchetti’s name come up. Not from the time he interviewed witnesses, other government law enforcement officers or
anyone else for that matter. That he had seen no reference to his name on any reports. The state objected to the questioning
and the court sustained the objection.
Mr. Latshaw continued to pursue Tom Higgins on the pickup request issued on Jim Clark, Brady, Davis, and Wilbur Underhill at
which time he submitted into evidence pictures of the circular and an article “Chief’s Chair” that included Verne Miller, and
William Weissman which was dated October 1933. Once again legal rangling interrupted the trial, this time in the presence of
the jury but out of hearing. It was then that Mr. Latshaw told the Judge, and the prosecuting attorney that it was the defense’s
theory that this is a “Save your Face” case by the Bureau of Investigation. In other words, they identified everybody but this
defendant and are now attempting to back track and identify this defendant, and we can only show these matters by reason. It
was at that time an unidentified juror piped up and wanted to ask a question, which the judge immediately told him “No, sir. The
defense tried to establish with Tom Higgins exactly what the facts were concerning their defendant Adam Ricchetti. The state
objected and the court sustained the objection and informed the defense that they were not to pursue the circulars at this time, at
which time they went into recess until 1:30 pm.
Court was reconvened at 2pm that day, and Tom Higgins resumed his place on the stand with the intense cross examination of
Ralph Latshaw. The questioning moved on to the events of June 17th, 1933. Tom was asked about the police cruiser, a 103
that Grooms and Hermanson drove to Union Station that day and how when he arrived at the scene of the crime he hadn’t
noticed any weapons in that car. In an effort to learn where those weapons had disappeared to he called the police station and
was informed that the two machine guns and rifle were left at the station which he verified when he returned there later that day.
He described seeing a shotgun in Caffrey’s car which Higgins claimed that the only shotgun there belonged to Otto Reed, and of
seeing Grooms 38 Smith and Wesson, and Hermanson’s revolver of which he wasn’t sure of the caliber or make. Tom had
picked up several .45 shell casings and lead slugs along with them he also turned in two shotgun shells, one of which had been
fired and the other intact, however he found no ball bearings. He described seeing Frank Nash sitting in the front seat with a
gunshot wound which he felt came from the back of the head. When asked about Officer Hermanson’s gunshot wound, Higgins
answered that he didn’t know, and that he was not aware of any bullets taken from his body. They then moved on to the
investigation of Verne Miller’s residence on Edgevale Road and he described how he and Director Reppert and Mr. Vetterli went
out to the house 10 to 12 days after the 17th, and made a thorough investigation of the rooms, basement, and attic, even
searching the garbage can. All they had found was a 3 gallon milk can that was half filled with roofing nails, which they took back
to the station, and case of dusty beer bottles in the basement, and several beer bottles in the kitchen. They had looked all over
the house for fingerprints however Tom Higgins testified that they found none and that he had been involved with finding
fingerprints for over 20 years. Higgins was then questioned as to how long after the shooting that he had hired the Burns
Detective Agency to work on this case which he replied that it had been a few weeks. Evidently the Burns Detective Agency also
had been involved with Federal Agents and during that time where never instructed to investigate Adam. Under redirect
examination by Mr. Boyle, the assistant prosecuting attorney, Tom Higgins again described how he had gathered up 20-25
witness including Mrs. Lottie West shortly after the shooting and how they were gathered in his office looking over the numerous
pictures and how Mrs. West picked out the picture of Bernard Phillips, and how the witness were interrupted by Mr. Mastin.
Floyds picture was included in the stack of pictures however Tom Higgins could not say for sure that Mrs. West had an
opportunity to identify it before being interrupted.
The next witness called was Carl Zarder, who was a record clerk at the US Penitentiary at Leavenworth, Kansas since February
1, 1931, he was question by Mr. Boyle and then cross examined by Mr. Latshaw, and testified as to his knowledge of Frank
Nash and his time spent at Leavenworth, how he had been sentenced on 1 March 1924, from the Western District of Oklahoma
at Oklahoma City, and sentenced to 25 years for assaulting a mail custodian, then received at Leavenworth on March 3, 1924, of
his age being given as 37, at that he was 5’8”, 150lbs, black hair, black beard, light brown eyes and a dark complexion and had
two upper gold teeth, and then of his escape on October 19th, 1930.
He was then questioned by the defense as to if he knew where Bailey, Brady, Clark, Bates, and Kelly and Underhill were
imprisoned during September of 1933. He was only knowledgeable as to Harvey Bailey, Jim Clark, Bates, and Kelly. He was
then asked if he had ever seen Mrs. Lottie West and a couple of federal agents at Leavenworth in September of 1933 and if
Harvey Bailey had been in the Federal Penitentiary at that time. He responded that he had not seen Mrs. West or the federal
agents however Harvey Bailey, and Bates were at the United States Penitentiary Annex at Fort Leavenworth.
Fred L. Morrison, Deputy Warden , Federal Penitentiary, Leavenworth, Kansas who had been employed there since July of 1908
was the next states witness examined by Mr. Boyle, assistant prosecuting attorney. He testified Frank Nash had worked in the
shoe factory and was made a trustee and eventually worked at the Warden’s house. He verified the pictures of Nash that had
been submitted into evidence earlier.
Under cross examination Mr. Morrison was asked about his knowledge of Harvey Bailey, and Fred Bates, and that he in fact had
brought them from the annex prison which had been the old military prison where the old fort had been, to the main prison, just
before Harvey Bailey was taken to Alcatraz, and that was the only connection he had to him. He told of Jim Clark being received
at Leavenworth in the spring of 1935 and being sent on from there to Alcatraz.
Once Fred Morrison was excused the prosecution wanted to introduce a deposition of Jack Killingsworth in which he narrates the
kidnaping of him by Charles Floyd and Adam Ricchetti. The defense and prosecution in a discussion with Judge Cowan
admitted that the two did the kidnapping and ask the court to instruct the Prosecuting Attorney to refrain from asking this witness
or allowing this witness to testify that Adam tried to kill him at Bolivar, but was interrupted by his brother, and the further fact that
along the roadway he pointed a machine gun at a state tropper and was goint shoot at him, but was stopped by Killingsworth.
The thought was that the State had the right to show that he was kidnapped but the details which showed two distinct assaults
should not be allowed. The state agreed as to the conditions and Jack Killingsworth was next to be called to the witness stand
Jack continued his story as to the individuals in the garage and that he had seen a machine gun and two .45 automatics. How
he had been forced at the point of a machine gun into the front seat of Joe Ricchetti’s car by Charles Floyd,. Charles Floyd had
then sat in the back seat with the machine gun. Once inside the car Adam began to drive and had asked him “You know the
road out of here, get us out of here.” I asked, “Where do you want to go?”, they had told me Kansas City, and then he had told
them, “Turn north.” They had drove about 50-70 miles north to Bentonville and then turned west, northwest and between
Bentonville and Fairfield turned west on a county road towards Mt. Zion, Brownington however they had drove around those
towns. They then headed to Deepwater and crossed hiway 13 just two miles south of Deepwater and came out to the main
hiway which the Sheriff thought was 64 at 11:00am, at which time another car belonging to Walter Griffith passed them by.
Sheriff Killingsworth had suggested to Adam and Charles that they should change cars, and when ask why he would have
suggested that he had said that “Adam told him that he could take Joe’s car home, whenever they got rid of it, and made a
change” so when Mr. Griffith drove by they drove up beside him, and Adam put the machine gun up to the window and he
stopped. Floyd then proceeded to walk around to the drivers side and told Mr. Griffith he wouldn’t be hurt, to get over, he wanted
the car. Mr. Griffith was frightened enough that Floyd had to push him over to the passengers side. It was then that Adam had
asked the Sheriff to help him transfer their belongings to Mr. Griffith’s car. They transferred the army officer’s trunk into the back
seat, a sack of ammunition, and a lady’s hose with ammunition in it. Adam had maintained possession of the machine gun,
and one .45 automatic, and Charles had possession of the other two .45s. In the process of transferring their belongings to Mr.
Griffiths car it was then that Adam had broken his mason jar of liquor. Sheriff Killingsworth had mentioned that he had seen
Adam take several drinks between 7am that morning and 11am. Charles Floyd then started to drive with Mr. Griffith in the front
seat, and Adam in the back with his machine gun lying across his lap, the trunk in the middle, and Jack Killingsworth on the other
side. They had headed to Montrose and from there to almost Appleton City, then they had taken a country road again and came
back near Ballard and then more country roads that the Sheriff didn’t know until they crossed 71 at Archie, and then about a mile
and a half they had gone down the Missouri Pacific tracks and through the edge of Archie and on west into Kansas.
Once reaching the border at Kansas they stopped over for about thirty minutes and then decided to move on for about thirty or
forty more miles and then stopped again for about three hours. Adam had slept while Floyd cleaned his .45, while allowing
Killingsworth to look at his unloaded machine gun. They then drove on into Kansas City, Kansas on hiway 10 over the viaduct on
Minnesota Avenue and went down into the west bottoms just west of Helmers Manufacturing Company, made a left turn and
stopped on the corner of 9th and Hickory at about quarter till 11pm. Floyd then instructed Adam to remain there which he and
Griffith remained in the back seat of the car. The Sheriff had got out with Floyd and stood on the corner of the street while he
watch Floyd walk about a block and a half up the street where he saw him enter a building. About five minutes later Floyd came
back and turned the car around on 9th street and headed it south, and mentioned that another car would be there shortly down to
the right about a block at the loading dock, and when it showed that Griffith and the Sheriff should wait on the corner until they had
transferred their belongings. The other car had pulled along side Griffith’s car and stopped, Adam and Floyd transferred their
belongings in a what Sheriff Killingsworth thought was a small dark Chevrolet then pulled away and turned on St. Louis Street,
and then the two kidnapped victims walk to the car. They made a quick stop at a filling station and debated calling, and then we
went on to Lee’s Summit. Then he had made a phone call to Mr. Bitzer and explained that he was all right
The State then introduced exhibit No. 7, BLF a machine gun which included a drum on it. Sheriff Killingsworth remarked that the
gun he had seen had only a 20 round clip in it, and that once he examined exhibit No. 7 he remarked that he could identify that
particular gun because of the way the model number 1921 had been half ground off. The defense immediately objected to the
identification of the Thompson Machine Gun, and pursued the Sheriff on his identification, they had tried to establish the fact that
any machine gun could have the numbers ground off and that there was no way of saying for sure that this was Floyd’s gun. They
had also objected to the prosecutions attempt to have the machine gun passed around to the jury, which they felt would only
inflame their opinion about Adam, and were over ruled by Judge Cowan. The prosecution then entered exhibit no 8, one of
Floyd’s .45s as evidence which again was immediately objected to by the defense. There argument was that these weapons
had been taken from Floyd almost two years after the fact and the prosecution had not properly linked the evidence up to the
weapons exhibited. After more legal arguments, the prosecution won out again and Killingsworth was handed the .45 and
began his identification of that weapon. When ask how he could identify this particular .45 automatic he had stated that he had
never seen the attached contraption on a .45 before and that he had only ever seen it in Floyd’s position, at which time again the
defense objected to the evidence and this time Judge Cowan ordered the weapon not be used in evidence as it had nothing to
do with Adam. He then instructed the jury to disregard anything about that testimony. Once again the lawyers from both sides
approached Judge Cowan and the prosecution protested there attempt to introduce Floyd’s weapons, sighting the fact that they
could link up his weapons to the scene of the massacre, and Adam. After more intense legal debate, Judge Cowan relented and
allowed for them to proceed on the condition that they linked up the evidence.
Upon cross examination of Sheriff Killingsworth established that they had left Bolivar between 7:45am and 7:50am that morning
and that Adam had been drinking during that time. Mr. Latshaw was interested in knowing if Adam or Charles had contacted
anyone that day by phone previously to arriving in Kansas City, and he stated they had not. During there three hour stop over,
Sheriff Killingsworth was also asked to relay a conversation he had with Charles and Adam concerning the killing of Sgt. Booth
and Sheriff Wilson in Columbia, Missouri, he had stated that Floyd said, “You are not going to try to put that on us, are you?”,
however under a redirect by Mr. Boyle, the Sheriff was asked what had been Adam’s reply, and the Sheriff remarked that Adam
said something to the effect that the sheriff and patrolman that got killed won’t stop any more cars.
Again the two lawyers faced off and questioned the legality of bringing in the trial that was currently being held in Columbia which
Adam had originally been brought to Missouri for. The defense then questioned Killingsworth concerning his knowledge about
that incident and current trial, of which he had no knowledge of. Again Mr. Boyle under a redirect questioned Sheriff Killingsworth
concerning Adam’s intoxication and wanted to know if he was drunk when they reached Kansas City, at which the Sheriff replied,
“He was getting over it”. The lengthy questioning of Killingsworth ended there.
The State next called Walter L. Griffith, who lived in Clinton, Missouri, and was a Supervisor of farms for the William M. Bartlett and
Company of St. Joe that serviced farms for the Mutual Life Insurance Company of Newark. He recounted the basic story that
Sheriff Killingsworth told. He had been driving west on Highway 52 when Floyd and Ricchetti drove up beside him and motioned
him to stop. For a moment he had thought that they had mistaken him for someone else and kept going when Floyd forced him
to the edge of the road near a ditch where he eventually stopped. They threw the car doors open and three men exited the car,
one carrying two pistols whom he later identified as Floyd and the other carrying a gun which he later learned was a machine gun
carried by Ricchetti. He spoke of them transferring the trunk and breaking the mason jar of what he thought smelled like
whiskey. They then headed west toward Montrose and he told of Floyd driving and that everytime another car approached them
he would slip the safety off of the gun he held on his lap. He identified that gun as having a small protrusion on the hammer.
About seven miles into Kansas close to Ottawa they had stopped at a filling station for gasoline and Adam had paid the young
girl who was the attendant there. They then stopped beside a farmer who was hitching his horses together and about 250 feet
away, there was a well with a windlass, rope, and a bucket, and Adam had made three trips to that well and brought each of
them a dipper full of water. This was apparently the 30 minute stop. They then drove off a considerable distance and later that
evening stopped in a ravine for about two and a half to three hours. Floyd had parked the car along the roadside and shortly after
we had been there an airplane passed over head, then Floyd moved the car underneath a tree. Later they then assumed the
same seating arrangement with Floyd driving and headed to Kansas City.
Under cross examination by Mr. Latshaw, Mr. Griffith told why he felt for a long time that Sheriff Killingsworth had been a part of
the trio that held him. How Floyd and the Sheriff walked through the woods to the creek and had gotten a drink there, and how
they sat in the car and the Sheriff did most of the talking. It had taken Mr. Griffith almost an hour before he had been convinced
that Sheriff Killingsworth was not one of them because the Sheriff had engaged so freely in conversation with Floyd and Adam.
He had also recalled that the Sheriff had asked about the Columbia killing and that they had told him that they had nothing to do
with it.The defense then questioned him concerning his meetings with Mr. Boyle and Sheriff Killingsworth being shown around
the bottoms in Kansas city and he acknowledged that fact, and was directly excused.
It must be stated here that the testimony of the next witness, Sheriff John H. Fultz who was Chief of Police of Wellsville, Ohio, for
16 years, was greatly objected to by the defense from his opening testimony to the very end. The defense felt that there was no
need to interject a crime which occurred almost a year and a half after the initial incident that Adam was being tried for and that it
had no bearing or relavancy in this case. It is unfortunate however that Judge Cowan allowed the prosecution to continue on with
their witness. Sheriff Fultz recounted the incident in Wellsville from beginning to end.
Sheriff Fultz had received a call that morning from a concerned citizen that there were a couple of suspicious individuals just at
the edge of the town limits laying on two blankets, and that they requested him to come out and investigate. He had gone out to
the edge of town and as he walked over the brink of the hill he was met by Charles Floyd who had pulled a gun on him and told
him to “Stick them up.” He told Floyd that he wouldn’t do it and kept walking towards him and Floyd then told him to stop or he
would plug him if he came another inch further. Fultz had continued to walk past Floyd and Floyd followed him down the hill for
about seventy five feet and then the Sheriff tried to get his gun once but Floyd made him put his hands back down along his side.
They had worked there way down the hill to where Adam was lying on a blanket and as Fultz approached Adam, he stated, “
Hello, Buddy, you are taking it kind of easy, ain’t you?”, and Adam answered, “Yes”, and smiled. At that time Floyd said, “Don’t let
him kid you, kill him, he is an officer, don’t let him get away.” Immediately Adam drew his gun and fired at Fultz, however Fultz
whirled around and shot at Floyd, then Floyd jumped behind the two unarmed citizens who had accompanied Fultz and then Fultz
proceeded to shoot at Adam. The Sheriff’s gun only contained five rounds, he went to reload and only place two rounds in the
revolver and fired again at Adam, at which time Adam jumped and ran for cover over the embankment. Floyd then ran to where
Adam had been laying and pulled a machine gun out from under the blanket and began shooting at Fultz at which time the
handle had broken off and the gun jammed, and Floyd discarded the machine gun and took off running. The Sheriff kept after
Adam for approximately 250-300 feet, and just as Floyd started to go in the door of a house there Fultz shot at him and missed
him by about three feet. Ricchetti then came running back with his hands up in the air shouting, “Don’t shoot me, don’t kill me.” ,
and when he got to within about eight feet of Fultz he made him stop, searched him and started him out ahead and walked him
towards the highway while reloading his gun. Adam was then taken back to the Wellsville jail and booked on the name of
Richard Zambola according to Fultz’s testimony. The guns were retrieved approximately 30-60 minutes after the shootout from
the scene of the incident, and the defense questioned the chain of evidence, and again objected to the whole testimony to no
avail. The prosecution shot back that it don’t rain guns, whereas the defense posed exceptions to the testimony and Sheriff Fultz
Mr. Boyle continued the question of Purvis and had instructed him to speak up. Melvin Purvis continued his testimony that he had
gone to Wellsville to secure custody of Adam Ricchetti and to institute a search for Charles Arthur Floyd. He had proceeded to
the McConkle house with special agents S.K. McKee, W.E. Hopton, and D.E. Hall, Chief of Police McDermott of East Liverpool,
accompanied by three of his men by the names of Roth, Smith and Montgomery in two vehicles. As they approached the house
they saw an automobile behind the corn crib which was located by the main house. Again the defense objected to the continuing
of this as it had no bearing on the defendant, however Judge Cowan overruled when it was pointed out to him by Mr. Boyle that
Floyd was killed. Melvin Purvis testified that he saw Charles Floyd in the back seat of the car with three people in the front seat.
The car in which they were riding at the moment or preparing to ride had backed out from behind this corn crib partially and upon
seeing our two automobiles approaching backed up behind the corn crib. Then immediately all of the men in the two
automobiles left the cars and deployed, so to say. Purvis said that he had observed underneath the corn crib, which had props
under it about a foot high, the feet of a man leaving the car, the limbs of a man up to about - just below the knee, and I observed
this man start to run. He had recognized him as Charles Arthur “Pretty Boy” Floyd, and Purvis, with others, commanded him to
halt. He continued to run in a sort of a zigzag course and he was shot. The group proceeded to then go up to him. Mr. Boyle then
asked: “Was he dead at that time?” Purvis: “No, sir”, Mr.. Boyle: “Did you talk to him, Mr. Purvis?” Purvis: “Yes, Sir” Mr. Boyle:
“How long did he live?” Purvis: “About fifteen minutes.” Melvin Purvis then related that they did not take him to the hospital, and
that they had taken Exhibit no. 10 a Colt .45 number 18,001 which he had removed from the right had of Floyd, at which time Mr.
Boyle then handed Exhibit 8 and ask Purvis to explain. Purvis stated that “it was a .45 caliber automatic pistol, Colt, which is
especially arranged with a conversion to shoot full automatic, and that as long as you hold your finger on the trigger and press,
as you would ordinarily, shooting a .45 caliber automatic pistol, it will continue to fire until the magazine is empty.” It was again
that the defense objected to the introduction of this weapon as Purvis never took this gun off of Floyd. The prosecution then ask
Purvis where he had gotten Exhibit 8, which he replied that the first time he had seen the gun was when Special Agent S. K.
McKee handed it to him at the Travelers Hotel in East Liverpool, Ohio about an hour and a half after the incident. He went on to
say that once he had obtained that gun from Agent McKee, that he wrapped both guns up and took them to Chicago, Illinois and
delivered them to Mr. Harry Wild, a clerk in the Chicago office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The prosecution then rested
In my attempt to write this trial I have left out the specific question and answer format of this trial in order to let the witness tell
there story as from there view, however with the cross examination of Melvin Purvis I think it is necessary to show the actual Q&A
so the reader will know exactly what went on.
Q. Ed Davis? A. I couldn’t be definite about that.
Q. Wilbur Underhill? A. Wilbur Underhill was wanted for so many things, I couldn’t say, Sir.
Q. Well, wasn’t there a circular out with his picture and description gotten out by the Government for his apprehension in the
Union Station killing? A. I possibly could explain something to you. There are thousands of circulars gotten out by this
organization and of course I see them but I can’t recall definitely all of the data appearing on every one of them.
Q. I see. You are rather sure about the Bernard Phillips one, aren’t you? A. No, sir.
Q. Did any of the men under you, Mr. Purvis, work on this Union Station killing case? A. You mean under me at the present
Q. That were under you in 1933. A. Well I can say the men under me have worked on the Kansas City Massacre case, but not
directly under me while they were working on that case.
Q. Now, I will ask you to state if you weren’t sent full reports from the Kansas City office concerning everything that they gathered
in this Union Station killing case in 1933? A.
You mean me personally?
Q. Well, your office then. A. My office was sent reports. I cannot say that they were sent every report.
Q. You examined them, didn’t you? A. No.
Q. And don’t you know it to be a fact, Mr. Purvis, that up until the time of the capture of this defendant, there was never a
Government report that mentioned him as being implicated in the Union Station killing? A. Oh, yes, he was mentioned many
times before that as being implicated in the killing.
Q. All right. Now, take six weeks afterwards when they made what they called a semi-final report, was either Floyd or Ricchetti
mentioned in that? A. As to the exact length of time after the Massacre when they were mentioned, I could not be certain, sir.
Q. A pretty long while, wasn’t it, Mr. Purvis? A. That is a matter of what one might consider a long time, and I can’t say just when
Q. Now, the Department, as I understand it, had Ricchetti’s picture all the time at Washington and his finger prints, hadn’t they?
A. I understand they had them. I was not in Washington at the time.
Q. And those were sent in 1932 from Oklahoma, where they not? You have seen them, haven’t you, Mr. Purvis? A. Certainly I
have seen his picture, sir, but I can’t say that they were sent in from any definite point.
Q. Anyhow, they were there during all this time, where they not, since 1932? A. They might have been, sir.
Q. And his finger prints. You have seen those, haven’t you? A. Yes, I have seen them.
Q. Did you have those at the Chicago office prior to June, 1933. A. I couldn’t be definite about the date, sir.
Q. When did you have occasion to look at them, Mr. Purvis? A. Oh, quite a while before the apprehension of Ricchetti at
Q. Had the Government gotten out any circulars about Ricchetti? A. I don’t recall whether they issued a regular identification
order which is the circular to which you refer or whether they had distributed photographs, or what not.
Q. Well, as a matter of fact, until his apprehension they never circularized the country at all, had they? A. The circularization ---
Q. (Interrupting) Concerning Ricchetti? A. Those types of circularization take place in Washington and I must explain also, sir,
that I am not in Chicago all of the time.
Q. I understand, but you looked these over, these circulars, do you not? A. Most of them, yes, sir.
Q. And did you ever see one of these circulars that concerned this defendant Ricchetti? A. I don’t recall whether it was a circular
Q. And you never saw either the photograph or the circular until after his capture in Ohio, did you, Mr. Purvis? A. Oh, absolutely, I
did. I saw his photograph before then.
Q. And how long before? A. Again I must say I can’t be definite, sir. I want to be truthful with you.
Q. Who is Seth Wiard? Do you know him? A. Yes, sir.
Q. Who is he? A. Seth Wiard is a former employee of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, US Dept. of Justice.
Q. Used to be mixed up with some school there, didn’t he, in Chicago? A. In Chicago, yes sir.
Q. What school was that? A. The Northwestern University of Crime Detection Lab.
Q. But he had another school downtown he was messed up in Chicago, didn’t he? A. I don’t know, sir.
Q. He and another gentleman? How long was he wit the Dept. A. Well, I must give you a guess, if you want one.
Q. Well, we can get along without your guess, Mr. Purvis. A. Well, that is a matter of record and could be definitely shown. I
could not be definite.
Q. How long have you been in Chicago there at that office? A. Since November 17, 1932.
And the defense rested and Mr.Boyle requested to offer into evidence Exhibit 8 and 10, Floyd’s guns whereas the defense
objected again stating that the time of 1 1/2 years was to long between incidents to link the guns to Floyd and Ricchetti. Judge
Samuel K. McKee was the next to testify, he had been employed with the FBI since March 31, 1930, and it must be noted here
again that the defense objected to his testimony concerning the killing of Floyd and it’s relevance in this trial. His testimony was
basically along the lines of Purvis’s concerning the McConkle farm incident. They had arrived at approximately 4pm and he saw
two women and two men in the automobile and recognized the one in the back seat as Floyd. All of the men jumped from the car
and started toward the corn crib when Floyd started running. He was told to halt, and kept running and was then shot. He had
lived for fifteen minutes afterwards, and he had been present when Floyd died. He then took a loaded .45 caliber Colt automatic
pistol, and a clip for the same pistol from Floyd’s body and later that night gave it to Melvin Purvis at the Travelers Hotel in East
Liverpool, Ohio. The defense elected not to cross examine this witness but moved that the testimony be stricken from the record
and the jury be instructed to disregard it for there had been no connection shown between Ricchetti and the weapons in
question. Again Judge Cowan overruled.
The last witness for the day to testify was Harry E. Wild, Clerk for the Federal Bureau of Investigations, Dept. of Justice who had
been employed for 2 years and 3 months. His testimony concerned the two .45s that he had mailed. Wild met with Purvis on the
afternoon of the 24th of Oct, 1934 at Purvis’s house and received a packaged that contained two automatic pistols and three
clips, he then took those guns back to the office to prepare them for shipment to Washington. He recorded one number off of one
gun as the other gun did not have a number on it, and wrapped the guns up in two separate packages and then mailed them to J.
Edgar Hoover in Washington. Harry Wild was handed the two exhibits to verify the evidence that he had shipped. The
prosecution rested and the defense had no questions for this witness.
Whereupon the court stood in recess until 9:30am, Friday, June 14, 1935. Adam surround by deputies, was taken back to his
|Kansas City Massacre Day 3
Mr. Latshaw of the defense then proceeded to cross examine Melvin Purvis
concerning government reports and circulars.
Q. Have you seen any of the confidential Government reports concerning this
A. Some of them.
Q. I will ask you if you saw a report mailed some time afterwards, say six
weeks, by the Kansas City office to either your office or the Washington office?
A. No Sir.
Q. What report did you see? A. I could not recall definitely, Sir.
Q. Now, have you a copy of any of those reports here? A. No Sir.
Q. The defendant Richetti’s picture was in the departmental files in
Washington in June, 1933, was it not? A. I am informed that they were, Sir.
Q. His picture and finger prints, isn’t that so, Mr. Purvis? A. I have been
informed they were on file there. I don’t know the date on which they were on
Q. Now, did you see a Government circular with a picture of a man by the name
of Bernard Phillips, saying that he was wanted by the Government in the Union
Station killing here in June, 1933? A. I have seen a photograph of Bernard
Q. And wasn’t that on a Government circular where he was wanted for
participation in this Union Station killing in June, 1933? A. I could not be
definite about that, Sir.
Q. Now, what other circulars had you seen or had you in your office naming any
other man wanted at the Union Station killing of 1933? A. Circular concerning
Q. Yes, sir, Harvey Bailey? A. Circular concerning - - I couldn’t be definite about
Harvey Bailey. I must add that I have never worked on this case except - -
Q. (Interrupting) Jim Clark? A. I couldn’t be definite about that, either.
Jack Killingsworth who had been the Sheriff of Polk County for two and a half years began
to tell the story of the events that transpired on June 16th, 1933, under examination by Mr.
Boyle. He had parked his car about a half a block from the Bitzer garage that morning
leaving his weapons behind. Between 7:10 and 7:15 he had entered the garage to see if
he could get some work done on his car and as he walked into the garage he saw the
manager Mr. Bitzer talking to an individual that the Sheriff didn’t know at the time but was
to later identify as Charles Floyd.
At this point his testimony was halted by Mr. Boyle who out of hearing of the jury, informed
the Sheriff that he was not to tell about Adam’s assaults and threats, at which time the
Judge Cowan instructed him that as far as the record was concerned the fact was that he
was kidnapped, and taken to Kansas City, and that if Ricchetti had a machine gun he
could state that. Sheriff Killingsworth then requested that instead of him telling his story
that Mr. Boyle ask the specific questions that he wanted answers to.
Sheriff Jack Killingsworth
The State’s next witness was Melvin Purvis, Special Agent of the Chicago office,
who at the time had been employed with the Department of Justice for 8 1/2
years. Mr. Boyle began his questioning. Melvin Purvis stated that he had been on
duty in Cincinnati and Indiana at the time he was summoned to Wellsville, Ohio
on 21 October 1934 and that he brought with him Special Agents S.K. McKee, H.E.
Hollis, and T. J. Conner. Mr. Boyle then asked what had been the purpose of
going to Wellsville, when the objections came from Mr. Daleo for the defense.
In a discussion with the Judge Cowan, the two lawyers argued over the relevance
of introducing the capture of and killing of Floyd, and how his guns had been
acquired. Judge Cowan did not think it was necessary to go into the whole picture
of the killing of Floyd, however the prosecution argued back. The defense then
argued that the incident occurred 1 1/2 after the Union Station killings and had no
bearing on this case, however the prosecution shot back that they could connect
this particular gun by ballistics evidence to the scene of the crime. Once again
Judge Cowan overruled the defense’s objections.
Adam Richetti at his trial