The court reconvened at 9:30am June 15, 1935 and the prosecution called it’s first witness F.J. Lackey who
currently lived in San Antonio, Texas and had lived there since September, 1933 and was a special agent for
the Federal Bureau of Investigation, United States Department of Justice. He had been with the department for
7 and 1/2 years. He recounted his story as to being present at the arrest of Frank Nash and transporting him
to Kansas City, Missouri. He had carried on his person a .38 Colt revolver, and a 12 gauge pump shotgun. He
had also said that Otto Reed carried a 12 gauge pump shotgun. When they had disembarked from the train
and had met the other agents and police officers he did not notice any of them carrying any weapons. He
explained how they proceeded through the station and that he and Otto Reed as far as he knew were the only
two individuals carrying guns in the open. Once they got to the parking lot he tried to load Nash into the back
seat but then told him to get into the front, that they were going to ride as they had been riding from Arkansas.
Nash sat in the drivers seat temporarily. Lackey then sat in the right rear seat with Frank Smith sitting in the
center and Otto Reed behind the driver. He had sat down and placed his shotgun muzzle down into the floor
and the butt was between the seat and the side of the car resting there. He had also noticed that Otto Reed’s
gun was in the same position as his. He had just sat down and secured his gun when he heard somebody
holler, “Up, up, up, get ‘em up.” He looked over to the right and saw a man standing there with a gun, then he
saw another man right behind him, running north. The man that was standing pointing the gun at them was
heavy set broad shouldered man, and had on a Leghorn or a brown, faded Panama hat turned down all the
way around and was round faced. The second man that he saw he could only identify that he was wearing a
coat and it was a brown, summer material of some kind and a felt hat that was turned down all around with a
narrow brim. He was about 5’8” and medium build with his weight about 130-135 pounds with a rather darker
than usual complexion. A very short time later shots were fired. He then identified a picture of the crime
scene. When asked if he saw the man that he had just described he replied “Yes, that man right there”,
pointing to Adam. As Agent Lackey tried to pull his gun up he was shot in the back 4 times, of which only 3
rounds penetrated. He never got off a shot. He was to never have two of the rounds removed from his body.
Mr. Latshaw was to cross examine Agent Lackey. He was asked if Otto Reed’s gun was ever fired and he could
not confirm or deny anything concerning that gun. It was also asked of him if Reed’s gun was a 16 gauge
shotgun, to which he replied that to the best of his knowledge that it was a 12 gauge. He had given Reed
ammunition for that gun at McAlester. When asked if either of the guns carried ball bearings he replied that
they did not. He was then asked if he only had a fleeting glimpse of any of the men that did the shooting to
which he replied that he didn’t take long to look at them. He had made that statement in federal court in the
conspiracy case, and that he had also told the newspapers that he couldn’t identify anybody because of the
blur on the window of the Plymouth parked next to the Chevrolet. When questioned whether or not he had
seen any circulars or identifications orders on Adam he said that he had concerning the massacre which were
issued shortly after the one’s on Floyd had been issued however the circular did not say that Adam was wanted
in conjunction with the Union Station Massacre. Within a few days circulars were distributed for Harvey Bailey,
however there were none sent out for Adam Ricchetti. He was then as if on that day he was interviewed by any
of the Kansas City Police Officers as to a description of any of the men he thought he saw. I didn’t or couldn’t
definitely state as to that. The first two or three days he was in the hospital and was pretty sick; he didn’t
definitely remember. When ask about a lengthy interview in the Kansas City Journal Post of Tuesday, June 20,
1933, he didn’t remember that. He did remember some newspaper men being there but didn’t know what date
it was. He was then severely badgered by the defense concerning the facts in that newspaper article, but
continuously stuck to his story.
He was then reexamined by Mr. O’Hern concerning the policy of the Justice Department in giving interviews to
newspapers reporters, at which time he had stated that he did not give all of the information to the newspaper
reporters as he was not allowed to and he did not tell the truth to the reporters concerning this matter.
He was then under a re cross examination by Mr. Latshaw. He was asked if those orders of the Justice
Department concerning not telling the whole truth applied to a court of law, at which time he said that he had
never made a statement in a court of justice. And he did testify to that fact regardless of orders, that when this
thing first happened he had made the statement that he couldn’t see who those men were, and that he didn’t
know because of the blur on the windshield of the Plymouth next to the Chevrolet and that he had told the
newspapers that, however he did not testify in court that he could not see who those men were, and that he told
them that he had told the newspapers that at the time. The witness was then excused.
The next witness called for by Mr. Boyle was Harry Turner, who lived at 2723 Troost and was the Deputy
Sheriff of Jackson County, Missouri. He worked in the Bertillon Department which take the finger prints and
photographs of all prisoners, and keep the records of them. He was then handed Exhibit no 24 and identified it
as Adam’s finger print records when he had come into the jail. Where upon after some minor questioning by
the defense the witness was excused.
The next witness called by the prosecution and questioned by Mr. Boyle was John E. Brennen who was a
Special Agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Justice, and had been employed in that
capacity for 16 years. He had proceeded to the house on 6612 Edgevale Road on 29 June, 1933, along with
Dwight Brantley of the Department of Justice and Jack Jenkins, Chief of Detectives of Kansas City. There
intentions were to look for fingerprints.
Whereas the defense objected vehemently concerning the questioning and the idea that they would look for
fingerprints 12 days after the fact. Mr. Latshaw then asked Judge Cowan to dismiss the jury from the room
while this objection was being made as it was prejudicial to the jury, at which the judge complied. The Bailiff
then escorted the jury out of the room.
The defense continued to make their objection as that it was too remote from the time of the shooting, which
was on June 17, 1933, and that there is evidence in the record that Tom Higgins and Agent Vetterli were in the
house searching on the 26th for finger prints, that there had been other people there, that moving men had
been in there and furniture had been taken out and there were many people there, that the house had not
been under surveillance, and that the admission of any proposed testimony as to finger prints is too remote,
not proper for that reason, and of such a speculative nature as not to be proper in evidence in this case; that
many people had been in the house and there has been no showing that the defendant in this case had been
in the house. Because of the speculative character and the remoteness of the finding, the alleged finding of
these finger prints, the defendant objects, and we want to make this objection to all the testimony concerning
the alleged finding of these finger prints. Judge Cowan then overruled the objection. At which time the
prosecution asked that the witness be withdrawn, and that Sheriff Bash be called. The jury was then asked to
return to the court.
Sheriff Thomas Bash was then called. He was the Sheriff of Jackson County and held Adam Ricchetti in
custody. He recalled a conversation he had with Adam while he was being held in the county jail. In that
conversation with Adam, Adam had told him that he had never been to Kansas City but had arrived on the night
of the 16th of June, 1933, and had left Kansas City sometime in the middle of the night, or early morning. At
which time the witness was excused.
Once again the Mr. Boyle called John E. Brennen, and the defense objected as to which the judge again
overruled. He was 35 years old and had studied finger printing for 20 years. His father instituted the finger
print system in the St. Louis Police Department in 1904 and he followed in his fathers footsteps. They again
started with the house on 6612 Edgevale Road and proceeded to investigate in for fingerprints for
approximately 2 hours in the morning. They had found latent fingerprints on 2 beer bottles which they took to
the lab and had processed for pictures. These finger prints were labeled exhibits 25 and 26 and were identified
as Adam Ricchetti’s finger prints. It must be noted here that there was a constant legal battle with continuing
interruptions by the defense attorney’s to allow the submission of these finger prints, and the nature of the
accountability of the beer bottles, which the judge continued to overrule.
The next witness called for by Mr. Boyle was Jerry R. Murphy who had worked for the Bureau of Investigation,
Department of Justice for almost 5 years and 6 months as a finger print expert. He went over the detailed
explanations of how finger prints are lifted off of objects, what type of power was used and the classification
system used to identify fingerprints with the 12 points of similarities. He had received the fingerprints off of the
beer bottles in February of 1934 and proceeded to make enlargements of them for comparison purposes. He
then had compared the finger prints made off of the beer bottles exhibits 25, 26 to the finger print card of
Adam, and said that they were a definite match. The defense attempted to object to several facts concerning
finger printing, however were continually overruled. The defense did question the witness at length in an
attempted cross examination to no significant findings.
The next witness called by Mr. O’Hern was Dr. C.G. Leitch who was the Chief Deputy Coroner for Jackson
County since December 1, 1932. He had been a practicing physician and surgeon since 1927. He had
examined the body of Mr. Hermanson at the scene of the crime and had pronounced him dead with a gunshot
wound to the head. Later on they had moved the body to the O.V. Mast Funeral Home at 3146 Main Street.
There he did an autopsy on Frank Hermanson and found a single gunshot wound to the left side of his head,
with the point of penetration just anterior and above the ear with the exit point in the rear of the skull.
Mr. Latshaw questioned him concerning what he felt caused the wound, to which the doctor replied a bullet.
When asked if it could have been caused by a ball bearing the doctor replied “no”.
The defense then recalled Mrs. Lottie West, and questioned her concerning her identification of Detective
Grooms going through the Station. In her deposition about Mr. Grooms she described him as a rather tall man,
well built and weighing around 175 pounds, and around 33 years old. However she had been asked if she
hadn’t described Officer Grooms as being a man about the size of Mr. Boyle which she agreed, however Mr.
Boyle was a rather slender man. Officer Grooms was however a great, big man, much larger than Mr. Boyle,
with broad shoulders. The witness was then excused.
The jury was then placed in recess until 9:30am, Monday, June 17, 1935. In the mean time the jury had been
sequestered for just under a week but the Judge ordered the Sheriff to take them out on a bus for a Sunday joy
ride and allowed them to read the comics. During the trial the jury had been deprived of newspapers. They
were happy to be out and to read the comics.
Kansas City Massacre Trial Day 5
|Fallen Officers at
17 June 1933
William J. Grooms
b:19 June 1904
d: 17 June 1933
d: 17 June 1933
b: Nov 8 1887
d: 17 June 1933
FBI Special Agent
Raymond J. Caffrey
b: May 1902
d: 17 June 1933