Kansas City Massacre Trial Day 6
Mr. Latshaw for the defense then questioned Mr. Vetterli about the description of Mr. Grooms and Mr. Vetterli described him as
quite a large man and fairly heavy. The witness was then excused. The state then entered into evidence many exhibits and
the defense objected to no avail. The state then rested their case.
In the presence of the jury but out of their hearing, Mr. Latshaw asked the court to instruct the jury to find the defendant not guilty
for the reason that there is no legally presented indictment found in this case, as set forth in the Motion to Quash heretofore
filed, which defendant now again refiles, andOn Monday June 17, 1935 court reconvened at 9:30am. This was to be the last
day of testimony. It was also 2 years to the day that the Union Station Massacre had occurred.
Mr. Graves for the prosecution was to recall Reed Vetterli to the stand. He was asked if he recalled when it was that he and Mr.
Higgins had gone out to Verne Miller’s house at 6612 Edgevale Road in relationship to the time that Mr. Brennen and the
Government agents had gone out there? It had been sometime the latter part of June, Mr. Brennen and several other agents
from his office went out and returned from 6612 Edgevale Road with certain beer bottles, telephone and other equipment
which they had dusted for finger prints. Approximately three days after that, Chief of Detectives Higgins and Mr. Reppert,
Director of Police, asked him whether or not they could go out to that house, and he personally accompanied them. He had
distinctly remembered that it was after the beer bottles had been brought into his office.
Mr. Latshaw stated that for the reason that the State’s own evidence is so contradictory as to amount to mere speculation,
because the defendant has not been apprised of the crime of which he stands charged, and counsel thinks that he may be on
trial for the Hermanson case but they are unable to ascertain. No indictment was ever presented to this jury, no indictment is
in the pleadings, in the record proper or in the Bill of Exceptions, and they will state that, even after all this evidence is in, we
know nothing about the case that we are on trial for, and we move the Court to strike out all testimony to this date for the
reason that the trial has not proceeded in the usual and proper manner; they have made no showing at all as to what this
defendant is charged with up to this time, and the State has already rested. Judge Cowan then denied their motion.
Mr. Latshaw then tried again: We again renew this demurrer and state that it is the first time that a case has proceeded this
far, so far as counsel knows, where the indictment was not even rendered to the jury. Now, we move to strike out all the
evidence as to the weapon or weapons said to have been found on Floyd, and ask the Court to instruct the jury to disregard it,
because the evidence shows that Floyd was not killed until a day after Ricchetti was captured, and there has been no showing
of any conspiracy in this case at all by either direct or circumstantial evidence.
Second, we ask the Court to strike out from the record all details of the supposed crime of kidnapping of Jack Killingsworth by
this defendant, or anyone else, for the reason that it is a separate crime, and we ask the Court to strike out and instruct the jury
to disregard any evidence of the machine gun supposed to have been found under a blanket in Ohio, because the same was
not connected with this defendant.
We ask the Court to strike out and instruct the jury to disregard any evidence as to an automatic pistol found or said to have
been found on defendant because it is not connected in any manner, shape or form with any ballistic evidence with this case,
because if it was found, it was found at least a year and three months after the Station killing.
We ask the Court to strike out and instruct the jury to disregard any evidence offered by Sheriff Bash because any and all
evidence he gave was not and could not be construed as an admission against interest, and ask the Court to strike out and
instruct the jury to disregard any evidence of finger prints taken in the Sheriff’s office because the same were not made
voluntarily by this defendant, also the signature, because, by so allowing said evidence, it violates both the Missouri
Constitution and the Federal Constitution in making a man possibly give evidence against himself.
We ask the Court to strike out and instruct the jury to disregard any testimony in regard to finger prints found in Kansas City,
Missouri, at the Edgevale Road home on or about June 29, 1933, because if the same were found they were too remote in
time to have any bearing upon this case, and we ask the Court to strike out and instruct the jury to disregard all ballistic
evidence, because the same has not in any way connected this defendant with any circumstances concerning the crime with
which he is charged, and the State’s ballistic evidence shows that there was no ballistic evidence connected with the
defendant, Ricchetti. Again, Judge Cowan overruled and Mr. Latshaw refiled the demurrer and the motion to instruct, which
was overruled, exception allowed. Mr. Latshaw then waived the opening statements for the defense.
Judge Cowan then ordered the defense to call their first witness. Mr. Daleo then called Theodore Scott who lived at 2028
Agnes, Kansas City, Missouri. He was an Usher at Union Station for 5 years and had been employed there for 10. He was
working that morning and had been assisting an invalid in a wheel chair into a taxicab with the help of another Usher and the
taxi driver, when the shooting erupted. Once the shooting erupted the invalid was left on the floor of the cab and the others
hid alongside the cab. Once the shooting stopped he finished loading the invalid into the taxi and it drove off. Mr. Scott then
stood behind an iron post and then he heard Mrs. West holler, “There they go,” and somebody hollered for Mike Fanning the
local patrolman. He ran out and shot a couple of times over the iron post he had been hiding behind. He had seen Mrs. West
out there when they first opened fire, then she ran inside and came out again, and Mike Fanning was following her out, and
she said, “There they go, Mike,” and Mike shot in some direction over my head. He did not see any of the shooters. He was
taken to the jail and asked to identify Adam Ricchetti, to which he replied he couldn’t positively identify him because he never
saw him before.
Under cross examination by Mr. O’Hern, Mr. Scott stated that he couldn’t have identified anyone because he had been hiding
behind the taxi and saw none of the shooters. He was then questioned on some details as to where the other taxi’s had been
parked and the spacing between them during the shooting. How the taxi’s worked in getting out of there as quickly as
possible to keep the traffic moving. He did see 2 small dark cars driving away with what he thought were 3 men setting in the
rear seat, and the other one he could not tell. The witness was then excused.
The next witness called for by Mr. Daleo was Dan Lynn who was a cab driver for the Yellow Cab Company. He had been
waiting in a line of taxi’s when the shooting started. When the shooting started he opened the right front door to take the
passenger’s bag, and when he opened the door he went right on out the door, got down on the north running board of his cab
and laid there, when Mr. Fritts, the starter came running over to him to check and see if he had been shot. People were gone
in the blink of an eye. He never saw Lottie West outside while the shooting was going on and only saw her after the shooting
had stopped. He never saw her standing on the curb at the time of the shooting. He had only saw her when she came about
half way out with Patrolman Mike Fanning, hollering shoot them Mike, shoot them. He never saw any of the men doing the
Under cross examination by Mr. O’Hern he again stated that Mrs. West was not present outside when the shooting had
started. He also guessed that the shooting lasted less than 5 minutes. Under a redirect by Mr. Daleo, he said the shooting
lasted only about a minute.
The next witness called by Mr. Daleo was Robert Fritts who had been a starter for the Yellow Cab Company for about 9 years.
He had been positioned right in front of the east door where Mr. Lynn’s taxi had been parked, which was also the same door
used by the agents to exit to the parking lot. He had just called a cab up to the door which began to load a crippled fellow with
two redcaps, and he was calling up another taxi when the shooting started. He immediately noticed 2 gunmen across the
street and then a taxi driver crawling out of his cab, which he thought had been shot. He had moved up to the taxi driver to see
if he was hurt which he wasn’t. He had known Lottie West for about 8 years but did not see her out in front of the station when
the shooting had started. Mike Fanning came running out as soon as the shooting had stopped and started firing. He then
had noticed Lottie West standing back in between the doors. He had also noticed a man crouched beside of a car heading in
the wrong direction whom the patrolman had also fired at. He stated that he had never seen the nuns or Mrs. West outside on
the curb until the shooting was over. He then described that the prosecution had taken him to the jail to view Adam in a line up
be he was not the man that he had seen crouched beside the car.
Mr. O’Hern then began his cross examination of Mr. Fritts. He questioned him hard concerning the facts as to who was on the
curb when the shooting started. Mr. Fritts however stuck to his story that there were very few people outside with the exception
of the cab drivers and redcaps and that he did not see Lottie West outside until the shooting was over.
Mr. Daleo then called Harry Orr who had been a taxi driver for 3 and a half years for the Yellow Cab Company. He had been
about 3rd or 4th in line when the shooting started. He got out of his car on the drivers side and ran around to the passengers
side where he knelt down. He also did not see Lottie West out on the curb when the shooting started. As soon as the
shooting stopped he raised up in time to see the men leaving in a car and patrolman Fanning with Mrs. West. He did not
recognize Adam nor was the physical characteristics of Adam like the men he saw running towards the car.
Under cross examination by Mr. O’Hern, Mr. Orr said that he could not say whether Adam was there or wasn’t. He didn’t know.
Under a redirect by Mr. Daleo he said that the two men he saw running towards the car did not look like Adam.
Under a recross by Mr. O’Hern read from an earlier statement that he saw Bill Grooms and Hermanson with about five or six
other men coming out of the east door of the Station. He noticed they all had guns and he presumed they were all officers
and had one prisoner. They walked across the street to an automobile and he watched them go across. As they got across
and some of them got in the car, he saw one man with what looked like a shot gun and he was trying to fire it. He was one of
the officers with Grooms. He heard shooting but did not see who was firing. He then got out of the cab and got behind it. He
remained there until the firing stopped, then he saw Mike Fanning and another officer run out of the Station. Fanning shot
twice, and as he started shooting, he got up to see what he was shooting at and saw two men run from the car where the
officers had put the prisoner into the car into another car which looked like a 1933 Chevrolet. They got in and drove away
west. He did not get a front view of either of them, and did not see any of the men doing the shooting. None of the men he
saw looked like Adam Ricchetti.
Mr. Daleo called yet another taxi driver, Alava Parman who had worked for the Yellow Cab Company for 5 years. He had been
the second cab in line that morning. The first thing that he had noticed that morning were four officers bringing a prisoner out
of the station. they took him from the east door of the Union Station and took him directly across from the east door to the cars
parked headed south. They had put the prisoner in the car, and three officers got inside the car, and there were two officers
standing at the car when they brought the prisoner over there. One was on the right side of the car and one was standing at
the front and left side of the car. It seems that about a second after they had put the prisoner in the car and the three officers
got in the car, there was a pistol shot and then there were three bursts from a machine gun, and a man came out from the
parking lot near the bus zone, west of the Federal car, and he came out in the street, and as he came in next to the Federal car,
he met an officer and this officer had a riot gun, shotgun, and he had it aimed directly at the mid-section of this man that was
coming around the car when they met, and this man fired a pistol into this officer’s face and he staggered back in between the
cars. He could not see any of the men doing the shooting as the cars had obstructed his view, however the man that had
walked out into the street he did see. Mr. Parman had been taken to the jail where Adam was kept and was asked by the
prosecuting attorney to identify him as the man he saw. Mr. Parman could not identify Adam as that man in the street.
Under cross examination by Mr. O’Hern, Mr. Parman again was questioned and retold his story. He said that at first he thought
he heard two pistol shots and then there were about three spurts of a machine gun. He saw two police officers, whom he
recognized as Bill Grooms and Hermanson, bringing the prisoner out of the Union Station. He did not know Grooms and
Hermanson, he had recognized them as being police officers. There were several other men whom he presumed to be
officers with Hermanson and Grooms. There was also one prisoner. He recognized this prisoner, because when he walked
out of the station, he raised both hands as though he were stretching. His hands were handcuffed together. At the car he
noticed Bill Grooms was the first man hit and the first to fall. One of the officers went down and got up again and had a shot
gun and started to walk to the back of the car. There he met one of the other men doing the shooting who had a machine gun.
The man with the machine gun then pulled a pistol and shot the officer in the face. The officer fell and this man walked on
between the cars and there was a gun barrel sticking out of the Federal car. This killer picked up the gun and took it out of the
car. Whether he carried it with him or not, or threw it down, he did not know. This man then raised Nash’s head and looked at
him and went on into the parking station where he lost sight of him. The killer he had described had on a soft hat, a brown
suit, and two toned buttoned shoes. When he had viewed Adam Ricchetti in the County Jail of Jackson County, Missouri, and
while he is of the general appearance and build of the man he saw at the Union Station, he could not positively identify him as
being the man he saw there with the machine gun. After reading a description of a man in the newspaper, he believed him to
be Verne Miller.
Mr. Daleo next called William C. Gordon who was the Superintendent of Identification Bureau at the police department. He had
been employed there for about 16 years. He was questioned concerning the pick up orders for various individuals connected
to this shooting. They were: Jim Clark, Bob Brady, Bernard Phillips, and Harvey Bailey, of whom where presented in a
Federal Grand Jury hearing.
Mr. Latshaw then called Eloise Jones who was the Clerk in the Bureau of Records at Police Records. She had started to work
there in April 1932. She was only asked if she maintained those records and had copies of the radio logs for June 17, 1933,
which she did.
Mr. Latshaw then called William Eldridge who was a detective with the Kansas City Police Department and had been so for 3
years. He had interviewed Agent Lackey at 9:00am that morning at the hospital. He filed a report that stated that Agent Lackey
told him that the only two men he saw that day doing the shooting resembled Americans, and that he saw no one else.
Under cross examination by Mr. O’Hern, Mr. Eldridge said that he knew Agent Lackey was in dire pain during this interview, he
had 3 to 4 bullets in his back.
Under a redirect examination by Mr. Latshaw, Mr. Eldridge stated that Agent Lackey said it was a shock to him. “It was just a
flash”, and he couldn’t state, couldn’t tell me just who they were, what they looked like, or anything, it was done too -- just a
flash. The only description that he could give was that these men appeared to be Americans. At which time Mr. Latshaw then
introduced exhibit K, which was the initial police report of Agent Lackey. The witness was then excused.
The court was then adjourned for lunch recess until 1:45pm.
After the lunch recess Mr. Latshaw then recalled Eloise Jones who went over the radio call logs. Those logs gave the
description of two white males, neatly shaven, wearing blue shirts, driving a dark Chevrolet coup/sedan with a Missouri
license plate of 428-329 or 428-239 heading south through Penn Valley Park, probably headed for Kansas. The witness was
Mr. Latshaw then called Leroy Smith who was a continuity editor for KMBC broadcasting station. He had put out a news
bulletin with a similar description of the police radio reports. The witness was then excused.
Mr. Latshaw then introduced into evidence the original United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Grand
Jury Indictment with the filing on the cover thereof, September 1, 1933 in which the following defendants were charged with
conspiracy to liberate Frank Nash. The United States of America versus Harvey J. Bailey, Robert C. Brady, Louise Conner,
Esther Farmer, Herbert Farmer, Richard Galatas, Verne C. Miller, Frank Mulloy, Frances Nash, Louis Stacci, and Wilbur
Underhill. He then introduced the United States versus Adam Ricchetti indictment filed November 5, 1934, which also
included Verne Miller, and Charles (Pretty Boy) Floyd.
In the presence of the jury but out of their hearing, Mr. Latshaw once again asked the court to instruct the jury to find the
defendant not guilty for the reason that there is no legally presented indictment found in this case, as set forth in the Motion to
Quash heretofore filed, which defendant now again refiles, and for the reason that the State’s own evidence is so contradictory
as to amount to mere speculation, because the defendant has not been apprised of the crime of which he stands charged,
and counsel thinks that he may be on trial for the Hermanson case but they are unable to ascertain. No indictment was ever
presented to this jury, no indictment is in the pleadings, in the record proper or in the Bill of Exceptions, and they will state that,
even after all this evidence is in, we know nothing about the case that we are on trial for, and we move the Court to strike out all
testimony to this date for the reason that the trial has not proceeded in the usual and proper manner; they have made no
showing at all as to what this defendant is charged with up to this time, and the State has already rested. Judge Cowan then
denied their motion.
Mr. Latshaw then objected to the giving of each and every instruction by the court for the reason that the same are not the law
and do not apply to the facts in this case, and are not proper in either form or substance.
Whereupon, at the request of the State, and over the objections of the defendant the Court instructed the jury as follows:
INSTRUCTION NO. 1
“The Court instructs the jury that the indictment in this case is a mere formal accusation Dan does not, of itself, constitute any
evidence of guilt.”
INSTRUCTION NO. 2
“All persons are equally guilty who act together with a common intent in the commission of a crime, and a crime so committed
by two or more persons acting jointly is the act of all and each one so acting.”
INSTRUCTION NO. 3
“The Court instructs the jury that murder in the first degree is the felonious and wrongful killing of a human being willfully,
deliberately, premeditatedly and with malice aforethought.
INSTRUCTION NO. 4
“Bearing in mind the definitions heretofore given, the Court instructs the jury that if you find and believe from the evidence in
this case, beyond a reasonable doubt, that at the County of Jackson and State of Missouri, on the 17th day of June, 1933, the
defendant, Adam Ricchetti, either alone or knowingly acting in concert with another or others, did feloniously, willfully,
deliberately, premeditatedly and of his malice aforethought, with certain machine guns and pistols, and that the same were
dangerous and deadly weapons, shoot one Frank Hermanson, then and there and thereby inflicting upon him, the said Frank
Hermanson, mortal wounds, and that from said mortal wounds, if any, the said Frank Hermanson within one year thereafter, to
wit, on the 17th day of June, 1933, died at the County of Jackson and State of Missouri, then you will find the defendant guilty of
murder in the first degree and assess his punishment at death, or at imprisonment in the State Penitentiary for and during his
natural life. And unless you so find the facts to be as above stated, you will acquit the defendant of murder in the first degree”.
INSTRUCTION NO. 5.
“The Court instructs the jury that the law presumes the innocence and not the guilt of the defendant, and this presumption of
innocence attends the defendant throughout the trial, and at the end entitles the defendant to an acquittal, unless the evidence
in the case, when taken as a whole, satisfies you of defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, as defined in these
The Court instructs the jury that if they have a reasonable doubt of defendant’s guilt, they should acquit, but a doubt to authorize
an acquittal on that ground ought to be a substantial doubt touching defendant’s guilt and not a mere possibility of defendant’s
INSTRUCTION NO. 6
“The Court instructs the jury that if you find and believe from the evidence that the defendant made any voluntary statement or
statements in relation to the offense charged after such offense is alleged to have been committed, you must consider such
statement or statements, if any, all together and in the light of the circumstances under which you may believe they were
made, (if you believe they were made).
The defendant is entitled to what he said for himself, if anything, and the State is entitled to the benefit of anything he may
voluntarily have said against himself, if anything, in any statement or statements proved by the State. It is for the jury to
consider, under all the facts and circumstances in evidence, how much of the whole statement or statements of the defendant,
if any, proved by the State, the jury, from the evidence in this case, deem worthy of belief. If you believe the statement or
statements of the defendant, proved by the State, were not made voluntarily then you should disregard the statements entirely.
INSTRUCTION NO. 7
“The jury are the sole judges of the credibility of the witnesses, and of the weight and value to be given to their testimony. In
determining as to the credit you will give to a witness’ testimony, you should take into consideration the conduct and
appearance of the witness upon the stand, the interest of the witness, if any, in the result of the trial, the motives actuating the
witness in testifying, the witness’ relation to, or feelings for or against the defendant, or the alleged injured party, the probability
or improbability of the witness’ statements, the opportunity the witness had to observe and to be informed as to the matters
respecting which such witness gives testimony, and the inclination of the witness to speak truthfully or otherwise as to matters
within the knowledge of such witness.
If, upon a consideration of all the evidence, you conclude that any witness has sworn willfully falsely as to any material matter
involved in the trial, you may reject or treat as untrue the whole or any part of such witness’ testimony.”
INSTRUCTION NO. 8
“The Court instructs the jury that if there is any evidence before you that raises in your minds a responsible place where the
crime is charged to have been committed you will acquit the defendant.
INSTRUCTION NO. 9
“The Court instructs the jury that the defendant in this case stands charged with the crime of murdering one Frank Hermanson
and that any other crime or crimes which might have been mentioned in the evidence and with which defendant might or might
not have been connected therewith are not to be considered by the jury in arriving at their verdict in this case in any manner,
shape or form.”
Which said instructions, numbered 1 to 9, and each of them, the Court gave: to which ruling and action of the Court, in giving
said instructions, numbered 1 to 9, and each of the, as requested by the State, the defendant, by his counsel, at the time duly
excepted and still excepts. Whereupon, the Court of its own motion gave to the jury the following instruction, numbered 10, as
INSTRUCTION NO. 10
“If the jury find the defendant, Adam Ricchetti, guilty of murder in the first degree they may use the following form:
“We, the jury, find the defendant, Adam Ricchetti, guilty of murder in the first degree, and assess his punishment at
The verdict must be unanimous, must be signed by one of your number as foreman, and should be written upon a separate
sheet of paper and not upon one of these instructions.
Both the prosecution and defense attorney’s went into their closing arguments before the jury was instructed to deliberate the
Thereupon, at the conclusion of the arguments of counsel, the case was given to the jury, and in due time, and on the 17th day
of June, 1935, the jury returned a verdict upon which judgment was entered accordingly.
“We, the jury find the defendant, Adam Ricchetti, guilty of murder in the first degree, and assess his punishment at death.
Signed by Lee Davies, Foreman.
Adam was originally sentenced to be hanged in this initial trial. His lawyers immediately filed a motion for a new trial, and
petitioned the court concerning his appeals. His lawyers were court appointed public defenders. Upon having his appeal
turned down his sentence was then changed from hanging to execution in the gas chamber.
On Oct. 7th 1938 Adam's death sentence was carried out in the gas chamber in Jefferson City, Missouri at the age of 27 for his
alleged participation in the Kansas City Massacre on June 17th, 1933.
On Monday June 17, 1935 court reconvened at 9:30am. This was to be the last day of
testimony. It was also 2 years to the day that the Union Station Massacre had occurred.
Mr. Graves for the prosecution was to recall Reed Vetterli to the stand. He was asked if
he recalled when it was that he and Mr. Higgins had gone out to Verne Miller’s house at
6612 Edgevale Road in relationship to the time that Mr. Brennen and the Government
agents had gone out there? It had been sometime the latter part of June, Mr. Brennen
and several other agents from his office went out and returned from 6612 Edgevale
Road with certain beer bottles, telephone and other equipment which they had dusted
for finger prints. Approximately three days after that, Chief of Detectives Higgins and Mr.
Reppert, Director of Police, asked him whether or not they could go out to that house,
and he personally accompanied them. He had distinctly remembered that it was after
the beer bottles had been brought into his office.
Special Agent Reed Vetterli
Adam Ricchetti was the next and last witness called and testified on his own behalf. He was
questioned by his own lawyer Mr. Ralph Latshaw.
Q. I will ask you to state your name to the Court and jury.
A. Adam Ricchetti.
Q. Are you the defendant in this case?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Were you in Kansas City, Missouri, the morning, day or night of Saturday, June 17,
A. No, Sir.
Q. Were you at the Union Station in Kansas City, Missouri, at any time on Saturday,
June 17, 1933?
A. No, Sir.
The witness was then excused, and the prosecution elected not to cross examine and both
parties rested their case.