Tragedy in Dedham: The Story of the Sacco-Vanzetti Case

By Francis Russell | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FOURTEEN
THE CONFESSIONS

It is not unusual for a notable murder case to have several confessions as a by-product. Where these are false, they are either the notoriety-seeking of a psychopathic misfit or the effort of some criminal to obtain a pardon for a crime he has committed in order to stand trial for one he has not. In the latter case he can plan, once safely pardoned, to repudiate his confession.

Such was, no doubt, the motive of Augusto Pasquale, under life imprisonment in New York for kidnaping, when in May 1922 he confessed to being one of the South Braintree gunmen. According to his story he had met two strangers in a Bowery saloon who asked him if he wanted to pull a job with them in a factory in South Braintree. He agreed, and they went from New York to Boston by train to pick up a car. Pasquale did not know the make of car nor did he seem to be familiar with the geography of South Braintree. He said that he and the others held up an auto with the payroll in it. When the paymaster and guard drew their guns, they shot them, took over the auto, drove a quarter of a mile, then hopped a train to New York. His story was so obviously concocted that the police did not even pretend to take it seriously.*

____________________
*
Certain other leads, neglected at the time, are tantalizing in their possibilities. One such concerns a professional car thief, William Dodson, who worked in a Needham garage from 1917 to 1919 and who in February 1921 was arrested in Providence after stealing Judge Thayer's car in Worcester. When, a year later, Dodson's wife sued him for divorce, she testified that in the spring of 1920 he had given her eight hundred of the thousand dollars he had received for driving the bandit car in South Braintree. Another concerns the Randolph Savings Bank holdup of November 17, 1919. Although the bandits were never identified, the

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Tragedy in Dedham: The Story of the Sacco-Vanzetti Case
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page ii
  • Contents v
  • Chronology vii
  • Chapter One The Tragedy in Dedham 1
  • Chapter Two 10
  • Chapter Three April 15, 1920 28
  • Chapter Four Bridgewater And West Bridgewater 49
  • Chapter Five The Night of May 5 60
  • Chapter Six The Men and the Times 71
  • Chapter Seven 93
  • Chapter Eight The Year Between 107
  • Chapter Nine The Trial: I 129
  • Chapter Ten The Trial: II 158
  • Chapter Eleven The Trial: III 176
  • Chapter Twelve Post - Trial: I 216
  • Chapter Thirteen Post-Trial: II 237
  • Chapter Fourteen The Confessions 270
  • Chapter Fifteen More History, Written And Otherwise 302
  • Chapter Sixteen 1926 326
  • Chapter Seventeen 1927 349
  • Chapter Eighteen 380
  • Chapter Nineteen August 1927 404
  • Chapter Twenty Aftermath 451
  • Index 471
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