1897: Sachs Acquitted

Middletown, Conn., Dec. 29.–Herman Sachs, charged with murder in the first degree in the alleged shooting of Bertrand T. Hotchkiss in Killingworth Aug. 27, has been acquitted. The jurors were out exactly three hours.

When the verdict of not guilty was announced, Attorney Calef opened the prisoner’s stand, which permitted Sachs to walk out a free man. His sister at once embraced him, and the liberated man for the first time since his arrest showed symptoms of nervousness.

Four ballots were taken by the jury before it reached a verdict. The first ballot stood seven for acquittal and five for conviction, on the second ballot eight favored acquittal, with four for conviction, and the third ballot showed another gain for acquittal, it standing nine to three. There was not much delay after the third ballot before a verdict was reached.

After the opening of court Tuesday morning, Attorney Chase of New Haven, senior counsel for the prisoner, began the closing argument for the defense.

During his remarks he most scathingly denounced Mrs. Hotchkiss, the wife of the murdered man, who was in the courtroom with her mother, asserting that she was a perjurer and claiming that she knew the murder was to be committed. He said the shot that killed Hotchkiss was fired from the bedroom door and not through the window, as claimed by the state. “Who committed the murder?” continued the lawyer. “Who got angry when asked about it? It was Mrs. Hotchkiss, and she finally placed the blame on Sachs because suspicion fell to him.”

From the North Adams Transcript (North Adams, Massachusetts), Wednesday, December 29, 1897.

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