On the evening of March 1, 1932, Charles Lindbergh's 20-month-old son was kidnapped from the family's home in New Jersey. The child's body was found two months later in a wooded area near the Lindberghs' house. Bruno Hauptmann was tried and convicted of the kidnapping and murder of Charles Lindbergh Jr., despite his claims of innocence. This is the tragic narrative of the Lindbergh kidnapping.
Hauptmann was born in 1899 in Germany. He moved to the United States in 1923 and settled in New York City. He worked as a carpenter and became a naturalized citizen in 1929. In 1931, he was arrested for trying to rob a gas station. He served two years in prison and was released on parole in March 1934.
In May 1932, the Lindberghs' infant son, Charles Jr., was kidnapped from their home in Hopewell, New Jersey. A ransom of $50,000 was demanded, and the Lindberghs paid it. But the child was not returned. In September 1934, Hauptmann was arrested for trying to use some of the ransom money to buy gasoline. He was charged with kidnapping and murder, and he went on trial in January 1935.
The trial was a sensation, and Hauptmann was convicted. He was sentenced to death and died in the electric chair at Sing Sing Prison in April 1936.
The Lindbergh kidnapping case remains one of the most famous crimes in American history. Hauptmann's guilt is still debated, and he was never able to prove his innocence.
Was the death penalty warranted?
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