Monday, June 23, 2014

I See an Acquittal in Your Future

Was another group thinking
that the jury should focus
on the evidence?
One of stories of 1914 was that of the murder of Theresa Hollander in Aurora, Illinois. Police arrested her former boyfriend, Anthony Petras for the crime. He had initially planned to marry her, but in the end married someone else. Some time later, she was clubbed to death in a cemetery. Sensational murders are always tried in the press as well as the courts, and all sorts want to get involved.

On June 23, 1914, The New York Sun reported that the Aurora Women’s Club was going to attempt to influence the jury. Of course, influencing a jury in a murder trial is a crime itself, but I doubt anyone was planning on arresting the members of the Women’s Club: they planning on using telepathy.
The Aurora Women’s Club announced to-day that the members would use telepathic influence on the jury trying Anthony Petras for the murder of Theresa Hollander in Auroroa, Ill. to secure a conviction. The trial began to-day at Geneva.
The article goes on to give more of their plans:
Some of the women will project their influence from Aurora to Geneva. Others will be in the court room, where they can work at closer range. Illinois courts have overturned verdicts, dismissed jurors and granted new trials because jurors were supposed to be swayed by nods of the head, by inflections of the voice and by various kinds of coaching, but where the mental influence is confined merely to “vibrant thought waves circling from mind to mind” the issue is new.
I did some quick research on Mr. Petras’s fortunes in the case, and as the title of this blog post would indicate, he went on to an acquittal, even though he had already been convicted in the minds of the Aurora Women’s Club.
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