Catherine Rosier – The Trial

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Part Two

Catherine Rosier
Catherine Rosier

Day 5 – October 23, 1922

Catherine Rosier’s Trial resumes.

Frank Batchelor was the first witness; he was the Vice President of Oscar’s company.  He was asked to identify Oscar’s glasses, and Catherine broke into tears.  Frank Batchelor described a bloody handprint on the wall made by the stenographer.  Prosecution hoped that this would prove to the jury that Jerry was sitting at her typewriter.

Batchelor testified that he had lunched with Oscar that day.  They returned from lunch and to Oscar’s office at about 2:30. At 3:00 Batchelor decided to leave and return to his own office where he was talking to Arthur. 

He testified that as he left Oscar was in shirt sleeves and Jerry was typing at her desk.  He passed Catherine on his way out.

Speiser asked him what Catherine had said or done.  “She spoke to us and stood at the washroom door.  She noticed that I was looking at her hat and remarked it was not a new one.  A moment or two later she stepped into the washroom and when I heard the key click in the lock I stepped out.  This was few minutes after three.” 

William Gorman of the city bureau of surveys then took the stand and presented a floor plan of Oscar’s offices.  During his testimony about the placement of a file cabinet, Catherine tugged on William Connor’s sleeve and told him that it was in fact a wardrobe. 

John Klein, the police photographer was recalled.  He showed more pictures he had taken in the office.  

Next came I. Bibbs Tolen, Oscar’s business partner.  Spesier tried to get admitted a desk calendar containing a memo written by Oscar, this was banned by an objection from Scott that no writings from the hand of Oscar had any bearing on the trial of Jerry, which was approved by the judge. 

Scott could not get Tolen to admit that writing the new will was Arthur’s idea.  Tolen said he just wrote what Oscar dictated.   

Arthur then takes the stand.  The attorneys argued so much that they delayed his testimony for more than an hour and a half. 

Arthur had only described his movements on the day of the shooting.  How he had lunched with Catherine Rosier just before she went to the office and shot Oscar and Jerry.  Arthur was described by Scott as “Iago”.  In case you have forgotten, Iago was the villain in Othello.  Iago hates Othello and plans to destroy him by making him believe that Desdemona, his wife, is having an affair with Cassio.  Arthur denied that he had tried to poison Catherine’s mind causing the shooting.   

He then told of going to live with Catherine and Oscar on October 8, 1921, which was the same day that Catherine gave birth to Richard.  He testified that his past job had been managing a dining car in Australia and that he had a wife and children in Australia. 

Throughout his testimony Arthur referred to Catherine Rosier as “the defendant”.  Scott could not get Arthur to admit that he had told Catherine about Oscar and Jerry, so the notes from his testimony at the inquest were read. 

In that testimony Arthur admitted to warning Catherine of Oscar’s intention of casting her off.  Scott then asked Arthur, “Did you during the time between October 1 and January 23, 1922, tell Mrs. Rosier of affairs between Oscar Rosier and Mildred Reckitt?” 

Mr. Speiser at once objected and ordered Arthur not to answer the question.  He then requested a side bar discussion of the questions and the objections.  Speiser then told the judge, “He doesn’t care anything about the rulings as long as the jury hears these questions.”  As the side bar had lasted more than five minutes court was adjourned without a decision about the question.

Players in the trial

Day 6 – October 24, 1922

Day 6 – October 24, 1922

The Staff of Oscar’s office, Rosier’s Advertising Agency were called but really didn’t add much.  Except to report that Catherine Rosier said, “I did it — I must have been crazy.”  And “I caught him in the act”.

Willian Freiler, the man that sold Catherine the pistol, testified that she wanted it for protection.

Michael J. Toner, a policeman testified that Jerry smiled forgivingly at Catherine from her death bed.  The police were trying to get her to say something incriminating about Catherine Rosier, instead Jerry said, “No, I don’t think she meant to shoot me.  I know she didn’t mean to shoot me.” 

Catherine knelt beside the hospital bed and kissed Jerry’s hand.  When this testimony was given Catherine began sobbing into her hands. 

Alfred Layton testified that Catherine confused him with a doctor and testified that Catherine fell on her knees on the floor in front of him, clasping her hands and begging him to save her husband. 

Paul Gottlieb, a reporter, testified that Catherine told him that she wouldn’t have done it if she hadn’t been drinking.  Oscar’s brother, Arthur testified earlier that he had had lunch with Catherine and they had had wine. 

Norman McCleod, another reporter testified that when he was in Oscar’s room, Catherine came in knelt by the bed and said, “Daddy, dear, I didn’t mean to do it.”  Oscar lifted his hand and pushed her away.

John R.K. Scott - Catherine Rosier's Attorney
John R.K. Scott – Catherine’s Attorney

Day 7 – October 25, 1922

Day seven of the trial.  Detective JH Foy was the first to testify.  “My husband killed his first wife.”  Read Detective Foy from Catherine’s police Statement.  “He broke her heart.  I married him because I was young.  I thought I could win and hold him.  But no woman could fill his desires. “ 

At this point Catherine fainted and was revived by the police surgeon.  She remained, pale, wan and fragile throughout the rest of the day.

Next the clothes that Oscar and Jerry wore at the time of the shooting were presented. 

Speiser began questioning Detective Foy about Catherine Rosier’s presence at the Hospital.  “Did you say in response to a question that you passed Mrs. Rosier on the stairs as she said she did not want to see the wounded girl?” 

Scott objected and Speiser directed a comment directly to Scott, a wild argument continued with Connor jumping in as well.  Judge Barratt silenced the three and the lawyers began to offer each other apologies. 

Judge Barratt responded, “There is no need of apologies or compliments from either side under thinly veiled sarcasm.” 

Speiser then asked Detective Foy if they took Catherine to see Jerry. 

“We took Mrs. Rosier to the operating room.  I stood on one side of Miss Reckitt’s cot and Patrolman Toner on the other. 

I spoke to Miss Reckitt and said, ‘Is this the woman who shot you?’ pointing to Mrs. Rosier. 

Miss Reckitt replied, ‘Yes'”. 

“Lieutenant Humphries was standing there with a pad and pencil and Miss Reckitt was asked if she had any statement to make.  She replied that she had not. 

As I recall Mrs. Rosier put her hands on Miss Reckitt’s shoulders and kissed either her hand or her face. 

There was something said and as I recall it, I think Miss Reckitt said, ‘You didn’t mean to do it.’ 

“After we brought her (Catherine) to the station house we ‘slated her’, and then took her to the lieutenant’s rooms we had no matron. 

I asked her whether she had been drinking. 

She said, ‘Yes, I had several glasses of wine. ‘

I then asked her if she was in the habit of drinking and she said she frequently drank wine at dinner.”

“Now Mr. Foy, said Speiser, “after looking at this photograph have you any corrections to make as to where you placed the spot on this plan?” 

Mildred Reckitt and Oscar Rosier
Mildred Reckitt and Oscar Rosier

Scott objected, “This witness is now getting instructions from the fair, honest and conscientious District Attorney.” 

Speiser turned crimson and replied, “Would you like to weigh your honesty with mine?” 

Speiser demanded an apology and the judge advised that it be disregarded. 

Detective William Tyson was the next witness.  His testimony was like Foy’s.  He did show the dress that Jerry had worn again and talked about a .25 caliber bullet falling from Jerry’s underwear as he pulled them from the basket. 

Catherine started weeping and Jerry’s father covered his eyes.  Speiser then asked, “Did you have any conversation with the defendant?” 

“Yes, I did in the presence of Detective Foy.  As we went into the lieutenant’s room, we told Mrs. Rosier to sit down. 

I said to her, ‘Why did you do this?’ 

She said, ‘I walked into my husband’s office this afternoon and found them in a compromising position.  Even then I wouldn’t have done it if I hadn’t been drinking.’

 “She told Foy she had been drinking wine and had had several glasses.  At this point Mrs. Rosier jumped up and began pacing around the room. 

Then she said, ‘He killed his first wife.  She died of a broken heart of his treatment.’

Foy then spoke up and said, ‘Knowing that, why did you marry him?’ 

Maurice Speiser
Maurice Speiser

“As I remember her reply was, ‘I was a young woman, of a different temperament, and I thought I could meet his wishes. I even had a child by him, but I found that no woman would be able to meet his wishes’.

All the time she was walking up and down the room and I told her to sit down which she did.”

 “I then asked Mrs. Rosier if she would make a statement, first warning her as to her rights and telling her that anything she said would be used against her at her trial.  She refused to say anything further except to say, ‘I did it.’ 

She pleaded for a doctor and appeared to be in bad shape. 

I asked Foy to send for the doctor.  Dr. Dayal came to attend her.

Lietenant Humphries then sent her to Central as they had no matrons. ” 

Jerry’s father was then called to the stand.  The only question he was asked was how tall his daughter was.  He told them 5’1 1/2.  He was weeping and so was excused from the stand. 

Detective John Nolen was next called to the stand, he was supposed to testify about the unfinished letter in Jerry’s typewriter, but Scott objected to all of the questions and won, Scott tried to cross-examine Nolen, but turnabout is fair play and no questions were answered. 

Policeman John Cummings was called next.  The purpose was to impeach his testimony from the previous day.  Scott of course objected but lost.  However, Speiser did not accomplish what he set out to do and Cummings was excused for the second time. 

County Detective JJ McGettigan was called next.  McGettigan had been assigned as the chief investigator of the case.  He identified the unfinished letter taken from the typewriter, Oscar’s glasses, and a piece of wallpaper containing a blood spot.  He showed on a plan of the office where he had found the blood spot. 

Oscar's brother - Ivan Rosier
Ivan Rosier – Oscar’s brother from California who attended the trial every day

Dr. William Robinson, city chemist, was called to identify the wallpaper.  He said the spot was caused by blood, but he couldn’t identify whether it was human or animal blood and sent it to Dr. John Kolman, pathologist, at the University of Pennsylvania. 

Dr. Kolman testified that it was human blood, but he had no idea how long it had been out of the body. 

Dr. Frank Krusen was called next.  He was an interne (e intentional) at the hospital where Jerry and Oscar were taken.  Dr. Krusen had visited the scene of the crime; the bodies were taken to the hospital in a police wagon, not Dr. Krusen’s ambulance.

He identified the dress that Jerry had been wearing and pointed to a hole on the right side around the upper abdomen.  Speiser then showed him Jerry’s blood-stained underwear.  There were some holes that were not there at the time he attended Jerry.  Court was then adjourned for the day.

Prosecution had hoped to finish their portion of Catherine Rosier’s trial, they had called 41 witnesses, but with all the wrangling between the attorney’s it would take an extra day.

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john combs · October 26, 2021 at 3:17 am

Realy good read waiting for part three

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