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A Crank Takes Interest in the Luetgert Case
Charles Witherswalked into Otto Tosch’s saloon one afternoon and struck up a conversation with Agatha Tosch. As they were talking, they heard some newsboys out on the street crying, "All about the Luetgert case." Withers stopped talking and said, "It is a shame to permit those boys to ‘holler’ in that way about an honest citizen like Luetgert."
He took a paper from his pocket and said, "I have the names of four witnesses who have testified against Luetgert knowing that it was not the truth, and if any one will say anything against Mr. Luetgert that is not the truth he will be arrested and punished." He put the paper back into his pocket, shook his finger at Tosch and left the saloon.
When he reached the sidewalk he was arrested by Detective Griebenow, who had been sent to watch the vicinity of the sausage factory by Inspector Schaack. Withers begged to be released, claiming that he was doing no harm. The detective took a paper from Withers’ pocket and saw that it was a subscription blank for the family of James Walsh. It said that Walsh was a former engineer of the Northwestern railroad, whose boy had just died, leaving the family in needy circumstances. The paper was signed by ten persons, each agreeing to contribute $1. Asked about the paper, Withers refused to say anything.
Withers was charged with obtaining money under false pretenses and intimidating witnesses in the Luetgert case. After he was released on bond, he stopped by the courtroom where the Luetgert trial was taking place. He looked intently at William Vincent and passed a note to the attorney. Catching Vincent’s attention, he signaled for him to step out of the courtroom. The lawyer went out into the corridor and spoke with Withers for a few minutes.
Vincent later told a reporter, "That man may be an unknown friend of mine, as he seems to be taking such an interest in our case, but really I have never seen him before today when he appeared in the courtroom. He came in and sent a note to me, in which he said that he would like to see me at once on business of great importance... He told me of the trouble he was in with the police, but I told him that I could not stop the whole courtroom to talk to him, and then he went away."
© 2003 by Robert Loerzel.
Chicago Record, Sept. 1, 1897.