Trial and Conviction of Jack Reynolds for the Horrible Murder of William Townsend. A. H. Hummel.

Trial and Conviction of Jack Reynolds for the Horrible Murder of William Townsend

New York: American News Company, 1870.

First Edition. 58 pp, disbound and without wrappers, otherwise very good. On January 29, 1870, New York grocer and tailor William Townsend was enjoying a quiet night at home when he opened his door to the knock of a stranger who declared "You are my brother and I want to stay here tonight." Townsend understandably demurred and gently asked the stranger--Jack Reynolds--to leave. With no further provocation, Reynolds dragged Townsend out into the street and stabbed him in the heart. Reynolds' attorney made a valiant and extended effort to convince the jury that his client was insane, asking in his closing argument "Would any sane man--without revenge, without malice, without gain, without notice, have committed so horrible a crime?" and noting that Reynolds had failed to do the sane thing and dispose of the murder weapon, proudly told the police that his occupation was "thief," and made a variety of other illogical decisions. The jury was unconvinced, and Reynolds was speedily convicted and executed on April 8, 1870. McDade 796; Sabin 70423.

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