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.