Though Murder Has No Tongue: The Lost Victim of Cleveland's Mad Butcher

Overview

Though Murder Has No Tongue is the story of Frank Dolezal, the only man actually arrested and charged with the infamous "Torso Murders" in Cleveland, Ohio, during the late 1930s. Dolezal, a fifty-two-year-old Slav immigrant, came to the attention of sheriff's investigators because of his reputation as a strange man with a stockpile of butcher knives. According to rumors, he threatened imagined transgressors and had a penchant for frequenting bars in the seedy neighborhood where dismembered bodies had been ...

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Though Murder Has No Tongue: The Lost Victim of Cleveland?s Mad Butcher

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Overview

Though Murder Has No Tongue is the story of Frank Dolezal, the only man actually arrested and charged with the infamous "Torso Murders" in Cleveland, Ohio, during the late 1930s. Dolezal, a fifty-two-year-old Slav immigrant, came to the attention of sheriff's investigators because of his reputation as a strange man with a stockpile of butcher knives. According to rumors, he threatened imagined transgressors and had a penchant for frequenting bars in the seedy neighborhood where dismembered bodies had been recently discovered. Dolezal was arrested in July 1939 and never saw freedom again.

Convinced that they had captured the "Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run," sheriff's deputies interrogated Dolezal for two days under harsh conditions. Sheriff Martin O'Donnell called a press conference and announced that the long hoped-for break in the torso killings had finally come: Dolezal had admitted to the January 1936 murder and dismemberment of Flo Polillo, one of the early victims of the Mad Butcher. During the next six days, Dolezal was questioned further, given a lie detector test, beaten, and generally mistreated. Ultimately he was arraigned on first-degree murder charges that were quickly dropped because he had been denied legal representation.

At his second arraignment in July, Dolezal was bound over on manslaughter charges. Within a month, he was dead-found hanged in his cell. His mysterious death was ruled a suicide. But was it?

In Though Murder Has no Tongue, James Jessen Badal tells a gripping tale of justice gone wrong. It is also a story of modern forensic analysis as compelling as an episode of CSI. Using police and sheriff reports, inquest testimony, autopsy and archival photographs, unpublished notes from the primary investigators, and analyses from some of today's top forensic anthropologists and medical examiners, Badal establishes the facts, dispels rumors, and presents a thorough examination of the true circumstances behind Frank Dolezal's mysterious death.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781606350621
  • Publisher: Kent State University Press
  • Publication date: 8/13/2010
  • Pages: 223
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface xi

Acknowledgments xv

Part 1 Chaos

1 The Maelstrom 3

2 The Bricklayer, the Cop, and the Private Eye 12

3 History through a Glass Darkly 30

4 Violent Death on a Hot Afternoon 58

Part 2 Revelations

5 An Interlude: Mary Dolezal 67

6 Behind the Veil 74

7 CSI Mercyhurst and Beyond 99

Part 3 Reckoning

8 All in the Family 113

9 Conspiracy and Cover-up 126

10 Fearful Symmetries and Damning Coincidences 132

11 Conclusions, Fragments, and Loose Ends 164

Epilogue: The Tragic Story of Anna and Joseph Nigrin 175

Afterword: Gaylord Sundheim Cathleen A. Cerny 180

Appendix: Chronology and Summary of Historical Documents Regarding Francis Sweeney, M.D. Cathleen A. Cerny 193

Bibliography 211

Index 213

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