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The Murder of the Century

A summary of the non-fiction book by Paul Collins. The book portrays the murder of William Guldensuppe, and describes the tabloid wars that occurred as a result of the extreme media coverage of the murder.
by

Alexis Gorfine

on 28 December 2013

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Transcript of The Murder of the Century

The Murder of the Century
Characters
Papers:
The World
The Journal (Morning and Evening)
The New York Herald
The New York Times
The Eagle
The Evening Telegram
The Suspects:
Mrs. Augusta Nack
Mr. Martin Thorn
The Victim:
Christian William Guddensuppe
Witnesses:
Coroner Tuthil
Herman Nack
John Gotha
Lawyers:
Manny Friend
William Howe
DA Young

Detectives:
Detective O'Brien
Sherif Doht
Other Detectives part of the case
Finding Evidence
Hypothesis
The Trial
Augusta reportedly said, "Tell them nothing." (German)
Journal
wrote a book about the murder
First Trial
Jury- Farmers
Identify Guldensuppe by 5 marks on his hand
Augusta Nack confesses and becomes witness
Magnus Larsen- Appendicitus
New Trial
Second Trial- Nack seems more guilty
New Jury
Neighbor says that Thorn was in upstairs window
13 year old girl saw Thorn buying plaster
Henry Wahle
Philip Krantz
John Gotha
Historical Significance
Vividly depicts yellow journalism
Shows the battles between the newspapers
Shows the dramatic extents the papers went through to get readers and be the best
By Paul Collins
Project by: Alexis Gorfine
Verdict and Conclusion
Finding of the Body
Mr. William Howe
Ill-tempered
Best Lawyer in town
Howe and Hummel
Martin Thorn was convicted of 1st degree murder
He was sentenced to be electrocuted on January 10th.
His lawyer, Mr. Howe, attempted to get a retrial.
This attempt, however, was unfruitful, and Thorn was sent to his original holding cell in Sing Sing.
The World
was run by Joseph Pulitzer
The Journal
was run by William Randolph Hearst
These two newspapers were part of yellow journalism.
Both fiercely competed to become the #1 newpaper in New York.
By the end of the coverage on the Guldensuppe murder,
The Journal
was far ahead of the World.
Ms. Augusta Nack
Mr. Martin Thorn
"Licensed Midwife"
Previously married to Herman Nack
In a love triangle with Thorn and Guldensuppe
Barber
In love with Ms. Nack
Had gotten into a fight with Guldensuppe
DA Young
Prosecution Lawyer
Manny Friend
Augusta Nack's Lawyer
Upper Body found without head in Brooklyn
Boys found it
Wrapped in oil cloth
Midsection of a man found near the Bronx
Many claim the body to be a loved one
Search for the head commenced
More than one to commit the crime
Thought
Cannibalism (legs boiled)
Serial Murder
Same crime done
Needed the head to decide victim
Legs seemed boiled
Ned Brown (reporter)- Turkish Bath
German nationality- way of dismembering
Diamond B-3220 Oil Cloth
"Brauns" had rented a home
Murder done in home
Blood found by drainage
Gotha
Thorn revealed that head was in plaster
Wrecking Crew
A group of reporters
Searched for evidence

The Journal
"The public likes entertainment better than it likes information. "
-William Randolph Hearst
When
The World
offered $500 rewards for information about the murder,
the Journal
offered $1,000.
Suspects:
Herman Nack- Augusta Nack's Husband
-Murder Squad found
-Story of Mrs. Nack

Mrs. Nack
_Butchers knife, saw, and revolver found in cabinet
Journal
_Bruises- sign of struggle
_Media make Nack liar in papers
_Pretends to disbelieve that Guldensuppe is dead

Martin Thorn
-Nack's lover
-Hid from police until eventually caught

Constantine Keehn
-Nack "cheated" on Guldensuppe with Thorn
-Planned to get Guldensuppe out of the way
-Marry Nack and open baby farm
Professor Witthaus-
-chemistry professor
-expert on poisons
Barber friend of Thorn
Disclosed the location of Thorn
What Martin Thorn told Gotha:
Augusta led Guldensuppe into the house
Thorn waited upstairs
Guldensuppe was told to go upstairs
Thorn hid in closet and shot
In bathtub Guldensuppe was dismembered
Thorn- "Great God, what a fool I was!"
Should have been more thorough with murder
Gotha believed that he was to be Thorn's next victim
Tales of Mrs. Nack, the Midwife
Cremated in stove
She had wanted money
Had money from abortions
Children buried by undertaker
Mrs. Nack made it seem as if she never loved Thorn.
Some believed that Guldensuppe was alive.
The Murder of William Guldensuppe on June 25, 1897, in Woodside, New York.
Augusta Nack's Story In Trial
Living with Guldensuppe
Met Thorn when he rented room
Thorn wanted Nack to come live with him
Married woman (Never divorced from husband)
Gave Thorn Money
"I don't want money, I want Guldensuppe's head."
Thorn plans to kill Guldensuppe
Nack tells Thorn she doesn't love anyone
He strangles her
Her fear causes her to comply with Thorn's wishes
Nack takes Guldensuppe to murder house (Baby Farm)
Thorn shot Guldensuppe
She brought oil cloth, he did the wrapping
She burnt Guldensuppe's clothes
Nack Cleaned the bathtub
Confessed to "make peace" with "her people" and God.
Contradictions to Nack's Original Story!
Nack said she didn't cry with clothes, but she cried in court.
She continues on to say that she cried when she heard the shot... Catching on?
Didn't love Guldensuppe- only loved husband
Stopped loving husband and loved Guldensuppe
Begins to love Thorn when he forced her to
Threatens with acid attack
Was she going to Europe?
No
I didn't know what to do- I couldn't pay the rent
$300 in corset?
Thorn told me not to pay
Denied killing children
Nack says, "I never was a wife to him [Thorn]. That was the reason I loved him. He was always a gentleman."
Nack's Story
Augusta Nack doesn't testify at the second trial...
Howe's Closing Argument
Martin Thorn
Clara Pierce
Jurors go to scene of crime
Nack is Murdress
Gotha
Clara told truth- Times confused
Bathtub indentations
Second Degree Murder worse than death
Don't unjustly take the life of a man
DA Young's Closing Argument
"Appeal to common sense"
"Don't let it go out that men and women can come over here from neighboring cities and conspire to commit crimes."
His electrocution date was postponed until August.
Thorn wanted to die.
Enjoyed his last clean shirt.
Developed Religion in jail.
Reporters wrote and drew as they watch the electrocution.
Thorn wasn't killed by the electric chair.
Reporters leave
Martin checked for reflexes and pulse
Had some signs of life
Autopsy room-->Martin
"Reading the afternoon papers, one might never have guessed this most appalling irony of the case: that carried into an autopsy room and cut apart while faintly alive, Martin Thorn had met the same fate at Sing Sing that William Guldensuppe had once suffered in a Woodside bathtub."
What about the rest of the people in the story?
Mrs. Nack went to jail. She got out and her life was never the same.
The murder "influenced" other murders.
Lawyers went on to be very well known and powerful.
Judges went to Supreme Court.
Had Nack actually commited the murder???
More evidence:
-Bruises age matched the date of murder
- No fibers found in the stab wounds of Guldensuppe
-Stab wounds down
-Guldensuppe's hand wounds (Struggled and grabbed blade)
-Empty cabernet bottle found in bedroom
Only one conclusion...
The Journal
No more Guldensuppe to report
Case had gotten the Journal ahead of the World
Journal started a war between Spain and America
"War Sure! Maine Destroyed by Spanish!"
Journal sent reporters (Wrecking Crew)
Hearst himself went!
Tore apart the World
Pulitzer eventually passed away
Ned Brown-
-The man who outlived all of the papers
remembered the days whaen journalists had badges
Hearst's coverage had "Already anticipated the round- the- clock of brodcast news."
Case files of Guldensuppe Murder destroyed by Queen's Court
Herman Nack committed suicide. He couldn't get a job because of the negative fame.
Full transcript