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Found Not Guilty

On May 2, 1962, a dramatic advertisement appeared in the San Francisco examiner: “I don’t want my husband to die in the gas chamber for a crime he did not commit. I will therefore offer my services for 10 years as a cook, maid, or housekeeper to any leading attorney who will defend him and bring about his vindication.” One of San Francisco’s greatest attorneys, Vincent Hallinan, read or heard about the ad and contacted Gladys Kidd, who had placed it. Her husband, Robert Lee Kidd, was about to be tried for the slaying of an elderly antique dealer. Kidd’s fingerprints had been found on a bloodstained ornate sword in the victim’s shop.

During the trial, Hallinan proved that the antique dealer had not been killed by the sword, and that Kidd’s fingerprints and blood on the sword got there because Kidd had once toyed with it while playfully dueling with a friend when they were both out shopping. The jury, after 11 hours, found Kidd to be not guilty.

Attorney Hallinan refused Gladys Kidd’s offer of 10 years’ servitude.

From the Book of Lists #2, p. 157