Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Arsenic Anna :The True Story of Anna Marie Hahn

Closing Arguments & Judgment

The Cincinnati Crime Book states that Prosecutor Dudley Outcalt was chosen to make the closing arguments for the state and he wasted little time in getting to the point.   She is sly, because she developed her relationships with old men who had no relatives and lived alone.   She is avaricious, because no act was so low but that she was ready to commit it for slight gain.   She is cold-blooded, like no other woman in the world, because no one could sit here for four weeks and hear this damaging parade of evidence and display no emotion.   She is heartless, because nobody with a heart could deal out the death she dealt these old men.   Weve seen here the coldest, most heartless cruel person that ever has come within the scope of our lives.    In the four corners of this courtroom stand four dead men.   Gsellman, Palmer, Wagner, Obendorfer!  From the four corners bony fingers point at her and say: That woman poisoned me!  That woman made my last moments an agony!  That woman tortured me with the tortures of the dammed!  Then, turning to you they say, Let my death be not entirely in vain.   My life cannot be brought back, but through my death and the punishment to be inflicted upon her, you can prevent such a death from coming to another man.  From the four corners of this room, those old men say to you Do your duty!   I ask of you, for the state of Ohio, that you withhold any recommendations of mercy.

Following the prosecutions closing arguments, defense attorney Joseph H. Hoodin stood up for the defense and addressed the jury.  I will not say that a single witness lied, but this case has had such widespread publicity that it would have been impossible for these witnesses not to have preconceived ideas before they ever came into this courtroom.   Particularly this is true of the witnesses from Wagners neighborhood, where the case has been the chief topic of conversation for months.    Although she is no angel, she is not guilty of the murder of Jacob Wagner.

It took only two hours for the jury to return with their verdict.   Anna Hahn sat motionless as the jury foreman read the decision: guilty with no recommendation for mercy.   Following the verdict, each jury member was polled and each one affirmed his or her vote.   Anna was then handcuffed and led back to her jail cell.   While the jury may not have immediately realized it at the time, their decision was historic -- the lack of recommendation for mercy meant that Anna Hahn would automatically be sentenced to death and the state of Ohio had never executed a woman before. 

Anna Marie Hahn prison photo
Anna Marie Hahn prison photo
On November 10, 1937, Anna was again brought before Judge Bell.   However, this time there was no question of her guilt and the sole purpose of the hearing was to announce her ultimate fate.   Judge Bell asked Anna if she had anything she wanted to say.   I have, she replied.   Im innocent, Your Honor.   Judge Bell paused momentarily and then formally sentenced her.   It is ordered, adjudged, and desired by the court that the defendant, Anna Marie Hahn, be taken hence to jail in Hamilton County, Ohio, and that within 30 days hereof the Sheriff of Hamilton County shall convey the said defendant to the Ohio penitentiary and deliver her to the warden thereof, and that on the 10th day of March, 1938 the said warden shall cause a current of electricity sufficient to cause death to pass through the body of the said defendant, the application of such current to be continued until the said defendant is dead.  Looking directly into Annas eyes he concluded, And may God, in his infinite wisdom, have mercy on your soul. 

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