Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Richard Speck, Born to Raise Hell

The Defense

Gerald Getty would butt heads with Martin as Speck's public defender —the same lawyer Martin tried to work for a few short years before. Getty tried to suppress evidence through numerous motions — 24 exactly. A key motion was whether Speck should be tried for one murder at a time or all of them at once. If Martin insisted on individual trials, then there was the possibility that a mistrial could be granted, based on the tremendous force each murder would have. In a case of a man who killed his wife and two children, each case was tried separately. He was given various sentences but not the death penalty until the last trial. His lawyer argued that the shear burden of trying a person for multiple murders forced the jury to eventually give the sentence the prosecution wanted — death. Martin left it open. Speck's lawyer asked that Speck be given a single trial for all the murders. Martin agreed, feeling it was an advantage for his team.

Judge Herbert Paschen
Judge Herbert Paschen

Getty insisted that Speck could not get a fair trial in Chicago. He won a motion for the trial to be moved and a new judge chosen. Judge Paschen had been the judge from the beginning of the preliminaries. Getty was surprised, as well as everyone else, when Judge Paschen continued as the judge even though the trial moved to Peoria, a three-hour drive south of Chicago. Paschen placed a gag order on the press. The Chicago Tribune filed suit against him in the Illinois Supreme Court for Freedom of Press, but the gag order held.

Of the 609 people questioned for jury duty, 50 made it through the initial cut. On March 30, 1967, twelve men and women were chosen. The jury selection was a long and tedious process, taking six weeks of questioning. Speck sat through the whole thing, uninterested.

The prosecution's Team Speck, made up of Bill Martin, George Murtaugh, Jim Zagel, and John Glenville, geared up for the upcoming trial. Cora, her mother and her cousin slipped into Peoria quickly, hidden away from the press. All the players — witnesses that saw Speck looking at the townhouse, Red, One Eye, numerous bartenders, flophouse clerks, cabbies, drinking buddies, the woman from Cabrini-Green, the hooker Speck stole a gun from, experts and detectives — were all holed up at the Ramada Inn in Peoria.

Monday, April 3, 1967, the trial began. Martin had chosen the very young George Murtaugh over John Glenville, an older man, purely for strategy. Having two inexperienced young men fight against the venerable Getty might give points to their side.


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