Clipped From Jefferson City Post-Tribune

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 - GOV. PARK'S DILEMMA Gov. Guy B. Park has an...
GOV. PARK'S DILEMMA Gov. Guy B. Park has an unenviable task in deciding the late of Walter McGee, kidnaper condemned to the gallows, A jury studied and weighed the evidence, found him guilty and fixed the punishment. The highest tribunal in the state reviewed it, found that the defendant had been accorded a fair and impartial trial and affirmed the verdict. McGee is the first man to be condemned to death for a kidnaping. Capital punishment for the crime was provided at a time when the country was aroused over the rapid spread of what had become known as the snatch racket. Men, women and children of means were no longer safe anywhere. The gangsters, deprived of the lucrative field provided by prohibition, turned to the more cruel and desperate crime of stealing people and holding them for ransom. The most famous baby in the world had been stolen from its crib and brutally murdered. From all over the land came the demand for drastic action and swift, merciless punishment. Kansas City had seen three of its prominent citizens carried away. Mary McElroy, daughter of the city manager, had been stolen from her own home. The McGees were captured and tried. The leader was condemned to death and his brother to life imprisonment. This was part of a general campaign against the kidnaper in which the federal government participated. Big shot criminals received long sentences, and gangs were broken up but it generally agreed that the extreme penalty meted out in Kansas City had the greatest deterring effect, ft halted kidnaping in the middle west. If only McGee was to be considered the case would now be as good as closed. The governor could hardly be expected to set aside a verdict which right thinking people everywhere had applauded. There had been some argument on the wisdom of the death penalty because many felt it would only result in making criminals more desperate and endanger the life of all victims. But others were sure that the success of state and federal officers and the certainty of punishment would have a discouraging effect. But Gov. Park must consider McGee's victim. Unnerved and unstrung by her experience, the young woman has been on the verge of collapse. While she feels that the men should be punished she does not want to see a life taken to expiate the crime against her. Many feel if McGee is hanged his victim will be the chief sufferer, that she will be haunted by horrible memories for the rest of her days. This creates a situation few governors have faced. He must not only pass on the fate of felon but perhaps upon the future well-being of the innocent victim as well. in

Clipped from
  1. Jefferson City Post-Tribune,
  2. 09 Apr 1935, Tue,
  3. Page 6

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