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Welcome to criminalize a production of scandal and audio in partnership with I Heart Radio. Hello and welcome to another episode of criminality. This season, we're exploring the lives and motivations of some of the most notorious stalkers throughout history. And today we're talking specifically about presidential stalkers. I'm Maria Tomoaki. And I'm Holly Fry.


OK, so the odds are pretty good that you know at least two names of presidential assassins in the United States, right? John Wilkes Booth springs to mind who assassinated Abraham Lincoln and of course, Lee Harvey Oswald, who assassinated John F. Kennedy. To date, four American presidents have been killed while in office. And that includes Lincoln, of course, in 1865, James Garfield in 1881, William McKinley in 1931 and JFK in 1963. 13, including Theodore Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan, escaped attempts on their lives.


And in all of these cases, the weapon that was used was a firearm.


But today, actually, we're going to talk about two men whose names aren't as well-known as John Wilkes Booth and Lee Harvey Oswald. We're going to talk about Richard Lawrence and Charles Guiteau. Richard Lawrence stalked and attempted to assassinate President Andrew Jackson in 1835 ghetto stalked and assassinated President James Garfield in 1881.


So you might be wondering, where is the Secret Service in all of this? That's a reasonable question. The Secret Service was officially formed in 1865, but probably not how or why. You might imagine that agency started actually as part of the Department of the Treasury. OK, that sounds weird, right? But here's the thing. By the end of the Civil War, nearly one third of all of the currency that was circulating in the U.S. was counterfeit.


And so it was their organization that was charged with changing that in an effort to stabilize America's financial system. It wasn't actually until 1991, as a result of the assassination of President William McKinley, that Congress requested the Secret Service protect U.S. presidents. But they just wanted to give up to agents to do that. At the time, it wasn't actually until 1965, as a result of the assassination of President Kennedy, that Congress went ahead and finally passed legislation making it a federal crime to attempt to assassinate a president.


And of course, today they get way more than two dudes to help out in their safety. A couple more.


Yeah. So let's talk about President Andrew Jackson, if you like. Just saying his name is a little bit loaded, but for the purposes of Jesse Jackson is notable because he was the first sitting president to experience an assassination attempt on his presidency, ran from 1829 to 1837. And if you know anything about him, it is no surprise that many of his actions and ideas proved very divisive across the country, including his stand on slavery. He was pro slavery and his forcible removal of Native Americans from their ancestral homelands.


That is known colloquially these days as the Trail of Tears.


You can also credit him for maybe two things. He founded the Democratic Party or at least a version of the Democratic Party. Political parties in the U.S. have sort of ebbed and flowed ever since the beginning of the country. And some today look completely different than they did a hundred years ago, despite having the same party name. The second thing about Jackson is you'll recognize his face even if you don't recognize any of the things that he did. His image has appeared on the U.S. twenty dollar bill since 1928.


Jackson also just had a reputation as a little bit of a racist. Right.


And apparently a big temper, too. Yeah, he was known for participating in dozens of duels and brawls. He had a lot of battle wounds to prove it. He is the only president who served in both the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. And it was the recognition for his achievements in the War of 1812 that actually boosted him toward the presidency. He suffered from chronic headaches and abdominal pains, but most of his health problems, because he had a number of them, stemmed from a bullet, specifically a musket ball that was never removed from his lung.


I'm sorry.


When I first heard that, I was like, this guy is hard a bullet in his right.


He was many things, but he definitely had a constitution. Yes, sure. In 1949, long after his presidency, it was reported that Jackson had suffered from many physical ailments. And that list is lengthy. It includes everything from dysentery to dropzone. Today, you would know that as a dema, malaria is also on the list. So his rheumatism, he did seem to be able to carry all of these problems and remain, at least to some degree, indestructible.


Right. I mean, that list is long.


On January 30th, 1835, and out of work, painter named Richard Lawrence was the first person well, it was the first known person, let's put it that way, who tried to assassinate a sitting U.S. president. And the emphasis here, I want to emphasize, tried because though other presidents have survived attempts on their lives as well, Jackson literally brought a cane to a gunfight and he won.


Oh, realize this is one of the most enjoyable stories about his presidency.


If you could put aside all of the gross things he participated in. This is a fun story. Don't think about him. You write. So about three years prior to this event, Lawrence's family and friends had already noticed his behavior had changed considerably. He feared, and we're quoting unnamed persons that were in the U.S. government who he believed were preventing him from traveling and that he had read several stories about himself in a newspaper in Philadelphia. So he was projecting himself into incidents that had nothing to do with him.


His outward appearance, as well as his personality, also dramatically changed at this time. It's also when Lawrence quit his house painting job and claimed that he would not need it after the government came through with the large sum of money that was owed to him, which actually there was no money owed to him. So he had a lot of delusional thoughts going on.


So on that particular day in January the 30th, Lawrence hid behind a pillar at the entrance to the Capitol Rotunda. Jackson wasn't feeling very well, and he was forced to use a cane that day, which really irked him. And as Jackson emerged from a congressional funeral that he had attended in the Capitol building, Lawrence fired his derringer. And although it sounded as though his gun had fired it, it actually hadn't. It misfired. And of everyone around him, it was Jackson who seemed to be the first one to realize what was happening.


Well, he had been in some incidents prior to that, so he had experiential knowledge of what a gunshot sounded like.


You would participate in a couple of duels and you know what's right as well as wars. Right.


And that is when the 67 year old president charged his 13 year old attacker and began to beat him with his cane, yelling, Let me alone, let me alone. I know where this came from. The beating with a cane kills me.


And so with Jackson close enough to be calming him, Lawrence actually pulled out a second hand gun. That was another derringer. But that one also misfired. Navy Lieutenant Thomas get me in Tennessee. Congressman Davy Crockett caught and restrained Lawrence within minutes of the attack and the president was swiftly taken away with his cane, which he probably hung on the wall with a frame around it.


So Lawrence went on trial in April of 1835 and his team hoped for a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity. Attorney Francis Scott Key was the prosecutor.


And yes, this is the same Francis Scott Key who wrote The Star-Spangled Banner in 1814, Small World around D.C. indeed.


And the prosecution called witnesses, both family and experts. They kind of tried to ridicule Lawrence. This sort of breaks my heart. He was obviously on trial, but like they were mocking someone who clearly did not have a firm grip on reality. Right. More than 20 witnesses took the stand for the defense, including several prominent doctors who were considered knowledgeable on the topic of insanity. And he cross-examined doctors to determine if Lawrence was usually able or usually unable to tell the difference between right and wrong.


Turns out that according to this testimony, he was unable, he was paranoid and hostile towards others.


He was verbally and physically abusive to his family, and he was paranoid that people were talking about him. Lawrence, his brother in law, testified that Lawrence had physically assaulted him and was prone to having violent moods. Several other witnesses testified that Lawrence had nonsensical conversations with himself and that he would have laughing and cursing fits.


Listen, I know sometimes I have to have rights.


In the weeks leading up to the assassination attempt, though, Lawrence started watching Jackson and carefully tracking his movements. Witnesses testified that he was often seen in his paint shop muttering about the president until finally one day while laughing, he yelled, quote, I'll be damned if I don't do it. Lawrence, it was said, suffered from delusions of persecution, which is when you're convinced that someone is conspiring against you. He had a history of mental instability and a history of violence.


He believed that Jackson had killed his. He also believed that the president's opposition to the second Bank of the United States was the actual reason why he was being denied a dispensation owed to him by Congress for his estates that he had in England. He also believed he was entitled to payments from his American colonies, which he was not receiving.


But hold that thought, right.


If you're a cartoon character with question marks over your head states in England, payments from his colonies. Here's the deal. So upon investigation, it was discovered that, in fact, Lawrence believed that he was King Richard. The third. Yes. From the 15th century. Lawrence even dressed the part of royalty at his trial, attending it in a shooting jacket and cravat. And the trial was, of course, a huge deal. It was a media sensation.


And it was reported that Lawrence was prone to wild outbursts and even jumping out of his chair and that he refused to even recognize that he was on trial. He was also indignant that he was to be judged by what he called commoners into the courtroom. He stated, quote, It is for me, gentlemen, to pass upon you and not you upon me.


I mean, that's basically what I say all the time. It took on a true story and it's my daily mantra in the mirror as I'm brushing my hair.


You know, it took only about five minutes for the jury to find him not guilty by reason of insanity. And although it was part of his motivation in the assassination, it actually wasn't discovered until after his trial that he had requested a civil service appointment in the Jackson administration, but that it had been denied, although some historians suggest that Lawrence's behavior changed because of the toxic fumes that he was working with in his job.


Most conclude that he probably was living with schizophrenia. Lawrence spent the rest of his life in a few different psychiatric institutions, including the newly opened Government Hospital for the Insane that was later renamed St. Elizabeth's Hospital in its Washington, D.C., and he lived there until he passed away in 1861.


Oh, those guns. So when researchers at the Smithsonian Institution studied Lawrence Deringer, that had both misfired, both of them fired on the first try, the second try.


And over and over again, they fired. And there are some accounts of this experiment that report that the guns actually never failed. There was another arms expert later that calculated that the likelihood of both guns misfiring on that day was one hundred and twenty five thousand to one.


I always chuckle a little, I grew up in a family where we all learned how to shoot. And my dad always mocked. Deringer says that's a lady pistol.


Well, I think it's one of the first ones that was easy to conceal. Well, they're tiny, yeah, they're they fired two shots, they're little, that's part of part of why they were appealing to Lawrence in the second, of course, put in his pocket. And just five months after Lawrence failed attempt, Jackson actually received yet another threat. Remember, he was very divisive. Yes. In addition to a lot of people having ideas about what they did or did not deserve from him.


This time, though, it did not come in the form of a gun. It was a letter sent from a Philadelphia hotel. And the contents of that letter basically said that if the president did not release two pirates who were being held in prison, Jackson's throat would be slit. Unlike the Lawrence situation, which turned into a media frenzy as well as a shooting incident, nothing came of this strange linguistic right. There was no follow up.


There was nothing that just happened that one time. Jackson there was not just the first president to experience an assassination attempt. He was also the first sitting president to be physically attacked. And that by a man other than Lawrence. We mean the short story on this one goes that Jackson had dismissed on embezzlement charges, a man named Robert Randolph from his post in the Navy a few years before Richard Lawrence's assassination attempt in 1833, Randolph struck the president and was captured while trying to run away here.


Jackson did not press charges. He did not hit him with a cane either. It just ended.


Jackson passed away on June 8th, 1845, and as it goes then and now, there were conspiracy theories that ran rampant from the assassination attempt lasting long after his death. No one denied that Lawrence tried to kill the president. That is the one part of the story that everyone pretty much has always agreed on. But there was speculation by all political parties about why this attack had happened, including some who believed that the whole thing was a hoax.


So we're going to talk about the day that President James Garfield was killed.


But first, we're going to take a little break for a word from Spencer.


Welcome back to Criminal. Let's get right to how Charles Guiteau believed that God wanted him to kill the president. Right.


So roughly 40 years after the assassination attempt on President Jackson, Charles Guiteau believed that God told him to kill President James Garfield and that the act would be the, quote, removal, not an assassination of the president. And he would kill Garfield. And I quote this in an American manner, which I'm not really 100 percent sure what that is. But he was serious about. Right.


My only thought, and this is clearly interpretive and not backed up, is that he thought it would be super patriotic for him to do this thing.


I agree. I thought of two things.


I thought of the patriotism and I thought of with a firearm, because as we were saying earlier in the in the episode, all of the assassination attempts had happened with rights for a little background on Charles Guiteau.


He was born on September 8th, 1841, in Freeport, Illinois. He had a crooked smile and also voices in his head. Guiteau was an unsuccessful writer, a failed lawyer, a snake oil salesman, bill collector, and he was also a fraudulent preacher.


In his 20s, he joined the Oneida Community, which was, if you've never heard of it, a utopian religious commune of about 300 or so people that lived in upstate New York. The commune was known for its free love way of living, and Geto is quoted saying it was the perfect place for him. But as we all know, things changed. Despite the ideas of free love and open marriages, Ghetto was generally rejected and he didn't really fit in during his five years that he spent there, the peace loving group actually turned his name into a play on words and nicknamed him Charles Get Out, which is so cruel.


He left their community twice, but he also went back each time and then he began trying to blackmail its founder.


So less than 10 years before he assassinated President Garfield ghetto's father believed that his son had to have been possessed by the devil. Conversely, at the same time, Ghetto was becoming increasingly convinced that his destiny was in God's hands and that his actions were, in fact, divine.


Yet so was interested in politics and identified with the Democratic Party. But in 1880, that all changed when he declared that the voices in his head wanted him to become a die hard supporter of the Republican Party. And so he became one.


And not only did he switch parties, he campaigned for that party. He wrote speeches, and he was even allowed to deliver one to a small crowd of black voters in New York City. His work, he was absolutely convinced, was largely responsible for Garfield victory over Democrat Winfield Scott Hancock ghetto believe that he would and should be rewarded for that. And what he was hoping for was a European diplomatic post. And the top of his wish list was that he would be sent to Paris and the top of your wish list as well.


I think this is the top of many wish lists. And if anyone would like to send me to Paris as a diplomat, I probably can't do the diplomacy part. But I can enjoy Paris a lot.


I can do the eating part. Right. I'm the eating ambassador. I'm here to thank me to taste everything.


So by March 1881, Guiteau was living in Washington, D.C., but he was living in poverty. With the campaign over and Garfield in office.


Now, Guiteau spent his days disgruntled and he tracked Garfield's schedule in discarded newspapers. And he wrote many letters regarding his post so he didn't get the diplomatic job that he felt that he should. But he did begin to roam the halls of the White House and the State Department. This was a time when you could do such things.


And while he was doing this, he was complaining about not getting what he felt he deserved. On one visit to the State Department, Secretary of State James Blaine scoffed at Guiteau and said, quote, Never bother me again about the Paris consulship as long as you live.


And that's when things escalated. This is when Guiteau went from being the eccentric that his friends thought of him to being overwhelmed by the voices he heard in his head.


He would have to get rid of Blaine, but to do so, he decided he would have to first kill the president because they were instructions from God. He told himself it it wouldn't be considered murder because it was. Divinely ordained, and we have a quote here from him that he wrote in a letter, In the president's madness, he has wrecked the once grand old Republican Party and for this he dies.


So Guiteau was obviously convinced that Garfield was going to destroy the Republican Party and that the only solution was to remove him from office by doing so. This would have made Vice President Chester Arthur the new sitting president, and to Guiteau. This would actually do a few things when it was going to save the Republican Party. And two, it would result in a new president, President Arthur, who would surely award him the patronage job that he believed was rightfully his after the work that he had been doing for the GOP.


Get so used information from newspapers to stock Garfield around Washington, D.C., for several weeks before executing on his plan on July 1st of 1881, he wrote a letter that he wanted to have delivered the next day. Here's a little bit from that letter to General Sherman. I have just shot the president. I shot him several times as I wished him to go as easily as possible. His death was a political necessity. I am a lawyer, a theologian and politician, and I am going to jail.


Please order out your troops and take possession of the jail at once. Very respectfully, Charles Guiteau. On the morning of July 2nd, 1881, Garfield and Blaine were together at the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad Station, Guiteau at this point had been stalking the president for weeks and this was the chosen moment. He had decided that the president would be too strong to kill with a knife. So he had bought himself a gun. He chose this gun carefully.


He chose an ivory handled 44 caliber pistol. And there's this interesting aside to the specific gun. He bought it because he thought that the ivory would look nice in a museum someday. He clearly believed that this was a divinely ordained thing that was going to be a famous event in history. So back to the shooting, right. So Guiteau fired two shots. The first bullet grazed Garfield's arm, causing him to exclaim, my God, what is this?


It was the second that caught him in the back, knocked him to the floor and ultimately led to his death two months later, but we'll get to that.


So a man blocked the exit as Guiteau tried to flee the scene, and that allowed time for a ticket agent and a police officer to apprehend him. Train passenger surrounded him and yelled lynch him. Even after his arrest, he continued to believe that Vice President Arthur was going to come to his rescue.


So while all of this was happening, Gaffield was taken to the White House. Doctors were expecting him to recover. And today's medical experts agree that based on these wounds, he should have recovered. But yet Garfield wasn't getting any better. They even brought in Alexander Graham Bell. Yes, the same Alexander Graham Bell who invented the telephone and to help Bell put together what would be the first metal detector.


The idea was that they were going to use this to find the bullet. It was lodged near the president's liver, but nobody knew this at the time. And the device that Bill came up with worked perfectly in testing. But when he brought it to the White House, it failed. This is one of those things where working in a lab and working in the real world are different. Yeah, because Bell did not know that the president's bed was made with metal springs.


So the problem wasn't the metal detector. This was a time when germ theory was in its infancy and it wasn't really widely known or understood. Basically, the understanding here is that germs can lead to an infection and disease. So physicians and surgeons who were tending to gaffield meant well, but they continued to probe his wound with unsterilized fingers and equipment and soon a very serious infection set in.


This was also the time in medicine when physicians believed a person could be fed rectally and they gave gaffield frequent beef broth enemas. But please do not try this at home because it does not work.


He died having lost a lot of weight. They did not feed him through his bum.


All summer, the press reported the death of a president. It just kept going. They expected it any day. And by September, the Garfield was in fact in critical condition. OK, let's indulge in a very mini cliffhanger. Is Garfield going to succumb to his wounds? Well, people who know history know what's going on here. But we are going to take a quick break and have a word from our sponsor.


Welcome back to Criminalist. Let's talk about whether or not Charles Guiteau was guilty, not guilty or a shrewd scamp upon Garfield's death, which took place on the night of September 19th, 1881. He had been president for just 200 days. The government officially charged Guiteau with murder and he was formally indicted on October 14th of 1881. Geto pleaded not guilty and the trial began in November of that year in Washington, D.C. It was one of the first really high profile cases in the U.S., where the defense was based on a claim of temporary insanity.


A temporary insanity plea is different than an insanity defense. Temporary insanity means that a defendant was insane during the act of the crime, but then later regained their sanity after the crime was carried out. An insanity defense, in contrast, is when the defendant admits committing the crime, but asserts or is proven to have a lack of accountability or responsibility based on mental illness.


During the trial, Guiteau did not want a lawyer and insisted that he would represent himself.


The court, though, ignored that, and they appointed Lee Robinson to defend him, but not even a week into the trial, Robinson left the case just peace out and was replaced by George Scoville. Now, George happened to be ghetto's brother in law, and he was the only lawyer who would take the case. Kato maintained that he himself was still lead counsel by. And in this role that he believed he had he worked on a very long speech comparing himself to George Washington and Ulysses S.


Grant, stating that he, too, would be known as a patriot.


The prosecutors preferred to call him, quote, A shrewd scamp ghetto's testimony, spanned five days during which he explained how God had ordered him to kill the president.


He had been chosen, he stated, and we quote, Because I had the brains and the nerve to do the work and because the deity always chooses his best material to do his work.


When the prosecution asked, Are you insane at all, Geto replied, I am not an expert. Let the experts and the jury decide whether I am insane.


You the end of the trial, which lasted two months, Guiteau stated, I did not kill the president. The doctors did that. I merely shot him.


But as we talked about a little bit earlier, there was actually oddly a shred of truth to that statement, although there was no crime or malicious intent on the doctor's behalf.


The jury did think, though, that he killed the president. And despite his outrageous behavior in the courtroom, Kato was found sane and guilty. He was sentenced to death by hanging at the District of Columbia jail. Guiteau, it's reported, screamed at the jurors and we'll quote this. You are also consummate jackasses. Listen, I'm going to use that every day for the rest of my life.


You've got a mantra from this one as well to like, you know, just taking notes in the end. Ghetto's trial was really less about whether he was guilty or not and more about mental health professionals and researchers at the time debating mental illness and what constituted an insanity plea and what motivated criminals. And at the time of the trial, legal insanity was determined by whether or not the defendant knew that his actions were criminal.


After his execution, doctors from the Army Medical Museum in Washington, D.C., performed an autopsy on him, and they were hoping to find any reason at all for his behaviors. They they found two things. They found that he had an enlarged spleen and that led them to assume that he suffered from chronic malaria. His brain was found to have chronic inflammation, and it showed signs that suggested that he had a syphilis infection. Another expert, not from the Army Medical Museum, claimed that ghetto's brain was asymmetrical with left brain hemisphere underdeveloped.


And in those days, it was enough proof here that a person had inherited their insanity and their criminality based on the texture and shape of their brain today ghetto's brain. At least pieces of it can be found floating in a mixture of 70 percent alcohol, 30 percent water in a slender jar that is labeled portions of brain of Charles Guiteau, assassin of President Garfield, and that's at the Motor Museum at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. The Motor Museum, if you have never been, is a spectacular delight of weird things.


I was just about to say.


It's really too bad that we can't take a little sidebar there as soon as this whole thing is over and we can travel right. There are also pieces at the National Museum of Health and Medicine.


Oh, like I was saying, with Lawrences pistol, there's a little follow up on what happened to that ivory handle pistol. It was once photographed by the Smithsonian in the early twentieth century or so. But it's actually it's not in a museum. It's sadly since been lost. It might be in a museum, but they don't know where it is. And that music.


Right. It might be in someone's house.


I suspect that it is probably in some museum's collection undocumented. And they just don't realize it's sitting there. There will be at some point, we hope, some audit of a collection or someone goes, what is this good? What is this? Look at this pretty handle.


It should be in a museum. But for now, we can just imagine that it's sitting in a big warehouse next to the Grail.


So one of the things about this particular episode is that we did not necessarily come across anything that had to do with a cocktail. So, Holly, what do you even have for us today? Oh, Maria, you might want to brace.


All right. I am. Did you happen during any of your research to come across pictures of Charles ghetto's skull? I did, actually. Did you notice any of the various commentary everywhere you find a picture of this skull, what they note is his advanced tooth decay?


Yes. Yes. So that was what led me down my path today. Well, this is an interesting drink so far.


I thought if only he had better nutrition, perhaps his teeth would not be in such bad shape. And I try to think of things that would be full of vitamin C, and obviously that leads you to citrus.


You know, I think we did citrus recently and there are lots of other sources of vitamin C, including one of my favorite fruits in the world, the pear.


I love pears, too. Obviously, you have a drink based on a pear. Yes, this is interesting.


Again, instead of, like, rotted teeth, we've gotten the pears.


Yes. So this is one that I'm just going to call healthy teeth and gum.


It's very easy to throw together and it's quite delightful. It also came up because I had on hand pear juice because I recently was baking something that called for pears and like, you got to keep the pear juice. It's good stuff. Absolutely.


I mean, unless you drink it first. Right. So this cocktail is easy peasy. It is just three ounces of pear juice, three ounces of sparkling water, and you can use a flavored one like a pair. Sparkling water is great, but if you want to switch the profile up a little bit, you can do that by using a different fruit flavored water or you can use a plain one.


So let me ask you about the flavor here. So I live in the middle of nowhere. What would you think about like a like a lemony kind of one? Because that's much easier for me to find than a pair of sparkling water.


It would probably be fine. It would make it a slightly sharper taste, whereas a pear has that unique soft yes to it lemon sparkling water would just give it a little bit of a like bite, just a subtle bite, and then you add an ounce and a half of spiced rum. You won't really taste the spice drum because the sparkling water in the pear juice kind of overwhelm it. It's kind of like a well-rounded fruit flavor and it almost just tastes like a really delightful kind of beverage you would drink after a workout.


It tastes so sort of light and refreshing and it doesn't sound like it tastes like mouthwash at all.


Like there's no swishing.


There's no, no, no. If only every everything that was good for your teeth and gums tasted this yummy. But yeah, that is the healthy go.


I love it. Here's to Charles.


Here's to Mr. Guiteau. You know, it makes me think, right. If you've ever had a toothache of any kind, it is excruciating and it makes you not always able to think straight. Absolute pain is right there in your head.


And I wonder if that contributed to any of his behavior, especially if he had like ten teeth that were doing that at the right.


It's like multiple teeth that were problematic. If he had only had pear juice and spiced rum, he would write, maybe he wouldn't know.


That is needed gargle. That is not a substitute for good care of your teeth and gums. Drink responsibly and brush your teeth.


Brushing your teeth can help so many parts of your health brush and floss. It's good for you. OK, so that is our episode for today. Thank you for hanging out with us. We hope you had a good time and that maybe you try this yummy pear rum and sparkling water beverage because it's quite a delight, I must say. And we will see you right back here next time on criminally. Criminality is a production of Shandley and audio in partnership with I Heart Radio for more podcasts from chandeliered audio.


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