People v. Walter Bennett, Appeal: Testimony of Walter A. Bennett

People v. Walter Bennett, appeal

WALTER A. BENNETT, the defendant, being duly sworn, testifies as follows:

Direct-examination by Mr. Greenthal:

Walter A. Bennett: I have been in the theatrical business, the hotel business and a steward and a waiter; and I have been a caterer. At the time of my arrest I was not in a business at all. I know where the Ariston Bath is situated.

Mr. Greenthal: How long have you been going to that bath?

Bennett: I went to that bath in '97, 1897. Between 1897 and up to the time of my arrest, I did not continually remain in New York City. My business carried me out of the city. I remember February 21st and February 22d, 1903, the time of my arrest. I arrived at the Ariston Bath between 11:15 and 11:30. Prior to that time I was at my home, 327 West 28th street, until about 25 minutes of eleven. I walked up 8th Avenue as far s 58th Street. I went into Reisenweber's and had a glass of beer, and I returned to 55th street, and crossed over to Broadway and went to the bath.

Mr. Greenthal: Were you at any time in the northwesterly room of those baths?

Bennett: I was in the northwesterly room, but not in the room that these men have described here on the stand. I have heard the testimony of Officer Phelan and Officer Fitzsimmons.

Mr. Greenthal: Did you at any time commit, or did Mr. Galbert, George Galbert, place his penis into your anus?

Bennett: No, sir.

Mr. Greenthal: Did any such thing ever take place?

Bennett: No, sir.

Mr. Greenthal: Did George Galbert at any time take his penis and place it in your mouth.

Bennett: No, sir.

Mr. Greenthal: When, for the first time, did you ever see George Galbert?

Bennett: In the 47th Street police station. That was about three or four o'clock of Sunday morning, or you might call it Saturday night.

Mr. Greenthal: Now, Mr. Bennett, Officer Phelan as testified that at or about eleven o'clock of February 21st, he met you in the corridor, and that you had a conversation with him; or, in other words, that you invited him into your room, to have a good time. Did any such conversation take place?

Bennett: That is absolutely false, because I was not in the place at eleven o'clock. Furthermore, I had no room.

Mr. Greenthal: Did you at any time, at or about eleven o'clock, or at any time at all, place your arm around Phelan's waist?

Bennett: No, sir. Impossible. I was not there.

Mr. Greenthal: Do you remember when the raid took place, Mr. Bennett?

Bennett: I do, sir. I couldn't tell you the time exactly. At the time of the raid I was sitting on the table, in the first westerly room, the room that you had to pass through to go into the room that these men have described. The first person who spoke to me at the time was Fitzsimmons. I was sitting on the table, in the first room, after you leave the corridor.

Mr. Greenthal asks a question.

Bennett: I had no conversation with Office Phelan. I do not say I was standing there, and Officer Fitzsimmons was sitting on this table. The first time I saw him, I was in the hot room, when I had undressed and gone into the hot room at 11:30. He spoke to me at that time. I went into the hot room, and was walking up and down, and he said, "It's hot in here, ain't it," and I said, "Very," and he pulled a steamer chair over, and he said, "Sit down," and I said, "I don't care to sit down." And I kept walking up and down there, and then went into the vapor room, and then came out to get a rubber, but they were all busy. And finally Phelan left, and the rubber rubbed me down, and I went into the plunge room, and went back and forth into the plunge room, and I sat down alongside of the plunge. That diagram is not right. There is a place for two chairs there. It is a sort of platform, or tiled flooring, and I sat there, part of the time reading, and going back and forth into the plunge. And I remained in there about forty minutes and then went into the place where the library is, or where the manicure is that fixes your fingers and toes.

And, after I sat there about fifteen minutes, I went into this first westerly room to lie down, but the couches were occupied, and I sat on the table, right under the mirror, and I read the Evening Telegram, and part of a magazine. I sat there until I saw these two officers go into the northwest room. They were dressed when they went in there. And the raid was about five minutes after they went into the room. I was not in the room.

They came out, and Fitzsimmons was the one that spoke to me, and he said, "Get into that room, God damn you," and I said, "What for?" and he said, "Get in there. You are under arrest," and I said, "What for?" and he said, "Get in there, and you will find out."

And Fitzsimmons was the man who came in and picked me out, and he said, "We want him," and it was corroborated by Phelan. And I went into the room west of the office, and stayed in there for some time, and then I left the room, and was taken out by Fitzsimmons, and not McCutcheon, and was taken into the first west room, to dress. I dressed in the closet, right next to the mirror. There were several people had their clothes in there. And Fitzsimmons was the man that took me, not McCutcheon.

Mr. Greenthal: Now, Mr. Bennett, did you go around the corridor, parade around around the corridor, shaking your limbs, exposing them?

Bennett: I did not, sir.

Mr. Greenthal: Or trialing your sheet?

Bennett: I did not, sir.

Mr. Greenthal: Or making motions with your body?

Bennett: I did not, sir.

Cross-examination by Mr. Ely.

Bennett: I had been going to the Ariston Baths before the 21st of February, 1903, since 1897. I had not been a frequent visitor there. Whenever I wanted a bath and was in town. I had not been there on an average two or three times a month. I couldn't tell you that. I went when I wanted a bath. I might have gone twice a month, or not at all the next month. I might hae gone three times a month and might not have gone for five or six months. I had been going there since 1897. I had been to the Ariston Baths in February, 1903, before the 21st, once. I was there on the 14th of February and some months previous to that, I can't just remember. Seven months. I recollect that it was seven months because I was away a good deal of the time.

Mr. Ely: Where were you?

Bennett: Oh, I have been in the West.

Mr. Ely: For seven months prior to the 14th of February you were in the West?

Bennett: I didn't say that.

Mr. Ely: Well, I am asking you?

Bennett: I was in the West part of the time. I was in New York come time. About two months and a half, back and forth. I don't remember the dates that I would come in and go away, or weeks. I was in New York in July, some part of July. I came from Glen Air, Pennsylvania. I was steward and waiter at the Glen Air Club. Between July and February 14th, I was out of New York City, not continuously. Between July and February 14th I might have been at the Ariston Baths once or twice, but I won't swear that I was or was not.

Mr. Ely: And, prior to July, 1902, when had you been to the Ariston Baths?

Bennett: Well, I couldn't remember that. I didn't keep a date book or a remark book for those things.

Mr. Ely: Well, about?

Bennett: I couldn't tell you. I have not been in New York continuously from July, 1902, to January, 1903. I don't just remember the time, when I left New York, after July, 1902. I left on vacations and then I went away in October. I went down to Manhattan Beach, and was at Asbury Park and Ocean Grove, during July and September, for days. Just for a day. And I went away for a week in September. I was not sleeping in New York, at nights, not always. Generally speaking, yes. I was not in New York continuously from July until January. I first began to remain away some time in October, and then from July until October I was in New York for a week at a time. I generally went at nights to Manhattan Beach or Brighton. I stayed down on the boat generally. Or to Coney Island. I did not from the month of July to October go to the Ariston Baths. I went away in October, 1902. I traveled in the West. I returned the last day of January, 1903. Not until the last day of January, 1903; January 31st, 1903. I am positive of it. Christmas day, I was in Brazil, Indiana. And at no time during the holidays, so called, that I have described from the 25th of December, 1902, until the 1st of January, 1903, was I in New York. And during the time of those holidays I was not at the Ariston Baths. From October, 1902, until the 14th of April, 1902, I was not at the Ariston Baths.

Mr. Ely: Quite sure of that?

Bennett: Positive

The Court: Was he there on February 14th?

Bennett: I was there on February 14th, 1903?

Mr. Ely: Did you see Officer Fitzsimmons there, on February 14th, 1903?

Bennett: Which is Fitzsimmons? Let me see his face.

Mr. Ely: Don't you know?

Bennett: I can't remember him. If I see his face I can tell you.

Mr. Ely: Well, you have been testifying about Phelan and Fitzsimmons on the direct, without seeing their faces. Now can't you tell whether or not you saw Fitzsimmons on the 14th of February, 1903?

Bennett: I have but two men in my mind, who appeared against me -

Mr. Ely: If your Honor please, I ask for a direct answer.

The Court: Yes. Answer.

Bennett: The question?

(The question is repeated by the stenographer.)

Bennett: Did I see him on the 14th? I did not see any officer who has testified here to-day - I did not see any officer, who testified here to-day, on the 14th of February, 1903, at the Ariston Baths. I am positive of that. It is the fact that the first time I saw Galbert was on the morning of the 22d of February, 1903. I never saw him in my life before until then. I am sure of that, positive. And I had been going to the Ariston Baths, from time to time, since 1897 up to 1903, February 21st. I never saw him before until in the 47th street police station when the raid was. I saw him in the station house, the large room, where the officers are. In the 47th street police station.

Mr. Ely: and that is the first time that you ever seen him in your life?

Bennett: Yes, sir.

Mr. Ely: Didn't you see him in the baths?

Bennett: No, sir.

Mr. Ely: Before that?

Bennett: No, sir.

Mr. Ely: Hadn't you seen him in the baths at any time that you have been there, prior to the 21st February, 1903?

Bennett: No, sir.

Mr. Ely: Didn't you see him in the baths about Christmas time?

Bennett: No, sir.

Mr. Ely: Is it not a fact that - no, I will not ask you that. Did you ever have any trouble with Phelan?

Bennett: No, sir.

Mr. Ely: Did you ever have any trouble with McCutcheon?

Bennett: No, sir.

Mr. Ely: Did you ever have any trouble with Fitzsimmons?

Bennett: No, sir.

Mr. Ely: Did you ever have conversation with any of them?

Bennett: The conversation that I told you I heard here, in the hot room, when I entered the bath, that night, at half past eleven.

Mr. Ely: At half past elven!

Bennett: Yes, sir.

Mr. Ely: How do you remember the time?

Bennett: Because I said it was between a quarter and a half past when I got in.

Mr. Ely: Got in where?

Bennett: Into the bath.

Mr. Ely: You mean into the bath establishment or the bath itself.

Bennett: The bath establishment.

Mr. Ely: How do you know it was between a quarter after and half an hour after when you got into the bath establishment?

Bennett: Because it was about five minutes after eleven when I was in Risenweber's. I saw the clock there. I did not look at the clock especially. But I looked at the clock. And it was five minutes after eleven.

Mr. Ely: Was the clock going?

Bennett: I suppose so.

Mr. Ely: Then you don't know whether it was going or not?

Bennett: I didn't go up to it, to move the hands. Then I went down to the baths. I saw in this hot room Phelan. I am sure it was Phelan. I am positive. I recollect now the difference between Fitzsimmons and Phelan, since I started to think about it. And Phelan was the one that I had the conversation with. He was the one that spoke to me. He said, "It is hot in here; ain't it?" and I said "Very," and he said "Take a seat," and I said, "I don't care to sit down." Phelan said this.

Mr. Ely: Is that the man, Phelan, that invited you to take a seat (indicating)?

Bennett: That is the man. And he wore a moustache that night.

Mr. Greenthal: Well, I don't think it is fair to have these witnesses in the court room.

The Court: They have been examined.

Mr. Greenthal: Well, I know, but they may be called in rebuttal.

The Court: Oh, well, go on, Mr. District Attorney.

Mr. Greenthal: I take an exception, if your Honor please.

Mr. Ely: I don't expect to call Mr. Phelan in rebuttal, sir.

Mr. Greenthal: Then that is all right.

Mr. Ely: Though I may.

Mr. Greenthal: Then I ask that the witnesses be excluded from the court room.

The Court: Go on, Mr. District Attorney. Do not waste any time.

Mr. Ely asks a question

Bennett: After the request for me to take a seat had been made, I didn't take it. I kept on walking up and down until i got ready to go into the vapor room. I did not have any other conversation with Phelan. I never had any conversation with Fitzsimmons. I never had any conversation with any of the officers except Phelan, just as I say, in this hot room. That's all. When I was arrested I was sitting on the table, at the mantel piece, right opposite the closet where my clothes were in. In the first west room.

Mr. Ely: Well, I am not asking you where you were not, but where you were.

Bennett: In the first west room, as you enter, the first room that you have to go through.

Mr. Ely: Well, what do you mean? As you enter what? The Turkish bath establishment, or what?

Bennett: After you leave the hall or corridor, at the extreme end-

Mr. Ely: Now wait a minute. As you go into the Turkish bath establishment, you go in from 55th street?

Bennett: Yes, sir. Then there is the office. Then a buffet or bar. Then back of the buffet the hall runs; and on the left hand side, that is the westerly side, is a toilet.

Mr. Ely: Then you go on down to a passage, and you get into a dressing room, which is to the westerly side of this passage, is that right?

Bennett: You get into a reclining room, off of which there are several dressing rooms. Now that is the room I say I was in. That's the room I was in. That is east of this extreme northwesterly dressing room.

Mr. Ely: Well, now on the diagram - look at it - that would represent the dressing room that you say you were in (indicating).

Bennett: Well, this is not a correct direct diagram for me to get in the room.

Mr. Ely: Well, if your Honor please, I didn't ask him that at all.

Mr. Greenthal: Well, that is an answer, if your Honor please.

Bennett: Your Honor, may I address you, if you please?

The Court: Can you, from the diagram handed you, point out the room that you had reference to?

Bennett: I think that is the room that they mean, but the diagram is not correct for me to show it (indicating).

The Court: No. I simply asked you the question, can you show upon the diagram the room?

Bennett: Well, this would be it, as near as any room could be (indicating).

Mr. Ely: Well, now, this is it?

Bennett: Yes, sir.

Mr. Ely: Well, now, that is it (indicating)?

Bennett: Yes, sir.

Mr. Ely: Well, we will put a cross there with "B", to represent the room which the witness says he was in at the time he was arrested. Mr. Foreman, look at it, and pass it around.

Bennett: And that is right connecting with the extreme northwesterly cooling and dressing room. And that room that I was in - when I was arrested in there, I was sitting on the table, reading. Fitzsimmons arrested me. He told me to go into the other room. I did not have any conversation with Fitzsimmons then. Not any more than to say, "What for", to ask him. I asked the question. I questioned him. I didn't put the affirmative. I put the question. I asked him what for. And he said, "Get the hell in there and you will find out", and he said something about being arrested. I don't remember the words Fitzsimmons spoke first. He told me to get the hell in there, or to get out of the room. He said, "Get the hell in there," and I said, "What for?" And then he said something about being arrested. I don't remember the exact words he said. I did not say anything else. I just went. I was undressed. He was dressed. Dressed. He and Phelan, both of them were dressed. I am sure that it was not Phelan that I had this conversation with, I am positive. And then I did have a conversation with another than Phelan on that night, another one of the officers than Phelan, to the extent that you have heard me say here, that he told me to go in that room. I went into the library.

Mr. Ely: Now where with respect to the office, is what you call the library?

Bennett: Hand me the paper and I will show you.

Mr. Ely: Oh, no you won't. You will just tlel me.

Bennett: Oh, where it is?

Mr. Ely: Yes.

Bennett: After you go into the office, from 55th street, you go into the wine room, and turn to the door to the right, which will lead you east. I don't think that there is on that diagram a door to get in there. If there is, I will tell you.

Mr. Ely: Now there is the buffet. And the door to lead into the east. There is the diagram (indicating)?

Bennett: It don't lead into the library. It leads into the buffet, but not the library. I don't know how I would get in there. I would have to go around through some of the other doors. I went in, during the evening, after they took me out of the library, but, when I left the room where I was sitting, I went into the room where they were all in there.

Mr. Ely: Well, then, you say - where is there an entrance to the room that you call the library?

Bennett: Do you want me to mark the doorway, the passageway there?

Mr. Ely: Just indicate.

Bennett: It would be about there (indicating).

Mr. Ely: Well, now, indicate the other side of the doorway?

Bennett: How do you mean, the other side of the doorway?

Mr. Ely: Well, that is not the whole width of the doorway?

Bennett: I asked you if I should mark it, and you said just indicate it.

Mr. Ely: And then I told you to mark it; and you were brought into this library, as you call it; and how long did you remain there?

Bennett: Until Fitzsimmons came and called me out, or picked me out, rather. I saw Phelan then in there at that time. I was not taken out and taken to the dressing-room, and then I remained in there until Fitzsimmons took me to dress. I remained in there until Fitzsimmons took me to dress. I went into the dressing-rooms where the clothes were.

Mr Ely asks a question.

Bennett: My clothes were in the closet off the mantel piece, at the extreme end of the large reclining room. The room where I was arrested. Where I was sitting on the table and had the conversation with Fitzsimmons; my clothes were in the closet there, the extreme end, up by the table.

Mr. Ely: Well, I don't know which extreme end you are talking about. Which extreme end are you talking about?

Bennett: The eastern end of the room.

Mr. Ely: And you were taken - is that about the place where you were taken then (indicating)? Here is the room where you were arrested? (Indicating)

Bennett: Well, that diagram is so bad, I can't lay it out. It would be over in this end where the closet would be, but these toilets would not be in that room (indicating).

Mr. Ely: Well, it isn't in the room?

Bennett: Well, there it is (indicating).

Mr. Ely: Well, there is the line that divides them. You were taken there and allowed to dress; were you?

Bennett: I was. I did not see McCutcheon. I have heard McCutcheon testify that he took me to that room. I did. I heard him, but I am sure that it was Fitzsimmons.

Redirect-examination by Mr. Greenthal:

Mr. Greenthal: Now, Mr. Bennett, look at this paper. What does that paper represent, Mr. Bennett?

Mr. Ely: I object.

Mr. Greenthal: Did you ever see that paper before?

Bennett: Yes, sir.

Mr. Greenthal: What is that?

Bennett: This is a diagram of the baths.

Mr. Ely: I object to his characterization of the paper.

The Court: Lay a foundation for it, counsellor.

Mr. Greenthal: Can you tell us what that represents?

Mr. Ely: I object.

The Court: No, that will not do.

Mr. Greenthal: Who drew that diagram?

Bennett: I did

Mr. Greenthal: When?

Bennett: During my confinement in the Tombs.

Mr. Greenthal: Well, what does that represent?

Bennett: It represent the Ariston Baths.

Mr. Greenthal: I offer that in evidence, if your Honor please.

Mr. Greenthal: Is that a correct diagram of that place?

Bennett: It is the correct diagram of the place, of what has been open, previous to a year or two ago. But, at the back of this swimming pool was another hot room, which was then closed off, sometime within the last two years or year. I know it was closed off the night I was there, because I couldn't get into it.

Mr. Ely: I do not object to that paper, sir. It is about the same as the People's Exhibit. I would like the jury to take both of them together.

The Court: I will admit it.

(The paper is marked Defendant's Exhibit 1).

Mr. Ely: This is the room, is it not (indicating)?

Bennett: Yes, sir.

Mr. Ely: That is the extreme northwesterly room, is it not? You have got portieres there?

Bennett: Yes, sir; there is the mark for the portieres.

Mr. Ely: Well, then, mark that for a room. The jury want to know whether that is a room or not. Mark it the northwest room?

Bennett: Shall I put the couches in?

Mr. Ely: I don't care whether you do or not?

Bennett: There are two couches in there, not three.

Mr. Greenthal: Now, Mr. Bennett, look at Defendant's Exhibit 1. Can you say, by looking at that paper, where you sat at the time of your arrest?

Bennett: Yes, sir.

Mr. Greenthal: Will you mark it?

Bennett: It is marked.

Mr. Greenthal: How is it marked?

Bennett: With a cross.

Mr. Greenthal: Now, do you know where the northwesterly room is, that has been spoken of?

Bennett: Yes, sir.

Mr. Greenthal: Is there any room between that room and the room you sat in?

Bennett: No, sir. The room I sat in and the room adjoining it, the northwesterly room, there are two couches. One is where I sat and the other is where I dressed.

The Court: Is Bennett your true name?

Bennett: Yes, sir; that is the name I was born under.

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