Buku The Last Pirate of New York: A Ghost Ship, a Killer, and the Birth of a Gangster Nation by Rich Cohen

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The Last Pirate of New York: A Ghost Ship, a Killer, and the Birth of a Gangster Nation by Rich Cohen

Author:Rich Cohen

Language: eng

Format: epub

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Published: 2019-06-03T23:00:00+00:00

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The Last Pirate of New York: A Ghost Ship, a Killer, and the Birth of a Gangster Nation by Rich Cohen

* * *

The prosecution saved its most dramatic witnesses for the end of the trial, the third and fourth day. These were men and women, some intimately involved with the victims, who could connect Hicks to the crime via the most common elements of life—hair and clothes. A shudder went through the court when the prosecutor called Catherine Dickenson, Oliver Watts’s seventeen-year-old girlfriend. The jurors knew her face; they’d seen it in the daguerreotype that Hicks had been carrying when arrested. Miss Dickenson, who lived in Brooklyn, told the court she’d last seen Oliver “on the Tuesday of the week he sailed. I gave him my daguerreotype….He put it in his coat pocket.”

 

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The Last Pirate of New York: A Ghost Ship, a Killer, and the Birth of a Gangster Nation by Rich Cohen

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The Last Pirate of New York: A Ghost Ship, a Killer, and the Birth of a Gangster Nation by Rich Cohen

 

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The Last Pirate of New York: A Ghost Ship, a Killer, and the Birth of a Gangster Nation by Rich Cohen

Author:Rich Cohen , Date: June 21, 2019

,Views: 65

Author:Rich Cohen

Language: eng

Format: epub

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Published: 2019-06-03T23:00:00+00:00
* * *

The prosecution saved its most dramatic witnesses for the end of the trial, the third and fourth day. These were men and women, some intimately involved with the victims, who could connect Hicks to the crime via the most common elements of life—hair and clothes. A shudder went through the court when the prosecutor called Catherine Dickenson, Oliver Watts’s seventeen-year-old girlfriend. The jurors knew her face; they’d seen it in the daguerreotype that Hicks had been carrying when arrested. Miss Dickenson, who lived in Brooklyn, told the court she’d last seen Oliver “on the Tuesday of the week he sailed. I gave him my daguerreotype….He put it in his coat pocket.”

She said the picture had been part of a pair—one of her for him, one of him for her. She was still wearing hers in a locket around her neck. When she took it off and showed it to the court—a young man with handsome features—people in the gallery were anguished. Some cried. She opened the locket and removed the picture. Behind it were a few locks from Oliver’s head. “I cut his hair,” she explained. “I did it once a month. It grew so quickly.”

The strands were given to the jurors, who examined them next to some hair found in the blood on the deck of the sloop. This side-by-side study was about as close as you got to forensic analysis in 1860. The hair apparently came from the same person. Asked her opinion, Miss Dickerson said, “It’s indeed from Oliver. I knew every hair on his head. I knew it better than he knew it himself.”

Then Dideme Burr, the captain’s widow, was called. She’d left the hospital a few days before and insisted on testifying. She was pale and wore black. The newspapers described her attire as “deep mourning.” She identified the watch that had been found on Hicks—the tarnished timepiece her husband had carried for nine years and consulted constantly.

Abbey Hubbard, the mother of Smith Watts, had testified earlier but was recalled, making her the last witness. When she spoke of her younger son, the tenderness and clarity of it crushed the people in the gallery. Many wept. She said Smith had only been nineteen at the time of his death, slender, with skinny arms and wrists. He did not yet shave. He was too trusting, easy prey in a cruel world. His father had run off years before—perhaps Smith thought he’d find him out there in the world. The boy had lived in Islip with his mother and the man she had married, Mr. Hubbard. She had at first refused to let Smith go to sea, but there was no holding him. She insisted on outfitting him before he left, so he would at least be warm. Over the course of several days, she made an entire wardrobe, “a blue woolen shirt…two pair of pantaloons sewn by candlelight.” The clothes were found in Hicks’s rooms in Providence. They were shown to Mrs. Hubbard, who led a kind of tour of each item.

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