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52 PASES LONG BF-ACH, CALIFORNIA. WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 20, 1967
= Variable clouds, 30 per cent chance of = = showers, cold, windy. Today's high about 55. | s Complete weather on Page C-6. =
Phone HE 5-1161 — Classified" No. HE 2-5959
VOL. 30, NO. 382
GUILTY, FIRST DEGREE, ON BOTH COUNTS
Stunned Kirschke, Risking All, Loses
By SHERM WILLIAMS AH, he had demanded, or nothing <U all. A murder conviction or acquittal. Tuesday, a thunderstruck Jack Kirschke — once tlie swingingest deputy district attorney in Los Angeles County — was found guilty of first-degree murder by a jury which had pondered his fate since last Thursday. The gaunt body shook. The skull-like face pressed hard on his hands — fingers intertwined as though as in prayer. His elbows bored into the counsel table. The hollow eyes watered, but no tears trickled down. Murder in the first degree. The gas chamber or life imprisonment for the once off-beat, tanned and debonair yachtsman. The man who had prosecuted many, who with a prosecutor's eye had chosen his own six-man, six-woman jury, had been judged by them, and the decision was made. He had waited, his peers had decided, and then with premeditation murdered his wife, fashion designer Elaine Terry Kirschke, and the man who embraced her in Kirschke's own bed last April 8. ORVILLE WILLIAM DRANKHAN, co-owner of an aviation electronics firm, who had divided his life with his wife, his mistress and Mrs. Kirschke, yet found time vo fly and to install radios and directional devices in airplanes, S. Ramsey and Asst. Atty. Gen. Albert W. Harris worked their way through prospective jurors trying to seat a panel had been killed with premediation, the jury decided. Only the clerk's words could be heard in the silent that would be fair to their respective sides. Ramsey confided later that he left the final approval courtroom. "First degree," be said. On her bench, Judge Kathleen Parker, her face somber, her glasses reflecting or disapproval of each juror to Kirschke as a veteran attorney whose fate, after all, was at issue. No. 1, a stern the overhead lights, looked out over her courtroom. Kirschke had wanted to be a judge. He had cam- appearing, elderly postal clerk. No. 2, a short man who appaigned for Gov. Ronald Reagan and had been active in peared at times to recede behind his glasses. Down the the Downey Rotary Club. He was still, even as his guilt back row, then back to No. 7. Silver haired, with apple dumpling cheeks and bright was formally pronounced, secretary of the Long Beach blue eyes, No. 7 was the lovely kind of lady who you just Yacht Club. Kirschke had chosen the jury. It had happened back know always has cookies for children. She sat just beside at the trial's beginnings when defense attorney Albert C. the wide rail that separates the jury, the judge, the witnesses, the attorneys and Kirschke from the pressing mass of spectators. THE TRIAL was a month underway when, one day, a fat, ugly spider suddenly mounted the rail and began running back and forth on its surface. While reporters watched, the spider ran toward Harris who, questioning a witness, leaned back against the rail, his hands spread on it. What would the conservative prosecutor do when the spider scampered onto his hand? Three inches from the hand, the spider darted the other way. Back it ran, along the rail, back alongside the silver haired lady with apple dumpling cheeks. A reporter leaned forward with his notebook to spare her a scream. He was too late. Bam, she went with her open hand. The spider, flat-' tened in its own juices, remained on the rail. The silver-
Misled Himself, He Says
Jack Kirschke, confident of his eventual acquittal throughout his four-month trial, admitted Tuesday he was misled in his evaluation of the evidence by "my own training and experience as lawyer." The suspended deputy district attorney said he would have acquitted himself had he been on the jury because, "as a lawyer, I would have had to follow the law and the law would dictate thai 1 vole not guilty. "My difficulty is that I think of this as a trained lawyer. The jurors are laymen, and they react emotionally to things a trained lawyer or judge doesn't," Kirschke said. * ^ * * HE INSISTED any rational, logical consideration KIRSCHKE'S SON, DOUG, WEEPS AT VERDICT of the evidence "and particularly the instructions to the jury" would lead to no other conclusion but acquittal. Kirschke, who said "surprise would be a very mild description" of his reaction to the guilty verdict, insisted he will appeal — and win. "There are at least 12 points that are sure, reversible errors, prejudicial misconduct on the part of the prosecution," he said. A ACTION LINE is your service, solving your problems, prosecutor himself, Kirschgctiirig your answers, cuffing red tape and standing up for ke declined to detail the your rights. To get action, write ACTION LINE, Box 230, points because, he said, Long Beach, Calif. 90801, or dial 432-3451 between 9 a.m. "that wouldn't be proper." * * * * and I p.m., or 5 p.m. and 9 p.m., Monday through Friday. Questions !o be answerer! are selected for their genera! THOUGH KIRSCHKE reinterest and helpfulness. in a i n e d outwardly composed and voluble during the tear-filled first moments after the verdict, Q. I am a home teacher for children in the Montebello his son, D o u g l a s , was Unified School District. I have a 10-year-old pupil who is s t u n n e d a n d virtually paralyzed, and through therapy has learned to make a speechless for some time. While his father spoke clown out of a coffee can. He has an order to sell 100 of these clowns, but we just can't drink that much coffee. confidently of an appeal Could ACTION LINE help us get some empty one-pound and warmly thanked his attorney and "all the good coffee cans with lids? M. H., Long Beach. people in my corner," the A. Your sleepless nights are over. Paul Cohrt, division son kept repeating, "What manager for Hills Bros. Coffee Inc. in Los Angeles, has ar- can you say? I don't see ranged for 72 empty cans to he shipped to you from their how they (the jury) could plant in San Francisco. Pat Markle, secretary to the dis- do it." trict sales manager of General Foods Corp., also came forth with an offer of 25 slightly dented but unopened cans full of Sanka coffee. ACTION LINE is directing this generous contribution to the Long Beach Fire Department's Christmas basket program, which supplies needy familieB with food, clothing and toys. Any other coffee can donations may be directed to the teacher at 597-1186.
'VINDICATION ONLY DELAYED'
Jack Kirschke's attorney expected his client to be "vindicated" by the jury, but — undeterred by the guilty verdict — said, "This just delays the vindication." Kirschke will appeal, said attorney Albert C. S. Ramsey. He will contend the testimony of neighbors, who said Kirschke beat his wife, "should not have been admitted." Ramsey is sure he will win the appeal. So is Kirschke. The jury made a "terrible error," he said, "but it will be corrected in due time." haired lady wiped her hand on her skirt, then returned her attention to the witness. Had Kirschke noticed, he might have had a premonition. It all began last April 10, when a curious neighbor, Frank Cornell, who lived above the Kirschke duplex at 185 Rivo Alto Canal in Naples, took his newlywed son-in-law downstairs to check the Kirschke apartment. ON THE MORNING OF April 8, Cornell had heard "moaning" sounds and arguments, followed by "two concussion" noises at 2:30 a.m., from the Kirschke apartment. Cornell's son-in-law peered into the prosecutor's master bedroom and saw the nude, discolored legs of Mrs. Kirschke on a bed and concluded that she was dead. He summoned police, setting in action a chair! of events that led to the arrest of Kirschke outside of Vjctorville later that morning. From then on, it was a prosecution theory combating Kirschke's alibi. After his initial arrest, Kirschke was escorted to Long Beach jail, then released two days later. He was indicted by the Los Angeles County grand jury and taken to trial in the first of a series of hearings Aug. 8. Bv the conclusion of testimony last Dec. 7, 122 witnesses for the defense and prosecution had paraded through Judge Kathleen Parker's court in the old Hall of Justice in downtown Los Angeles. The prosecution maintained that Kirschke had the motive, the means and the opportunity to kill his wife and her lover, and later "exhibited a consciousness of guilt by lying" to investigators who talked to him in Victorville and Long Beach. The strongest prosecution testimony was provided by Los Angeles Police Department criminalist DeWayne Wolfer, who testified that "no other gun in the world" than a .38-caliber Harrington and Richardson revolver Kirschke had taken out of evidence In a case he had prosecuted six years ago, could have killed the two lovers. Wolfer also theorized that the killer had lain in wait for the victims, who last were seen alive at the Long Beach Yacht Club between midnight and 1 a.m. on the morning of the murders, and then stealthily opened the door leading into the bedroom from the living room and executed them as they lay in a close embrace. Wolfer theorized that Drankhan, as his body relaxed, tumbled off the bed. The pilot was found face down on tho shag rug beside the bed. THE DEFENSE contended that Kirschke was at least half way to Las Vegas at the time of the slayings and could not have committed them. While the prosecution contended that Kirschke (Continued Page A-5, Col. 1)
ASHEN-FACED JACK KIRSCHKE COMMENTS ON HIS CONVICTION
-Stall Pholci by BOB SHUMWAY
Hail, Rain., Soot Hit L.B.; Cold Stays On
A b l i n d i n g rainstorm which pierced the cold with t h u n d e r a n d lightning, heavy hail and soot from a spectacular oil fire passed eastward over the mountains Tuesday, leaving the Christmas weather picture uncertain. T h e weatherman said there was still 30 per cent chance of showers through tonight. The bone-chilling cold will lift only slightly today and Thursday, with a predicted high of 55 and low of 37 for Long Beach today. Chances are increasing for rainless Christmas holidays, t h e W e a t h e r m a n says, but he's not taking any bets yet. * * * * T U E S D A Y morning's drenching, part of a huge storm moving slowly eastward over the entire West Coast, dropped .42 inches of rain on Long Beach to bring the season total to 8.34 inches—three times normal seasonal rainfall. A heavy slush fell in many parts of the SouthOil fire picture, Page A-3 land, but melted almost immediately or was dissolved by rains which followed. A thin, white blanket momentarily coated the Long Beach strand. Residents f r o m North Long Beach to Norwalk to Cornpton reported "black rain" that left swimming pools' an inky color and stained cars and houses shortly before noon. The soot-laden rain was from billowing, black clouds of oil smoke boiling out of an El S eg u n d o oil reservoir which turned into a flaming
Season's Greetings., Boss
Q. Our department at Douglas lias always taken up a collection at this time of year to buy gifts for the bosses. This year, we decided to spend the money instead to help make Christmas brighter for some less fortunate family. Our bosses were delighted with the plan. Gin you give us the name of a deserving family? P.C., Long Beach.
Talks Between Saigon, Cong Could Help End War-LBJ
By HELEN THOMAS
WASHINGTON (UPI) — President Johnson Tuesday n i g h t endorsed informal talks between the South Vietnamese government A. ACTION LINE has gotten many requests for and the Viet Cong as a useChristmas help. Most have been turned over to the organi- ful step toward ending the zations which make a specialty of distributing Christmas Vietnam war. He baskets. But we saved for you a family of five children. South said it was up to the Vietnamese The father is disabled and facing another serious operation determine in free people to elections after the holidays. They receive financial aid from the gov- whether to include Commuernment but it is insufficient to do anything about toys for nists in a coalition governthe youngsters or Christmas fancies. A list of the child- ment. rens' requests of Santa Claus has been sent you. Until peace is achieved, Johnson told a nationwide television audience, "The great problem we have is Q. Where can I get a cowboy shirt with fringe on it, not misleading the enemy size 14, for a sick little hoy? I have tried everywhere in and letting him think—beLong Beach, but no luck. A.R., Long Beach. cause of some of the stateA. Nudle's Rodeo Tailors, 5015 Lankershlm Blvd., ments he hears from us — North Hollywood, can sell you a ready-made shirt In any that the way is cheap, that it Is easy, or that we are going to falter." (Continued Page A-4, Col. 7)
Vietnam was the President's major preoccupation in an hour-long television interview that also touched on civil rights, dissent, HONOLULU ( U P I ) — President Johnson, in a stopover en route to Australia, said Tuesday night congressional cuts in expenditures this year were "clearly not enough." The chief executive issued a special s t a t e m e n t after signing a resolution directing him to cut federal expenditures by $4.3 billion in fiscal 1968. Congress and the 1068 election campaign. + * * * THE "CONVERSATION with the President" was recorded on Monday and broadcast Tuesday night by
the three national television networks while Johnson was flying to Australia for memorial services for Prime M i n i s t e r Harold Holt. Johnson took part in a similar interview March 14, 1064. On the domestic scene, the President said violence a n d lawlessness among Negroes and antiwar demonstrators would not be tolerated. He called for better jobs, housing, health and education for Negroes, but said violence "is going to produce anarchy. That cannot he tolerated." As for dissent on his Vietnam policy, Johnson said he respects differences of opinion when expressed within the law. "But if they are going to USB storm-
SUPERVISORS SELECT new county corner. Page A-3. NEW ESCALATION step taken by U.S. in air war against North Vietnam. Page A-10. > GOV. REAGAN'S first year in office and second-year prospects summed up. Page A-19. ) IT IS THE SEASON of sadness for 200 children. Page B-l. Amusements ..A-16 Classified C-7 Comics A-I8 Editorial B-2 Features B-3 Financial .. A-22,23 Obituaries C-7 Radio-TV C-14 Shipping C-6 Sports C-l—6 Vital Statistics ..C-7 Women B-10, 12
(Continued Page A-4, Co!. 1) (Continued Page A-4, Col. I)
PRESS-TELEGRAM (PM)—A-5. Lew Beach. Calll, W«el., Otc » INr.
MN ON THE STREET
Wrong, Says a Majority
ByVINTMADER The man and woman on the street reacted with divided opinion Tuesday to the jury verdict convicting Jack Kirschke but a majority of 17 persons interviewed disagreed with the finding. Three aUorneys included in the sampling divided two to one against the jury's finding. Joseph and Millie Baxter, of 330 Cedar Ave., a retired couple, hold two opinions at opposite ends of the spectrum. * * » * "I CERTAINLY think lie's guilty," said Mrs. Baxter, interviewed as they strolled Pine A v e n u p at Fifth Street. "Millie thinks he's guilty," B a x t e r chimed in quickly, "but I think he's innocent. I think he was railroaded." One sportily dressed man said bluntly: "I don't think they had the evidence." In an aside, he volunt e e r e d anyone fooling around with another's wife would be taking risks. D o f f i n g h i s snap-brim someexpnce i n t h e h was patched with a stainless steel plate after an outraged husband caught him and shot him. The subject refused to give his name, but identified Texas as the locale of his misconduct and reported that the husband was fined. * * * » THE THREE attorneys questioned also withheld their names on grounds of professional ethics, thought they had no connection with the Kirschke trial. "I'm convinced it's going to be reversed because of prejudicial errors. It will go next to the district court of appeals, and I think it will be reversed right there," said one. He said trial errors, included admitting of hearsay e v i d e n c e about s t a t e m e n t s of Elaine Kirschke to her fellow members in the informal Jolly Girls group. Another said, "It's a 'hot htootl' case at the most," seeing no e v i d e n c e of premeditation that would support the murder conviction. He said Judge Parker erred in not instructing the jury on the passion elements relevant to manslaughter, even though both defense and prosecution stipulated they did not want a manslaughter conviction. "It was handled wrong from the time he was placed in custody of the Long Beach police," said the third lawyer, but he still conceded "there was sufficient circumstantial evidence" for the first-degree murder finding. Other viewpoints by nonlawyers included that of Russell Graef, 23, of 1747 Molino Ave., a State ColI e g e psychology major. "IJased on the newspaper reports — my only source for information — I would have said that the prosecution made a beautiful case that a murder had been committed, and nothing else. Simply because he is . the logical suspect doesn't • make him guilty." Adam Somers, 21, an English senior at UC Berkeley recalled Kirschke had alibi witnesses who said they talked to him in Barstow and reflected that "things like that raise a doubt." * * * * CHARLTON DUNN, 53, of 4165 Locust Ave.: "I think he was guilty. However, I never thought that they'd convict him on the evidence. I felt they had confused it to the point of raising a reasonable doubt." Dunn, who twice has served on criminal and civil Superior Court juries, never heard a c a p i t a 1-offense case, but did hear one that would have carried automatic life sentence, a statutory prior the jury acquitted the defendant. Other citizens expressed o p i n i o n s ranging from viewing the jury as "very fair about it" to: "I don't think they had the evidence." Two persons out of the 17 said they could not venture an opinon on either side.
Jack Kirschkc, Grim but Bright-Eyed, Enters Court (left) aud-Grimuciug, Eyes Closed-Leaves After Verdict
—S1»M Pholci bf BOB SHUMWAY
Kirschke, Stunned, Sees All-Out Gamble Lose
half, had told investigators in Victorville arid in Long Beach about his alibi, and they were summoned by the nursed a burning jealousy under a calm outward veneer, prosecution to testify to his account. Ramsey argued that the defendant was a carefree, happyFrom then on it was the alibi against the prosecugo-lucky man who was reconciled to his wife's affairs with what Ramsey said was a long list of men extending over tion's theory. The prosecution never was able to produce anyone who saw Krischkc in Naples the night of the murmany years. Ramsey placed witnesses on the stand who testified ders. In an effort to establish jealousy, the prosecution preto Kirschke's whereabouts the day before the slaying, that evening, and late that night at International Airport, fol- sented Kirschke's former secretary, Sharon Lyle, who teslowed by witnesses who said they saw him in San Bernar- tified that he became obsessed in the weeks before the dino, Ycrmo and Las Vegas, where Kirschke was regis- murders with his wife's relationship to Orankhan. tered for a Rotary convention. HARRIS ALSO put on the stand Drankhan's widow, Kirschke, who did not take the stand in his own be-
(Continued from Page A-l)
Lavonu, and mistress, Allyn Payne, whose testimony revealed that over a long period of time the dead man had spent three nights a week with his mistress, going home in the morning in time to open the garage door so his wife could drive to work. His visits with Mrs. Kirschke, it developed, were but a side issue in an already taut and complicated love life. The prosecution also presented three Long Beach Yacht Club "Jolly Girls" who testified that Mrs. Kirschke was at times afraid of her husband, and two of whom told about a night when she had fled her house in terror after arriving home late at the end of an evening of drinking with her lover.
Yacht Club Does Business as Usual Despite Conviction
By GEORGE LA1NE It was business as usual at the Long Beach Yacht Club Tuesday, despite the conviction of Jack Kirschke on f i r s t - d e g r e e murder charges in the slayings of his wife, E l a i n e Terry Kirschke, and her lover, Orville William Drankhan. At 4:30 p.m., Santa Claus arrived, presented gifts to the children of the Yacht Club members and departed. The children also departed, leaving only the club's faithful behind. "You can't be too careful on check cashing," one Yacht Club member advised another. "Call the company I told you to call, and you'll have it made. Another table had differ"It's simple," said his ent matters on its mind. Wife, "they try harder." The Seal Beach entry in "We'll be home the 2-Ith and 25th," said one matron. the Christmas parade took "Plan to come by — if only sweepstakes awards, nosing out the Naples entry for fora drink." And a third group was t h e f o u r t h consecutive year. It is a painful point discussing another crisis. "I don't see," said one with the Yacht Club memman, "how Seal Beach al- bership. N o w h e r e , within the ways wins the Christmas broad confines of tho spatrophy." cious Yacht Club headquarters, was the name of Jack, Kirschkc mentioned. No "Jolly Girls" were in e v i d e n c e , no bartenders witness to the thousand trivialities, no car parkers who might have seen any number of anomalies. Jt was business as usual. "We plan," said Commodore Don Horton, "to continue to acquaint Long Beach Mariners with what the sea is all bout." The Yacht Club, which has backed the Mariners for a decade, wasn't ignoring Kirschke. It was simply enveloping Kirschke in the general routine — good and bad — which the club has lived with throughout its existence.
DEFENDER COULDN'T BELIEVE IT
'Inconceivable' Ramsey Declares
By DAVID SHAW Albert C. S. Ramsey, (he Silver Fox who has grown gray d e f e n d i n g Jack Kirschke the past four ' months, was shopping for his wife's Christmas present T u e s d a y when he learned the jury was ready to return a verdict. Ramsey bought the gift, dropped it off at his office, and raced to court just in time to learn he had been unsuccessful in winning for Kirschke his freedom and, perhaps, his life. "I really hadn't expected the trial to last this long," R a m s e y said Tuesday night. "It seemed like such a simple, clear-cut case of reasonable doubt, that I thought the jury would be in with an acquittal Saturday morning. "W h e n they dragged through yesterday and this morning, I decided to go shopping. I told my secretary to come looking for me if the jury came in." When the jury returned Ramsey's secretary called his bank. He'd already left. She started calling the stores on Pine Avenue, one by one, asking that Ramsey be paged. Finally, after more than a dozen tries, she found him. lie went to the courtroom where he has virtually lived since August, confident his client would be acquitted. "I just couldn't believe it when they said he was guilty of first degree murder," Ramsey said. "I haven't the foggiest notion how they arrived at that decision. It's the weirdest, most inconceivable verdict I could imagine." Ramsey a d m i t t e d his, and Kirschke's, decision not to let the suspended deputy d i s t r i c t attorney take the stand in his own behalf may have hurt his case. "It just seemed so unnecessary," he said. "We had witnesses tell the entire story, and the jury refused to b e l i e v e them, even though we'd never seen them before in our lives." Kirschke may take the stand in the penalty phase of the trial, he said. Ramsey, bitter, but not without the sense of humor he has used so skillfully throughout his career, said, "Only the Lord knows why juries make their decisions, and I think He's probably confused on this one." Docs he expect the jury to send Kirschke to the gas chamber? "Kirschke? The way they voted today, I imagine they'll send me to the gas chamber, too," he said.
KUHOWER «t STEAJUtt
OPEN NIGHTLY TIL »
ALBERT HARRIS, successful In his prosecution of Jack Kirschke for double murder, slipped out quickly of courtroom after
verdict was read and before anyone could get Ms reaction to it.
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