Part IV: Clue of the Killer’s CALLING CARD
The two officers went rampaging through the place, using their training to single out the obvious hiding places of so incriminating a piece of evidence as a murder gun. But they couldn't find it.
Then Dockum spied a suitcase which, when picked up, seemed fully packed. He pried its lock open, rummaged through an assortment of men’s clothing, and finally struck a hard metallic object with his hand.
The Norwood detective drew out a fully-loaded .38 caliber revolver. Familiar as he was with Anthony Overberg's .38, the officer could not believe he had it in his hand after two and a half years.
It took Kiley to verify the discovery. "Sure, there's Davis's special grips and Wilson's trigger guard!" he exclaimed. "Wait'll Fritz hears this."
Mrs. Linna Louise Carter, wife of the suspect, was revived and taken to Louisville headquarters. There, shown the weapon, she fainted again. With a doctor now in attendance, the wife refused, between sobs, to talk. But she did agree to go back to Norwood the following morning with Kiley and Dockum.
Her arrival on Saturday, January 20, was an event, what with half the city already celebrating, news of the case's solution. Flashlight bulbs popped and Mrs. Carter fainted twice more.
At headquarters, Dr. Ventress, the deputy coroner, restored Mrs. Carter. Waiting with questions were Prosecutor Carson Hoy, Assistant District Attorney Royal Martin, Fritz and his detectives.
Mrs. Carter realized the hopelessness of the situation, hut she refused to speak. She seemed overwhelmed by the crowd around her. Martin was aware of this and that she had taken a liking to Detective Dockum, so he urged the others to leave her alone with the officer.
It was not long before Dockum was able to summon Assistant District Attorney Martin into the room. Mrs. Carter then confessed to the assistant prosecutor that her husband, Frank Dudley Carter, had murdered Anthony H. Overberg. She consented to make a full statement before Prosecutor Hoy and a stenographer from his office.
"Frank told me he had killed the officer the night it happened," she began. "I went to the movies and he left me. 'I'm going to knock over a sucker or two,' he said.
"Later, when I met him again, he had a bad cut on his left leg, his trousers were torn, and he smelled of vanilla. When I asked him what happened, he told me of getting into a fight with a police officer. He said a lot of bottles were broken, his leg was cut and vanilla spilled on him.
"He showed me the officer's pistol, saying he had lost the one he usually carried. Then Frank said, 'I. had to shoot that fellow when he was getting the best of me. I guess he's dead.'
"The next morning we read in the papers that he was dead, so Frank and I. skipped to Louisville, where we used to live."
When this statement was signed, Chief of Police Fritz, on Prosecutor Hoy's order, wired the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Chicago to arrest Frank Carter at Great Lakes. He also asked the detention of Mrs. Florence Klawson as a material witness.
Then Fritz dispatched the Overberg pistol and the three lethal bullets to the FBI laboratory in Washington, asking for an immediate report. This, received the following Monday, confirmed the fact that Overberg had been slain with his own pistol.
On Tuesday Martin, Fritz, Dockum, Kiley, and Hein reached the Windy City. Hein, the Norwood druggist, immediately picked Carter from a lineup as the bandit who had held him up on June 27, 1942. Carter admitted this holdup and more than fifty others in the Greater Cincinnati area.
Furthermore, he readily confessed the Overberg murder.
"I had to shoot him," he told, Martin and Fritz, "or he'd have shot me. He was a game guy. I've never forgotten his face."
The Klawson girl, in Carter's presence, told how Carter had committed holdups while he left her waiting in her car, and how he had threatened her life when she became engaged to another man. Carter laughingly agreed that she spoke the truth.
The Naval authorities released Carter to the Norwood authorities. They also discharged him dishonorably on the grounds that he had concealed his criminal record when enlisting. Carter waived extradition back to Norwood, where he was identified by Lawson, Coors and Mr. and Mrs. Burroughs as the Overberg slayer.
Now the Covington police became vitally interested in the youth, never having been fully convinced that Minch was the actual slayer of Conry, the liquor store proprietor. Chief Fee and Detectives Seiter and Hall questioned Carter about this crime, and although he admitted several Covington holdups he denied the shooting of Conry.
On January 24, Prosecutor Hoy went before Judge Frederick L. Hoffman and requested the convening of a special grand jury. The court issued the call. The next day two indictments were voted against Carter. One charged commission of a murder during a felony, and the other the shooting of Sergeant Anthony H. Overberg.
Carter, immediately arraigned before Mayor Frank J. Ward, sitting as magistrate in Norwood Municipal Court, pleaded not guilty. Subsequently, through attorneys, he claimed insanity, but on February twenty-eighth two state alienists adjudged him sane.
Carter went to trial on March 20th. Eight days later the jury brought in a verdict of guilty without recommendation of clemency. This meant a mandatory death sentence for the erstwhile holdup man whose vanity in retaining the pistol of the man he killed resulted in his undoing.
The name Florence Klawson is fictitious and is used here to protect an innocent person-EDITOR