Recollections of the Grammer murder caseCarl Schoettler...


Recollections of the Grammer murder case

Carl Schoettler wrote a very interesting piece Nov. 23 on the famous trial of G. Edward Grammer for murdering his wife after nearly getting away with disguising it as an automobile accident.

While most of the familiar points were included, one or two items were not or were treated differently than I recalled.

A vital piece of evidence linking Grammer to the crime was the small stone found wedged under the accelerator of the family car.

No mention was made of one of your reporters, Paul Welsh, who discovered the stone while poking around the car at the repair garage where it had been towed by the police.

While Grammer signed a confession for the police, his attorney pleaded him not guilty of premeditated murder, but of manslaughter.

Judge Herman Moser, a giant of the bench, heard the case alone, which was highly unusual. Most often when murder was involved and the defendant waived a jury, three judges sat as the court and the responsibility was not on one jurist's shoulders. But Judge Moser was equal to the task.

In explaining his verdict, Judge Moser stated that having observed Grammer during the trial, the way he considered each answer before responding and the deliberate manner he presented during the trial as totally unlike the husband who could become so enraged with his wife over what station should be used for gasoline that he beat her to death.

When the trial began there was no real motive that could be relied on. It shortly appeared in the person of an attractive young Canadian who had met Grammer at a bowling alley. They had a serious affair. The lady testified for the prosecution and another spike was driven into Grammer's coffin.

Edward Grammer was executed a few months after his conviction. Gov. Theodore R. McKeldin did not commute the sentence, although every other execution sentence during his term was commuted except the Bopst case, a particularly brutal murder of a North Charles Street matron.

J. E. Hamilton Bailey


Emphasis should be on violent criminals

I frequently read articles which state as a matter of uncontested fact that drug and alcohol abuse cause crime. As someone who has worked in corrections for almost 20 years, I can state without equivocation this is a total myth.

One only needs to visit the city jail to realize that drug abuse is an associative factor to crime, not a causal effect. The Baltimore City Detention Center houses inmates in large part who are taken directly off the street. If even a small portion of these inmates were addicted to drugs, then BCDC would have wards of people undergoing drug withdrawal. This isn't the case.

Our entire criminal justice system is tailored to the belief that drug use causes crime and so we punish drug dealers with lengthy prison sentences. In fact these drug-dealing sentences often exceed those for violent crimes, including armed robbery and even rape and murder.

It is astounding to me that we are wasting our resources prosecuting and incarcerating thousands of drug dealers and users instead of focusing on individuals who have committed violent and predatory crime.

John Saunders


Where in the world is Denver located?

I enjoyed Jon Morgan's Nov. 17 article regarding movement of National Football League teams. However, you should advise your graphics department that the city of Denver is located in Colorado, not Wyoming.

F. James Tennies


Quarles tributes were excellent

I was very pleased by your excellent coverage of the death of nationally known historian Benjamin Quarles; my favorite tribute was that of Glenn McNatt.

His Nov. 24 column, "Quarles saw how blacks transformed America," provided such an excellent education about Dr. Quarles' exemplary life and his renowned books and writings.

Like Dr. Quarles, Mr. McNatt's thoughtful, scholarly and skillful writing continues to inform his readers about history and the arts, illuminating those cultural truths that lie therein.

Let us not forget that in no way did being gentle, scholarly and brilliant diminish Dr. Quarles' capacity to be righteous and tenacious about the countless contributions of his people. His gentle manner and demeanor never hampered his search for documentation of truth in American history.

He was able to deliver a full and flawless account of the myriad of contributions made by African Americans in the making of America. My pride in Dr. Quarles is as boundless as his energy and insight and the debt of gratitude that this nation owes to him.

Thank you, Glenn McNatt, and kudos to The Sun.

arriet Griffin


Independent schools give valuable service

In her Nov. 25 letter, Mary Atkinson expresses her opposition to any public money being used to assist parents who choose to send their child to a parochial or private school. She is not alone in her belief; many share it.

However, in terms of what is best for society as a whole, it may be good public policy to start recognizing the fact that the independent schools perform the same valuable public service as do the government schools, i.e. they educate our children -- and do a good job of it.

Are we not therefore all better off for it -- especially since it is provided to the public free of charge by the parents who pay the tuition, saving millions of dollars in the additional taxes it would require to educate those same children in the public schools?

If our goal as a society is truly to educate as many children as well as we can rather than to just promote one system over another, would it not therefore be in the public interest and good public policy to actually encourage parents to seek out the most suitable educational opportunities for their children, wherever they may be found?

John D. Schiavone


Cloak and dagger guys absolve themselves

Surprise, surprise. The Central Intelligence Agency, which is daily in the business of stealth and deceit, was left to investigate itself regarding cocaine connections and came out clean.

Covering Central America as a free-lance journalist in the 1980s, I was appalled at the terrible things my government was capable of supporting. Recent revelations -- undoubtedly the tip of an iceberg -- make it clear that little has changed.

David Ben-Gurion once said, "The state of Israel will not be tried by its riches, army or technology but by its moral image and human values."

These wise words are surely no less true for the United States of America.

R. Berman


Pub Date: 12/02/96

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