Harriet Luella Sanders - Police Officer

For Viewing Only
Forum rules
Since some of the different parts of the trial transcript are extremely large, posting has been disabled in them. Use the Baniszewski Trial Discussions for postable topics.
Posts: 139  Images: 550  Joined: August 8th, 2010, 7:35 am
Location: Springfield, Illinois

Harriet Luella Sanders - Police Officer

Postby admin » October 31st, 2010, 6:34 pm

HARRIET LUELLA SANDERS , a witness called on behalf of the defendant John Stephan Baniszewski,
being duly sworn by the Court, testified as follows:


Q. What is your name, please?

A. Harriet Luella Sanders.

Q. Have you ever gone by the name of Harriet Warner?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. What is your occupation?

A. Policewoman, City of Indianapolis.

Q. Would you - were you so employed October 27, 1965?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. On that date, did you see John Stephan Baniszewski?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. Where and when?

A. October 27, in the Juvenile Branch, police headquarters.

Q. About what time?

A. Approximately 8:30 to 9:00 in the morning. However, this was not the first time I saw the boy.

Q. When was the first time you saw him?

A. October 26, 1965.

Q. What time was that?

A. Between 9:00 and 9:30 P.M.

Q. Where was he then?

A. In the Homicide Division, Indianapolis Police Department.

Q. The Homicide Division?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. Did you have a conversation with him then?

A. No, sir.

Q. At the time you saw him the morning of October 27, did you have a conversation with him?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. Was anyone else present?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. Who?

A. Sgt. Leo Gentry.

Q. How many conversations did you have with John Baniszewski on October 27?

A. One. Sgt. Gentry and myself interrogated the youth.

Q. For how long a period of time?

A. I'd say approximately an hour and a half.

Q. Approximately an hour and a half. When did that interrogation start?

A. October 27, 1965.

Q. What time?

A. I would say approximately 8:30 A.M.

Q. So then you and Officer Gentry interrogated him from 8:30 till 10:00 o'clock, is that correct?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. Were you present during all that interrogation?

A. I was in and out of the room. However, we had the interrogation, compiled the facts and I left the room.

Q. I am sorry. I did not understand.

A. Sgt. Gentry and I interrogated the youth, compiled the facts of the case and I left the room and I was in and out thereafter.

Q. After you and Sgt. Gentry interrogated the youth and compiled the facts, was there any other interrogation conducted there during the times you came into the room?

A. I was in and out of the room during the time the statement was taken and typed.

Q. During the time the statement was taken?

A. Yes, typed.

Q. Typed - was the statement first taken and then typed?

A. We had an oral conversation before the statement was typed.

Q. About how long did that last?

A. I'd say approximately a half hour to forty-five minutes.

Q. And then who typed the statement, if you know?

A. Sgt. Leo Gentry.

Q. Did you see him any time when he was typing the statement?

A. I was in and out of the room.

Q. Did you leave the room when he commenced to type the statement?

A. This I do not recall.

Q. Did you see the statement signed?

A. Yes, sir, I did.

Q. Did you sign it as a witness?

A. Yes, sir, I did.

Q. You did - you are sure of that?

A. Yes, sir.

MR. BOWMAN: You may cross.

MR. NEW: No questions.

THE COURT: Mr. Rice, do you have anything on behalf of Paula Marie Baniszewski?

MR. RICE: I do.


Q. You are Harriet Warner - Miss Sanders who signed the statement of Paula Marie Baniszewski, said to have been taken the 27th of October, 1965?

A. Yes, sir, this is correct.

Q. At the time of the statement being taken, was this the first time you had occasion to see Miss Baniszewski?

A. No, sir, it was not.

Q. When had you seen her prior to this time?

A. I did in the Homicide Division October 26, 1965.

Q. How long were you there at that time?

A. I was called to Homicide, and accompanied Sgt. Gentry to assist Homicide. This was between 9:00 and 9:30 P.M.

Q. Did you, on that occasion, talk to Paula Marie Baniszewski?

A. No, sir, I did not.

Q. When the interview began, can you tell us the hour of it's starting on the 27th of October?

A. She was brought in at the same time as her brother John Baniszewski from the Juvenile Center where they were detained. I would say between 8:30 and 9:00 approximately on October 27, 1965.

Q. Were you there when the interrogation began for the purpose of making this statement?

A. Yes, sir, Sgt. Gentry and myself held the interrogation and compiled the facts.

Q. Was there a conversation between you or Sgt. Gentry with Miss Baniszewski before the statement began to be taken?

A. On October 27 was the first time I had ever held a conversation with Paula.

Q. Was there a conversation between you and Paula Baniszewski before the statement itself began to be recorded on the typewriter?

A. Yes, sir, there was.

Q. How long did that conversation last?

A. I'd say approximately a half hour to forty-five minutes.

Q. This was preliminary to any of the questions stated and written down as to her answer?

A. Yes, we had an interrogation and then the statement was typewritten.

Q. None of that preceding preliminary conversation you had or Sgt. Gentry had with Miss Baniszewski was included in the statement dated October 27th?

A. The conversation does include what was typewritten in the statement.

Q. I have before me a statement consisting of four hundred and eighty-three words - ten questions and answers. Does that contain everything said and asked and answered on that occasion?

A. To the best of my knowledge, yes, sir.

Q. Now, Mrs. Sanders, were you able to describe the emotional state of the defendant, Miss Baniszewski, when she was taken into the room for interrogation?

A. I don't believe I would be qualified, sir, to answer that, in what way do you mean?

Q. Was she upset or calm?

A. In my opinion, sir, I would say calm.

Q. Who else was present besides yourself and Sgt. Gentry, if anyone?

A. There was not anyone else present, sir.

Q. What was the equipment in the room?

A. One - it was one of our interrogation rooms. There was a desk and the necessities, as far as chairs were concerned.

Q. Were you in uniform at the time?

A. Yes, sir, I was.

Q. Was anyone else in uniform at the time?

A. Sgt. Leo Gentry is a plain clothes detective, sir.

Q. Were either one of you wearing firearms that were obvious to the gaze of the defendant?

A. Not in view, sir.

Q. Was Sgt. Gentry wearing his pistol?

A. This is rules and regulations of the Indianapolis Police Department, he must be equipped with firearms twenty-four hours a day. His weapon was not in view of the defendant.

Q. Were you present when the customary constitutional advice and warnings were given to Miss Baniszewski, if they were?

A. Yes, sir, I was because I was the one who advised her.

Q. What did you advise her?

A. I advised her she did not have to make a statement and if she did make a statement it would be of her own free will and her choice, also that she had a right to have counsel.

Q. Did you make a telephone call to either her father or to an attorney?

A. It is customary policy procedure of the Indianapolis Police Department when any youth is in custody the officer processing the case makes a phone call.

Q. Did you make such phone call in her behalf?

A. She did not request a phone call to be made.

Q. May I ask you, so far as possible, to answer yes or no in answer to a question?

THE COURT: The jury is not here.

Q. Was any request made for an attorney for Miss Baniszewski at this time?

A. She did not make a request for an attorney.

Q. Was she permitted any time to make a telephone call to any person whatsoever?

A. She did not make a request. Therefore, as far as my knowledge, she did not make any call.

Q. When you told her she could make such phone call, she sat silently?

A. I did not advise her she could make a phone call. It is not policy and procedure.

Q. She has the right?

A. She has a right for a call to be made. She did not ask.

Q. Did she know she had the right?

A. That I can't tell.

Q. Did you tell her she had such right?

A. No, as far as the phone call, I did not tell her, no.

Q. Did anyone else, in your hearing?

A. No.

Q. Were all these matters concerning her rights - at least those told her - made known to Miss Baniszewski before she made the statement for the purpose of signing it before witnesses?

A. Yes, sir, these rights were given her before she made the statement.

Q. The statement was not taken under oath?

A. No, it was not.

Q. At the time Miss Baniszewski was detained, was there anyone in your hearing able to inform her why she was being held, what the charge was?

A. She was charged with Injury to Person.

Q. She was told this?

A. Yes, sir, she was.

Q. After that statement by some officer, she proceeded to give answers to the questions asked her?

A. That is correct, sir.

Q. So far as you know, that was the only charge she had knowledge of, under which she lay at this time?

A. That is true and correct, sir.

Q. Had there been any kind of preliminary hearing prior to this time before a judge of any court in the county here, any preliminary hearing of any kind or any arraignment of sorts?

A. I talked with her on the 27th. She would have had a preliminary hearing at 2:00 P.M. at Juvenile Court on the Injury to Person charge.

Q. Were you present during all of the time, during which the questions and answers were being taken for the purpose of this statement?

A. Yes, sir, I took the statement myself from Paula.

Q. You never left the room during this time?

A. I left the room to see that she was taken to the rest room.

Q. And you did all the typewriting found on this page dated October 27, 1965, as to the questions and as to the answers?

A. This is correct, sir.

Q. Was Sgt. Gentry there during all the time?

A. He was there during the entire interrogation and while the facts were compiled. He left the room and I proceeded to type the statement. He was in and out periodically.

Q. His name does appear as one who was there and heard all the questions and answers?

A. That is correct.

Q. In fact, he was not there all the time when the questions and answers were being set down, is that correct?

A. Like I stated, we compiled the facts and I proceeded to go ahead and type the statement. He was there when this was done verbally and the questions and answers. The statement was put in type thereafter.

Q. If I understand your answer correctly, Mrs. Sanders, there was a preliminary period of questions and answers which both you and Sgt. Gentry were present?

A. That is true, sir.

Q. Subsequently, you personally sat at the machine and asked the questions and typed on the writer and wrote the answers Miss Baniszewski gave you to that particular question?

A. This is true.

Q. While you were there, was Mr. Gentry in the room at all times?

A. No, sir, he was in and out.

Q. Yet he signed the her statement as a person who heard all these questions and all these answers in the order and is the words as they appear on this statement?

MR. NEW: We object.

THE COURT: Sustained.

Q. Did you tell - could you tell or notice anything unusual about the physical condition of this defendant at the time of your interrogation?

A. Yes, sir, I did.

Q. What was it, please. Tell us what it was, please.

A. She appeared to be in a condition of pregnancy.

Q. So that you, as a lady, would be acquainted with these matters and were aware during the interrogation you were talking to a seventeen year old girl who was pregnant, presumably at this time you were aware?

A. I was not aware of that. I asked her if she was in a pregnant condition and she denied it emphatically.

Q. What did you onclude, that she was telling the truth or not?

MR. NEW: We object.

THE COURT: Objection sustained.

Q. Would you tell me again the time at which you began to take the statement, when you and Sgt. Gentry first began your preliminary questions prior to taking down the statement?

A. It would have been between 8:00 and 8:30 when they were brought in.

Q. Can you make it closer? Was it nearer to 8:00 or nearer to 8:30?

A. I would say it was closer to 8:30, sir.

Q. When did you finally get it signed in the condition it was ultimately completed?

A. We talked with the youths a half hour to forty-five minutes.

Q. I am speaking of Miss Baniszewski.

A. I would say possibly around 10:00 A.M. I am not definite on the time element.

Q. That approximately two hours was spent in interrogation, as far as you are able to say, as to Miss Baniszewski?

A. This, I could not say definitely.

Q. Approximately, if you can.

A. Approximately -

Q. If you started at 8:30 and ended at 10:30, it would be approximately two hours?

A. Approximately.

Q. You spent two hours writing down ten questions and getting ten answers, which by my count total four hundred and eighty-three words, is that correct?

A. This I can't say.

Q. There are ten questions on the sheet and the statement displays that fact, ten.

MR. NEW: We object. The statement is the best evidence.

THE COURT: Objection sustained.

Q. At any time did Miss Baniszewski, in your presence or that of Sgt. Gentry, did any adult or relative or attorney ever appear on her behalf or at her request or at the request of anyone?

A. No, sir.

MR. RICE: No further questions.

MR. ERBECKER: One question?

THE COURT: Alright.

MR. ERBECKER: Was the name of Gertrude Baniszewski mentioned in that written statement?

A. Yes, sir.

MR. ERBECKER: Your Honor, the defendant Gertrude Baniszewski objects to any written admission in evidence, any written statement.

THE COURT: Sustained as to her. The judge will admonish accordingly.

MR. RICE: I would like to move for suppression of the statement on behalf of Paula Marie Baniszewski for the same reasons assigned to the statement interrogation of Sgt. Gentry.

THE COURT: Overruled.

MR. BOWMAN: May I ask an omitted question?



Q. Miss Sanders, did you tell John Baniszewski that he had a right to make a phone call?

A. I did not, perhaps Sgt. Gentry may have.

Q. Perhaps Sgt. Gentry may have. You don't know. Is that right?

A. That is correct.

Q. The rule that you stated, with respect to having calls made for juveniles by the officer - that was the same with respect to John Baniszewski as it was with respect to Paula, was it?

A. This would be true.

Q. John Baniszewski was how old then, if you know?

A. Twelve years.

Q. Twelve years old. Did any relative appear at that time, any relative of John Baniszewski?

A. No, sir, but his mother knew and had knowledge he was in police custody.

Q. His mother knew it and had knowledge of it?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. The same mother that was under arrest for First Degree Murder?

A. Pre-Murder, yes, sir.

Q. Pre-First Degree Murder, is that correct?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. Did you tell her you were going to interrogate her son?

A. She knew her children were in Homicide, in police headquarters.

MR. BOWMAN: I will ask the answer be stricken, Your Honor, for the reason it is not responsive to the question.

THE COURT: Sustained. The answer will go out.

MR. BOWMAN: And that the witness be instructed by the court to answer he question.

THE COURT: She is doing the best she can. You ask the question again.

Q. Did you tell Gertrude Baniszewski her son was going to be interrogated by the police?

A. No, sir.

MR. BOWMAN: Cross examine.

MR. NEW: No questions.

MR. BOWMAN: I rest, Your Honor.

MR. RICE: I rest.

THE COURT: Ready for the jury?

MR. ERBECKER: I have one little motion.

THE COURT: Are you through with this officer, as far as preliminary is concerned? Miss Sanders, please don't forget there is a separation of witnesses. You are not to talk and tell what you said in here.

WITNESS: Sure, Your Honor.


MR. BOWMAN: May we make a motion while the jury is absent?

THE COURT: Alright.

MR. BOWMAN: Defendant John Baniszewski objects to the use of, as evidence, and moves to suppress, as evidence in this case, any testimony concerning the conversations had the morning of October 27, 1965 between John Baniszewski, this defendant, and the witness Leo Gentry and witness Sanders or Warner, and any written statements taken and signed at that time or any statements signed by John Baniszewski for the reason that the statements, both oral and written, would be in the nature of an admission and confession and would have been obtained in violation of his right to due process of law, the 5th and 14th amendments to the United States Constitution and violation of his constitutional rights to equal protection of the law as guaranteed by the 14th amendment to the constitution of the United States, specifically with reference to the Gideon vs Wainright, a violation of the 6th amendment and the 14th amendments, right to counsel as guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States, and for the reason that the admission and confession would be a violation of the constitutional rights guaranteed by the Constitution of the State of Indiana.

THE COURT: Which section?

MR. BOWMAN: Article 1, Section 11, Section 12, Section 13.

THE COURT: Anything else, sir?

MR. BOWMAN: Not at this time.

THE COURT: What do you think of 9-1607 Burns, Mr. Bowman?

MR. BOWMAN: Let me read it. I will tell you. I think probably it is fatally at variance with the Constitution of the United States and Indiana, insofar as it permits the use of a confession or admission taken under the circumstances described here.

THE COURT: It has been up to the Supreme Court a hundred times.

MR. BOWMAN: Not since Escobedo, Your Honor, or Gideon vs Wainright.

THE COURT: Did you read Escobedo, where every policeman carries a lawyer in his back pocket?

MR. BOWMAN: I think it would require a delay till 2:00 o'clock till the Juvenile Court Judge might supply a lawyer to a twelve year old defendant.

THE COURT: Overruled. Forrest Bowman's motion is overruled. Show in the absence of the jury the defendant Gertrude Baniszewski files a verified motion for mistrial, or in the alternative, polling the jury.

MR. RICE: For the record, Paula Marie Baniszewski joins in the motion for the reasons assigned.

THE COURT: Some of these things I have not heard in this case, for instance in your Rhetorical Paragraph 3 - "spectators in the courtroom hissed, jeered, raised their voices" I have not heard that during the trial.

MR. ERBECKER: You cleared sections of the courtroom twice.

THE COURT: Because of whispering.

MR. ERBECKER: The record showed during the testimony of the young Likens girl, at the time there was testimony to the effect the defendant Gertrude Baniszewski attempted to strike the decedent and she herself was struck, there was audible hissing and laughing.

THE COURT: I did not hear it.

MR. ERBECKER: You are a little farther away than I am. I heard it. I think I can present evidence if you want to hear evidence. Before you overruled the motion I want to supplement it.

THE COURT: How do you know I am going to overrule.

MR. ERBECKER: I know you are going to overrule, I would like to make a record.

THE COURT: The Constitution requires a public trial, Mr. Erbecker, I think.

MR. ERBECKER: There is no question about the constitution. It does not permit buffoonery or anything endangering the right of the defendant to a fair and impartial trial. The court recognized this. There were approximately sixty people can be seated.

THE COURT: Somebody counted fifty. At any rate she is getting a fair trial. Don't you think the jury is going to pay attention to evidence and not the audience?

MR. ERBECKER: You did not think so or you would not have excluded the 3 standees.

THE COURT: Anyhow, you made a motion to that. How long will it take, Mr. Erbecker?

MR. ERBECKER: If you are going to restrict me -

THE COURT: I am not going to restrict. I am glad my name is Rabb. I am not going to restrict. That is not within the makeup of this court. All I want to know - shall I send the jury to lunch or is this going to last long enough?

MR. ERBECKER: If the court would prefer I do not make an offer in the record, alright.

THE COURT: Please - bring in the jury, please.


THE COURT: You may be seated. Ladies and Gentlemen, this recess is going to be a little longer than I had anticipated. Don't blame it on anybody. By agreement of counsel and with consent of State and Defendants made in open court, the jury is permitted to separate. The bailiff will take you to lunch. We will resume at 1:00 o'clock this afternoon. You will report to the jury room at 1:00 o'clock today. During the recess, don't talk among yourselves and don't let anyone talk to you about this case or any subject connected therewith. Don't form or express any opinion on the case till it is finally submitted to you. Don't read any newspaper articles that may appear and don't watch anything or listen to anything that may be broadcast about the case. Jury and Alternate Jurors are excused.


THE COURT: Mr. Collins, notify all the witnesses to return at 1:00 o'clock today. Let's go on with the motion you wish to supplement. Anything you want to supplement in this motion?

MR. ERBECKER: Yes, Your Honor, the defendant Gertrude Baniszewski now offers to supplement the Verified Motion for Mistrial, or in the Alternative, Polling the jury. Newspaper accounts which appear as Exhibits A to R and we request the court to accept them to supplement same, or in the alternative to take judicial knowledge.

THE COURT: I can't because I am not reading newspaper articles because I told the jury not to, except as you present in evidence.

MR. ERBECKER: The defendant further moves the court for permission to supplement the Verified Motion for Mistrial and in the alternative, Polling the Jury, of May 6, 1966 with a copy of Time Magazine with specific reference Pages 25 and 26 thereof, on which appears a picture of Sylvia Likens and the defendant Gertrude Baniszewski.

THE COURT: In order to expedite the paper work, did you tear out what you wish, not have the whole magazine, or am I asking something wrong?

MR. ERBECKER: I don't think the court can do any wrong.

THE COURT: Pull out the sheets so the whole magazine is not read. Thank you.

MR. RICE: May I suggest you tear off the cover and attach it?

THE COURT: Mr. Rice, you are a good lawyer. May I ask why this cover is wanted?

MR. ERBECKER: Just to identify Time and the magazine being Time and the date.

THE COURT: No other reason?

MR. ERBECKER: No. The defendant, Gertrude Baniszewski further moves the court for permission to introduce testimony in support of and to buttress the motion.

THE COURT: How do you feel, State, you have not had a chance to see it?

MR. NEW: I don't care to go through that. I can't see that the exhibits are prejudicial. The News headlines say four women and eight men put on jury in Likens case. I don't know if this is a sample of prejudice. It seems buffoonery in itself.

THE COURT: I want to take the motion as a whole and the evidence submitted as a whole. To me, since you have supplemented these newspaper items and since I said to the jury "don't read newspaper articles that may appear about the case" I myself have refrained from reading them to see if it is possible for the jury to do so during the trial.

MR. ERBECKER: In support of the thing Mr. New says is buffoonery, last night on the inside page - I don't want to inflame the court's mind - the article of more than a quarter of a page - a court report of this thing. It is foolish to think that did not permeate some segment of Marion County.

THE COURT: You heard me admonish the jury. I follow the law book that says "every recess" and sometimes the recesses come within five or ten minutes. I think the jury is listening to me.

MR. ERBECKER: Do they heed your warning? That is why I want to poll the jury.

THE COURT: If they don't heed it - it is for their conscience, not mine. I told the jury to come back at 1:00 o'clock. I will study this, motion. I don't summarily overrule everything. Let me call you back at a quarter of 1:00 for a ruling on the motion. We are in recess till 12:45.



THE COURT: Bring in the defendants, please. Alright, we are all here. Ready to proceed without Miss Wessner?

MR. NEW: Yes, Your Honor.

THE COURT: Motion of the defendant Gertrude Baniszewski for Mistrial or in the Alternative Polling the Jury is denied. Ready for the jury?

MR. NEW: We are.

MR. ERBECKER: Is the court going to permit a hearing?

THE COURT: I see nothing to have a hearing on. Bring in the jury. The motions of the defendants made before are overruled as well, excepting insofar as the hearsay situation may apply.
e-mail: webmaster@sylvialikens.com

Return to Baniszewski Trial Transcript

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests