Leo Gentry - Police Officer - Preliminary Hearing

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Leo Gentry - Police Officer - Preliminary Hearing

Postby admin » October 31st, 2010, 6:35 pm

LEO GENTRY , a witness called on behalf of the State of Indiana,
being duly sworn by the Court, testified as follows:


Q. State your name to the jury, sir?

A. Leo Gentry.

Q. What is your occupation?

A. Detective Sergeant, assigned to the Juvenile Branch of the Indianapolis Police Department.

Q. How long have you had such assignment?

A. Approximately two years, sir.

Q. Were you so assigned October 26, 1965?

A. I was.

Q. On the 27th of October?

A. I was.

Q. Officer, in your capacity as a police officer assigned to the Juvenile Division, Juvenile Branch on October 27, 1965, did you have occasion to see the defendant Paula Marie Baniszewski?

A. I did.

Q. What time of the day or night did you first see her?

A. Approximately 9:30 in the morning.

Q. Where was that?

A. At the Juvenile Branch of the Police Department.

Q. Here in this building?

A. In the police wing, yes.

Q. Who was present?

A. There was myself, Policewoman Warner and Paula Baniszewski, John Baniszewski, and I believe Shirley was.

Q. Shirley Baniszewski?

A. Yes, and also Stephanie.

Q. Did you have a conversation with Paula?

A. I did.

Q. Who was present?

A. Policewoman Warner and myself.

Q. Where did that take place?

MR. RICE: I would like to have an opportunity to ask a preliminary question of this officer. I respectfully ask leave to excuse the jury.

THE COURT: Overruled as to this question.

Q. Who was present?

A. Policewoman Warner and myself and that took place at the Juvenile Branch of the Police Department.

Q. Particularly where in the Juvenile Branch?

A. In the interrogation room.

Q. Who was present at that time?

A. Policewoman Warner and myself and Paula.

Q. State what you said and what the defendant Paula Baniszewski said?

MR. RICE: I would like to renew my motion.

THE COURT: Granted at this time. The jury and alternate jurors will retire to the jury room for about five minutes. During the recess, as far as the jury is concerned, do not 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 thereon till the case is finally submitted to you. About five minutes.


THE COURT: Alright, a preliminary question on behalf of whom?

MR. RICE: On behalf of Paula Marie Baniszewski.

THE COURT: Alright.


Q. Mr. Gentry, you have testified, I believe, that you were the officer who was present at the time the statement was taken that is dated October 27, 1965 from Paula Marie Baniszewski, is that correct?

A. I was one of the officers present.

Q. Would you repeat the names of the other officers?

A. Policewoman Warner.

Q. Would you tell us the exact place where the interrogation took place, please?

A. It was in the questioning room of the Juvenile Branch, Indianapolis Police Department.

Q. When was the first time on this occasion you saw the defendant, Paula Marie Baniszewski?

A. In reference to this case?

Q. Yes.

A. It was on the night before.

Q. You had, in fact, gone out to the house at 3850 East New York Street?

A. No, the first time I saw her was at the police department, approximately in the neighborhood of 9:45 the previous evening.

Q. At the time you undertook to take the statement from Paula Marie Baniszewski was she under arrest?

A. She was.

Q. What was the charge, please, at that time?

A. It was a charge of being a delinquent child.

Q. When you undertook to take the statement from Paula Marie Baniszewski, did you have any statement made to her or did anyone in your presence make a statement to her regarding certain constitutional rights she had possessed at that time?

A. She was told she did not have to talk to us, did not have to make a statement and that she could have an attorney.

Q. At the time, were you aware of her age?

A. Yes.

Q. Were you aware of the fact she was approximately six months pregnant?

A. I was not. She denied this. However, she was asked but she denied it.

Q. Did you tell her at that time that she might call upon some adult relative to be present at the meeting?

A. She was told that she could have somebody present.

Q. Was such person present?

A. No, her legal guardian and her mother at that time was under arrest.

Q. Was any effort made to get in touch with John Baniszewski, Sr., who was the child's father?

A. No, I had no knowledge where he was.

Q. Was she given an opportunity to make a telephone call for the purpose of calling upon any adult relative?

A. No, sir, she did not request it.

Q. So far as you know, no such telephone call was either offered to her or made by her?

A. To my knowledge, that is correct.

Q. Did you tell her - strike that - how long did this interview last?

A. I would say in the neighborhood of a half hour to forty-five minutes.

Q. And as a result of that statement, which is before me presumably and signed by Miss Baniszewski and by Leo Gentry as a witness, it was a total of some ten questions?

A. Approximately, yes.

Q. Does the statement you took down represent everything that was said on that occasion by way of questions and given by way of answers?

A. In the question and answer, yes.

Q. Did you in fact do the typewriting?

A. I did not.

Q. Who did?

A. Policewoman Warner.

Q. On the statement, I notice at the top a preliminary descriptive phrase following your name. The words read as follow: Statement of Paula Marie Baniszewski, female/white/17, of 3850 East New York Street, Indianapolis, Indiana, to Policewoman Harriet Warner and Sgt. Leo Gentry, Juvenile Branch, Indianapolis Police Department, on October 27, 1965. I will ask if "Juvenile Branch" is descriptive of your association or does it refer to the place where the statement was taken?

A. It refers to where it was taken and also to the official name of the Branch.

Q. In other words, it could mean either one, as far as you are concerned?

A. Yes.

Q. Can you describe to us what was the emotional state of the defendant, Paula Marie Baniszewski, when this interview took place?

A. The emotional state?

Q. Yes, calm, cool, collected or emotionally aroused?

A. Up to a certain point she was normal and then she became faint.

Q. Did this happen during the course of the interview?

A. Just at the end of it, yes.

Q. Was any medical doctor or officer called to give her assistance at that time?

A. No, she was offered this. However she said she would be alright. I asked her at that time - that is when I asked her if she was pregnant.

Q. What was your method of making - recording this statement?

A. Method - a typewriter. The statement was question and answer.

Q. Who asked the questions?

A. Well, part of the time, most of the time it was Policewoman Warner.

Q. Who did the typewriting?

A. Most of it was hers?

Q. What were the dimensions of the room in which this took place?

A. I would say probably 8x10.

Q. Officers were there in uniform as well as out of uniform?

A. No, other than Policewoman Warner, she is a uniform officer.

Q. Did you tell the defendant the statement taken, if signed by her, might be used for her or against her at a trial?

A. She was informed of this.

Q. Did you state what the trial might be for?

A. No, because at this time she was under arrest for a delinquent charge. I had no idea she would be charged as murder.

Q. So far as she knew on that occasion the statement given in terms of answers would be used against her in the charge of being a delinquent juvenile?

A. As far as I knew.

Q. As far as she knew also?

A. Yes.

MR. NEW: We object.

THE COURT: Objection sustained. Let the answer go out.

Q. Approximately what time was the statement begun, Mr. Gentry, the interview for the statement?

A. I would say approximately 9:45 in the morning.

Q. What time did it end?

A. Approximately 10:30.

Q. To your knowledge, did the defendant have opportunity for food and drink for breakfast before the interview began?

A. She did.

Q. To your knowledge, were any threats made to the defendant while the statement was being taken?

A. To my knowledge, there was no threats.

Q. Were any promises made?

A. There were no promises.

Q. During this time, however, no phone calls were made to any attorney or other assistance for Miss Baniszewski?

A. No.

Q. Do you recall the tone of voice she used in the course of answering your questions?

A. It was a normal, rather soft voice, low.

Q. Was the only method of recording used that of question and answer, recorded orally on a typewriter by some assistant?

A. That is right.

MR. RICE: I have no further questions on preliminary of this gentleman.


MR. NEW: No questions.

MR. RICE: We move the court to strike anything that appears on the statement before us, on the grounds there was no attorney present there, there were no phone calls made for assistance and there is invasion here of the 4th, 5th, 6th and 14th amendments, the rights of this defendant as set down in the federal constitution, together with the relevant portion of the Indiana State Constitution. We therefore move the statement be suppressed.

THE COURT: Overruled.

MR. ERBECKER: The defendant Gertrude Baniszewski respectfully moves the court to ask one preliminary question.

THE COURT: You may.


Q. During that conversation when the statement was taken, was the name of the defendant Gertrude Baniszewski mentioned or written in the statement?

A. I would have to refresh my memory. I don't know. The name Gertrude Baniszewski does not appear but there is reference as Mom in the statement.

MR. ERBECKER: At this time. Your Honor, the defendant Gertrude Baniszewski advances the same grounds and reasons heretofore given in the statement heretofore admitted in evidence - I believe Coy Hubbard - and respectfully request the court to embody it in this objection of the defendant Gertrude Baniszewski to the admission of any evidence, for all the reasons and grounds heretofore advanced in opposition of the other statement, taken from - I believe - Coy Hubbard.

THE COURT: If I understand your objection correctly, you are objecting to the statement insofar as it pertains to Gertrude Baniszewski?


THE COURT: That will be sustained and the jury will be admonished accordingly.

MR. ERBECKER: Gertrude Baniszewski objects to the reading of the statement for the reason that despite the admonition the jury will be biased and prejudiced against her because of this reference to Mom therein.

THE COURT: Overruled at this time because there is nothing offered.

MR. BOWMAN: The jury is out and this witness is on the stand. Would the court give me leave to inquire preliminary on evidence I believe will be forthcoming from this witness?

THE COURT: In the way of preliminary question or do you want to see the statement?

MR. BOWMAN: A preliminary question.


Q. You are the same Leo Gentry who was just testifying are you not?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you also take a statement from John Stephan Baniszewski?

A. I did.

Q. In writing?

A. With a typewriter.

Q. Then it is a written statement?

A. A written statement.

Q. When did you take that?

A. This was approximately 10:30 on the morning of October 27, 1965.

Q. Where was that taken?

A. In the Juvenile Branch, Indianapolis Police Department.

Q. Is that the same interrogation room you took the statement of Paula Baniszewski?

A. I believe it was the one next to it.

Q. Did someone assign you to take a statement from John Baniszewski?

A. Would you clarify "assign"

Q. Did you do this because some one told you to do this?

A. This was done in the routine of the investigation.

THE COURT: He wants to know if you had a captain or major telling you to do this?

A. No.

Q. Who assigned you to investigate?

A. The investigation was assigned by Lt. Crossen.

Q. Lt. Crossen?

A. Yes, of the Juvenile Branch.

Q. When was it assigned to you?

A. The night before.

Q. About what time?

A. Approximately 9:00 or 9:15 P.M.

Q. Now, at 10:30 the morning of the 27th, was that the first time you had seen John Baniszewski?

A. No, I saw him the night before that.

Q. Where did you see him?

A. At the police department.

Q. At the police department?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you have a conversation with him then?

A. Just his name and address and his age.

Q. Then he was taken to the Juvenile Center?

A. Yes, he was.

Q. This is out at 25th and Keystone?

A. Yes.

Q. That is where the Juvenile Court is, is that correct?

A. Yes, that is part of it.

Q. This interrogation the morning of the 27th took place downtown at police headquarters?

A. Yes, it did.

Q. The Juvenile Branch, as you described, is a branch of the police department, to investigate juveniles, is it?

A. It is, sir.

Q. Now, was he under arrest at the time you talked to him?

A. He was, sir.

Q. What was the charge?

A. Being a delinquent child.

Q. Being a delinquent child?

A. Right.

Q. You told him he stood in danger of being charged with First Degree Murder?

A. I did not.

Q. Was anyone else with you when you took this statement from him?

A. Policewoman Warner.

Q. Is that Harriet Warner?

A. It is, sir.

Q. How was the statement taken down?

A. Question and answer.

Q. Was any mechanical means used?

A. By a typewriter.

Q. Who did the typing?

A. I did.

Q. You did?

A. Yes.

Q. Was this the same typewriter that had been used in the previous interrogation?

A. I believe there is a typewriter in each room. As to which room I actually used, I don't recall if it was the same room we interrogated Paula or the one next to it.

Q. How old was John Baniszewski at this time?

A. Twelve years of age.

Q. Twelve?

A. Yes.

Q. Was his mother under arrest at the time?

A. She was.

Q. What was she charged with?

A. Preliminary charge of murder.

Q. Do you know whether or not he knew it?

A. Yes, he knew it.

Q. That mother is the person, the adult with whom he had been living, was it?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. Did you tell him he could have a lawyer?

A. Yes, he was informed of this.

Q. Did you tell him who would pay for his lawyer?

A. No, sir, I did not.

Q. Did you ask him whether or not he had any money?

A. I did not.

Q. How long did the interrogation last?

A. Approximately forty-five minutes.

Q. Did you take down everything that was said?

A. Yes.

Q. You typed down everything that was said?

A. To my knowledge, yes.

Q. And was that all included in the statement that he gave you?

A. It was included in his statement.

Q. He signed that statement?

A. He did, sir.

Q. In your presence?

A. In my presence.

Q. In the presence of anyone else?

A. Policewoman Warner.

Q. Had you taken him before a judge of any court before you took this statement from him?

A. No, sir.

Q. Who asked the questions?

A. I believe I asked most of them.

Q. Did you have them prepared?

A. No, sir.

Q. You asked him as they occurred to you?

A. As they occurred.

Q. Did you type the question as you asked him?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you type the answer as he gave them?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. At what stage of this proceeding did you tell him he had the right to have an attorney present?

A. This was told before he made any type of statement to us.

Q. Did you tell him he had a right to have someone else present?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. Who did you tell him he could have there?

A. Anyone he wished.

Q. You told him he could have anyone he wished?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you put that remark in the statement?

A. I don't believe so.

Q. Did you put any other admonition in the statement?

A. That he did not have to make a statement, that he did not even have to talk to us.

Q. Is that all?

A. That he could have an attorney present if he wished.

MR. BOWMAN: That is all.

MR. NEW: No questions.

MR. BOWMAN: I would like to call another witness.

THE COURT: On George Rice's preliminary question first. Anything further, Mr. Rice?

MR. RICE: I have nothing further.

THE COURT: Nothing else on behalf of defendant Paula Marie Baniszewski?

MR. RICE: Not at this time, Your Honor.

THE COURT: Alright. There has been a separation of witnesses, Mr. Gentry, you go outside and don't tell anybody what you have said here. Don't leave because they may want you back. By that, I mean don't leave the outer room.

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