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The July 2, 1881 Assassination Of James A. Garfield, The 20th President Of The United States, By Charles J. Guiteau, A Mentally Ill Office Seeker Whose Defence At His Trial On The Basis Of Insanity Was Among The First Such Notorious Legal Cases, A Trial That Brought To The Public View New And Now Largely Discredited Nerological Science, Which Nevertheless Did Not Stop Him From Reciting His Infamous Composition "I Am Going To The Lordy" Poem On The Gallows, Presented In The Highest DVD Quality MPG Video Format Of 9.1 MBPS As An Archival Quality All Regions Format DVD, MP4 Video Download Or USB Flash Drive! (Color, 1990, 57 Minutes.) #AssassinationOfJamesAGarfield #JamesGarfield #PresidentsOfTheUS #POTUS #POTUSHistory #AmericanPresidents #CharlesJGuiteau #Writers #Lawyers #Assassins #IAmGoingToTheLordy #Assassinations #AmericanHistory #Insanity #InsanityDefense #Medicine #HistoryOfMedicine #Neurology #HistoryOfNeurology #USHistory #HistoryOfTheUS #DVD #VideoDownload #MP4 #USBFlashDrive
On July 2, 1881, Charles J. Guiteau, American writer and lawyer, shot and fatally wounded U.S. President James Garfield at 9:30 am at the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad Station in Washington, D.C. Charles Julius Guiteau falsely believed he had played a major role in Garfield's victory, for which he should be rewarded with a consulship. Guiteau was so offended by the Garfield administration's rejections of his applications to serve in Vienna or Paris as payment of this imagined political debt that he decided to kill him. Garfield died 79 days later in Elberon, New Jersey on September 19, 1881 from infections related to the wounds, less than four months into his term as president. Once Garfield died, the government officially charged Guiteau with murder. He was formally indicted on October 14, 1881, on the charge of murder, which was previously attempted murder after his arrest. Guiteau pleaded not guilty to the charge. The trial began on November 17, 1881, in Washington, D.C. The presiding judge in the case was Walter Smith Cox. Although Guiteau would insist on trying to represent himself during the entire trial, the court appointed Leigh Robinson to defend Guiteau. In less than a week of trial, Robinson retired from the case. George Scoville then became lead counsel for the defense. While Scoville's legal experience lay in land title examination, he had married Guiteau's sister and was thus obliged to defend him in court when no one else would. Wayne MacVeagh, the U.S. Attorney General, served as the chief prosecutor. MacVeagh named five lawyers to the prosecution team: George Corkhill, Walter Davidge, retired judge John K. Porter, Elihu Root, and E.B. Smith. Guiteau's trial was one of the first high-profile cases in the United States where a defense based on a claim of temporary insanity was considered. Guiteau vehemently insisted that while he had been legally insane at the time of the shooting (because God had taken away his free will), he was not really medically insane, which was one of the major causes of the rift between him and his defense lawyers. Edward Charles Spitzka, a leading alienist (an archaic term for a psychiatrist or psychologist), testified as an expert witness. Spitzka had stated that it was clear "Guiteau is not only now insane, but that he was never anything else." While on the stand, Spitzka testified that he had "no doubt" that Guiteau was both insane and "a moral monstrosity". Spitzka came to the conclusion that Guiteau had "the insane manner" he had so often observed in asylums, adding that Guiteau was a "morbid egotist" with "a tendency to misinterpret the real affairs of life". He thought the condition to be the result of "a congenital malformation of the brain". George Corkhill, who was the District of Columbia's district attorney and on the prosecuting team, summed up the prosecution's opinion of Guiteau's insanity defense in a pre-trial press statement that also mirrored public opinion on the issue: "He's no more insane than I am. There's nothing of the mad about Guiteau: he's a cool, calculating blackguard, a polished ruffian, who has gradually prepared himself to pose in this way before the world. He was a deadbeat, pure and simple. Finally, he got tired of the monotony of deadbeating. He wanted excitement of some other kind and notoriety... and he got it." Guiteau became something of a media sensation during his entire trial for his bizarre behavior, which included his frequently cursing and insulting the judge, most of the witnesses, the prosecution, and even his defense team, as well as formatting his testimony in epic poems which he recited at length, and soliciting legal advice from random spectators in the audience via passed notes. He dictated an autobiography to the New York Herald, ending it with a personal ad for "a nice Christian lady under 30 years of age". He was oblivious to the American public's hatred of him, even after he was almost assassinated twice himself. He frequently smiled and waved at spectators and reporters in and out of the courtroom. Guiteau sent a letter in which he argued that Arthur should set him free because he had just increased Arthur's salary by making him president. At one point, Guiteau argued before Cox that Garfield was killed not by the bullets but by medical malpractice ("The doctors killed Garfield, I just shot him"). Throughout the trial and up until his execution, Guiteau was housed at St. Elizabeths Hospital in the southeastern quadrant of Washington, D.C. While in prison and awaiting execution, Guiteau wrote a defense of the assassination he had committed and an account of his own trial, which was published as The Truth and the Removal. To the end, Guiteau was making plans to start a lecture tour after his perceived imminent release and to run for president himself in 1884, while at the same time continuing to delight in the media circus surrounding his trial. He was found guilty on January 25, 1882. After the guilty verdict was read, Guiteau stepped forward, despite his lawyers' efforts to tell him to be quiet, and yelled at the jury saying "You are all low, consummate jackasses!" plus a further stream of curses and obscenities before he was taken away by guards to his cell to await execution. Guiteau appealed his conviction, but his appeal was rejected. Twenty-nine days before his execution, Guiteau composed a lengthy poem asserting that God had commanded him to kill Garfield to prevent Secretary James G. Blaine's "scheming" to war with Chile and Peru. Guiteau also claimed in the poem that Vice President Chester A. Arthur knew the assassination had saved the United States and that Arthur's refusal to pardon him was the "basest ingratitude". Guiteau also (incorrectly) presumed that now-President Arthur would pressure the Supreme Court into hearing his court appeal. Guiteau was executed by hanging in Washington, D.C. at approximately 10 A.M. for the assassination, just two days before the first anniversary of his shooting him. While being led to his execution, Guiteau was said to have continually smiled and waved at spectators and reporters. He notoriously danced his way to the gallows and shook hands with his executioner. On the scaffold, as a last request, he recited a poem called "I am Going to the Lordy", which he had written during his incarceration. He had originally requested an orchestra to play as he sang his poem, but this request was denied. After he finished reading his poem, a black hood was placed over the smiling Guiteau's head and moments later the gallows trapdoor was sprung, the rope breaking his neck instantly with the fall. Guiteau's body was not returned to his family, as they were unable to afford a private funeral, but was instead autopsied and buried in a corner of the jailyard. Upon his autopsy it was discovered that Guiteau had the condition known as phimosis, an inability to retract the foreskin, which at the time was thought to have caused the insanity that led him to assassinate Garfield. With tiny pieces of the hanging rope already being sold as souvenirs to a fascinated public, rumors immediately began to swirl that jail guards planned to dig up Guiteau's corpse to meet demands of this burgeoning new market. Fearing scandal, the decision was made to disinter the corpse. The body was sent to the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Maryland, which preserved Guiteau's brain as well as his enlarged spleen discovered at autopsy and bleached the skeleton. These were placed in storage by the museum. Parts of Guiteau's brain remain on display in a jar at the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia.