Vienna (Oct. 21)
Philip Halsmann, Jewish student of Riga, Latvia, was sentenced Saturday night to four years in prison at hard labor by the Innsbruck court which met for the second time within a year to try him on the charge of patricide as the result of the mysterious death of his father, wealthy dentist of Riga, Latvia, while the two were on a walking trip in the Tyrol Mountains in the summer of 1928. The sentence was imposed by a vote of eight against four.
Sentenced to ten years imprisonment several months ago principally on the evidence of a Tyrol mountain boy. who said he saw the son push his father down a ravine, the Supreme Court granted a rehearing of the case, on the ground of insufficient evidence.
The trial attracted wide attention in Germany, Latvia and Austria, where the anti-Semitic journals played up the case greatly.
The decision of the Supreme Court to grant the hearing was viewed as (Continued on Page 4)
A dramatic scene was enacted in the court room when the verdict was announced. The mother and sister of Philip Halsmann burst into tears, crying out, “A terrible miscarriage of justice has occurred.” Young Halsmann himself exclaimed: “I am innocent. I have been sentenced only because of the agitation which is going on all around me.” Admonished by the court that he would be led back to his cell if he did not remain quiet, he retorted: “I don’t wish to look on at such a miscarriage of justice,” and was led back to his cell by court attendants.
Counsel for the defendant, convinced of the innocence of the young Jewish student, will make an effort to have the verdict set aside. Pending this effort, steps will be taken to have Halsmann released on bail.
The announcement of the verdict has been received with great astonishment in the Jewish and general press, which expresses the opinion that the evidence against Halsmann is very slight and that the sentence is due to anti-Semitism in Innsbruck. The lightness of the sentence for the crime with which he is charged, the punishment for which is ordinarily life imprisonment, is further regarded as an indication of the insufficiency of the evidence against Halsmann.