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Cleveland Jury Acquits Desecrators of Jewish Cemetery

June 24, 1929
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A verdict of not guilty was returned by a jury consisting of 7 women and 5 men in the Court of Common Pleas in the trial of two men, Joe Koenig and Stanley Sinek. They were charged with desecrating a Jewish cemetery here on the night of April 27, this year.

The jury deliberated two hours. The verdict came as a surprise to many in the courtroom. During the proceedings which were presided over by Judge Carpenter the defense did not attempt to deny the guilt of the defendants. The defense counsel only contended that Koenig and Sinek were not responsible for their act as they were drunk. The defendants admitted that they spent four hours in the come tery of the Congregation Beth Hamidrash Hagodol during the night when 69 tombstones were thrown over. On the witness stand they declared that they do not recall what occurred.

Ray T. Miller, County Prosecutor conducted the case. He attempted to convince the jury that the two defendants, one of German and the other of Bohemian origin, perpetrated their attack on the Jewish cemetery because of anti-Semitic motives. This is the first case of such a desecration occurring in the United States, he argued, and asked the jury to issue an exemplary verdict which should serve as a warning for others not to give expression to their racial hatred in a manner which cannot be tolerated in a civilized country.

Barbaric methods employed in certain European countries cannot be applied in this country and remain unpunished, he declared.

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