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Hattie Carroll: continued

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Murder Ballads
Secret London

Two of the guests, William Zantzinger and his wife Jane, started their evening with a pre-dinner drink at the city's Eager House restaurant. Zantzinger, 24 years old and over six feet tall, was the son of a rich tobacco farming family in Southern Maryland. His parents could trace their ancestors back both to Maryland's earliest white settlers and to a former governor of the state. His sister had been given not one, but two coming-out balls, both of which were covered in The Washington Post.
Time magazine spoke to other diners who'd been at Eager House that night, and produced this account of what happened:

“Zantzinger downed two fast drinks at the bar, then whacked the restaurant's hostess and its elderly sommelier with a wooden carnival cane that he had picked up somewhere. Coaxed into checking the cane, he lunged at the wine steward's cordial tray, then his neck chain and caught a sharp elbow in the stomach in return. Zantzinger had two double bourbons with his steak, Jane Zantzinger four double Cutty Sarks with her prime ribs. When the head barman refused to serve more, Jane hopped to another table and sipped from the glasses of its surprised occupants.” (5)

The couple were already drunk when they arrived at the Spinsters' Ball. Walking in, Zantzinger announced himself with a roar of: “I just flew in from Texas. Gimme a drink!” He was still fooling around with the cane, knocking it on the table's silver punchbowl when he wanted more booze, or playfully tapping any pretty woman who happened to walk by. Meanwhile, he worked his way through a steady stream of bourbon and ginger ales from the open bar. Jane was still drinking double scotches.

When Zantzinger walked out of the courtroom that morning, Carroll was already dead

When they tried to dance, the couple collapsed in a tangled heap, and Zantzinger started hitting his wife on the head with a shoe. Some of the other guests intervened, one of whom later testified he “knocked Zantzinger cold” when William took a swing at him. Dusting herself off, Jane allowed the hotel staff to lead her off to an empty bedroom upstairs where she could recover herself. Her husband returned to their table, where he resumed drinking, and swiped George Gessell, the hotel's black bellhop, across the behind with his cane.
By now, it was about 1:30 on Saturday morning and Zantzinger's mood was turning darker. He approached Ethel Hill, a black waitress clearing one of the tables near his, and asked her something about a fireman's fund. She said she didn't know what he meant, and Zantzinger snarled: “Don't say ‘No’ to me, you nigger, say ‘No, sir’”. He flailed at her with his cane, chasing her as she fled back towards the kitchen and hitting her on the arm, thighs and buttocks.
Working alongside Carroll that night were three other Emerson barmaids: Marina Patterson, Grace Shelton and Shirley Burrell. All three women witnessed Zantzinger's behaviour, and later testified in court about what they'd seen. “I heard Mrs Hill say ‘What is wrong with you? Leave me alone’,” Patterson recalled. “Then I heard him say ‘Nigger, what's wrong with you?’ Then I saw him whack her across the buttocks with the cane. She ran out of the room crying ‘Somebody help me. This man is killing me!’” (6)
Ten minutes after this incident, Zantzinger shoved his way through to the bar again, and was calling for more bourbon. Carroll, who was busy serving another customer, asked him to wait for a moment. “Mrs Carroll was fixing another drink,” Patterson testified. “So she didn't serve him immediately. He said ‘Nigger, did you hear me ask for a drink?‘ He said ‘I don't have to take that kind of shit off a nigger.’ He took the cane and struck her on the right shoulder. she leaned against the bar. Mr Zantzinger stood at the bar for a while, then he picked up his drink and left. She seemed to have been in shock. She said ‘That man has upset me so, I feel deathly ill’.” (6)
“He hit her. He struck right down and hit her,” Burrell confirmed. “It was a hard blow. So hard that I couldn't understand how she could stand up. [...] She handed him the drink, and then she stood there for a minute, and then she fell on me. I was so shocked I couldn't say anything to her.” (7)
“Zantzinger yelled ‘Why are you so slow, you black bitch?’ then hit Mrs Carroll with the cane,” Shelton added. “We were petrified. We were dumbfounded.”
Shelton and Burrell helped Carroll back into the privacy of the kitchen. “She said her arm was hurting and ‘I'm losing my grip’,” Shelton remembered. “I asked her to hold on to my arm, but I could feel her hand slipping off. Her speech became thick and garbled, and her words were running together.” Carroll complained her right arm felt numb, and her two colleagues tried to massage it back to life.
Meanwhile, someone else was calling both an ambulance and the police. One of the other guests, Hal Whittaker, forced Zantzinger's cane away from him and snapped it into pieces. “I saw that lady being taken out on a stretcher and I became upset,” he later told the court. “I didn't want him to use it again.” Years afterwards, Whittaker told his son this story, saying Zantzinger had struck the boy's pregnant mother earlier in the evening. (7, 8)
The unconscious Carroll was taken to Baltimore's Mercy Hospital. Two cops arrived at the Emerson Hotel to arrest Zantzinger, who loudly protested his innocence, and were leading him out through the hotel lobby when Jane reappeared. Still very drunk, she tumbled down a flight of five stairs, knocking both her husband and Officer Warren Todd to the ground. Crawling across the floor to grab Zantzinger's legs, she cried “You can't take my Billy Boy away! He beats me, but I still love him!” The police responded by arresting her too and bundling the couple off to Baltimore's Pine Street Police Station. (9)
There, Jane was charged with disorderly conduct, and allowed to go home after providing a $28 collateral. Zantzinger, charged with disorderly conduct, plus two charges of assault against Ethel Hill and Hattie Carroll by striking them with a wooden cane, was left to cool off in the cells for what remained of the night.
A few hours later, now sporting a black eye and still wearing the remains of his bedraggled evening dress, Zantzinger appeared before Judge Albert Blum at the city's Central Municipal Court. As the hearing began, Carroll was still unconscious at Mercy Hospital, and Blum left instructions that he was to be told of any change in her condition immediately. Zantzinger pleaded not guilty to all the charges against him, and was released on $3,600 bail.
As Zantzinger walked out of the courtroom that Saturday morning, Carroll was already dead, but news of this fact did not reach Blum until it was too late to stop the accused man leaving. The judge later said he would never have allowed such low bail if he'd known this was now a potential murder case, and police blamed hospital staff for being too slow in passing on the information.
One of the last people - perhaps the very last person - to speak to Carroll, was Yvonne Ross, another Emerson Hotel worker, who'd ridden with her friend in the ambulance to Mercy. “I stayed with her at the hospital for a while,” she recalled in court. “ She was unconscious. Then she woke up. The last thing I heard her say was ‘Help me please’.” (10)

Dead reckoning: continued

Joey (1975): Murdered New York mob boss is portrayed as peace-loving intellectual.
Based on: Colombo family's 1972 revenge hit on their rival Joey Gallo, who they shot dead in a Little Italy clam house.
Sample lines: “There was talk they killed their rivals / But the truth was far from that / No one ever knew for sure / Where they were really at.”
Dylan says: “I never considered him a gangster. I always thought of him as some kind of hero.” (4)
His critics say: “The severe bloodletting in the Profaci-Columbo family began when the greed of the Gallo brothers set them lusting after power.” - New York Times. (30)

Hurricane (1975): Dylan meets with a black boxer, jailed for murder on questionable evidence, and decides to champion his cause.
Based on: Rubin Carter's life sentence for three 1967 murders at a New Jersey bar. He was convicted on the evidence of two small-time crooks who later admitted they'd lied under oath.
Sample lines: “ You think you'd like to play ball with the law? / Think it might have been that fighter that you saw / Runnin' that night? / Don't forget that you are white.”
Dylan says:“I realised that the man's philosophy and my philosophy were running on the same road, and you don't meet too many people like that.”
His critics say: “There was no reference to (Carter's) antagonistic rhetoric, criminal history or violent temper. The repeated refrain that he could have been ‘champion of the world’ was slightly misleading, considering he lost seven of his last 15 fights.” - Howard Sounes. (26)