Camden Courier-Post – October 21, 1931
Judge Shay Calls Holding of Impersonator An Outrage
Declared to have been illegally detained in Camden County jail, Henry Luellowitz, 28, of Los Angeles, who posed as Floyd Gibbons, was ordered released yesterday by Judge Samuel M. Shay.
A writ of habeas corpus, served at the office of Sheriff E. Frank Pine, charged Luellowitz had been kept prisoner 46 days after his 90-day sentence had expired. The man was sentenced June 13, by Police Court Judge Pancoast, on a charge of impersonating the famed radio announcer after his arrival here by plane.
He was detained following expiration of his sentence, on a detainer from New Haven, Connecticut, where he was accused of having defaulted payment of a hotel bill.
According to Rocco Palese, assistant prosecutor, and Chief of County Detectives Lawrence T. Doran, Luellowitz was held in connection with an investigation of the escape from jail of Albert Rumford, 23, of Philadelphia. The latter cut his way from a cell adjoining Luellowitz last August 17.
Calls Case Outrage
In dismissing the prisoner, Judge Shay declared the case was “an outrage,” ruling that the man was kept “through somebody’s oversight.” Luellowitz criticized the prosecutor’s office upon his release, saying his detention was occasioned by his refusal to “become a goat in the investigation of Rumford’s escape.” He praised prison attaches and Warden Edmund B. Powell, for treatment accorded him in the jail.
Frank M. Lario, attorney, who started proceedings to affect Luellowitz’ release, told Judge Shay yesterday that the man had been detained without a hearing after his sentence had expired. He charged that following service of the writ last week, Luellowitz was rushed by county detectives to the office of Peter J. Wallace, justice of the peace, and then recommitted to his cell.
Judge Shay sent for Justice of the Peace Wallace who admitted he ordered the man’s commitment after a hearing at which only the detectives appeared as witnesses.
The jurist declared he was convinced Luellowitz had been kept in jail through oversight of someone.
“The New Haven authorities have had ample time to come for the man. I don’t care now whether they want him or not. This man cannot be punished for some one’s negligence. I order his release immediately.”
Says He Was ‘Goat’
Following his dismissal, Luellowitz said he had been questioned about the escape of Rumford, alleged bandit, for whose capture the county has offered a $200 reward. Luellowitz and another inmate were said to have made noise while the jailbreak was being made.
“It’s an outrage, the way I was treated by the prosecutor’s office. Warden Powell and the jailers were mighty nice but the prosecutor and sheriff wanted to have a goat when that guy escaped and I was the first one they reached for.
“But I wasn’t going to let them make a goat of me. It wasn’t my fault if they didn’t have enough jailors there and they couldn’t blame me if that guy got away.”
Assistant Prosecutor Palese said Luellowitz was detained because he was suspected of having aided Rumford to escape. He admitted the man was not legally committed.