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Our Lady of the Angels (OLA) School Fire, December 1, 1958

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John Reid Report
Confession Interview
John E. Reid report on suspect confession

Note: The name of the suspect has been replaced in this document with "[the boy]".

On January 12, 1962, [the boy], a 13-year-old boy, who lives at 1836 South 58th Avenue in Cicero, Illinois, was brought into this laboratory at 1:30 P.M. by his mother for a polygraph lie-detector test. It appears from the information given to the laboratory secretary that the request for the test was made by his mother and that lawyers for the family had suggested the test in this laboratory and that the results would be confidential to the mother.

Mrs. [name withheld], the boy's mother, spent approximately one-half hour giving information to Mr. Robert Cormack, one of our laboratory examiners, regarding the boy and stating that the Cicero Police had been pestering the boy regarding fires set in Cicero and specifically named the "back porch of Kenneth's house on 49th Court," and the basement of the house at 50th Avenue had received about $5000 damage on December 21, 1961 at about 9:30 A.M. The mother said that the boy was home with his grandfather at the time. Also, the mother stated the boy was being questioned thoroughly by the police regarding the Town Hall Bowling Alley fire which occurred at 10:00 P.M. on December 30, 1961. It was alleged by the mother that the boy was home with her and the father watching television at the time of the fire. It was further reported that the Town Hall Bowling Alley is a block and a half away from the subject's home and that one of the men named Walter "Sunny" Smith, who perished in the fire, was a boarder in the subject's home at the time.

The mother of the boy, who stated that she was six months pregnant at this time, said that the boy admitted two fires to her and her husband, a garbage can behind 21st Avenue in Cicero and a hallway fire on 49th Court in Cicero. (All of the information given to the examiner was very sketchy by the mother as to the location and date of these fires.) At this point the laboratory examiner questioned her as to whether or not the boy was getting sexual gratification out of setting the fires and the boy's mother indicated that he was. She stated, "He ([the boy]) doesn't seem to realize he's setting fires and after he sets them he has guilt feelings and remorse." The mother stated that knowing his problem, as a precautionary measure to protect [the boy], she drives him back and forth to school and does not allow him to be out of the house unless he is accompanied. She stated he was being counseled by the Catholic Counselling Service and has been examined by Dr. Bergen, a psychiatrist, who is with the Catholic Counselling Service. She stated that he was also being counseled by Mr. Checko K. Poevathunkel of the Catholic Counselling Service.

During the course of the mother's stay in this laboratory she told Mr. Stephen Kindig, our Chief Examiner, that the boy, [the boy], was an illegitimate child and that he was conceived as a result of she being raped by her step-father while she was a teenager, that the child was born in a home for unwed mothers and that it was planned that the child would be put out for adoption but she was unable to agree to this arrangement and kept the child. The alleged rape was brought to the attention of the authorities at the time and her step-father was questioned about it. She stated that her step-father, as the result of an injury, had several steel plates in his head. The mother also stated that her present husband, [name withheld], who adopted [the boy], bought all kinds of sports equipment for the boy but the boy just was not interested in sports and consequently did not use them.

After this preliminary information was received, [the boy], the subject, was taken into one of our examining laboratories. The subject was left in this laboratory for approximately one-half hour alone while Mr. Cormick informed the writer as to the details of the case. At approximately 2:30 P.M. the writer went into the room with [the boy]. After informing the subject of the accuracy of the lie-detector and explaining the attachments, during which time the subject was most interested and inquisitive, he was confronted by the writer and told to tell the whole truth before the lie-detector test. The subject answered the writer, stating that he was going to tell the truth and he was not going to lie. He then stated that he did set fire to Kenneth's back porch on 49th Court, that he did set fire in the basement at the house at 50th Avenue on December 21 (the subject was supposed to have been home with his grandfather at the time), and that he did set fire to a garage on Ridgeway Avenue in Chicago "next to where I used to live." The subject then stated that he took lighter fluid, matches and paper and spread it around and set fire to a hallway and door to an apartment near where he used to live in Chicago, near Springfield and Ohio Streets. The subject then stated to the writer, "Do you have any others as bad as me on this test?" The writer stated there were many much worse, that there were murderers that sat in that same chair. The subject then stated that he felt so bad after he set fires that he wishes he wasn't even born and then inquired as to whether or not it was only boys who set fires. The subject was told that it was boys or men mostly. He then stated, "Why wasn't I born a girl?"

The writer inquired as to what school he went to and he stated he went to the Cicero Public School. The writer asked his religion and he said he was Catholic. The writer stated "but you don't go to a Catholic school", and the subject answered "I did go to St. Attracta and before that I went to Our Lady of Angels School." The subject then informed the writer upon questioning that he was in the fifth grade at Our Lady of Angels School at the time of the fire and the writer asked him to tell the truth as to whether or not he started the fire at Our Lady of Angels School. The boy stated he did not but said "On the afternoon that it happened I was coming back to school with a boyfriend of mine who lived on Springfield Avenue. I said I got some matches in my hand and I could burn down the school and we wouldn't have to go to school no more." The writer asked the subject if he did have matches in his hand at the time and he said he did not but he told his friend that he did. The writer again asked the subject to make sure that he tells the truth regarding this fire especially because the writer would definitely include that fire in the lie-detector test. The subject was somewhat evasive but denied setting the fire at Our Lady of Angels school.

It was decided not to discuss the school fire further but to attempt a lie-detector test on the subject. Just before doing so the writer inquired if there were any other fires that he had set and that he wanted the test to show the truth. The subject then stated that the first fire that he ever set was before he ever went to school, that he set a garbage can on fire and that almost set a garage on fire and that his mother and grandfather had to hurry to put out the fire or it would burn the garage down. The subject then told the writer that he also set a hallway on fire on Cermak Road where he set a shade on fire, that he also set a fire in a two-flat building at 1905 South 49th Court, that he lit papers and matches and the door caught on fire, and that he also set a fire and it only burned the porch a little.

The writer then prepared questions for the lie-detector examination and included two fires, one the fire on December 30th of the Town Hall Bowling Alley, and second the fire at Our Lady of Angels School which occurred on December 1, 1958. Before this test the subject was asked where he was at the time of the Town Hall Bowling Alley fire which occurred at 10:00 P.M. on December 30, 1961 in Cicero and he stated that his mother and himself were watching television that night but that his father was not there. He stated that his mother fell asleep on the couch and that he went to bed without her knowing it.

The subject was given a card control test in which he was presented seven number cards, face down, and told to choose one of the cards and then to answer "No" to all the cards during the course of the test. It was explained to the subject that the purpose of this test was to determine whether or not the lie-detector would work on him. There was considerable movement by the subject during the course of this test and a great movement in the blood pressure recoding at the time the subject answered "no" to card #5 and the subject agreed that card #5 was his chosen card. The subject's boyish curiousity (sic) caused him to ask to see how the lie-detector worked on card #5 and he was shown this response.

During the course of the test regarding the fires, the subject gave continuous and continual movement throughout Question #5, "On December 1, 1958 did you set Our Lady of Angels on fire? Answer: No." Because of the possible discomfort of the blood pressure cuff on the subject, it was decided to submit a test without the blood pressure, and there were indications in the subject's polygraph records that he probably was not telling the truth on the question regarding Our Lady of Angels fire. The responses regarding the Town Hall Bowling Alley fire was not clear and therefore no true indications were obtained. As a result of this testing, the writer was of the opinion that the subject was not telling the truth regarding setting Our Lady of Angels fire and decided that since the individual test was so short, that is only six questions, that the subject was purposely moving in order to avoid detection on the questions of Our Lady of Angels fire. The same type of movement was made when the subject answered "no" to his card in the card test. Because of these indications the examiner confronted the subject, telling him that he was not telling the truth and that since he was a Catholic boy that there were 92 children and three nuns in heaven looking down on him now asking for the truth. The subject bowed his head, turned to the side and after a short time, during which the writer pleaded with him for the truth, he stated that he did set fire to Our Lady of Angels school on December 1, 1958. The writer listened to the details of Our Lady of Angels fire by the subject and was convinced by the manner in which he told it, that he was telling the truth.

Because of the enormity of the admission, the writer called a conference with Mr. George Lindberg, Mr. Stephen Kindig and Mr. Robert Cormack of this laboratory staff to decide what should be done in this case. The case was complicated due to the confidential nature of it but it was decided, for possible future reference, that a detailed statement should be taken from the subject.

Before this, however, the writer decided to inform the subject's mother as to the admission and to the other admissions made regarding fires. The writer took Mrs. [name withheld] into a private conference room and knowing of her pregnant condition and realizing from prior information that she had two previous miscarriages, it was decided to inform her gradually as to the admissions. Considerable time was spent with her by the writer and finally the writer stated that the lie-detector indicated that [the boy] had set the fire at Our Lady of Angels School. As concerned as the mother seemed to be, it appeared to the writer that she must have had some strong suspicion that this was the case before bringing the boy to this laboratory. She did not inform the writer beforehand that the subject had even attended Our Lady of Angels School or about any previous fires besides the two in Cicero. Mrs. [name withheld] then asked if she could call her husband and the writer suggested that she do so immediately and also if she had a lawyer to call him as well. She stated that she would talk with her husband first. The writer then told Mrs. [name withheld] that he would take a detailed statement from [the boy] regarding this and other fires.

At 5:30 P.M. a statement was taken in shorthand from the subject, [the boy], by our laboratory secretary, Mildred McGuffie, in the presence of the writer and Mr. George Lindberg of this laboratory regarding Our Lady of Angels fire. This statement was transcribed and later signed by [the boy] and witnessed by Mildred McGuffie, George W. Lindberg, Stephen J. Kindig and John E. Reid. (The original copy of this statement is in your files, a carbon copy of this statement was given to Mrs. [name withheld].) While this statement was being typed by Miss McGuffie, Miss Jacquelyn Hill, another laboratory secretary, was called to take a general statement regarding other fires admitted to by [the boy]. Mr. Lindberg and the writer were in the room at the time of the questioning which started at 6:45 P.M. In this statement [the boy] told of setting about twelve fires. After this statement was transcribed, it was witnessed by Jacquelyn A. Hill, George W. Lindberg and the writer. The original copy of this statement was given to you for the State's Attorney's files, two copies remain in our files, and one uncorrected copy was given to Mr. and Mrs. [name withheld].

While these statements were being transcribed and while the subject, [the boy], was in the examining room alone, he requested to look at some magazines and several were given to him for his entertainment. While sitting in the laboratory and turning the pages of these magazines with his left hand, he took his penis out of his trousers with his right hand and masturbated while hurriedly turning each page of the magazine with his left hand. The subject was observed through a two-way mirror but was not overheard in that the sound system was removed from this laboratory's quarters as a result of its prohibition by law. It appeared from the observation that the subject was afraid one of the examiners would step into the room and observe him masturbating and he put his penis away and then tore out a page from Look magazine, January 2, 1962 issue, folded it and put it into his pocket. The writer was told that the subject also tore out pages in other magazines and put them in his pocket. (This magazine was also given to you for the State's Attorney's files.) The actions of the subject, including his active masturbation while in the examining laboratory, was observed by the writer, George W. Lindberg, Robert Cormack and Stephen Kindig. The same type of masturbation procedure was used by the subject on a total of four occasions while he was left alone in the room. There was no indication the subject had an ejaculation during any of these four masturbations although each of the masturbations were for approximately one minute duration. It is possible that the subject masturbated more often during the time he was in the examining laboratory than was observed in that the subject was only observed when he was allowed to be alone for a period of time and the observation was used for purposes of preventing the subject from injuring himself or possibly jumping out the window.

At 7:05 P.M. Mr. [name withheld] arrived at this laboratory and was taken into the conference room where his wife was waiting. Mr. Stephen Kindig of this laboratory staff visited with them until the writer had completed the witnessing of the statements After the writer left and the mother was visiting with Mr. Kindig, she telephoned her husband's employer so that he would be contacted and told to come to this laboratory. The mother also telephoned Mr. [withheld], her step-father, at her home.

Mr. and Mrs. [name withheld] were then taken into the writer's private office. The writer told Mr. and Mrs. [name withheld] the details of the confessions and gave them a copy of each confession. Mr. [name withheld] told the writer that he thought that this was confidential and that it should not go any further and the writer stated to both Mr. and Mrs. [name withheld] that because of the enormity of Our Lady of Angels School fire, because of the amount of money that had been spent and is being spent in the investigation, because at the time of the setting of the fire their boy was only ten years old and could not be penalized in regard to the fire and because [the boy] is in definite need of psychiatric treatment, this information should be given to the authorities. Mrs. [name withheld] stated, "but they will bring out all the other fires that happened in Cicero and he was old then." She then asked if this disclosure could be made without publicity and the writer was unable to assure her but promised that if they made the disclosure to the proper authorities that the writer not make any statement whatsoever. Mr. [name withheld] then stated that they would put him in the electric chair or put him in jail forever and mentioned a number of other penalties and he was told by the writer, as Mrs. [name withheld] was earlier told, to contact a lawyer and get him down to this office. Mr. [name withheld] informed the writer that Mr. Dino D'Angelo was the attorney who referred them to this laboratory and that this was promised to be of a confidential nature. The writer then insisted that this be brought out to the authorities so that [the boy] would get the proper psychiatric treatment while he was still a child and before someone else would be burned to death at a later date when [the boy] would bear the full brunt of the penalty oat that time. The writer impressed on both Mr. and Mrs. [name withheld] of their moral responsibility as well as their responsibility to their son as parents.

In reading the statement Mrs. [name withheld] noted that her son refereed to a chapel in the school basement and she immediately stated that the boy was making up the story in that there was no chapel in the basement at Our Lady of Angels School. Mr. [name withheld] used that as an illustration of the imaginativeness of the boy's mind. He further stated that at the time of the Our Lady of Angels fire, [the boy] told them that a fourth grade boy showed him matches and said that he was going to set the school on fire. (This statement is quite significant in that there was a reference to a plan to set the school on fire at the time of the fire and this was referred to specifically by [the boy] in his statement in this laboratory.) However, at the time of the fire it is possible that [the boy], after setting the fire, used an alter-ego, that is someone who did not exist and tried to place the blame on this non-existent person. As a result of the statement by Mrs. [name withheld] that there was no chapel, the writer left the office and asked [the boy] if there was a chapel in the school basement and he stated there was and when told that his mother alleged there was not chapel in the basement, he stated, "She's crazy. She sat in the chapel and waited there for a while, my mother and me." The writer returned to the office and informed Mrs. [name withheld] of [the boy]'s statement and then Mr. [name withheld] asked to see [the boy]. As soon as Mr. [name withheld] walked into the examining room where [the boy] was waiting, he yelled at the boy loudly, "Did you set that fire?" The boy immediately said "No." Mr. [name withheld] asked in the same loud tone, "Why did you say so?", and the boy retorted, "Because he told me to (pointing to the writer)." The writer was upset by this procedure and asked that the boy leave the room and after closing the door reprimanded Mr. [name withheld] for his attitude in this matter. He was informed that the boy, while sitting in the room alone, had masturbated and Mr. [name withheld] stated that it was his fault in that he caught him masturbating on one occasion and slapped his penis real hard. The writer, after calming Mr. [name withheld] down and having a rational discussion with him, stated that if he did not see fit on his own to take this to the proper authorities, that the writer would do so. Mr. [name withheld] then asked sufficient time to consult with his attorneys in that they would get in touch with the writer after the weekend. Mr. [name withheld] then shook hands with the writer and left the laboratory.

On Saturday, January 12, 1962, the writer contacted Mr. D'Angelo the attorney for the [name withheld] family, who is a member of the law firm of Geocaris, D'Angelo and Dahl. The writer asked Mr. D'Angelo to bring these facts to the authorities and briefly state the reasons as were stated in this report. Mr. D'Angelo asked that he confer with his law partners over the weekend and discuss the matter with the [name withheld] family and would contact the writer on Monday morning. No cntact was made by Mr. D'Angelo, therefore, the writer placed a call and talked with Mr. Geocaris who stated that Mr. D'Angelo would return the call at 1"30 P.M. At 2:45 P.M. when no call was received, the writer again called Mr. D'Angelo and talked with him. He stated he woild have more discussion with his law partners and would return the call again. Later in the afternoon Attorney Dahl contacted the writer and stated that after discussion with the family, they believed the boy did not set the fire to Our Lady of Angels School and therefore would not disclose this information to the authorities and stated, "I hope you will not either." The writer informed them that during the day he had contacted Professor Fred E. Inbau of Northwestern University Law School who was lecturing in Louisville, Kentucky and discuss the manner, responsibilities as well as the legal responsibilities in this case as to privileged communications. Professor Inbau agreed that the information should be placed in the hands of the Juvenile authorities for the benefit of the boy and that Judge Cilella, being the judge of the Family Court, should be contacted in lieu of anyone else. Professor Inbau made this decision realizing that the boy was ten years old at the time of the fire was set in Our Lady of Angels school and that the new criminal code, which he believed applied in this case, states that a boy under the age of thirteen is incapable of committing a crime, therefore, no criminal punishment should be concerned with in this case. These facts were given by the writer to both Mr. D'Angelo and Mr. Dahl in conversations with them with the final suggestion to Mr. Dahl to discuss the matter with Professor Inbau in that Professor Inbau would be in his university office before 5:00 P.M. After Mr. Dahl refused to disclose this information to the authorities, the writer contacted Judge Cilella of Family Court and Judge Cilella immediately stated that he did not want to disqualify himself in that he may have to hear this case in the future, therefore, he did not want to receive any information from the writer. On Monday morning, January 15th at 10:00 A.M., the writer received a call from Sergeant Drew Brown of the Chicago Police Arson Squad inquiring as to whether [the boy] was tested in this laboratory on Friday, that he had information that the boy had confessed the crime and that this information came to him from among other sources, Monsignor Gorman, Chaplain of the Chicago Fire Department. The writer informed Sergeant Brown that he was unable to disclose this information and that if anything was forthcoming it would probably come from the attorneys for the family. About 11:00 A.M. a Chicago Tribune reporter, George Bliss, contacted the writer and was quite informed as to the confession having been obtained in this laboratory and was anxious for the details regarding this confession. Again the writer refused to comment in any respect but it appears the information was sufficiently sound, that Mr. Bliss came to this laboratory and remained in the laboratory until 6:30 P.M. that evening. At that time as a final gesture the writer told Mr. Bliss that Judge Cilella was contacted but he refused to accept any information on the case. At 10:00 P.M. that evening the writer was called at home and told by Mr. Bliss that he decided with his editors to print the story but delete the boy's name and that his editors had talked to Judge Cilella.

During the course of the conversation with George Bliss, he told the writer that the Chicago Tribune had a reporter named Whistler in Cicero for the past month and a half and they had information as to all the questioning of this boy as well as interrogations of his teacher, Miss Tristano, who was on the faculty of Our Lady of Angels School in 1958.

The writer believed that he satisfied his moral obligation after this information was made public and responded promptly when he was summoned by your office to supply the information obtained. The writer did not wish to contact the police or to contact your office in this matter because of the possibilities of arresting the subject and believed that the lawyers or the parents would complete their moral obligation and benefit the boy by taking the information to the Family Court. It was with reluctance that the writer had to follow the course that he did follow in this case.

Respectfully submitted,

John E. Reid

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John Reid Report
Confession Interview
Time Line of January 12, 1962 Interview
1:15 - 1:30 Mrs. [name withheld] and son, 13 year old [the boy] enter Laboratory reception room and had a chair.
1:30 - 2:00 Mrs. [name withheld] interview by Mr. Cormack
2:00 [the boy] escorted to Laboratory #1. No polygraph apparatus attached
2:00 - 2:30 Mr. Reid and Mr. Cormack confer. [the boy] sitting alone in laboratory #1.
2:30 Mr. Reid enters Laboratory to interview [the boy]. No polygraph apparatus attached.
2:30 - 3:30 Subject admits 11 fires, and told the examiner that he was a student at the Our Lady of Angels School at the time of fire, December 1, 1958.
3:30 - 4:00 Polygraph apparatus attached. Subject gives polygraph examination regarding the fires in issue including Our Lady of Angels.
4:00 Polygraph apparatus removed. Subject told the examiner that he set Our Lady of Angels fire in the presence of John E. Reid.
4:30 - 5:00 John E Reid confers with George W. Lindberg and Stephen J. Kindig. [the boy] sitting alone reading
5:00 - 5:30 John E. Reid confers with Mrs. [name withheld] regarding [the boy]'s admissions.
5:30 - 6:40 John E. Reid, Miss McGuffie, George Lindberg take statement and [the boy] draws sketch of Our Lady of Angels School. Sketch witnessed by signature of John E. Reid, Miss McGuffie and George W. Lindberg. (2nd floor, stairs & basement area, chapel, boys room)
5:50 Subject given glass of milk and egg salad sandwich.
6:40 [the boy] left alone in Laboratory #1.
7:45 - 8:10 George W. Lindberg and John E. Reid observe masturbation through observation window.
6:45 - 7:45 Miss Hill, George Lindberg and John Reid take statement relating to other fires.
7:00 - 7:15 [the boy] given Chocolate Soda.
7:45 - 8:00 [the boy] sitting alone while statements are being typed.
6:45 - 7:15 Actual time for taking of statement by Mr. Reid, Mr. Lindberg and Miss Hill relating to other fires.
7:15 - 7:30 Miss Hill type statement to other fires.
7:30 - 7:45 Statement to other fires read, corrected, initialled and signed in presence of John E. Reid, Miss Hill, and George Lindberg.
7:45 - 8:10 [the boy] sitting alone and taken to washroom.
8:10 - 8:30 Statement admitting Our Lady of Angels fire is read, corrected, initialled and signed in the presence of John E. Reid, Miss McGuffie, Stephen J. Kindig and George W. Lindberg.
8:30 John E. Reid confers briefly with the parents who left the office at approximately 8:45 to 9:00.

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John Reid Report
Confession Interview
Confession Interview
Statement made by [the boy] in the offices of John E. Reid and Associates, 600 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, to John E. Reid in the presence of George Lindberg and Mildred McGuffie, secretary, on Friday, January 12, 1962 at 5:30 P.M..

Questions (Q) by: John Reid, Answers (A) by: [the boy]
Q:What is your full name?
A:[the boy].
Q:Where do you live?
A:Cicero, Illinois. 1836 South 50th Avenue.
Q:How old are you?
A:I'm 13.
Q:What is your birth date?
A:October 4, 1948.
Q:What school do you attend now?
A:Cicero Public School.
Q:Before you went to Cicero Public School where did you go to school?
A:St. Attracta.
Q:Where is that school located?
A:It's in Cicero.
Q:Before you went to that school what school did you go to?
A:Our Lady of Angels.
Q:Where is that school located?
A:Halaway and Ohio, I think. I'm not too sure.
Q:Did you go to Our Lady of Angels school at the time there was a fire there?
Q:What year was that?
A:In 1958.
Q:Do you recall the date of that fire?
A:It was on December 1st.
(At this point the statement was dispensed with while the subject, [the boy], was given a glass of milk and an egg salad sandwich which he consumed entirely)
Q:When did you eat last?
A:Lunch time at 12.
Q:What did you have for lunch?
A:Tomato soup and crackers and milk.
Q:Anything else?
A:No. On Friday it's a miserable day for eating. That's if you're Catholic.
Q:You say that Our Lady of Angels fire was on December 1, 1958, what grade were you in at that time?
Q:Do you recall your room number?
Q:What was your teacher's name?
A:Miss Tristano. I don't know if I could spell it or not.
Q:When you went to our Lady of Angels school did you usually come home for lunch?
Q:Did you go home for lunch on the day of the fire, that is December 1, 1958?
Q:What time did that fire start?
A:Around 3 o'clock.
Q:Was that A.M. or P.M.?
A:Three o'clock in the afternoon.
Q:What time did you come back from lunch that day?
A:One o'clock.
Q:Did you come back from lunch with anyone?
A:Yes, my boyfriend.
Q:What is this boy's name?
A:I don't remember but I think it was Bob.
Q:Where does Bob live?
A:I don't know the exact address - it's on the opposite side of the street. Our number was 508 North Springfield and he was on the odd side of the street. There's a boy that lives on Springfield and his name is Russell Gardiano, he knows him. Don't ask me how to spell it.
Q:I supposed you talked to Bob when you were coming back with him.
Q:Did you recall at this late time what you talked about?
A:Murders and horror pictures.
Q:How old is this lad you call Bob?
A:Nine at that time.
Q:What grade was he in?
A:Fourth at Our Lady of Angels School. I never even seen his teacher.
Q:So you talked about murders and stuff like that and horror pictures?
Q:Did you say anything about your school when you were coming back?
A:I told him I had matches in my pocket and I said I was going to burn down the school so we wouldn't have no more school for a couple of weeks or days and that we'd have a vacation.
Q:What did Bob say?
A:He thought I was kidding.
Q:Were you actually kidding, [the boy]?
Q:Did you think anything more of this about burning the school after that?
A:About a quarter of three that same day.
Q:What did you do?
A:I asked my teacher if I could be excused and went to the washroom. After coming from the washroom I went to the chapel to see if anyone was in there. Then from the chapel I went back to this here can like janitors have, it was made out of cardboard like and had steel rims on it and I didn't see anybody no place and I used three matches and I lit the thing and I ran back upstairs to my room.
Q:After you got to your room what did you do?
A:I went back to my seat and was talking and goofing around, bothering the kids and then my teacher opened the door and there was smoke coming and she ran to the fire alarm upstairs and she turned it in for the school so everybody could get out to know what it was. Then she got all us kids over to the window and had to wait until the firemen could get through there first with the net and she pushed us out the window and she jumped herself.
Q:What floor was that on?
Q:What street was that facing on?
Q:What did you do then after you got down into the net and out?
A:I ran to my den mother's house because she was going to have a den meeting.
Q:Who was your den mother?
A:I don't know her name. I only had her a couple of times and they moved to Wisconsin.
Q:Do you remember where her house was?
A:The only place I know is Avers and the Avalon Theatre - it was near there.
Q:Did your den mother have any children?
A:Yes, two of them.
Q:How old were they?
A:The littlest one was one year old and I think the biggest one was six as she was in first grade.
Q:Was your den mother at home?
A:Yes, cause she was expecting us for a den meeting.
Q:Did you have your den meeting then?
Q:Why not?
A:Because of all the confusion and excitement of the fire.
Q:What did you do then?
A:She tried to calm me down and she asked me for my mother's telephone number at work - it took her a while to get it out of me because I was nervous and that and then she called my mother and she told her what happened so that my mom wouldn't hear it on the car radio driving home and faint or anything.
Q:What did you do then after the den mother contacted your mother and there was going to be no den meeting?
A:She told me to go and sit down and watch TV or do something.
Q:What did she do?
A:She was waiting for the rest of the kids going to the meeting.
Q:Was there anybody else there?
A:Nothing but her kids.
Q:Did these other boys arrive for den?
A:One of them didn't and the rest of them did.
Q:Who didn't make it?
A:My den chief, Ray Mokowski.
Q:How come he didn't make the meeting?
A:He got killed in the fire.
Q:Did he go to Our Lady of Angels School?
Q:What grade was he in?
A:I think he was in the 8th or 7th grade.
Q:Do you recall who the other boys were that came to the den meeting?
A:No. There was one boy whose name was Larry, I don't know his last name.
Q:Did that dismiss the meeting?
Q:What did you do then?
A:They waited until my dad came and got me.
Q:Where did you go then?
At this point the stenographer complained of the heat since she was sitting near the radiator and the subject made a comment that he was chilly so the stenographer and the subject exchanged chairs)
Q:Just before we started this statement you made a drawing for Miss McGuffie, Mr. Lindberg and myself, is that right?
Q:Will you point this drawing out to Mr. Lindberg who is sitting right next to you and tell him again what you did after you left your room at Our Lady of Angels School at about a quarter of three on December 1, 1958?
A:I went downstairs to the boys washroom. Then after I went to the washroom I came out of the boys washroom and went to the chapel to see if there was anybody in there and there wasn't anybody in there so I walked back to the can.
[the boy]'s statement to Miss McGuffie: what kind of foreign writing is that?
A:(Miss McGuffie) Shorthand.
Q:What kind of a can was that?
A:The can was a cardboard - it was a round cardboard rubbish can for papers and it had metal rims on it for the top and for the bottom. I looked around and I didn't see anybody. I threw three matches in the can and then ran up the stairs to my room.
Q:Did you light those matches?
Q:Did you see whether or not that caught fire?
Q:Did they catch fire?
Q:Will you describe to Mr. Lindberg from the drawing that you made before we took this statement as to the location of the can and the chapel in relation to the stairway?
A:I came down the stairway. I turned left and I walked so many steps, about 15 or 16 steps, from the stairs to the boys washroom.
Q:Where is the washroom located?
A:It's in the basement.
Q:Then what did you do?
A:I went to the washroom and after going to the washroom I came out and turned right and turned left again through the hall and went to the chapel.
Q:Is the chapel in the basement?
Q:Is the chapel close to the boys washroom?
A:Not too close - pretty far.
Q:What part of the basement is the chapel in?
A:It's near the stairs.
Q:Where is the can located?
A:In the middle of the hallway near the stairs and chapel.
Q:In the drawing you have here it seems as though you have the can located under the stairs, is that where it was?
Q:Was there anything else under the stairs?
A:Two or three little rooms for the janitor to put his brooms, brushes and stuff like that.
Q:And these are indicated here on the chart that you drew?
Q:On this chart that you drew you have marks here "S", what does that mean?
Q:What about the "BR"?
A:Boys room.
Q:And the "CH"?
Q:What is that?
A:That's the can.
Q:And those added lines?
A:Yes, that's where I walked.
Q:What was your reason for setting this fire?
A:What do you mean?
Q:What did you do it for?
A:Well, I thought we'd get a couple of days off from school because of the fire.
Q:Did you see the flames in the can before you left to go back to your classroom?
Q:Did you have any special feeling at the time you started this fire at Our Lady of Angels School?
A:Just that I didn't think I was going to hurt nobody.
Q:What was in this can that you threw the lighted matches into?
A:School paper from all the rooms - all kinds of paper and the papers that kids throw out that they didn't need.
Q:Was it full to the top?
Q:Did you tell anybody about starting Our Lady of Angels fire before?
Q:Why are you telling us about it now?
A:I wanted to get it off my chest.
Q:Why didn't you tell it to anyone before?
A:Afraid my dad was going to give me a beating and I'd get in trouble with the police and I'd get the electric chair or something.
Q:Why are you thinking about the electric chair?
A:On account of what my dad told me, that this kid around 16, he shot his parents and a couple of kids and he got the chair for it and he said you wouldn't do things like that, you might kill somebody.
Q:Was he referring to anything particularly?
Q:How did your father start talking to you about the electric chair and so forth?
A:A couple of days ago it was a picture I seen - Wednesday, I think - a picture of a guy. He got sent to the chair for nothing - he didn't do it and my dad kept telling me things about it and about the gas chamber.
Q:This picture you are speaking of, where was that picture?
A:On TV.
Q:Who played in that?
A:Edward Robinson.
Q:What night was that?
A:Wednesday, the 10th, I think. It came on either 10:15 or 10:30.
Q:[the boy], I want to get it clear in my mind as to how your father talked to you about the electric chair. You said he brought it up after seeing this Edward G. Robinson picture the other night but did he say anything about that to you before this?
A:No, except for that one fire I set at 1906 49th Court in Cicero.
Q:Did you set the fire at that location?
Q:When was that?
A:I don't know what day that was - it was on the night I was collecting for my paper route. I think it was around Thanksgiving in November.
Q:Did your father learn that you set this fire?
Q:What did he say to you then?
A:He said the next time I did set any place on fire and if you kill somebody and if the police don't get you and give you the electric chair I'll come after you myself personally and kill you.
Q:Did you believe your father would do this?
Q:Before this past November and before the statement that you said your father made to you about the electric chair, what was the reason why you didn't tell anyone about Our Lady of Angels fire?
A:I was scared to.
Q:Who were you afraid of?
A:I was scared of my dad - not my mother but my dad would give me the beating.
Q:Do you know where you are now?
A:The building no. I know we're downtown in Chicago some place near the lake.
Q:You are in our laboratories, John E. Reid and Associates laboratories at 600 South Michigan Avenue in Chicago. How did you get down here today?
A:My mother drove me.
Q:Your mother, of course, is sitting out in the next room waiting. I think she's still there?
A:She better be. I can't walk home.
Q:What time did you get here today?
A:Before 1:30, around twenty-five after one.
Q:Do you know what time it is now?
A:I don't have my watch. I'll guess about six o'clock.
Q:Since you have been here today have I or anyone else in this laboratory mistreated you in any way?
Q:We haven't been bad to you?
Q:Have we hurt you in any way?
Q:Did I or anyone in this laboratory tell you that you could go free after this is all over?
Q:We did say to you that if you needed some psychiatrist, that is a mental doctor, we would suggest that to your mother and arrange for some treatments for you if you needed these treatments?
Q:Do you know my name?
A:Mr. Reid.
Q:Do you know this lady's name too?
A:I forgot.
Q:Her name is Miss McGuffie.
Q:And do you know who this man is?
Q:This is Mr. Lindberg.
A:I should remember that because he and the secretary were having some fun on the radio in the office about a letter being sent to Israel and I heard his name mentioned.
Q:Is there anything else you want to say, son?