Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Alice Crimmins Case

The Surprise Witness

Once again Joe Rorech took the stand to claim that Alice said, Forgive me, Joseph, I killed her.

A weeping Crimmins shouted, You miserable, lying worm!

Then Rorech said what he could not say at the first trial, when Crimmins was being tried for the death of the girl only. Rorech stated: She then said, I didnt want him killed. I agreed to it.

A surprise witness soon appeared. As the courtroom listened in stunned silence, a short and skinny housewife named Tina DeVita testified that she had seen a group consisting of a man carrying a bundle, a woman, a dog, and a boy walking on 150th Street in the area of the Regal Gardens apartments. Alice Crimmins listened with widened eyes and gasped as she heard this testimony.

During a recess, Crimmins approached reporters to make an obviously desperate plea. Ive come here to make an appeal, she began in a shaky voice. Tears blurred her blue eyes. Alice Crimmins was clearly terrified. Id like anybody that lived in my neighborhood to come forward, she said. Anybody that lived in my neighborhood who might know something about what happened on the night of July 13th or the morning of July 14th. I am asking for anyone that was out that morning between one thirty and two thirty. Anybody that saw something -- or didnt see something. It doesnt make a difference either way because its just as important to me if they didnt see something or if they did see something. They are coming with people for six years. Now, I dont know where these people are coming from. But Im asking for help from my side. Crimmins voice cracked and it seemed like she might collapse into sobs but she managed to choke out, I need that help because I did not kill my children. Anybody that just didnt see anything is just as important to me as someone who might have seen something ... I didnt kill my children. I swear I didnt kill them.

The prosecutors were furious. Crimmins had been ordered by the court to refrain from press interviews. The judge warned her lawyers that if she broke that order again, Crimmins bail would be revoked and shed be slammed behind bars.

The next day another surprise witness appeared. This time, it was the prosecution side that was stunned by the testimony.

That witness was Marvin Weinstein, a travel agency manager who claimed that he had been walking on 153rd Street in the wee hours of July 14th of 1965. He had been visiting a friend named Anthony King.

Who was with you? Lyon inquired.

My wife, my son, my daughter, and my dog, Weinstein answered. He went on to say that his son was three-and-a-half at the time and his daughter was two years old. Weinstein had carried his little girl in his arms wrapped in a blanket. 

Weinsteins wife appeared in the courtroom and she bore more than a passing resemblance to Alice Crimmins.

Had Alice Crimmins desperate gambit paid off? Many observers believed so. After all, if the group seen by Earomirski and DeVita was not Alice Crimmins and a shadowy hit man with a doomed little Eddie and a dead Missy but the Weinstein family, the primary basis upon which the prosecutors first drew up their indictment so many years ago would collapse.

Did it?

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