Jail Birds: The Story of Robert Stroud
Robert Franklin Stroud was born in
In 1903, 13-year-old Robert left his unhappy home life and took off on an exploratory trek across
When Robert was 17 he briefly returned home. His family appeared to have become financially prosperous in his absence, yet the relationship between his parents was poor. The marriage had steadily declined over the years due to his fathers erratic drinking and adulterous behavior. Once again, Robert left home on another adventure, this time in search for work in
During the summer of 1908, the now 18-year-old Robert obtained a job working for a railroad gang in
There are many conflicting reports concerning the relationship between the couple. Some suggest that it was mostly a business liaison and that Robert earned money pimping for Kitty. Others suggest that the two were genuinely in love and had hopes for starting a future together. Regardless, the two spent a great deal of time together and shared a common goal of making the most of their circumstances. Robert set about the task of establishing himself financially and began working at a series of jobs including a popcorn vendor and construction worker.
In August of 1908, Robert ran into an old acquaintance of his and Kittys from Katalla known as F.K. Von Dahmer and nicknamed Charlie. Charlie was a fancily dressed 28-year old bartender of Russian decent with a dubious reputation. He was enroute to his new job at a saloon in
During the earlier part of the century
In the beginning months of 1909, Roberts mother Elizabeth quickly came to her sons aid upon hearing of the murder. She retained a lawyer to defend his case and hoped that Robert would be acquitted on charges of manslaughter. However, all their hopes were quickly dashed during the trial.
A newly appointed judge, E.E. Cushman, presided over the hearing. He was determined to make his mark in the judicial system and decided to make Roberts case an example to those who resorted to violence in his jurisdiction. He used the full strength of the law to punish Robert.