Bellboy murders guest at the Iroquois Hotel

It was a senseless slaying that holds a place in crime history: The teen convicted of it ended up as the longest serving U.S. prisoner who eventually was released.

On July 26, 1911, Paul Geidel, a slight kid raised partly in orphanages, was a 17-year-old bellboy at the Iroquois Hotel on 44th Street off Fifth Avenue.

He decided to rob and kill a wealthy financier, William H. Jackson, who lived at the Iroquois. Jackson was old and deaf and didn’t hear Geidel creep into his apartment around 8:45 p.m.

Geidel suffocated Jackson with chloroform rag, then made off with a small amount of money and a few items.

It didn’t take long for the NYPD to consider him a suspect. Charged with second-degree murder, Geidel was sentenced to 20 years in Sing Sing.

Found insane in 1926 as he was nearing release, Geidel was moved to an upstate hospital for the criminally insane.

In 1980 he finally left the prison hospital a free man, having served 68 years. He died seven years later.

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6 Responses to “Bellboy murders guest at the Iroquois Hotel”

  1. Jam-Iroquois Says:

    What? He didn’t get his old job back? He should have talked to the union about that! LOL

  2. Bill Says:

    I concur. A real failure of union solidarity.

  3. Christopher Rowan Says:

    Paragraph one should read: “Section 1045 of the Penal Code” – sorry for the typo.

  4. Christopher Rowan Says:

    Intriguing summary of the case. However, I noticed an error: Geidel was put on trial in August, 1911, facing two counts of the First Degree Murder – not Second Degree , and the prosecutor unequivocally rejected a plea deal. Conviction of First Degree Murder was “punishable by death,” Section 1045 of the Penal Law stated, stating no more – imposing no less.
    He was diagnosed as “insane” in 1926 – ironically, the diagnosis came just days before he was due to be released from prison after serving 15 years. (A meritorious early release).
    This story had intrigued me for years. I’m glad to see others are interested. All of you will welcome the full-length book about the case that I’m writing. In my book, readers will get to follow Geidel’s journey – through pages filled with irony, oddity, tragedy, and courtroom drama.
    – Chris Rowan-

  5. Christopher Rowan Says:

    Intriguing summary of the case. However, one error: Geidel was put on trial in 1911 facing two counts of the First Degree Murder – not Second Degree & the prosecutor unequivocally rejected a plea deal. Conviction of First Degree Murder was “punishable by death,” Section 1045 of the Penal Law stated, stating no more – imposing no less. Yet the jury balked & came up with a a compromise – guilty of Second Degree Murder (carrying a “20 to life sentence.”)
    He was diagnosed as “insane” in 1926 – ironically, just DAYS before he was due to be released from prison after serving 15 years. (A meritorious early release).
    This story had intrigued me for years. Glad to see others interested. All of you will welcome the full-length book about the case that I’m writing. Readers will get to follow Geidel’s journey – through pages filled with irony, oddity, tragedy, and courtroom drama.

  6. Christopher Rowan Says:

    Intriguing summary of the case. However, one error: Geidel was put on trial in 1911 facing two counts of First Degree Murder – not Second Degree & the prosecutor unequivocally rejected a plea deal. Conviction of First Degree Murder was “punishable by death,” Section 1045 of the Penal Law stated, stating no more – imposing no less. Yet the jury balked & came up with a a compromise – guilty of Second Degree Murder (carrying a “20 to life sentence.”)
    He was diagnosed as “insane” in 1926 – ironically, just DAYS before he was due to be released from prison after serving 15 years. (A meritorious early release).
    This story had intrigued me for years. Glad to see others interested. All of you will welcome the full-length book about the case that I’m writing. Readers will get to follow Geidel’s journey – through pages filled with irony, oddity, tragedy, and courtroom drama.

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