Historical Society Speakers Series

U.S. District Judge Howard F. Sachs, Historical Society President Paul Donnelly, author Jack Heidenry and Historical Society Vice President Tom Larson
U.S. District Judge Howard F. Sachs, Historical Society President Paul Donnelly, author Jack Heidenry and Historical Society Vice President Tom Larson


Author Jack Heidenry Speaks on the 57th Anniversary of the Greenlease Kidnapping

Jack Heidenry, author of the critically acclaimed book “Zero at the Bone,” the grim but fascinating recounting of the kidnapping and murder of 6-year-old Bobby Greenlease, spoke to an audience of nearly 80 bar members at the courthouse on Sept. 30, 2010. Greenlease was kidnapped from the lower school of the Notre Dame de Sion campus on Sept. 28, 1953―nearly 57 years to the day before Heidenry’s appearance at the courthouse―taken to some farmland at the present site of 95th and Antioch, and shot to death in the front seat of his kidnapper’s car.

The kidnappers, Carl Austin Hall and Bonnie Brown, were quickly captured, tried in the Western District and executed―together, in the Missouri gas chamber―all within 81 days of the kidnapping. Heidenry described in detail the bizarre series of events that played out in St. Louis, the location to which the kidnappers randomly drove the night they obtained their $600,000 ransom. He described the theft of nearly one-half of the ransom by the arresting police officers.

Jack Heidenry signs his book for U.S. Magistrate Judge John T. Maughmer.  
For decades, the Greenlease kidnapping trial was the single most publicized case in the history of the Western District of Missouri. It was the subject of worldwide media attention at the time. Thomas Hart Benton, Missouri’s renowned artist, was employed by The Kansas City Star to serve as its courtroom sketch artist.

Heidenry was the first in a series of speakers sponsored by the Historical Society for the Western District of Missouri. The Historical Society was re-activated in 2008 as a part of the effort of U.S. Chief District Judge Fernando J. Gaitan Jr. and members of the court en banc to open up the federal courthouse to practitioners who appear there as well as to the public. The Historical Society is funded by contributions from law firms and individual lawyers. Everyone is invited to attend its events.

Jack Heidenry signs his book for
U.S. Magistrate Judge John T. Maughmer.

   

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Author Ken Gormley to Speak on Feb. 10, 2011

The Harry S. Truman Presidential Library is honored to announce that Ken Gormley, author of “The Death of American Virtue,” will be in Kansas City on Thursday, Feb. 10, 2011, to discuss his definitive history of the events that led to the impeachment of President Bill Clinton. Gormley will visit as a collaboration between the Library and the Court’s Historical Society.

Author Ken Gormley
Author Ken Gormley

On Nov. 23, 2010, Janet Maslin of The New York Times picked this book for inclusion among her “Top 10 Books of 2010.” She wrote: “Another work of living history that's full of real voices, including the remarkable ones of former President Bill Clinton and the former special prosecutor Ken Starr. With an exhaustive list of interviewees who attest to Mr. Gormley's impartiality, including some who could not speak freely while under fire, this law professor coaxes forth the dizzyingly convoluted legal mess that plagued the Clinton presidency and led to impeachment hearings. . . . The title leaves no doubt as to how much bipartisan damage Mr. Gormley thinks was done, and the price he thinks we all paid.”

Maslin was not alone in her praise. The Wall Street Journal described the book as being "scrupulously even-handed and exhaustively reported." The Bloomberg News labeled it as "addictive." The Chicago Sun-Times called it "the definitive history of the investigation, impeachment and trial of a president . . . rich in historical detail [and] new information."

Ken Gormley is the dean of Duquesne Law School. He is a graduate of Harvard Law School and the author of another acclaimed work, “Conscience of a Nation,” a biography of Archibald Cox. Gormley has appeared on the “Today” show, “Morning Joe,” “Hardball With Chris Matthews” and “Fox & Friends.”

Please mark your calendars for Thursday, Feb. 10, 2011―the event will be held at the Plaza Library Auditorium in the early evening. If you have any questions, please contact Paul Donnelly, president of the Historical Society, at pdonnelly@stinson.com

 

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