DURING THE REEFER MADNESS ERA
THE LINBERG HEIST CASE
Name: Linberg Heist - Location: - Cincinnati, Ohio -- Date: - June 1938
What the Narc’s were claiming
[Non-Official Gore File Case]
These are not pleasant thoughts. Neither is it a pleasant thought that just recently a fourteen-year-old boy in Ohio murdered a six-year-old girl after a criminal attack, and explained his act by saying that a man had induced him to "try" a dope cigarette---a "reefer," made from the leaves and flowering tops of a marihuana plant. This little lad didn't have a glimmer of what that reefer was going to do to him. Argue if you will that he was a defective, but he never got into that trouble until he smoked a reefer. ----American Weekly – S.F. Examiner - July 28, 1940
[ ] June 1, 1938 – confesses
NATIONAL POLICE GAZETTE
[ ]- August, 1938
[ ]- June 2, 1938 – “Killer, 15, blames Marijuana Smoke”
July 25, 1938.
Mr. R. H. Oyler,
Dear Mr. Oyler:
The National Police Gazette for August, 1938, contains information that a man who had been smoking marihuana and “didn’t know what he was doing” recently attacked and murdered a six-year-old child named Shirley Woodburn of Cincinnati, Ohio.
Please let me have a report.
June 2, 1938
Mr. R.H. Oyler,
Drear Mr. Oyler:
The Washington Herald, issue of June 2, 1938, carries a story under a Cincinnati, Ohio, date line in which it is stated that defense of Linberg Heist, 15-years old confessed slayer of Shirley Ann Woodburn, age 6, will be that he was under the influence of marihuana cigarettes.
Please give us a report on this matter.
Very truly yours,
Still S. Wood,
fb Detroit, Michigan
June 4th, 1938
Report in connection with above subject submitted under date of June 3rd, 1938.
Ralph H. Oyler
Bureau of Narcotics
July 26, 1938
Mr. H.J. Anslinger,
Commissioner of Narcotics,
I am in receipt of your letter of the 25th inst., requesting a report in connection with a six-year-old child named Shirley Woodburn of Cincinnati, Ohio, recently attacked and murdered by a man who had been smoking marihuana.
A report in connection with the above, was transmitted to your office under date of June 3nd, 1938, with newspaper clippings attached. A copy of the same is attached hereto.
Ralph H. Oyler,
Bureau of Narcotics
June 2, 1938.
In re: Linberg Heist,
Mr. Ralph H. Oyler,
1. Reference is had to office letter dated June 1, 1938, to which was attached a newspaper clipping regarding the murder of 6 year old Shirley Ann Woodburn, by the above captioned subject.
2. This will advise the Heist is 15 years of age and at the time of his arrest made numerous conflicting statements when he had committed the murder of the Woodburn child. The reporting relative to same and it was ascertained that it was untrue and was it to shield his mother who had helped him to clean the blood and mud from his clothing. The undersigned officer refrained from comment upon determining that the story of the use of marihuana prior to the crime was untrue.
3. The true facts in this case which are determined from Heist’s latest confession are that this boy had never seen a girl or woman undressed and had enticed the child to a woods near her home and there had the girl remove her clothing in front of him and when the Woodburn child had become frightened and tried to run away Heist states that he became panicky and stabbed here about 16 times in various parts of the body to quiet her. Heist also admitted filling the child’s mouth with mud to stop here crys(sic) for help.
4. Major Emmett Kirgan, Cincinnati Police, who is in complete charge of this case, was interviewed after receipt of your letter and informed the reporting officer that no criminal attack had been made on the Woodburn child by Heist, which fact would bear out Heist’s last confession that he was merely curious to see what a girl looked like undressed. Major Kirgan also stated that there was not a bit of truth to Heist’s statement regarding the use of marihuana prior to this crime.
5. The reporting officer saw pictures of the Woodburn child’s body and on one Major Kirgan pointed out several wounds near the vagina which Heist admitted he had made there to enlarge same the better to satisfy his curiosty(sic) on how a girl’s body differed from that of a man.
6. In view of the above stated facts it is respectfully requested that this investigation be closed.
As requested in your letter dated June 1, 1938, the newspaper clipping is returned herewith.
George J. Gray,
June 3rd, 1938
Personal attention of the Commissioner in compliance with Circular Letter No. 458,
Newspaper clipping attached.
Ralph H. Oyler,
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