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  Michael Bakunin
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The Sacco-Vanzetti Case and the Grim Forces Behind It


Bowles' "pretty positive" identification, thrice repeated at the preliminary hearing (Page 32, preliminary record), became "positive" in the trial (Page 25, trial record.)

Although refusing to make a positive identification for the commonwealth, Paymaster Alfred E. Cox reversed his general testimony at the trial and gave a description which would fit the defendant. In the Brockton police court on May 10, Cox declared several times that the shotgun man, in contrast to the other bandit, was "short and of slight build" (Page 11, preliminary record), the "short" fellow of the attacking party.

This was bad for the commonwealth's case. But it didnt stand. Bowles followed Cox with a "five feet eight inches" description which fitted Vanzetti better, and said that the shotgun man was the taller of the two. Then, when the case went to trial, Bowles was called first and Cox carefully patterned his description after him and let the bandit grow in stature. When Bowles again said, "five feet eight inches" Cox repeated "five feet eight inches."

Looking Three Ways at Once

Bowles gave a description of the shotgun man's hair, face, and clothes of minute completeness. Such fullness of detail six months after he had seen a man for only a few chaotic seconds seems incredible. Bowles described graphically how he helped operate the motor truck after Earl Graves, the driver, collapsed from fright with the first bullet, and how they steered around a trolley car directly ahead of them.

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