Friday, December 14, 2007

Charlie Mays

Chas. Mays circa 1919 when admitted into Kansas State Penitentiary for robbery.

You know my first reaction was that he looked a little like Charlie Birger, but no my senses are a little off these days so I'll reserve that comparison for another day.

Charlie doesn't really seem to have been a very nice guy but he appears to have known how to play the system. His original sentence was for 10 to 21 years. He got that commuted to 1 to 5 by having one of the men he robbed Arthur Henderson write a letter saying that he was never certain of the robber’s identity. In fact once Henderson got a good look at Mays close up (you see Henderson through dumb luck of his own happened to get incarcerated also) he could tell that Mays just wasn't the guy! Henderson writes that he was pressured to identify Mays by the court. Since the robbery occurred in a box car it's hard to believe that he didn't get that close but hey I wasn't there. Well things just fell into place after that. After serving a year and eight months he received parole on 6/12/1921. The Kansas parole board was very understanding: even though Mays did not report to his parole officer during 1922 and had been arrested for vagrancy repeatedly in Joplin, MO he received a full commutation in early 1923. Which I'm sure he appreciated (it's so stressful having to keep up with these small details when your casing banks).

I do wonder if this is the right Charlie Mays though; I mean supposedly he murdered a man in that box car when he was robbing them. His papers don't mention the murder although there is a statement that one of his victims can't be found.