Based upon his Theory of Universal Gravitation, Sir Issac Newton conducted a “thought experiment” that he dubbed
The second hour of January 1, 1903 had just begun, and New Year’s Eve revelers were still celebrating in the streets of the city. Three friends; J.F. Jones, S.M. Schoonover, and Elsie Stahl were standing on an upper floor balcony of the Lincoln Hotel, enjoying each other’s company as well as the sights and sounds of nearby parties. They were unaware that beneath them on the sidewalk in front of the hotel, there were three young men; Lauren Hanna, John G. Todd, and W.W. Burton, who had decided to ring in the New Year by sending a fusillade of bullets into space. Todd and
The young men may have been drinking, or perhaps they were just too dumb to comprehend the consequences of blindly firing weapons above their heads into the pitch black sky. The initial burst of gunfire apparently did no harm, but the second round from Lauren Hanna’s gun found its trajectory impeded, and any dreams J.F. Jones may have had for the future died with him when a stray bullet lodged in his brain.
Moments after the shooting, Schoonover came running out of the hotel to inform the young men that their carelessness had resulted in a death. Todd stayed put, but cohorts Hanna and
The cops did some digging into Hanna’s life and uncovered a few unsavory details about him, which were then reported by the Los Angeles Times; “Hanna’s case is not strengthened any, nor public sympathy increased to any great extent, by the discovery of the police that Hanna had recently deserted his wife and baby at Santa Ana, and was living at a hotel in this city with another woman”.
Fortunately for the accused, he was “…something of a cousin to the renowned Senator Marcus”. The esteemed senator from
Were the Senator’s money and power merely coincidental in winning an acquittal for Lauren? We’ll never know. In any case, Judge Smith felt that there was enough reasonable doubt to instruct the jury to acquit Lauren Hanna.
J.F. Jones would be buried in his hometown of