Monday, November 29, 2010

"Hard to tell the difference between facts and folklore..."

"Evilness sells...that's the name of the game."

"In order to study the laws of history we must change the subject completely, forget all about kings, ministers and generals, and turn to the homogeneous, infinitesimal elements that move the masses to action. No one can say how far it is within man's grasp to arrive at the laws of history in this way, but it is obvious that this is the only possible way of discovering any historical laws, and human intelligence has hitherto not devoted to this way of thinking a millionth part of the effort that historians have put into describing the doings of various kings, ministers and generals, and expounding their own opinions of these doings."
-Leo Tolstoy, "War & Peace" Volume III, Part III, Chapter 1

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Influential sociologist George Herbert Mead entered Harvard in 1887. I wonder if he could have been a relation to "Student Meade", who testified against James Titus and tried to collect the $10,000 reward before disappearing.1 We may never know.

1Sullivan, Denis. In Defence of Her Honor: The Tillie Smith Murder Case. Flemington: D.H. Moreau Books, 2000.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What is a show trial?

The term show trial is a pejorative description of a type of highly public trial. The term was first recorded in the 1930s. There is a strong connotation that the judicial authorities have already determined the guilt of the defendant and that the actual trial has as its only goal to present the accusation and the verdict to the public as an impressive example and as a warning. Show trials tend to be retributive rather than correctional justice.

Such trials can exhibit scant regard for the principles of jurisprudence and even for the letter of the law. Defendants have little real opportunity to justify themselves: they have often signed statements under duress and/or suffered torture prior to appearing in the court-room.

More at Wikipedia...

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

War & Peace - Volume III, Part I, Chapter I

 Although on a conscious level a man lives for himself, he is actually being used as an unconscious instrument for the attainment of humanity's historical aims. A deed once done becomes irrevocable, and any action comes together over time with millions of actions performed by other people to create historical significance. The higher a man stands on the social scale, the more contact he has with other men and the greater his impact on them, the more obvious are the inevitability and the element of predestination involved in everything he does.1

1Leo Tolstoy

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Innocence Project Can't Help James Titus - UPDATED

I got a letter from the Innocence Project addressed to "James Titus c/o Erik Anderson" yesterday.

Unfortunately, it says that the Innocence Project will not be able to help me unless I can find DNA evidence from the crime, which happened on April 8, 1886.

According to records, there was more DNA than one man was capable of producing inside Tillie's body. Unfortunately, I don't think that the public is going to approve exhuming Tillie's body in an attempt to find it now. I'm no expert, but I think it's safe to say that the DNA has been destroyed by natural decay over the years. 

That's the update for today.

Stay tuned! We are going to Free James Titus!

UPDATE - here's the letter:

Innocence Project to James Titus
Click Here to Read the Letter

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Ethics of the Historian

It is true that, whether he is labeling a museum exhibit or writing a biography, the historian that lets himself be carried away by the hope that he is describing a "first", "oldest," "largest," or whatever, may be in for some embarassment. But there is nothing especially ethical about a desire to avoid embarassment; even burglars take care to avoid discovery. Embarassment is not the penalty to be feared. The historian who knowingly lets the truth be covered up or stretched out of shape may never be contradicted. His authority may be accepted in good faith. Those who doubt him may shrug their shoulders and say nothing, not wishing to upset him with inconvenient facts or arguments. The ethics of the historian are important precisely because he can so often expoect his sins to go unexposed. This is even truer of the local historian than of the professional academic. 1

1Felt, Thomas E. Researching, Writing and Publishing Local HistoryNashville: American Association of State and Local History, 1981. ISBN-0-910050-53-8

Friday, July 2, 2010

Innocence Project Event - The Wrongfully Convicted

Wish James Titus could have spoken at this event.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Monday, June 21, 2010


New York Times - September 30, 1886, Wednesday

Page 2, 1028 words

BELVIDERE, N.J., Sept. 29.--This was the second day of the trail of James J. Titus for the outrage and murder of Tillie Smith at the Centenary Collegiate Institute, at Hackettstown. The morning opened bright and clear, and visitors were early on the street seeking relief from the close, stifling air of the overcrowded hotels.

Read the entire article...

And remember:

Where a defendant demonstrates a history of psychiatric problems and a current thought disorder, creating a reasonable basis to question his or her competency to stand trial or to raise a defense centering on mental condition, the court is obligated to conduct a further inquiry either by appointing counsel or directing that a psychiatric examination be conducted.
State v. Ehrenberg, 284 N.J. Super. 309 (1994)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

WNTI Studios - 4/27/2010

WNTI 91.9 FM - Public Radio From Centenary College- Where Great Music Lives
WNTI Studios

 WNTI Studio Door

Saturday, April 17, 2010

William Randolph Hearst on Crushing Men

My father once asked him, he said: "Mr. Hearst, why don't you concentrate more of your energy on motion pictures, which has a worldwide audience, instead of journalism which appeals to one city or one nation." He thought a minute, and he said: "Well, Douglas, I'll tell you. I thought of it, but I decided against it because I realized you can crush a man with journalism, and you can't with motion picture." That was his answer.

-Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. - The American Experience (PBS Documentary)

Monday, April 5, 2010

New Press Release

The following press release has been sent to over a dozen media outlets serving New Jersey and the nation:


From The Desk of:
Erik B. Anderson – Founder: The Free James Titus Movement
Contact: Erik -


April 2, 2010 – Last November, a letter written by Erik B. Anderson of Independence Township, New Jersey, was sent to Governor Corzine, asking for a posthumous pardon on behalf of a Hackettstown Janitor named James Titus, 29, husband and father, convicted of an 1886 rape and murder. Titus was the night watchman on April 8, 1886. A kitchen worker named Tillie Smith had asked him to let her in after 10 o’clock that night, a deliberate violation of the strict rules of the Victorian Methodist Seminary. Titus refused. Tillie’s body was found “outraged” and strangled the next morning.

Smith was seen in the company of a man named Munnich that night. They and their friends had been followed and harassed by Frank Weeder and five other members of the town gang on their way back to the college. Inexplicably, detectives abandoned the case within a week. Outraged journalists from Joseph Pulitzer’s The World and The New York Times led an aggressive campaign to prosecute someone for outraging the pure, innocent Tillie.

According to an anecdote by “Old Newspaperman” published in a 1940’s-era Dear Lou column found in the files of the Hackettstown Historical Society (source unknown), the famous yellow journalist James Creelman, (“just out of the cub stage”) laid in wait in the belfry for a Janitor known as Mr. T to ring the bell. At the appointed time, Creelman jumped out at the Janitor, shouting “You killed Tillie Smith! You killed Tillie Smith!” The janitor subsequently went stark raving mad and was soon brought in on suspicion.


Tillie’s Ghost has been said to haunt Centenary College for more than a century. Hackettstown is a popular place for paranormal researchers of all ages, readers of Weird NJ Magazine and Ghost Hunters on Cable Television. It is no coincidence that the whole thing was started by a journalist. The story of Tillie Smith is a publishing phenomenon.

The most authoritative book on the subject is In Defence of Her Honor: The Tillie Smith Murder Case (2000) by Denis Sullivan, a friend of Erik B. Anderson’s family. Many other books mix fact and fiction, but Sullivan’s book thoroughly examines the transcript, the original newspaper stories, the death certificate, etc..

His conclusion:
A careful reading of the trial transcript supports the argument that Titus' guilt was never established beyond reasonable doubt. The state never proved that rape had been committed at the time and place alleged, let alone that Titus had committed it. (Chapter 8, p124)

* * * * * * * *

Erik B. Anderson sent an application for Executive Clemency to the State Parole Board in December 2009. Susan Meyer, the Governor’s Counsel’s Aide in charge of Executive Clemency, suggested he do it even though the Governor’s office does not have a policy for posthumous pardons. As it stands, the NJ Parole Board requires applications for pardons to be filled out personally. James Titus died in 1952. A posthumous pardon now would be the first posthumous pardon in state history!

Mr. Anderson is seeking publicity for his campaign to Free James Titus!
Erik has already done interviews for The Warren Reporter (Newspaper) and WRNJ-AM Oldies 1510 Radio News.
Please call for more information, or email

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *  

# # #

New Postcard

Click here to read larger version.

Click here to read more about James Baldwin!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The FJTM Has Enemies

Someone was very naughty at the Stiger St. Quick Chek in Hackettstown this week.

It has always been difficult keeping postcards promoting the Free James Titus Movement there. Many days over the past months have been spent in frustration because I could put a postcard on the public bulletin board, and within as little as four hours, it is gone.

Now someone has boldly ripped the latest postcard in half and stuck it back up there.

This one has a quote from James Baldwin on it:

Sentimentality, the ostentatious parading of excessive and spurious emotion, is the mark of dishonesty, the inability to feel; the wet eyes of the sentimentalist betray his aversion to experience, his fear of life, his arid heart; and it is always, therefore, the signal of secret and violent inhumanity, the mask of cruelty.

Then I wrote:

Remember Tillie Smith!
Free James Titus!

and finally

He didn't kill anyone in 1886!.

This doesn't surprise me at all. It shouldn't surprise anyone who has read the book that the James Baldwin quote comes from, Notes of a Native Son.

Ah well...

If I'm able to post fingerprints, I will.

Warm Regards,

Erik B. Anderson
Independence Township, New Jersey
Established 1782

Friday, March 26, 2010

Smoking Gun

From the  files of the Hackettstown Historic Society:
Out of an Envelope!
Anybody know what publications printed "Dear Lou" in the 1940's?

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Fire Could Have Been Prevented

There was a big fire in Hackettstown on Halloween night, 1899.

Hackettstown Historian Dan LeMasters told me today that the Centenary College Fire (Halloween 1899) was caused in the boiler room by loose rags lying around in the long place.
The Denis Sullivan book about Tillie Smith said that James Titus was a very conscientious janitor. When It his duties are listed, the first one was tending the furnace.

He would have been manager of the Maintenance Department by 1899. If he had not been sent to jail for a murder he did not commit, there would have been no fire. Hackettstown would be a totally different place.

What do you think?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Free James Titus! - Shame James Creelman!

James Creelman
Originally uploaded by Erik B. Anderson

"...If the war against Spain is justified in the eyes of history, then "yellow journalism" deserves its place among the most useful intrumentalities of civilization. It may be guilty of giving the world a lop-sided view of events by exaggerating the importance of a few things and ignoring others, it may offend the eye by typographical violence, it may sometimes proclaim it's own deeds too loudly; but it never deserted the case of the poor and the downtrodden."
-James Creelman1

1James Creelman, On the Great Highway. Boston, 1901; pp. 177-78.

Monday, March 8, 2010

James Creelman Reported on Tillie Smith

James Creelman -
"Yellow Journalist"
At the Hackettstown Historical Society, there is a very fragile copy of The World from May 4, 1886. The lead article is: "Is the Janitor Guilty? Just What the Law Alleges In the Murder of the Little Servant." The name of the reporter who wrote the article is not given, but under a subsection reminiscent of the "Fair and Balanced" journalism we have today. It reads:

IV. The Results of Careful Work.

Two newspaper men from New York determined that Tillie's slayer should not escape. They over the ground and thought out the case without having any theory in advance. It seemed to them clear that the girl was murdered indoors.

The article goes on to explain why the reporter(s) thought that the murder must have been committed indoors.

 But indoors where?
  The murderer would hardly have carried the corpse towards a building where there was a vigilant watchman and more than three hundred students. It seemed the first to the newspapermen - the professional detectives had not thought of this - more likely that the body was carried away from the institute towards the open fields. The place at which the body was found was the only spot where he knew he could get over the fence most easily. Once off the institute grounds the body, in this theory was laid down. The evidences pointed strongly towards the big brick building.
What evidences? The only thing this paragraph shows is that the reporters have made up their mind about what happened.
The article continues:

   Who alone in that building knew that the girl would be out after the closing hours? According to his own testimony Janitor Titus alone knew?
   Who had sufficient light, time, security from intrusion and discovery to have done the foul deed
  Janitor Titus.
  Against his simple statement that the girl did not intend to come back that night was the fact that she did come back.
Titus was incorrect, so he must be guilty?

 Against his statement that she expressed fear of the matron was the fact that she matron was a mild, kind woman, who gently chided late hours and was never stern.

Really? A matron at a rural Methodist girls' college in Victorian Times never stern? That is just plain unlikely. But, leaving aside whether or not the matron of the college was, in fact, stern or not. That is not what needs to be disproved. What the reporter needs to disprove is that Tillie, a known associate of the town gang, was afraid of the most authoritative figure at the school.

Titus had just made the tour of the the corridors and was the only one in the building who knew absolutely that everybody else was in bed and that all the lights were out. Tillie had asked him to let her in, and he was the only person who had a right to open at that hour the side door of the dark rear basement. The girl left Munnich at 10.10 o'clock, at the front gate, and started towards this side door. If she knocked it was the duty of Titus to open the door. She would then have stood in a dark passageway, opening on a corridor.
She would have been face to face with Titus."
"If...would....would." Solid case, guys! I can see why you are so much better than those "professional" investigators.

Again, this article does not name the New York Reporters who have decided they know who killed Tillie Smith "without having any theory in advance". They didn't have any theory in advance of the time they are describing, namely, the exact point at which they started having a theory. That point was in advance of the time they wrote their article. After the point they describe themselves as having no theory in advance of conducting their investigation, they had a theory and they advanced it all over "The World", perhaps the biggest newspapers in the entire world. That is a well-known technique of Yellow Journalists. The theory they advanced wasn't really that James Titus was guilty. It was that they are not going to sell any newspapers if the Tillie Smith case doesn't get "advanced" by the likes of us.

The name of the reporter who wrote the article about the theory advanced by the mystery reporters, is not given in the article about them and their theory. Are they one and the same? I think so, but it will take time to find out. In fact, it may never be found out. The article "Is the Janitor guilty?" is much longer than the few segments I have posted here. I can tell by reading it that it must have had a profound effect on the public.

I have reason to suspect the reporters of the article and the reporters who are the subject of the article are the same. According to my theory, at least one of them was James Creelman, the famous Yellow Journalist in the picture above who was known for his vivid, personal and highly subjective writing.

Go check out the Tillie Smith file at the Hackettstown Historical Society. Check out the "Dear Lou" column from the 1940's. I hope it has as profound an effect on you as it did on me.

The burden of proof was on the Prosecution and the reporters who want the public to believe in their theory. They talk about "evidences" and "facts" but they don't show us evidence or facts. All I have to do to free James Titus is to show that their theories do not stand up to the test of reasonable doubt.

Be not afraid (at least of me). I am not freeing a killer. I am freeing an innocent man. The real killer should have been caught 123 years ago. Why that was not done is a source of shame in this community even today.

I have decided not to publish the Dear Lou column until I learn more about it. I encourage you all to come to the Museum. It is open most weekdays and on Sunday afternoons. In the meantime, learn more about James Creelman.

Per Wikipedia:
In 1872, Creelman moved to New York, where his interest in literature and law attracted the patronage of Thomas De Witt Talmage and Republican party boss Roscoe Conking. His first job was in the print shop of the Episcopalian newspaper Church and State. He later moved to the print shop of the Brooklyn Eagle. By 1876 he joined the New York Herald as a reporter.

Creelman traveled extensively to find stories and was unafraid to take on great personal risk in their pursuit. He joined adventurer and showman Paul Boyton on his treks across the Yellowstone River and Mississippi River, dodged bullets reporting on the feud between the Hatfields and McCoys and interviewed Sitting Bull. He also interviewed Mexican President Porfirio Diaz, wherein Diaz stated he would not run for reelection in 1910 to allow new leadership for Mexico, a promise he did not keep and that in part led to the Mexican Revolution.
After stints at several other newspapers, including the Paris Herald, the Evening Telegram, and magazines Illustrated American and Cosmopolitan, Creelman landed at Joseph Pulitzer's New York World in 1894, where he accompanied the Japanese Army and wrote about the tensions between Japan and China.

But Creelman's most significant assignment came in 1896, on a trip to Cuba to report on tensions brewing between the island nation and Spain. By 1897, William Randolph Hearst had recruited Creelman to his newspaper, the New York Journal, and assigned Creelman to cover the war between Cuba and Spain, which broke out in 1898.

More anon.

Warm Regards,

Erik B. Anderson
Independence Township, New Jersey
Established 1782

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Robert Stockton Green Was Elected NJ's Governor...

...six days before James Titus was sentenced to die.

Don't believe me? Read all about it.

He was on the committee of pardons1 that reduced his sentence in March, too!
This is fascinating stuff. It really is.

1Sullivan 114

Free James Titus Has a Facebook Fan Page

Previously all we had was a Facebook Group!

Wouldn't it be nice if this page got more fans than the Draft Betty White phenomenon?

Good Question

"Is it reasonable to suppose that an intelligent and hitherto law-abiding man with an unblemished record, highly regarded in his community, completely trusted by his employer, a man without even a single complaint against him in 11 years of employment around female students and staff, can become a reckless, murderous rapist wihtout warning, virtually overnight?"
Denis Sullivan, In Defence of Her Honor: The Tillie Smith Murder Case. Page 125

Susan Meyer Wants to Clear Something Up

Greetings Friends:

Susan Meyer, the Governor's Counsel's Official in charge of Executive Clemency told me that they don't have a "No Posthumous Pardons" policy in Trenton. She made it clear to me that they just don't have a policy for Posthumous Pardons yet. It has never been done before. No one has ever applied for a posthumous pardon, so they have to develop a way to do it.

I hope that is clear. She has been extremely helpful, and nice and generous with her time.

With the new governor in office, they haven't gotten around to it yet. She asked me (and all of you) to be patient.

I don't want anyone to think that I have hostile feelings for her because they don't give out posthumous pardons.

Don't get me wrong, I still want people to write to the Governor to tell him why he should develop a policy to give James Titus a posthumous pardon. I jus tdon't want people to call them up and be unnecessarily difficult. They're adults, they can take it with a grain of salt, but they don't deserve it.

Thanks everyone.

Erik B. Anderson
Independence Township, New Jersey
Established 1782

More info:

Sunday, February 21, 2010

It's Up To You Now

Okay, folks, I have sent in the Application for Executive Clemency. I followed Susan Meyer's instructions. She is the director of the Executive Clemency Division in the Governor's Counsel's Office. When I called Carinne Rivers, the director of the Executive Clemency Division at the State Parole Board, she said she wanted to send them back to me because the policy of "no posthumous pardons" is still in effect.

Luckily, I was able to reach Susan Meyer, who instructed Ms. Rivers to keep the application on file until the policy can be changed at a later date.

So now all we need to do is change the policy!

Easier said than done, right?

That is why we need you. Please, call the Governor's office - 609-292-6000 - ask Susan Meyer to change the policy. New Jersey should grant pardons to anyone, whether they are living or dead, if there is evidence of innocence, or reasonable doubt or unfair prosecution or any other legitimate reason for a pardon.

That is how offices like that work. They need feedback from the public showing support for any action they want to take.

Do some research on your own. Tell them why they should Free James Titus!

Encourage others to do the same. Please.

Promote the Free James Titus Movement on Delicious, or StumbleUpon or Digg. Write a letter to the editor. Post flyers in every Quick Chek in the state! Do something.

It's up to you.

Warm Regards,

Erik B. Anderson
Independence Township, New Jersey
Established 1782

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

"[N]ot one word of real evidence."

Hackettstown Gazette, May 7 1886
It is true the air is full of theories and suspicions, and the reporters of the metropolitan papers have woven an ingenious network of circumstantial evidence around James Titus and have manufactured public opinion so fast that the belief has settled into a positive conviction in the minds of a majority of our citizens that the right man has been found. ... [N]ot one word of real evidence has been adduced to convict him of this crime...we think it would be just as well to hold off condemnation of this man until something is shown connecting him directly with [it]...3

 The indictment of James J. Titus was also written on May 7, 1886:

...hat James J. Titus, of the Town of Hackettstown, in the said County of Warren, on the 8th day of April, in the year of our Lord  1886, at the town aforesaid, and within the jurisdiction of this Court, in and upon one Matilda Smith, then and there feloniously, willfully and of his malice aforethought, did kill and murder, contrary to the form and statute in such case made and provided, and against the peace of this State, the government and the dignity of the same.

...the said James J. Titus, on the 8th day of April, in the year aforesaid [1886], in said county and within the jurisdiction aforesaid, in and upone one Matilda Smith, in the peace of God and this State then and there being, did commit, rape and in attempting to commit rape, and in committing rape in and upon her, the said Matilda Smith, did kill the said Matilda Smith contrary to th eform of the statute in such case made and provided, against the peace of this State the government and dignity of the same.

...that the said James J. Titus, on the eighth day of April, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and eighty-six, at the town and country aforesaid, and within the jurisdiction of this Court, with force and arms in and upon the said Matilda Smith, in the peace of God and of this State then and there being, feloniously, willfully and of his malice aforethought did make an assault, and that he, the said James J. Titus, on and about the neck and throat of the said Matilda Smith did then and there foloniously, willfully and of his malice aforethought fix, fasten and grasp with his hands, and that the said James J. Titus with his hands aforesaid, her the said Matilda Smith then and there feloniously, willfully and of his malice aforethought, did choke, suffocate and strangle, of which said choking, suffocating and strangling she, the said Matilda Smith, then and there instantly died; and so the Inquest aforesaid, on their oaths aforesaid, do say that the said James J. Titus, in manner and form aforesaid, feloniously, willfully and of his malice aforethought, her the said Matilda Smith, did kill and murder contrary to the statute in such case made and provided and against the peace of this State, the government and dignity of the same...2

But Tillie Smith didn't die on April 8th, 1886. According to her death certificate, she died between on April 8th between 10:15 and 10:30 p.m..3

1 Sullivan, Denis. In Defence of Her Honor: The Tillie Smith Murder Case. Flemington, NJ: D.H. Moreau Books, 2000. p135
2Ibid. p46
3Ibid. p47

Sunday, January 24, 2010

123 Years Ago Today - Titus Was Sentenced To Die

My counsel have said in my defense all that can be said. But I wish to make one or two remarks for myself. I have to express my regret that upon my trial I was unfitted both mentally and physically to be a witness in my own behalf. I am of a low and despondent turn of mind at all times and this feeling coupled with the close confinement to which I was subjected entirely broke me down both in mind and body.

Since my trial, owing to the kind and gracious treatment of the sheriff allowing me freely to walk out in the corridor of the jail, I have been much improved in mind and body. And now I wish here to protest, before this court and before the world, against the conduct of the jury that tried me.

They tried me in my absence and falsely convicted me of a crime of which I declare here and now in the presence of this court and my countrymen who now hear me that I am not guilty.

And I most humbly ask the court to spare my feelings by sentencing me in as few words as possible, as nothing the court can say about the crime of which I am convicted can apply to me, as I solemnly repeat that I am not guilty of it.

These are all the remarks that I desire to make. I am now ready to hear the judgment of the Court.

James Titus
Warren County Courthouse
Belvidere, New Jersey
January 24, 1887

Source: NY Times: "...a more disagreeable day one can hardly imagine..."

Friday, January 15, 2010

New Postcard: All The Remarks I Desire To Make

Titus Statement Postcard

You might see this postcard on a bulletin board in the Hackettstown Area. Look in the Laundromats and the Quick Cheks. If you see anyone try to take it down, ask them their name. If they are not Erik Anderson, ask them if they are authorized to take it down. Thanks.


More postcards here and here.

New Postcard - RE: Warren Reporter Story

Warren Reporter Article Postcard

You might see this postcard on a bulletin board in the Hackettstown Area. Look in the Laundromats and the Quick Cheks. If you see anyone try to take it down, ask them their name. If they are not Erik Anderson, ask them if they are authorized to take it down. Thanks.

Read the rest of the article.



More postcards here and here.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

FJT's Got Mail!

Someone wrote to the Free James Titus Myspace Page on January 2, 2010 , saying:

"Why don't you put this kind of effort into something that might benefit people who are actually LIVING today?  Titus is long gone.  Let it go already."
I was upset a little bit when I got that message; but, then I read a message from someone who wrote to us on January 1, 2010:
"As a local resident and paranormal investigator, I too have researched the Tillie Smith case. I also believe Mr. Titus to be innocent of the crime.
Tillie spent her last night on earth at a local club, formerly located on the corner of Grand and Main Street, across from what is today Charlie Brown's, the former Claraden House Inn. She was escorted home by a salesman who was staying that night at the inn across the street from the club, which is now the site of the uniform shop. On the way back to Centenary, they were accosted by Tillie's estranged boyfriend, who I believe was the real culprit in the crime....The ex-bpyfriend had motive and opportunity, while Mr. Titus had neither. I also do not rule out that the ex-boyfriend had accomplice(s).
My team of scientific researchers stands willing to assist you in any way. "

Please keep writing!

If you don't have a myspace page to use, you can just send e-mail to freejamestitus @ myspace dot com. I think that will work.

Have a Blessed New Year Everyone!


Erik B. Anderson
Independence Township, New Jersey
Established 1782

Cross-posted here.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Open Letter to Governor Corzine - 12/31/09

December 31, 2009

Erik B. Anderson
Hackettstown, NJ 07840
The Honorable Jon S. Corzine
Office of the Governor
PO Box 001
Trenton, NJ 08625

RE: Pardon Needed

Dear Governor Corzine:

I previously wrote to you on November 7, 2009 asking (demanding) a pardon for James Titus, who served more than seventeen years in New Jersey State Prison for the Hackettstown murder of Tillie Smith, which occurred in 1886. Not long after that, I received an application for executive clemency from the New Jersey State Parole Board. Unfortunately, the cover letter states: "In order to be eligible for Executive Clemency, an applicant must have been convicted of a criminal offense in New Jersey..." (emphasis added). This is unfortunate because James Titus died in 1952 at the age of 95 years old.

I called Carinne Rivers immediately. I left a message for her. She called me back very quickly, in my opinion. She was most helpful. She stated that no one has ever applied for a posthumous pardon in New Jersey before. I asked her to inquire about how to become the first person to obtain a posthumous pardon for someone in New Jersey.

Ms. Rivers called me back a few days later. She said I would need to speak to Lisa Puglisi, director of the Legal Unit. I immediately left a message for Ms. Puglisi. After about two weeks, I wrote a letter to her explaining the situation. I spoke to her on the phone yesterday. She said she spoke to someone on the "Governor's Council". She may have been referring to the Governor's Counsel, I am really not sure.

Now you are aware of the progress of the situation so far. I want a chance to apply for a pardon for this man. The whole thing was a case of mass hysteria. It was an outrageous rape and murder. It happened during the Victorian era. The prosecutor ran out of leads. Titus was a likely suspect, but his conviction was based on circumstantial evidence. His confession, most believe, was made later in order to avoid the death penalty. There is a ton of reasonable doubt, Governor Corzine.

Ms. Puglisi sounded like your Governor's Council (or Counsel) just told her, as a matter of fact, that, that in order to get a pardon, a convicted person has to apply for it himself and that's the way it goes. She is not in a position to change anything but you are. Surely, poor Janitor Titus cannot meet that requirement. In fact, his last remaining granddaughter died in 1997. I would like to apply for the pardon on his behalf. I am asking you to make a way to do that.

It is possible. It can be done. It has been done in other states. Lenny Bruce got a posthumous pardon in 2003. Other less famous cases are rare, but they do exist. Making it possible to apply for a posthumous pardon would not only benefit Janitor Titus. I believe it would benefit family members of deceased convicts and others in New Jersey interested in correcting mistakes made by the courts that deceased victims cannot fix themselves.

I am not asking that the standards required to obtain a posthumous pardon be any less rigorous than pardons for living persons. I am only asking that it be possible to submit evidence of injustice to your office when it really exists.

Thank you for your time.

God bless you in your future endeavors and have a happy new year.


Erik B. Anderson
Independence Township, New Jersey
Established 1782

CC: State Senator Michael Doherty
Todd Petty, The Warren Reporter