Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Murder of Harry Anglemyer

 
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Copper Kettle Fudge

The Murder of Harry Anglemyer – The Fudge King

No one is officially investigating the murder of Harry Anglemyer today, but in the decades since he was killed the case is still a matter of public interest, and people question whether justice will ever be served.

Harry Anglemyer was an Ocean City, New Jersey businessman who was attempting to reform the city’s arcane blue laws when he was killed in the parking lot of the Dunes nightclub in what is now Egg Harbor Township on Labor Day, 1964.

While no one has been convicted of the crime and there is no official interest in pursuing the case, the former Ocean City Director of Public Safety, the former Chief of Police and former and present Ocean City Fire Department personnel have been implicated in the affair.

Until the day after Labor Day 1964, the biggest mystery about Copper Kettle Fudge was the recipe, but then Harry Anglemeyer, the founder of the Jersey Shore fudge empire was found murdered.

The 37 year old “Fudge King,” as he was called, was a successful, albeit controversial figure who owned a chain of fudge shops on the Ocean City and Atlantic City boardwalks and in Avalon and Sea Isle City.

A member of the Ocean City Planning Board and founder of an Ocean City civic association, Anglemyer was controversial, not only for trying to change the Ocean City blue laws, but because of his personal lifestyle, which was flagrantly homosexual.

While it was his stand on the blue laws, which he thought should be stringently enforced or liberalized, that brought him into the public spotlight, it was his gay lifestyle that brought complaints from traditionally conservative citizens who wanted to keep Ocean City from changing, especially opening for business on Sundays.

Over a year before he was killed Anglemeyer was arrested and charged with lewdness by the Cape May Country Prosecutor. According to newspaper reports at the time, “He was accused of improper behavior with three different men….Anglemeyer insisted that he was innocent and announced he would fight the charges.”

The news reports also noted, “The start of the investigation which led up to Anglemyer’s arrest is cloaked in mystery.”

The morals charges stemmed from the events of the night of May 28, 1963 and the early morning hours of May 29, 1963, events that were suspiciously similar to the night that he was murdered over a year later.

Then Ocean City Public Safety Director D. Allen Stretch came forward and announced that he had assigned Ocean City detective Dominic Longo to investigate Anglemyer after he had received numerous phone calls complaining about Anglemyer.

Although neither the mayor, the chief of police nor the city attorney were aware of Longo’s inquiry, Cape May County detective George Doughterty filed charges against both Anglemyer and Longo, noting in the complaint that, “Anglemyer had improper relations with Longo…a charge based on a statement given the prosecutor’s office by Longo himself.”

According to published reports, Longo began his investigation on the night of May 28, 1963 when he “found Anglemyer with friends at a Somers Point bar. Longo joined the party. Later he and Anglemyer paid a brief visit to another Bay Avenue, Somers Point bar, and then headed for a bar on the Somers Point – Longport Blvd., in what is now Egg Harbor Township. According to Anglemyer, he left the bar for a few minutes and returned to find his highball “spiked” with extra liquor. He refused to drink it and requested a new drink from the bartender.”

“Then Longo asked Anglemyer to drive him to Ocean City,” the newspaper reported. “Anglemyer agreed. On the way, according to Anglemyer, Longo said he ought to have a cup of coffee before going home (to 104 4th Steet). He asked Anglemyer to take him to Anglemyer’s summer apartment at 11th Street on the boardwalk (above the Copper Kettle Fudge Shop there), and make some coffee. It is concerning what actually happened at the apartment where the two men disagree.”

Anglemyer, in his formal complaint, said that the detective tried to force him to perform an unnatural sex act, while Longo’s affidavit “claims Anglemyer took the initiative and that Longo submitted.”

After leaving Anglemyer’s apartment, Longo reported to Public Safety Director Stretch, who telephoned then assistant Cape May County Prosecutor William Hughes, who turned the case over to detective George Dougherty.

Dougherty had both Anglemyer and Long arrested under New Jersey State statute 2A:115-1- “Any person who…in private commits an act of lewdness or carnal indecency with another, grossly scandalous and tending to debaunch the morals and manners of the people is guilty of a misdemeanor.” If found guilty the fine was $1,000 and imprisonment for up to three years.

Longo was permitted to stay on the job because, “while alleging he permitted an illegal act on his person by Anglemyer, was on duty at the time and therefore not subject to automatic suspension as required by the Civil Service regulations when a police officer is charged with a misdemeanor.”

Stretch pointed out that Longo was “simply getting the evidence,” and that he “conducted this investigation on my instructions. I assigned him to the case, and directed him to pursue it with vigor.”

Also implicated at the time were former Ocean City policeman ..............., then a laborer on the city payroll, and ................., a bridge attendant.

“The prosecution is based on sworn statements made by Ocean Cit Detective Dominic Longo, .................and ................ The three men alleged that at various times since 1959 they, individually, had improper relations with the defendant.”

The prosecutor said that the three charges would be handled in two cases, with Longo’s tried separate from the charges that concerned .......................

Anglemyer’s stand on the blue laws was not overlooked, as news reports noted, “Whispered assertions that the arrest of Harry Anglemyer, a prominent civic leader,…on three lewdness charges was brought about because of Anglemyer’s leadership in the fight to liberalize Sunday observances.”

But this allegation was branded “silly” by Public Safety Director Stretch, who was quoted as saying, “I have the greatest regard for Captain Longo as a police officer and a man of character.”

Although both Anglemyer and Longo were both initially arrested and charged, when a Grand Jury convened they only returned indictments against Anglemyer.

In April, 1964 the first case came to trial, ending in Anglemyer’s aquital when the jury deliberated for less than 20 minutes in finding him not guilty. The two other charges were pending, and although officials considered dropping the charges as a result of the disposition of the first case, Anglemyer was adamant about seeing them through to clear his name.

Then, early on the morning of Monday, Labor Day 1964, Anglemyer’s body was found in his car parked along the side of the highway outside the Dunes nightclub. One of his employees, Raymound W. Daley, recognized Anglemyer’s car when he passed the scene on the way to deliver fudge to the Atlantic City store.

Anglemyer was slumped dead on the floor of the car, so Daley called the New Jersey State Police. Because the Dunes nightclub was in Egg Harbor Township, which had no police department at the time, the initial investigation was handled by Troop A of the New Jersey State Police out of Hammonton, which was then led by Captain Harry C. Armano. Detective Robert Saunders and James Brennan handled the bulk of the investigation, but were assisted by as many as seven investigators who worked for many weeks developing leads.

An autopsy conducted at Shore Memorial Hospital revealed that Anglemyer had been dead for several hours before he was found and had suffered two skull fractures, one above the left eye and another behind the right ear.

The investigation learned that Anglemyer had been out on the town the night before his death. Early in the evening he had stopped at the Jolly Roger bar on the Somers Point Circle. Two women who knew him said that they sat with him at Steel’s Ship Bar on Bay Avenue, where they listened to music. They said he invited them to join him at the Dunes for a drink, but they declined, although they noteed that he was “stone cold sober,” when he left them. He may have also stopped at the Anchorage Tavern, and a bartender who frequently served him noted that Anglemyer always asked for his drink to be short, as he didn’t want to get drunk.

Anglemyer then went to the Bala Inn, on Bay and Maryland Avenues, where he made reservations for an end-of-the-summer party for his employees. He then stopped down the road at O’Bryne’s, where he had something to eat.

During his bar hopping round Anglemyer mentioned to more than one person that he had an appointment to meet someone at the Dunes that night and expressing his regret that he had to make the meeting.

When he got to the Dunes he sat at the bar with an acquaintance and was quoted as saying, “I wish I hadn’t made an appointment to come here tonight.”

Although he reportedly had at least one drink at each of his four or five stops, those who were with him that night all concurred that while he appeared tired, Anglemyer was not drunk.

While the Somers Point bars had to close by 2 a.m., the Dunes, as it is in Egg Harbor Township, stayed open all night. “Dunes ‘Till Dawn” was the moniker on the T-shirts. Someone noted that while not drunk, Anglemyer appeared very tired, “half asleep at the bar,” and when the person he was suppose to meet didn’t show up by 5:30 a.m. he left, but not by the front door.

Above the regular bar at the Dunes was the SandPiper Club, a second floor, private club for locals that could be reached from an inside flight of stairs as well as a separate side entrance. Anglemyer was still seeking the person he was suppose to meet when he went into the priave, members-only SandPiper Club.

From there, as the newspapers reported, Anglemyer contined his “nocturnal quest, minutes away from his rendezvous with death.”

Evidence at the scene of the crime indicated that he was knocked unconscious and dragged ten or twelve feet to his car. There were coins scattered around the ground, and his platinum wrist watch, wallet and three diamond rings, one valued at $10,000 were missing.

Daniel Le Roy, 46, identified as Anglemyer’s longtime secretary, was quoted as saying his “pockets were stripped of everything but a cigarette lighter and a pocket comb.”

Anglemeyer’s large diamond ring stood out conspicuously, and he was known to carry around large amounts of cash, making him a mark for robbery, and providing an apparent motive.

Three men, one identified as a 22 year old Ocean City “rooming house deadbeat,” and the two others as “beach boys,” were taken in for questioning. The “beach boys” had previously bragged about how easy it would be to “roll” Anglemyer for his ring, which he frequently flashed around while carousing the bars.

Friends and family publicly speculated that Anglemyer was “prey for a wolf pack,” and two other youths were sought for questioning because they had boasted they had “rolled” Anglemyer, beat and kicked him and stole $90, but he had refused to surrender the ring despite threats against him. A passing delivery truck driver was said to have broken up the fight, but the thieves escaped.

Then two witnesses came forward, a young couple who said they were sitting in a parked car outside the Dunes “making out.” As they were parked in a car along the road behind Anglemyer’s car, they saw Anglemyer talking with another man in a suit and tie. They heard the men arguing before the man hit Anglemyer, who fell to the ground, apparently hitting his head on a slab of concrete.

The witnesses said that as the man in the suit and tie walked away, two other men appeared and dragged the limp Anglemyer to his car where they placed him in the front seat. These men were called “the good Samaritans” in the newspapers and were asked to come forward and give statements, but no one did.

Because the strangers would not recognize Anglemyer’s car, and they were most likely the ones who took the watch, wallet and rings, these two men were also considered as possible accomplices to the murder.

A composite drawing was then made of the suspected murderer, which was published in the newspapers, and a “statewide manhunt” was undertaken for a white male between 25 and 30 years of age, medium build, five foot ten to six feet tall, who wore a dark suite, light shirt and dark tie.

A break in the case came in 1969 when it was reported tat the largest of Anglemyer’s rings was located out of state, which brought the FBI into the case.

Then 27 year old Christopher Brendan Hughes was charged with the murder. Hughes had previously been arrested in Philadelphia in October, 1966, allegedly part of an “interstate extortion ring preying on homosexuals.” Although the first court session ended in a mistrial because of information published in the newspaper, another trial was scheduled.

The trial, which took place in a Mays Landing court room in September, 1969, included the testimony of the original witnesses, Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth W. McGinley, who had married since the murder. They testified they were sitting n a car directly behind Anglemyer’s car, when the altercation occurred, but when asked if she recognized the murderer in the court room, Mrs. McGinley pointed to a law enforcement officer rather than the suspect.

Then, at the last moment, the state’s star witness, Ronnie Lee Murray, a 30 year old black man, who served time in prison with Hughes, was suppose to testify that Hughes confessed to having committed the crime and related details of the murder to him while they were incarcerated in the same jail cell together. But when it came time to testify, Murray declined, and Hughes was found not guilty.

The last note on the public record quoted an anonymous law enforcement official as saying, “Unless an entirely new suspect or suspects turns up, law enforcement authorities regard the murder case as closed.”

None of the three jurisdictions – Egg Harbor Township police, the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office nor the New Jersey State Police claim to have the files on the case, and no one is officially investigating the murder at this time. There are some indications that the official files related to the murder are currently in the possession of the Ocean City Police Department.

But now, over thirty years later, a new witness has come forward, and identified possible suspects in the murder.

While he wishes to remain anonymous, the witness was a former Ocean City municipal employee who was working as a delivery man in early September, 1964. On Monday, Labor Day, he said that in the early morning hours he had pulled his truck off to the side of the Somers Point – Ocean City causeway. While checking his inventory and delivery list, he noticed a vehicle parked down a dirt road that ran to the water, an old boat ramp.

There were three men standing around the vehicle arguing, talking loud enough for him to hear some of what they were saying. One of the men, in an Ocean City high school football jersey, ripped off his shirt, which appeared to be smeared with blood, rolled it up and threw it in the water.

As they left the delivery man recognized the three individuals as local guys he knew from school.

The next day, after news of the murder was out, one of the three men approached the delivery man and threatened him if he talked about what he witnessed the day before.

The delivery man said that he remained silent about the incident for many years, but is now talking about it because he is fearful for his life.

The delivery man identified one of the three men as a local man who retired from the Fire Department after being injured in the line of duty. A second individual, possibly a bouncer at the Dunes, is now dead, having passed away in Flordia, while the third individual is a relative of an Ocean City policeman who became Chief of Police after Dominic Longo.

Dominic Longo, after serving for many years as Chief of Police, became Director of Public Safety, which oversees the Police and Fire Departments. He has since passed away.

The delivery man has died too, but the relative of the former Chief of Police, who was identified as being one of the three men who disposed of the bloody shirt, is still alive, and while justice can never be served, he could answer the questions as to what really happened to Harry Anglemyer, and why he died.




xxxx

3 comments:

  1. Great Work!
    Harry was a good person and helped my mother while I was growing up in Ocean City.
    I was 13 when Harry passed and I always knew of the cover up from the OCPD!!!
    Longo was SCUM!!! and sucked the city dry and had several crooked cops at his side.
    Yes, small town Ocean City in the ,60's corruption remains to this day.
    Once again, a excellent and long over do report.
    Question: Did anyone ever question Orville Mathis Then and still Chief Of Police in Somers Point? Yeah Old Orville knows something!

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  2. I knew Harry and he fixed me up with a girl.

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  3. In the end you don't mention the local man, who retired from the Fire Department, after being injured in the line of duty. What is his current status?

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