F. Lee Bailey, the famous lawyer who defended OJ Simpson, Patricia Hearst and the alleged Boston Strangler, died last week. He was 87 years old.
Bailey, best-selling author and former TV show host, was a member of the legal ‘dream team’ that defended Simpson, the former Buffalo Bills superstar and actor acquitted on charges of killing his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and his friend, Ron Goldman, in 1995.
Some of Bailey’s other prominent clients included Dr Samuel Sheppard – accused of killing his wife and the inspiration for the 1960s television series ‘The Fugitive’ – and Captain Ernest Medina, indicted in connection with the massacre. of My Lai during the Vietnam War. .
Less known today – but certainly notorious at the time – Bailey defended George Fitzsimmons, who stabbed his aunt and uncle, DeAlton and Euphresia Nichols, both 80, to death at their roulette house in the Potter County, Pa., November 18, 1973.
Famous for successfully defending high profile clients, Bailey suffered defeat in his attempt to get Fitzsimmons acquitted for insanity.
A bitter irony was that Fitzsimmons was living with his aged aunt and uncle after being released from a mental institution in Buffalo after three years after the murder of his parents. Trained in the US military in martial arts, he stabbed his parents to death in an argument over going to church.
In roulette, Fitzsimmons was convinced his aunt and uncle were trying to kill him by adding arsenic to his food. He confronted them and, in the ensuing argument, he stabbed them both to death with a large hunting knife.
Fitzsimmons drove to Buffalo and eventually surrendered to authorities; he was returned to Potter County to face two counts of murder.
Bailey, who later said he took the case because Fitzsimmons inherited his parents’ estate and had the money to pay his hefty fees, pushed an insanity defense against his objections. customer.
The trial, which opened in July 1974, was held in Greensburg on a change of venue. The Potter County District Attorney was Harold B. Fink. After more than two years, Fitzsimmons was found guilty by the judge in a trial without a jury and sentenced to concurrent life sentences.
In 1999, Fitzsimmons died of cancer at the age of 62 at the Pennsylvania State Correctional Facility in Dallas.