Report of the Trial
of Levi Weeks
Click the image above to order this book from Amazon
The murder trial transcripts of carpenter Levi Weeks. Accused of murdering young Elma Sands in December 1799 after she didn’t return to the boarding house she shared with Levi. Elma’s body was found in the “Manhattan Well”, just twenty minutes from their boarding house. Levi was the only one accused.
Playing throughout the courtroom drama is Levi Weeks’ attorneys. Due to political reasons his defense team was political rivals Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. Burr would four years after the trial, shoot Hamilton dead in a duel.
APRIL 1, 1800
JAMES W. LENT.
—On the 2d of January last, I together with Mr. Page, had some business to do in breaking a horse, and we went up to Andrew Blancks, and we dined there: Blanck insisted upon it. While we were dining two persons, Mr. Watkins and Mr. Elias Ring, came there to get hooks and poles to sound the Manhattan well for the body of a young woman who was supposed to be drowned. We got the poles and nails and went all together to the well, which we uncovered. Page took the pole first and said he thought he felt her; I took hold then and thought I felt her too. Watkins drove in the nails, I took the pole and hooked the nail in her clothes and drew her up carefully to the top of the water: as soon as Mr. Ring saw her callico gown he said it was she, he knew the gown. She was so heavy now we could not draw her out by the nail and the little boy went for a rope to the next house, while I held her still. I put the rope under her and drew her up gently, she slew’d round but there was not a thread of her clothes which touched either side of the well. When she was drawn up we laid her on a plank, and she appeared in such a situation as if she had been murdered.
Click here to read James W. Lent's testimony