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3 Boys Steal Police Pistol and Kill a Man

3 Boys Steal Police Pistol and Kill a Man

3 Boys Steal Gun, Kill Man

Lifted a Revolver from a Police Station

June, 1935


Captain's Blog

– Case Description

On a Saturday afternoon in June, three young boys took their shoe shine business to the local police station. It was a cop’s duty to have shiny shoes, and the hungry boys were looking to make money. What they found instead was an opportunity for trouble.

Two brothers, 11 and 13, along with their 13 year-old friend had weaseled their way in the Jamaica station when they stole a loaded police revolver from an officer’s coat. They used the gun in a failed holdup, and later that night, a murder.

The Crime

The boys used the pistol 3 times after they stole it from the police station. They brandished it once in a failed holdup, fired it once on a dare, and ultimately used it to shoot a man point blank when he refused to wake up from his drunken slumber. Twelve-year-old Frank shot William Walsh in the head and the boys left him for dead.  Walsh was found by a city worker the next morning, alive, but only hours from death.

The Punishment

While the victim’s widow wanted the boys to “go to the chair,” charges of murder against Frank Damato, 13 years old; Julius, 11, his brother and Lisbon Lawrence, 13, were dismissed after the grand jury refused to indict them.  The case was referred to the Queens Children’s Court.

Frank and his brother Julius were ordered to the New York Catholic Protectory in Westchester County,

Libson was sent to the New York State Training School at Warick.

Let’s Work Together

Murch Murder Trial

Read All About It!

Brooklyn Eagle

Feb. 16, 1933
Chum Slays Boy for “Snitching”

Feb. 17, 1933
Another Held in Bender Boy Slaying Probe

Feb. 18, 1933
Asks First Degree Murder Charge in Boy Killing

Feb. 20, 1933
Boy Murder Suspect Seen “Misunderstood”

Feb. 21, 1933
Slayer Wanted to Be Artist

Feb. 25, 1933
Murch Held for Grand Jury

Feb. 26, 1933
Educators Should Study Contrast

March 03, 1933
Murch Boy’s Trial for Murder, April 3

March 25, 1933
Youthful Killer’s Age Creates Legal Puzzle

May 8, 1933
Boy, 16, on Trial for Life

May 9, 1933
Harry Murch is Unmoved by Crime Recital

May 10, 1933
Court Hears Details of Murch “Confession”

May 11, 1933
Murch Charges Torture By Police

May 11, 1933
Boy Murder Unique for its Horror and Significance

May 12, 1933
Mother of Boy Murder Victim Grieves for Mother of Slayer 

May 13, 1933
The Murch Conviction

May 14, 1933
Law Barbarous That Tries Child Slayer in Adult Court

May 15, 1933
Circle Plans Civic Unit to Offset Murch Case

May 16, 1933
Decry Law Binding Judge in Murch Case

May 16, 1933
Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt Asked to Address Jobless and Homeless Problems

Case of “Lost” Conscience Seen in Boy Homicide

May 17, 1933
Claim Murch’s Age Definitely Set at 16

May 18, 1933
Appetite for Killing in Some Adolescent Boys

May 19, 1933
Murch Smiles at Sentence

May 20, 1933
Murch Anxious for Sing Sing

May 22, 1933
Murch is Taken to Sing Sing

June 6, 1933
Murch Appeal Expense Avoided

June 8, 1933
Teachers for Helpless to Rule Detrimental Boys

June 23, 1933
Appeal is Argued for Boy Slayer

August 3, 1933
Plea to State’s Highest Court

Sept. 22, 1933
Slain Boy’s Mother Facing Eviction

Sept. 24, 1933
Owner May Stay the Eviction of Family With Big Heart











Teen Kills 12-Year Old Boy

Teen Kills 12-Year Old Boy


15-Year Old Kills 12-Year Old “Friend”

February 1933

Case Description

The body of a 12-year old Willie Bender was discovered brutally murdered two weeks after he was reported missing by his parents. He had been tied with a rope and stabbed in the heart by his 15-year old “friend,” Harry Murch.

Murch’s crime was horrendous. The bully lured the younger boy to an abandoned house and killed him as a horrified friend looked on. The tough guy murderer claimed the young victim’s father had badmouthed him.  

1. Harry Murch; 2. Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Bender, parents of murder victim Willie Bender; 3. Judge Thomas Downs; 4. Defense Attorney Dana Wallace; 5. Jury

The Crime

The killing was a result, as the confession revealed, of petty revenge – because the father of the Bender youngster accused Harry of robbing a woman and hitting her over the head with a monkey wrench. This story came after a no monkey business 6 hour interview with the detectives.

In his plan to get back at the boy’s father, Murch coerced Bender and another young friend, John Miller (10) to participate in a “rehearsal” robbery. As the boys unwittingly entered this ruse, the play quickly turned into a tragedy.  Murch made Miller tie Bender’s limbs with a rope as he gagged the victim until he couldn’t yell.  After Murch stabbed Bender through the heart with a potato knife, he enlisted Miller and Miller’s 13-year old sister to cover up the crime.

William Bender was found two weeks later, stuffed into the closet of an empty dwelling.


Bullet Points


Police questioned the boys for hours


Anonymous benefactor pays for funeral


DA says any person over 7 years old could be tried on a capital charge


Jurors considered "the chair"


Young witnesses testified


Jamaica Police Station

Harry Murch, 15 is shown with guard at Jamaica police station, arrested for killing Willie Bender, 12 (inset).

William Bender

Willie Bender, 12, found bound, gagged and stabbed.

Trial of Harry Murch

The accused at the center of a widely publicized trial.

Willie's Parents

Mr. and Mrs. Henry Bender, parents of the dead boy.

The Scene

The abandoned house where Willie was murdered.

2nd Degree Murder

Murch showed little emotion during the trial.


Harry and his attorney, Dana Wallace

Bullet Points


Sentenced 20 years to life


Released from Sing Sing on parole in October, 1953


Became a butcher's assistant


Suspected in 1955 sex-slaying of a crippled 39-year-old woman


Arrested and convicted of molesting a seven-year-old girl in 1956


Harry Murch died in 1986 at the age of 69

Hours to Confess

Days on Trial


Your Penance

In the name of Annah the Allmaziful, the Everliving, the Bringer of Plurabilities, haloed be her eve, her singtime sung, her rill be run, unhemmed as it is uneven!