The mysterious murder of Valerie Percy.

The mysterious murder of Valerie Percy.
John William Tuohy

The murder of Valerie Percy remains one of the nation’s most mysterious and notorious crimes.

Valerie’s murder took place in the summer of 1966 when her father, the wealthy Illinois Republican Charles Percy, was running for the US Senate. Percy, who made his fortune as the head of Bell and Howell Corporation had run unsuccessfully for Illinois governor.

Valerie, only 21 years old, and an identical twin (Her sister Sharon would later marry Jay Rockefeller.) had graduated from Cornell that summer and was two days away from postgraduate studies at Johns Hopkins University. She was spending her days that summer campaigning alongside her father.

On the night of September 18, 1966, Valerie was sleeping in her room inside her families sprawling 17 room mansion on Lake Michigan At around 5 AM, a Sunday morning, someone used a glass cutter on the Percy back door and found his way to Valerie's second-floor room. Once there, he beat her and stabbed her 14 times, killing her. From the position of the body, police knew that Valerie had probably been sleeping when she was killed. The killer beat her, badly, about the face before stabbing her. She was not sexually assaulted.
The attack was intense and personal. There were multiple lacerations on the left side of her face and her left eye was closed. Her right eye was partly open. A pool of clotted blood stuck to the right side of the back of her neck. Her skull was fractured on the left side, the actual cause of the death.

Two of the 14 stab wounds were in her abdomen and they had penetrated her liver. One stab wound went through her left breast and penetrated her heart. Another in her right breast reached her lung. Yet another went through her throat hitting her spinal column. The killer probably used a double-edged knife. There were several abrasions, tooth marks perhaps, on two fingers on her right hand. (Three days after Valerie’s murder, police found a bayonet in Lake Michigan. To this day authorities believe the murder weapon was a serrated bayonet)
Valerie’s stepmother, Loraine, "was awakened by the sound of someone moaning, and I got up to see what was the matter." She realized the sound was coming from Valerie’s room, ran there, opened the door and saw a man bending over the blood-soaked bed and shining his flashlight on Valerie’s body.

She told police “When he was bending over the bed, I noticed he had on a light shirt or jacket. It may not have been white, but it was light, with a small sort of a check, very small . . . and it didn't go all the way down to his wrists because I could see his forearms. And he had trousers and a belt that were a darkish color, and then he turned and shined a light in my eyes, and I didn't see his face. I just saw an outline and I saw no distinguishing characteristics. I didn't see eyes or mouth. I just saw a dark outline and I noticed the shape of his head and his hairline. That's all."

Directly afterward, Charles Percy, hoping against hope that his daughter might still be alive, phoned a neighbor, Dr. Robert Hohf, ‘Bob, this is Chuck Percy. Will you, please, come right over, Valerie’s been injured’,” Hohf wrote later. ” ‘We’ve already called someone else but would like you to come right away. A policeman is on his way to get you.’ “
Hohf, who lived two doors away, ran to the Percy mansion and ran up the stairs into Valerie's bedroom, "I saw immediately the figure of a badly battered girl, obviously dead." Hohf was never interviewed by police and was not invited to the inquest for the slaying.
Hohf wrote that Valerie was so disfigured from the beating that he didn’t recognize her. Her nightgown was raised to her ribs. Her two sisters, Sharon and Gail, were “badly frightened,” sitting on their parents’ bed facing the lake. The doctor went downstairs and spoke to, Chuck and Loraine. “I told them, ‘I’m awfully sorry, but she’s gone.’ They looked numb but composed and said nothing that I recall.” He recalled that Loraine was barefoot in a short nightgown, but Chuck was fully dressed in slacks, shirt, a sweater and shoes. The three of them walked into the family room, and Hohf was introduced to a couple of friends who had been called to be with the surviving children. A butler served coffee, and Hohf wrote, “I had a feeling that much had happened before I arrived.”
By then the Kenilworth police, the town police, had arrived. Charles Percy told them that they needed to act quickly, only 20 minutes had passed since Loraine walked in on the killer. Then Percy called Chicago police.
Dr. Hohf was still present when Loraine was interviewed by homicide detectives “A flashlight beam immediate(ly) was thrown into her eyes,” Hohf wrote, “blinding her so that she was conscious of only a vague form and movement. She ran back into her own room and screamed at Chuck that there was an intruder in Val’s room. While she turned on lights and the fire siren, Chuck called the tel. operator and asked her to call the Kenilworth police. … They arrived in five minutes. (Loraine) thought she heard the person bounding down the stairs. When she returned to Val’s (room), Val was still moaning and looked very white. Lon wiped her face with a pillow and felt a pulse which disappeared after a few seconds.”
He added that Loraine told her story “calmly but in somewhat disjointed fashion,” with speculation that household workers might be responsible.

Before he left, Hohf looked over the glass of the French door where the killer had broken his way into the house. Hohf made a note that the door itself was broken, smashed really, different from the initial reports that the killer had cut the glass cleanly. Further investigation showed that the killer had first cut the glass, but the hole was too small to reach through, and the person scored the glass with an “X” and smashed it, not the usual method of a professional burglar. The same method was used to break into a nearby house the summer before the Percy killing.
The family dog didn’t bark, leading police to suspect that the killer was familiar to him. The fact that the killer made his way directly to Valerie’s bedroom probably meant that he was familiar with the house and had a knowledge of who slept where.
The murderer left five bloody palm prints on the banister and a black leather glove outside the mansion. There were also footprints at the Percy home leading to the beach.
The investigation went nowhere until 1973, eight years after the fact when the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper broke a Pulitzer Prize-winning story about a ring of mob burglars who probably broke into the Percy home to steal silver and jewels.

One jailed member of the burglary team, Harold James Evans, told investigators that another member, Frederick J. "Freddie" Malchow, had bragged that he killed Percy. The convicted leader of the gang, Francis Leroy Hohimer, also implicated Malchow as the killer.
Although Malchow already was dead by the time Evans and Hohimer accused him of the crime, the FBI agents had managed to interview Malchow years before when he was in a Pennsylvania jail where he was awaiting trial for rape and robbery in a home invasion. Malchow denied any involvement with the Percy killing. In 1967 he broke out of jail and fell to his death from a railroad trestle.
Still, some investigators believe that it was Malchow "To this day I am convinced that Freddie Malchow was the killer and that he acted alone," said Robert Lamb, the investigator in the Percy killing said 1991. Lamb noted Malchow was in Chicago at the time of the slaying through an airplane baggage ticket.
The problem was, there was nothing stolen from the home. Joseph Dileonardi, the former Chicago police superintendent was a homicide cop who was at the scene in 1966 "This was not a burglar” he said, “nothing was touched, not a thing was touched in that house," said Joseph Dileonardi. "A burglar would not strike a victim 14 times, a stick-up person does not strike a victim 14 times. the other motive, the last motive, was revenge and that's what I think happened to Valerie Percy…… that's my belief 40 years ago, and that's my belief today, 40 years later"
Of course, dozens of people confessed to the killing which only served to slow down the investigation. Chicago police, Cook County state’s attorney investigators and the FBI interviewed about 10,000 people and investigated 1,226 suspects in the first two years.
The police quietly zeroed in on the Percy’s other neighbor William Thoresen III, the son of William E. Thoresen II, president of the Great Western Steel Co. of Chicago. William Thoreson the third was described in an FBI report as “violent, a mental case… armed and dangerous.” Thoresen grew up in the same neighborhood as Valerie, less than two blocks away from the Percy home. Thoresen was a habitual, violent criminal with arrests for aggravated assault and the possession of illegal weapons including bayonets.Most who knew him, including his wife, called him “angry, a loner, hostile and destructive” Before he was 21 he had gone through a number of boarding schools and mental institutions, and he seemed to be completely uneducated. He regularly smashed up cars, terrorized young women and fought with authority.  William stole more than a half a million dollars’ worth of securities in a duffle bag from his parents’ cellar vault because, he claimed, it was his legacy and he had been cheated out of at least another halfmillion.
In 1957 he was stabbed during a scuffle with a parking lot in Evanston, Illinois. A year later he was charged with shoving a person in Kenilworth, Illinois and was fined $50. He was also charged with stealing posters from a ferry terminal in Bar Harbor, Maine. In 1964 he was accused of touching off a dynamite charge in a vacant lot. The charge was dismissed. In 1969 he was tried for illegal possession of weapons in San Francisco.
In 1965, he was suspected of playing some role in the death of his brother Richard on September 21, 1965. Officially, Richard’s death is listed as "Undetermined". (He had been shot directly behind the ear)  Police found his body in a rented car and said that he was shot with a .357 magnum pistol purchased two days earlier by Louise Thoresen, his wife who said she bought the gun for Richard because he had a "thing about guns." Oddly enough, before he died Richard left his brother considerable stock with an estimated, value of $8550,000, or about $5 million today. He also left Louise Thoresen $100,000.

He apparently married Louise to escape commitment by his family to a state mental institution.
Shortly before Richard Thoresen's death, he and William were named in burglary warrants signed by their father who charged the two with breaking into his Kenilworth home.
William Thoresen told his wife several version of the killing, one was that he had hired a professional killer to murder him and that he himself had been the triggerman. 
However, in 1966, Thoresen (Who used his brother's name in this instance) was arrested by San Francisco police with a hood named Lewis Dale Stoddard for assaulting the officers.
Five years later at her hearing for shooting her husband, Louise told the court that in mid-1966, that he husband had beat Stoddard to death with a hammer when he showed up at their home demanding more money for killing Richard Thoresen. William told his wife that he dumped Stoddard’s body in the ocean.

It was Thoresen’s probation officer in Los Angeles who alerted the Chicago police to consider Thoresen a suspect in the Percy killing. The FBI tracked him down to New York and questioned him but Thoresen said he “could be of no help in the Valerie Percy case and refused to be interviewed or answer any questions about the Percy case or any other matters.”
On June 10, 1970, four years after Valerie’s murder, Thoresen, then 32, was killed by his wife Louise who was acquitted in November of 1970. The night before the murder, he had beaten her and broke two of her ribs. She used one of the guns in his vast arsenal (A total of 77 of arms, including cannon and machine guns) to shoot him to death in California home. She put five bullets into him as he lay naked on their bed. Although he didn’t have an actual job, Thoresen, who suffered from a slight speech impediment, a stammer, traveled extensively and there were indications his travels may have involved him in illicit drug traffic. An autopsy showed traces of LSD in his blood and the police found 50 pounds of high-grade marijuana in the Thoresen home.
 “Despite everything rotten he'd been responsible for in my life,” Louise wrote  “I loved him deeply.”

The murder put the Percy campaign on hold, but, after nearly two months when nothing broke in the case, Percy resumed his campaign and won. He remained in the US Senate until 1984. He died in September 2011 at 91 of the effects of Alzheimer’s. At the time he and Loraine lived in an assisted living home in Washington, D.C.
The murder remains unsolved.

President John Tyler

President John Tyler retired to a Virginia plantation, originally named Walnut Grove (or "the Grove"), located on the James River in Charles City County, Virginia. He renamed it Sherwood Forest, in a reference to the folk legend Robin Hood, to signify that he had been "outlawed" by the Whig Party.
 He did not take farming lightly and worked hard to maintain large yields.
His neighbors, largely Whigs, in an effort to humiliate him appointed him to the minor office of overseer of roads in 1847. To their displeasure, he treated the job seriously, frequently summoning his neighbors to provide their slaves for road work and continuing to insist on carrying out his duties even after his neighbors asked him to stop.

The UFO's of Wythe County

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Wythe County Virginia is just southwest of Blacksburg. Named for George Wythe, the first Virginian to sign the Declaration of Independence and was partially settled by Moses Austin, father of Stephen F. Auston, one of the founders of the Republic of Texas.
In October 1987, Wythe County Sheriff Wayne Pike reported that he and his deputies witnessed strange lights in the sky. The police report made the wire services and within a year there were 3,000 reports of UFO sightings in the area. Some said the county was experiencing mass hysteria.
The most famous incident in the rash sighting actually happened in nearby Smyth County when a UFO was seen flying across a mountainside and blast a tree with its heat-ray. Investigators checked out the tree stump, but it appeared that someone had tried to smoke a squirrel out of the tree and set a fire that built up inside the trunk until it literally blew up.  
The people of Wythe said otherwise. Many blamed the US Air Force, claiming that the sightings were part of a secret military operation. Including in that group was  Danny Gordon, the news director for the local radio station WYVE.  "It appears” he said, “we are dealing with something of a military nature "A lot of people are scared. Will the military please tell us where they are?"
Several branches of the military did come forward but only to deny they had anything to do with sightings. However, the Tennessee Air National Guard did come forward to suggest that the sightings began at about the same time that they started making refueling flights in the area.
Since the  most common sighting were of a group of lights that appear to hover close together before splitting apart in the night skies while others have reported a flying object that appears to be pulling another object along, a mid-air refueling seemed to make sense.
A spokesman for the Tennessee Air National Guard said "We started doing them more frequently in that area about a month or a month and a half ago. I personally haven't seen anything up there. It'd certainly be a good guess. That'd be the best answer I could offer."

George Washington's horrible death

George Washington died when his doctors tried to cure his epiglottitis (i.e. inflamed throat) with bloodletting. He lost more than half his blood before they stopped the treatment and died just hours later.

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The supposed madness of Ezra Pound

In December 1945, the writer,  60-year-old Ezra Pound was committed to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington, DC. At the time he was also under indictment for treason against the United States.
Pound had relocated to Italy in 1924, and quickly became an ardent supporter of Mussolini.  Between 1941 and 1943, Pound had made a series of broadcasts made on Italian radio in support of Benito Mussolini’s regime and ranked about his contempt for the Allied forces. He worked closely with the fascist and his government up until the fall of the puppet state The Republic of Salò fell to the allies in  April of 1945. Pound then surrendered to US forces and was sent to a detention center in Pisa before being extradited to the United States and on the St. Elizabeth’s.
But was Pound, the visionary leader of a political and cultural vanguard, insane? Was he another the brilliant poet touched by madness?

He was more than probably sane and had been faking it since the fall of the fascists. The theory is that the public wanted him to account for his treachery during the war years. They wanted him to be tried for treason, which was punishable by death and by 1947, a number of fascist and Nazi collaborators had been executed.
 The theory is that Pound was very sane and on the advice of his lawyer, Julien Cornell, feigned to be insane to avoid a trial where, undoubtedly, Pound would be found guilty. At the hearing, the jury took only four minutes to agree with Cornell’s argument.  Cornell also worked with St. Elizabeth’s director Dr. Winfred Overholser to present Pound as a madman to the outside world in a successful effort to save the writers life.
The historian Stanley Kutler was given access in the 1980s to military intelligence and other government documents about Pound, including his hospital records, and wrote that the psychiatrists believed Pound had a narcissistic personality, but they considered him sane. Kutler believes that Overholser protected Pound from the criminal justice system because he was fascinated by him.

During his first year at the hospital, Pound was held in the hospital’s maximum-security ward for the violent and criminally insane and his visitor's privileges were severely restricted. However, in 1947, he was moved to a less secure area and allowed more visitors and there were many including T.S. Eliot, Marianne Moore, and William Carlos Williams, Charles Olson, Robert Lowell, John Berryman, Louis Zukofsky, Elizabeth Bishop, W.S. Merwin, and Frederick Seidel. Pound was granted permission to spend his days out on the lawn, lecturing to a group of eager young disciples who dubbed themselves “Ezrologists.”
After 13 years of being committed to St. Elizabeth’s, Pound was released in May 1958. Robert Frost, Frank Lloyd Wright, Igor Stravinsky, and Hemingway fought for his release.  (After he won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954, Hemingway was quoted as saying, “This would be a good year to release poets.”) Pound returned to Italy, where he lived until his death in 1972.

The Best Ezra Pound Poems Everyone Should Read

Ezra Pound (1885-1972) was a controversial but central figure in the history of modernist literature. He helped to publish both T. S. Eliot and James Joyce, was friends with a number of leading modernist writers including W. B. Yeats and Ford Madox Ford, and his slogan, ‘Make It New’, encapsulates much of what modernist literature sought to do. But as well as all this, we should remember that Ezra Pound was a major modernist poet himself, albeit a very difficult one. Here’s our pick of five of Pound’s best poems or poetic works.

 In a Station of the Metro’. This is probably the most famous Imagist poem ever written: in just two lines, Pound seeks to capture the fleeting impression of seeing a crowd of people at the Paris Metro, and puts into practice some of his key imagist principles. After the poem’s publication in 1913, Pound’s interest in Imagism dwindled, and he moved away from the Image and towards the ‘Vortex’, founding the short-lived artistic movement Vorticism with his friend Wyndham Lewis.

‘The Return’. The old gods have gone, but are not quite forgotten; and now, Pound announces, ‘they return’. This is the subject of this short poem, which remains one of Pound’s most popular shorter works.

‘The Seafarer’. As well as being a fine poet, Ezra Pound was also a gifted translator, and many of his own poems incorporate allusions to different literary traditions, from the Japanese haiku to ancient Greek lyric and epic poetry and the French troubadours. This 124-line Anglo-Saxon poem is often considered an elegy, since it appears to be spoken by an old sailor looking back on his life and preparing for death. He discusses the solitariness of a life on the waves, the cold, the danger, and the hardships. As such, the poem captures the bewitching fascination the sea holds for us, but also its darker, more unpredictable side. Ezra Pound’s loose translation of the poem is one of his triumphs.

‘Hugh Selwyn Mauberley’. Published two years before T. S. Eliot’s landmark poem The Waste Land, this long modernist poem from 1920 was described by Pound as his ‘farewell to London’. It’s also an impassioned rant about consumerism, the commoditisation of art, and the struggle to write poetry in the wake of the First World War, not to mention the failed artistic ‘movements’ of the 1890s.

The Cantos. Not so much a poem as a vast ‘ragbag’ of poems (to borrow Pound’s own word), The Cantos vary hugely in quality, although the Pisan Cantos, which Pound composed while a prisoner of the US in Pisa in 1945 just after the end of WWII, are the most critically acclaimed sections of this 800-page book. Our advice is to begin with Canto I and wade through: Pound begins The Cantos of Ezra Pound (New Directions Books) in medias res with a multi-layered poetic account of Odysseus’ journey into the underworld to seek counsel from Tiresias. Although the episode is from Homer’s Odyssey, Pound’s version of this story is told using a sixteenth-century Latin translation of Homer’s poem. The poem thus immediately foregrounds Pound’s interest in multilingual poetry, the way such stories resonate for different cultures and eras, and the link between Odysseus’ summoning of the dead and Pound’s own use of dead poets’ words in his own work.

Visits to St. Elizabeth’s

This is the house of Bedlam.
This is the man
that lies in the house of Bedlam.

This is the time
of the tragic man
that lies in the house of Bedlam.

This is a wristwatch
telling the time
of the talkative man
that lies in the house of Bedlam.

This is a sailor
wearing the watch
that tells the time
of the honored man
that lies in the house of Bedlam.

This is the roadstead all of board
reached by the sailor
wearing the watch
that tells the time
of the old, brave man
that lies in the house of Bedlam.

These are the years and the walls of the ward,
the winds and clouds of the sea of board
sailed by the sailor
wearing the watch
that tells the time
of the cranky man
that lies in the house of Bedlam.

This is a Jew in a newspaper hat
that dances weeping down the ward
over the creaking sea of board
beyond the sailor
winding his watch
that tells the time
of the cruel man
that lies in the house of Bedlam.

This is a world of books gone flat.
This is a Jew in a newspaper hat
that dances weeping down the ward
over the creaking sea of board
of the batty sailor
that winds his watch
that tells the time
of the busy man
that lies in the house of Bedlam.

This is a boy that pats the floor
to see if the world is there, is flat,
for the widowed Jew in the newspaper hat
that dances weeping down the ward
waltzing the length of a weaving board
by the silent sailor
that hears his watch
that ticks the time
of the tedious man
that lies in the house of Bedlam.

These are the years and the walls and the door
that shut on a boy that pats the floor
to feel if the world is there and flat.
This is a Jew in a newspaper hat
that dances joyfully down the ward
into the parting seas of board
past the staring sailor
that shakes his watch
that tells the time
of the poet, the man
that lies in the house of Bedlam.

This is the soldier home from the war.
These are the years and the walls and the door
that shut on a boy that pats the floor
to see if the world is round or flat.
This is a Jew in a newspaper hat
that dances carefully down the ward,
walking the plank of a coffin board
with the crazy sailor
that shows his watch
that tells the time
of the wretched man
that lies in the house of Bedlam.

The Axe Wielding Bunny-Man of Fairfax County

The Axe Wielding Bunny-Man

The Bunny-man story originated near the Colchester Overpass (AKA the “The Bunny Man Bridge”) in Fairfax County in October 1970.
The story goes that a young man named Robert Bennett, then a USAF Cadet was with his fiancée near Colchester Overpass in their car when they noticed something moving just outside the rear window.
Supposedly, the front passenger window shattered, and a man dressed all in white was stood besides the car and screamed that the couple was “trespassing” and then disappeared into some nearby woods.
Bennett stepped out of the car and found a hatchet on the ground near the car, the weapon that the man had used to smash the window of the car. When interviewed by police, Bennett swore that the man was in “a white suit with long bunny ears”, and the legend was born.
The second incident happened within days of the first when security guard Paul Phillips came across the same man in white two days before Halloween in 1970. As  Phillips approached the man it became clear he was in a “bunny costume” and armed with a long-handled axe and began swinging it  at Phillips while he yelled something about trespassing.
The Fairfax County police investigated both incidents but were unable to find any suspects. The investigation made the news and the following weeks, the received over 50 reports of bunny man encounters but all remain unconfirmed.
A story began that the bunny man was a former resident of an insane asylum which once existed in Clifton, Virginia. (There has never been an insane asylum in Fairfax County.)

The Assassin Richard Lawrence

The Assassin Richard Lawrence
John William Tuohy

Richard Lawrence was born in England in or about 1800 and arrived in the US when he 12 or 13 years old. His father died in the District of Columbia, in the old Ward One sector, in or about 1829.
Lawrence, a handsome young man, was known to be sober, well spoke but shy and reserved and by 1832, according to his family, seemed be losing his sanity. He lived with his sister and brother-in-law for a while but after an attempt to murder his sister for no known reason, he was arrested and later moved to a boarding house.

Since he made his living as a house painter, there is considerable speculation on the possibility that exposure to the chemicals in the paint had affected Lawrence’s mind.
On January 30, 1835, a cold, rainy and generally miserable day Lawrence was seen in his paint shop in Georgetown (then a part of Maryland) on the corner of Pennsylvania and 21st Street, having a very loud argument with himself which ended when he screamed “All right, I’ll be damned if I don’t do it”
A few hours later went up to the Capitol building to murder President Andrew Jackson while he attended to the wake of Rep. Warren Davis of South Carolina at a State Funeral Service at the Capitol.
As the frail President, leaning on his walking stick, enter the building, Lawrence leaped out from behind a pillar near the East Portico, brandished two single-shot brass pistols that had belonged to his father.

Lawrence leaped out from behind the pillar and standing less than five feet from the President fired his pistol, but it misfired.  President Jackson, with Treasury Secretary Taney on his left, had been expecting an attempt on his life, cussed Lawrence, raised his cane and charged the assassin thrashing him.
Lawrence stepped back, fired the other pistol, but that too misfired. (US Marshal’s tested the pistols he used and retested them and each time they performed flawlessly. A New York Times article calculated the chances of both of Lawrence’s pistols misfiring to be 1 in about 125,000.)  A navy Lieutenant named Gedney, who was with Jackson, leaped on Lawrence, wrestled him to the ground and pulled the two pistols out of his hand.

Richard Lawrence’s act was the first instance of a President of the United States being the target of an assassination. A few years before, Jackson had become the only president to be physically assaulted.
On May 6, 1833, Jackson, age 66, ill and frail, sailed on USS Cygnet to Fredericksburg, Virginia, where he was to lay the cornerstone on a monument near the grave of Mary Ball Washington, George Washington's mother.
(Jackson was rarely in good health to begin with.  During his life he suffered from
smallpox, osteomyelitis, malaria, dysentery, rheumatism, dropsy, “cholera morbus” (widespread intestinal inflammation), amyloidosis (a waxy degeneration of body tissues) and bronchiectasis (inflamed and dilated bronchial tubes). He also had a
bullet lodged inside his lungs from a duel.)
Jackson had fired Navy lieutenant, Robert Randolph for embezzlement. During a stopover near Alexandria, Jackson decided to entertain visitors to the boat and Randolph, walked aboard, said nothing, walked up to President, removed his gloves and punched him in the face. (Some say that Randolph punched the President, some say he slapped him and other say he tweaked  the President’s nose)
 Jackson, who had been reading a book, fell back and was trapped in his chair behind the table as Randolph was quickly held back by some of Jackson’s associates and some of Randolph’s own friends who had boarded the steamboat with Randolph.
 Jackson angrily yelled, “What, Sir!  What, Sir!”, as he scrambled to get out of his seat and lunged for his cane. Rather than face an angry Jackson man to man, Randolph broke lose and fled only to be run down and captured by Jacksons staff and friends including the writer Washington Irving.
Jackson was not seriously hurt but he was furious and embarrassed. “Had I been apprised that Randolph stood before me” he said “I should have been prepared for him, and I could have defended myself.  No villain has ever escaped me before; and he would not, had it not been for my confined situation.”

Jackson declined to press charges, but Randolph was arrested anyway. By the time Randolph went to trial for attacking Jackson, the President was retired to his estate in 
Tennessee.  In a letter to the new President Martin Van Buren, Jackson said, “I have to this old age complied with my mother’s advice to ‘indict no man for assault and battery or sue him for slander’, and to fine or imprison Randolph would be no gratification."  Jackson asked President Van Buren to pardon Randolph if his assailant was found guilty for the attack. 
Back in Washington in 1836, during questioning, it quickly became clear that the shooter Richard Lawrence was a babbling lunatic who offered no less than six reasons to explain the shooting including his belief that he was the secret king of England, Richard III who died in 1485 and that Jackson was his clerk. In fact, on his first day in court, where he was defended by Francis Scott Key, Lawrence, impeccably dressed and well spoken, rose and addressed the court with great dignity and said "I am under the protection of my father at home. The throne of Great Britain and the throne of this country of right belong to me. I am superior to this tribunal. I ask you to consider whether you are safe in your course of proceedings.” The judge respectfully reminded Lawrence that he would be heard through his Counsel, and politely requested him to take his seat.
When the Jurors were called in and sworn on the bible, Lawrence rose again and shouted "Swear on that book, but remember that I am King of England and of this country, and will most assuredly punish you"
When the court ordered Lawrence to sit and be silent he said, "I will not" and remained standing until a federal marshal sat him down and stood by his chair for the rest of the trial.
A half a dozen doctors testified that they believed that Lawrence was insane; and that he was unable to discriminate between right and wrong in a case connected with his delusion; and that if the act of assaulting the President was connected with the subject of his delusion, he was not to be considered as morally accountable for the act. Lawrence was institutionalized at what would become St. Elizabeth’s hospital (He was the institution's seventh inmate) until his death in 1861.
Jackson suspected that a circle of his political enemies orchestrated the attempt on his life, but his suspicions were never proven. His primary suspect was his decades-long enemy Henry Clay and Senator John C. Calhoun. Jackson told aides that he suspected both were involved in his potential assassination and had likely hired or convinced Lawrence to pull the trigger. Speculation grew so severe that Calhoun (Below)  made a statement on the Senate floor that he was not connected to the attack.

Jackson also suspected Senator George Poindexter of Mississippi, (Below) who had used Lawrence to do some house painting a few months earlier. There were several reports, by reliable witnesses, that on the morning of the failed assassination, that Lawrence had been to Poindexter’s house. Poindexter denied the charges but was soundly defeated for re-election anyway.

(Foot note on Poindexter’s interesting private life.  In 1804 Poindexter married Lydia Carter the daughter of a prominent Natchez businessman and plantation owner. The couple had two sons , George and Albert but Poindexter publicly accused his wife of infidelity and claimed that their second child, Albert, was the product of an extramarital affair between his wife and their neighbor. In 1816 Poindexter married Agatha Ball Chinn, part of an old and distinguished southern family, but had a life-long liaison with a slave woman who worked on his planation.)