Victor Licata - Axe Murderer? - Introduction

VICTOR LICATA - A RUSH TO JUDGEMENT:

VICTOR LICATA CASE - CANNABIS CRAZED AXE MURDERER?

In September 2012 the website ReeferMadnessMuseum.org contacted UKCIA as a part of his efforts to research the case of Victor Licata, a young man accused of murdering his family with an axe, having been driven insane by his use of cannabis (marihuana), it was a very famous case which was used to promote the original claims of "Reefer Madness".

What follows is the result of that research which has been edited and slightly abridged by UKCIA. You can see the original here.

Throughout comments are added by the Reefer Madness Museum indicated by "Museum comment".

For more information please email The Museun

Marijuana Fiend Kills Whole Family

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Introduction

To this day Victor Licata is still known as the "Marijuana Fiend" the "Kid With The Axe", driven insaine by his use of cannabis. Dduring the Reefer Madness Era of 1930's America the Narcotics Police would turn his name into a legend. He was accused of committing a crime that was so hideous, it is said by many to have lead to the creation of the anti cannabis laws which are still with us to this very day.

However, there is good reason to suggest he was innocent.

Here we document how a few probably well meaning officials in Tampa Fla., framed this poor innocent young man.

This is the first truly objective look at what actually happened in Tampa Florida that night. The first truly objective look at ALL the evidence.

Some Important Facts
  • There was a serial Axe murderer operating in the Tampa area at the time
  • That the Licata family was NOT the only Tampa family cut down by an Axe murderer.
  • That one of the other families slain by the serial Axe murderer was the Rowell Family - same last name as the author of "On the Trail of Marihuana, the Weed of Madness
  • That Victor Licata (to his dying day) denied that he has ever used Marihuana and that there was never a scratch of evidence to even suggest that he ever had?
  • That at least one of the major players (the Detective chief who had accused Victor Licata of having committed the murders) has been caught (documented) lying about the matter?
  • That much of the (alleged) evidence against Victor Licata was fabricated and so fake it wouldn’t have stood the light of day in a courtroom?
  • That many of the senior people within the Tampa judicial justice system knew the truth – and choose (for whatever reason), to deliberately keep quiet?

These facts not revealed at the time, not by Harry Anslinger and his Bureau of Narcotics, and not by a number of people in positions of authority who knew the truth - all of the truth. Fact is it fitted the story they wanted to tell, the story that cannabis drove people to a violent insanity; the myth of Reefer Madness.

Forward by The Museum

It is this author’s sincere opinion that Victor Licata was innocent. Whatever else Victor Licata was, he was no murderer. This was no opinion conveniently derived in order to write a book, but a conclusion reached by happenstance while examining the evidence. For like so many others I believed that Victor was guilty and as long as the Marihuana was not responsible for his actions, simply accepted his actions as those of a deranged madman.

It was only after learning that there was a serial axe murderer operating in the Tampa area that my natural skepticism began to kick in and begin to question the established viewpoint.

Soon however, as I examined the evidence, that skepticism turned into pure shock. How could I have fallen for yet another of Harry Anslinger’s lies? I who have disproved so many Reefer Madness era lies, had fallen for the biggest one out there. And the evidence itself made it clear that I had. How would that Comedian Groucho Marx have stated it: “Lady, Half the Evidence was Fake, and the Other Half isn’t all that much better!”

Contents:
Part 1: Who was Victor Licata and why does this case matter to us today?

CHAPTER 1 - WHO WAS VICTOR LICATA? AND WHY DOES THIS CASE MATTER TO US TODAY?
Victor Licata was an innocent young man who in 1933 was accused of (allegedly under the influence of Marihuana) committing a terrible crime. His crime was so hideous, and because of the alleged use of Marihuana, it is said by many to have led to the creation of the anti- Marihuana laws which are still with us today.

CHAPTER 2 - ENTERS HARRY J. ANSLINGER AND THE BUREAU OF NARCOTICS
As part of an Hysteria campaign against the use of Marihuana, Harry Anslinger (Americas first drug czar), ordered his field agents to start looking for and gathering together stories of “Bestial Crimes” committed while under the influence of Marihuana. Of these the Victor Licata case was the most prominent of all.

CHAPTER 3 - THE VICTOR LICATA CASE THE FIRST CRACKS BEGIN TO APPEAR
It was Anslinger’s D.E.A. that created the legend of Victor Licata, demonizing him into the “Kid with the Axe”, the “Marihuana Fiend”. But in 1939, Earle Rowell’s book, “On the Trial of Marihuana, The Weed of Madness,” began to challenge their official version of the story.

CHAPTER 4 - JOHN KAPLAND’S INVESTIGATION
The Licata Case Brakes Wide Open: An independent investigation conducted by John Kaplan (A law professor at Stanford University) finds out new facts about the Licata case and brakes it wide open.

PART II: We Begin Our Own Investigation:

CHAPTER 5 - LOCAL NEWSPAPER ACCOUNTS:
We begin our own investigation by going over the local Tampa area newspaper accounts at the time of the murders. As expected, much is hearsay ... but still the facts slowly start coming out.

CHAPTER 6 - THE EVIDENCE AGAINST VICTOR :
A look at ALL the evidence (real or imaginary) compiled against Victor Licata. And it looks quite impressive, very compelling – he must have been guilty. ---- UNTIL that is, one actually starts going over it in more detail. As that great Comedian Gracho Marx would have phrased it: "My lady, half of it is fake, and the other half isn’t all that much better.

CHAPTER 7 - THE EPIPHANY MOMENT, --- VICTOR WAS INNOCENT:
About the moment (that piece of evidence) that changed our mind set about Victor Licata. That not only had Cannabis played no role in the murders. He had actually been framed for the murders. – the kid was innocent.

PART III The CONSPIRACY PART A:

CHAPTER 8 - THE PLAYERS:
Who were the players -- It now appears that a lot of big players had their hands in this case. Everyone from Benito Mussolini to Harry Anslinger, etc. And why would they try to frame a young innocent boy by the name of Victor Licata.

CHAPTER 9 - VICTORS PHYSICAL HEALTH:
At the time Victor Licata ONLY weighed 113 pounds, yet we are expected to believe that he was able to perform super human feats that not even Charles Atlas could do.

PART IV EXAMINING THE EVIDENCE:

CHAPTER 10 - INSIDE DETECTIVE MAGAZINE:
The July 1938 issue of Inside Detective magazine devoted an entire article to the Licata family murders entitled “Marihuana Maniac!” Technically, it was supposed to be a “True (first hand) Account” of the tragedy - the inside scoop on what actually happened by W.D. Bush, the chief detective on that case. However, what actually made its way into print was anything but. In fact to say that it was a work of fiction (or fantasy actually) is not enough to do credit to the article. However, the article, fiction or fact, is one of the few “FIRST HAND” accounts that we have on the matter. Additionally, again fiction or fact established - by its omissions, it’s false leads, and obviously totally fabricated inner-stories, that Chief Detective W.D. Bush was a member of cover-up conspiracy and possibly involved in the murders themselves.

CHAPTER 11 - EXAMINING THE POLICE REPORT:
A copy of the Official Police Report as per the City of Tampa Florida P.D. is examined. Its importance lays not so much on what it says but what it doesn’t say.

CHAPTER 12 - VICTOR LICATA’S AGE:
How old was Victor Licata at the time? Or an even more important question; Why should anyone care? The answer is simple, if Victor Licata was over 21 years of age at the time, he would then be tried as an adult, quickly found guilty and [remembering that in the 1930’s executions took place within a few months of the trial] quickly executed and hopefully, quickly forgotten. HHowever, if he were a juvenile, then he would be awarded special rights, and fall under a completely different set of judicial laws, thus it was important to the conspirators (those who wanted to frame him) to have Victor be an adult at the time.

CHAPTER 13 - THE PHYSICAL EVIDENCE EXAMINED:
In this Chapter, we will go over ALL the physical and circumstantial evidence (real or imaginary) against Victor Licata. To avoid complications conspiracy theories etc, the physiological evidence, homicidal tendencies etc, against him will be examined in another chapter.

CHAPTER 14 - PSYCHIATRIC EVIDENCE EXAMINED:
We go over all of the psychiatric evidence that was presented against Victor Licata. Why it too has been shown to be false.

CHAPTER 15 - Victor Licata Escapes from prison 1945 – 1950:
On Oct 14, 1945 Victor Licata (and four others patients) escaped from their prison hospital in Chattahoochee. In the words of the then Florida Governor Caldwell, “It is worse than bad.” - Victor Licata out on the lamb.
[CLICK TO READ CHAPTER]

PART V: THE CONSPIRACY PART B

CHAPTER 16 - VICTOR LICATA’s STRANGE AND SUSPICIOUS DEATH:
it is the author’s viewpoint that Victor Licata did not commit suicide but was instead murdered as part of a cover up. In addition, (again in the authors opinion), Victor was NOT the only one killed as part of this cover up. A second prominent individual being Courtney Ryley Cooper – Ghost writer to both J. Edgar Hoover (head of the F.B.I.) as well as Harry J. Anslinger (head of the Bureau of Narcotics – aka the D.E.A.) himself.

CHAPTER 17 - SCENARIOS -- WHAT REALLY HAPPENED:
If Victor Licata is innocent, as is the supposition of this book, then this begs the question. What really happened? In this chapter, we present some possible (and very plausible) scenarios of what some of us feel really happened.

CHAPTER 18 - THE EVIDENCE THAT WASN’T:
Throughout the investigation we were hindered by an incredible lack of document-able evidence. Much of the paper work has long ago been lost or deliberately destroyed. In this chapter we go over the attempts made to secure still existing documentation.
[CLICK TO READ CHAPTER]

CHAPTER 19 - CONCLUSIONS:
It is this author’s sincere viewpoint that Victor Licata whatever else he might have been was no murderer. This was no opinion conveniently derived in order to write a book, but a conclusion reached by happenstance while examining the evidence. For to my great shame, like so many others before me (at least at first), I also believed that Victor was guilty. But as long as the Marihuana was not responsible for his actions, Victor himself mattered little to me.

“If just one person is unjustly in enchained, those chains will grow and reach out and eventually rap themselves around all of us.” Unknown poet

AFTERWARDS:

Is it possible that we have made a mistake - that our findings are wrong - absolutely, if there is one thing that this museum has learned is to Never Say Never. In fact several chapters of this book have already had to have been rewritten to take into account new findings that we have run into along the way. In addition (and here we warn the reader), we are already thinking of preparing an Addendum section to take into account future findings or evidence that may force us to reevaluate or present position yet again.

However, as of the time of this writing, the evidence and our findings seems very clear. Victor Licata was innocent and whatever else, he just wasn’t a murderer.

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