Vernard E Wickenberg (1924 - 1989)



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Seattle, King County, Washington

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1924 - In the year that Vernard E Wickenberg was born, in May, wealthy college students Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb kidnapped and killed 14 year old Robert Franks "in the interest of science". Leopold and Loeb thought that they were intellectually superior and that they could commit the perfect crime and not be caught. They were brought in for questioning within 8 days and quickly confessed. Clarence Darrow was hired as their defense lawyer, getting them life imprisonment instead of a death sentence. Loeb was eventually killed in prison - Leopold was released after 33 years, dying of a heart attack at age 66.

1947 - When this person was 23 years old, on April 15th, Jackie Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers, playing first base. He was the first black man to play in the Major Leagues. Since the 1880's, professional baseball had been segregated and blacks played in the "Negro leagues". He went on to play for 10 years.

1960 - At the age of 36 years old, Vernard was alive when on May 1st, an American CIA U-2 spy plane, piloted by Francis Gary Powers, was shot down by a surface-to-air missile over the Soviet Union. Powers ejected and survived but was captured. The U.S. claimed that the U-2 was a "weather plane" but Powers was convicted in the Soviet Union of espionage. He was released in 1962 after 1 year, 9 months and 10 days in prison.

1964 - This person was 40 years old when in June, three young civil rights workers - Andrew Goodman and Mickey Schwerner from New York City, and James Chaney from Meridian, Mississippi - were kidnapped and murdered in Mississippi. Working with "Freedom Summer", they were registering African-Americans to vote in the Southern states. Their bodies were found two months later. Although it was discovered that the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, the Neshoba County Sheriff's Office and the Philadelphia, Mississippi Police Department were involved, only 7 men were convicted and served less than six years.

1989 - In the year of Vernard E Wickenberg's passing, on March 24th, the Exxon Valdez, an oil tanker, struck a reef in Alaska's Prince William Sound and oil began spilling out of the hold. The oil would eventually contaminate more than a thousand miles of coastline. It is estimated that over 10.8 million gallons of crude oil spilled into the Sound - killing 100,000 to 250,000 seabirds, over 2,800 sea otters, about 12 river otters, 300 harbor seals, 247 bald eagles, and 22 orcas - as well as an unknown number of salmon and herring.

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Vernard E Wickenberg died in February 1989 at 64 years old. There is no known cause of death. Vernard was born on March 2, 1924. There is no information about Vernard's family or relationships. We know that Vernard E Wickenberg had been residing in Seattle, King County, Washington.


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