Julius D. Erat Pays $50 Fine

by Laurel | February 3rd, 2014

31 January 1922

Also Makes Restitution For Damage to Bridge —
To Face Court in Northampton Today

Holyoke, Jan. 31 — Julius D. Erat of Mount Tom was fined $50 this morning for “willfully and maliciously breaking down and injuring a bridge, the property of the city of Holyoke.” Erat, it will be remembered, mysteriously disappeared after an automobile accident the night of the 17th. He was later located in new York.

A $50 fine was imposed after restitution of $124 damage done to the bridge had been made. Immediately after he had left the courtroom Erat was rearrested by inspector Patrick Gaughan, for the Northampton police on the charge of making a false statement in an insurance policy.

Judge John Hildreth found Erat guilty after a trial which lasted all the morning. The first delay in the court proceedings came just before the opening of the trial when Clerk of Courts Clement E. Ducharme entered a motion to strike the word malicious from the malicious mischief complaint to which Erat pleaded not guilty last week. Attorney David Foley, who defended Erat, said that he would take the position that there was no criminal charge against the defendant if the word malicious was stricken out.

Malicious Mischief Charge Dismissed

The new charge against the defendant made out by Attorney Ducharme and the one to which he pleaded not guilty this morning was that of willfully and deliberately braking and injuring a bridge, the property of the city of Holyoke. The trial was held on this charge and the malicious mischief charge was dismissed.

Witnesses for the Commonwealth were Gilbert E. Waters, photographer, who took pictures of the scene of the accident and the automobile; James J. O’Connor, who told of the repairs necessary for the bridge and that these repairs would cost about $124; and Patrolman John J. Sullivan, who testified that on the night of the accident he saw Erat in the car which figured in the accident. Patrolman Raymond J. Hamel, who visited the scene of the accident soon after the crash and saw the car standing against the bridge; George Buckley, who was the first to arrive on the scene of the accident; Louis Madru, who went to the scene of the accident with Buckley and called for the police; Capt. Peter A. Cullen, who told of an investigation made of the accident and subsequent finding of Erat in New York city; Attorney Frank G. Hodgkins of Springfield, counsel for the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, testified that on December 20 the defendant had made application for a $10,000 policy.

Promised “Big Money” to Easthampton Man If Latter Kept Quiet

Capt. Cullen in his testimony said that Erat had told John Sheehan, formerly of Easthampton and now of New York, who recognized Erat in that city and notified the Easthampton police, that if he kept quiet about his (Erat) being in New York, in about six months there would be big money in it.

Judge Hildreth in summing up the case said that the evidence clearly showed that the defendant deliberatly ran the car into the bridge. He said that Erat was only the instrument of the accident and that thee was someone else behind it. He then stated that if restitution was made he would not impose the heavy penalty which goes with the offense of destroying public property. Attorney Foley said that the defendant desired to make restitution to which the court stated that he wanted more than a desire. Arrangements were then made whereby Erat’s sister paid the $50 and $124 restitution money.

Erat is out on $500 bail for his appearance in Northampton tomorrow morning. Attorney Frank G. Hodgkins following the court proceedings said that he expected that the four insurance policies taken out by Erat for $10,000, all of which carried the double indemnity clause would be returned to him this afternoon. Erat will then be paid back the premium which he paid in.

Adapted from The Springfield Republican.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.


Suggested Holyoke Books

Mountain Park -- The Holyoke destination we all loved.

Mount Holyoke College

Mount Holyoke College, Postcard History by Donna Albino. Many Holyoke women have attended Mount Holyoke. Author also maintains an amazing MHC website based upon her personal collection.

Holyoke - Chicopee, A Perspective

Holyoke-Chicopee: A Perspective, by Ella Merkel DiCarlo. DiCarlo, a former Transcript columnist offers a fascinating compilation of her essays. Published in 1982, this out-of-print book is worth looking for in the aftermarket.


Holyoke, by Craig Della Penna. The first Holyoke book in the Arcadia series, published in 1997.

Belle Skinner Collection

Belle Skinner Collection, by Ruth Isabel Skinner. Published in 1933, this book is long out of print but copies are still available in the aftermarket.

Mitch Epstein: Family Business

Mitch Epstein: Family Business Published in 2003, available in the aftermarket. Epstein's furniture.