“Doctor” Louis Adams of Manitowoc

Louis Adams usually gave his birth date as August 25, 1900. Some sources say August 25, 1897, which I think may be more accurate. Some sources have him born in New York, while most say he was born in Poland. His father’s last name was actually Adamski before it was Americanized.

1930: lived 1036 South 17th Street, Manitowoc and worked as a hotel porter. Living with the family was carpentry contractor John Franke, a Swedish immigrant.

1933: Louis and wife Emma were arrested for performing an abortion. They pleaded guilty – Louis getting a $400 fine and Emma six months of probation.

January 13, 1938: Adams was fined $350 for performing an abortion on December 12, 1936 and possessing surgical instruments. His defense attorney was Hubert Humke. Judge Henry A Detling warned Adams that if he continued on this path, he would probably find himself facing a murder charge one of these days.

Adams left Manitowoc on February 8, 1938, for a short trip in search of employment. He went first to Grand Rapids, Michigan, and then to Chicago, before returning after a week or so. Perhaps unknown to him, a warrant was out for his arrest.

Second half of February 1938, Adams was arrested in Sheboygan and brought to the Manitowoc County jail. He had been wanted for an abortion performed on 20-year old Mary Ann Glischinski, a Manitowoc bartender, in December 1937. The charge was an automatic felony because Adams had two previous convictions for the same crime on his record. He pleaded not guilty. Judge OT Bredesen set a preliminary hearing for March 15. “I am not guilty,” Adams told the judge. “As far as a preliminary hearing is concerned, well, I won’t waive it or anything. I’ll see my attorney and he’ll attend to all of that.” District attorney John R. Cashman wanted a bond of $2,500 but the judge set it at $2,000, and even that amount was out of reach for Adams.

Glischinski had been brought to Adams’ house (1812 Fairmont Street) on December 20 by a married man. The procedure seemed to be a success, but later Glischinski went to Wausau to visit a sister for the holidays and began to hemorrhage. She was brought to a Wausau hospital and barely survived. Walter Drews, chief investigator for the state health department, pushed for charges – he had been following Adams’ “career” for years. When the March hearing arrived, Adams was still in jail and waived his right to the hearing. He would remain in jail for a few more months.

The case went to trial in June 1938 before Judge Detling, and Glischinski testified that Adams had actually operated on her three different times in order to cause the one miscarriage. Erick Rick, 35, came forward as the man who brought Glischinski to Adams and paid $25 for his services. Dr. FC Prehn of Wausau explained how serious her injuries were. Defending Adams was Judge Albert H. Schmidt.

On June 13, 1938, a jury found Adams guilty. For his defense, he took the witness stand, which opened him up to questioning. He admitting he had no medical training. A few days later, Judge Detling sentenced Adams to two years in Waupun. Detling stressed the trial was fair and yet Adams likely committed perjury when on the stand.

January 3, 1940: Adams was released from Waupun. Including the months he spent in jail awaiting trial, he served nearly the full two years. Later that year, on the 1940 census, he was listed as a record clerk for the WPA. Emma was a cook’s helper in a restaurant.

March 23, 1949: Violet (Mrs. Phillip) Johnson, 43, died after receiving an operation from Louis Adams, with assistance from his wife Emma. Johnson was survived by two sons, ages 13 and 18, and her husband who was away on a Great Lakes freighter, where he was an engineer. The operation had occurred in Manitowoc on March 4, but the fatal effects took 19 days, when Johnson was home in Marinette.

On March 4, 1949, Violet Johnson, who lived at Marinette, and her sister-in-law Myrtle Perhusky went to Manitowoc to the home of one Louis Adams and his wife Emma Adams. When they arrived at the Adams home the relator invited them into the living room. After the women were seated the relator went into the kitchen. Shortly thereafter Mr. Adams, sometimes called Doctor Adams, greeted the women, then went to the kitchen from which he returned shortly. The two women remained in the living room for about a half hour after which Mr. Adams and Mrs. Johnson went into the room off the dining room opposite the kitchen where they remained about a half hour. Mrs. Perhusky testified that she heard Mr. Adams ask the relator to bring him a white pan, but there is no evidence that she complied with this request. After Mr. Adams and Mrs. Johnson returned to the living room Mrs. Johnson asked him how much it was and he said $160. She paid him and he gave the money to Mrs. Adams, saying “You take the money.” Mr. and Mrs. Adams then drove the two women in the Adams automobile to the station.

On April 2, 1949, District Attorney Fred G Dicke brought charges of third degree murder against Louis and Emma Adams. When police arrived to arrest Adams, they found him hiding in his house’s coal bin. Also found in the house was $7,600 in cash. He faced up to 14 years in prison.

April 20, 1949: Preliminary hearing. Herbert Humke was again Adams’ attorney, and he asked for charges to be dismissed. This was denied, but bail was lowered from $15,000 to $10,000 each.

January 1950: The case finally goes to trial nearly a year later. The star witness was Myrtle Perhusky, who explained step by step what happened at the Adams house and about the exchange of money. Dr. Charles E Koepp of Marinette testified that the autopsy showed blood clots in both lungs, and in his opinion a blood clot in the right lung was the direct cause of death. The clot, he said, was caused by an abortion. Adams’ defense was that Johnson asked for the abortion, but he turned her down.

On january 19, 1950, Adams was found guilty after a jury of six men and six women, led by foreman Fred Strupp, deliberated four hours. Charges against his wife were dismissed. Judge Detling (who had warned Adams years ago he would someday be a murderer) gave the defense a chance to file motions.

Detling declined to add a repeater enhancement, saying that Johnson came to him voluntarily, but did give him a solid ten year sentence in Waupun on January 26. Adams appealed, and in July 1950 the Wisconsin Supreme Court ordered a new trial – it was determined that too much information on Adams’ prior convictions were brought into the trial. Justice Edward John Gehl (1890-1956) said, “This court has consistently held that proof of a former conviction of a defendant I na criminal action may be received, but nothing except the mere fact of the conviction may be shown.” Justice Timothy Brown (1889-1977) set new bail at $15,000 and had Adams sent back to Manitowoc jail while waiting for the new trial.

Second trial he was convicted again, but this time given only three years. He was out in 1952, and released from parole in 1953. Shortly after his release, Louis moved to California.

In May 1956, while living in California, Adams was swept up in the Mark Catlin parole scandal. Along with more notorious criminals (Louis Fazio, Americo DiPietto, etc) Adams had paid Catlin $1,000 to assist in his parole. Adams swore to the court that he was not promised any influence by hiring Catlin, and there was no mention that the fee was to be used for buying any such influence.

May 20, 1972: died in Los Angeles, aged 70-73 depending on which birth year you believe.

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