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Dear Prospective Researchers,
I would like to re-discover evidence disproving Anslinger's most famous reefer madness story, the Victor Licata ax murder case, with help from another researcher. Are you, or someone you know a highly motivated marijuana activist living in the Tampa, Florida area who is willing to conduct a detailed reference check? If you don't know of anyone, please pass this request along to other activists that might have a contact in Florida willing to help.
I tried to conduct an in-depth investigation into the 1933 Florida ax murders committed by Victor Licata. I used the most authorative source, bibliography notes in John Kaplan's book, "Marijuana, The New Prohibition" for information on debunking this case. When I attempted to order the cited articles in Kaplan book, using several Florida inter-library loan departments, they informed me of numerous reference problems. Eventually, Florida librarians found all but one of the articles Kaplan had referenced in his book regarding the Victor Licata ax murder case (see Kaplan's bibliography-preliminary corrections).
Unfortunately, the re-discovered newspaper articles thus far don't account for all of the quotes or textual information John Kaplan used in his book regarding the Licata case. Nor did the police report or the state's psychological exam provide the whole story as presented by Kaplan. Additionally, librarians sent incomplete text, faint pictures, no dates, no page numbers and not one title page copy for confirming references. Whenever I asked for photocopies regarding the location of an article, I would instead receive a written letter answering my reference questions. Therefore, I cannot definitively say that the reference information I have is correct, but to the best of my knowledge it is. Librarians also sent me additional articles with questionable references that need verification as well. From the amount of additional articles found by Florida librarians, I suspect there are still more stories waiting to be discovered by a diligent researcher looking for the truth.
Below you will find a list of articles and instructions detailing the kind of reference check needed for each one. I have also provided the following link to a Licata newspaper article, from the Lethbridge Herald, with complete citations as an example.
In return for the reference work I will cover the cost of local transportation, photocopies and mailing, but the legwork must be pro bono. After compiling all of the articles and government documents I will digitally scan and burn all the images onto a CD for your records and that of other researchers.
Anyone interested in helping pursue this reference search please contact me at the E-mail address below. I will also accept the contact information of any pro-marijuana researchers interested in obtaining the results of this search when completed.
Uncle Mike (Previous search)Email Me
Looking for editorials & articles discussing Licata murders, marijuana and local law enforcement activities between the following dates. Typically, older newspapers like the ones referenced below are under eight pages long, several of which are advertisements, so this reference check shouldn't take any more than one day's work.
Case Articles - Search from October 17, 1933 through November 6, 1933.
Escape Articles - In 1945 Licata escaped from a Florida State mental hospital. NOTE: Obituary article might provide a more specific search date for Licata's escape.
Obituary Articles - Search from December 4, 1950 through December 10, 1950. NOTE: Victor killed himself on Dec. 4, 1950, but according to a Lethbridge Herald newspaper article state prison officials did not report his suicide until Dec. 6th.
Key Newspapers to Search Through Case Dates:
The Tampa Daily Times, Tampa, Florida
NEWSPAPER ARTICLES REQUIRING REFERENCE CONFORMATION
The Tampa Daily Times, Tampa, Florida
CRAZY YOUTH SLAYS FAMILY, Michael Licata, Wife, Children, Killed by Son, from The Tampa Daily Times, Tampa, Florida, pp. 1 & 10, Oct 17, 1933. Reference Requirement (Confirm above citation copy title page copy page 1 of article).
DREAM SLAYER TALKS IN CELL, Licata Tells How He Slaughtered Family of 5, from The Tampa Daily Times, Tampa, Florida, pp. 1 & 4, Oct. 18, 1933. Reference Requirement (Confirm above citation copy title page copy page 1 of article).
JOINT FUNERAL FOR 5 VICTIMS, Services to Be Held at 4 O'clock Tuesday at Mortuary Chapel, from The Tampa Daily Times, Tampa, Florida, pp. 1 & 4, Oct. 18, 1933. Reference Requirement (Confirm above citation).
FINAL RITES FOR 5 SLAIN, Thousands Attend Funeral and Line Route of Cortege to Italian Cemetery, from The Tampa Daily Times, Tampa, Florida, Second Section, p. 11, Oct. 20, 1933. Reference Requirement (Confirm above citation copy title page copy article).
REPORT SHOWS AX SLAYER OF FAMILY INSANE, Judge Delays Formal Licata Judgment, from The Tampa Daily Times, Tampa, Florida, p. 1, Oct. 31, 1933. Reference Requirement (Confirm above citation copy title page copy page number copy article).
ORDER COMMITS SLAYER LICATA, Youthful Insane Murderer of Family to Be Sent to State Asylum, from The Tampa Daily Times, Tampa, Florida, p. 5, Nov. 3, 1933. Reference Requirement (Confirm above citation copy title page copy article).
Tampa Morning Tribune, Tampa, Florida
CRAZED YOUTH KILLS FIVE OF FAMILY WITH AX IN TAMPA HOME, Michael Licata, Wife and Three Children Slain By Demented Son, from Tampa Morning Tribune, Tampa, Florida, Oct. 18, 1933, pp. 1 & 8. Reference Requirement (Confirm above citation copy title page copy page 1 of article).
LOGAN TO WAR ON MARIJUANA TRAFFIC HERE, from Tampa Morning Tribune, Tampa, Florida, Oct. 18, 1933, p. 8. Reference Requirement (Confirm above citation).
The Evening Independent, St. Petersburg, Florida
SON HELD IN TAMPA SLAYINGS, Describes Murder Dream, Denies Killings, from The Evening Independent, St. Petersburg, Florida, p. 1, Oct. 18, 1933. Reference Requirement (Confirm above citation copy title page).
N.A.C. (Not As Cited)
STAMP OUT THIS WEED OF FLAMING MURDER, editorial, Tampa Daily Times, Tampa, Florida, Oct. 18, 1933. NOTE: Reference provided by Reefer Madness Museum with warning that the citation was questionable. Reference Requirement (Confirm or disprove citation by looking through all three key newspapers starting with the Tampa Daily Times if found photocopy title page page number and the entire article).
STOP THIS MURDEROUS SMOKE, editorial from _________ newspaper??? NOTE: Editorial was cited in John Kaplan book, Marijuana, The New Prohibition as "Tampa Times, Oct. 20, 1933, p. 11". Florida librarian said it was N.A.C. (Not As Cited). Reference Requirement (Confirm or disprove citation by looking through the editorial section of all three key newspapers starting with the Tampa Daily Times if found photocopy title page page number and the entire article).
MARIJUANA JOINTS AND DEALERS LISTED FOR CLEAN-UP DRIVE BY LAW-AGENCIES, Tampa Daily Times, Tampa, Florida, Oct. 18th or 19th, 1933. NOTE: Article provided by Reefer Madness Museum with warning that the reference was questionable. Briefly mentions Licata in text of story. Reference Requirement (Confirm or disprove citation by looking through all three key newspapers starting with the Tampa Daily Times if found photocopy title page page number and the entire article).
CONFIRMED NEWSPAPER REFERENCES
INSANE YOUTH SLAYS FIVE OF THE FAMILY, from The Daily Northwestern, Oshkosh, Wisconsin, p. 16, Oct. 17, 1933. NOTE: Article obtained from www.newspaperARCHIVE.com
DENIES SLAYING OF FAMILY; SAYS HE HAD 'DREAM', Victor Licata, Tampa Youth, Charged With Murder of Parents, Brothers And Sister, from The Key West Citizen, Key West, Florida, p. 1, Oct. 18, 1933. NOTE: Article obtained from www.newspaperARCHIVE.com
PEDDLERS OF MARIJUANA LEAD YOUTHS TO CRIME, Harvest Near for '48 Crop, from the Denver Post, section C, pp. 1 & 3, July 18, 1948. NOTE: Small paragraph and picture mentioning Licata's 1945 escape from Florida state mental hospital.
TAKES OWN LIFE, from The Lethbridge Herald, Lethbridge, Alberta, p. 14, Dec. 8, 1950. NOTE: 1.) Articles states Licata killed himself on Dec. 4, 1950. NOTE: 2.) Article obtained from www.newspaperARCHIVE.com Note: 3.) Provided as a complete citation, as an example
CONFIRMED FLORIDA STATE DOCUMENTS
AX MURDER (LICATA FAMILY), 1701 5th Avenue, October 17th, 1933, Occurrence about midnight, report from the City of Tampa Police Department, address as of October 2004 when copy of police report was obtained-One Police Center-411 N. Franklin Street-Tampa, Florida 33602.
IN THE COURT OF THE COUNTY JUDGE IN AND OF HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, STATE OF FLORIDA: EX-PARTEE, Victor Fiorito Licata, Inquisition of Lunacy Petition, from the Florida State Archives Department of State, Series 1062, Carton 62, address as of September 2004 when state hospital admission report was obtained-R.A. Gray Building (M.S. 9A)-500 South Bronough Street-Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0205.
CONFIRMED LOCATION OF MUG SHOT PICTURE
Picture of Licata resides at The Pennsylvania State University, Historical Collections and Labor Archives, Harry Anslinger Papers, 104 Paterno Library, University Park, PA. 16802-1808, Box 14, Series: 03 entitled The Most Heinous Crime of 1933.
CONFIRMED FEDERAL DOCUMENT
1930 United States Census, Licata, Place: Tampa, Hillsborough, Florida; Roll 320, pp. 12B & 13A, District 74, Image 213.0 NOTE: Census records state Victor Licata was 16 years old in 1930, indicating he was probably 19 in 1933 when he committed the murders, not 21 as stated in most newspaper accounts.
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