© 2024
Prairie Public NewsRoom
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Insanity Plea


A prisoner of the Jamestown State Hospital made a surprising statement on this day in 1936. Charles Marratto, the convicted murderer of Fargo grocer Peter Stewart, confessed to feigning insanity in hopes of a transfer from the penitentiary at Bismarck to the institution in Jamestown. The convict believed that an escape from the hospital would be easier than from the prison, but was upset to discover that the hospital personnel watched him even more closely than the prison guards. Marratto made his confession to Dr. J. Carr, the superintendent at Jamestown, in hopes of a return transfer to Bismarck. The twenty-nine-year-old inmate had become a model prisoner in the few weeks that he had spent in the hospital, but added in his statement that he missed the 25¢ that he was paid for his work each day in the penitentiary.


Fargo Forum, Morning Ed. June 5, 1936: p. 6.