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Claus  Von  Bulow

(His Warmack Connection)

 

   Robert Nathaniel Warmack no doubt left in his youth for St. Louis, Missouri. During his early years he fell in love and married a Missouri girl. in 1899 they had a daughter named Annie Laurie. Robert Nathaniel Warmack died in the early thirties, depth of the depression. Annie Laurie's mother a woman of great style and personality had no intention of hiding her beautiful daughter in suburban St. Louis.

   It was on these travels that a Pittsburgh bachelor, was turning up with remarkable frequency at places she and her mother, Mrs. R.N. Warmack were visiting. Soon thereafter they were married in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia in 1927. He was head of the Columbia Gas and Electric Company which was valued at $700,000,000. Three years after their marriage they had a daughter, Martha, called Sunny. In 1935 George Crawford died and Annie Laurie took her infant daughter and moved from Pittsburgh, George Crawford's home town.

   With part of the seventy-five million left to her by Crawford she purchased a large estate in Greenwich, Connecticut. This Property was known as Tamberlane. Mother and child and Grandmother Warmack spent summers together in Connecticut and then moved back into Mrs. Warmack's 990 5th Avenue, New York apartment. This way Sunny could attend the Chapin Girls School in New York during the winter season, Sunny made her debut at Tamberlane in 1949.  Eventually Sunny had a romance with a Russian translator at the U.N. He was from a noble family. To break it up her grandmother and Annie Laurie took Sunny to Europe. Accompany was Russel Aitken, a long time beau of Annie Laurie whom she married in 1957.

   Sunny met Prince Alfie Von Auersperg in Austria, they married and lived in Europe for quite a few years from 1957 to 1965. They had a daughter and a son by this marriage. At one point Sunny made a trip to London and met Claus Von Bulow at a dinner party. A few years later she divorced her Prince and came back to America to raise her children. She eventually married Claus Von Bulow in 1966.

   She and Von Bulow purchased a second country home in 1971. This property was in addition to Tamerlane and a New York Apartment. The new property was a twenty room mansion at Newport, Rhode Island. It was Clarenden Court and required considerable restoration. There also was a Cabana at Baileys Beach. In 1967 Sunny and Claus had their only child, Cosima which absorbed a lot of Sunny's interest and enthusiasm.

   For 13 years Claus and Martha "Sunny" Von Bulow had been the bulwarks of Rhode Island's blueblood colony, but by 1979 their marriage was over in all but name.  Around Christmas of that year Sunny slipped into a coma at their oceanside mansion.  Claus dithered over summoning medical attention and only prompt mouth-to-mouth resuscitation revived the ailing woman.  Sunny seemed as baffled as everyone else as to the cause.  Almost exactly one year later, on December 21, 1980, she again lapsed into a coma and was transferred to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City, where she remained comatose.  A family inspired investigation led to the indictments against Von Bulow, a Danish-born aristocrat, charging that he had twice attempted to murder Sunny by injecting her with insulin.
 

   Because of its glittering cast, the trial attracted global attention.  The court house in Newport, Rhode Island, jammed with reporters and TV cameras, reflected this when testimony began February 2, 1982.  Prosecutor Stephen Famiglietti argued that with a $ 14-million inheritance, the house, and a beautiful young mistress all at stake, Von Bulow had every reason to want Sunny dead. Describing the delay in requesting medical help, Famiglietti said: "He generally conducted himself in a manner not consistant with that of an innocent man."

   Had it not been for Maria Schrallhammer, Sunny Von Bulow's secretary, the prosecution would not have had a case.  Making no attempt to conceal her loathing of the defendant, Schrallhammer first outlined the tension that existed between the Von Bulows, then told of entering a closet in February 1980 and finding a black bag that contained several prescriptions vials made out to the accused.  This set her thinking.  The preceding Thanksgiving she had found similar vials labeled insulin.  Schrallhammer, puzzled because no family member had a history of diabetes, had shown the vials to Prince Alexander von Auersperg, Sunny's son by her first marriage, remarking, "insulin.. What for insulin?"  There seemed to be no reason for it to be around-unless, said Famiglietti, Von Bulow wanted to murder his wife.  (When doctors examined Sunny they found abnormally high amounts of insulin in her system.)  Auesperg's subsequent discovery of a hypodermic needle encrusted with insulin in yet another black bag merely strenghtened her story.

   After what had been the longest trial in Rhode Island history, the jury then set a record of its own by taking the longest time ever to reach its verdict, nearly six days.  Many were surprised at the delay-the case seemed so open and shut-but on March 16,1982, Claus Von Bulow was found guilty.  Seven weeks later Judge Thomas Needham passed sentance of 20 years imprisonment.

New Trial, New Evidence

    Freed on bail, Von Bulow engaged the services of noted Harvard law professor Alan M. Dershowitz to organize his appeal.  Under Dershowitz's skilled probing, revelations came to light suggesting the strong likelihood that Sunny's coma was self-induced, as friends cataloged a lifetime of drug and alcohol abuse, interspersed with mammoth food binges, a potentially lethal combination for a known reactive hypoglycemic (someone who suffers from low blood sugar).  Even more revealing, Maria Schrallhammers's memory was seriously flawed.  Dershowitz found some notes made at the time by family attorney Richard Kuh, which unveiled grave inconsistencies in her various statements to police.  These and other descrepancies convinced the Rhode Island Supreme Court, on April 27,1984, to reverse the convictions and order a new trial.

   Two days short of a year later it began.  Apart from the counsel-Marc DeSisto had taken over as chief prosecutor- the state's case was essentially unchanged.  But this time the defense team mounted a far more vigorous campaign.  They were led by Thomas Puccio, fresh from his success as a prosecutor in the ABSCAM trials and now in private practice.  He went after Schrallhammer on the vials.  "The first time you spoke Mr. Kuh you didn't tell him about the insulin. Is that Correct?"   

   "That could be. That could very well be, since I was not concerned so much with the insulin."

   In fact, Puccio established that Schrallhammer had not mentioned insulin to anyone, not until hearing the doctors had found insulin in Sunny's system.  Turning to the vials found at Thanksgiving, Puccio extracted a grudging admission from the witness that she had no idea what they contained because, as she had told Kuh at the time, the labels had been scraped off.  It was a telling blow.

   Alexander von Auersperg, locator of the insulin-incrusted needle, also came under pressure.  Puccio focused on a family meeting held shortly after the discovery.  "One of the things you discussed at that meeting was a desire on the part of some of the people present to pay your stepfather some money to have him renounce any interest in your mother's estate. Isn't that right?"

   Again Kuh's contemporaneous notes gave the witness no escape.  He sheepishly nodded. "That's correct," virtually admititting the existence of a family plot to usurp Von Bulow.

   Blood-sugar expert, Dr. George Cahill, also was forced to recant some of his former testimony.  In a  three-hour grilling Cahill, now admitted that his previous assertion that only injected insulin could have produced Sunny's symptoms was false; certain prescription drugs might also produce a similar reaction.

   The evidence of the encrusted needle was annihilated by Dr. Leo Dal Cortivo, a forensic toxicologist.  He dismissed suggestions that it could have been used to inject Sunny, then gave the jury a practical demonstration why.  The hypodermic was of the type which employed a seperate vial, at no time would it come into contact with any insulin except through its hollow body and tiny aperture at the point.  Once the insulin was injected, any residue on the needle would be wiped off by the skin as it was being withdrawn.  Dal Cortivo's testimony obviously provoked speculation as to how the needle might have become incrusted.  One possible solution was that it had been deliberately dipped into insulin.  This theory, raising as it did the spector of Von Bulow being framed, was not one which the defense actively persued.  They didn't need to. Earlier, with the prosecution faltering, Judge Corrine Grands had almost granted the defense a mistrial, conceding that she was"holding this case together with baling wire."

   As in the first trial Claus Von Bulow maintained a lofty silence and did not take the witness stand.  Furious family members angrily denounced this as an act of cowardice but other than a certain callous infidelity there was little that the defendant had to answer for.  The jury members clearly thought so. On June 10, 1985, they acquitted Von Bulow on all charges.


   Meanwhile Prince Alexander von Auersperg received forty-five million inheritance from Annie Laurie (Crawford) Aitken and Princess Annie Laurie (Ala) Kniessel received the same. Their half sister Cosima Von Bulow who was to receive thirty million from her maternal grandmother was disinherited because she sided with her father during the legal battles.

  What happened subsequently to Sunny's life is well documented in Good Housekeeping Magazine, April and May issues of 1983. Also in two hard cover books, possibly at your public Library, "The Von Bulow Affair", by William Wright and "Reversal of Fortune", by Allan W. Dershowitz. Also in the Rhode Island State Court records of two sensational trials in 1982 and 1985.

Sunny's Ancestors

Descendants of William Seignor Warmack

Generation No. 1

 William Seignor Warmack, was born March 14, 1773 in Virginia, and died December 19, 1838 in Goodlettsville, Davidson Co., Tennessee. He married Milicent Martin Winchester Abt. 1801. She was born 1772 in Guilford Co., North Carolina, and died March 10, 1852 in Goodlettsville, Davidson Co., Tennessee.

Children of William Warmack and Milicent Winchester are:

 Mathew Warmack, born August 07, 1802 in Virginia; died June 06, 1864.

 

Generation No. 2

 Mathew Warmack  was born August 07, 1802 in Virginia, and died June 06, 1864.   He married Elizabeth Hackney    November 09, 1825. She was born Abt. 1806, and died December 1860.

Children of Mathew Warmack and Elizabeth Hackney are:

 Thomas Warmack, born Abt. 1832; died December 06, 1919.

 

Generation No. 3

 Thomas Warmack,  was born Abt. 1832, and died December 06, 1919. He married Nancy Shriver. She was born Abt. 1840, and died August 21, 1915.

Child of Thomas Warmack and Nancy Shriver is:

Robert Nathaniel Warmack, born Abt. 1863; died December   1924  in St. Louis, Missouri.

 

Generation No. 4

 Robert Nathaniel Warmack was born Abt. 1863, and died December 1924 in St. Louis, Missouri. He married Martha Sharp December 16, 1890 in Gibson Co., Tennessee. She was born Abt. 1872.

Child of Robert Warmack and Martha Sharp is:

  Annie Laurie Warmack, born Abt. 1899 in Georgia.

 

Generation No. 5

 Annie Laurie Warmack,  was born Abt. 1899 in Georgia. She married (1) George Washington Crawford 1927. He was born 1861 in Emlenton, Pennsylvania, and died December 1935. She married (2) Russell B. Aitkin  in New York City, New York.

Child of Annie Warmack and George Crawford is:

  Martha "Sunny" Crawford.

 

Generation No. 6

 Martha "Sunny" Crawford,   She married (1) Prince Alfie von Auersperg.,  He was born in Austria. She married (2) Claus Von Bulow

Children of Martha Crawford and Prince Auersperg are:

  Princess Annie Laurie Auersperg,  She married Franz Kneisel

  Prince Alexander Auersperg, 

 

Child of Martha "Sunny" Crawford and Claus Von Bulow is:

  Cosima Von Bulow,

 

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