Served: 24 years
May 3, 1898 to April 15, 1922
Frank was born February 28, 1865. He joined the Cincinnati Police Department on November 10, 1898. Within ten years, he was detailed to Detective Headquarters on September 24, 1908 and appointed Acting Detective March 16, 1909. At this time in the Department’s history, the official rank of Detective had been eliminated and qualified personnel were more easily appointed to Acting Detective based on talent and commitment – and more easily demoted if that commitment waned. Detective Hueftlein’s talent and commitment were never questioned.
During April 1922, Cincinnati detectives were cooperating with the authorities across the river in an effort to run down the man who had held up a Ludlow bank messenger. On April 15, 1922 word reached Police headquarters that the suspect was at the office of Miss Amanda Blymyer, Notary Public, at 23 Garfield Place negotiating a bill of sale of a stolen automobile. Detectives Hueftlein and Albert Guethlein responded.
The two detectives entered the office and saw the man, later identified as Noble “Red” Holt (27), sitting in a rocking chair in the center of the office. They ordered him to stand up. He started to stand; then he jumped up, pulled a revolver, and opened fire on the detectives. He shot Detective Hueftlein in the chest – through his heart – and abdomen and Detective Guethlein twice in the left arm – shattering his upper and forearm bones. Holt bolted through the open door.
Detective Guethlein went to a phone to call for assistance but could not reach for it with his left arm. He then reached for his left arm with his right and momentarily thought that it had been shot off. He finally bumped the telephone receiver off the hook with his head and called the police.
He then went to Detective Hueftlein who was unable to talk, but was mouthing direction to Detective Guethlein to call a wagon.
As Holt fled the building, officers were quickly in pursuit during which Holt was able to reload only two cartridges in his revolver. Patrolman Albert Weiss caught up to him at 6th and Vine Street. Holt pushed his revolver against Weiss’s body and pulled the trigger, but the hammer fell on an empty chamber. Mounted Lieutenant Charles Wolsifer galloped up and leapt from his mount lunging for the revolver. Holt’s resistance was overcome and he was arrested.
Both detectives were taken to General Hospital. Detective Hueftlein, transported by Patrol 3, arrived at 2:34 p.m. and died one minute later at 2:35 p.m.
Detective Hueftlein left a wife of 12 years, Emily (43), and a son, Joseph (25). He was buried on April 18, 1922, at 3:30 p.m., in Spring Grove Cemetery.
Holt was injuried in the arrest and had a festering gunshot wound in his leg. He was taken to the hospital by Lieutenant Charles Wulsifer and a couple of other officers. On the way, when asked why he had shot the detectives, he replied that he thought they were the “box car dicks” who had shot him several weeks before in the leg (possibly Detectives Bell and Schaefer in a shootout where the shooter was not identified).
Noble Holt was charged and, during June 1923, tried for 1st Degree Murder. The case was presided over by Judge Stanley Roettinger and prosecuted by Assistant Hamilton County Prosecutors Louis H. Capelle and Nelson Schwab. Holt was defended by attorneys James G. Stewart and Henry B. Street.
The jury was charged at the end of a multi-day trial on June 8, 1923. There was no doubt of his guilt, but one juror held out for two days for mercy. Finally, on Saturday, June 19, 1923 the jury came back with a conviction for 1st Degree Murder and a death sentence. Little more than one year after the murder, on April 27, 1923, he was electrocuted.
Detective Guethlein’s arm would be crippled for life. He retired with the disability on January 1, 1923 and became a broker. He died of a heart attack in 1949.
If you have information, artifacts, archives, or images regarding these officers or the incident, please contact the Greater Cincinnati Police Museum at Director@police-museum.org.
This narrative was revised April 12, 2015 by Cincinnati Police Lieutenant Stephen R. Kramer (Retired), Greater Cincinnati Police Historical Society President. All rights are reserved to him and the Greater Cincinnati Police Historical Society.