Gov. Alvan T. Fuller held an Aug. 3 hearing at the State House on a petition to commute the death penalty sentence for the carbarn trio convicted of murdering James A. Ferneau during the 1925 robbery of the Boston and Middlesex Street Railway office in Waltham (Boston Globe, Aug. 4, 1926, p. 1, 7).
After the hearing Fuller said he directed George M. Kline, State Commissioner of Mental Disease, to have John J. Devereaux examined by two alienists not connected with the case.
During the hearing, friends and relatives of the three men – Devereaux, John J. McLaughlin, and Edward J. Heinlein – spoke in favor of clemency.
Rep. Birmingham said he had known McLaughlin for 30 years and Devereaux for four years. Birmingham said that Devereaux did not appear normal to him, a condition he blamed on his war experience.
Birmingham said he believed that the three men must have been drinking at the time of the robbery.