The trial of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti for the Braintree, Massachusetts, shoe factory robbery and murders is the most politically charged murder case in the history of America. .
On April 15,1920, a paymaster and his guard were carrying a factory payroll of $15,776 through the main street of South Braintree, Massachusetts. Two men standing by a fence suddenly pulled out guns and fired on them. The gunmen snatched up the cash boxes dropped by the mortally wounded officers and jumped into a waiting automobile. On the evening of May 5, 1920, a police trap that had been set for a suspect in the Braintree crime, two Italians, Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, were obtained. Both originally were not under any suspicion; however, both men were carrying guns at the time of their capture. When questioned by the authorities, they lied. As a result they were held for the South Braintree crimes. Earlier, Vanzetti was also charged with a holdup attempt that had taken place on December 24, 1919, in the nearby town of Bridgewater. .
The arrest of Sacco and Vanzetti had concurred with the period of the most intense political repression, the "Red Scare." While neither Sacco nor Vanzetti had any previous criminal record, they were long recognized by their communities as anarchists. Their trial latest roughly six weeks and the jury found Sacco and Vanzetti guilty of robbery and murder on July 14,1921. In an attempt to gain a new trial, their defense made many appeals, and petitions to both state and federal courts. This merely delayed these proceedings until 1927. Their lawyer, Moore, decided it was not possible to defend Sacco and Vanzetti against the criminal charges of murder and robbery. Instead, he would try to expose the prosecution for judging them solely on being anarchists. On April 9, 1927, after all attempts in the Massachusetts courts had failed, Sacco and Vanzetti were sentenced to death.