April 14 - 1928: Steamer grounds in Cape Cod Canal with 400 aboard

1971: Jai Alai stopped on Cape Cod. 2005: McCowen charged with murder
The steamer "New York". From Wikimedia Commons.

1928: The New York grounds on Cape Cod Canal

Boston steamer grounds with 400 passengers aboard

On this day in 1928 the steamer New York of the Eastern Steamship Company, bound for New York from Boston, went aground in the Cape Cod Canal just east of the Sagamore Bridge at about 8:30PM.

There were 400 passengers aboard including the treasurer of the steamship company.

Captain Harold Colbath, General Manager of the canal, said that the steamship was not in danger and would probably be freed by the next high tide around 2AM the next morning.

Colbath attributed the grounding to high wind, but the steamship captain, Robert H. Allen, declined to comment.

Below is a old postcard showing the "New York" passing through the Cape Cod Canal.

1971: Elected officials oppose plan to bring jai alai to Cape Cod

Proposal would authorize the game from June to September

On this day in 1971, Cape Cod state legislators and the Barnstable County sheriff expressed their opposition to a proposal bringing the game of jai alai, accompanied by gambling, to the Cape.

The proposal was filed by two legislators from western Massachusetts, Reps. Raymond M. LaFontaine, D-Gardner, and Steve T. Chmura, D-Ludlow, and heard before the Joint Committee on Government Regulations. Rep. Howard C. Cahoon, R-Harwich, said most Cape Codders think jai alai is "unneeded, undesirable, unnecessary and unwanted," according to United Press International. Rep. John Bowes, R-Osterville, feared that legalizing jai alai would worsen "the snarling traffic jams" on Cape Cod in summer. "I don't know why everyone is ducking the moral issue," Barnstable County Sheriff Donald P. Tulloch told UPI. "Any business that takes in money and guarantees nothing in return is diametrically opposed to the principles of any religion I know."

The proposal would authorize the game on weekdays from June to September with jai alai operators paying a $100 a day license fee to the host communities and a graduated tax to the state on money wagered. Proponents said the measure would provide tax relief to towns where the game was played and up to $5 million annually to the state treasury. Another bill before the Legislature would legalize jai alai across the state on a local option.

2005: Christopher McCowen charged  with Christa Worthington's murder

Crime had occurred three years earlier

On this day in 2005, state police arrested 33-year-old trash hauler Christopher McCowen at his Hyannis apartment and charged him with the rape and murder of former fashion writer Christa Worthington more than three years earlier at her secluded home in Truro.

Police arrested McCowen shortly after DNA evidence proved he had sexual contact with Worthington, 46, which McCowen had previously denied.

At the end of a five-week trial in the fall of 2006, a Barnstable County jury convicted McCowen of first-degree murder (his mugg shot on right), aggravated rape and aggravated burglary. A conviction of first-degree murder in Massachusetts triggers a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole and an automatic appeal.

In January 2007 McCowen's lawyer, Robert George, filed a motion alleging racial bias on the part of at least three jurors during the trial and deliberations. Judge Gary Nickerson agreed to hold a hearing on the motion but rejected it earlier this month after hearing testimony from jurors, an expert witness and a relative of one of the jurors.

Nickerson also rejected a defense motion alleging the prosecution withheld evidence.


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