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Some Bad Liquor

Philadephia Inquirer on 08/24/1947 on pages 1 &4B.

2 Brothers Die, 3d Felled; Poison Liquor Blamed

  An investigation was launched by the Coroner's office yesterday following the death of two brothers after they had drunk what probers believed was poison liquor.   A third brother, suffering symptoms similar to those of the first two, was removed to Philadelphia General Hospital during the height of the probe.


  The dead brothers were Spencer and Roland Amlaw, 35, and 41 years old, respectively, who lived at 4044 Powelton Ave.   The former was dead when he was carried into the hospital late Friday night. The latter died shortly after 11 o'clock yesterday morning.   Six hours later, the third brother, Ralph, 32 became ill and police of the 29th St. and Lancaster Ave. station were summoned to the Powelton Ave. house.


  Following preliminary investigation, Deputy Coroner Edward Miller. Jr. said he learned the men had been drinking.  He said he presumed the liquor was bootleg.     Investigations, he said are being conducted to determine where the men obtained the liquor.   Both were taken to the hospital by police at the request of Mrs. Viola Goodman.   She told police she had been absent from home for several hours Friday night, and that when she returned she found Roland unconscious and Spencer semi-conscious.
"I can't see; I'm going blind," she quoted the latter as saying. "I can hardly get my breath."   A few minutes later he, too fell unconscious, and died while he was being moved to the hospital.   Deputy Coroner Ruby Kaplan, who aided in the preliminary investigation said he had found a nearly empty wine bottle in the house.   A small quantity of unidentified liquid in the bottle, he said had been sent to the city chemist for analysis.   Contents of the stomachs of the two dead men were sent to the chemist yesterday after autopsies performed by Dr. Elizabeth Wilson and Dr. Benjamin Gouley.  Neither would state a cause of death pending chemical analysis.   Roland Amlaw, police said, was an attendant at Orthopedic Hospital.  Ralph Amlaw worked as a laborer.  Their brother Spencer, separated from his wife and three children in Springfield, Mass., two years ago.   Ralph Amlaw told police his brothers brought the wine bottle home and he had several drinks from it.


Philadephia Bullentin on 08/24/1947 on page 1.

Third Man in Family Made Ill; Analysis of Whisky Ordered

 Police yesterday sought to track down the seller of whisky that killed two brothers and made a third ill.
Dead of alcoholic posioning were Spencer Amlaw, 35, and his brother Roland, 41.   A third brother Ralph, 32 was taken to Philadelphia General Hospital when he became ill yesterday afternoon.  Roland an attendant at Osteopathic Hospital and Ralph , who is employed as a truck driver's helper by a wholesale grocery firm, lived with thier widowed sister, Mrs. Viola Goodman, at 4044 Powelton Ave.  Spencer had a room at 220 S. 44th St. but got his meals at his sister's house.  A veteran of two years overseas in the Army, he was unemployed.  He returned to the city two years ago after separating from his wife, who lives with their three children at Springfield, Mass.

Didn't See the Seller

Ralph told detectives that he was home alone on Fiday when his two brothers came in with a bottle of whisky.  He said they did not tell him where they bought it.  Mrs. Goodman said that she and her daughter, Mrs. Dorothy Deneziano, 22 a divorcee, returned to the house at 7 P. M. Friday from work to find Spencer crawling around the floor and Roland on a couch. Ralph was talking a walk, she added.  The two in the house told her they felt ill and didn't want any supper.  Mrs. Goodman who was 45 yesterday reported.  She said it was not until 10 P. M. that Spencer suddenly became violently ill and screamed he had gone blind. She immediately called police, but her brother was dead when taken to Philadelphia General Hospital.

Said he was losing his sight.

According to the sister, Roland appeared to be all right until yesterday morning when he, too complained of losing his sight. He died an hour after being admitted to the hospital at 10 A.M. and treated for alcoholic poisioning.  The surviving brother, Ralph, complained of being ill at 3:30 P.M. yesterday Mrs. Goodman summoned police for the third time.  Her brother protested that he did not want to go to the hospital but detectives investigating the case insisted that he do so.  He was also treated for alcolholic poisioning and his condition was described as fair.  Lieutenant Ervin Mock, in charge of the Fifth Detective Division, recovered a wine bottle containing a small amount of liquid and sent it to the City chemist for analysis.  Mrs. Goodman said she and her daughter found the bottle under the kitchen sink on Friday evening and had thrown it out.