Juan Ignacio Blanco  


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Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Juvenile (17) - Robbery
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: July 26, 1911
Date of arrest: 2 days after
Date of birth: April 21, 1894
Victim profile: William Henry Jackson (wealthy broker)
Method of murder: Suffocated to death with a rag filled with chloroform
Location: New York City, New York, USA
Status: Sentenced to 20 years to life in prison in 1911. Served 68 years and 245 days in various New York state prisons. He was released on May 7, 1980, at the age of 86. Died in May 1987

Paul Geidel (April 21, 1894 - May, 1987) was the longest serving American prison inmate whose sentence ended with his release. After being convicted of second-degree murder in 1911, Geidel served 68 years and 245 days in various New York state prisons. He was released on May 7, 1980, at the age of 86.

Early life and Murder

Born in Hartford, Connecticut to an alcoholic saloon keeper who died when Geidel was 5, the boy spent much of his childhood in an orphanage. He dropped out of school at the age of 14 and worked in a series of menial jobs in Hartford and New York City hotels.

On July 26, 1911, Geidel decided to rob William H. Jackson, a wealthy broker, who was a guest at the Iroquois Hotel on West 44th Street in New York City where Geidel was working at the Iroquois as a bellhop. Geidel sneaked into Jackson's room, and suffocated him to death with a rag filled with chloroform. Geidel only made off with a few dollars.

Two days later, Geidel was arrested. He was subsequently convicted of second-degree murder and sent to prison for 20 years to life.


Geidel began his sentence at the Sing Sing prison. His sentence was shortened due to good behavior and he was nearing a possible parole hearing, but doctors then found Geidel to be legally insane in 1926. He was then moved to the Dannemora State Hospital for the Criminal Insane, where he was confined until 1972. He was then moved to the Fishkill Correctional Facility. Here Geidel lived in a unit designed for elderly inmates that more resembled a dormitory, rather than a prison.

As Geidel's tenure in prison went by, he developed a rapport with prison officials, who sometimes took the old man out to a baseball game, or other outing.

Geidel was granted parole in August 1974, but the now 80 year old inmate did not want to leave. Having lived in prison for 63 years--his entire adult life--and having no family, he believed that he would not make it on the outside. He chose to remain in prison for almost six more years.


On May 7, 1980, Geidel left Fishkill, having served the longest prison sentence in American history. "No publicity please," Geidel said with a smile to reporters as he was leaving the facility. He is believed to have lived out the remainder of his days in a Dutchess County nursing home.



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