Name: Leo Reno AKA Leopold Rheno

Age/DoB: Abt. 1881

County of Conviction: Lewis & Clark

Judicial District: 1st

Case No.: 1459

Date of Conviction:  Information filed on May 31, 1918

Sentence: 10-20 years




Allegations: That said on May 2, 1918: "These damn fools still think they can lick Germany, but all they get is a good licking in France every day and I feel sorry for the poor boys, that they have to go over there to be killed like sheep for they will never come back except as cripples and that will do them good for they haven't any business going over there and I would like for every damn one of them to be a cripple before they go over. I be damned if I would kiss this rotten flag. I would take it to the shithouse, that is where it belongs anyway. To hell with them, country, flag and President. I would fuck them all. I am an Austrian and they can all kiss my ass. Just wait until the Germans bring the black, white and red over here, then we will get even with them and then some. Then good night with the Stars and Stripes, Army, Navy and Mr. damned Wilson."


Case Details: He confessed to trying to escape from Lewis and Clark Jail after he had been jailed for 6 ½ months. On Dec. 28, 1918, he did escape but was found the next morning with injuries from jumping from a 14-foot stone wall. At trial, sole prosecution witness Eberhard von Waldru, a convicted felon who had worked as spy for Anaconda Copper Mining Co., said Reno had been inflamed by a photo in the Helena Independent on April 28, 1918, of the naked body of a French maiden in the Aisne sector, found by French forces, who had reportedly been spiked to the wall of a closet by a German bayonet. Entered Deer Lodge January 16, 1919. Served 27 months and died after being transferred to Warm Springs Hospital.


Personal Information:  At trial, said he had been born in Vienna, served 2 years in the 75th Austrian infantry and one year in the medical corps. Came to the US in 1901 and had lived in Helena most of the time since 1903, but had never applied for citizenship papers. Worked as a lunch counter cook at Black Eagle Saloon. He died from chronic nephritis on April 23, 1921 in Warm Springs. No known living relatives.


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