Picture from this source.
Bing (or Carl, to his family) was a gifted skier, both in jumping and cross country, possibly in downhill, too. He was near the peak of the amateur US ranks from the early to mid 1920s. He often competed in Canada, as far away from his home in Berlin, NH as British Columbia.
On February 8, 1930, at the beginning of the Great Depression, he was in the town of Sydney, Nova Scotia, out of work. He'd been there for a week or two. He was staying at a hotel there, looking for a job, down on his luck, and going by the name Emmett Sloane (p. 6), a childhood chum from Berlin. According to accounts from papers of the time, he got so desperate that he called a hotel employee into his room, saying he needed someone to replace a light bulb for him. Dublois Rehberg came from the desk, got on a ladder, and was promptly smacked on the back of the head by Anderson (with a length of iron which Anderson claimed under interrogation he’d found in a nearby alley), who left him bleeding on the bed after rifling his pockets, where he found . . . nothing.
He locked his victim in his room and went to the front desk, thinking to steal the money from the register or cash drawer, but there was another employee there. He hung around in the lobby for a bit, hoping for an opportunity, but the girl who came in to replace the other employee asked where Rehberg was, and Anderson decided he’d better skedaddle.
He walked out into a memorable snowstorm that was playing havoc with the region, and began to follow the train tracks, which, providing the principal thoroughfare of transportation, were the earliest cleaned off. As night began to fall, he decided to seek shelter in a lumber camp, slogging through the drifting snow, where he was warmed up and given something to eat.
Meanwhile, back at the hotel, a cook had heard groaning coming from room 9, where he’d been staying. She figured it was “Sloane,” and that he’d been drinking. She later passed by the room, and heard the moaning again, and finding the door locked, had it opened by the manager, who called the police. There was blood all over the bed.
They got Rehberg to the hospital, shaved his head, got his wound sutured up, but after regaining consciousness long enough to finger “Sloane,” slipped away and died in the early evening.
At the lumber camp, Anderson identified himself by the name Brown, claiming that he’d been on the hockey team at McGill. They got him dry clothes and something to eat. One of the hands told the newcomer that it was too bad the radio didn’t work, and Anderson asked to see it. He fixed it by monkeying around with the tubes, and they were listening to a local station when they got the news of the murder and a description of the suspect and his pin-striped suit . . . which matched what “Sloane” had on when he arrived. One of his hosts then walked out to an outbuilding with a phone and called the sheriff. Due to the snow, the sheriff (or chief inspector, or whatever they call them in Canada) and his deputy set out in a sleigh and after several hours collected their suspect. The guys at the lumber operation insisted on giving him some heavier warm, dry clothes and boots so he wouldn’t freeze on the way to the hoosgow. In his haste to get away, he’d left his belongings at the hotel, including a bloody shirt that he’d stuffed into his travel bag.
It was so cold and wet on the way that the police and their prisoner sometimes got out of the sleigh to walk alongside just to warm up. When they finally got “Sloane” to the station, they asked for a statement, after giving him some rum to warm up with. That was later a point of contention between the defense and the prosecution, the defense claiming that it was not cricket to get testimony via plying a suspect with intoxicants. Nevertheless, their captive is said to have confessed and explained why he’d attacked Rehberg.
After his conviction, his lawyer tried to appeal on the grounds that the confession was improperly obtained, and also on grounds that “Sloane” was legally insane. Apparently, there were people in Berlin, NH, particularly from his ski club, who were willing to claim that he had been messed up by head injuries sustained while skiing and jumping. It was only after he was convicted that Emmett Sloane revealed his actual identity, and the US papers claimed that after being informed of his appeal being denied Lena Anderson, his mother, took it so hard that she was admitted to the hospital and not expected to recover. All the accounts in the US noted his service to his country on the US Olympic Ski Team (though I can't find any information on his having been on that squad) and that he’d set an Eastern US record of 190 feet while ski jumping in Brattleboro only five years earlier, in 1925. For her part, his mother claimed that he’d never been right after an operation he’d undergone as a child. The defense team got a local dentist to take X-rays of his cranium, which were introduced along with blood samples as part of the pleadings on appeal.
The appeal was denied, principally because the defense was able to argue that Anderson’s actions had involved reasoned planning. He was sentenced to death, and you can read the account of one of the jail guards who was assigned to his case here, where I got most of this information (supplemented with what newspaper stories I could find on the Internet that weren't behind a pay-wall). The guard, one James MacKillop, felt that Anderson did commit the crime, but intended rather to injure Rehberg than to kill him. The experience of seeing his body after the hanging made him an opponent, not of the death penalty, but of the method of execution.
MacKillop’s account states that apart from the visit of a cousin on the eve of his execution, and the petition to the court in Ottawa by his former friends in Berlin, NH, Anderson not only didn’t receive any other visitors, but received not so much as a phone call. Taken altogether, the evidence suggests that this was a young man who really did feel “up against it” as he told the police interrogator after he was taken. He’d had his moment of glory several years before, but one couldn’t really make a living on the ski circuit back then. It seems to me likely that he checked in under an assumed name, not because he arrived at the hotel contemplating a robbery, but because he felt a failure and didn’t want to be identified. It doesn’t seem from any of the accounts that he was a wanted man in the US or Canada before then. It’s kind of haunting to try to imagine what must have been going through his head as he walked down those tracks in that blizzard, on the lam.
Nowadays, with all that’s gone on in the NFL, we are sensitive to the dangers that head injuries pose to athletes. It could be that his friends were right, and that his judgment had been impaired by crashes. It seems that he hadn’t really kept in touch with his former friends and teammates very much in the last few years of his life, and that withdrawal would be consistent with repeated head injury. It’s possible, too, that his mom was right. It wouldn’t have been uncommon for a child to have been overanaesthetized at the time, though we don’t know what that surgery was for from any of the accounts that I could find.
He was familiar enough with Canada, from his skiing in competitions there, that he seems to have been able to pass as Canadian, when he wanted to, it seems, and it’s possible, too, that he found himself there because prohibition, which wasn’t rescinded in the US until 1933, wasn’t in effect there. In other words, he may also have been an alcoholic, which may have had something to do with the cook’s supposition that she was hearing “Sloane” groaning in the room where Rehberg lay bleeding to death. It’s all speculation.
He was buried in an unmarked grave with other executed inmates, though apparently some people years after the fact seemed to recall that his remains were dug up and repatriated to the US.
Tragic story, any way you slice it—particularly for DuBlois Rehberg, of whom we know nothing but that he was the night desk man at a hotel in Sydney, NS when he was murdered . . . and this, which shows that he was the eldest of eleven children, would have been 18 had he lived eleven more days, and was already married:
Husband: Julius Peter Rehberg
Born: 9 September 1875 at: L'Ardoise, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia Married: at: Died: 25 May 1955 at: L'Ardoise, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia Father:George Julius Reibergh Mother:Alexanderine Ida Berthier Other Spouses: PEDIGREE
Wife: Mary Louisa Bona
Born: 1881 at: Died: 19 May 1982 at: L'Ardoise, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia Father: Mother: Other Spouses: PEDIGREE
Name: Joseph Wlter Rehberg Born: Abt 1907 at: L'Ardoise, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia Married: at: Died: at: Spouses: PEDIGREE
Poor kid. I hope he got home all right.