In this period before broadcasting, the citydwellers relied for their news on multiple daily papers, each publishing a few times a day and issuing extras for special events. In addition, late-breaking bulletins were distributed to key gathering points throughout the city, such as newspaper offices, other major centers of business, and hotels.

This dispatch was posted at the Palmer House, then in its third building, on the southeast corner of State and Monroe Streets, where the fourth and current structure is also located. The message does not hesitate to combine editorial comment with the news. It reads: "Trap fell. Spies Parson [sic] Fischer & Engle [sic] expiate their crime & the law vindicated." On the right hand side, one can make out the words "Postal Telegraph Cable Company" printed on the other side.

The four men did not "expiate their crime" easily. One part of the "script" that failed to go according to plan was that the fall did not break their necks and kill them quickly. They all died by slow strangulation, their bodies going into spasmodic convulsions. Their pulses, measured and announced by physicians by their sides, ebbed very slowly. It took a full six minutes for Spies to become the first to die, while the last, Adolph Fischer, lasted almost two minutes more.