Josef Kolínský, according to the judgement, was sentenced to death after having committed "a very well-prepared wilful murder with robbery, with an unusual cynicism and brutality". On January 10th, 1922, Prague - Braník, Kolínský and his brother murders a watchmaker and goldsmith, Josef Ledecký, his wife and their daughter, Victoria. Josef Kolínský was injured tree times during the WW I. He was also medaled for bravery. Since the WW I, Kolínský has been suffering from a confirmed phthisis. He lives in a one-room flat in Prague - Podolí. He lives there together with his mother and his younger brother, Jan. When committing the crime, he has been unemployed for nine months and one week earlier, his brother Jan was fired from his job too.
They enter the watchmaker and goldsmith's shop tree times. Although they have a hammer and an iron rod on them, they become afraid. On Friday, March 10th, 1922, they enter the shop again pretending they have some watch to be repaired. The shop is a part of the house, where Josef Ledecký lives. When being bent and examining the watch, he is stroke to death with the hammer and the rod. They attack a fifty-year-old watchmaker's wife in the kitchen. They hit her head with the hammer and the rod. They cover the dead body with a feather-bed as they "do not want to look at the smashed head". In the hall, after a short fight, they murder a twenty-two-year old watchmaker's daughter, who has just come home from a walk. As they become sick of the blood all over, they go to cellar looking for some spirits intending "to have a drink". They find just some bottles of kerosene. They spill it allover the house spreading the handels with it in order to confuse the service dogs. They steal watches and jewellery left there by customers of Ledecký's and 26,500 Kč in casch. They hide the plunder by the Vyšehrad walls. The found bank-books are burnt even in the house. The journalists and general public are disgusted.
The brothers are arrested four days later. Police inspector Zdeněk Bubník from Prague is one of the policemen involved in the police investigations. Bubník is said to beat and use ill use. Kolínkský blames on him. Václav Neubert, the goldsmith from the Old Town, helps to find the murderers. Josef Kolínský offers him several silver watch-shells. Václav Neubert is sure that "the goods" come from Josef Ledecký and thus tells the police inspector Zdeněk Bubník, including the name of the person trying to sell "the goods". The name "Josef Kolínský" is found in the police file - stealing...
When being arrested, the brothers' coats smell of kerosene. There are even blood-stains on the Josef Kolínský's coat. Jan Kolínský is the first to plead guilty. He also reveals the place where the stolen money, watches and jewellery are hidden. Josef Kolínský pleads guilty nine days later telling that it was him who had organized it. Later, Josef Kolínský assumes resposibility for his brother, Jan, although the autopsy proves that there had to be two people to murder Ledecký and his family. The attacks with the hammer and the rod came at the same time with the same intensity but not from the same place. Some other witnesses speak for the benefit of the younger and healthy Jan Kolínský, too. The two brothers are sentenced to death. The then President T. G. Masaryk mitigates Jan Kolínský's sentence to life imprisonment. Josef Kolínský's petition for mercy is turned down.
The Josef Kolínský execution takes place in the Criminal Court Presidium courtyard, Charles Square, Prague, on January 24th, 1923, at 07:00 a. m. The court accord seventy permissions for journalists. The forensic surgeons are present too. Josef Kolínský is brought short before 07:00 a. m. Smoking a cigarette, he waves the journalists asking the executioner, Leopold Wohlschlager, to send the President the following words: "Mr. President, this is my last speech. May you live and govern for a long time from now on!" During the execution, three policemen, protecting the public order there, go off. The executioner himself is rather nervous too. When saying "Justice is meted out to the offender!" his voice wabbles. He makes an appology to the judges for that. After that, the audience, holding knives in their hands, rush to the scaffold to nip off "a lucky chip". The audience is pushed away from the courtyard. If not, they will "nip off" even the rope. It was the second execution in the post-war Czechoslovakia.© Miloslav Jedlička, D. C. L.