Killer Made Infamous by Dylan Is Dead

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 10, 2009 11:44 AM CST

(Newser) – William Zantzinger, the white Maryland tobacco farmer immortalized in a Bob Dylan song for the 1963 killing of a black Baltimore barmaid, has died. Zantzinger, inebriated from a night on the town, struck Hattie Carroll with a cane when she was slow bringing him a bourbon. Carroll, a 51-year-old mother of 11 children, died from a brain hemorrhage 8 hours later. Zantzinger was convicted of manslaughter and served 6 months. Dylan recorded "The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll" in 1964.

"What happened then was a seminal moment in Maryland's civil rights history," said a Hagerstown lawyer whose father assisted in the prosecution. He has the lightweight cane used in the attack and plans to donate it to a museum. Zantzinger was generally unapologetic for his role in Carroll’s death, insisting he meant no harm. “I had no other purpose than to have a good time,” he said at the trial.