The Chicago Syndicate: On This Day
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Showing posts with label On This Day. Show all posts
Showing posts with label On This Day. Show all posts

Monday, September 10, 2018

Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb Found Guilty of the Murder of Robert Franks in Chicago in #CrimeofTheCentury #OnThisDay

On May 21, 1924, two brilliant, wealthy, Chicago teenagers attempted to commit the perfect crime just for the thrill of it. Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb kidnapped 14-year-old Bobby Franks, bludgeoned him to death in a rented car, and then dumped Franks' body in a distant culvert.

Although they thought their plan was foolproof, Leopold and Loeb made a number of mistakes that led police right to them. The subsequent trial, featuring famous attorney Clarence Darrow, made headlines and was often referred to as "the trial of the century."

Who Were Leopold and Loeb?

Nathan Leopold was brilliant. He had an IQ of over 200 and excelled at school. By age 19, Leopold had already graduated from college and was in law school. Leopold was also fascinated with birds and was considered an accomplished ornithologist. However, despite being brilliant, Leopold was very awkward socially.

Richard Loeb was also very intelligent, but not to the same caliber as Leopold. Loeb, who had been pushed and guided by a strict governess, had also been sent to college at a young age. However, once there, Loeb did not excel; instead, he gambled and drank. Unlike Leopold, Loeb was considered very attractive and had impeccable social skills.

It was at college that Leopold and Loeb became close friends. Their relationship was both stormy and intimate. Leopold was obsessed with the attractive Loeb. Loeb, on the other hand, liked having a loyal companion on his risky adventures.

The two teenagers, who had become both friends and lovers, soon began committing small acts of theft, vandalism, and arson. Eventually, the two decided to plan and commit the "perfect crime."

Planning the Murder

It is debated as to whether it was Leopold or Loeb who first suggested they commit the "perfect crime," but most believe it was Loeb. No matter who suggested it, both boys participated in the planning of it.

The plan was simple: rent a car under an assumed name, find a wealthy victim (preferably a boy since girls were more closely watched), kill him in the car with a chisel, then dump the body in a culvert.

Even though the victim was to be killed immediately, Leopold and Loeb planned on extracting a ransom from the victim's family. The victim's family would receive a letter instructing them to pay $10,000 in "old bills," which they would later be asked to throw from a moving train.

Interestingly, Leopold and Loeb spent a lot more time on figuring out how to retrieve the ransom than on who their victim was to be. After considering a number of specific people to be their victim, including their own fathers, Leopold and Loeb decided to leave the choice of victim up to chance and circumstance.

The Murder

On May 21, 1924, Leopold and Loeb were ready to put their plan into action. After renting a Willys-Knight automobile and covering its license plate, Leopold and Loeb needed a victim.

Around 5 o'clock, Leopold and Loeb spotted 14-year-old Bobby Franks, who was walking home from school.

Loeb, who knew Bobby Franks because he was both a neighbor and a distant cousin, lured Franks into the car by asking Franks to discuss a new tennis racket (Franks loved to play tennis). Once Franks had climbed into the front seat of the car, the car took off.

Within minutes, Franks was struck several times in the head with a chisel, dragged from the front seat into the back, and then had a cloth shoved down his throat. Lying limply on the floor of the back seat, covered with a rug, Franks died from suffocation. (It is believed that Leopold was driving and Loeb was in the back seat and was thus the actual killer, but this remains uncertain.)

Dumping the Body

As Franks lay dying or dead in the backseat, Leopold and Loeb drove toward a hidden culvert in the marshlands near Wolf Lake, a location known to Leopold because of his birding expeditions. On the way, Leopold and Loeb stopped twice. Once to strip Franks' body of clothing and another time to buy dinner.

Once it was dark, Leopold and Loeb found the culvert, shoved Franks' body inside the drainage pipe and poured hydrochloric acid on Franks' face and genitals to obscure the body's identity.

On their way home, Leopold and Loeb stopped to call the Franks' home that night to tell the family that Bobby had been kidnapped. They also mailed the ransom letter.

They thought they had committed the perfect murder. Little did they know that by the morning, Bobby Franks' body had already been discovered and the police were quickly on the way to discovering his murderers.

Mistakes and Arrest

Despite having spent at least six months planning this "perfect crime," Leopold and Loeb made a lot of mistakes. The first of which was the disposal of the body.

Leopold and Loeb thought that the culvert would keep the body hidden until it had been reduced to a skeleton. However, on that dark night, Leopold and Loeb didn't realize that they had placed Franks' body with the feet sticking out of the drainage pipe. The following morning, the body was discovered and quickly identified.

With the body found, the police now had a location to start searching.

Near the culvert, the police found a pair of glasses, which turned out to be specific enough to be traced back to Leopold. When confronted about the glasses, Leopold explained that the glasses must have fallen out of his jacket when he fell during a birding excavation. Although Leopold's explanation was plausible, the police continued to look into Leopold's whereabouts. Leopold said he had spent the day with Loeb.

It didn't take long for Leopold and Loeb's alibis to break down. It was discovered that Leopold's car, which they had said they had driven around all day in, had been actually been at home all day. Leopold's chauffeur had been fixing it.

On May 31, just ten days after the murder, both 18-year-old Loeb and 19-year-old Leopold confessed to the murder.

Leopold and Loeb's Trial

The young age of the victim, the brutality of the crime, the wealth of the participants, and the confessions, all made this murder front page news.

With the public decidedly against the boys and an extremely large amount of evidence tying the boys to the murder, it was almost certain that Leopold and Loeb were going to receive the death penalty.

Fearing for his nephew's life, Loeb's uncle went to famed defense attorney Clarence Darrow (who would later participate in the famous Scopes Monkey Trial) and begged him to take the case. Darrow was not asked to free the boys, for they were surely guilty; instead, Darrow was asked to save the boys' lives by getting them life sentences rather than the death penalty. Darrow, a long-time advocate against the death penalty, took the case.

On July 21, 1924, the trial against Leopold and Loeb began. Most people thought Darrow would plead them not guilty by reason of insanity, but in a surprising last minute twist, Darrow had them plead guilty.

With Leopold and Loeb pleading guilty, the trial would no longer require a jury because it would become a sentencing trial. Darrow believed that it would be harder for one man to live with the decision to hang Leopold and Loeb than it would be for twelve who would share the decision. The fate of Leopold and Loeb was to rest solely with Judge John R. Caverly.

The prosecution had over 80 witnesses that presented the cold-blooded murder in all its gory details. The defense focused on psychology, especially the boys' upbringing.

On August 22, 1924, Clarence Darrow gave his final summation. It lasted approximately two hours and is considered one of the best speeches of his life.

After listening to all the evidence presented and thinking carefully on the matter, Judge Caverly announced his decision on September 19, 1924. Judge Caverly sentenced Leopold and Loeb to jail for 99 years for kidnapping and for the rest of their natural lives for murder. He also recommended that they never be eligible for parole.

The Deaths of Leopold and Loeb

Leopold and Loeb were originally separated, but by 1931 they were again close. In 1932, Leopold and Loeb opened a school in the prison to teach other prisoners.

On January 28, 1936, 30-year-old Loeb was attacked in the shower by his cellmate. He was slashed over 50 times with a straight razor and died of his wounds.

Leopold stayed in prison and wrote an autobiography, Life plus 99 Years. After spending 33 years in prison, 53-year-old Leopold was paroled in March of 1958 ​and moved to Puerto Rico, where he married in 1961.

Leopold died on August 30, 1971 from a heart attack at age 66.

Thanks to Jennifer Rosenberg.

Friday, June 22, 2018

James "Whitey" Bulger, Notorious Boston Mobster, is Arrested #OnThisDay in 2011

On this day in 2011, after 16 years on the run from law enforcement, James “Whitey” Bulger, a violent Boston mob boss wanted for 19 murders, is arrested in Santa Monica, California. The 81-year-old Bulger, one of the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted” fugitives, was arrested with his longtime companion, 60-year-old Catherine Greig, who fled Massachusetts with the gangster in late 1994, shortly before he was to be indicted on federal criminal charges. At the time of his 2011 arrest, there was a $2 million reward for information leading to Bulger’s capture, the largest amount ever offered by the agency for a domestic fugitive.

Born in Massachusetts in 1929 and raised in a South Boston housing project, Bulger, who earned his nickname as a child for his light blond hair, served time in federal prison in the 1950s and early 1960s for bank robbery. Afterward, he returned to Boston, where he eventually built an organized-crime empire with partner Stephen Flemmi. At the time the two men were involved with drug trafficking, extortion, murder and other illegal activities, they were serving, since the mid-1970s, as FBI informants, providing information about rival mobsters in return from protection from prosecution.

After a rogue FBI agent tipped off Bulger that he would soon be arrested on racketeering charges, Bulger disappeared in December 1994. (John Connolly, the agent who tipped off Bulger, was later convicted on charges of racketeering, obstruction of justice and second-degree murder.) Despite an international manhunt, Bulger eluded authorities for over a decade and a half. Then, on June 20, 2011, the FBI employed a new tactic by airing a public service announcement focused on Greig, Bulger’s companion. The ad, which aired in cities across the U.S. where the mobster was thought to have once lived or have contacts, was aimed at female viewers who might have seen Greig, who underwent a variety of cosmetic surgeries, at a beauty parlor or doctor’s office. Based on one of the tips they received, FBI agents staked out Bulger and Greig, then going by the names Charles and Carol Gasko, and arrested them without incident at the modest, two-bedroom Southern California apartment building they had long called home.

Law enforcement officials found weapons, fake identification and more than $800,000 stashed in Bulger’s apartment. He later revealed to them that during his years on the lam he had traveled frequently to such places as Boston, Mexico and Las Vegas, armed and sometimes in disguise.

After their arrest, Bulger and Greig were returned to Boston. In June 2012, as part of a plea agreement, Greig was sentenced to eight years in prison for helping Bulger remain in hiding. The following summer, Bulger went on trial, and on August 12, 2013, he was convicted in a federal court in Boston of 31 of the 32 counts against him, including participating in 11 murders and other criminal acts.

On November 14, 2013, a federal judge sentenced Bulger to two life terms in prison plus five years.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Bugsy Siegel Gunned Down in 1947 #OnThisDay

A drive-by shooter unloads nine rounds through the front window of a Beverly Hills home, instantly killing notorious gangster Bugsy Siegel. A founder of the small but promising Las Vegas casino scene, the pal of movie stars and moguls, and head of the Mafia's west coast syndicate, is dead at 41.

Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel was an American mobster. Siegel was known as one of the most "infamous and feared gangsters of his day". Described as handsome and charismatic, he became one of the first front-page celebrity gangsters. He was also a driving force behind the development of the Las Vegas Strip. Siegel was not only influential within the Jewish mob but, like his friend and fellow gangster Meyer Lansky, he also held significant influence within the American Mafia and the largely Italian-Jewish National Crime Syndicate.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Sheriff's Posse Mob Beats Nonviolent Civil Rights Demonstrators at Edmund Pettus Bridge in #Selma #OnThisDay #BloodySunday

On March 7, 1965, a march by civil rights demonstrators was violently broken up at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, by state troopers and a sheriff’s posse mob in what came to be known as “Bloody Sunday.”

Sheriff's Mob Posse Beats Nonviolent Civil Rights Demonstrators at Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma

Dallas County Sheriff Jim Clark had issued an order for all white males over the age of 21 to report to be deputized. When the marchers crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge, they encountered a wall of state troopers and the posse. Rev. Hosea Williams tried to speak to the officer in charge, but was told there was nothing to discuss. Seconds later, the troopers began shoving the demonstrators, knocking many to the ground and beating them with nightsticks. Televised images of the brutal attack roused support for the Selma Voting Rights Campaign.

Thursday, October 05, 2017

The Dalton Gang Met Their Match in Coffeyville, Kansas, On This Day, in 1892 #Gangsters

On this day in 1892, the famous Dalton Gang attempts the daring daylight robbery of two Coffeyville, Kansas, banks at the same time. But if the gang members believed the sheer audacity of their plan would bring them success, they were sadly mistaken. Instead, they were nearly all killed by quick-acting townspeople.

For a year and a half, the Dalton Gang had terrorized the state of Oklahoma, mostly concentrating on train holdups. Though the gang had more murders than loot to their credit, they had managed to successfully evade the best efforts of Oklahoma law officers to bring them to justice. Perhaps success bred overconfidence, but whatever their reasons, the gang members decided to try their hand at robbing not just one bank, but at robbing the First National and Condon Banks in their old hometown of Coffeyville at the same time.

After riding quietly into town, the men tied their horses to a fence in an alley near the two banks and split up. Two of the Dalton brothers-Bob and Emmett-headed for the First National, while Grat Dalton led Dick Broadwell and Bill Powers in to the Condon Bank. Unfortunately for the Daltons, someone recognized one of the gang members and began quietly spreading the word that the town banks were being robbed. Thus, while Bob and Emmett were stuffing money into a grain sack, the townspeople ran for their guns and quickly surrounded the two banks. When the Dalton brothers walked out of the bank, a hail of bullets forced them back into the building. Regrouping, they tried to flee out the back door of the bank, but the townspeople were waiting for them there as well.

Meanwhile, in the Condon Bank a brave cashier had managed to delay Grat Dalton, Powers, and Broadwell with the classic claim that the vault was on a time lock and couldn’t be opened. That gave the townspeople enough time to gather force, and suddenly a bullet smashed through the bank window and hit Broadwell in the arm. Quickly scooping up $1,500 in loose cash, the three men bolted out the door and fled down a back alley. But like their friends next door, they were immediately shot and killed, this time by a local livery stable owner and a barber.

When the gun battle was over, the people of Coffeyville had destroyed the Dalton Gang, killing every member except for Emmett Dalton. But their victory was not without a price: the Dalton’s took four townspeople to their graves with them. After recovering from serious wounds, Emmett was tried and sentenced to life in prison. After 14 years he won parole, and he eventually leveraged his cachet as a former Wild West bandit into a position as a screenwriter in Hollywood. Several years after moving to California, he died at the age of 66 in 1937.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Carlo Gambino was born on this day in 1902

Full Name: Carlo Gambino
Nationality: Italian-American

Profession: Gangster
Why Famous: Known for being boss of the Gambino crime family, which is still named after him today.

Born: August 24, 1902
Birthplace: Palermo, Sicily, Italy

Died: October 15, 1976 (aged 74)
Cause of Death: Heart attack

Carlo Gambino: King of the Mafia.

On This Day in Crime History in 1939

After being convicted of violating federal anti-trust laws, in the rabbit-skin fur industry, in New York, in 1936, the leader of "Murder, Incorporated", Louis "Lepke" Buchalter, disappeared.

After an extensive man-hunt over the next few years, he finally gave himself up to columnist Walter Winchell. Winchell then turned him over to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, in front of a Manhattan Hotel.

It was later revealed that Buchalter had been hiding in New York City during his entire time as a fugitive.

Murder Inc.: The Story of The Syndicate Killing Machine

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Bugsy Siegel, the glamour-loving gangster, was shot down in Beverly Hills on this day in 1947

A drive-by shooter unloads nine rounds through the front window of a Beverly Hills home, instantly killing notorious gangster Bugsy Siegel.

A founder of the small but promising Las Vegas casino scene, the pal of movie stars and moguls, and head of the Mafia's west coast syndicate, is dead at 41.

No one was charged with the murder, and the crime remains officially unsolved.


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