29
Sep
14

this day in crime history: september 29, 1982

On this date in 1982, 12 year old Mary Kellerman of Elk Grove Village, IL took an Extra-Strength Tylenol capsule for a sore throat and runny nose.  Shortly after taking the capsule, she was found unconscious on the bathroom floor.  She was rushed to the hospital where she was pronounced dead.

That same day, 27 year old Adam Janus was rushed to the hospital after losing consciousness in his Chicago-area home.  Attempts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful.  He died shortly after arriving at the hospital.  A heart attack was suspected as the cause of death.  That evening, Janus’s family gathered at his home to mourn.  His brother and sister-in-law, both suffering from headaches, each took Extra-Strength Tylenol from a bottle they had found on the kitchen counter.  Both soon collapsed on the floor.  An ambulance was called and they were rushed to the hospital where they both died.

The sudden deaths of three family members led investigators to focus on poisoning as the cause of death.  Toxicology tests eventually showed that all three, as well as Mary Kellerman, had ingested large amounts of cyanide.  The Extra-Strength Tylenol was eventually identified as the source of the poison.  The public was alerted to the danger and a massive recall was instated by Johnson & Johnson (Tylenol’s manufacturer), but three more people in the Chicago-area had died by this time.  The other victims were Mary Reiner, Paula Prince, and Mary McFarland.

As the investigation continued, it became apparent that the five bottles that had caused the deaths (as well as three others that were discovered during the recall) were tampered with in stores, as all had not been manufactured in the same plant.  All of the poisoned capsules were found in the Chicago area.  Several suspects emerged, including a man who attempted to extort $1 million from Johnson & Johnson, but there was insufficient evidence to link them to the crime.

In recent years the FBI has shown renewed interest in James Lewis, the man who was convicted in the $1 million extortion attempt.  In January 2009, they searched his home in Massachusetts and took DNA samples from him and his wife.

In May 2011, the investigation began to focus on Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber. Kaczynski’s early crimes took place in the Chicago area, and his parents owned a home there at the time. The investigation remains open.

Further reading:

truTV – The Tylenol Terrorist

The Eighties Club – The Tylenol Murders

Wikipedia – Chicago Tylenol murders

28
Sep
14

this day in crime history: september 28, 1973

On this date in 1973, a bomb was detonated at the IT&T building in New York.  The device was placed in the company’s Latin American section.  It caused extensive damage to several offices, but no one was killed or injured.  Another bomb was detonated that day at IT&T’s Rome headquarters.  The Weather Undergound took responsibility for the bombings, which they claimed were in retaliation for the company’s role in the coup that took place in Chile earlier that month.

Further reading:

Wikipedia – List of Weatherman actions

26
Sep
14

this day in crime history: september 26, 1933

This one’s a two-fer. September 26, 1933 was a big day for crime stories.

MGKelly

On this date in 1933, George “Machine Gun Kelly” Barnes was arrested by FBI agents in Memphis, TN. Kelly, who was asleep when agents burst in on him, surrendered without incident.

Further reading:

Wikipedia – Machine Gun Kelly

Amsterdam Evening Recorder – “Machine Gun” Kelly, Notorious Desperado, Captured in Memphis

ISP

Also on this date in 1933, ten inmates escaped from the Indiana State Prison in Michigan City. The inmates took hostages using three pistols that had been smuggled into the prison. The escapees included Dillinger associates Harry Pierpont, Charles Makley, Russell Clark, and John Hamilton.

Further reading:

Wikipedia – Harry Pierpont

JohnDillinger,com – September 1933

26
Sep
14

friday movie quote

GinJoint

“Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine.”

-Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart), Casablanca (1942)

25
Sep
14

this day in crime history: september 25, 1959

On this date in 1959, Anthony “Little Augie Pisano” Carfano got rubbed out. Carfano, a Capo in the Genevose (formerly Luciano) crime family, had made the mistake of getting on the bad side of boss Vito Genevose. As if one fatal mistake wasn’t enough, rumor has it that Carfano was making a play for Meyer Lansky’s gambling action in Cuba.

Carfano was found dead in his car in Queens, shot twice. Also killed was Janice Drake, a former Miss New Jersey and the wife of comedian Alan Drake. She had made her own fatal mistake: going to dinner with the man who had pissed off two of the country’s most dangerous mobsters.

Further Reading:

Wikipedia: Anthony Carfano

Rick Porello’s AmericanMafia.com: Colletti & Drake: Women In the Wrong Place At the Wrong Time

History.com: This Day in History: Little Augie Pisano is murdered

Find a Grave: Janice Drake

23
Sep
14

12 monkeys – the series

In the comments from last week’s Friday Movie Quote, my friend Mike informed me that the movie 12 Monkeys is being adapted into a TV series for SyFy. As always, I’m really skeptical about remakes, reboots, and “re-imaginings.” I checked into the show. Most of the cast is unfamiliar, which is okay. But I noticed that Brad Pitt’s character — my favorite in the movie — has been changed into a female. Having a raving paranoid-schizophrenic character portrayed by a gal who looks like a fashion model isn’t promising. But, based on the trailer, that character doesn’t look to fill the same role in the series as in the movie. This makes sense, considering the way things turned out in the movie. And speaking of trailers, this one makes the show look like it has serious potential. I’ll definitely be giving it a go when it hits the airwaves.

22
Sep
14

this day in crime history: september 22, 1975

SJMoore

On this date in 1975, 45 year old Sara Jane Moore attempted to assassinate President Gerald Ford in San Francisco, CA.  The attempt–which came seventeen days after Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme tried to kill the President–was foiled by a bystander named Oliver Sipple (he’s the man on the left in the photo above, reaching for the gun).  Sipple, a former Marine and Vietnam veteran, grabbed the gun as Moore pointed it at President Ford.  The gun discharged, but the bullet missed the President.

Moore had previously been investigated by the Secret Service, but they concluded she was not a threat.  Well, nobody’s perfect, not even the feds.  She was arrested on an illegal weapons charge the day before the assassination attempt, but was released by the police.  I guess the local cops aren’t perfect either.

Sara Jane Moore was convicted of attempted assassination and sentenced to life in prison.  She was paroled on December 31, 2007 at the age of 77.

Further reading:

Time – “The Assailant: The Making of a Misfit”

Wikipedia – Sara Jane Moore




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