this day in crime history: december 13, 2000

Texas7

On this date in 2000, seven inmates escaped from the John B. Connally Unit, a maximum security prison near Kenedy, TX. The inmates, who came to be known as the Texas Seven, overpowered corrections officers and civilian employees in the prison maintenance shop. They stole clothes, guns and a vehicle that they used to make their getaway.

After switching cars, the gang went to Pearland, TX, where they robbed a Radio Shack on December 14th. Five days later, they robbed a sporting goods store in Irving, TX. Their haul included cash, guns and ammunition. Before making their getaway, the gang was confronted by Irving Police Officer Aubrey Hawkins. Hawkins was ambushed by the gang, who shot him eleven times, then ran him over as they fled the scene of the crime. Hawkins later died of his injuries.

The gang made their way to Colorado, where they purchased a motor home and set up house at a trailer park in Woodland, CO. On January 21, 2001, the owner of the trailer park, tipped off by a friend who saw the group profiled on America’s Most Wanted, called police and reported the whereabouts of the fugitives.

A police SWAT team was deployed to the park. Officers cornered five of the men. Four of them eventually surrendered after a brief standoff. The fifth committed suicide rather than going back to prison.

Two days later, police tracked the two remaining fugitives to a hotel in Colorado Springs. After a short standoff, during which the escaped convicts gave a telephone interview to the news media, the men surrendered.

All six of the surviving escapees were tried and convicted of capital murder. Three of them have been executed. The remaining three are currently on death row at the Polunsky Unit prison in West Livingston, TX.

Further reading:

Wikipedia – Texas Seven

The Dallas Morning News‘Texas 7’ escapee executed for killing Irving police officer

Irving Police – Officer Aubrey Wright Hawkins #830

Advertisements

this day in crime history: december 11, 1985

On this date in 1985, Hugh Scrutton, a computer store owner in Sacramento, CA was killed when a bomb loaded with nails and splinters exploded in the parking lot of his store. Scrutton was the ninth victim, and first fatality, in the 17 year bombing spree of the man who turned out to be the nuttiest of nutty professors: Ted Kaczynski, a.k.a. the Unabomber. By the time he was arrested in 1994, Kaczynski had planted sixteen bombs. Two of the bombs were defused before they could explode. The other fourteen bombs killed three and injured eleven. He is currently serving a life sentence (without the possibility of parole) in federal prison.

Further reading:

Wikipedia – Theodore Kaczynski

FBI – The Unabomber

The Unabomber’s Manifesto

this day in crime history: december 9, 1935

walter-liggett

On this date in 1935, newspaperman Walter Liggett was murdered in an alley behind his home in Minneapolis. Liggett, editor and founder of a weekly newspaper called The Midwest American, published stories that exposed the links between government officials and organized crime. Liggett persisted, even after multiple warnings that included an assault and a trumped-up prosecution for a rape that never happened. On December 9th, Liggett’s enemies took action to silence him once and for all: they shot and killed him as he returned home from a shopping trip that evening. Liggett’s wife and 10 year old daughter witnessed the shooting. Mob boss Isadore “Kid Cann” Blumenfeld and one of his associates were identified as the shooters, but a (possibly intentionally) sloppy prosecution prevented their conviction.

Further reading:

“Hunt Gang in Slaying of Crusading Editor”Brooklyn Daily Eagle, December 10, 1935

Stopping The Presses: The Murder Of Walter W. Liggett, by Marda Liggett Woodbury

Wikipedia – Walter Liggett

Wikipedia – Kid Cann

this day in crime history: december 8, 1980

loozer

On this date in 1980, former Beatle John Lennon was shot and killed outside his apartment building in New York City by a pathetic loser named Mark David Chapman. Chapman was arrested and charged with second degree murder. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to twenty years to life in prison. He first came up for parole in 2000. His parole was denied. He has been denied at every subsequent parole hearing. He is eligible again in August 2018.

Further reading:

Crime Museum – The Murder of John Lennon

Wikipedia – Death of John Lennon

this day in crime history: december 4, 1875

On this date in 1875, William “Boss” Tweed, former head of the Democratic machine in New York City, escaped from jail and fled to Cuba. Tweed was facing hard time for his role in fleecing New York taxpayers of millions of dollars (some estimates run as high as $200 million). Almost captured in Cuba, Tweed moved on to Spain. He was arrested there in 1876 by a police officer who reportedly recognized him from a political cartoon by Thomas Nast. He was returned to the United States by Spanish authorities. He died of pneumonia in the Ludlow Street Jail in 1878.

Further reading:

Wikipedia – William M. Tweed

Biography.com – Boss Tweed

Friday Movie Quote from 1/1/10

this day in crime history: december 2, 1993

On this date in 1993, Medellin Cartel boss Pablo Escobar was shot and killed by Colombian police. Escobar, who had been doing less-than-hard time in a luxury prison, busted out when he found out he was being moved to a prison without a hot tub. I guess having enemies brought to the prison so he could torture and murder them was more than the Colombian government was willing to tolerate. Wonders never cease. After Pablo went on the run, the Colombian police formed a special unit called the Search Bloc. The Search Bloc was tasked with only one mission: get Pablo. Which they did. With a little help from US military and intel types.


Further reading:

Wikipedia – Pablo Escobar

Killing Pablo, by Mark Bowden