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 2016.

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

friday movie quote

cher

“I think… no, I am positive… that you are the most unattractive man I have ever met in my entire life. You know, in the short time we’ve been together, you have demonstrated every loathsome characteristic of the male personality and even discovered a few new ones. You are physically repulsive, intellectually retarded, you’re morally reprehensible, vulgar, insensitive, selfish, stupid, you have no taste, a lousy sense of humor and you smell. You’re not even interesting enough to make me sick.”

-Alexandra Medford (Cher), The Witches of Eastwick (1987)

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

this day in crime history: november 29, 1933


On this date in 1933, the bound and mutilated body of outlaw Verne Miller was found just outside Detroit, MI. Miller, the chief suspect in the Kansas City Massacre, was a decorated World War I veteran and former lawman. After a short stint as sheriff of Beadle County, SD, Miller turned to a life of crime. He started out in bootlegging, then moved on to robbery. Eventually he wound up as a trigger man for organized crime. The list of people with motives to kill him was long, but Miller’s murder was never solved.

Further reading:

Wikipedia: Vernon C. Miller

FBI Famous Cases – Kansas City Massacre /”Pretty Boy” Floyd

Vern Miller—Sheriff, Moonshiner, Hit-man

Lawman to Outlaw: Verne Miller and the Kansas City Massacre, by Brad Smith

Public Enemies: America’s Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933-34, by Bryan Burrough

this day in crime history: november 27, 1934

On this date in 1934, Lester Gillis, better known as George “Baby Face” Nelson (and don’t even think about calling him “Baby Face” to his baby face) died after being shot by FBI agents near Barrington, IL. Nelson was shot multiple times in a gun battle that also resulted in the deaths of FBI Inspector Samuel Cowley and Special Agent Herman Hollis. Nelson’s body was later found in a ditch, wrapped in a blanket.

Further reading:

FBI History – “Baby Face” Nelson

Crime Museum – Baby Face Nelson

Wikipedia – Baby Face Nelson

FBI Hall of Honor – Samuel P. Cowley

FBI Hall of Honor – Herman E. Hollis

this day in crime history: november 26, 1933

On this date in 1933, the people of San Jose, CA decided to take the law into their own hands. Thomas Thurmond and John Holmes were being held in connection with the kidnapping and murder of 22 year old department store heir Brooke Hart. The townsfolk, already enraged by the nature of the crime, whipped themselves into a frenzy when rumor spread that the two men were going to try an insanity defense. On the night of November 26th, they stormed the jail, broke down the door, and took the two men. The crowd brought them to a nearby park, where they hung each man from a tree. No one was ever prosecuted for the lynching. In fact, California Governor James Rolph, who had refused the Sheriff’s request for National Guard troops to hold off the mob, praised the action and promised to pardon anyone charged with the lynching.

Further reading:

Wikipedia: Brooke Hart

San Jose PBA: The Hart Murder and Lynching