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

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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 – Murder 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

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