this day in crime history: january 22, 1957

On this day in 1957, George Metesky was arrested at his home in Waterbury, CT. Metesky was suspected of being the “Mad Bomber” that had terrorized New York during the 1940s and 50s. In all, he had planted thirty-three bombs. Twenty-two of the bombs exploded, injuring fifteen people. His motive: denial of a worker’s compensation claim against Consolidated Edison in 1931. Metesky’s arrest was the result of an early use of profiling techniques by police. He was found legally insane and committed to a mental institution in 1957. He was released in 1973, and died in 1994 at the age of 90.

Further reading:

NPR: A 16-Year Hunt For New York’s ‘Mad Bomber’

Wikipedia: George Metesky

Time: An article from 1957 titled “George Did It”

this day in crime history: november 16, 1957

EdGein

On this day in 1957, hardware store owner Bernice Worden went missing. Worden’s son contacted police and relayed his suspicions that a local man named Ed Gein may have had something to do with it. Gein had been in the store the previous evening and promised to return the following day to purchase some antifreeze. The last receipt made out by Bernice Worden before she had disappeared was for antifreeze.

Police searched Gein’s property, where they found Worden’s decapitated body hung upside down in a shed. One witness described it as “dressed out like a deer.” A search of Gein’s house turned up human noses, human female heads, masks made from human skin, a belt made of female human nipples and various other grisly accessories. They also found the head of Mary Hogan, a tavern owner who had been missing since 1954.

Police arrested Gein. He eventually confessed to killing Hogan and Worden. He claimed the other body parts were obtained through grave robbery. There was evidence at local cemeteries to back up Gein’s claim that he had robbed nine graves. He told police that he specifically targeted recently deceased women who bore a resemblance to his late mother.

Gein’s bizarre behavior apparently began after the death of his domineering mother (sound familiar?) when he decided that he wanted to become a woman. He had used the corpses to create a “woman suit” so he could pretend to be female (that one rings a bell too, doesn’t it?).

At his arraignment, Gein pled not guilty by reason of insanity. He was found not competent to stand trial and was committed to a maximum security hospital for the criminally insane. In 1968, Gein’s doctors declared him competent to stand trial. He was tried and convicted of the murder of Bernice Worden, the only murder for which he was ever convicted. He was returned to a secure mental hospital, where he died in 1984 at the age of 77.

Further reading:

Murderpedia – Edward Gein

ThoughtCo – Ed Gein

Wikipedia – Ed Gein

this day in crime history: november 14, 1957

On this date in 1957, New York State Police in Apalachin, NY interrupted a meeting of about 100 mafia luminaries from the US, Canada, and Italy. The meeting was held at the home of Joseph “Joe the Barber” Barbara, boss of the Scranton-Wilkes Barre, PA mob family. Over 60 of the attendees were detained by police, with an estimated 40 more fleeing into the woods.

Further reading:

Apalachin, NY

Gangsters, Inc. – Mob Meeting at Apalachin: The Big Barbeque

Wikipedia – Apalachin Meeting

this day in crime history: october 25, 1957

madhatter

On this day in 1957, mob chieftain Albert Anastasia was gunned down while getting a haircut in New York City. Anastasia, born Umberto Anastasio in Calabria, Italy, was head of what would come to be known as the Gambino crime family. His resume also included being “Lord High Executioner” of the mob hit squad that had been dubbed Murder, Inc.

On the morning of October 25th, Anastasia arrived at the Park Sheraton hotel to get a haircut. After he sat down in the barber chair, his bodyguard conveniently went for a stroll. Minutes later, two gunmen walked into the barber shop and shot Anastasia several times. The killers walked out the door and disappeared into mid-morning traffic.

The killers were never caught, and several of Anastasia’s former allies–including his underboss, Carlo Gambino–were thought to be behind the hit. The Park Sheraton, back when it was known as the Park Central, was also the place where gambler Arnold Rothstein (architect of the 1919 Black Sox scandal) was murdered in 1928.

Further reading:

American Mafia History – Albert Anastasia

FBI – Albert Anastasia

Utica Observer-Dispatch (October 25, 1957) – Killers Cut Down Albert Anastasia In Barber’s Chair

this day in crime history: june 26, 1957

perpwalk

On this day in 1957, Margaret Harold was out for a drive near Annapolis, MD with her boyfriend, a US Army Sergeant. The couple was run off the road by a man in a green Chrysler. When the other driver got out of the car, he confronted them and shot Harold in the face. The soldier managed to escape. He ran to a nearby house to call police.

When police arrived, they had little to go on. While the boyfriend was calling police, the killer had removed Harold’s clothing and sexually assaulted her. After searching the area, they discovered an abandoned building that had apparently been broken into. Violent porn and autopsy photos had been left there.

In January 1959, Carroll and Mildred Jackson and their two daughters disappeared in Virginia. Their abandoned car was found on the side of a road, but there was no indication of what may have happened to the family. In early March, the body of Carroll Jackson was found in a ditch near Fredericksburg, VA. He had been shot in the back of the head. The body of one of his daughters was found underneath his.

On March 21, 1959, The bodies of Mildred Jackson and one of her daughters were found near Annapolis, MD. Both bodies showed signs of torture and sexual assault. A search of the area found the abandoned building thought to the the hideout of Margaret Harold’s killer. Inside the building, they found a button from Mildred Jackson’s dress. At that point, police were convinced the two crimes were related.

Police in Fredericksburg received an anonymous letter naming Melvin Rees, a local a salesman, as the killer. But Rees vanished before they could question him. In 1960, police received another anonymous letter, apparently from the author of the first letter, informing them that Rees had surfaced in Arkansas. The letter writer, later identified as Glenn Moser, had previously worked with Rees. Moser had been creeped out by a conversation he had had with Rees the day before the Jackson family disappeared. He also could place Rees near Annapolis on the date of the Harold murder.

Police arrested Rees. When they searched his house, they found a note describing the Jackson family murders. Margaret Harold’s boyfriend later identified Rees as her killer. Melvin Rees was tried and convicted in Maryland. He was sentenced to life in prison. He was then tried and convicted in Virginia, where he was sentenced to death. His sentence was later commuted to life.

Melvin Rees was suspected in four other murders near the University of Maryland, but police were never able to link him to the crimes. He died in prison in 1995.

Further reading:

Murderpedia – Melvin Rees

Wikipedia – Melvin Rees

this day in crime history: january 22, 1957

On this day in 1957, George Metesky was arrested at his home in Waterbury, CT. Metesky was suspected of being the “Mad Bomber” that had terrorized New York during the 1940s and 50s. In all, he had planted thirty-three bombs. Twenty-two of the bombs exploded, injuring fifteen people. His motive: denial of a worker’s compensation claim against Consolidated Edison in 1931. Metesky’s arrest was the result of an early use of profiling techniques by police. He was found legally insane and committed to a mental institution in 1957. He was released in 1973, and died in 1994 at the age of 90.

Further reading:

NPR: A 16-Year Hunt For New York’s ‘Mad Bomber’

Wikipedia: George Metesky

Time: An article from 1957 titled “George Did It”

this day in crime history: november 16, 1957

EdGein

On this day in 1957, hardware store owner Bernice Worden went missing. Worden’s son contacted police and relayed his suspicions that a local man named Ed Gein may have had something to do with it. Gein had been in the store the previous evening and promised to return the following day to purchase some antifreeze. The last receipt made out by Bernice Worden before she had disappeared was for antifreeze.

Police searched Gein’s property, where they found Worden’s decapitated body hung upside down in a shed. One witness described it as “dressed out like a deer.” A search of Gein’s house turned up human noses, human female heads, masks made from human skin, a belt made of female human nipples and various other grisly accessories. They also found the head of Mary Hogan, a tavern owner who had been missing since 1954.

Police arrested Gein. He eventually confessed to killing Hogan and Worden. He claimed the other body parts were obtained through grave robbery. There was evidence at local cemeteries to back up Gein’s claim that he had robbed nine graves. He told police that he specifically targeted recently deceased women who bore a resemblance to his late mother.

Gein’s bizarre behavior apparently began after the death of his domineering mother (sound familiar?) when he decided that he wanted to become a woman. He had used the corpses to create a “woman suit” so he could pretend to be female (that one rings a bell too, doesn’t it?).

At his arraignment, Gein pled not guilty by reason of insanity. He was found not competent to stand trial and was committed to a maximum security hospital for the criminally insane. In 1968, Gein’s doctors declared him competent to stand trial. He was tried and convicted of the murder of Bernice Worden, the only murder for which he was ever convicted. He was returned to a secure mental hospital, where he died in 1984 at the age of 77.

Further reading:

Murderpedia – Edward Gein

ThoughtCo – Ed Gein

Wikipedia – Ed Gein