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Informer is published quarterly in electronic and print editions. Individual electronic issues are available for purchase through the Scribd.com document-sharing service. Individual print issues can be purchased through informer.magcloud.com.
THE HISTORY OF AMERICAN CRIME AND LAW ENFORCEMENT
ISSN Print: 1943-7803 Electronic: 1944-8139
Following the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre and the murders of John Scalise, Albert Anselmi and Joseph “Hop Toad” Giunta, Chicago gang boss Alphonse Capone found himself targeted by law enforcement as well as underworld rivals. His summer 1929 jailing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, following a brief visit to Atlantic City, New Jersey, is viewed by many historians as more than a coincidence. It is often referred to as a Capone-orchestrated plot to shield the crime boss. While the possibility of Capone’s involvement in setting up his own arrest remains a mystery, in this article, Thomas Hunt shows that Capone did not act like a willing prisoner and worked continuously to regain his liberty. This article was originally published in the October 2010 issue of Informer: The History of American Crime and Law Enforcement. Other related articles in that issue include: “Capone Gets Chatty with Schofield,” “FBI Investigates Tale of Counterfeit Capone,” “Controversy Still Surrounds Capone-Johnson Photo,” and “Eastern State Penitentiary: A Bastion of Solitude.” In addition the issue features an article on Pennsylvania Crime Syndicates, “A Room for Two: Winkeler and Moran” by Chriss Lyon, Philadelphia Mafia Membership Chart by Bill Feather, an interview with freelance archivist Arthur Nash, a review of Ron Chepesiuk’s new book Sergeant Smack, and book and television notes. The complete issue is available in electronic format through the Scribd service:
P.O. Box 1350 New Milford, CT 06776-1350
Issue 1, October 2010
Copyright © 2010
Article submissions and letters are always welcome. Publishers and authors of books related to True Crime History may send review copies along with press releases and author biographical information to Thomas Hunt P.O. Box 1350 New Milford, CT 06776-1350
and in print format through the MagCloud service:
The entrance of Moyamensing Prison in Philadelphia .
6 In August. Frank Yale. and Capone purchased an estate on Palm Island. during the winter of 1927-1928. as the gang chieftain. Police learned that Yale and Capone recently had quarreled over cross-country shipments of bootleg alcohol. 80 years later. His treatment in Philadelphia was a dramatic change from the customary question-and-release law enforcement pattern in Chicago. was murdered on July 1.1 Capone learned that similar cold receptions awaited him in New Orleans and St. gangland historians have speculated that Capone deliberately set up the arrest and imprisonment to escape the wrath of rival gangsters.2 While he met with some resistance as he arrived in Miami Beach. 1928. 1929. Philadelphia District Attorney informer-journal. The story of Capone’s Philadelphia arrest must begin years earlier. as the Los Angeles community clearly communicated its opposition to Capone’s presence. Florida. Petersburg. It was Capone’s first prison term.OCTOBER 2010 INFORMER 3 Never before imprisoned. but the suspect was far away at Palm Island at the time. Through the more than eighty years since the event. The two men pleaded guilty to possession of concealed deadly weapons the following day and were sentenced to serve a year in prison.3 A bit of negotiation. Prohibition agents and press at home.blogspot. A southern California vacation was cut short. Chicago’s underworld boss may have underestimated a weapons charge in 1929. facing underworld conflicts and increased scrutiny from police. crime historians still argue about Al Capone’s long stay in Philadelphia By Thomas Hunt On May 16.4 Old friends The following months were chaotic ones for the Italian-American underworld.com .5 Yale and Capone both were non-Sicilian vassals of rising New York Mafia figure Giuseppe “Joe the Boss” Masseria. and they suspected Capone involvement in the Yale killing. traveled the country in search of a safe and quiet haven. Chicago gang leader Al Capone and his bodyguard Frankie Rio were arrested as they exited a Philadelphia movie theater. to appease underworld higher-ups or to plan in guarded security the complete takeover of Chicago’s rackets. a Brooklyn gang leader and an old Capone buddy. a few well-placed political contributions and a pledge to keep his nose clean smoothed things over with authorities. the fact that south Florida was suffering economically worked in Capone’s favor.
was put on the spot on October 10. One week later. a subpoena was issued ordering Capone to testify on March 12 before a Chicago federal grand jury looking into the bootlegging racket and related violence. as Sicilian Mafia leaders from across the country gathered for a convention in Cleveland. Pasqualino Lolordo was shot to death inside his Chicago apartment. Capone attorneys William F. A Monaghan investigation of Max “Boo-Boo” Hoff. Capone firmly established his Florida alibi. The trip back to Chicago took him most of a year to complete. also was an old friend and business associate of Capone. If the convention was held as an official recognition of Masseria as the new boss of bosses.11 In early January. on September 7.14 A few days before the scheduled appearance. However. Capone’s Sicilian rival in the Windy City underworld. The document was served on February 27.13 Investigators were certain that Capone orchestrated the mass killing that became known as the St. 1929. “Bugs” Moran’s North Side gang. He was believed to be a Capone ally. Capone again was at Palm Island as seven men were murdered in the Chicago headquarters of George In spring 1929. Al Capone spent a few days in Atlantic City. boxing manager and reputed “king” of Philadelphia bootleggers.blogspot.4 INFORMER OCTOBER 2010 John Monaghan went to the press with allegations of an interstate criminal conspiracy.7 The following month. New Jersey. president of the local Unione Siciliana organization.10 It is uncertain whether Capone was at his new Palm Island estate in December 1928. Masseria had family in the city and would have had no need of hotel accommodations.S. Lolordo recently had succeeded Lombardo as Unione Siciliana president.9 D’Aquila’s death left Capone’s mentor Masseria the most powerful individual in the U. There were reports that Capone was seen briefly in the area. He was interviewed about the Yale murder by a visiting New York investigator at the office of Dade County Solicitor Robert Taylor. Lombardo. Capone probably would have been close by. found links between Hoff’s underworld network and Capone’s gang in Chicago. Valentine’s Day Massacre. as seems likely. Waugh and Benjamin Epstein appeared in Chicago federal court and asked for the hearing to be informer-journal. arresting twenty-three Mafiosi from various parts of the country. Chicago underworld figure Antonio Lombardo was shot to death. the evening of the much anticipated Miami Beach heavyweight prizefight between Jack Sharkey and Young Stribling. Neither Masseria nor Capone was observed when police raided Cleveland’s Hotel Statler on December 6. Mafia. was responsible for killing Lolordo. as he drank and chatted with guests.12 Massacre aftermath On February 14.com . Ohio. That afternoon.8 Reigning American Mafia boss of bosses Salvatore “Toto” D’Aquila. 1929. Authorities surmised that Joseph Aiello. Masseria’s primary rival within New York City.
Who called the meeting and who informer-journal. Capone was processed and released on a $5. Army physician.19 and a slightly smaller crowd at the house-party he threw on Palm Island after the bout.16 Capone made it back to Chicago in time for his questioning.21 Guests of honor Early in May.S. The warrant was served by Deputy U. Anselmi and Giunta were found under a blanket in the rear of an automobile abandoned at the roadside. Marshal Eric Glasser on March 27.S. Chicago authorities identified the victims as Scalise. police officers found three dead bodies on a quiet road in Hammond. Agents discovered that Capone had been seen away from his home regularly between midJanuary and early March.17 At the same time. Capone would be found immediately in contempt of court. Capone was summoned to Atlantic City for a three-day gangland meeting. but he was recently released on $50. The newest president of Chicago’s Unione Siciliana. including the St. Phillips stated his professional opinion that Capone remained physically fragile and would risk a return of pneumonia and possibly death if he left warm southern Florida and returned to Chicago in March.blogspot. If any objection was made to the examination. Anselmi and Giunta were preparing to betray him and throw their support behind Joseph Aiello.23 Seaside convention Soon after the bodies were discovered. Albert Anselmi and Joseph “Hop Toad” Giunta.18 He also appeared robust before about thirty-five thousand witnesses at the Sharkey-Stribling fight. Dr. at the Miami Jockey Club and the Hialeah Race Track.com .000 bail. the United States Bureau of Investigation (“Federal” became part of the Bureau’s official name in the mid1930s) was checking on the truthfulness of Dr. May 13 through 16. Indiana. Phillips’ affidavit. it became clear that federal prosecutors had as much interest in Capone’s income tax liabilities as they did in his racketeering activities. Giunta also had the distinction of being one of the twenty-three Mafiosi arrested December 6 at the Hotel Statler convention in Cleveland. With the help of his trusted bodyguard Frankie Rio.000 bond. The illness had kept Capone confined to his bed for six weeks. The three had been severely beaten and shot. according to the document. Though Capone had been out of his sick bed for about ten days.000 fine.S. During his wait. where his attendance was noted by TIME magazine. Others saw him as he traveled between Miami and the Bahamas during that time. District Court Judge James H. apparently in good health. Capone sponsored an elaborate banquet. Scalise and Anselmi were Capone enforcers. Authorities suspected them of involvement in a number of Capone-ordered murders. The guests of honor were three of his closest Sicilian allies. John Scalise. He also ordered that Capone be examined by a U.20 U. Wilkerson agreed to postpone the hearing but only for eight days. but he was kept waiting. Woodward reviewed the Bureau of Investigation’s report and issued a warrant charging Capone with contempt of court for sending false information about his health. Scalise’s remains had been thrown into a ditch. Anselmi and Giunta.22 In the early morning hours of May 8. Capone had determined that Scalise. which indicated that Capone had been “suffering with broncho-pneumonia pleurisy with effusion of fluid into the chest cavity” since January 13. Scalise was one of several Capone gangsters held by police in connection with the massacre.S. The charge was punishable by up to a year in prison and a $1. Valentine’s Day Massacre.15 U. The attorneys presented the court with an affidavit signed by physician Kenneth Phillips.OCTOBER 2010 INFORMER 5 postponed at least a month. The banquet was scheduled to confront and eliminate the traitors. just as Capone was completing a second questioning session by the grand jury. Witnesses spotted him. District Judge Charles E. The job of disproving Capone’s illness was almost too easy.
They made reservations on the next Chicago-bound train that evening – the Manhattan Limited. The city director of public safety.27 The conference appears to have been held at the President Hotel.S.29 They then decided to kill some time at a movie. other Chicago gang leaders and representatives of powerful east coast criminal organizations. They planned to drive to North Philadelphia and get on the afternoon Broad Way Limited train for Chicago.24 The meeting agenda is similarly mysterious.26 According to Jack McPhaul.6 INFORMER OCTOBER 2010 Enoch “Nucky” Johnson (left). The long way home Capone and Rio left Atlantic City by automobile on May 16. Bush saw it as peace conference for Chicago bosses. ordered Capone to answer for the crime. About fifteen miles outside of Philadelphia. and Johnny Torrio. The two men reached Philadelphia too late for their train. That was the fateful decision that brought them to the four-thousand-seat Stanley Theatre at the southwest corner of Nineteenth and Market Streets. representing national crime syndicate interests. Published accounts indicate that Enoch “Nucky” Johnson. Anselmi and Giunta stunned the underworld. served as host of the gathering.” 28No action was taken on that order. May 13. though there were rumors that Capone was provided temporary residence by a resident of the city’s fashionable Chelsea District. Cuthbert issued an order “to pick up Al Capone if he is found in the city and arrest him as an undesirable.30 Their stay in Philadelphia should have lasted no longer than a few hours.25 Francis X. As Capone and Rio stepped out of the informer-journal. provided protection for an underworld convention that brought Chicago’s Al Capone to the President Hotel in spring 1929. but events caused it to stretch to most of a year. Historian Humbert Nelli and Capone biographer John Kobler viewed the conference as an early attempt to coordinate the activities of regional crime groups and put an end to violent gangland conflicts.com . W.blogspot. Likely attendees included retired Chicago racketeer Johnny Torrio. their car broke down and required repair. Capone’s visit did not escape public notice. Atlantic City Republican leader and overseer of local bootlegging and gambling rackets. Cuthbert. attended it remain mysteries. about four miles from the North Philadelphia Station. Atlantic City’s criminal overlord. it was a disciplinary hearing: the murders of Scalise. and Capone was observed attending an Atlantic City boxing match on Monday night. was alerted to the Chicago gang boss’s presence the next day. The Hearst newspapers published a photo of Capone strolling along the Boardwalk in the compa- ny of Nucky Johnson.
Capone said the meeting was attended by Bugs Moran and other Chicagoans “whose names I don’t care to mention. Carney made no effort to disguise his disdain for informer-journal. eighteen years ago – pardon me. Schofield assured Capone that he would get “a square deal” at a hearing the next day.”35 Major Lemuel B. Schofield. I’m a little twisted. Rio was not at all communicative. Philadelphia’s director of public safety. but Capone spoke with Schofield at length (see sidebar story) about racketeering and about the peace conference he and other Chicago gang leaders had just attended in Atlantic City. I was picked up there on suspicion of murder. Capone was processed as Alphonsus Capone of 2744 Prairie Avenue.com . They were placed under arrest for carrying concealed deadly weapons.”36 As the meeting concluded. Capone and Rio were brought to the city court of Police Magistrate Edward Carney38 for a preliminary hearing. The Chicago boss admitted he was arrested once for carrying a concealed weapon in Joliet. they were approached by two Philadelphia police detectives.31 Capone reportedly recognized Malone. New York.33 They were held initially in the lockup at Philadelphia City Hall. “Yes.blogspot.39 As he announced his decision. The judge decided to hold each defendant overnight on $35.000 bail – an amount he knew they could not immediately raise. also took the With some time to kill before their train for Chicago left the North Philadelphia Station (above). Capone responded. on a disorderly conduct charge. Al Capone and his bodyguard Frank Rio took in a movie at the Stanley Theater (below).”32 Questioned by the detectives. but I was discharged. Chicago. I was also arrested in Olean. Chicago. “Shooey. During the processing. James Malone and John Creedon. Frank Cline and reported his address as 1024 South Morgan Street. Capone and Rio admitted they were carrying handguns. Capone turned over a . Al Capone and Frankie Rio opportunity to interview the prisoners.37 Just after midnight. but I was discharged. I was arrested in New York about three or four years ago. Rio used the alias of W. Illinois.34 Acting Police Captain Andrew Emanuel spoke with the two men about their arrest and prison records. and called him by his nickname. When Emanuel asked him if he was ever arrested in New York. The Chicago gangsters were fingerprinted and photographed.OCTOBER 2010 INFORMER 7 theater.38-caliber revolver and ordered Rio to surrender his revolver.
remained silent.”41 Capone and his bodyguard were awakened the next morning for breakfast in their cell. Al Capone.42 They were taken before a detective lineup at ninethirty. Judge Walsh sentenced both men to serve a full year in prison. Capone and Rio found themselves in Judge John E. Capone would pay a $25. My only regret is that you are not before me on charges which would justify me ridding the United States of you both forever!40 Attorney Bernard J. “What have you got on Capone?” Carney answered. acting as defense co-counsel. “This is some city. are afraid of you.. Kelley was ready to open his case. They work fast here. Work immediately began to seat a jury for trial. “He’s a killer. To keep order. Without hesitation. If the judge preferred.” As Capone was led away to his cell. a local grand jury returned an indictment against both for carrying concealed deadly weapons. they offered to have Capone post a large bond guaranteeing he would never again enter the State of Pennsylvania. including district attorneys. Capone and Rio. they were asked their pleas. In exchange for an immediate discharge. Walsh’s municipal criminal courtroom a short time later. Nothing to it.44 Judge Walsh permitted the defense attorneys a half-hour recess to confer with their clients.45 Lemisch and Haggarty made plea bargain proposals on behalf of Capone and Rio. Capone and Rio changed their plea to guilty. asked the judge for more reasonable bail. they suggested. The court recorded not-guilty pleas for both. attorneys met with the judge in a fifteen-minute sidebar conference.blogspot. Assistant District Attorney Charles F.000 bond to stay away from the state. But Philadelphia is not afraid of you.43 As the two men were arraigned. Lemisch. vocal in their desire to see the gang boss put behind bars. When Carney refused. The courtroom gallery was filled with partisan anti-Capone spectators.000 bail for court.com . Finally. standing with attorneys Lemisch and Cornelius Haggarty Jr. Lemisch challenged him. I order you both held in $35. After the recess. As the trial began. but I’ll beat this rap.8 INFORMER OCTOBER 2010 “My only regret is that you are not before me on charges which would justify me ridding the United States of you both forever!” .47 The Chicagoans were on their way to Phil- A Moyamensing Prison cell informer-journal. but I take it he is quite in your class. By eleven-thirty. I’ve only got ten thousand dollars on me. and I am not afraid of you! I don’t know your companion. the attorneys asked for a two-day postponement so they could prepare their case. In return for a sentence of no longer than three months in prison. Less than an hour later. Capone would plead guilty and post a bond if a prison sentence was suspended. That request was refused.46 The sidebar concluded at fifteen minutes after twelve. Mr.Magistrate Edward Carney the two prisoners before him: Authorities in some cities. the room was lined with law enforcement officers. the stunned gang boss reportedly said. The proposals all were rejected.
” Mackey said. Philadelphia Mayor Harry Arista Mackey told the press he believed Capone was eager to be arrested and jailed.49 Frank J. agreed. The mayor suggested that Capone was running away from his foes.OCTOBER 2010 INFORMER 9 adelphia’s Moyamensing Prison before one o’clock.50 The next day’s issue of the Chicago Trib- informer-journal. Only about sixteen and a half hours had passed between their arrest and their sentencing. “I believe his idea has been for some time to get into a jail where he will be safe from rival gang vengeance in store for him. I believe he would have fought the case to the last. Loesch. “If he wasn’t glad to go to jail.” Loesch said.com . president of the Chicago Crime Commission.48 Conspiracy theories Stories about Capone orchestrating his own imprisonment to satisfy underworld superiors or avoid the vengeance of underworld rivals surfaced during the gang boss’s first night in prison.blogspot.
he’d have a flock of lawyers. Secondly. he and Detective Creedon spotted Capone and Rio entering the Stanley Theatre. informer-journal.”52 The Post later reported that Capone’s jailing was a ploy to provide him with an airtight alibi for a planned murder of Chicago’s North Side gang boss George Moran. “[He] apparently thought it was all a joke. He did also offer large amounts of money. “Frame up. It explained that it did not consider Capone’s prosecutor or judge to be accomplices in the scheme.57 The decision was probably sound.54 Capone had not pleaded guilty at his first opportunity and he had requested a delay. Detective James Malone acknowledged knowing Capone personally from trips to Florida. If he didn’t want to go to jail. The Tribune linked Capone’s complicity in his arrest and imprisonment to the Atlantic City meeting and the return to prominence of Capone’s former Chicago superior Johnny Torrio.blogspot. Malone met the gang boss at the Sharkey-Stribling boxing match55 and may have spent some time at the Capone residence. Third.” Malone reflected on the arrest and told the press that Capone did not take the matter seriously at first. “Bugs” Moran was never murdered. Malone vehemently denied that the arrest was part of a Capone plot: It’s enough to make anybody want to quit being a copper. a thing unprecedented in the wily gangster’s career. Then everybody hollers.53 Portions of the argument offered by the Tribune and others were either baseless or quickly disproved. as by some coincidence. However. James Malone Capone pleaded guilty only when he found that postponement was impossible and that trial was moving ahead in a hostile courtroom.com .”56 According to Malone. that he would be sprung at once and walk right out of City Hall. and money talks in Philadelphia just like it does in Chicago… He could have pleaded not guilty. He made no fight for delay – the great friend of underworld gentry in a tight spot. The newspaper suggested that a Capone jail sentence was a component of an Atlantic City peace pact for the Chicago underworld. According to some accounts. That was James Malone of the Philadelphia force. and they were waiting there on their departure. They decided to wait outside the movie house until the two men emerged. He’d done that so many times in Chicago and other places he thought he could do it anywhere. Capone pleaded guilty quite readily in the face of inevitable imprisonment. Here we take a chance and pinch two of the most dangerous characters in the racket. Det. Those men unwittingly advanced a secret agenda merely by performing their duties. and no matter what happened he could always get bail while his lawyers were taking an appeal to the higher courts. They have guns on them and know how to use them.51 The Washington Post quoted an unnamed Chicago underworld source who felt “the fact that [Capone] took a plea is the tipoff.10 INFORMER OCTOBER 2010 une referred to the official comments and expanded on them: Supporting the theory that Capone went deliberately and of his own free will into incarceration for a year were a number of circumstances… It was pointed out that Al was arrested by a Philadelphia detective he had known in Florida. in the form of bond payments proposed by his defense counsel. this detective and a partner were at the door of a theater at the moment the Chicago gang chieftain entered.
prison-issue suit. “Not much like home here.62 Capone spent one difficult night in Moyamensing.64 At two-fifteen the next afternoon. tailored clothing for a blue denim. Heston. presided over the Atlantic City meeting and ordered Capone to spend time in prison.60 No signs of rejoicing Moyamensing Prison in South Philadelphia61 was nearly a century old at the time of Capone’s confinement there. representing powerful underworld interests in the East. its cells were nine feet wide by thirteen feet long and included a water closet toilet and a hydrant faucet. a great fan of the sport. While much of the story of Capone’s willing arrest has been disputed.”67 The new prisoners drew some solace from participation in the prison baseball team. the prison physician gave Capone a thorough examination. The first mention of this discrepancy was made by Capone’s wife when speaking to the Chicago press. he showed no signs of rejoicing. He viewed his prison garb with obvious distaste.OCTOBER 2010 INFORMER 11 Thousands of Philadelphians may have been inside the Stanley. Officials said the men would be sent to separate solitary cells by the end of the week. Capone telephoned his friend Detective Malone in Philadelphia. and Rio “occasionally muttered bitterly to himself. So.65 William H. the move was conducted in secrecy. Capone.com . became the team’s pitcher.blogspot. author Jack McPhaul combined Capone’s tendency to avoid handguns with the Tribune’s mention of Torrio to construct his conspiracy theory: Torrio. He slept “fitfully”63 and reportedly observed. some questions linger.”66 On May 20. told the press that Capone was just another prisoner.” One press account revealed the jailed boss’s sour mood: If Capone had gladly sought jail as a refuge from his enemies. May 18.” Still.68 Holmesburg Prison informer-journal. he and Rio were transferred to the thirtythree-year-old Philadelphia County Prison at Holmesburg. “He never carried a gun. The sacrifice was necessary in order to lessen the anti-organized crime fervor stirred up by the St. Built in the 1830s as an early example of the “Pennsylvania System” of reforming prison- ers through lengthy solitary confinement and quiet prayer. Capone insisted that her husband never would have wanted to go to prison. “He will be treated the same way as any other prisoner and will be subject to the same discipline. “Capone is nothing special to us. Both reportedly were glum. He gave up his expensive.” he said. Scalise and Giunta. same quarters and same food. prison officials said. He was described as having lost the affability maintained after his arrest and questioning. Capone made sure he was carrying a revolver when Malone met him at the theater as planned. Reluctantly following orders. Mrs. and prison guards and city detectives were used to provide security during the thirteen-mile drive to Northeast Philadelphia. The fact that Capone was carrying a handgun at all inspired some conspiracy theorists.” she said. “That’s why I can’t understand the whole thing. Local authorities had heard rumors that Capone rivals might make an attempt on his life while he was in custody. Capone and Rio spent much of the day together in the infirmary observation ward.58 and Capone and Rio had reputations for violence. superintendent of the Holmesburg Prison.59 Decades later. Valentine’s Day Massacre and the murders of Anselmi.
Judges William B. In fact. Judge Harry S. solitary cells. In a short time. “In Illinois the law permits the appellate court to review a guilty plea.12 INFORMER OCTOBER 2010 Capone’s cell at Eastern State Penitentiary was outfitted with many of the comforts of home. while Holmesburg’s other inmates were at breakfast. Capone’s new residence was the fortresslike Eastern State Penitentiary on Fairmount Avenue near the center of Philadelphia. was built according to the “Pennsylvania System” and featured small. Prison officials said some of Capone’s fellow prisoners had made threats against his life.”71 Failing in an effort to persuade Judge Walsh to reconsider the Capone matter. Eastern State. Smith did not echo Heston’s promise to treat Capone just like any other prisoner. so far as I know. Golder took his bail request to Pennsylvania’s State Superior Court. there is no precedent for such a course. too. Director of Public Safety Lemuel Schofield told the press that he heard Capone was offering fifty-thousand dollars to any lawyer who could get him released before the expiration of his full sentence. Each cell featured a glass skylight. McDevitt approved the transfer order. Golder to work with attorney Bernard Lemisch on his legal appeals.72 Capone’s appeal faced an uphill battle. Golder asked that Capone be released on bail as his appeals continued. That request was denied by Judge Walsh. Appeal Capone did not behave much like a man who wanted to be in prison. The move was conducted in secrecy. In Pennsylvania. published reports indicated that Capone and Rio would be released by the following week. A legal analyst explained to the New York Times that a difference between Illinois and Pennsylvania law would be a problem.” Cell. Eastern State Warden Herbert Smith said.B. that he was tried before a prejudiced jury in a courtroom filled with a prejudiced crowd and presided over by a prejudiced judge. “You know I’ll never agree to anything like that. The entire complex was surrounded by a tall rectangular wall with towers at its corners.blogspot. Eastern State consisted of radial.70 On the twenty-sixth. Older than Moyamensing Prison by several years. The Chicago underworld chief was permitted to adorn his cell with an Oriental informer-journal. and that he was compelled to enter a guilty plea through the “hostile and theatrical display of numerous and unnecessary police officers. wheel-spoke cellblock buildings emanating from a central hub. Golder filed a writ of error appeal of the Capone conviction on the grounds that the gang leader had been “compelled to submit to a trial before a judge who had predetermined his guilt and had stated he would help convict the defendant. known as “the Eye of God. Linn and Jesse E.”73 Interestingly.” Walsh told the attorney. he hired influential Pennsylvania Congressman Benjamin M. Capone was transferred once again.” Asked about his new inmate. as Capone gangsters Charles Fischetti and Jake Guzik returned to Chicago from a visit to Holmesburg Prison.69 On June 22. Smith immediately provided Capone with privileges unknown to other inmates. Cunningham refused it on July 1.com . sweet cell On August 8.” The appeal charged that Capone was denied adequate time to prepare a defense as well as permission to subpoena defense witnesses. “Perhaps Capone will be safer here than at Holmesburg.
he required a minor surgical procedure. he asks his mother if it’s bringing Daddy home. little remained for Capone to do other than serve out the remainder of his sentence. 1929. “My son thinks I’m in Europe. Goddard attempted to resolve the health problems by removing Capone’s ton- sils. a desk and a cabinet radio set. will leave the jurisdiction for his own home.77 More maneuvers On September 21. The judge refused to receive it.” .com . the attorney argued that Capone and Rio had been sentenced improperly to a year in prison. back in the courtroom of Judge Walsh. “My son thinks I’m in Europe. your petitioner’s client. In early September. In late August. the year term would expire after ten months.” Capone once said.”75 Efforts to free Capone continued. Bonniwell of the Criminal Division of Philadelphia Municipal Court. and they included illegal as well as legal procedures. A six-month sentence would have expired on November 17. the State Supreme Court denied Golder’s petition. Capone had an operation on his tonsils years earlier.81 After half a year of legal battles. A hearing on the matter was scheduled for October 4. “The Chicago booze lords couldn’t understand how fifty-thousand dollars could be refused by anybody for such a simple favor as getting America’s most notorious gangster out of jail. With a full good behavior allowance. prison physician Herbert M. On September 7. He had no jurisdiction to parole a prisoner from a state institution. he asks his mother if it’s bringing Daddy home. 1930. he became seriously ill. Capone was given the physically unchallenging job of clerk in the prison library.14 INFORMER OCTOBER 2010 rug. directing Golder to Judge Eugene C. “Whenever he sees a picture of a big boat. In his appeal. On August 17. but his school-age son did not. Smith allowed his celebrity prisoner frequent visitors and often agreed to let Capone speak with his visitors in the privacy of the warden’s office. The petition argued essentially that Capone had learned his lesson: Your petitioner further avers that the sentence imposed has had a most salutary effect and in his opinion that prisoner has been sufficiently punished. but what remained of them had been giving him much trouble.78 That hearing was a brief one.79 Golder followed up immediately by seeking habeas corpus writs for Capone and Rio from the State Superior Court.blogspot. but said. According to Goddard. Golder brought a petition for parole to Judge Walsh. Golder appealed to the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court on November 6. Whenever he sees a picture of a big boat. Walsh decided that Capone’s move from the county facility at Holmesburg to the state penitentiary took the matter out of his hands. District Attorney John Monaghan revealed that he was approached by a Chicago gangland figure with an offer of fifty-thousand dollars. Monaghan did not reveal the identity of the person making the offer.80 On November 26.”76 Health problems Even Capone’s relatively luxurious prison life included stresses that took a toll on his health. and if your honorable court sees fit to grant the parole. The court refused. on March 17. the above named Alphonse Capone. and he was granted access to the deputy warden’s telephone. when the law called for a prison sentence of six months to a year.Alphonse Capone informer-journal.74 Capone’s wife visited him at the penitentiary.
blogspot. The newspaper later determined that the plane was probably a decoy. You’re not wanted in Chicago. boats and airplanes from the Philadelphia area. Press reports noted that Pennsylvania Governor John S. The men did not leave the harbor about the ship. and that’s where I have most of my business interests.88 No place like home Capone was back in Chicago by March 19. Then on March 21.87 Eventually. “just so he goes and doesn’t come back. he and attorney Thomas D. airport at just before six o’clock on March 17. On the sixteenth. newsmen tracked the movement of trains. Capone and Rio were released into a brown automobile and driven to an undisclosed location at four o’clock. however.85 Nearly frantic for information. Walsh appeared at the city police headquarters. the Times decided that Capone and Rio flew from Philadelphia to Harrisburg.86 The Washington Post learned that two men resembling Capone and Rio had boarded the S. Newsmen and hundreds of interested spectators gathered at the Eastern State’s Penitentiary on the evening of March 16-17 in the hope of catching a glimpse of Capone and Rio. Director of Public Safety Schofield announced that a detail of detectives had been ordered to escort Capone and Rio from Philadelphia immediately upon their release.” Capone answered. New Jersey. “I’ve never run away from anything yet. He is a menace to any community. You don’t belong here and we don’t intend to let you live informer-journal. prison officials announced to a disappointed crowd that the prisoners secretly had been transported the previous evening to a recently completed portion of a new Eastern State’s Penitentiary building at Gratersford. Fisher would need to approve the release. Stege delivered a lengthy but somewhat hollow lecture: You’re no better than any other hoodlum and you are going to be arrested on sight.. The New York Times noted that a three-engine.Lemuel Schofield Release A few days before the expiration of his sentence.He is a menace to any community. fourteen-passenger airplane arrived at the Camden.” Schofield remarked. Dorchester in Baltimore on the afternoon of March 18. Still.”83 Reporters hoping to learn details of the timing and method of Capone’s release were frustrated by official silence on the matter.OCTOBER 2010 INFORMER 15 “. newsmen tried to gauge whether Capone was concerned about a lingering threat at home. They then flew off again at an early morning hour on the eighteenth to an unknown destination.S.84 Late on the seventeenth. The men were expected to meet up with Capone associates in Indiana and then be driven by car to Chicago. They disembarked a few hours before the vessel sailed.. Fisher was said to be returning from a vacation on the West Coast. Despite the high-profile murders of the previous year. He remained in hiding for a couple of days. They asked the prisoner if he planned to go to Chicago after leaving the penitentiary. And there’s no reason why I shouldn’t go back there. and I don’t propose to have him loitering around Philadelphia” . where they spent the night. Police Commissioner John Stege had to admit that he had no charge on which to hold the gang boss. and I don’t propose to have him loitering around Philadelphia. “I don’t care where he goes.”82 On the fifteenth. thirty miles northeast of Philadelphia.com . “That’s where my home is. Governor Fisher signed the necessary documents at one-thirty in the afternoon of the seventeenth.
A trip was made to the office of State’s Attorney John A.S.’” “Al Capone gets 8 more days to regain health. 1928. p. 79-80. Attorney George E. 7 “Philadelphia gangs allied with Chicago. 2010. 1929. Valentine’s Day Massacre. 1928. 1. Federal agents still were assembling an income tax evasion case. p. New York: G. Feb. 30. 22. 18 “Alphonse Capone: Contempt of Court. p. 7. 5 Frank Yale Death Certificate. but left immediately because friends advised him that it would be dangerous to stay. Defense attorney Salvatore LoPresti. “Chicago gang chief slain in his home. 1963.” Chicago Daily Tribune. including baseball great Tris Speaker. John. such as www. “Police accuse Joe Aiello as Lolordo slayer. Putnam’s Sons. 220-222. the request was made on March 9. Other images from the author’s collection. 1928. March 28. 1929. Department of Health of the City of New York. 1929.” Chicago Daily Tribune. 15 “U. Rome: Editori Riuniti. Al Capone FBI file. p. 1929. Jan. p. The party likely took place in the early morning hours of Feb.gov/libref/historic/ famcases/capone/capone. aka Al.” Chicago Daily Tribune. Sept. 10 Gentile. Capone also looked into the possibility of establishing a winter home in Cuba and in the Bahamas. 1928.alcaponebio. In fact. 20. 12. doubts ‘illness. p. Library of Congress. 1 Kobler.” Chicago Daily Tribune. but U. On a return visit. 1929. 3 “Miami Beach asks Capone to move on.” “Sport: Big fight.” FBI History. Phillips’ March 5. “Famous Cases: Alphonse Capone. 8. p. 9. Gamblers.” New York Herald.S. doubts ‘illness. Department of Health of the City of New York. 42. 1929. “Alphonse Capone: Contempt of Court. “Gangster rule by bribery and gun. p.” New York Times. 1971. 10. 14 “Al Capone to defy killings summons. and no action was yet called for on the earlier contempt of court charge. a date established by the March 10 coverage in the Chicago Tribune. According to Kobler. The TIME article focused on the many celebrity attendees at the event. 1928. Jan. 2010. 1929.htm).” 19 “Capone put on trial. Swanson. “Famous Cases: Alphonse Capone…” The FBI website incorrectly states that Capone’s attorneys made their request in court the day before he was scheduled to appear – March 11. M1. “Shot dead as he chats beside car with 3 men. Olympic swimmer Johnny Weismuller (whose movie acting career began the same year). March 26. 18. 4. 9. “U. traveling circus owner John Ringling and carmaker Edsel Ford. Oct. cites Capone for contempt.com place the Sharkey-Stribling match and Al Capone’s post-fight party at two days after the St. Capone was just questioned and released. NJ: Barricade Books. Ron. “Someone who knows told me that Capone came here in an automobile. p. #69-180. 1929. 218. July 8. Chepesiuk. p. 2 Kobler. 8. affidavit are included in Capone’s FBI file. Kobler. Gangsters of Miami: True Tales of Mobsters. Jan.” 12 “Kill gang leader in home.16 INFORMER OCTOBER 2010 here. Chepesiuk. 1931. March 10. “Three slay man in street and flee.” TIME. July 1. accessed June 27. 20 Web sources. Aug.blogspot. told the press. Chepesiuk. 9. p. p. Vita di Capomafia. p. 27.” 17 “Questions about income tax may trouble Capone.” Washington Post. Capone’s acquaintance with Hoff was later established. it was business-as-usual in the Windy City. p. 16. “Capone friends quizzed while he cools heels.” Chicago Tribune. Con Men and Gang Bangers from the Magic City. 11. No one was in the office on the first visit. 9 Salvatore Daquila Death Certificate. courtroom guarded. However. The evidence Monaghan took to the press was rather weak. Fields. 1.” Chicago Daily Tribune. 8 “Kill Lombardo. Nick.Q.89 Despite the boss’s long absence. Capone: The Life and World of Al Capone. Notes Images of Moyamensing Prison from the Historical American Buildings Survey of the National Park Service. p.S. p. 44-46. 28 – two weeks after the Massacre. p. 11.com and www. Sharkey-Stribling was a major news and entertainment event. 1928. p. 1928. 11 “Told Capone was here after gangs.C. 11. 1928. Jan. Feb.” Cleveland Plain Dealer. Johnson wasn’t in a position to arrest him either. 1929. 10. Capone was taken over to the Federal Building.P. 215216. 1. p.” New York Times. p. p.” New York Times. 16 “Al Capone gets 8 more days to regain health.” New York Times. 1933. 4 Kobler. Copies of Dr. 8. March 11. 44. Oct. Jan. p.” FBI report I.” New York Times. Fort Lee. 13 “Capone put on trial. cites Capone for contempt. drawing specta- informer-journal.com . 17. The bout was held on Feb.mistercapone. Dec. 7. courtroom guarded.’” Chicago Daily Tribune.” Chicago Daily Tribune. #14764. March 27. You’ll be arrested as often as you show yourself to any of our detectives. 1928. comedian W. 1929.C. Oct. 220. 6 “Capone subpoenaed in murder of Yale. Scarface. counsel for most of the Mafiosi arrested at the Hotel Statler.” Washington Post. p. Hit Men. 35. 3. Mafia chief. Federal Bureau of Investigation website (www. 1936. March 2. 26.fbi.
According to Peterson. Following Capone’s conviction. Kansas City. to hide in jail. Nelli. 1. 31 Halper. p. p. Rio and Jack Guzik. p. 1929. Both the Manhattan Limited and the Broad Way Limited – the Pennsylvania Railroad’s alternatives to the New York Central’s 20th Century Limited – traveled between Pennsylvania Station in New York City and Union Station in Chicago. 252. p. 38 Carney was reportedly known locally as “the dancing judge. p. 25 Nelli. p.” 50 “Al Capone given year. 1967.” Chicago Daily Tribune. p. Holmesburg Prison records.blogspot. to hide in jail. 158-159.” New York Times. Reppetto.H.” 40 “Capone sent to jail for year’s term. is view. 266. p. p. but he was not in a position to give orders to Capone.D. the conference included New Yorkers Frank Costello. McPhaul seems not to have considered that Mafia boss of bosses Giuseppe Masseria was Capone’s immediate superior at the time. 172. Vincent Mangano and Frank Scalise. 1929.” Washington Post. 173. 1929. May 18. 1. 172.” TIME. doubts ‘illness. 1929. p. to hide in jail. Max “Boo Boo” Hoff of Philadelphia. 265.” “Crime: Capone coup. 1929. Peterson. The Mob: 200 Years of Organized Crime in New York. is view. to hide in jail. p..” New York Times.’” New York Times. who revealed that he. Joe Adonis. is view. New York: Henry Holt and Company. 2004. p. Carney received mailed death threats from Chicago.” 42 “Al Capone given year.” 49 Halper.OCTOBER 2010 INFORMER 17 tors from all over the country to Miami Beach. 19. May 18. Torrio may have served the Mafia in an advisory role. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.” Chicago Daily Tribune. Abe Zwillman and Willie Moretti of New Jersey. cites Capone for contempt. p. 214-215. 33 “Capone sent to jail for year’s term. 215. 265. 1. May 9. is view. Peterson. NY: Arlington House. Louis Buchalter. Thomas. Earl McErlane. The Broad Way Limited. May 18. May 17. 1976. 265. The Tribune reported that the meeting included “in person or by proxy” Joseph Aiello. 23 “Triple killing laid to feud in Sicilian gang. p. Milwaukee and Richmond. p. 1.” Cinema Treasures website (cinematreasures. catered to more affluent passengers.” Chicago Daily Tribune. May 19. 2010. 26 Halper. is view.” 36 “Capone enters jail to serve one year. 266. Frank Erickson. 1. American Mafia: A History of its Rise to Power. Charlie Luciano. 1. Johnny Torrio formerly of Chicago. “Court refuses Capone new trial.org/theater/4526/). Chicagoans Capone. 1929. 150.” 46 “Capone in jail garb loses good cheer. 45 “Capone enters jail to serve one year.. Johnny Torrio: First of the Gang Lords. New Rochelle. 1. p. 6.” Jan. Al Capone FBI File. “Capone takes cover in jail.” 51 “Capone takes cover in jail. May 16. p. 37 “Al Capone given year.” 39 “Capone enters jail to serve one year. is view. 30 Halper. p. p. Lester. p. 159. “Memorandum for the director. 28 “Atlantic City calls Capone ‘undesirable. Bugs Moran and Johnny Torrio. p. Kobler. 1933. Joe Saltis. Ottawa. Albert (editor). who had by far the longest list. 1929. 21“U. 1929. p. to hide in jail. May 18. IL: Green Hill Publishers. 34 “Quaker City police arrest Al Capone.S.’” 22 Kobler. p. 24 Kobler. p. 1929. Virgil W. May 18. p. Jack. Cleveland: World Publishing Company. Cleveland’s Moe Dalitz and Lou Rothkopf.” “Al Capone given year.” 44 “Capone asks retrial. 27 McPhaul. 1929. 47 “Capone enters jail to serve one year.” “Al Capone given year. Halper. June 30. The Business of Crime: Italians and Syndicate Crime in the United States. p.” New York Times. He told the press he regarded the threats as jokes: “Killers never ring [an] alarm when they set out to get you. 1929. Rio and other Chicago bosses met to resolve their disputes.” 41 “Al Capone given year. 1929.” 48 “Capone makes jail. The authors appear to have based their lists of conference attendees on the work of the Chicago Crime Commission. “Capone enters jail to serve one year. p. Toledo.” New York Times.” Washington Post. 173. The accuracy of these lists is highly questionable. Detroit’s Purple Gang leadership. p. 15. “Crime: Capone coup. 1929. 1. Humbert S. McPhaul. May 17. “Stanley Theatre. 1929. 32 “Kobler. W. and Johnny Lazia of Kansas City. 252. The bout was held in a quickly erected octagon-shaped arena near the beach. Charles “King” Solomon of Boston. “Capone takes cover in jail. “Quaker City police arrest Al Capone.” Two years earlier he had run unsuccessfully as Republican candidate for mayor of Philadelphia. May 18. 24. The Chicago Crime Book. to hide in jail. accessed Aug.” Washington Post. “Capone takes cover in jail.com . 27. 29 The westbound Manhattan Limited was known before 1913 as the Chicago Limited.. Dutch Schultz. Cleveland. p. June 27. 1970. The only known witness testimony regarding the event was provided by Capone himself. 31. Albert Anastasia.” informer-journal.” New York Times.” 43 “Crime: Capone coup. 1983. p. May 27. assails court action. It seems likely that the conference was under the protection of Nucky Johnson and that major underworld figures in the region attended. 174. A broadcast of the fight was carried nationwide by the thirty-eight radio stations of the NBC network. “Capone enters jail to serve one year. which was named for a multi-track corridor in Pennsylvania. Kobler. 6.” 35 “Capone sent to jail for year’s term.” Appleton WI Post Crescent.
March 15. 1930. Sept. Aug. 1929.” 64 “Capone in jail garb loses good cheer. 81 “Fight for freedom is lost by Capone. March 19. “Capone in Chicago. p.” Syracuse Herald. p. March 22.” New York Times.pdf ) accessed Aug. p.” 70 “Capone’s freedom soon is predicted. 1929. 74 “Notable inmates. p. 54 Moran died at age 65 in a federal prison hospital. 26. 1929. assails court action. Many insist they were related. March 18.” New York Times. p. 36. p. June 16. Nov. Halper.blogspot. That he appeared in public with a weapon on his person suggests to me that he was obeying his tutor’s command that he set himself up for arrest and imprisonment. 21.” Washington Post. p. 1929. author Virgil Peterson reported (p. 85 “Capone slips away from new prison. p.” ESP: Eastern State Penitentiary website (http://www. 255). M3. 1929. p. 1930. 9. M2. 1929. 252-256. Kobler.php ). Chicago frees him. March 17. 175. 84 “Capone to go free at uncertain hour. “Fetes law menace awaiting Al Capone. 1.” 86 “Capone slips away from new prison. 21. Peterson also went on to say that both Malone and Creedon admitted they had been guests of Capone in Florida. in its telling. 2010. “Capone loses again. 27. eluding throngs. 61 The prison stood at the intersection of Reed and 10th Streets.” Washington Post. 22. 1930. 5. May 21. The Capone and Fischetti families were very close. 269.com .” Washington Post.” New York Times. 76 “Bribe to free Capone alleged by official. 82 “Capone will go back to Chicago Monday.” Washington Post. The seating capacity shrank through subsequent renovations.” Washington Post. 5. reports to police. 1930.” 67 “Capone’s friends fail to act in Quaker City. p. 72 “Bail denied Capone by Superior Court. 22. 1929.gov/pnp/ habshaer/pa/pa1000/pa1056/data/pa1056. p.” Washington Post. 62 “Philadelphia County Prison (Moyamensing Prison) – Photographs: Historical and Descriptive Data. 1930. 69 “Capone reported seeking freedom. p.000 seats. March 19. McPhaul provided no source citations for any portion of this tale and included creative elements. 20. 1929.” New York Times. June 30. 1929. If Capone typically avoided carrying handguns.” 65 “Gang to fight for freedom of Al Capone. p. May 19. 80 “Capone takes new appeal. “Supreme Court refuses bail writ for Al Capone. 1. June 24. p. 71 “Capone asks retrial. 21. 79 “Capone plea fails. 1929. 1. 1929. 55 “Capone enters jail to serve one year. 9. is view. 63 “Gang to fight for freedom of Al Capone. p. March 22. 1. 13. 1930. p.” Author McPhaul related the same story 13 years earlier (p. p. p. 3.” New York Times. 26. 89 “Al Capone gives up.org/history/ notableinmates.” Washington Post. 68 “Capone reported seeking freedom. 31. 75 Kobler. p.” However. 3. 7. “Scarface Al is moved to state penitentiary. 159) that Malone and Capone met at the Hialeah Race Track a year before Capone’s appearance in Philadelphia.” 58 “Stanley Theatre.” The McPhaul argument is weak. 73 “Capone is shifted to another prison because fellowinmates threatened him. National Park Service (http://memory. 1. “Al Capone denied freedom on writ.” New York Times. to hide in jail.” “Capone in jail garb loses good cheer.” McPhaul provided no attribution for this detail but mentioned a Chicago Tribune article in the same paragraph. 1. March 16.” 87 “Capone boarded Baltimore boat. chief steward avers. 2010. 9.” New York Times. Oct. Aug. July 2. Sept. 4.” New York Times.easternstate. p. informer-journal.18 INFORMER OCTOBER 2010 52 “Al Capone given year. accessed Aug. 1930. March 17. 1929. p. June 27. It was demolished in the late 1960s. p. “Capone transferred after life threats. p. 1929. 56 “Capone in jail garb loses good cheer. p. 88 “Capone uses plane on way to Chicago. 77 “Capone’s tonsils removed. 1929. 26.” 53 “Gang to fight for freedom of Al Capone. 27. PA-1097.” Washington Post. 1.” 66 “Gang to fight for freedom of Al Capone. 1929. 83 “Will usher Capone out of Quaker City. 1929. 1.” New York Times. In a note. 59 “Gang to fight for freedom of Al Capone. The author attributed the story vaguely to a “Chicago newspaper account. 22. 7. Aug. 1930.” New York Times. July 2.” Washington Post.” New York Times. 18. 1. 8. Nothing about Capone’s possession of the weapon links in any way to Torrio. p. 1929. p. p.” Washington Post. 78 “Third release plea made by Al Capone. Nov.” Washington Post. p.” Washington Post.” New York Times. 1930. eluding throngs. 1929. eluding throngs.” New York Times.” New York Times.loc. p. Sept.” 57 “Gang to fight for freedom of Al Capone. Aug. No appeal appears to have been filed on Frank Rio’s behalf. such as invented dialogue. “Al Capone starts new liberty fight.” Historic American Buildings Survey No. p.” 60 McPhaul. 270.” New York Times. McPhaul called attention to the Tribune’s mention of Torrio and explained the genesis of the story: “By all accounts [Capone] did not personally carry a gun after succeeding Torrio.” The theater opened in 1921 with 4. Nov. 1929. p. 10. 8. noting that the detectives “admitted that on one occasion they had been Capone’s guests in Florida. his break with tradition in this case is not evidence of an underworld order. “Capone slips away from new prison.
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