Friday, February 10, 2012

Kate "Ma" Barker


Kate "Ma" Barker (born Arizona Donnie Clark; October 8, 1873 – January 16, 1935) was the mother of several criminals who ran the Barker gang.

The Barker gang was responsible for a multitude of crimes and the death of at least 5 police officers.


Arizona Donnie Clark gave birth to four sons. The boys were named Herman, Lloyd, Arthur and Fred. After the birth of Fred, George Barker left the family, though it may have been at the insistence of his wife. At some point, she began using the name Kate Barker.

There is no question the "Ma" Barker brood was responsible for many, many crimes, and several times Kate faced the authorities on behalf of her sons, trying to keep them from serving jail time. Contrary to FBI reports she was never the ringleader of the gang.

Just before daybreak on January 16, 1935, the FBI arrived outside the two-story house where Barker and her son Fred were hiding out. A call for their surrender was met with no response. After a few moments, FBI Agent Earl Connelly yelled, "Unless you come on out, we're going to start shooting!"

Ma replied, "Go ahead." What followed was the longest gunbattle the FBI was ever involved in; it lasted four hours and there are reports that a minimum of 1500 rounds of ammunition were poured into the house.

Eventually "Ma" Barker and Fred were shot to death. It is said that Herbert Hoover personally authorized the disinformation campaign to defend the shooting of an innocent old woman by the FBI.

Barker's sole surviving son, Lloyd, joined the US Army as a cook, received the US Army Good Conduct Medal and Honorable Discharge.

On March 18, 1949 Lloyd Barker was killed by his wife who was later sent to Colorado State Insane Asylum.
  



Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Antonino Joseph "Big Tuna" Accardo

Antonino Joseph Accardo (born Antonino Leonardo Accardo; April 28, 1906 – May 22, 1992), also known as "Joe Batters" or "Big Tuna", rose from small-time hoodlum to the position of boss of the Chicago Outfit in 1947.

In 1929, Capone was convicted of tax evasion and sent to prison for an 11-year sentence, and Frank "The Enforcer" Nitti became the new Outfit boss, after serving his own 18-month sentence for tax evasion.

By this time, Accardo had established a solid record of service and was a top earner for the organization, so Nitti let him establish his own crew. He was also named as the Outfit's head of enforcement.

Accardo soon developed a wide range of profitable rackets, including gambling, loansharking, bookmaking, extortion, and the distribution of untaxed alcohol and cigarettes.

As with all caporegimes, Accardo received 5% of the crew's earnings as a so-called, "street tax." Accardo in turn paid a tax to the family boss. If a crew member were to refuse to pay a street tax (or paid less than half of the amount owed), it often meant a death sentence.
After Nitti committed suicide in 1943, Paul "The Waiter" Ricca, who had been the de facto boss since Capone's imprisonment, became the boss and named Accardo as underboss.

Ricca and Accardo would run the Outfit either officially or as the powers behind the throne for the next 30 years, until Ricca's death in 1972.

By keeping a low profile and letting flashier figures such as Sam Giancana attract attention, Accardo and Ricca were able to run the Outfit much longer than Capone. Ricca once said, "Accardo had more brains for breakfast than Capone had in a lifetime."


In his later years, Accardo spent much of his time in Palm Springs, California, flying to Chicago to preside over Outfit "sit-downs" and mediate disputes.

Accardo's personal holdings included legal investments in commercial office buildings, retail centers, lumber farms, paper factories, hotels, car dealerships, trucking companies, newspaper companies, restaurants and travel agencies.
Accardo spent his last years in Barrington Hills, Illinois living with his daughter and son-in-law. On May 22, 1992, Anthony Accardo died of congestive heart failure at age 86.
  


Monday, February 6, 2012

Clarence "Bugs" Moran

George Clarence "Bugs" Moran (August 21, 1891 – February 25, 1957), better known by the alias "Bugs" Moran, was a Chicago Prohibition-era gangster.

On February 14, 1929, in an event which has become known as the Saint Valentine's Day massacre, seven members of his gang were gunned down in a warehouse, reportedly on the orders of Moran's rival Al Capone.

The bootlegging operation of Bugs Moran and his partners posed a significant challenge to Capone. Moran and Capone then led a turf war with each other that cost dozens of lives.

Moran's hatred of Capone was apparent even to the public: he told the press that "Capone is a lowlife." Moran was also disgusted that Capone engaged in prostitution. Believing himself a better Catholic than Capone, Moran refused to run brothels.


On September 20, 1926, Moran again attempted to kill Capone, this time in Cicero, Illinois, the base of Capone's operations. A fleet of cars, with Moran in personal command, drove by the lobby of Capone's hotel.

Capone and his bodyguard were drinking downstairs when the Moran gang began shooting into the lobby with their Thompson submachine guns. The attack left Capone unhurt but his restaurant was reduced to shreds. Capone called for a truce. However, the truce did not last long.

A peace conference was held and Moran appeared grudgingly, along with Capone and the rest of the gang bosses. Capone stated "they were making a shooting gallery of a great business" and Chicago "should be seen as pie and each gang gets an individual slice." Everybody agreed and an uneasy peace arrived.
In 1929, Capone tried to strike a decisive blow against Moran with the notorious Saint Valentine's Day massacre. Gunmen dressed as police lined up a number of Moran associates against the wall in a Chicago warehouse and executed them.

However, the main target of the "hit," Moran, narrowly eluded death. Moran spotted the squad car outside the warehouse and, believing a raid was in progress, doubled back to a coffee shop with his bodyguards. When Moran saw the carnage, he broke the gangster code and exclaimed, "Only Capone kills like that!"

The end of prohibition marked the end of Moran's influence and he reverted to his earlier life of committing common crimes like mail fraud and robbery. By the 1940s, only 17 years after being one of the richest gangsters in Chicago, Moran was almost penniless.

In July 1946, Moran was arrested in Ohio for robbing a bank messenger of $10,000, a paltry sum compared to his lifestyle during the Prohibition.
He was convicted and sentenced to ten years in the Ohio Penitentiary. Shortly after his release, Moran was again arrested for an earlier bank raid. Moran received another ten years and was sent to the Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary. Only a matter of days after arriving there, most of which were spent in the prison hospital, Bugs Moran died of lung cancer on February 25, 1957. He was estimated to be worth about $100 at his death, and he received a pauper's burial in the prison cemetery.
  


Sunday, February 5, 2012

Bonnie and Clyde - reprise



Bonnie Elizabeth Parker (October 1, 1910 – May 23, 1934) and Clyde Chestnut Barrow (March 24, 1909 – May 23, 1934) were well-known outlaws, robbers, and criminals who traveled the Central United States with their gang during the Great Depression between 1931 and 1934.

Barrow and Parker were ambushed and killed on May 23, 1934 on a rural road in Bienville Parish, Louisiana.

The couple appeared in daylight in an automobile and were shot by a posse of four Texas officers (Frank Hamer, B.M. "Manny" Gault, Bob Alcorn and Ted Hinton) and two Louisiana officers (Henderson Jordan and Prentiss Morel Oakley).

The posse was led by Hamer, who had begun tracking the pair on February 10, 1934. He studied the gang's movements and found they swung in a circle skirting the edges of five midwest states, exploiting the "state line" rule that prevented officers from one jurisdiction from pursuing a fugitive into another.


"Each of us six officers had a shotgun and an automatic rifle and pistols. We opened fire with the automatic rifles. They were emptied before the car got even with us. Then we used shotguns... There was smoke coming from the car, and it looked like it was on fire.

After shooting the shotguns, we emptied the pistols at the car, which had passed us and ran into a ditch about 50 yards on down the road. It almost turned over. We kept shooting at the car even after it stopped. We weren't taking any chances."[105]

Some today say Bonnie and Clyde were shot more than 50 times,[25] others claim closer to 25 wounds per corpse, or 50 total.[113] Officially, the tally in Parish coroner Dr. J. L. Wade's 1934 report listed seventeen separate entrance wounds on Barrow's body and twenty-six on Parker's,[114] including several headshots on each, and one that had snapped Barrow's spinal column. So numerous were the bullet holes that undertaker C. F. "Boots" Bailey would have difficulty embalming the bodies because they wouldn't contain the embalming fluid.[115]

Amidst the lingering gunsmoke at the ambush site, the temporarily deafened officers inspected the vehicle and discovered an arsenal of weapons including stolen automatic rifles, sawed-off semi-automatic shotguns, assorted handguns, and several thousand rounds of ammunition, along with fifteen sets of license plates from various states.

An online bidder paid $130,000 for a .45-caliber Tommy gun and $80,000 for an 1897 12-gauge shotgun that were seized from one of the duo's hideouts in Missouri in 1933.

Lawmen seized the weapons on April 13, 1933 after a bloody raid on an apartment in Joplin where the Barrow Gang — Bonnie Parker, Clyde Barrow, Clyde's brother Buck Barrow and W.D. Jones — were holed up.
Two cops were killed in the gunfight, but the gang escaped.

It wasn’t until May 23, 1934 that the pair would be ambushed and killed by a posse of lawmen on a rural Louisana road. Before the auction, the guns were owned by the Lairmore family, the descendants of an Oklahoma detective.