Special Sub-Topic: Boston's Crime History
|In the 1920's, the controversial trial of Ferdinando Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti captured national and international attention. The men were accused of robbery and the murders of a security guard and a paymaster.
The accused were Italian-born immigrants and anarchists. Many who followed the trial accused the presiding Judge and the prosecution of inappropriate behavior by allowing the jury to be prejudiced with Anti-Italian, Anti-immigrant, and Anti-anarchist slants. The trial ended with a guilty verdict for Sacco and Vanzetti.
Name some of the prominent figures who voiced opposition to the guilty verdict. |
They were all opposed to the guilty verdict. The Sacco and Vanzetti guilty verdicts sparked riots, protests, demonstrations, and worker-walkouts across the globe! After the first guilty verdict was handed down, many of these people lobbied for a retrial. An attorney, who later went on to become a Supreme Court Justice, Felix Frankfurter, wrote a caustic piece for the 'Atlantic Monthly', which berated the presiding Judge on the case.
|Name the two men Sacco and Vanzetti were found guilty of murdering.|
Frederick Parmenter and Alessandro Berardelli. Frederick Parmenter was the pay master for the Slater-Morrill Shoe Company. Alessandro Berardelli was the security guard for the shoe company located on Pearl Street in South Braintree, Massachusetts.
In addition to the murders of the two men, Sacco and Vanzetti were also charged with stealing $15,777 from the shoe company.
|After six years of appeals, protests and retrials, Sacco and Vanzetti were still found guilty (although many still dispute their guilt) and sentenced to death.
What method of death were they sentenced to?
Electrocution. They were both electrocuted in the electric chair on August 23, 1927. Their deaths sparked riots and protests in many countries - Britain, Germany, France, South Africa and Argentina. The American Embassy in Paris was overrun with protesters and the facade of the Moulin Rouge was damaged in outrage over the executions.
|Lizzie Borden is another notorious crime figure from Massachusetts. She was a spinster who shared part of her parents' home with her sister. Lizzie was arrested and tried for killing her father and step-mother with a hatchet.
What town did this grisly murder take place?|
Fall River. She was acquitted of the charges due to the fact that no blood evidence was found linking her to the crime (although she admitted to burning a dress in the kitchen oven because she had gotten paint on it) and the prosecution could not convince the jury the broken hatchet they discovered in the basement of the home was indeed the murder weapon. The hatchet found had been broken from its handle, which was found, free of blood, nearby. The prosecution argued the handle could have been cleaned after being used in the murder, but the jury didn't buy it.
After her trial, Lizzie moved into a new home with her sister, but was forever under public scrutiny. Oddly enough, the building where the murders of her father and step-mother were murdered is now a Bed and Breakfast! Sweet dreams?
|Which Boston political figure was found guilty of impersonating a constitutent during his first political run for the office of alderman?|
James Michael Curley. Curley and an associate, Thomas Curley (no relation) both took the Civil Service exam to help two men in their district obtain jobs as postmen. Found guilty of fraud, Curley served his time and still won the election! The incident endeared him to the working class as someone willing to help the poor man.
Curley, dubbed 'The Rascal King' due to many highly suspicious incidents, went on to enjoy a long political career in Boston despite all the controversy that followed him. His popularity remained high among the working class and he served as Mayor of Boston, State House Representative and Govenor of Massachusetts.
|On November 28, 1942 the Cocoanut Grove nightclub fire occured. It was one of the most horrific fires in US history, claiming the lives of 492 people and injuring many more.
The huge loss of lives was blamed on blatant fire safety violations and overcrowding. Prior to the fire, the owner, Barney Welansky boasted his club would never be shut down in spite of the violations, because of his mafia ties and his friendship with the Mayor of Boston.
Name the Mayor involved in making sure the fire safety violations were overlooked. |
Maurice J. Tobin. Mayor Tobin narrowly escaped indictment for the fire himself! Welansky was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced to serve 12-15 years. Mayor Tobin discreetly pardoned Welansky four years into his sentence.
The stories of heroism, advances in burn treatment made in Boston hospitals, and fire safety reform resulting from this tragic event make for incredible reading!
|On January 17, 1950, what famous robbery took place on Prince Street in Boston?|
The Brinks Robbery. After six long years of FBI investigations, Joseph James O'Keefe, a long-time suspect, confessed to his role in the robbery. He provided FBI officials with all of the information they needed to "connect the dots" and go after the remaining participants in the robbery.
In 1978 a comedy/crime caper movie, "The Brinks Job" was shot in and around Boston. Some of the actual robbers served as advisors on the movie set!
|The Boston Irish Gang War began in 1961 and lasted until 1966. The two gangs had existed peacefully for years until Labor Day, 1961. The Winter Hill Gang was one of them. Name the other gang.|
The McGlaughlin Gang. The McGlaughlin Gang, led by Bernie McGlaughlin and the Winter Hill Gang, led by James "Buddy" McLean carried on the bloody war for five years.
The war began after George McLaughlin (brother of Bernie) made a move on the girlfriend of a Winter Hill Gang member. Members of the Winter Hill Gang beat George into oblivion and left him outside a local hospital. Outraged, Bernie McGlaughlin met with James McLean and demanded the members who beat his brother be turned over to his gang for retaliation. McLean refused, so McGlaughin attempted to wire-bomb the car of McLean's wife. McLean then shot George McGlaughlin as he left the Morning Glory bar in Chalestown, and the war was on!
|Name the Winter Hill Gang member whose girlfriend was hit on by George McGlaughlin and precipitated the Boston Irish Gang War.|
Alex Rocco. Shortly after the war began, Rocco fled Massachusetts for California and wound up on the silver screen! Rocco became a recognizable character actor - funnily enough he starred as Jewish gangster "Mo Greene" in Mario Puzo's "The Godfather"!
|Career criminal James "Whitey" Bulger was known to be on the "wrong side of the law", however he had a brother who had a long, and no-less-notorious political career. Name him.|
Billy Bulger. Billy Bulger rose through the political ranks from the Massachusetts House of Representatives, serving four consecutive terms, to his election to the Massachusetts State Senate. In 1978, he was elected President of the State Senate and successfully defended his seat as Senate President until 1996. Making him the longest-running Senate President in Massachusetts history.
In many published books and articles, it's alleged that both "Whitey" and his politcal brother Billy worked to protect each other. If anyone nosed around in little brother Billy's political or "business" dealings, they ran the risk of getting a visit from Whitey. If any state or city bureau or departments started to nose around about Whitey, said organization was met with stiff budget cuts and penalties, courtesy of Billy Bulger or his "friends in high places".
|Billy Bulger retired in 1996 after his stint as State Senate President.|
False. In 1996, Massachusetts Governor, William Weld appointed Billy President of the University of Massachusetts. On September 1, 2003 Bulger retired from the Presidency amidst pressure from then Govenor Mitt Romney and swirling controversy over inflated pay raises at the school. Payroll records for the college's administration had been published in a local paper showing Bulger and those of his "inner circle" had received numerous pay raises and the public, the board of trustees, and the media wanted answers.
|In 1997, British nanny, nineteen year old Louise Woodward was charged with murdering eight month old, Matthew Eappen. The trial captured national and international attention. What did the prosecution ascribe Baby Matty's death to?|
Shaken Baby Syndrome. The trial of Louise Woodward dominated local media for months. Eventually, she was found guilty of second degree murder, however the presiding judge, Judge Hiller Zobel reduced her murder conviction to involutary manslaughter stating, "the circumstances in which the defendant acted were characterised by confusion, inexperience, frustration, immaturity and some anger, but not malice in the legal sense supporting a conviction for second-degree murder." "I am morally certain that allowing this defendant on this evidence to remain convicted of second-degree murder would be a miscarriage of justice".
|Matthew Stuart was the man responsible for re-igniting racial tensions in Boston's Mission Hill neighborhood by claiming a Black gunman forced his way into his vehicle, shot his pregnant wife in the head, then shot him in the stomach before robbing them and leaving them for dead.|
False. Charles Stuart was the man responsible for weaving the incredible lies surrounding the unfortunate circumstances that led to the death of his wife and turned the city of Boston upside down.
In order to obtain life insurance money to help himself out of financial difficulties, Charles with help from his brother Matthew, briefly got away with pinning the crime on Willie Bennett. However, Matthew Stuart eventually confessed to his role in helping his brother. In January of 1990, Charles Stuart leapt to his death off the Tobin Bridge.
|Crime headlines covered the trial of Neil Entwistle. He was accused of murdering who?|
His wife Rachael and daughter Lillian. Entwistle was found guilty of murdering his 27 year old wife and 2 year old daughter. Both mother and daughter were found shot to death, lying in bed togther. The prosecution maintained Entwistle had gotten deep into financial and marital difficulties and was counting on a life insurance payment to help him. The defense attempted to support the story that his wife Rachael killed their daughter, then turned the gun on herself. However, Entwistle was convicted on two counts of first degree murder and was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences.
|Which notorious Boston crime figure is still stayed on the on the run from 1993 till 2011 despite being on the FBI's Most Wanted List for almost 14 years?|
James "Whitey" Bulger. After several false tip-offs he and his girlfriend Catherine Greig were arrested in Santa Monica, California. in 2011 and extradited to Massachusetts to stand trial. However, at the time of his arrest he was aged 81 ...
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