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Quiz about Crimes of the Century
Quiz about Crimes of the Century

15 Questions: Crimes of the Century Multiple Choice Quiz | People


There are all kinds of infamous crimes. The ones here share the distinction of having been called by someone, at some point "The Crime of the Century," during the 20th century. Only US crimes are included to keep to list manageable.

A multiple-choice quiz by RivkahChaya. Estimated time: 7 mins.
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Author
RivkahChaya
Time
7 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
377,896
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
15
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
11 / 15
Plays
855
Awards
Top 35% Quiz
Last 3 plays: Guest 66 (12/15), Guest 75 (8/15), alwise (10/15).
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Question 1 of 15
1. It might have been premature to call a 1901 murder "The Crime of the Century," but as it was the assassination of a president, it's understandable. Who was the president?
Hint


Question 2 of 15
2. The New Orleans Axeman attacked victims with an axe, usually one belonging to the victims. Most of the victims were Italian-American grocers. In March of 1919, a letter claiming to be from the Axeman was sent to several newspapers, which all published it on the 13th. It said that there would be another murder at 15 minutes past midnight the night of March 19, but any place where a particular kind of music was playing would be passed over. Bars and clubs were filled to capacity if they had a band playing, and anyone with a phonograph or piano played a marathon session that night. What type of music did the Axeman request? Hint


Question 3 of 15
3. The police discovered the bodies of the victims of the Saint Valentine's Day Massacre of 1929 due to the howling and barking of a German Shepherd Dog.


Question 4 of 15
4. Charles Augustus Lindbergh, Jr. was kidnapped from his parents' New Jersey home in 1930. Under supervision of the police and FBI, a ransom was paid, taking what special measure with the bills?
Hint


Question 5 of 15
5. The "Brinks Job" of 1950 was the armed robbery of the Brink's Building in Boston, Massachusetts. In the largest robbery in US history up to that point, the robbers got away with $1,218,211.29 in cash, and $1,557,183.83 in checks, and other securities. But the entire eleven-member gang who pulled it off was eventually arrested.

Was it true that there was only a single day left on the statute of limitations at the time of the arrests?


Question 6 of 15
6. "The Lana Turner Affair" of 1958 refers the death of Turner's on/off lover, Johnny Stompanato, at the hands of Cheryl, Turner's 14-year-old daughter.


Question 7 of 15
7. When John F. Kennedy was shot in 1963, he was the first assassinated president to die immediately from his wounds, rather than lingering for several hours or weeks. Very soon after the assassination, a special honor was bestowed on Kennedy, one that had been bestowed on only four previous presidents and one founding father. What was it?

Hint


Question 8 of 15
8. The Tate-La Bianca Murders of 1969 are often often referred to by another name. What is it? Hint


Question 9 of 15
9. One of the members of the Symbionese Liberation Army who participated in the Patty Hearst kidnapping was Emily Harris. What was Emily Harris' job before she kidnapped Patty Hearst in 1974? Hint


Question 10 of 15
10. On March 30, 1981, 69 days into his presidency, an attempt was made on the life of Ronald Reagan. Reagan survived the attempt, despite serious wounds, probably more serious than the wounds that caused the infection that killed President McKinley. Reagan was not the only one wounded that day. Who else was shot?
Hint


Question 11 of 15
11. In 1982 in Chicago, several people died suddenly, and strangely of cyanide poisoning. After more deaths the cyanide was was traced to tainted analgesic capsules available over-the-counter. The deaths included two people who died after returning to the apartment of a deceased relative after his funeral suffering from headaches; they looked through his medicine chest for something to take for relief, and then died just as he had. Only one brand was involved. What brand was it? Hint


Question 12 of 15
12. America's biggest art heist was the 1990 theft of 13 precious works, valued at the time at around $500 million. From where were these works stolen?
Hint


Question 13 of 15
13. In the spring of 1994, the public was shocked by the news that Nicole Brown, the ex-wife of former football player O.J. Simpson had been murdered, along with her acquaintance, Ron Goldman. Goldman was a waiter at a restaurant Nicole Brown had attended earlier that evening, and he had come by her home to return something her mother had left behind at the restaurant. What was the item? Hint


Question 14 of 15
14. Between 1978 and 1995, an unknown terrorist waged a bombing campaign against modern technology by planting or mailing homemade bombs to a several locations across the US. Because his original targets were universities and airports, he was nicknamed the "Unabomber." His anti-technology screeds became known, as he sent letters to several papers, promising to "desist from terrorism" if his manifesto was published.

When he was captured, where was he living?
Hint


Question 15 of 15
15. On April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School in Columbine, Colorado, a massacre took place over several hours; rescue workers could not get to injured students, and many who died or suffered devastating wounds did so because of lack of emergency treatment. In addition to the shootings, the attack involved bombs to divert firefighters, propane tanks rigged to explode in the cafeteria, and many other explosive devices. If anything was fortunate about this episode, it was that most of the bombs failed. Twelve students and one teacher died; 21 others were injured, some quite grievously. Three were injured not by the shooters, but in escape attempts. The two shooters ended things with their suicides.

What were the names of the shooters?
Hint



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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. It might have been premature to call a 1901 murder "The Crime of the Century," but as it was the assassination of a president, it's understandable. Who was the president?

Answer: William McKinley

McKinley enjoyed meeting the public, and loved shaking hands with as many people as possible. His head of security was concerned about him, as there had recently been several assassinations of heads of state in Europe by anarchists, but McKinley refused security measures that would remove him too much from the public.

After delivering an address at the Temple of Music on the grounds of the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York, on September 6, 1901, McKinley descended into the crowd to shake hands. Anarchist Leon Czolgosz, who had had assassination on the mind since becoming fired up by a speech given by Emma Goldman, hid his gun in a handkerchief, and waited his turn in line to shake the president's hand. When his turn came, he shot McKinley twice in the abdomen.

McKinley's condition seemed to improve in the days after the shooting; the vice president felt confident enough to continue with plans to take a camping trip to the Adirondacks. But gangrene had set in, and the president was becoming septic. On the morning of September 13, relatives and friends were asked to come to his death bed. McKinley died the next day.

Nine days later, Czolgosz was found guilty at trial, and executed in the electric chair on October 29, 1901.
2. The New Orleans Axeman attacked victims with an axe, usually one belonging to the victims. Most of the victims were Italian-American grocers. In March of 1919, a letter claiming to be from the Axeman was sent to several newspapers, which all published it on the 13th. It said that there would be another murder at 15 minutes past midnight the night of March 19, but any place where a particular kind of music was playing would be passed over. Bars and clubs were filled to capacity if they had a band playing, and anyone with a phonograph or piano played a marathon session that night. What type of music did the Axeman request?

Answer: jazz

The Axeman was never caught, and stopped as mysteriously as he had started. A frequently repeated rumor is that the Axeman was one Joseph Momfre, a man shot to death in Los Angeles in 1920 by Mrs. Mike Pepitone (née Esther Albano), the widow of the Axeman's last victim; however, research has failed to turn up any police reports or other details of the murder of a Joseph Momfre (and similar spellings) in LA and the surrounding areas.

A man named Momfre was in fact a suspect is a shooting of two Italian-Americans a few years before the Axeman murders, and it's not impossible that someone named Momfre was the Axeman. However, the revenge killing by the widow is still fictional, and all the evidence is very sketchy. The case is officially unsolved.
3. The police discovered the bodies of the victims of the Saint Valentine's Day Massacre of 1929 due to the howling and barking of a German Shepherd Dog.

Answer: True

The Saint Valentine's Day Massacre is the name given to a 1929 murder that resulted from the struggle between the Irish and Italian gangs in Chicago. Five members of Bugs Moran's gang fell to Al Capone. On February 14, 1929, members of the North Side Gang, along with two collaborators, were lined up against the rear inside wall of the garage in Lincoln Park, and shot.

One of the victims had left his German Shepherd leashed to a truck. The dog began howling, and attracted the attention of two women across the street. The women sent someone to investigate, and he found one victim still alive, who was rushed to the hospital. Doctors counted 14 bullet wounds, yet the man claimed no one had shot him. He died a few hours later. This stymied the investigation, but the pieces were eventually put together, based mainly on the basis of what was already known about Chicago's gangs.
4. Charles Augustus Lindbergh, Jr. was kidnapped from his parents' New Jersey home in 1930. Under supervision of the police and FBI, a ransom was paid, taking what special measure with the bills?

Answer: They were gold certificates, which the government was planning to soon pull from circulation.

The gold certificates eventually unmasked kidnapper Bruno Richard Hauptmann. He spent one of them on gasoline, and since gold certificates had become rare, the gas station attendant wrote down this car's license plate. Once it was traced to Hauptmann, much other evidence was found, such as the fact that a missing plank in his attic matched an odd piece of wood on the ladder used to climb into Charles, Jr.'s bedroom.

More of the ransom money was found as well. Although Hauptmann maintained his innocence, he was found guilty of the kidnapping and subsequent murder of Charles, Jr., and executed in the electric chair.
5. The "Brinks Job" of 1950 was the armed robbery of the Brink's Building in Boston, Massachusetts. In the largest robbery in US history up to that point, the robbers got away with $1,218,211.29 in cash, and $1,557,183.83 in checks, and other securities. But the entire eleven-member gang who pulled it off was eventually arrested. Was it true that there was only a single day left on the statute of limitations at the time of the arrests?

Answer: False

There were actually five days left.

Joseph "Big Fernand" McGinnis was the originator of the plot, according to information later gathered from Joseph "Specs" O'Keefe. McGinnis brought Anthony Pinocchio and Stanley "Frank" Gusciora into the robbery plot.

O'Keefe and Gusciora secretly entered the Brink's depot; they picked the locks with an ice pick and a piece of plastic, then removed the cylinders from the five locks, one at a time, and took them to a locksmith to have their own keys made. This done, Pinocchio recruited seven other men, including his brother-in-law Vincent Dacosta.

The gang bided their time for the optimal moment for their heist. Pino, studying schedules, determined what the staffing of the Brinks' building was by the patterns of the lights in the windows (ie, what office was used when). O'Keefe and Gusciora stole the plans for the site alarms. The gang members entered the building on practice runs after the staff had left for the day. Another conspirator monitored the depot from a building across the street. By the time they acted the gang had planned and trained for two years.

On January 17, 1950, after six rehearsals, the robbers decided that the time was right. With two remaining in the getaway car, seven men wearing masks and pea coats entered the building at 6:55 PM, going through to the second floor with their keys. They surprised, bound, and gagged five Brink's employees who were counting and storing money. The robbers walked out at 7:30 PM, leaving no clues. The gang rapidly counted the loot, took a small cut, and agreed not to touch the rest for six years, after which the statute of limitations would have expired; during that time, they would stay out of trouble.

They would have made it except for O'Keefe. He had to serve a prison sentence for another crime, and left what money he still had with another member. Then he began to worry he'd be cheated out of it, plus what remained undivided, and so he hinted that he would talk if anyone tried to cheat him out of his share. The others decided to send a hit man after O'Keefe, but the hitman managed only to wound him, and also was caught by the police. The incident resulted in the story of O'Keefe's participation in the Brink's robbery coming to the surface. O'Keefe struck a plea bargain that included testifying against the others. Eight participants in the Great Brinks Robbery were convicted. However, only a small part of the money was recovered.
6. "The Lana Turner Affair" of 1958 refers the death of Turner's on/off lover, Johnny Stompanato, at the hands of Cheryl, Turner's 14-year-old daughter.

Answer: True

Turner reportedly was immediately attracted to Stompanato, and began an affair with him in earnest, but then broke it off soon after it begun, because she discovered that Stompanato was connected to the criminal underworld. He continued to pursue her, however, even following her to London where she was filming "Another Time, Another Place," with Sean Connery. The relationship had become volatile and violent, to the point that Turner missed three weeks of filming after Stompanato choked her during a fight.

Back in the US, following the 1958 Oscar ceremony, Stompanato showed up uninvited at Turner's rented house in Beverly Hills. They began arguing, apparently savagely enough that Cheryl feared for her mother's life. She took a knife from the kitchen, and ran to her mother's defense. According to Turner's testimony at the coroner's inquest, the teen stabbed at Stompanato, and while her intention may have been simply to drive him away from her mother, she ended up killing him. The murder was a media sensation. The coroner declared it a justifiable homicide, and no charges were filed against Cheryl.
7. When John F. Kennedy was shot in 1963, he was the first assassinated president to die immediately from his wounds, rather than lingering for several hours or weeks. Very soon after the assassination, a special honor was bestowed on Kennedy, one that had been bestowed on only four previous presidents and one founding father. What was it?

Answer: his likeness was placed on a coin.

Kennedy's face on the half dollar replaced Benjamin Franklin's, making Franklin the first real person to be removed from a coin.

The Native American on the Buffalo Nickel was a composite portrait, and meant to represent all Native Americans, not any one person.

The Nobel prize committee does not accept posthumous nominations, and former US presidents are not technically, retired (they may run for other offices, join the Supreme Court, or the cabinet of a subsequent president), and are not therefore given the title "emeritus." It would be even less appropriate for someone who left office involuntarily, which would be the case of an assassinated president.
8. The Tate-La Bianca Murders of 1969 are often often referred to by another name. What is it?

Answer: The Manson Murders

Before the Manson gang was arrested, the papers referred to the case as the "Tate-La Bianca murders," but once it became clear who had committed them, they were almost exclusively called "The Manson murders," even though Charles Manson had given the orders, but not actually participated.

Manson claimed he was trying to spark a race war, but he probably had another motive as well. Terry Melcher once stayed at the house where Sharon Tate and Abigail Folger were killed, and Manson believed that Melcher had promised him a record deal (Melcher had a different story), then backed out. Manson may have intended to send the "family" to kill Melcher, whom he believed had wronged him, and Sharon Tate and companions were just very unlucky.
9. One of the members of the Symbionese Liberation Army who participated in the Patty Hearst kidnapping was Emily Harris. What was Emily Harris' job before she kidnapped Patty Hearst in 1974?

Answer: She taught English at a middle school in Indiana.

Harris taught at Binford Middle (later Elementary) School in Bloomington, IN. Her fellow teachers didn't notice anything unusual about her, other than the fact that back in the day when teachers were required to wear skirts or dresses, Harris rode her bicycle to school and back, so she arrived every day in jeans, and changed to a dress in the teachers' bathroom.

After a very short career, she quit abruptly, and the next thing anyone heard was that she was arrested with Patty Heart for the bank robbery for which the Symbionese Liberation Army had claimed credit.
10. On March 30, 1981, 69 days into his presidency, an attempt was made on the life of Ronald Reagan. Reagan survived the attempt, despite serious wounds, probably more serious than the wounds that caused the infection that killed President McKinley. Reagan was not the only one wounded that day. Who else was shot?

Answer: White House Press Secretary James Brady

While Reagan recovered from his wounds, and the Vice President never invoked the powers of succession, James Brady was severely wounded, and ended up brain-damaged, paralyzed, and in a wheelchair. He and his wife Sarah worked tirelessly for gun control laws in the years after.

When Brady died in 2014, the Virginia medical examiner found that the cause was directly related to the wounds he had sustained in 1981.

John Hinckley, the man who shot Reagan and Brady, was found not guilty by reason of insanity, and confined to an institution for violent mental patients. He has made requests for release that have been denied. In January 2015, federal prosecutors announced that they would not charge Hinckley with Brady's death, despite the finding of homicide, probably because there is little expectation that Hinckley will ever be released.

Hinckley claimed to have made the attempt in order to impress the actress Jodie Foster, whom he did not actually know, but had merely seen in the movie "Taxi Driver" many times.
11. In 1982 in Chicago, several people died suddenly, and strangely of cyanide poisoning. After more deaths the cyanide was was traced to tainted analgesic capsules available over-the-counter. The deaths included two people who died after returning to the apartment of a deceased relative after his funeral suffering from headaches; they looked through his medicine chest for something to take for relief, and then died just as he had. Only one brand was involved. What brand was it?

Answer: Tylenol

Excedrin was involved in a copycat case a few months later, where the widow of one of the victims was caught when she applied for a double indemnity award from her insurance company, and arrested as the poisoner. Necedrol is the invented brand name used in an episode of "Law and Order: Criminal Intent," based on the Excedrin double indemnity case. Paracetamol is the UK word for "acetaminophen," the generic name for Tylenol.

The Tylenol poisoning led to a nationwide recall, costing millions of dollars. Packaging of all medications, and many other consumer products, were redesigned to protect them from tampering. For a while, it was thought that the Tylenol brand might not recover, but the company's swift response, and the perception of its deep concern for the public's safety and welfare, not to mention the assurance from the authorities outside the company that the tampering happened outside the factories, in the stores, kept the brand alive.

In spite of the fact that no one has been arrested in the case, the fact that the deaths were all in a very small area makes it evident that the cyanide was certainly placed in the capsules in the stores, and not in the factories.

One man was arrested for contacting the Tylenol company and attempting to extort money by claiming to be the tamperer, and saying he would stop if paid off, but investigation proved him to be an opportunist who was no where near Chicago at the time.
12. America's biggest art heist was the 1990 theft of 13 precious works, valued at the time at around $500 million. From where were these works stolen?

Answer: The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston

Interpol and the FBI were unsuccessful in apprehending the thieves immediately after the burglary, and now the statute of limitations has run out. The FBI is still investigating the case, though, in an effort to recover the 13 stolen paintings.
13. In the spring of 1994, the public was shocked by the news that Nicole Brown, the ex-wife of former football player O.J. Simpson had been murdered, along with her acquaintance, Ron Goldman. Goldman was a waiter at a restaurant Nicole Brown had attended earlier that evening, and he had come by her home to return something her mother had left behind at the restaurant. What was the item?

Answer: her glasses

The trial that resulted when OJ Simpson was arrested was one of the longest in US history, and very expensive, although not the most expensive. It was also historically significant in that TV cameras were allowed in the courtroom for gavel-to-gavel coverage of events, and millions of Americans watched. When Simpson was acquitted, everyone had an opinion, and believed they were in a position to judge because they had watched some, or even most of the trial.

This was often also called "The Trial of the Century."
14. Between 1978 and 1995, an unknown terrorist waged a bombing campaign against modern technology by planting or mailing homemade bombs to a several locations across the US. Because his original targets were universities and airports, he was nicknamed the "Unabomber." His anti-technology screeds became known, as he sent letters to several papers, promising to "desist from terrorism" if his manifesto was published. When he was captured, where was he living?

Answer: a remote cabin in Montana without electricity or running water

Ted Kaczynski was caught serendipitously, like many criminals, when his brother David decided that the wording of the published manifesto sounded very much like Ted's old letters and other writings, which were in David's possession. Ted Kaczynski had planted 16 different bombs by then, attacking various forms of technology, from IT departments at major universities, to airplanes, in the last, causing an explosion midflight. He is considered a serial killer by the FBI, having killed three people in his bombing campaign, as well as injuring 23 others.

Kaczynski's lawyers wanted him to enter an insanity plea, but Kaczynski refused, asserting that he was not mentally ill. He plea bargained for eight life sentences, without parole, instead, to be served at the federal Administrative Supermax Facility in Florence, Colorado. The supermax prison is partly for Kaczynski's own protection, as he is considered a target for other prisoners.

His early life showed promise: he was a math prodigy, and became a professor of mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley, the youngest professor the university had thus far ever hired, but the job didn't last. Kaczynski was a poor teacher who seemed very uncomfortable in front of a class. He resigned after only two years. It was just a few more years after that that he moved into the cabin in Montana.
15. On April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School in Columbine, Colorado, a massacre took place over several hours; rescue workers could not get to injured students, and many who died or suffered devastating wounds did so because of lack of emergency treatment. In addition to the shootings, the attack involved bombs to divert firefighters, propane tanks rigged to explode in the cafeteria, and many other explosive devices. If anything was fortunate about this episode, it was that most of the bombs failed. Twelve students and one teacher died; 21 others were injured, some quite grievously. Three were injured not by the shooters, but in escape attempts. The two shooters ended things with their suicides. What were the names of the shooters?

Answer: Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold

6-year-old Dedrick Owens is a very young school shooter, who shot and killed classmate Kayla Rolland at Buell Elementary School.

Kip Kinkel, 15, drove to Thurston High School in Springfield Oregon, after he had just killed his parents at home, and the shot and killed two students and wounded 23 others. After pleading guilty, he was sentenced to 111 years of prison.

Mitchell Johnson and Andrew Golden were students at Westside Middle School in Craighead County, Arkansas when they committed a massacre there on March 24, 1998. They shot and killed a total of five people and injured ten. The Jonesboro prosecutor later stated that were it not for their ages, he would have sought a death sentence for the pair. As it was, they were imprisoned until their 21st birthdays, serving collectively 16 years.

Khalil Sumpter shot and killed two students at Thomas Jefferson High School, in East New York; a few months later, Jason Bentley shot a student in the same school, purportedly in defense of his brother.

Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold of Columbine had complained of being bullied and ill-treated by other students. However, given the number of students who get bullied, and the number who massacre their fellow students, it's hard not to take very seriously the authors who have put forth theories that psychopathy played a more important role than a revenge motive in the Columbine shootings. The personal journals of the Klebold and Harris state that they wished their actions to rival the Oklahoma City bombing.
Source: Author RivkahChaya

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