Cover image for Bloodletters and badmen; a narrative encyclopedia of American criminals from the Pilgrims to the present.
Title:
Bloodletters and badmen; a narrative encyclopedia of American criminals from the Pilgrims to the present.
Publication Information:
New York, M. Evans; distributed in association with Lippincott, Philadelphia [1973]
ISBN:
9780871311139
Physical Description:
640 p. illus. 29 cm.
Language:
English
Holds:

Available:*

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Book 364.309 NAS 1 .SOURCE. GIFT
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Book HV6785.N37 1
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Summary

Summary

A narrative encyclopedia of American criminals from the pilgrims to the present.


Excerpts

Excerpts

Chapter One A ABBANDANDO, FRANK Syndicate Gangster * (1910-1942) BACKGROUND: HABITUAL CRIMINAL, RAISED IN OCEAN HILL, N.Y., MINOR PUBLIC EDUCATION. ALIASES: THE DASHER. RECORD: SENT TO SEVERAL REFORM SCHOOLS AS A TEEN FOR EXTORTION; SERVED TERM AT ELMIRA, N.Y., REFORMATORY FOR KICKING NEW YORK POLICE OFFICER HAMPTON FERGUSON INTO UNCONSCIOUSNESS IN 1928; WITH HARRY MAIONE AND ABE RELES SHOT AND KILLED RIVAL N.Y. GANGSTERS METER AND IRVING SHAPIRO IN 1931; SHOT AND KILLED WILLIE SHAPIRO IN 1934; WITH MAIONE AND RELES STABBED AND AXED TO DEATH GEORGE "WHITEY" RUDNICK IN A BROWNSVILLE, N.Y. GARAGE ON 5/25/37; WITH MAIONE AND VITO GURINO SHOT AND KILLED FELICE ESPOSITO, A WITNESS TO A 1922 GANG MURDER, ON 2/9/39; WITH GURINO AND LEO TOCCI KIDNAPPED AND RAPED A 17-YEAR-OLD GIRL IN BROWNSVILLE ON 8/23/39; CONVICTED OF MURDER AND SENT TO SING'S ELECTRIC CHAIR ON 2/19/42. Few, in any syndicate killers were more ruthless than Frank "The Dasher" Abbandando. He killed for the sheer love of killing, for the perverse elation it gave him. He showed no remorse for the more than forty lives he took. As he sat down to die in Sing Sing's electric chair, there was a smirk on the lamp-jawed gangster's face that registered only contempt and arrogance. A native of Ocean Hill, Abbandando quit school at an early age and joined a street gang headed by another vicious hoodlum, Harry "Happy" Maione. He, Maione, and others worked the extortion racket, threatening to burn down shop buildings unless their owners paid them a weekly payoff. Sent to several reform schools, Abbandando could not be reformed. He was mean-spirited and enjoyed beating and bullying others. Apprehended for a minor offense in 1928 by police officer Hampton Ferguson, the hulking Abbandando turned on the officer, knocked him down, and kicked him into unconsciousness before other officers collared him. This time Abbandando was sent to Elmira (N.Y.) reformatory. The only thing normal practiced by Abbandando at Elmira was to play second base for the reformatory team. He was so fast that he was nicknamed "The Dasher," a moniker he relished. When released from Elmira, Abbandando returned to his stomping grounds in Ocean Hill where he and Maione established lucrative gambling and loan-sharking rackets. Joining this gang was Abe "Kid Twist" Reles, another brutal gangster who aided Abbandando and Maione in battling the powerful Shapiro brothers, who bossed the rackets in neighboring Brownsville. In 1931, Abbandando, Maione, and Reles shot and killed Meyer and Irving Shapiro, taking over most of the Brownsville rackets controlled by these gangsters. They took full control of this area after murdering Willie Shapiro, the last of the opposing brothers, in 1934. Abbandando, Maione, and Reles put together a large gang of thugs who thought and acted as they did: beat and kill anyone who opposed them, beat and kill anyone who failed to pay their bookies or loan-sharking agents. So methodical and ruthless were these killers that they quickly came to the attention of the crime czars of Manhattan, particularly those younger gangsters--such as Charles "Lucky" Luciano, Meyer Lansky, Louis "Lepke" Buchalter, and Albert Anastasia--who had put together the newly organized national crime syndicate. Their organization needed a brutal, uncompromising goon squad that would injure or kill without asking questions. They looked to the gang run by Abbandando, Maione, and Reles that had earned the sobriquet of Brooklyn, Inc. Within a few years, this gang of killers became known as Murder, Inc. Its members received orders from syndicate bosses either to beat up or to kill people they did not know, to go anywhere to enforce syndicate edicts. The Dasher was one of Murder, Inc.'s most dedicated killers. Inside of a decade, Abbandando killed more than forty people on syndicate orders, slaying them with icepicks, axes, knives, and guns. He never took exception to a "contract" (a syndicate order to kill someone), and made his "hit" (murder) with alacrity and precision, collecting an average payment of $500 per killing. Suddenly rich, Abbandando lavished himself with a huge wardrobe of blue-striped suits and loud ties. He bought several roadsters and moved into an expensive apartment. The Dasher also serviced a string of expensive call girls, but his sexual appetite was only satiated when forcing sex upon young women. Abbandando would cruise the streets of Brownsville and Ocean Hill in his purring roadster, searching for rape victims. Typical of Abbandando's sexual offenses was the gang rape he supervised on the night of August 23, 1939. He spotted a tall, well-endowed young woman entering a Brownville bar. He and two of his goons, Vito Gurino and Leo Tocci, followed the girl and, once inside the bar, inveigled her into a back room. They grabbed her and forced her out the back exit and into Abbandando's car. She was driven to a nearby hotel where she was raped again and again by the three men. When prosecutors confronted the Dasher with his many rape offenses at his murder trial, Abbandando became indignant, snarling: "I never raped nobody!" A prosecutor read an old arrest transcript in which the Dasher all but admitted raping the victim. Shrugging, Abbandando said: "Well, that one doesn't count. really I married the girl later." Abbandando murdered in the same fashion as he attacked young women--ruthlessly and without conscience. Such was the case of George "Whitey" Rudnick, who had been earmarked for death because of bad debts and because the mob thought he might be informing on them to police. On May 25, 1937, Abbandando, Reles, and Maione took Rudnick to a Brownville garage and there tortured him by stabbing him sixty-three times with icepicks, strangling him slowly, and then using a meat cleaver to crush his head. The three killers, Reles later related, laughed uproariously as they repeatedly stuck icepicks into Rudnick, counting the blows and delighting in the victim's tortured screams of agony The man who meticulously memorized this murder, Abe "Kid Twist" Reles, was the gangster who brought an end to Murder, Inc. Believing that his bosses intended to kill him, Reles began to inform. He outlined, for the first time, the powerful hierarchy of syndicate members and operations in New York, naming his bosses as Louis Capone (no relation to Chicago's Al Capone), Albert Anastasia, and the overall boss of Murder, Inc., Louis "Lepke" Buchalter. Reles appeared in court to testify against Abbandando and Maione, who were tried together for the Rudnick and other killings. Both gangsters shouted threats at Reles, who nevertheless damned them from the witness chair. The Dasher was particularly menacing, whispering death threats to anyone he disliked. At one point, when in the witness chair, Abbandando leaned in close to presiding Judge Franklin W. Taylor and told him he would kill him if he was found guilty. Judge Taylor was unmoved and remarked after the Dasher's conviction: "The skull and crossbones of the underworld must come down!" Unlike Reles, Abbandando had no intention of informing on his bosses. Time and again the Dasher replied to questions about his superior: "I never heard of Anastasia!" Of course he blared his denials so that Anastasia's henchmen, whom he knew were standing in the hallway outside the courtroom, could hear his response and report dutifully back to Anastasia that the Dasher was loyal. It did Abbandando no good. He was convicted and sent to Sing Sing with Maione to await execution. The Dasher showed his usual bravado to reporters seeing him off at the train for the Castle on the Hudson, saying: "I'm gonna miss the first night ballgame of the season." He then promised that he would be out of prison soon, so confident was Abbandando of the power of the syndicate. He never came out but, instead, on February 19, 1942, was led into the little green room that housed the electric chair. He sat down in it with a smirk of defiance on his face. He said nothing as the black hood was placed over his head. His strapped down body quivered, the only response the Dasher had to the electric current that took his life. (ALSO SEE Albert Anastasia: Louis Buchalter; Meyer Lansky; Charles Luciano: Harry Maione; Murder, Inc.; Abe Reles.) ABBOTT, BURTON W. Murderer * (1928-1957) BACKGROUND: BORN AND RAISED IN SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF. MARRIED, WIFE GEORGIA. STUDENT AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, MAJORING IN ACCOUNTING. TUBERCULAR SINCE CHILDHOOD (HAD A LUNG AND SEVERAL RIBS REMOVED). DESCRIPTION: 5'8", BROWN EYES, BROWN HAIR, SLIGHT BUILD. ALIASES: NONE. RECORDS: STRANGLED AND MURDERED 14-YEAR-OLD STEPHANIE BRYAN IN SAN FRANCISCO 4/28/55; WAS FOUND GUILTY IN A LONG AND SENSATIONAL TRIAL AND SENTENCED TO DEATH; DIED IN THE GAS CHAMBER AT SAN QUENTIN PRISON 3/15/57. Burton Abbott was a mild-mannered, almost shy man whose friends called him "Bud" after the comedian. He had led an exemplary life, never had a police record and married an older woman named Georgia. Abbott's recreational habits were more intellectual than common: he was a better-than-average chess player and considered himself a minor master at preparing special cuisine. On weekends, Abbott would drive several hundred miles north of his Alameda home to a small cabin he owned in the Trinity Mountain range for some fishing, small same hunting, and general contemplation. Though tubercular and frail, Burton Abbott in 1955 was a well-rounded young man, soberly approaching middle age with high values and solid purpose. The great mystery surrounding his brutal killing of fourteen-year-old Stephanie Bryan, therefore, remains doubly arcane. The girl vanished in front of the Hotel Claremont in Berkeley after walking a classmate home on April 28, 1955. Hours later, dozens of policemen began a desperate search for her throughout Berkeley and Contra Costa County. Several persons reported seeing a young girl in the area trying to fight off a young man in a car, but identification was skimpy. Thirteen days later a French textbook belonging to Stephanie was found in remote Franklin Canyon. It was the only trace of her. The mystery would have remained had it not been for the unthinking actions of Burton Abbott's wife Georgia on the evening of July 15, 1955. While Abbott was entertaining a friend, Otto Dezman, (the husband of Leona Dezman for whom Georgia worked in a beauty parlor), Georgia rummaged around in the basement of Abbott's Alameda home. She was searching for costume material for a play she had written. Suddenly, she came across a girl's wallet buried in a box of old clothes. Standing beneath the glare of a single naked light bulb, Georgia Abbott inspected the wallet finding Stephanie Bryan's identification card, pictures of the girl's schoolmates, and an unfinished letter she had been writing to a friend on the day of her murder. Mrs. Abbott, an avid newspaper reader, realized instantly what she had found and rushed upstairs. Confronting her husband and Dezman, she held up the wallet and blurted: "Isn't this the girl who disappeared?" After Dezman inspected the wallet, he called the police. Abbott appeared confused by the discovery, saying nothing. When police came, no one in the Abbott household could offer an explanation. Abbott distractedly played chess while an officer casually asked him a few questions and then went away. The police returned the next day and carefully began to dig through Abbott's basement, overlooking nothing. While Abbott worked a crossword puzzle upstairs, the police dug up from the earthen floor Stephanie's schoolbooks and her bra. Confronted with this new evidence, Abbott shrugged. Anyone, he claimed, could have planted that in his basement. In May of that year, he explained, his garage had been used as a polling place and dozens of people would have had access to his house. The police appeared satisfied with this excuse but a newsman, following a hunch, visited Abbott's Trinity Mountain cabin. He brought along a friend with two hunting dogs. The dogs quickly scurried to a shallow grave and the men began digging. The badly decomposed but recognizable body of Stephanie Bryan was there. Her head had been crushed and her panties were tied tightly about her neck. The coroner, after being summoned, could not say whether or not she had been sexually molested. But her presence on Abbott's land sealed his fate. He was arrested and tried for kidnapping and murder. Burton Abbott's extensive trial was dominated by massive circumstantial evidence against him. He did not considerably improve his chances for acquittal by taking the stand. There, Abbott appeared to take the whole thing lightly, even laughing on the stand when the prosecution insisted that he had intended to rape little Stephanie and killed her when she resisted. The jury didn't care for Abbott's laughter. It took seven days before the jury found him guilty of Murder One and he was sentenced to death in San Quentin's death chamber. Burton Abbott's real agony began on death row. He was granted several minor stays of execution, some for only hours, while his lawyers prepared weary appeals, all of which were denied. Even such ardent foes of Capital Punishment as Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas and Edmund G. "Pat" Brown, then Attorney General, rejected his pleas. Abbott continued to cry out his innocence. Shortly before his day of execution, the condemned man was visited by San Quentin's psychiatrist, Dr. David Schmidt. When Schmidt asked him about the killing, Abbott tersely replied: "I can't admit it, Doc. Think of what it would do to my mother. She could not take it." This statement, which was kept confidential, was later revealed as Abbott's "confession," creating a political storm in California. But Abbott never did make a public admission of his guilt and on March 14, 1957, Abbott walked into the small glass death room. At 11:15 a.m. the gas pellets were dropped beneath his chair. As the fumes rose about Burton Abbott the hotline from Governor Goodwin Knight's office began buzzing for San Quentin's warden. "Hold the execution," one of Knight's aides yelled over the phone. "Too late," Warden Harry Teets said. "The gas has already been released." Oddly, the Governor's stay was only for an hour anyway. The decision to grant this extra hour was never explained, but it mattered little to Abbott. He was dead by 11:25 a.m. ABBOTT, JACK * HENRY Murderer * (1944- ) BACKGROUND: HABITUAL CRIMINAL. ALIASES: JACK EASTMAN. SENT TO A UTAH REFORM SCHOOL IN 1953 AT AGE NINE. RELEASED IN 1962 AND WAS SHORTLY ARRESTED FOR PASSING BAD CHECKS AND SENT TO THE UTAH STATE PENITENTIARY AS A CONVICTED FORGER. KILLED A FELLOW INMATE IN 1966, WAS CONVICTED AND RECEIVED A FOURTEEN-YEAR SENTENCE FOR MURDER. ESCAPED IN 1961 AND, WHILE AT LARGE FOR SIX WEEKS, ROBBED A BANK. RECAPTURED AND CONVICTED OF BANK ROBBERY. WROTE EXTENSIVE LETTERS TO AUTHOR NORMAN MAILER, OFFERING DETAILS OF PRISON LIFE AND PROMOTING HIMSELF AS AN AUTHOR. THROUGH THE EFFORTS OF MAILER AND OTHERS, WAS GIVEN A CONTRACT FOR A BOOK AND PAROLED ON 6/5/81. KNIFED TO DEATH 22-YEAR-OLD WAITER RICHARD ADAN ON 7/18/81, FLED TO MEXICO, THEN TO LOUISIANA WHERE DETECTIVES LOCATED AND ARRESTED HIM ON 9/23/81. TRIED BEFORE JUDGE IRVING LANG OF THE MANHATTAN SUPREME COURT, PROSECUTED BY JAMES FOGEL AND DEFENDED BY CRIMINAL ATTORNEY IVAN FISHER. GIVEN A MINIMUM SENTENCE, FIFTEEN YEARS TO LIFE. ABBOTT WAS RETURNED TO THE UTAH STATE PENITENTIARY TO SERVE OUT HIS REMAINING EIGHT YEARS BEFORE BEING SENT TO NEW YORK TO SERVE OUT THE MURDER SENTENCE. One of the shrewdest and deadliest killers of recent times, Jack Henry Abbott spent all but nine months of his adult life behind bars for committing violent crimes. He was a calculating and clever convict who literary wrote himself out of prison with the considerable help of novelist-turned-amateur criminologist, Norman Mailer. His killer's streak ran to the bone marrow, however, and, shortly after winning his freedom through his literary efforts, Abbott inexplicably stabbed a young waiter to death. Living in foster homes as a child, Abbott proved incorrigible. He was a troublemaker and was given to so many violent outbursts that he was sent to a Utah reform school at age nine. Released at age eighteen. Abbott quickly began passing bad checks and was soon arrested for forgery and convicted. He was sent to the Utah State Penitentiary where, in 1966, he murdered an inmate. Abbott maintained that he killed in self-defense, that he was the victim of a vicious homosexual attack, but the court tailed to believe him. He then feebly tried to prove himself insane by throwing a pitcher of water at the presiding judge. He was examined by psychiatrists who reported him sane Abbott was found guilty and sentenced to fourteen years for the killing. Escaping from the Utah State Penitentiary in 1971, Abbott quickly robbed a Denver bank but he did not enjoy the loot for long, being recaptured and becoming a federal prisoner. As a maximum-security prisoner, Abbott's energies turned inward. He became to read endlessly, the subject of philosophy consuming him. He became enamored of Karl Marx and began telling other prisoners. guards, anyone within earshot, that he was a dedicated Marxist. In the course of his reading, Abbott reamed that his favorite novelist, Norman Mailer, was writing a book entitled The Executioner's Song, a portrait of condemned murderer Gary Gilmore, who was scheduled to die at the Utah State Penitentiary. It undoubtedly hit upon the conniving Abbott that Mailer was a novice criminologist who would be grateful for inside information dealing with prison life. He began to write to the author, sending him long missives, fifteen pages or more each time. Abbott, in excruciating detail, profiled his own life in prison as a "state-raised" inmate. The prisoner's letters were ingratiating, and, most importantly, written in a clinical style that imitated with astonishing accuracy the writing of Mailer himself, a subtle flattery that the novelist accepted and interpreted as talent on Abbott's part. Abbott proved himself a terrier-like researcher devouring all of Mailer's work and parroting back to the author his own images, even those Abbott found in Mailer's The Naked and the Dead. The nightmare prose Abbott offered Mailer described in horrific detail how he had undergone all manner of prison cruelties, how, standing naked, he had been chained by one arm to his bunk in strip-search cells, eaten cockroaches to survive, beaten by guards who tortured him with antipsychotic drugs. Abbott's seemingly endless correspondence with Mailer fixed upon hate and violence, subjects of the deepest concern to the author. Mailer became so impressed with Abbott's murky prose that he convinced the editors of the New York Review of Books to publish some of the missives in 1980. This led to a book contract with Random House wherein Abbott received a $12,000 advance for a work he entitled, In the Belly of the Beast. Mailer wrote prison officials that Abbott was "a powerful and important American writer," lobbying for his release and stating that he had offered the murderer a job as a researcher. Others joined the chorus to sing Abbott's praises. Errol McDonald, Abbott's editor at Random House, wrote prison officials urging a parole, stating that the killer "could support himself as a professional writer if he were released from prison and that he could very well have a bright future." The pleas from the powerful brought Abbott's release on June 5, 1981. He was transferred to a Manhattan hallway house and Mailer personally welcomed him when his plane landed. The killer's book was published at this time and it immediately met with torrents of praise from New York's literati. One of those initially applauding Abbott was Jerzy Kosinski, author of Being There. Kosinksi, however, was one of the few literary figures to later recant his endorsement of Abbott and express regrets for having praised the killer's written work, likening the kudos showered upon Abbott to the wrongly placed praise the literati had heaped upon the lethal Black Panthers two decades earlier. In New York Abbott was wined and dined at parties, embraced as a celebrity and peer by New York Review of Books editor Robert Silvers, author Jean Malaquais, and powerful literary agent Scott Meredith. He babbled about Camus and Sartre to these and others, cleverly building an image of himself as an intellectual giant. He began to promote among this clique the idea that he should be named a writer-in-residence at the esteemed MacDowell Colony in Petersborough, N.H. He was sure that he would acquire this lofty goal through his connections. When not being feted in posh penthouse apartments, Abbott drifted to the lower depths, moving among his true peers, thieves and prostitutes inhabiting the Lower East Side. After roaming the streets in the early hours of July 18, 1981, Abbott, accompanied by two women, walked into the Bonibon restaurant on Second Avenue and Fifth Street. The trio sat down and 22-year-old Richard Adan walked up to take their order. The Cuban-born waiter was a struggling actor who had also finished a play about the Lower East Side, which was about to be produced. He was known to be courteous and polite by his customers and friends. Before Adan could take Abbott's order, the killer demanded to use the washroom. Adan explained that the facilities were restricted to employees only because of insurance reasons. Abbott exploded, screaming abuse, obscenities, and threats. Adan sought to calm him down by asking him to step outside where they could quietly settle the matter. As soon as the pair stepped outside. Abbott drew a knife and, without a word of explanation, plunged it to the hilt into Adan's heart, killing him instantly Dashing back into the restaurant, Abbott shouted to Susan Roxas, one of the women with him: "Let's get out of here! I just killed a man!" He fled and soon vanished from the city. Police and federal agents searched for Abbott across the country for two months. He was, at that time, holed up in a small Mexican village near the Guatemalan border. Here Abbott languished, unable to speak Spanish or find work. He spent his last dollars to return to the U.S., going to the Louisiana oil fields. Detectives picked up his trail, following his nomadic course through the oil towns of Algiers, Harvey, and Marrero. Hundreds of itinerant, nameless oil workers were rousted from their beds in rickety dark bunkhouses and examined by flashlight. The officers seemed always to miss their man, often only by a few minutes. Abbott found work by using a social security card that bore the alias of Jack Eastman. He labored sixteen hours a day and was paid four dollars an hour, like the thousands of other drifters who kicked back a third of their wages to the oil firms to sleep in dirty bunkhouses and eat in open-air canteens. The rest of their pay was spent on cheap liquor and the whores who swarmed into the camps at dusk. Detectives reamed that Abbott was working in the oil fields of the Ramos Oil Company in St. Mary's Parish. Pretending to be workers, plainclothes officers approached Abbott as he was unloading pipe from a truck. He stopped to raise his arms and comb his hair. At that moment detectives rushed forward leveling eight shotguns at him. "Keep your hands in the air!" a detective ordered. Abbott froze. He was then handcuffed and led away. He wore a filthy T-shirt, pants caked with dried oil, and boots so worn they were falling off his feet. Flown to New York, Abbott was held at Riker's Island. He was tried before Judge Irving Lang of the Manhattan Supreme Court. His defense lawyer was criminal attorney Ivan Fisher and he was prosecuted by James Fogel. The killer no longer displayed his normal aloof attitude. He appeared nervous, anxious. Abbott explained his murder of Adan as a "tragic misunderstanding." He then used the same excuse he had used after killing a prison inmate, that he had only acted in self-defense, that he had anticipated an attack from Adan. "You intended to do it, you scum!" shouted a courtroom spectator who had jumped to his feet. The man was the father-in-law of the dead Adan, Henry Howard Judge Lang ordered Howard removed from the courtroom. Throughout the trial, the frustrated Howard languished in the hallway, waiting for justice to be done. Among the several prosecution witnesses, Wayne Larsen proved to be the most damning of Abbott. He testified that he witnessed Abbott's ruthless knife thrust into the helpless Adan, an impact Larsen claimed "still rings in my ears. " Fisher portrayed his client as the victim of the inhuman prison system that had created him, the same plaintive plea Abbott had so successfully used in engineering his release from prison. "He was mistreated for so long and in so horrible a way," argued Fisher. "If it was, in fact, the poison of prison that brought about these events, how can it be urged that a lot more is the cure?" Prosecutor Fogel minced no words: "This is a killer, a killer by habit, a killer by inclination, a killer by philosophy, a killer by desire." Fogel asked for a maximum sentence of life. Abbott was found guilty of first degree manslaughter. Judge Lang had earlier ruled that Abbott's previous convictions had qualified him as a "persistent violent felon." He nevertheless gave the killer the minimum sentence of fifteen years to life. Judge Lang stated that Abbott's conviction was, in part, "an indictment which brutalized instead of rehabilitating.... It's perfectly clear that the defendant could not cope with the reality of a nonprison existence. " Norman Mailer had been present throughout the trial. He had pled for a lenient sentence. "Culture is worth a little risk," he implored the court. "A major sentence would destroy him." Even after hearing Lang's minimum sentence, Mailer complained that it was so long as to be "killing." Carped the 59-year-old Mailer: "At the point he gets out, he'll be as old as I am now." Lang's sentence enraged Henry Howard: "In twenty-four years Jack Abbott will be back on the street and he will kill again. Why are his rights better than Richard Adan's rights?" The answer to that question might be easily found in the facts that Jack Abbott had been raised to literary stardom, that his book sold 40,000 copies and subsequently earned him $500,000 and that he had powerful friends whose influence was undoutedly effective. Abbott was resumed to the Utah State Penitentiary to serve out his remaining eight years. He was then resumed to New York to serve out the fifteen-year sentence for ruthlessly killing, a hopeful 22-year-old actor-playwright whose own writing never produced enough money to pay for his burial. Jack Henry Abbott is scheduled for release in the year 2006. ABDULLAH, MOHAMMED (JOSEPH HOWK, JR.) Murderer * (1939- ) BACKGROUND: BORN OF A WHITE FATHER AND NEGRO MOTHER, AND RAISED IN LONG BEACH, CALIF. GRADUATED HIGH SCHOOL AT 15 WITH AN IQ OF 140. ATTENDED LONG BEACH CITY COLLEGE IN 1954: ATTENDED THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, BERKELEY, 1958-60, MAJORING IN NEAR EASTERN LANGUAGES AND ISLAMIC CULTURE: CHANCED HIS NAME IN 1956 TO MOHAMMED ABDULLAH AND EMBRACED MOHAMMEDANISM IN 1956. DESCRIPTION: 5'11", BROWN EYES, BLACK HAIR, HEAVYSET. ALIASES: NONE. RECORD: SHOT AND KILLED BERKELEY STUDENT SONJA LILLIAN HOFF OUTSIDE THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIF. LIBRARY, BERKELEY 7/13/60: ATTEMPTED SUICIDE, BUT RECOVERED: TRIED AND SENTENCED TO DEATH: SENTENCE COMMUTED TO LIFE IMPRISONMENT WITHOUT PAROLE BY CALIF. GOVERNOR EDMUND G. BROWN ON REASONS OF INSANITY. He was a brilliant child who began to read at the age of three and consumed myriad volumes of books before he was eight years old. By fifteen he had graduated from high school at the head of his class. Howk's bookishness, however, did not tend to calm his emotions. He attempted to hang himself at age nine; the reason was never explained. At sixteen, the boy tried to burn down his parents' home after a violent argument with his mother. He was examined and studied at the Camarillo State Hospital and was diagnosed schizoid. No psychiatric care was provided, though it was recommended. The racial differences in Howk's home have been suggested as the reason for the boy's discontent. Howk never openly talked about it but his unpredictable changes of religious beliefs tend to endorse this theory. First, he was a Roman Catholic. At fifteen he was an ardent Nazi, dropping out of Long Beach City College because his theories of Nordic supremacy were not supported in courses there. Inside of two years, Howk swung completely over to Mohammedanism, becoming a fanatic Islamic follower and changing his name to Mohammed Abdullah. Abdullah put on weight and began to sport a fez. He arrived in the Berkeley area in 1958 with a scholarship to the University of California. Overnight he became an habitue of the coffee houses by then more Beatnik than Bohemian. In one of these Abdullah met and befriended drifter and local eccentric Martin Horowitz, 34, a high school dropout who had himself been in and out of psychiatric care. Horowitz began to practice his own weird brand of psychiatry on Abdullah, and the two became inseparable until 1959 when Abdullah met pretty, statuesque Sonja Hoff, 21, a home economics major intent upon entering social work. Her fascination with minority groups may have led her into her association with Abdullah, a group study in himself by some standards. One reason given for their meeting was that Sonja wanted help with her course in Persian and the brilliant Abdullah volunteered. His tutoring soon blossomed into love and the pair dated heavily. Abdullah was a jealous man, however, and after seeing Sonja with other male students, he wrote in his diary, April 6, 1960: "Tonight I tried to kill myself, but Sonja put herself between my knife and my throat. Next time I suspect her of liking another man, I shall kill her quickly and without warning." Two weeks later, Abdullah again caught Sonja with another student; he threatened to murder her. She reported the incident to the Berkeley police and he was subsequently ordered off campus. He did not, however, leave town. Abdullah continued to threaten Sonja's life and that of an Iranian student she was dating. She left town at the end of the semester but made the mistake of returning in July to take a job as a waitress near the Berkeley campus. The lovesick Abdullah spotted her on July 11, 1960, in the restaurant where she was working. He begged her to come to his apartment, where he secretly planned to cut her throat and then stick his head in the oven, turning on the gas. She refused to go with him. Frustrated, Abdullah turned to his only friend, Martin Horowitz. His friend gave him a loaded .38 caliber pistol. Horowitz later explained that he did this because the mere possession of the weapon by Abdullah and his knowledge that he had the means to murder would distract him from the actual deed and "soothe his tensions." Later statements claimed that Abdullah stole the gun from Horowitz. Abdullah said at one time that he bought it. No matter. It was the weapon that would end Sonja Hoff's life. On July 13, 1960, Abdullah went to the University library, rented a typewriter, and tapped out a lengthy confession of the murder and suicide he was about to enact. Following the ornamental style of Near East scripts, Abdullah carefully worded his pain and regret." ... In the name of God, beneficent and merciful, I have stolen a pistol to kill my beloved and myself." He then walked to the main reading room and approached Sonja, who was studying. He asked her to step outside where they could talk and, incredibly, considering the number of threats he had made against her life, she consented. Abdullah whispered the words "I love you" in Sonja's ear as they walked out. Once on the steps of the library, he whipped out the pistol and, holding it only inches from her head, he fired, killing her instantly. He fired another shot at the dead girl as she fell, but missed. Then he turned the weapon on himself and sent a bullet into his right temple. Though the bullet remained lodged in his brain, Abdullah lived, blinded in one eye. Upon his recovery he and Horowitz were tried for murder, January 3, 1961. Abdullah was found guilty and sentenced to die in the gas chamber, an end he devoutly wished. Horowitz, sobbing, was sentenced to ten years at San Quentin for manslaughter. Shortly before the date of his execution, Mohammed Abdullah was deprived of his self-envisioned paradise (where he believed God would give him his Sonja). Governor Brown commuted his sentence to life imprisonment without parole on the grounds that he had been insane all his life. There was no comment from the prisoner. ACCARDO, ANTHONY JOSEPH Syndicate Gangster * (1906-1992) BACKGROUND: BORN 4/28/06 IN CHICAGO, ILL. AS ANTONIO LEONARDO ACCARDO. PUBLIC EDUCATION TO SIXTH GRADE. DESCRIPTION: 5'9 1/2", BROWN EYES, BLACK HAIR, SWARTHY. ALIASES: JOE BATTERS, JOE BATTY, BIG TUNA. RECORD: ARRESTED 27 TIMES SINCE 1922 FOR CARRYING CONCEALED WEAPONS, GAMBLING, EXTORTION, KIDNAPPING, AND MURDER; NEVER FINED OR IMPRISONED; LISTED AS A SUSPECT IN THE MURDERS OF JOSEPH AIELLO, "MIKE DE PIKE" HEITLER, AND JACK ZUTA BY THE CHICAGO CRIME COMMISSION IN 1931. ALSO SUSPECTED OF BEING ONE OF THE MACHINEGUNNERS AT THE ST. VALENTINE'S DAY MASSACRE; TOOK THE FIFTH AMENDMENT 144 TIMES WHEN APPEARING BEFORE THE KEFAUVER COMMITTEE AND CITED FOR CONTEMPT OF CONGRESS. Accardo served as a bodyguard to Al Capone in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Known in the underworld as Joe Batters because of his reputed skill in handling a baseball bat. Accardo rose in the old Capone mob ranks to become boss of the Chicago family of the Mafia in 1943, following the suicide of Frank "The Enforcer" Nitti. Sam Giancana, also a one-time Capone torpedo, aided Accardo in his assertion of power but wrested it away from him in 1957. Following Giancana's 1966 flight to Mexico to avoid prosecution, Accardo took back control. The appellative Big Tuna was tacked onto Accardo's name by an inventive Chicago newspaperman--Ray Brennan--after he had learned that the gangster was fond of fishing and had posed beside some prize Florida catches. Accardo had enormous investments in Arizona, California, Florida, Nevada and South America--trucking, coal, lumber, hotels, and restaurants. Accardo retired to Arizona in the 1980s, and lived out his life in luxury and comfort as the elder statesman of the Chicago branch of the Mafia-Syndicate. He died of natural causes on May 27, 1992, which left the Chicago outfit without a clear leader, but a hierarchy of bosses who essentially rule the rackets at this writing. ADAMS, CALEB Murderer * (1785-1803) Adams was a "street youth" of Windham, Conn., where a five-year-old neighbor boy, Oliver Woodworth plagued Adams with too many questions and was in the habit of following him. One day the eighteen-year-old Adams took an axe to little Oliver, striking him on the head. Adams then produced a knife and slit the boy's throat because, as Adams later explained: "He annoyed me." Adams was promptly convicted and sentenced to hang. On the day of his hanging, November 29, 1803, the youth stood for close to an hour on the gallows before a great throng as the Rev. Elijah Waterman delivered a sermon, pointing out Adams' dissolute life, recounting every crime the boy had confessed to over his brief life span, which included stealing twenty-five cents. After Adams' spirit had been properly cleansed by Waterman's sermon, he was hanged. ADAMS, MILLICENT Murderer * (1942- ) A wealthy Philadelphia socialite, Millicent Adams attended Bryn Mawr and moved through uppercrust realms, as did Axel Schmidt, her lover. Schmidt, an engineering student, was a social climber and jilted Adams for another. more socially prominent young woman. The scorned Adams later claimed that this rejection so depressed her that she intended to commit suicide. She purchased a gun and a St. Bernard. She took the dog to an unused servant's room in her family home and shot it with a .22-caliber Smith & Wesson, just to see if the weapon would work. Adams then met Schmidt on an October night in 1962 for the last time. As they went to bed, she produced the gun and shot Schmidt dead, although she later claimed that she originally intended to shoot herself while in his embrace. Pleading guilty to manslaughter, the court leniently sentenced her to ten years probation on the condition that Adams commit herself to a mental health center. All of this was part of a surprising plea-bargaining arrangement. Adams gave birth to a child, fathered by the very man she had slain. She was released in three years and resettled in the comfortable home of West Coast relatives. ADAMSON, JOHN HARVEY Murderer * (1944- ) Phoenix, Arizona, newsman Don Bolles, who had just recently received a Pulitzer Prize nomination for his investigative reporting, received an urgent phone call on June 2, 1976. The caller asked him to come to a hotel immediately to get information that linked top Republican politicians to the Mafia and enormous land fraud schemes. Bolles drove to the hotel, met with the caller, then resumed to his car. When he started the engine, the car blew up, fatally injuring Bolles. Someone had fixed a crude dynamite bomb to the car's ignition. The reporter lingered for eleven days, undergoing six painful operations. He lost both legs and his right arm. As he lay dying on June 13, 1976, Bolles uttered his last words: "Mafia ... Emprise ... They finally got me ... John Adamson, find him." The nation's press responded quickly. Star investigative reporters from all the major newspapers flocked to Phoenix and began their own investigation into the murder of one of their own. A $100,000 special prosecution fund was established to pin-point Bolles's killer or killers. Adamson was the target, the man Bolles had named in his deathbed statement. Moreover, It was proven, Adamson was the very man who had called Bolles to the hotel meeting. Adamson was charged with murder and pled not guilty at a preliminary hearing on June 21, 1976. The prosecution brought forth two witnesses. The first was Gail Owens, one-time girlfriend of Adamson, who stated that she was with him when Adamson bought a remote control device, telling her that it was a gift for a friend. The second witness, ex-convict Robert Lettiere, testified that he drove with Adamson to a Phoenix parking lot to identify Bolles's car only five days before the lethal explosion. Adamson then pled guilty to planting the bomb but only after he had plea bargained for protection against the death penalty This he accomplished by implicating two others, Max Dunlap, a wealthy contractor, and James Robison, a plumber. Adamson insisted that both men had detonated the bomb with a remote control radio transmitter used for model airplanes. Though both Dunlap and Robison were convicted and sentenced to death on January 10, 1977, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned these convictions on grounds that Dunlap and Robison were denied their constitutional right to face Adamson, their accuser. In November 1980, Adamson was then resentenced to die in the Arizona gas chamber. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco struck down this sentence, stating that the trial judge had originally imposed a prison sentence as appropriate and could not later add the death penalty. Adamson is currently serving a twenty-year prison sentence. ADONIS, JOE ("JOEY A") Syndicate Gangster * (1902-1972) Born November 22, 1906, in Montemarano, Italy, Adonis (also known as Adone, real name Joseph Doto), entered this country illegally as a teenager. He joined a New York street gang at an early age, and was arrested in 1922 for rape. With a group of notorious young hoodlums--Albert Anastasia, Lucky Luciano, Vito Genovese--Adonis rose rapidly in the newly-formed syndicate during the early 1930s, specializing in hijacking and gambling, his area of operations centered in the Broadway district. Adonis sat as a regular member on the national syndicate board for two decades, issuing murder contracts, infiltrating clothing and foodstuff businesses. It was once said of him by gangster-turned-police-informant Abe "Kid Twist" Reles: "Cross Joey Adonis and you cross the national combination." In 1951, while Adonis was in charge of most of New Jersey's rackets, he was convicted of conspiracy to violate gambling laws and was sentenced to a two-to-three-Year prison term. After learning that his immigration to the U.S. had been illegal, authorities successfully deported him to Italy August 5, 1953. AIELLO, JOSEPH Bootlegger * (1891-1930) After the Genna gang had been smashed in Chicago by Al Capone, Milwaukee-bred Joey Aiello and his brothers, Dominick, Antonio and Andrew, attempted to seize control of the Unione Siciliane, fraternal organization which controlled Sicilian rackets in Chicago. Aiello reorganized the old Genna mob in October, 1927, and joined forces with North and West Side gangs under the leadership of hoodlums George "Bugs" Moran, William Skidmore, Barney Bertsche and Jack Zuta. Capone, who coveted the presidency of the Unione, went to war with Aiello. It was a short one. The Aiellos tried to bribe the chef at the Little Italy Cafe where Capone regularly dined. They wanted him to put prussic acid in Capone's soup and offered the chef $10,000. The nervous cook weepily told Capone of the treachery and the plot failed. Next, Aiello offered $50,000 to any Chicago hoodlum who would "show us a Capone notch." "Nobody puts a price on my head and lives!" Capone reportedly screamed when he heard of the Aiello-offered bounty. Weeks later, when Scarface learned that Joe Aiello had been picked up for questioning in a murder, he sent a troop of gunmen to the Chicago Detective Bureau headquarters. As detectives on duty watched, eight taxis drew up in front of the Bureau. More than twenty men, all Capone gangsters, climbed out. "What the hell do they think they're gonna do?" one officer stated, "lay siege to this building?" Three men headed straight for the door of the headquarters. One was recognized as Louis "Little New York" Campagna, Big Al's personal bodyguard. "It's the Capone crowd!" a detective yelled; he and some others ran to the street and arrested Campagna, Frank Perry and Sam Marcus for carrying guns. The three thugs were all placed in a cell next to Aiello's which turned out to be their real intent. A policeman, who understood Italian, was hidden next to the cells heard the following: Aiello: "Can't we settle this? Give me just fifteen days--just fifteen days--and I will sell my stores and house and leave everything in your hands. Think of my wife and baby and let me go." Louis Campagna laughed and then spat: "You dirty rat! You started this. We'll end it. You're as good as dead!" Aiello was terrified and, upon his release from jail, did exactly as he had promised the Capone henchmen. He disappeared from Chicago for eighteen months. In his absence, his brother Dominick was shot to death by Capone men. When Aiello did return, he caused no damage to either Capone's empire or prestige. For three years, Aiello dodged Scarface's triggermen. They finally caught up with him October 23, 1930, when he emerged from the home of one of his aides, Pasquale Prestigiocomo (alias Presto). Several bursts from machine guns tore Aiello to pieces. Aiello's futile thrust to take over the Chicago rackets ended all serious underworld opposition to Capone.