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Gangsters, Mobsters & Outlaws - M-Z

Index:   A-B  C-G  H-L  M-Z

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Henry MethvinHenry Methvin (1912-1948) - A Barrow Gang member, Methvin was born on April 8, 1912. He hooked up with the Barrow Gang and was one of the men freed by Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker in the Eastham Prison Raid in Texas in 1934. Methvin, on the run with Bonnie and Clyde, went on a crime spree with the pair and immediately following the murders in Grapevine, Texas of two highway patrolmen, the trio's vehicle became stuck in the mud near Commerce, Oklahoma. When they attempted to flag down a passing motorist at gunpoint, the driver stepped on the gas and notified authorities. Police Chief Percy Boyd and Constable Cal Campbell went to the location to investigate and in the gun battle that ensued, Campbell was killed and Boyd shot in the head, but survived.  

 

As the outlaws continued to run, Henry's father made a deal with the police that he would help set up an ambush for Bonnie and Clyde, if  Henry would be pardoned in Texas. The police agreed and Bonnie and Clyde were killed on May 23, 1934. It is likely that Henry knew or at least suspected the ambush as his father specifically told him not to go with them that morning. The police kept their word and Methvin was was pardoned in Texas. However, he was not pardoned in Oklahoma for the death of Constable Cal Campbell. He was given the death sentence for the murder but after an appeal in 1936, his sentence was reduced to life. After ten years he was released, and made his way to Sulphur, Louisiana. On April 19, 1948 he was cut in half by a railroad train. The circumstances of how he made his way to the railroad tracks are unknown. He was buried at the Social Springs Cemetery in Hall Summit, Louisiana.

 

Joseph P. Moran (1905-1934) - A physician known for treating Depression-era gangsters and a peripheral member of the Barker-Karpis Gang, Moran, an Illinois native, briefly operated a successful medical practice after graduating from medical school. However, Moran was a severe alcoholic and soon drove most of his business away. He then moved onto performing illegal abortions, during which time he made a number of contacts in the Chicago underworld. He was eventually caught and sent to prison. After he was paroled he was appointed as the official physician of the Chicago Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers Union despite his alcoholism. He also became the emergency care physician for much of the Chicago underworld. Stitching cuts and removing bullets from wounded gangsters, he soon also began to practice plastic surgery on outlaws, in order to change their faces and remove their finger prints. It was in this capacity that he became associated with the Barker-Karpis Gang. In March, 1933, the doctor performed plastic surgery on gang members Fred Barker and Alvin Karpis for a fee. His removal of Karpis' fingerprints was so successful that the gangster later had trouble obtaining a passport. However, his facial work was deemed judged a dismal and painful failure. He was most likely last doctor to see or treat the mortally wounded John Dillinger.

 

When the Barker Gang kidnapped and ransomed Minnesota banker Edward J. Bremer in 1934, he helped the gang to launder the money through his practice in Chicago. However, some six months later, while drinking with the gang in in Ohio, he drunkenly bragged about the power he held over them, saying "I have you guys in the palm of my hand." Very soon afterwards, Moran disappeared. The next year in September, 1935, a badly decomposed body washed up on the shores of Crystal Beach, Ontario, without its hands and feet. The FBI later identified the body through dental records as Moran's.

He was thought to have been murdered by Alvis Karpis and Fred Barker.

 

Giuseppe "the Clutch Hand" Morello (1867-1930) - Also known as Joe and as "The Old Fox", he was the first boss of the Morello crime family and later top adviser to Giuseppe "Joe the Boss" Masseria. See Full Article HERE.

 

Frank Lee Morris (1926-??) - Born in Washington, D.C. on September 1, 1926, Frank was orphaned at age 11 and spent most of his formative years in foster homes. He was convicted of his first crime at the age of 13, and by his late teens had been arrested for crimes ranging from narcotics possession to armed robbery. Morris was exceptionally intelligent, ranking in the top 2% of the general population as measured by IQ testing. He served time in Florida and Georgia, then escaped from the Louisiana State Penitentiary while serving 10 years for bank robbery. He was recaptured a year later while committing a burglary, and sent to Alcatraz in 1960. He, along with John and Clarence Anglin, escaped in June, 1962 and were never seen again.

 

Murder, Inc. - Or, Murder Incorporated was the name the press gave to organized crime groups in the 1930s to the 1940s that acted as the "enforcement arm" of the Italian-American Mafia, Jewish mob, and connected organized crime groups in New York and elsewhere. See Full Article HERE.

 

 

 

Edna "Rabbits" Murray (??-1966) - A depression-era outlaw and partner of Volney Davis during the early 1930s, Murray was popularly known to the press as the "Kissing Bandit" for her habit of kissing male robbery victims. However, she was better known, in the underworld as "Rabbits" for her skill as an escape artist. Murray and her boyfriend, Davis, robbed a series of banks before her arrest. She escaped in early May, 1927 and returned to her boyfriend for more crimes. She was next arrest in a Chicago raid and sentenced to 25 years in prison at Jefferson City, Missouri. However, in November, 1931, she and a couple of other inmates escaped by climbing over a fence. they were quickly apprehended and returned to the prison. But Murray was determined and on December 13, 1932 she escaped again. She soon rejoined Davis, and the pair continued their crime spree before settling down in Aurora, Illinois.

 

On April 23, 1934, outlaws John Dillinger, Homer Van Meter and John "Red" Hamilton arrived at the couple's home seeking a hideout after being anearly captured by the FBI near Rhinelander, Wisconsin. John Hamilton, who had been badly wounded during the  shootout with the FBI, died of his injuries several days after arriving at their Aurora home. But with the FBI hot on her tail, she was recaptured an on January 22, 1935, she was indicted along with several members of the Barker-Karpis Gang for a conspiracy to kidnap wealthy Minnesota banker Edward Bremer in January 1934. She fled and was soon in Wichita, Kansas with Jess Doyle, a member of the Barker-Karpis Gang, and her sister's boyfriend. She was apprehended there on February 7, 1935. She was convicted with several others in the kidnapping conspiracy and sentenced to federal prison on May 6, 1935. Paroled from the Women's Prison at Jefferson City, Missouri on December 20, 1940, she eventually made her way to California. She died in San Francisco in 1966.

 

 

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The Purple Gang - Led by Abe Bernstein, the Purple Gang was a mob of bootleggers and hijackers who operated out of Detroit, Michigan in the 1920s.

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Adam "Eddie" Richetti (1909-1938) - The son of Italian immigrants, Richetti was born in Oklahoma on August 5, 1909 and by his teens was involved in a criminal lifestyle. He soon hooked up with the likes of Vernon Miller and Charles Arthur "Pretty Boy" Floyd and began to rob banks. On June 17, 1933, he along with Floyd and Miller, attempted to free their friend, Frank Nash, from authorities as he was being transported to the U.S. Penitentiary at Leavenworth Kansas. As the lawmen were moving Nash to a vehicle at Kansas City's Union Station terminal, a gunfight erupted, in which two police officers, an FBI agent and Nash were killed. The shootout is known as the Kansas City Massacre. He was later arrested and executed  in the gas chamber of the Missouri State Penitentiary on October 7, 1938.   

 

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Johnny TorrioGiovanni "Johnny" Torrio; aka: "The Fox" (1882-1957) - An Italian-American mobster who helped build the criminal empire known as the Chicago Outfit in the 1920s, he was born in Italy in February, 1882. When his father died when he was two years old, he immigrated with his mother to New York City. He grew up in the slums of Manhattan's Lower East Side and his first job was working in his new stepfather's grocery store, which was little more than a drinker's haven. Despite his diminutive size, he became the leader of a group of youths called the James Street Gang while still in his teens. He often clashed with rival gangs and was known to his friends as "Terrible Johnny" for his cold, cruel and calculated manner. he soon went to work for one of the roughest bars in Manhattan as a bouncer. He soon caught the eye of Paolo Vaccarelli (Paul Kelly), the leader of the famous Five Points Gang and in 1905 the James Street Gang was merged into the larger gang. Torrio eventually became Kelly's lieutenant and learned much from the older man about both crime and legitimate businesses.

 

By 1912, he formed a splinter organization, focusing his attention on the Brooklyn docks. Here, he ran both legitimate businesses, but was also involved in bars, brothels,  bookmaking, loan sharking, drug trafficking and other criminal endeavors. It was during this time that he recruited Al Capone. In the meantime, Torrio had become involved with his uncle, Giacomo "Big Jim" Colosimo, a major crime boss and pimp in Chicago. Torrio soon became Colosimo's right hand man but by 1920, the two clashed because Colismo resisted getting into the lucrative alcohol distribution business during Prohibition. Torrio had his uncle killed and took over the operation.

 

Along with Al Capone, Torrio presided over the Chicago Outfit, controlling gambling, prostitution, and bootlegging and alcohol distribution, making millions of dollars in the process. In 1925, he narrowly escaped being killed by the rival North Side Gang. Torrio was riddled by bullets, taking shots in the jaw, lungs, groin, legs, and abdomen, but amazingly survived. Torrio recovered slowly from his injuries and Al Capone took the lead of the Chicago Outfit. When he recovered, Torrio served a year in jail for Prohibition violations. Afterwards, he retired and moved to Europe, though he would remain an "elder statesman" in the world of organized crime, giving advice when necessary. In his later years, he returned New York City and on April 16, 1957 died of a heart attack.

 

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Index:   A-B  C-G  H-L  M-Z

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