28 April 2018

JFK wait extended three and a half more years

President orders that some assassination files
remain sealed at least until October 26, 2021

Due to lingering "national security, law enforcement and foreign affairs concerns," many documents relating to the November 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy will remain hidden from public view at least until Oct. 26, 2021.

All related documents were scheduled for release on Oct. 26, 2017, according to a deadline set by Congress in 1992. In advance of the deadline, National Archives made 3,810 pages available to the public. On the deadline date, another 2,891 were released, but many thousands more remained hidden.

At that time, President Donald Trump allowed six months - until April 26 - for federal agencies, including CIA and FBI, to do a final review of the withheld papers and make their arguments for any continued secrecy.

The archives released more than 28,000 pages - many containing redactions to maintain the secrecy of portions of pages - during November and December of 2017.

On April 26, the archives released 18,731 documents (a press release puts the number at 19,045), many with redactions.* Another 520 records remain entirely sealed.
The President stated in a memorandum that continued secrecy of the withheld documents and redacted portions of documents "is of such gravity that it outweighs the public interest in immediate disclosure." He ordered that agencies conduct additional reviews of the records over the next three years, leaving open the possibility that some will remain secret even after 2021.

Online records:

Related posts:

See related article:
* Many of these pages are duplicates of previously released pages with some of their earlier redactions restored.

26 April 2018

Gangster Profile: Ted Newberry

“He must have done something. They don’t kill you for nothing.”

The above quote is credited to gangster Edward “Ted” Newberry, the last racketeer king of Chicago’s North Side, whose corpse was found on a lonely stretch of road in Indiana on January 8, 1933. So, who was Ted Newberry and what did he do to deserve the proverbial “one way ride?”

Ted Newberry
Newberry was born on Chicago’s Northwest side on June 28, 1898, and seems to have been involved in crime most of his adult life. As a young adult he had a job as a “superintendent” at the Checker Cab Company. What he did as superintendent isn’t known for sure but it probably had something to do with sabotaging rival Yellow Cab. While there he became involved with another infamous Chicago hoodlum named Eugene “Red” Moran, whose brother Robert, became head of the company and a lifelong friend of Newberry’s.

By 1924 Newberry had moved into bootlegging and was working with a guy named Leon Tarr, who had a working relationship with another bootlegger named Harry Callan. The latter catered to the well-to-do crowd of Chicago’s “Gold Coast.” According to Callan, he “tipped” Tarr off to a customer who bought $7,000 worth of booze but never paid Callan his share. Callan called him on it and a meeting was set up. Callan was waiting on a park bench when Tarr showed up with Newberry and another guy named Arresti Cappola. Callan said that he challenged Tarr to a fist fight but Tarr drew a gun and shot him.

Callan stumbled to a cop and was taken to a hospital where he spilled the beans on how he came to be shot. Newberry was picked up for the shooting but nothing came of it. A few months later however, he took part in the murder of an Innkeeper, which almost cost him his freedom.

Omar Finch, about 59 years old, and his son Cole, 29, had a good thing going. They bought denatured alcohol and redistilled it into quality grain alcohol which they resold to numerous other saloonkeepers.
On December 11, 1924, Newberry and three confederates, one of whom was purported to be his colleague from the Checker Cab Co., Eugen “Red” McLaughlin, posed as Prohibition agents and kidnapped Finch in an attempt to extort him.

Finch was transporting four barrels of alcohol when he was pulled over by Newberry and his confederates. After taking his, stuff, Newberry and his associates brought him to a hotel on Chicago’s North Side where they demanded $5000 to let him go. Finch told them that he didn’t have that kind of cash but that he could raise a thousand. Newberry agreed to accept that as a down payment. They made an appointment the next day to receive the money and let Finch go.

According to Finch’s son Cole, the following day his father decided that the four barrels of alcohol weren’t worth a grand, so he decided not to pay the money. Acting under the belief that Newberry and his gang were actual Prohibition agents and not murderous thugs, Finch and his son went and moved their still and all remaining evidence. Finch believed that Newberry and company couldn’t do anything with the four barrels of alcohol and that they couldn’t prosecute him after attempting to shake him down and then letting him go. Assuming he pulled one over on the agents, Finch blew off the meeting.

A few hours later the gang burst into Finch’s saloon. They called him a double crosser then drew guns and opened fire at the saloonkeeper. One bullet proved fatal and Finch died at the hospital.

Newberry’s involvement came to the attention of the police when two young bootleggers reported that a gang of hijackers had stolen their car and their liquor on December 10. The bootleggers said that the hijackers told them they could have their car and liquor back if they paid $200. They also stated that one of the men in the car was Omar Finch. The auto used by the gangsters was described to the police who were able to trace it back to Newberry.

Newberry's sedan
 After the murder of his father, Cole Finch left town but returned after the arrest of Newberry. Though his wife received calls threatening that if her husband talked he’d be dead in twenty-four hours, Cole assured authorities that he would testify.

A federal investigator stated that by posing as Prohibition agents, Newberry’s gang had extorted thousands of dollars from over thirty saloonkeepers. “A federal badge was found in Newberry’s possession, and we know he used it on more than one occasion,” United States District Attorney Edwin Olson told the press. “Conviction on that alone would mean a penitentiary sentence.”

Newberry at time of arrest
In addition to having Newberry’s car and badge, prosecutors also had Bell boys from the hotel where they kept Finch who could identify Newberry. They also had Cole and two other witnesses from the saloon that could identify Newberry as one of the killers. It didn’t look good for Newberry. But this was Chicago and although the lead up to the trial was well covered in the press, the trial itself was not. It wasn’t stated what happened but Newberry apparently went free.

By the end of the decade Newberry was a big shot on the Northwest Side of Chicago controlling the alcohol and gambling. He was considered a strong ally to the North Side gangsters headed by Bugs Moran. In fact Newberry was with Moran on the Morning of February 14, 1929 when the latter was on his way to the gang’s headquarters. As they approached their destination, they saw a couple of detective cars pull up so they took a walk. Who they thought were cops were actually gunmen employed by Al Capone who entered the garage and murdered seven of Moran’s boys.

Three months later Capone was arrested in Philadelphia on a gun charge and sentenced to a year in prison.

It appears that the Capone gang may have had their gun sights fixed on Newberry as well. On November 30, 1929, Newberry was slightly wounded in a drive-by as he was approaching a club said to be run by Moran’s gang A little over a month later, according to the Chicago Tribune, Newberry learned of a machinegun nest that was planted in an apartment across the street from his headquarters. Once this was found out, Newberry high tailed it to Canada and his second in command, Al Shimberg, fled to Michigan. Left to run things were subordinates Benny Bennett and John Rito, known as the “Billiken.”

Around the first of February Bennett disappeared. About a month later, Rito likewise disappeared but he didn’t stay disappeared for long. After spending two weeks under water, his body broke loose from its constraints and floated to the top of the Chicago River.

John "the Billiken" Rito
The day after the Billikin surfaced, Capone was released from the Eastern State Penitentiary and returned home. At some point a peace was made between Newberry and Capone and the latter recognized the former as the leader of the North Side. To commemorate, Capone gave Newberry a diamond studded belt buckle, a gift that the big guy seemed to bestow on a lot of his esteemed colleagues.

As the top man on the North Side, Newberry was frequently in the papers. He was said to be involved in bucket shops as well as an attempt to organize racetrack workers. He was also arrested for the usual stuff i.e. murder and bootlegging.

One murder that garnished him much attention was that of Chicago Tribune reporter Jake Lingle when it was discovered that Lingle was killed with a gun that was sold, in part, to Newberry. Though the gang leader wasn’t responsible for the murder of Lingle, Jack Zuta, a North Side associate was, and, since Lingle’s murder adversely affected every gangster in Chicago, Zuta had to be killed. When he got his, witnesses stated that one of the gunmen was Newberry. The accusation was never proved.

The beginning of the end for Newberry came when Capone was sent away for good in the spring of 1932. Newberry and Frank Nitti, Capone’s successor, did not get along. Reasons given are that, with Capone gone, poor management plus lower earnings due to the depression, led to the Capone organization not earning what it once did. The North Side however, which catered to the wealthy, weathered the depression better and was still making money. Nitti and Co. began to eye Newberry’s fiefdom in a most coveted manner and they started to chip away at his empire. It was also said that Newberry owed the Capone gang a large sum of money and to guarantee a return they inserted a representative to oversee affairs.

The person they sent was Gus Winkeler, who had a good relationship with Newberry, but other Syndicate men followed. Soon, Newberry felt that he was being squeezed out. His response was to have Nitti killed. On December 19, 1932 police raided Nitti’s office and one of the officers shot the gang leader a number of times, supposedly in self-defense.

It was a sloppy attempt and Nitti survived. The wounded gang leader figured out straight away who was behind the botched hit and, less than three weeks later, Newberry’s body was found. Around his waist, the diamond studded belt buckle given to him by Al Capone; a reminder of the good old days.

Officer points to where Newberry's body was found


Mr. Capone, Schoenberg, Robert, William Morrow and Company,1992
Al Capone and His American Boys, Helmer, William, Indiana University Press, 2011
Capone, Kobler, John, G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1971
The Man Who Got Away, Keefe, Rose, Cumberland House Publishing, 2005

"De Luxe Rum Broker Shot" Chicago Tribune 09.27.1924
"Elite Rum Baron Ready to Give Up in Shooting" Chicago Tribune 09.28.1924
"It Was Shoot or Get Shot Says Leon Tarr" Chicago Tribune 10.08.1924
"Village Saloon Keeper Shot to Death By Gang" Chicago Tribune 12.12.1924
"Witnesses Call Newberry One of Finch's Slayers" Chicago Tribune 12.21.1924
"Seize Hijacker; Finch Slaying Solved, Belief"  Chicago Tribune 12.20.1924
"Detectives Seek Newberry's Pals" Moline Dispatch 12.23.1924
"Ted Newberry Indicted; Writ Moved Balked"12.23. Chicago Tribune 1924
 "Billiken Rito is Shot to Death; Pal is Missing" Chicago Tribune 03.17.1930
"Ted Newberry Taken on Gang Ride and Slain" Chicago Tribune 01.08.1933

18 April 2018

Motor City Mayhem

Detroit was suffering a stifling heatwave on September 3, 1927 when William Gilbreath was driving home at ten p.m. Though somewhat late in the evening, the sidewalks were still teeming with pedestrians and the streets were full of cars. During his trip, Gilbreath remembered that he needed to pick something up from the drug store. Seeing one on the corner he pulled his car to the curb and hopped out. As he approached the store he heard a voice from behind, “Get back in that car and don’t make any fuss about it.” He turned to find a younger man brandishing a gun. Two other men turned the corner and closed in. They escorted Gilbreath back to his car and ordered him to get behind the wheel. One of the men climbed in the front seat with him and the other two hopped in the back. Once they were all in the car, the other two guys drew thirty-eights from their pockets. To Gilbreath’s shock, none of the numerous pedestrians who were walking or driving by seemed to notice the kidnapping.
     “Drive around the block.” The gunman up front demanded.
Gilbreath followed the order. After a bit, the gunman jammed his thirty eight into Gilbreath’s side.
     “All right, you, stop this car and climb in the back.”
Gilbreath switched places with one of the gunmen and for the next two hours they drove around searching for a place to rob. The bandits pulled up to a handful of drug stores with the intention of robbing them but, each time, decided that there were too many customers inside. At 11:15 they pulled into a gas station owned and operated by Ted Malm. The driver told Malm to” fill ‘er up” and, when the proprietor came around to collect payment, instead of cash, he found the business end of a thirty-eight.
“Get in.” the driver commanded. Malm climbed into the car as two of the gunmen walked into the station and helped themselves to the cash in the register.

With their new prisoner, the bandits continued to drive around looking for opportunities. After a while they decided to rob a pedestrian. Just then they saw a guy enter the court to an apartment building and two of the gunmen leapt from the car and approached him. One of them called out to the man, Edmund Weiner, a mechanic who worked for the Ford Motor Company, as he was about to enter the building. As Weiner turned to reply the gunman smashed him over the head with the butt of his gun. Weiner let out a scream and the gunmen proceeded to beat him as he tried to fight them off. Weiner’s yells filled the air as one of the bandits continued to beat him over the head with his pistol while dragging him from the courtyard out to the street. Weiner was pulled to the car and tossed in the back.

Inside the auto it was discovered that Weiner only had two nickels in cash. This, and the fact that he wouldn’t stop screaming, led all of the bandits to start wailing on him again. Pleading for his life, Weiner cried that he had a wife and two daughters to support. The hoodlums couldn’t have cared less. They continued to rain blows down upon him as he persisted in his screaming. A few minutes passed and one of the bandits jumped behind the wheel and pulled away while another yelled at the wounded man to be quiet.

After a short drive, the bandits pulled over and told their three captives to get out and lie on the ground. After searching them for anything of value, one of the gunmen warned the trio that if they got up too soon, they would “get their damn heads blown off.” The bandits got back in Gilbreath’s car and drove off. Gilbreath and Malm helped Weiner to a drug store where some citizens offered to drive him to the hospital. Unfortunately, Weiner took to many blows to his head; he died of his wounds the following morning.

With the brutal slaying of Wiener, the case became well publicized. All of the Detroit newspapers demanded police action, which was slow in coming. In an interview, Gilbreath mentioned that during the ride, they drove past a couple of beat cops standing on a corner. One of the gunmen said that they should bump them off, but another stated that he knew one of the cops. Detroiters wondered why a police officer would be friendly with a gun toting thug. Within a few days, six ranking police officers were walking a beat for being in “contact with the criminal element.” Around the same time, the front page of the Detroit Times quoted Weiner’s wife as saying, “May God punish the murderers of my husband. I don’t know what we can do. We are penniless now without his salary. My baby girl keeps asking where Daddy is but I cannot tell her for she is too young to understand.”

Through the Detroit Times, Gilbreath set up a fund for Weiner’s family and over the next few weeks donations came pouring into the Times. In all, Weiner’s widow was presented with over $5,400. Some folks offered their services. A cobbler offered free shoe repair for a year and a bakery pledged a free loaf of bread every day for the same amount of time.

On September 14, Detroit Police got their first break in the case. While searching for clues regarding a string of drug store robberies, detectives were canvassing the establishments that had been held up and walked into the Saylor Drug Store to question the clerks. When two of the detectives entered, (a third remained in the car) they noticed that no clerks were about. Assuming that they were in the back whipping up prescriptions, they waited. After a moment a guy walked out from the rear of the store. As he walked around the counter, he smiled at the detectives and said, “Well, goodnight boys!” before exiting the store. The detectives got a bad vibe from him but assumed that the drug store was doubling as a speakeasy and the guy simply had a drink or two. Moments later another guy walked out but this one had a gun in his hand and caught the detectives off guard. “Stick ‘em up, both of you.” He barked.

The detectives complied but since there was about six feet distance between them, the gunman had to swing his pistol back and forth to cover each man. At one point his eyes fell on one of the detectives’ pocket watch. Seizing the opportunity, the other detective drew his gun and fired. The first bullet hit the bandit under the arm and pierced his chest. The bandit turned and fired a wild shot as three more slugs slammed into his body. The hoodlum staggered, reached out and grabbed the pocket watch he had been eyeing and dropped to the floor. He gave his name as Robert Meyers and died a half hour later at the hospital. Gilbreath and Malm were brought to the morgue where they identified Meyers as both the leader of the desperadoes and the driver of the car, the night of Weiner’s murder.

Gilbreath (L) and Malm (R) Identify Meyers

A week after Meyers got his, police received a tip that two questionable men were living in a cottage in nearby Gross Pointe Park. After staking out the joint for the better part of the evening, detectives went in and arrested both men and their girlfriends. One of the guys arrested turned out to be the man who exited the drug store saying, “Well, good night boys!” the other was the getaway driver (Police were unaware that there was a driver that day. During his confession he stated that, when he saw the detectives pull up to the drug store, he honked the horn as a warning and took off.)
Both men admitted to being accomplices of Meyers but denied being in on the Weiner murder. Gilbreath and Malm were brought in and both stated that neither bandit was involved. The gunmen told detectives that Meyers worked with a handful of different bandits but they couldn’t, or wouldn’t, give any names. It didn’t matter because the next day another one of the hoodlums fell to police bullets.

At three-fifteen the following afternoon, a patrol was standing on the corner when a pedestrian came up and told him that he had been robbed on September 12, and that he just saw the man who did it. The citizen pointed him out and the officer started for the suspect. Seeing the officer approach, the suspect dodged behind a tree and drew a pistol. The officer did likewise and both men started shooting at each other. After a few volleys the desperado let out scream and fell to the ground. His cheek had been pierced by a bullet. Assuming his man was down for good, the officer approached and went to disarm him. The gunman had some fight left in him however, and the two began to grapple for control of the cop’s gun. The bandit wrestled it free and shot the officer in the stomach. As the policeman crumpled to the ground, the gunman ran off. Two citizens rushed the officer to the hospital where he made a full recovery.

Meanwhile, cops began combing the neighborhood looking for the gunman who had ran into a nearby garage. Inside was the homeowner and the hoodlum forced him into the house at gunpoint. The desperado told him to hide him in a closet. The homeowner opened a door, “Get into the closet with me.” The gunman ordered. As the gunman hid himself behind some clothes, a police officer entered the house. The homeowner jumped from the closet doorway and the cop pushed the clothes out of the way and fired into the gunman. With a bullet in his belly, the hoodlum dropped to the floor and began groaning for his mother.

At the hospital the hoodlum identified himself as nineteen- year- old Joe Subko of Akron, Ohio. Gilbreath and Malm were brought in to take a look at him. Without hesitation, Gilbreath identified him as the man who had assaulted Weiner. Although Malm was reasonably certain that Subko was the man, he asked if he could see him dressed in street clothes to make sure. During this time, Subko died of his wounds, so they dressed him in his clothes and let Malm take another look. Once this was done Malm declared him the man.

Subko redressed for identification. Note bullet hole in cheek.

It turned out that Subko was also a mini-crime wave of his own independent of Meyers. Victims of, who the police called, the “Hitch Hike Bandit” an armed man who robbed numerous motorist that picked him up, were also called in and identified Subko as the bandit. Though Gilbreath, Malm and Mrs. Weiner received some satisfaction in the wiping out of Meyers and Subko, unfortunately for Justice, the third man involved in the kidnappings and robberies was never found out.


“Snaring Detroit’s Kidnapping Killers” True Detective Mysteries November 1934
“3 Thugs Kidnap W.S. Gilbreath, Slay Another” Detroit Free Press, September 5, 1927
"Familiarity Of Thugs And Cops Under Inquiry"St. Joseph Herald Press September 6, 1927
“Officer Defies Robber’s Gun, Kills Bandit” Detroit Free Pres, September 15, 1927
“Crook Mental Test Failure Blow To Police” Detroit Free Press, September 17, 1927
“Hat Identifies Leader of Weiner’s Slayers” Detroit Free Press, September 18, 1927
“Man Slain, Second Dying After Battles With Policemen”, Detroit Free Press September 24, 1927
“Second Weiner Slayer Killed By Policeman’s Bullet”, Detroit Free Press September 25, 1927

16 April 2018

F.B.I.'s Doris Lockerman -- 2nd in a Series on 1930s Women in Policing

Doris Lockerman
The blood was still wet on Chicago's sidewalks when a former F.B.I. private secretary sat down to pen her recollections late in 1935 for the Chicago Tribune.  Doris Lockerman had been a member of the team, a participant in the stakeout of Verne Miller, the interrogation of Marie Comforti, and the arrest of James Probasco, among other climatic episodes of the public enemy era.

Her series would be a retrospective on these events, with some pointed criticism for Director J. Edgar Hoover.  She was angry at the director's treatment of her ex-boss, Chicago Special Agent in Charge Melvin Purvis, who'd been shoved out the door by Hoover for the subjective crime of taking too much credit.  It was a time when F.B.I. agents were supposed to embody the American ideal of the faceless man in the grey flannel suit.  Purvis had made his reputation as the G-Man who had taken down John Dillinger and Charles "Pretty Boy" Floyd.  He had a face, he had a name that the public recognized and respected.   

Doris Lockerman had left the F.B.I.'s employ before giving her story to the Tribune.  She had just married Alan E. Lockerman, who had been stationed at the Biograph Theater the night Dillinger was killed.  The dismissal of Purvis, her superior, would haunt her throughout her life.

Before she married Alan Lockerman, Doris worked under her prior surname of Rogers.  During her tenure as Purvis's private secretary, the F.B.I. was known as the Justice Department's Bureau of Investigation.  The office was on the nineteenth floor of the Bankers' Building in Chicago. 1

What defined her was her role in an attempted arrest of fugitive Verne Miller, when she put him on the spot for the F.B.I.  As part of an attempt to capture the chief suspect in the Kansas City Massacre, she stood for hours in a stakeout of the hallway of the Sherone Apartment Hotel at 4423 Sheridan Road in Chicago on November 1, 1933.  It would go down as a botched arrest attempt.  Yet Lockerman did her job.  She stood upon a stool and looked through a ventilator in a hotel room while waiting for Miller to leave an adjoining room, rented by his moll, Vivian "Vi" Mathis.  As Lockerman manned the peephole with Special Agent Ed Notesteen, both hoped they would be able to accurately identify the gunman.  Both had seen and known of Miller while he was a sheriff in Huron, South Dakota. 

Lockerman's Stakeout Doorway Once Had an Opening (Above)
The stakeout died in the space of a Chicago minute.  Nobody considered the possibility that Miller, a former sheriff, would be fine-tuned to the presence of law enforcement.  When Miller left Mathis's room, Lockerman identified him.  According to her version, Notesteen agreed with her.  Some accounts grant Notesteen a moment of doubt before he agreed that the figure moving down the hall was Miller.  Something scared Miller off, because he ran for the stairway door and escaped. 2

Having worked the Verne Miller stakeout, Lockerman was a G-man at heart.  She had no empathy for the outlaws.  "I talked with the gun molls who were smoothly induced into betraying the gangsters with whom they were living," she wrote.  One such moll was Marie Comforti, who was a "42 Gang" girl and moll of Dillinger gangster Homer Van Meter.  Lockerman brushed Comforti off as "snippy," a mere target who could be shadowed.  Lockerman threw cold water at the fabled faces of the 1930s public enemies.  As she wrote it, nobody had a baby face and nobody was a handsome Harry.   "I saw man killers led in clanking in their shackles." 3
Marie "Mickey" Comforti, Moll of Homer Van Meter

This seminal series has survived in spite of, or maybe because of, its ungainly title.  "A Girl Among Manhunters, Is Told by Self."  A creaking headline that does no justice to the gravitas of its author. 

Within the some of the installments, Lockerman held to the party line.  In others, she showed surprising verve in challenging Hoover's policies. 
Melvin Purvis (L.) and J. Edgar Hoover (R.)--  Library of Congress
Her series started out critical of the director.  "I watched the machinery turn which made a public hero [of Purvis], and saw that hero forced into a partial decline and eventual resignation, because his publicity became so great that it seemed to threaten the job of his boss in Washington, J. Edgar Hoover."

Midway through the series, a plateau flattened things out considerably.  It is possible that Lockerman or her editor got the message to cool it.  Hoover was wary of the Tribune, which had published two investigative articles exposing the controversies which lingered over Dillinger's recent death.  It must have occurred to Hoover that co-author Joseph Ator was going to rehash the conspiracy theories, which had already been dished by the Tribune in the months surrounding Dillinger's death.

The Tribune was the investigative press of the Chicago region and the Dillinger era.  Its reporters tackled the mysteries of Dillinger's connections while alive and the unsung assassins at his death at the Biograph Theater in Chicago on the night of July 22, 1934.  The texture of the Tribune's investigative articles was deep with names, places and motivations.  These facts were to be hushed up in later years -- from the guns of the actual agents who fired the fatal shots to the names of the East Chicago, Indiana police officers on the scene that night -- but during 1934 to 1938, the Tribune did not shirk from reporting on all aspects of Dillinger.  The fact that the outlaw was connected to both crime associates and police officials in East Chicago -- an area rife with vice and gambling along with the neighboring towns of Gary and Hammond -- would be hushed in official F.B.I. versions published decades later in the fifties. 4

"A Girl Among Manhunters" held one of the final references to East Chicago before the F.B.I. began its course to rewrite history.  "Melvin Purvis, working at his desk late one Saturday night, had some callers.  They were Sergent Martin Zarkovich and Capt. Timothy O'Neill, his superior on the East Chicago police force.  Bright and early on Sunday morning every available agent was summoned to duty . . . they were going after Dillinger." 

In a disappointing plot twist, Lockerman's concluding articles came off as officially-sanctioned F.B.I. stories.  The final installments transformed Kate "Ma" Barker from her true nature of tribal Ozark enabler to a hellion mastermind.  "She planned their crimes.  Hers was the iron hand that ruled that evil brood."  Brood -- a word reminiscent of Hoover's personal glossary. 5

Lockerman seized the opportunity to quash some damaging rhetoric.  There was that old rumor that two F.B.I. suspects had been hung out the nineteenth floor of the Bankers' Building by agents.  "Boss McLaughlin was not dangled out a window" -- nor, apparently,  was James "Jim" Probasco, Dillinger's plastic surgery host.  There had been a lingering belief that Probasco was dangled and accidentally dropped in an aborted attempt to get him to talk.  Lockerman never said they didn't, and treated the issue with an interrogatory:

"Is it likely that the agents, even had they been in the habit of hanging prisoners out windows, which they were not, would have hung a kicking, yelling, 250 pound man out in broad daylight, in full sight of the office workers across the way?" 6

Whether or not she was censored while writing "A Girl Among Manhunters," Lockerman would have her day on the world's stage.  She went on to participate in the late-century renaissance of Dillinger writings.  In her accessible manner, she added to the body of work formed in the post-FOIA years of revisionism.  William "Bill" Helmer, author of Dillinger: The Untold Story, interviewed her.  When Purvis' son, Alston Purvis, released his book on his father, Lockerman voiced her defense of the special agent in her own, independent voice. 7

The elder Doris Lockerman was confident, vocal and articulate.  It was like in 1935, only better, with no censors reading her dailies.  Her quotes and writings called for judgment and reason in looking at the public enemies. 
Indiana State Policeman Eugene Teague, Killed During Arrest of Dillinger Associate Ed Shouse
She was there to remind crime writers just how bad these outlaws were.  The wounds were fresh in 1935.  Time has warped the tragic elements of the public enemy era, with little advocacy remaining for its victims.  Doris Lockerman told it like it was, from the perspective of the F.B.I. agents.  She was, after all, the girl among them.

Sherone Hallway, photo by Tom Smusyn

Ellen Poulsen, seen here in the hallway of Chicago's Sherone Apartments where Verne Miller escaped from the F.B.I.  She is author of Don't Call Us Molls: Women of the John Dillinger Gang, and The Case Against Lucky Luciano:  New York's Most Sensational Vice Trial

Her new book, Chasing Dillinger:  Police Captain Matt Leach, J. Edgar Hoover and the Rivalry to Capture Public Enemy No. 1, will be released in 2018 by McFarland Publishing.




End Notes:

1.  Doris Lockerman and Joseph Ator, "A Girl Among Manhunters," Chicago Tribune, Oct. 7-19,            1935.

2.  Lockerman, Oct. 9, 1935; Brad Smith, Lawman to Outlaw:  Verne Miller and the Kansas
          City Massacre, Bedford, Indiana, JoNa Books,  2002, 155-157.

3.  Lockerman, Oct. 7, 1935.

4.  William Shinnick, "A Record of Murder, Robbery, and Indiana Politics," Sunday Tribune, Oct. 9,            1938; "Indiana Police Launch Quiz on Dillinger's Death," Tribune,
            July 30, 1934.

5.  Lockerman, Oct. 18, 1935.

6.  Lockerman, Oct. 16, 1935.

7.  Alston Purvis and Alex Tresniowski, The Vendetta:  FBI Hero Melvin Purvis's 
         War Against Crime, and J. Edgar Hoover's War Against Him, N.Y.:  Public Affairs,
          Perseus Books Group, 2005.