BONES IN THE BACK­YARD, MIL­LION­AIRE MUR­DERER, CASINO MAS­SACRE AND MORE

John Dillinger went from a no­body to pub­lic en­emy num­ber one in just 18 months. His rise was me­te­oric: his sud­den end an his­toric and very pub­lic in­dig­nity

Real Crime - - Contents -

Stun­ning crime pho­tos, present and past, from around the world

FBI Di­rec­tor J. Edgar Hoover loved favourable pub­lic­ity, some­times go­ing to dis­taste­ful lengths to get it. Dur­ing the crime wave of the early 1930s he rou­tinely put the corpses of crim­i­nals on pub­lic dis­play. John Dillinger, like ‘ Pretty Boy’ Floyd and Bon­nie and Clyde, was one of them.

A bank rob­ber, killer and es­cape artist, Dillinger was a crim­i­nal icon even in his time. He con­founded the po­lice and FBI with the same reck­less ease as he robbed banks, but the good times couldn’t last. The ‘ G- Men’ might have killed him, but it was be­trayal that saw him shot dead at Chicago’s Bio­graph Theater cour­tesy of brothel madam and in­for­mant Anna Sage.

Hoover wasn’t the only per­son to be­have in this way. As Dillinger lay in an al­ley be­side the Bio­graph, shot four times by FBI agents Her­man Hol­lis, Clarence Hurt and Charles Win­stead, not ev­ery by­stander was ap­palled by the sight. Some rushed to his still- warm body with hand­ker­chiefs and pieces of cloth, dip­ping them in Dillinger’s blood to take as sou­venirs.

Af­ter his death Dillinger’s body was put on dis­play at a lo­cal morgue, thou­sands of peo­ple fil­ing past as though he was a celebrity ly­ing in state. They paid for the priv­i­lege of see­ing him for the last time. Many peo­ple who’d al­ready filed past re­joined the back of the line so they could look at him again.

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