A Killing in Capone's Playground: The True Story of the Hunt for the Most Dangerous Man Alive

A Killing in Capone's Playground: The True Story of the Hunt for the Most Dangerous Man Alive

by Chriss Lyon


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“Bloody Chicago” was the name given to America’s most corrupt city after the grotesque scene that left seven humans embedded into masonry walls and oil-slickened concrete.  Two Thompson submachine guns did the majority of the damage but the masterminds behind the St. Valentines Day Massacre escaped. Ten months later on December 14, 1929, St. Joseph, Michigan Police Officer Charles Skelly working a routine traffic crash came face to face with a killer.  Shots were fired, the assailant escaped and the dying Officer Skelly identified his murderer before taking his last breath. The trail led to a home in Stevensville, Michigan where authorities found an arsenal of weaponry, over $300,000 worth of stolen bonds, bulletproof vests, and two Thompson submachine guns. The hideout belonged to Fred Burke, a highly sought suspect in the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre and now the most wanted man in the nation.
          The “backwash of bloody Chicago” had made its way into the rural neighborhoods of Southwestern Michigan and Northern Indiana. Citizens who turned a blind eye to crime, helped create “Capone’s Playground,” an environment abundant in all that is illegal and immoral.
          Using never before published police reports, interviews with family members of key witnesses, and leading experts, historian Chriss Lyon establishes the foundation for what would develop as a haven for gangsters from the onset of the Prohibition Era through to the mid-twentieth century, while revealing new information about the eventual capture of notorious gangster Fred “Killer” Burke.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780988977204
Publisher: In-Depth Editions, LLC
Publication date: 06/01/2014
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 1,087,268
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

For nearly twenty years, public safety professional and historian Chriss Lyon has not only walked the beat, but shot the most famous Thompson submachine guns in the world, all while documenting and researching the historic era of the “The Roaring Twenties.” Using techniques of forensic genealogy combined with investigative research, she has been able to uncover little known facts about the people and events surrounding the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, revealing them at presentations at schools, museums, genealogical, and historical societies. Her passion in Prohibition-era gangsters, maritime, and aviation history as well as historical weather has afforded opportunities to write articles for various magazines and journals and assist other authors with historical research. A graduate of Grand Valley State University’s Film/Video School, Chriss began working behind the scenes at CNN Headline News but now is out in front of the camera. She has appeared in an episode of the PBS series, “History Detectives” as well as documentaries on the National Geographic Channel and Investigation Discovery Channel.

Table of Contents

Author Notes 15

Foreword 21

Prologue 22

Part I Crime

Chapter 1 First-Generation American 32

Chapter 2 A New Blue Coat on the Beat 41

Chapter 3 Bootleggers And Bad Guys 48

Chapter 4 Capone's Playmates 56

Chapter 5 St. Valentine's Day Massacre 67

Chapter 6 Suspects And Science on the Stand 75

Chapter 7 Twin Cities, Twin Issues 91

Chapter 8 The Big Oilman 97

Chapter 9 Before The Crash 101

Chapter 10 An Accidental Encounter 104

Chapter 11 "They Call Women Dumb…" 126

Chapter 12 The Saltshaker Did Him In 133

Chapter 13 Mourning 143

Part II Capture

Chapter 14 The Most Dangerous Man Alive 162

Chapter 15 Burke Against Ballistics 176

Chapter 16 The Chambermaid 186

Chapter 17 The Amateur Detective 191

Chapter 18 Silencing The Spy 202

Chapter 19 The Watch 208

Chapter 20 "Tonights The Night" 217

Chapter 21 Captured " 224

Chapter 22 Race For Justice 230

Chapter 23 Facing The Coppers 237

Chapter 24 Green City Speaks 246

Chapter 25 The Trial And Judgment 249

Part III Consequence

Chapter 26 Inmate Number 5293 268

Chapter 27 Room For Two 274

Chapter 28 Al Capone's Grand Exit 291

Chapter 29 Fred Burke-The Movie 299

Chapter 30 Cheers, Prohibition Ends 305

Chapter 31 Goodbye, Gus 310

Chapter 32 New Massacre Clues 316

Chapter 33 A Short Life Sentence 327

Chapter 34 Paying Old Debts 334

Chapter 35 "Do You Believe In Santa Claus?" 340

Bibliography 354

Acknowledgements 363

Index 366

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