100 Years of Crime
1896 Judge Goggin dismisses robbery charges brought against the "Kitty and Jenny Gang", Chicago prostitutes Kitty Adams and Jenny Clark. Goggin declares "Any man who goes down to the Levee [Chicago's red light district] deserves to get himself robbed."
1898 Anonymous mailings of tainted Bromo-Seltzer poison two people associated with New York's elite Knickerbocker Club. Chemist and club member Roland B. Molineux is a prime suspect in the killings.
1900 Butch Cassidy's "Wild Bunch" leaves a lasting impression in Winnemucca, Nevada. The gang, including one member who has been sprayed by a skunk, rob a local bank of $33,000.
1901 At the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York, anarchist Leon Czolgosz shoots President William McKinley. McKinley dies eight days later.
1903 Spitting is punishable by arrest in New York City
1904 Smoking is also illegal in New York-if the smoker is a woman.
1906 In a fit of rage over the alleged rape of his wife, model Evelyn Nesbit, wealthy socialite Harry K. Thaw shoots and kills architect Stanford White.
1908 Police discover that widow Belle Gunness had killed not only her late husband, but as many as forty eligible bachelors she lured to her Indiana farm.
1910 British evangelist Gipsy Smith succeeds in closing down the Everleigh sisters' brothel, the most luxurious bawdyhouse in Chicago and perhaps in the world.
1916 Harry K. Thaw, who murdered Stanford White in 1906, is charged with the physical and sexual assault of nineteen year old Frederick B. Gump. Thaw's mother allegedly pays Gump family $500,000 to drop charges.
1919 Chicago White Sox players throw the World's Series, earning the appellation "Black Sox" and lifetime suspensions from baseball.
1920 Following the passage of the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, Prohibition begins. Within the borders of the United States, all forms of the demon rum are banned.
1921 Famed Hollywood comedian Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle arrested for the rape and murder of actress Virginia Rappe. Despite an acquittal, Arbuckle's career is effectively finished.
1923 Albert Fall, Secretary of the Interior under Warren G. Harding, is accused of taking bribes in return for exclusive drilling rights to Teapot Dome, Wyoming federal oil reserves. Harding dies in August, his administration disgraced.
1927 Despite international protest and allegations of perjury, evidence tampering, and judicial prejudice, Anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti are executed for robbery and murder.
1929 On February 14, Al Capone sends the most infamous valentine ever. Scarface Al's henchmen machinegun seven members of rival Bugs Moran's gang in a Chicago garage.
1934 After a string of robberies in which they murdered more than half a dozen lawmen, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow are shot and killed by Texas Rangers.
"Public Enemy Number 1" John Dillinger is shot dead outside Chicago's Biograph Theater.
" Pretty Boy" Floyd, bank robber, is shot dead in Ohio.
Shortly after succeeding Dillinger as Public Enemy Number 1, Lester J. Gillis, AKA Baby Face Nelson, dies of wounds sustained in a gun battle with the FBI in Barrington, Illinois.
1935 Sen. Huey Long of Louisiana is shot and killed by Dr. Carl A. Weiss, the son of a man whom Long had vilified, and who, in turn, is cut down by Long's body guards.
New Jersey carpenter Bruno Hauptmann is executed for the kidnap/murder of Charles Lindbergh, Jr., the infant son of the famous aviator.
1941 Would-be stool pigeon Abe "Kid Twist" Reles dies after falling 75 feet from a Coney Island hotel room window while under police guard. Reles' testimony against Brooklyn crime kingpin Albert Anastasia would never be heard.
1947 Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel's dream of a Las Vegas gambling empire ends when he is murdered in Hollywood. Authorities believe fellow mobsters rubbed out Siegel after catching him dipping into the till.
1953 Ethel and Julius Rosenberg are executed following their conviction for selling atomic secrets to the Soviet Union. Many perceive the Rosenbergs as innocent victims of anti-communist hysteria.
1954 After escaping an attempt on his life by fellow crooks, "Specs " O'Keefe squeals to authorities about the $2.7 million Brink's heist in Boston. The Great Brink's Robbery of 1950 is solved.
1958 New York County DA Frank Hogan begins an investigation into cheating on the television quiz show Dotto.
1962 Teamsters Union president Jimmy Hoffa is indicted by a federal grand jury for taking illegal payments from a Detroit trucking firm. The case ends in a mistrial.
Three Convicts escape from Alcatraz Maximum Security Prison, belying its "escape proof" status. 1963 President John F. Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas Texas by Lee Harvey Oswald. Dallas nightclub owner Jack Ruby shoots Oswald dead at police headquarters before he can stand trial.
1965 Malcolm X is assassinated while speaking at a rally in New York City.
Authorities believe Albert DeSalvo to be the Boston Strangler, who raped and murdered 13 women. Confined to a mental institution, he is never charged with the crimes.
1966 Dr. Sam Sheppard is acquitted of the murder of his wife. Sheppard's story inspired the television series "The Fugitive," which starred David Janssen as a man accused of a murder he didn't commit.
Eagle Scout and ex-Marine Charles Whitman opens fire from atop the 27-story tower at the University of Texas at Austin. He kills 21 people and wounds nearly 30 before being killed by police.
1968 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is assassinated in Memphis by gunman James Earl Ray.
While campaigning for the presidency in Los Angeles, Senator Robert F. Kennedy is fatally shot by Sirhan Sirhan.
1969 Small-time criminal, aspiring musician, and cult figurehead Charles Manson directs his "family" in the murder of seven, including actress Sharon Tate, wife of film director Roman Polanski.
1971 D.B. Cooper hijacks an airplane, collects $200,000 ransom, and parachutes into the Pacific Northwest. He is never heard from again.
1972 Governor George Wallace is shot and paralyzed by gunman Arthur H. Bremer.
A bungled burglary of Democratic Party offices in the Watergate complex marks the beginning of the end for President Richard Nixon.
1975 Manson Family member Lynette "Squeaky" Fromm pulls a gun on President Gerald Ford. Secret service men grab her before she pulls the trigger.
1976 Heiress Patty Hearst is convicted of armed robbery during a stint with domestic terrorist group the Symbionese Liberation Army. Despite her insistence that she was brainwashed after being kidnapped, she receives a seven year sentence.
1977 Murderer Gary Gilmore becomes the first American executed in nearly a decade. On the night before his execution he sipped liquor and talked on the telephone to his hero, country music star Johnny Cash. "Let's do it" are his last words.
"Son of Sam" murders that terrified New York City are solved with the capture of Yonkers mailman David Berkowitz. He killed 13, he alleged, on the orders of a black Labrador retriever owned by neighbor Sam Carr.
1981 President Ronald Reagan and Press Secretary James Brady are wounded seriously when shot by would-be assassin John Hinckley III.
1982 Johnson & Johnson recalls more than 250,000 bottles of Tylenol after 7 Chicagoans are killed by cyanide-laced capsules of the pain reliever. The killer is never found; tamper-proof packaging for medical products quickly hits the shelves.
Carmaker John DeLorean is arrested in a failed bid to accrue capital by selling cocaine. He was later acquited of all charges.
1984 Bernard Goetz shoots four young men in a New York subway car, allegedly in self-defense.
1986 Revelations of arms sales to Iran and covert aid to Nicaraguan Contra rebels by the Reagan administration kicks off the Iran-contra scandal.
1988 Televangelist/adulterer Jim Bakker convicted of 22 counts of defrauding followers.
1989 Serial Killer Ted Bundy, suspected in more than 22 murders, is executed in the Florida electric chair.
1990 Junk bond king Michael Milken pleads guilty to six securites law violations and pays 1.1 billion dollars in fines. Under the terms of the plea bargain, Milken retained a personal fortune of 125 million, not counting the 300 - 400 million retained by his wife, children and brother.
1991 "Maid of Metal", New Hampshire high school counselor Pam Smart convicted of murder after seducing a student and convincing him to kill her husband.
Milwaukee police arrest serial murderer Jeffrey Dahmer. Dahmer allegedly drugged, raped, and cannibalized some of his 17 victims.
1992 New York mob leader John Gotti, called the "Teflon Don" for his uncanny ability to avoid incarceration, is convicted of five murders.
A jury finds 4 white Los Angeles police officers not guilty in the beatings of black motorist Rodney King, spawning some of the worst riots in American history.
1995 169 are killed when the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City is destroyed by a massive fertilizer bomb. As the nation mourns,a Gulf War Veteran with a grudge against the government, Timothy McVeigh, is charged with the crime. Terry Nichols is later charged as a partner in the bombing. McVeigh and Nichols are awaiting trial.
In a jury decision that divides the nation, football star and media personality O.J. Simpson is acquitted of killing his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman.
1996 After a seventeen year search, the FBI arrests Harvard graduate Theodore Kaczynski on suspicion of being the Unabomber. Kaczynski, who is accused of injuring twenty-three people and killing three, was turned in by his own brother.
President William Clinton's former business partners James and Susan McDougal and Arkansas governor Jim Guy Tucker are convicted of fraud in the Whitewater real-estate and banking scandal. Tucker resigns his office.