He survived, and eagerly accepted a sentence of nine months in the Lake County Jail.
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It was safe there. Having served his time, he announced that he would retire and leave everything to Capone. Then he departed for Italy. They struck down Angelo Genna. He was buried in unconsecrated ground at Mt. Capone may have sent flowers, but he shed no tears. The lines had been shifting. Within six weeks, two more Gennas, Michael and Anthony, were ambushed and killed. Both were captured by the police and charged with murder. There were many suspects, but no convictions. Then the lines shifted again, to Cicero and the West Side. In the first four months of , police recorded twenty-nine gangland slayings.
Capone went into hiding for three months. It was a relatively quiet summer—a few desultory killings here and there, a gun battle on Michigan Avenue. Capone reappeared in his old haunts. On September 20 he lunched at a restaurant next door to the Hawthorne Inn. Suddenly there was a burst of machine-gun fire. Capone dove for the floor.
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Outside, on Twenty-second Street, an eleven-car motorcade slowly passed in review. Guns protruded from every window. The inn, the restaurant, storefronts on either side were raked by tommy guns, shotguns, and revolvers. Slugs ripped through twenty-five autos parked at the curb, and the sidewalk glittered with shards of broken glass.
As the eleventh car sped away, up from the floor rose Capone, unhurt, but paler than the talc on his otherwise ruddy jowls. There is no record of what he was thinking then, but very possibly he was thinking only—and darkly—of Hymie Weiss and Bugs Moran. Throughout all the vicious years, Al Capone no doubt held himself in high personal esteem. After all, he was merely providing services, the supply of which, like his brothel whores, could never quite meet the demand.
Though on one day Chicagoans might read with horror of the latest atrocity linked to his mob, on the next they might cheer his waving arrival at Charlestown Racetrack. His fan mail was heavy.
The Remains of Al Capone
At the pit of the Depression, he was said to have financed a South Side soup kitchen dispensing 20, free meals a week. People liked to remember things like that—and liked to forget just exactly what it was the big fellow did to afford such beneficence. But not everyone was impressed by the good-guy image. On a visit with his wife to Los Angeles, his presence came to the attention of the police; they gave him twenty-four hours to clear out of town. In Miami he was persona non grata until he discovered that the mayor was a realtor.
He promptly improved it with an encircling wall of concrete blocks and a thick, oaken portcullis. Capone liked to swim and fish and bask in the sun; the sun helped him forget all the troubles of Chicago. In fact, he was doing just that on February 14, For these two thugs, it should further be noted, there was a strange reward. On May 7, at the Hawthorne Inn, Capone assembled a roomful of mobsters ostensibly to honor Scalise and Anselmi for their recent deeds. It was a jovial occasion until, shortly after midnight, Capone announced to the guests of honor that he was privy to their part in a budding conspiracy to dethrone him.
Having passed sentence on the Sicilians, Capone signaled his bodyguards to bind and gag them; and then, according to witnesses, the good guy who gave people so many simple pleasures proceeded to club his lieutenants to death with a baseball bat. The following week Capone was in Atlantic City, attending a business convention.
Guzik and Nitti flanked him at the conference table. Joe Saltis was there, and Frankie McErlane.
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Torrio had returned from Italy to preside as the elder statesman. The purpose of the conference was peace.
The Real Al Capone Quotes
There was to be an end to the killing. The nation henceforth was to be redistricted; the Unione Siciliane was to be reorganized, and the Chicagoans were to stop this petty quarreling among themselves and merge under the leadership of Capone. Big Al was delighted, except for one catch: Bugs Moran had declined an invitation to the meeting.
Back in Chicago, Moran would still be after him. Back in Chicago, a dozen Sicilian gunmen were awaiting their chance to avenge the clubbing of Scalise and Anselmi. And the risks were by no means limited to Chicago. Killers in every town that Capone might reach were assigned to the job.
Twenty of his enemies died in his absence. By the troubles had piled up on two fronts. There were frequent raids against the Capone breweries and distilleries; G-men with sledgehammers were wrecking the old alky stills and pouring the contraband booze into the gutters. Meanwhile, as if this were not enough for Capone to contend with, agents of the Internal Revenue Service began making discreet inquiries about town as to why, after so many extravagant years of big spending, he had never once filed a tax return.
Capone was stunned. It would never have turned out like this in the good old days. But the good old days were long gone. Pending an appeal, Capone was held in the Cook County Jail, where the amenable warden David Moneypenny provided his celebrated prisoner with all the comforts of home, including unlimited visitations by the likes of Jake Guzik and Murray Humphreys and Lucky Luciano and Dutch Schultz.
For all such audiences, Capone insisted on absolute privacy; and Moneypenny obliged by allowing Big Al to use the most secure suite in the entire jail—the death chamber. The appeal was denied. In the spring of , handcuffed to a fellow prisoner, Capone was transferred to the federal penitentiary at Atlanta, Georgia. There he was given the identifying number 40, and assigned to work eight hours daily cobbling shoes. For the most part he stayed out of trouble; but his old reputation belied to authorities his new good behavior. They called it Alcatraz.
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Famous Mob Quotes
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