Though he was brilliant in his own entrepreneureal business, Al Capone was thrown out of school in the sixth grade.
Al Capone Cashed In!
Al Capone controlled speakeasies, bookie joints, gambling houses, brothels, horse and race tracks, nightclubs, distilleries and breweries at a reported income of $100,000,000 a year.
Al Capone Rests in Peace
Al Capone was first buried in Mount Olivet Cemetery in Chicago’s far South Side between the graves of his father, Gabriele, and brother, Frank, but in March of 1950 the remains of all three were moved to Mount Carmel Cemetery on the far West Side.
Al Capone the Nice Guy
Although Capone ordered dozens of deaths and even killed with his own hands, he often treated people fairly and generously. He was the first to open soup kitchens after the 1929 stock market crash and he ordered merchants to give clothes and food to the needy at his expense.
Arrested for Three Killings
Al Capone was arrested in 1926 for killing three people, but spent only one night in jail because there was insufficient evidence to connect him with the murders.
Attempts On Al Capone
Attempts on Capone’s life were never successful. He had an extensive spy network in Chicago, from newspaper boys to policemen, so that any plots against him were quickly discovered.
Capone and His Taxes
Capone never filed an income tax return, owned nothing in his own name, and never made a declaration of assets or income.
Capone in Alcatraz
Because word spread that Capone had taken over in the federal prison in Atlanta, he was sent to Alcatraz. There were no other “outfit” members in Alcatraz, and security was so tight that he had no knowledge of the outside world. He was unable to control anyone or anything and could not buy influence or friends. In an attempt to earn time off for good behavior, Capone became the ideal prisoner and refused to participate in prisoner rebellions or strikes.
Capone in Atlanta
In May 1932, Capone was sent to Atlanta, the toughest of the federal prisons, to begin his eleven-year sentence. Even in prison Capone took control, obtaining special privileges from the authorities such as furnishing his cell with a mirror, typewriter, rugs, and a set of the Encyclopedia Britannica.
Capone in the ‘Burbs
Al Capone expanded into the suburbs, sometimes using terror as in Forest View, which became known as “Caponeville.” Sometimes he simply bribed public officials and the police as in Cicero. He established suburban headquarters in Cicero’s Anton Hotel at 4835 W. 22nd Street and in the Hawthorne Hotel at 4823 22nd Street. He pretended to be an antique dealer and a doctor to front his headquarters.
In 1931, Capone was indicted for income tax evasion for the years 1925-29. He was also charged with the misdemeanor of failing to file tax returns for the years 1928 and 1929. The government charged that Capone owed $215,080.48 in taxes from his gambling profits. A third indictment was added, charging Capone with conspiracy to violate Prohibition laws from 1922-31. Capone pleaded guilty to all three charges in the belief that he would be able to plea bargain. However, the judge who presided over the case, Judge James H. Wilkerson, would not make any deals. Capone changed his pleas to not guilty. Unable to bargain, he tried to bribe the jury but Wilkerson changed the jury panel at the last minute.
While imprisoned at Alcatraz, Al Capone exhibited signs of syphilitic dementia. He spent the rest of his felony sentence in the hospital. On January 6, 1939, his prison term expired and he was transferred to Terminal Island, a Federal Correctional Institution in California, to serve his one-year misdemeanor sentence. He was finally released on November 16, 1939, but still had to pay fines and court costs of $37,617.51.
After his release, Capone spent a short time in the hospital. He returned to his home in Palm Island where the rest of his life was relaxed and quiet. His mind and body continued to deteriorate so that he could no longer run the outfit. On January 21, 1947, he had an apoplectic stoke that was probably unrelated to his syphilis. He regained consciousness and began to improve until pneumonia set in on January 24. He died the next day from cardiac arrest.
Capone’s First Time In Jail
When Capone finally served his first prison term in May of 1929, it was simply for carrying a gun.
Capone had headquarters in Chicago proper in the Four Deuces at 2222 S. Wabash, the Metropole Hotel at 2300 S. Michigan Avenue, and the Lexington Hotel at 2135 S. Michigan Avenue.
When Al Capone finally went to court, the jury found him not guilty on eighteen of the twenty-three counts against him. Judge Wilkerson sentenced him to a total of ten years in federal prison and one year in the county jail. In addition, Capone had to serve an earlier six-month contempt of court sentence for failing to appear in court. The fines were a cumulative $50,000 and Capone had to pay the prosecution costs of $7,692.29.
The name of the man who gave a 17-year-old Capone the four-inch-long scar across his left cheek was “Frank Gallucio.”
How Capone Murdered
A typical Capone murder consisted of men renting an apartment across the street from the victim’s residence and gunning him down when he stepped outside. The operations were quick and complete and Capone always had an alibi.
While in New York, Al Capone earned the nickname “Scarface.”
Public Enemy Number One
In 1930, at the peak of his power, Capone headed Chicago’s new list of the twenty-eight worst criminals and became the city’s “Public Enemy Number One.”
The Big Fellow
Al Capone’s men had a special name for him, apart from the popular euphemisms used by “regular” Chicagoans.
His men referred to him as “The Big Fellow.”
The names, addresses, and occupations of the 12 jurors who decided Al Capone’s income tax evasion indictment (and who eventually signed his guilty verdict) were printed in Chicago newspapers.
To reduce the chances of jury tampering, the judge tried to keep the trial as short as possible and confined the jury at night.
The Lost Battalion
“Scarface Al” got his hated nickname from the “ear to mouth” scar on his left cheek. Capone often romanticized this scar by pretending he’d received it as a member of the “Lost Battalion.” The “Lost Battalion” fought in France under the command of Lieut. Col. Charles W. Whittlesey. Capone did not fight in WWI (he was fifteen years old when the war broke out and nineteen when it ended).
The Rule of the Gang
Because of gangland’s traditional refusal to prosecute, Capone was never tried for most of his crimes.
The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre
Capone’s most notorious killing was the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. On February 14, 1929, four Capone men entered a garage at 2122 N. Clark Street. The building was the main liquor headquarters of bootlegger George “Bugs” Moran’s North Side gang. Because two of Capone’s men were dressed as police, the seven men in the garage thought it was a police raid. As a result, they dropped their guns and put their hands against the wall. Using two shotguns and two machine guns, the Capone men fired more than 150 bullets into the victims.