Monday, August 1, 2016

This Day in Crime History: AUGUST 01, 1966 : AN EX-MARINE GOES ON A KILLING SPREE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS


Charles Whitman takes a stockpile of guns and ammunition to the observatory platform atop a 300-foot tower at the University of Texas and proceeds to shoot 46 people, killing 14 people and wounding 31. A fifteenth died in 2001 because of his injuries. Whitman, who had killed both his wife and mother the night before, was eventually shot to death after courageous Austin police officers, including Ramiro Martinez, charged up the stairs of the tower to subdue the attacker.



Whitman, a former Eagle Scout and Marine, began to suffer serious mental problems after his mother left his father inMarch 1966. On March 29, he told a psychiatrist that he was having uncontrollable fits of anger. He purportedly even told this doctor that he was thinking about going up to the tower with a rifle and shooting people. Unfortunately, the doctor didn’t follow up on this red flag.


On July 31, Whitman wrote a note about his violent impulses, saying, “After my death, I wish an autopsy on me be performed to see if there’s any mental disorders.” The note then described his hatred for his family and his intent to kill them. That night, Whitman went to his mother’s home, where he stabbed and shot her. Upon returning to his own home, he then stabbed his wife to death.



The following morning, Whitman headed for the tower with several pistols and a rifle after stopping off at a gun store to buy boxes of ammunition and a carbine. Packing food and other supplies, he proceeded to the observation platform, killing the receptionist and two tourists before unpacking his rifle and telescope and hunting the people below.



An expert marksman, Whitman was able to hit people as far away as 500 yards. For 90 minutes, he continued firing while officers searched for a chance to get a shot at him. By the end of his rampage, 16 people were dead and another 30 were injured.




The University of Texas tower remained closed for 25 years before reopening in 1999.




Article Details:

August 01, 1966 : An ex-Marine goes on a killing spree at the University of Texas

  • Author

    History.com Staff
  • Website Name

    History.com
  • Year Published

    2009
  • Title

    August 01, 1966 : An ex-Marine goes on a killing spree at the University of Texas
  • URL

    http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/an-ex-marine-goes-on-a-killing-spree-at-the-university-of-texas
  • Access Date

    August 01, 2016
  • Publisher

    A+E Networks

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

This Day in Crime History: JULY 06, 1946 : GEORGE “BUGS” MORAN IS ARRESTED



FBI agents arrest George “Bugs” Moran, along with fellow crooks Virgil Summers and Albert Fouts, in Kentucky. Once one of the biggest organized crime figures in America, Moran had been reduced to small bank robberies by this time. He died in prison 11 years later.



Bugs Moran’s criminal career took an abrupt downturn after the infamous St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in 1929, in which his top gunmen were slaughtered by rival Al Capone’s henchmen. (A lasting feud had been established after Capone’s men killed Moran’s friend and mentor, Deanie O’Banion, in 1924.) Moran, who just missed the massacre by a couple of minutes, was visibly shaken when reporters talked to him days later. He shouted at them, “Only Capone kills like that!”




Al “Scarface” Capone established his alibi by vacationing in Florida at the time of the Valentine’s Day murders. Sitting poolside, he mocked Moran, chuckling as he told reporters, “The only man who kills like that is Bugs Moran.” Later, while Capone was serving time for tax evasion, Moran may have earned a measure of revenge by killing Jack McGurn, one of the men who had carried out the massacre.






A bank robbery charge conviction eventually landed Moran in Leavenworth federal prison. Hewas releasedin 1956, but was then re-arrested for an earlier bank robbery. He died in prison of lung cancer on February 2, 1957.




Article Details:

July 06, 1946 : George “Bugs” Moran is arrested

  • Author

    History.com Staff
  • Website Name

    History.com
  • Year Published

    2009
  • Title

    July 06, 1946 : George “Bugs” Moran is arrested
  • URL

    http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/george-bugs-moran-is-arrested
  • Access Date

    July 06, 2016
  • Publisher

    A+E Networks

Monday, July 4, 2016

This Day in Crime History: JULY 04, 1954 : A SENSATIONALIZED MURDER TRIAL INSPIRES THE FUGITIVE


Marilyn Sheppard is beaten to death inside her suburban home in Cleveland, Ohio. Her husband, Dr. Sam Sheppard, claimed to have fallen asleep in the family’s living room and awakened to find a man with bushy hair fleeing the scene. The authorities, who uncovered the fact that Dr. Sheppard had been having an affair, did not believe his story and charged him with killing his pregnant wife.




Creating a national sensation, the media invaded the courtroom and printed daily stories premised on Sheppard’s guilt. The jurors, who were not sequestered, found Sheppard guilty. Arguing that the circumstances of the trial had unfairly influenced the jury, Sheppard appealed to the Supreme Court and got his conviction overturned in 1966. Yet, despite the fact that Sheppard had no previous criminal record, many still believed that he was responsible for his wife’s murder.




The Sheppard case brought to light the issue of bias within the court system. Jurors are now carefully screened to ensure that they have not already come to a predetermined conclusion about a case in which they are about to hear. In especially high-profile cases, jurors can be sequestered so that they are not exposed to outside media sources. However, most judges simply order jurors not to watch news reports about the case, and rely on them to honor the order.







Sheppard’s case provided the loose inspiration for the hit television show The Fugitive, in which the lead character, Richard Kimble, is falsely accused of killing his wife, escapes from prison, and pursues the one-armed man he claimed to have seen fleeing the murder scene.





In 1998, DNA tests on physical evidence found at Sheppard’s house revealed that there had indeed been another man at the murder scene. Sheppard’s son, who had pursued the case long after his father’s death in order to vindicate his reputation, sued the state for wrongful imprisonment in 2000, but lost.




Article Details:

July 04, 1954 : A sensationalized murder trial inspires The Fugitive

  • Author

    History.com Staff
  • Website Name

    History.com
  • Year Published

    2009
  • Title

    July 04, 1954 : A sensationalized murder trial inspires The Fugitive
  • URL

    http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/a-sensationalized-murder-trial-inspires-the-fugitive
  • Access Date

    July 04, 2016
  • Publisher

    A+E Networks