On this day in 1947 the world would mark the passing of one of the most notorious mobsters to have ever lived. At the age of 48 The Big Shot suffered from a stroke but managed to improve from it (this was just 4 days after he celebrated his 48th birthday). However, after managing to regain consciousness from the stroke he contracted pneumonia; on the 25th January 4 days after the stroke he suffered a fatal cardiac arrest.
Al headed up the Chicago Outfit during a violent time in the mobs history, having taken the reigns from Johnny Torrio in 1925 after he was almost killed in an assassination attempt. He remained at the front of the outfit until he was finally convicted on tax evasion charges in 1932, and upon being sent to Atlanta’s U.S. Penitentiary Capone would fast lose a battle to ill health.
The Last 15 Years of Al Capone
Almost immediately after his arrival at the prison he was diagnosed with syphilis and gonorrhoea, and he was also suffering from cocaine withdrawal.
He was no longer the man he used to be but that didn’t matter to many inmates serving time with Capone, they were said to bully the former Outfit boss, and his cell mate Red Rudlinsky who used to be associated with the Outfit end up becoming a bodyguard for Capone. It was so bad that they ended up moving Capone to Alcatraz.
By now neurosyphillis had gotten a hold of Capone and his mental state began to weaken, confused and disorientated he ended up serving the final year of one of his convictions in the prison hospital eventually being released in early January 1939. The prison time wasn’t over for Capone though as he still had to serve time for contempt of court, for this stint he was transferred to California, and spent the next 10 months at the Federal Correctional Institution at Terminal Island. Al Capone was finally a free man on November 1939.
The next few years of his life would be spent in hospital for the treatment of paresis, and then back at his Palm Island mansion surrounded by close family. Paresis is a neuropsychiatric disorder which is caused by late-stage syphilis and this would become apparent a year before his death when a psychiatrist would conclude that Al Capone had the mental age of a 12 year old.
The Legacy of Capone
During his time as the boss of the Chicago Outfit Al Capone would be involved in many trials and mob related events. Capone is one of the most notorious American gangsters of the 20th century and has been the subject of numerous articles, books, and films. His personality and character have been used in fiction as a model for crime lords and criminal masterminds ever since his death. The stereotypical image of a mobster wearing a blue pinstriped suit and tilted fedora is based on photos of Capone.
Over 30 victims were notched up on the board in a 4 year period.
|Victim||Date of death||Reason|
|Joe Howard||May 7, 1923||Tried hijacking Capone-Torrio beer.|
|Dion O’Banion||November 10, 1924||Set Johnny Torrio up in Brewery Raid.|
|Thomas Duffy||April 27, 1926||Suspected of treachery by Capone.|
|James J. Doherty||April 27, 1926||Suspected of treachery by Capone.|
|William H. McSwiggin||April 27, 1926||Happened to be with Duffy and Doherty that night.|
|Earl Hymie Weiss||October 11, 1926||O’Banion’s successor and out to get Capone.|
|John Costenaro||January 7, 1927||Planning to testify against Capone.|
|Santo Celebron||January 7, 1927||Planning to testify against Capone.|
|Antonio Torchio||May 25, 1927||Imported from New York to kill Capone.|
|Frank Hitchcock||July 27, 1927||Bootlegger enemy that Johnny Patton wanted out of the way.|
|Anthony K. Russo||August 11, 1927||Imported from St. Louis to kill Capone.|
|Vincent Spicuzza||August 11, 1927||Imported from St. Louis to kill Capone.|
|Samuel Valente||September 24, 1927||Imported from Cleveland to kill Capone.|
|Harry Fuller||January 18, 1928||Hijacked Capone’s beer and booze.|
|Joseph Cagiando||January 18, 1928||Hijacked Capone’s beer and booze.|
|Joseph Fasso||January 18, 1928||Hijacked Capone’s beer and booze.|
|“Diamond Joe” Esposito||March 21, 1928||Did not want to support Capone on election day.|
|Ben Newmark||April 23, 1928||Tried to organize a rival gang.|
|Francesco Uale (Frank Yale)||July 1, 1928||Double-crossed Capone.|
|Frank Gusenberg||February 14, 1929||Part of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.|
|Pete Gusenberg||February 14, 1929||Part of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.|
|John May||February 14, 1929||Part of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.|
|Al Weinshank||February 14, 1929||Part of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.|
|James Clark||February 14, 1929||Part of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.|
|Adam Heyer||February 14, 1929||Part of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.|
|Dr. Reinhardt Schwimmer||February 14, 1929||Part of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.|
|Albert Anselmi||May 8, 1929||Would assist Joseph Guinta in assassinating Capone.|
|John Scalise||May 8, 1929||Would assist Joseph Guinta in assassinating Capone.|
|Joseph Guinta||May 8, 1929||Was planning on assassinating Capone.|
|Frankie Marlow||June 24, 1929||Refused to pay a debt of $250,000.|
|Julius Rosenheim||February 1, 1930||Informant to the police and newspapers on Capone’s activities.|
|Jack Zuta||August 1, 1930||Spied on and double-crossed Capone.|
|Joe Aiello||October 23, 1930||Rival gang leader and ally of Bugs Moran.|