Little Bits of History

Jake Lingle

Posted in History by patriciahysell on June 9, 2014
Jake Lingle

Jake Lingle

June 9, 1930: Jake Lingle dies. Alfred “Jake” Lingle, Jr. was born in Chicago in July 1891. When he was around eight, his parents converted from Judaism to Roman Catholicism. One of his childhood friends was William Russell who would later become chief of police in Chicago. Jake played semi-professional baseball and also worked for a surgical supply company. He finally got a job working as an office boy for the Chicago Tribune. He began his work as a journalist in 1912. He was known for his work as a legman which meant he covered gang-related crime stories. He would be at the scene and phone in a report to a writer in the Tribune’s office where it would be written up for print. He made many connections outside the paper and while earning $65 per week reporting, his annual income was $60,000 or nearly eighteen times his Tribune salary.

On this day, he left the Sherman House hotel where he had met with some power brokers. He was on his way to catch the 1:30 PM train to a racetrack in Homewood where he was in the habit of betting on the ponies. He was followed to the Randolph Street Terminal where one of the men fired a .38 caliber pistol directly into the back of Lingle’s head, killing him instantly. The assailant was described as thin and blonde with blue eyes. Several people witnessed the crime.

The police got 664 hoodlums going around the city looking for the killer. The Chicago Tribune offered a $25,000 reward for information leading to an arrest. Other local papers offered an extra $30,000. In January 1931, police were tipped off and arrested Leo V. Brothers from St. Louis. Many people swore he was the killer while others, including the accused, claimed he was innocent. He was found guilty and sentences to 14 years and served 8.

It was assumed that Lingle was killed because of his work in journalism, but as more details came to light, it was found that his association with the crime scene was far more intimate. Lingle was involved with the mafia and specifically with Al Capone. He was killed because of money owed to the Big Guy and not because of his writing. The Tribune claimed they knew nothing of Lingle’s outside activities, but Frank Wilson of the IRS claimed Robert McCormick, the owner of the Trib, had arranged a meeting with Lingle while he was investing the Al Capone case, and this proved the paper know of the connection between writer and mob boss. Lingle’s racketeering was his downfall.

Crime is a logical extension of the sort of behaviour that is often considered perfectly respectable in legitimate business. – Robert Rice

Crime is to man as fleas are to dog, the likelihood of its presence increases as the quality of one’s personal circumstances decreases. – Jerome P. Crabb

Crime has always been a regrettably consistent element of the human experience. – Mark Frost

He confesses his crime who flees the tribunal. – Publilius Syrus

Also on this day: Freedom of Religion – In 1628, Thomas Morton was exiled for his religious beliefs.
The Mail Didn’t Go Through – In 1772, the HMS Gaspée was run aground.
Road Trip – In 1909, the first woman to drive across the US began her journey.
Whoops – In 1873, the Alexandra Palace burned to the ground.


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