Star Tribune from Minneapolis, Minnesota on November 13, 1932 · Page 44
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Star Tribune from Minneapolis, Minnesota · Page 44

Minneapolis, Minnesota
Issue Date:
Sunday, November 13, 1932
Page 44
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rate's uruesome Joke on theangsterWho f 11190 Cfl Invented the"0neay Ride) . i Gi Ad bil ai wit by i ryl edi wb hui ton -.. ' 1 ute 1nr Ida pen Is 1 Woi ne con far ehl' boy r ov con ly cat mai of ' lief, mai mee ten thai peoj eqi tion reH Will 8 has era! . or '. ' aacl f or ThJi one H vail ; rect the ttt fic por, rec ' Ia 'i ter 5 t. ; ' . the , K I ',' r ' f ' ton r ton 77. Red Blot on i of t chai cera. 5 lait arJ, 1 In who J the? I arra i com K . kg I; ". at i Wh Bl I 53 G J. The I. " trar. f For : the ;.. his gTOI the wht hon : pat ait to I lant i ill i c Bo. go , arrt Mot boo Cor. the led test tort '- 4 i r cut ? Per CO raft th Kii by; . 5 la IV . V v !, V f 1''" . ip 1 If"-' , -Vr'T' ;f' 1 r - i ' : ( I - ii . 'Si, v J ill. i I -. : ; . 7ou; ?e Terrorist Beer Baron of Chicago's South Side Met a Fantastic End, BelievingThat Enemy Mobsters Were Planning toTurn theTahles on Him. s v J If -5T1 v i It i , I MN 1 .v " .1 i-Ts A The Bullet- Riddled Body of Mn. Marion Miller McErlane, s It Was Found, Slumped in the Rear Seat of a Sedan Abandoned in a Chicago Street. At the Dead Woman's Feet Lies One of Her Two Pet Dogs, Which Were Also Slaughtered in . the Spray of Machine Gunfire. VRANK McERLANE, reputed inventor of the "one-way ride," al ways said he wanted to die light ing. He did. But by an ironic tricK oi fate, Chicago's much-feared South Side baron, when he passed on, was waving his beefy fists only at phantoms and defying enemies that existed solely in his imagination. Recently, McErlane, suffering from a severe attack of pneumonia, was taken to a hospital in Beardstown, Illinois. For four days while in a mad delirium he atruggled with the husky young internes to get at the rival mobsters he "saw" all around him. The man whom Chicago coppers had pronounced "the toughest gangster of them all" snarled, screamed .and fought wildly against foes whom he claimed were all around him peering through windows, hiding under his hospital Ted and pointing sawed-off shotguns at him through holes cut in the ceiling of his room. "They want to take me for a one-way ride," he yelled again and again. In -his insane struggles he knocked one. nurse unconscious and repeatedly tried to beat up the attendants and staff doctors who vainly tried to calm him. In the end the germs of disease got the man who had beaten countless "raps" in Chicago police courts and with equal success had defeated a dozen attempts by rival gunmen to put him on the spot. For in the white hospital room Frank McErJane could make no getaway. The Grim Reaper had him by the throat and would not let go. His end followed the fall of many of the swarm of gun-toting racketeers who had run riot for years in the Middle Western metropolis. . Johnny Torrio and Dion O'Bannion are gone, Al and Ralph Capone are behind v' bars in Federal penitentiaries. Walter Stevens, "dean ot Chicago gun men," and Big -Dave Earsmen to met natural deaths. while asr McErlane's life was one long saga of violence - and his death culminated ninety-six. wild hours of torture. They eame, however, after a peaceful lull of Frank McErlane, Chicago Beer Boss and Reputed "One Way Ride" Inventor, Who Died, Deliriously Shrieking: "Don't let them take me for a ride!" The Late Marion Miller McErlane, as She Looked on One of Her Many Appearances in Chicago Police Courts. The Court Plaster on Her Forehead Hid a Wound Detectives Declared Had Been Inflicted By Her Husband During One of His Jealous Rages. almost a year. During this time the South Side terror had been living on the Illinois River in a luxurious houseboat. His constant companions were his mother, Florence McErlane, and five men. The long "vacation" followed McErlane's exoneration, for lack of evidence, on the charge of killing his wife, Marion Miller McErlane. A "pension" of several hundred dollars a week was reported to have been paid him by Windy City racketeers "as long as he kept out of Chicago,!! The slaying of Mrs. Miller was called by Chicago police the most vicious killing of the century. Her dead form was found crumpled up in the back seat of a sedan last January. The entire rear compartment of the car had been sprayed by machine-gun bullets. At her feet lay her two pet dogs, also slain in the fusillade that spelled death to the woman who long had been the beer baron's companion. For weeks detectives scoured the country looking for her husband. In the end McErlane voluntarily gave himself up, and after being placed under a $25,000 bail bond the authorities were forced to clear him because of the absence of eye-witnesses. As exciting as this entire incident was, McErlane participated in one even more grisly and spectacular. Its telling will clear up for psychologists the reasons for the racketeer's amazing aberrations of "enemies" threatening him on every side during the four days that preceded his death. At the time he was lying in the German Deaconess Hospital, of Chicago, had a bullet wound in the leg. Police said his wife had shot him during one of their tempestuous quarrels, Dut McErlane laughed when they questioned him and steadily persisted in his story that he had accidentally shot himself while cleaning his gun. His shattered right leg was encased rh a plaster cast and stretched towards the ceiling by weights and pulleys. Flowers sent by sentimental henchmen filled the room. Suddenly two rival mobsters entered, shouting gleefully : "Goodbye, sweetheart 1" to the prostrate man, and began to blaze away at him with revolvers. Grinning sardonically, McErlane ducked his head, drew two automatics from under his pillow and returned the fusillade. For a moment bullets zipped back and forth through the flower perfumed room. The racket of the gunfire resounded through the rooms and corridors of the hospital. Terrified patients screamed and prayed in their beds as doctors, internes and nurses rushed towards the cubicle occupied by the gangster. But by the time they got there the mysterious assailants had vanished and McErlane lay back, holding his two guns and laughing insanely. He had been plugged three times, but he smiled again when Chicago detectives asked him who the two men were. "I'll take, care of the matter," he told them. "If I get well, 111 be able to and if I don't there'll be no need." McErlane did get well and two weeks after the astonishing fight in the hospital, John (Dingbat) Oberta and Sam Malega were "rubbed out" in another shooting. Vainly police tried to connect the two flare-ups of gang violence and for the third time McErlane smiled. He had been unable to get up, he proved, at the time the pair of mobsmen had fallen in a hail of bullets, since shortly after the attack in the hospital he had been convalescing in his parents' home where he could count on being well guarded. The police breathed easily, however, for McErlane sent word to Chief of Detectives John Stege that he "was quitting the racket." "As soon as I can crawl," his emissary quoted him to the official, "I will leave for California to stay there until Stege gets out of the police department." - The police official hoped that McErlane meant what he said. Only the summer before a man identified as answering to the wounded racketeer's description had swaggered into a night club and banged two big guns on a table. "Everybody drink beer on the house," he ordered. Again and again he compelled the bartenders to fill the glasses of the customers. When he tired of this strange amusement he splintered with bullets the floor under the patron's feet.. As could be expected, all present danced up and down with more abandon than had been witnessed since the Charleston's vogue waned. Another annoying sport of which police alleged McErlane was fond was to roam up and down the streets of the South Side, blazing away with guns at imaginary enemies, even taking a few pot-shots at "In his delirium, Frank McErlane imagined he could see sinister-looking men closing in all around him to take him for a 'one-way' ride. r ; LL: McErlane (Indicated By Arrow) Is Mi V4&j&&14SJ ' ' MvE Jk Shown in the Chicago Police Lineup. aSJjfefH".. V5?h t'J 4 tk& fwS1n Arrested a Down Times for Murder ldlWFW-'rr V Vfl "'J Oimes. II. Always "beat the mklT - St?S McErlane (Indicated By Arrow) Is Shown in the Chicago Police Lineup. Arrested a Dozen Times for Murder and Lesser Crimes, He Always "beat the rap" Because the Prosecutor of Cook County Could Never Find Witnesses Willing to Testify Against Him. The Ghastly Aflermalh of s "One-Way Ride" Is Depleted Above. Chicago Police and Members of the State's Attorney' Office Are Examining the Body of John Morris, a Minor Local Politician, for Clues Left By the Slayers. King Fsaturcs Syndicate, Inc.. 1912 Al Left, Nicks in Wall Over McErlane's Bed in the German Deaconess IIpilaI, Chicago, Were Made By Bull.t. Fired By Gunmen Who Invaded the Institution and Plugged the Brer Bom Three Times. his own car. These outbursts were said to come after he had imbibed too much of his own beer. On one of these tempestuous evenings detectives took the South Side big-shot into custody, charging him with pouring a stream of -pistol and shotgun bullets at any object or passerby to which he took a capricious dislike. Under questioning at headquarters, McErlane declared he had been attacks by a "large army of green snakes and pink elephants." "They were trying to bump me off," he complained, "but I beat them to it." That was his story and he stuck to it. Another time his own sister accused him of biting her on the cheek. But when the gangster was arraigned in court on" a charge of mayhem the woman refused to testify against him. This last-minute refusal of complainants to' testify against McErlane marked almost every case the police tried to involve him in. Although McErlane and Marion Miller for years were known to be sweethearts it was not until after the woman's terrible death that it was disclosed she was really his wife. According to the dead woman's mother, Mrs. Antoinette Regus, the ceremony took place in East St. Louis. I1U on May 7. 1930. For eight weeks following that killing, the South Side beer boss hid out. Ace men of the Chicago detective bureau sought him in every corner of the United States, from New York to Los Angeles, from Seattle to Miami, Florida. Lolling on a bed in a Madison, Wisconsin, rooming house McErlane in the end decided two months "on the lam" was enough. He sent for his "mouthpiece" and instructed the lawyer to tell the authorities he would give himself up. The McErlane luck carried him through the proceedings that followed. The coroner's jury had said Mrs. McErlane was "murdered by a person or persons unknown," and without eyewitnesses or conclusive evidence the State was helpless, McErlane looked anything but a gangster. Chubby and stocky, he usually impressed strangers as a well-to-do business man. But his death was like his life a raging, uncontrolled thing and he passed out of the picture in a phantas magoria of violence. . i i. ! i, I re VI

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