Al CaPone

AL CaPones early life

Many New York gangsters in the early 20th Century came from a poor background, but this was not the case for the legendary Al Capone. Far from being a poor immigrant from Italy who turned to crime to make a living. His father, Gabriele, was one of thousands of Italians who arrived in New York in 1894. He was thirty years old, where he had earned a living as a barber. His wife Teresina was pregnant and already bringing up two sons. 2 yearold son Vincenzo and infant son Raffaele. The family moved to a poor Brooklyn tenement where Alphonse Capone was born on January 17, 1899.

The young Capone's home was far from fabulous. He lived in a poor tenement, little more than a slum, near the Navy Yard. It was a tough place given over to the imorral sought by sailor characters that were afton surrounding bars. The family was a regular, albeit noisy Italian-American clan and there were few indications that the young Al Capone would venture into a world of crime and become public enemy number one. Certainly the family's move to a more ethnically mixed area of the city exposed the young Capone to wider cultural influences, no doubt equipping him with the means to run a notorious criminal empire.

But it was Capone's schooling, both inadequate and brutal at a Catholic institution beset with violence that marred the young man. Despite having been a promising student, he was expelled at the age of 14 for hitting a girl teacher, and never went back. (witch was not excepted).

Frankie Yale, Capone and the mug shot.

AL Capones prison life and death

In May 1929, Capone went to a conference in Atlantic City. Afterwards he saw a movie in Philadelphia. When leaving the cinema he was arrested and imprisoned for carrying a concealed weapon. Capone was soon incarcerated in the Eastern Penitentiary where he stayed until March 16, 1930. He was later released from jail for good behavior, but was put on the America's "Most Wanted" list which publicly humiliated the mobster who so desperately wanted to be regarded as a worthy and man of the people.

Elmer Irey started an amazing plan to use undercover agents posing as hoods to infiltrate Capone's organization. The operation took nerves of steel and despite an informer ending up with a bullet in his head before he could testify, Elmer managed to amass enough evidence through his detectives, posing as gangsters, to try Capone in front of a jury. With two vital bookkeepers Leslie Shumway and Fred Reis, who had once been in Capone's employment, now safely under police protection it was only a matter of time before Capone's days as Public Enemy No. 1 were over.

Capones Death

In August 1934, Al Capone was moved from a prison in Atlanta to the infamous Alcatraz in San Francisco. His days of privileges in prison were gone and contact with the outside world, even through letters and newspapers was minimal.

Capone's health was exacerbated by tertiary syphilis and he became confused and disorientated. His sentence was finally reduced to six and a half years for good behavior.

After release, Capone slowly deteriorated at his Palm Island palace. Mae, his wife stuck by him until January 25, 1947 when he died of cardiac arrest at age 48.