Crime Daily

James Beaver

Who was Al Capone?

Born in an immigrant family in Brooklyn, New York in 1899, Al Capone quit school after the sixth grade and joined a well known street gang. Johnny Torrio was the street gang leader and along with the other members was Lucky Luciano, who would later attain his own popularity.

In around 1920, at Torrio’s invitation, Capone joined Torrio in Chicago where he had become a respected lieutenant in the Colosimo mob. The rackets formed by enactment of the Prohibition Amendment, illegal brewing, distilling and distribution of beer and liquor, were viewed as “growth industries.” Torrio, followed by Al Capone, intended to take full advantage of given opportunities. The mob also developed interests in businesses in the cleaning and dyeing field and cultivated influence with public officials, labor unions, and employees’ associations.

Capone's Notorious achievements

The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre on February 14, 1929, might be viewed as the violence of the Chicago gang era, as seven members or associates of the “Bugs” Moran mob were machine-gunned against a garage wall by rivals posing as police. The massacre was generally accredited to the Capone mob, although Al himself was in Florida.

Capone maintained the Colosimo mob spreading fear, drugs, and illegal alcohol for many years making him a dominant figure of the Chicago underbelly.

The Fall of Capone

On May 17, 1929, Al Capone and his bodyguard were arrested in Philadelphia for carrying deadly weapons. Within 16 hours they had been sentenced to terms of one year. Capone served his time and was released in nine months for good behavior on March 17, 1930. On November 16, 1939, Al Capone was released from Alcatraz after having served seven years, six months and fifteen days, and having paid all fines and taxes.

Suffering from paresis from syphilis, he had deteriorated greatly during his confinement. Immediately on release he entered a Baltimore hospital for brain treatment and then went on to his Florida home, an estate on Palm Island in Biscayne Bay near Miami, which he had purchased in 1928.

Following his release, he never publicly returned to Chicago. He had become mentally incapable of returning to gang politics. In 1946, his physician and a Baltimore psychiatrist, after examination, both concluded Capone then had the mentality of a 12-year-old child. Capone resided on Palm Island with his wife and immediate family, in a secluded atmosphere, until his death due to a stroke and pneumonia on January 25, 1947.