... vito difficult to trace. Whilst the investigations were getting underway, Capone escaped from the Chicago winter and left for Miami, where he had tactically used a middleman to buy his Palm Island estate. The following summer, he moved his official headquarters to the Lexington Hotel and began to diversify his business dealings.
Yet again he ran into trouble with the North Siders gang, but this time he was not alone. Capone's close friend and associate Jack McGurn had two attempts made on his life by North Siders new leader Bugs Moran, and McGurn was ready to take revenge. Before he did anything, McGurn allegedly set up a meeting with Capone in the winter of 1928 to plan what would be one of the most notorious gangland killings of all time. St Valentines' Day Massacre Ask anyone to name someone involved with the St Valentine's Day Massacre and they are more than likely to say Al Capone, yet it's not certain whether Capone was actually involved with the organisation and execution of this extraordinary hit. There is no doubt that the North Siders were a nuisance to Capone, but it was Jack McGurn's vendetta against Moran that drove him to take responsibility for co-ordina ting the massacre. The plan involved McGurn setting up a fake deal that Moran couldn't turn down.
McGurn had an associate arrange to meet Moran with a delivery of very reasonably priced Canadian Whiskey at a garage on North Clark Street, but neither McGurn nor Capone would be personally involved in the team that carried out the seven murders. On the morning of 14 th February 1929 at approximately 10: 30 am, McGurn's men drove a stolen police car to the garage in time for the arranged 'delivery' of whiskey. Three of the men were dressed as policemen and two in plain clothes. Believing Moran to be on the premises the men entered and told the seven men they found inside that it was a police raid, to put down their weapons and stand against the wall. In just two minutes over 150 bullets were fired by McGurn's men, six of the seven men were killed outright. Continuing with the pretence, McGurn's five gunmen left with the three uniformed men leading the others out as though they had been arrested.
Despite the brilliance of the plan, the operation wasn't a complete success. Bugs Moran, the target of the attack, was not among those killed. Having spotted the police car outside the garage he had stayed away believing, like his other gang members, that it was a raid. When the real police finally arrived, the seventh wounded gang member, Frank Gutenberg, was still breathing, but he refused to name those who shot him.
Public Enemy No. 1 Oblivious to the sensational publicity of the St Valentine's Day Massacre, and its catalytic effect on the Government's desire to put him away, Capone took no measures to tone down his violent criminal activities. Usually preferring to stay at a distance from the murders he ordered, on occasion Capone would deal with certain people personally - most infamous were the brutal murders of his hit men Scalise, Anselmi, and Giu nta. Capone had been informed that Scalise and Anselmi had been disloyal to him, which according to Capone was unforgivable.
Standing by the old Sicilian tradition 'Hospitality before execution' he invited them to a veritable banquet. However, once the feast was over, the men were beaten to death with a baseball bat and then shot with a single bullet in the back of the head. Meanwhile, the Government were launching their crusade against Capone aiming to get enough evidence to prove his income tax evasion and Prohibition violations. Soon after this upsurge in government interest, Capone was arrested in Philadelphia for carrying a concealed weapon.
While he was in jail, Eliot Ness began his campaign to shut down Capone's breweries, and by the time of his release in March 1930, Frank Lo esch, the head of Chicago Crime Commission, had released his Public Enemies list and Al Capone was named as Public Enemy No. 1. Eliot Ness and the IRS In 1931, three legal indictments were brought against Al Capone. The first dealt with violations between the years 1925 - 1929, the second charged Capone with 22 accounts of tax evasion total ling over $200, 000, and the third was brought according to the evidence provided by Eliot Ness and his team. With evidence that could potentially imprison Capone for 34 years, his lawyers approached the US Attorney and made a deal for a short sentence if he pleaded guilty. The trial began on June 16 th 1931, but Capone's deal did not hold up.
At his sentencing hearing on June 30 th, Judge Wilkerson made it clear that no bargaining was to be done with a federal court - this obviously shocked Capone, and he withdrew his guilty plea. The trial was rescheduled to start on October 6 th 1931. His only chance of reducing his sentence now was to influence the jury, and during the summer before the trial, Capone's gang began the process of bribing and threatening all of the twelve jurors. Realising what Capone would do, Judge Wilkerson made other plans, and on the day of the trial he openly switched jury's with another trial.
The following day, after nine hours of deliberation, the new jury found Capone guilty of some, but not all, counts of tax evasion. A week later, Al Capone was sentenced to 11 years imprisonment, and a total of $80, 000 in fines and court costs. The end of an era Al Capone's sentence began at the U. S. Penitentiary in Atlanta, but his crime syndicate provided him with money and a privileged existence, so he was soon moved to Alcatraz - you can see his actual cell on the right in the picture.
Unable to contact the outside world or buy himself a better lifestyle than the other prisoners, Capone continued to serve his sentence, which due to good behaviour was eventually reduced to six years and five months. Having suffered from congenital syphilis all his life, Capone's condition deteriorated, and the last year of his term was spent in the hospital section. He was released in November 1939, and treated in a Baltimore hospital until spring 1940. The rest of his life was spent peacefully living at his Palm Island estate where he died, aged 48, of a cardiac arrest on January 25 th 1947.