On February 15, 1933, a deranged, unemployed brick layer named Giuseppe Zangara attempts to assassinate president-elect, Franklin D. Roosevelt. FDR had just delivered a speech in Miami's Bayfront Park from the back seat of his open touring car when Zangara opened fire with six rounds. Five people were hit. Roosevelt escaped injury but the mayor of Chicago, Anton Cermak, who was also in attendance, received a mortal stomach wound in the attack.
On February 14, 1929, four men dressed as police officers enter gangster Bugs Moran's headquarters on North Clark Street in Chicago, line seven of Moran's henchmen against a wall, and shoot them to death. The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, as it is now called, was the culmination of a gang war between arch rivals Al Capone and Bugs Moran.
On February 13, 1982, Tom Luther rapes and beats a 21 year-old woman named Mary who accepted a ride from him near Breckenridge, Colorado. Luther was traced through his truck and arrested. Luther told a psychiatrist that the girl reminded him of his mother. The psychiatrist concluded that the attacks might have resulted from his mother's physical and extreme verbal abuse. Whatever the cause, Luther reportedly told an inmate at the time that "the next girl won't live. They'll never find her body."
On February 12, 1976, actor Sal Mineo is stabbed to death in Hollywood, California. Mineo was parking his car behind his apartment when neighbors heard his cries for help. Some described a white man with brown hair fleeing the scene. By the time they reached Mineo, he was almost dead from a deep wound to his chest. He died minutes later.
On February 11, 1916, Emma Goldman, a crusader for women's rights and social justice, is arrested in New York City for lecturing and distributing materials about birth control. She was accused of violating the Comstock Act of 1873, which made it a federal offense to distribute contraceptive devices and information through the mail or across state lines.
On February 10, 1992, former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson is found guilty of raping Desiree Washington. The following month, Tyson was given a 10-year prison sentence, with four years suspended. Mike Tyson rose to fame in 1986 when he beat Trevor Berbick and became the youngest heavyweight champ in boxing history.
On February 8, 1924, the first execution by lethal gas in American
history is carried out in Carson City, Nevada. The executed man was Tong Lee, a member of a Chinese gang who was convicted of murdering a rival gang member. Lethal gas was adopted by Nevada as a more humane method of carrying out its death sentences, as opposed to the traditional techniques of execution by hanging, firing squad, or electrocution.
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