On February 25, 1949, actor Robert Mitchum is released from a Los Angeles County prison farm after completing a two-month sentence for marijuana possession. In the fall of 1948, Mitchum, the star of classics such as Cape Fear and Night of the Hunter, was smoking a joint at a party in the Laurel Canyon area of Los Angeles when detectives burst in and arrested him. Mitchum reportedly said at the time, "Well, this is the bitter end of everything, my career, my marriage, everything."
On February 24, 1981, socialite Jean Harris is convicted of murdering Dr. Herman Tarnower, the author of the bestselling The Complete Scarsdale Medical Diet. Harris, the headmistress of an exclusive girls' school, shot Dr. Tarnower at his Westchester County, New York home on March 10, 1980. Harris claimed that she had been trying to kill herself but that Tarnower was shot when he tried to wrestle the gun away from her.
On February 21, 1965, Malcom X was assassinated by rival Black
Muslims while addressing his Organization of Afro-American Unity at the Audubon Ballroom in Washington Heights. Born Malcolm Little in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1925, Malcolm was the son of James Earl Little, a Baptist preacher who advocated the Black Nationalist ideals of Marcus Garvey. Threats forced the family to move to Lansing, Michigan, where his father continued to preach his controversial sermons despite continuing threats.
On February 20, 1919, Habibullah Khan, the leader of Afghanistan who struggled to keep his country neutral in World War I was assassinated. Habibullah had succeeded his father, Abd-ar-Rahman, as amir in 1901 and immediately began to bring much-needed reforms and modernization to his country. Located between British-held India and Russia, Afghanistan had in the past clashed repeatedly with its neighbors, including two Afghan Wars against Anglo-Indian forces during the 19th century.
On February 19, 1807, Aaron Burr, former U.S. Vice President was arrested in Alabama on charges of treason for plotting to annex Spanish territory in Louisiana and Mexico to be used toward the establishment of an independent republic.
On February 18, 2011, Green River serial killer Gary Leon Ridgway pleads guilty to the murder of his 49th victim, 20 year-old Rebecca Marrero. Marrero’s remains were found in December 2010, decades after she was murdered, and left in a ravine near Auburn, Washington. After entering his guilty plea, Ridgway received his 49th life sentence without the possibility of parole and returned to the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla, where he was already serving 48 consecutive life sentences, one for each of the other women he killed.
On February 17, 1906, union leaders Bill Hayward, Charles Moyer, and George Pettibone are taken into custody by Idaho authorities and the Pinkerton Detective Agency. They are put on a special train in Denver, Colorado, but the officials had no legal right to arrest the three union executives in Colorado. Idaho had resorted to this strategy in an attempt to bring the union leaders to justice for the assassination of former governor Frank Steunenberg.