January 14 – What happened today?


Sydney Biddle Barrows

1895Febronio Indio do Brasilis considered one of Brazil’s most notorious criminal figures. He was the second of fourteen children born to a farming couple. His father was an alcoholic and often violently attacked his wife and children. At the age of 12, Febrônio fled his home.  He moved around localities near his hometown until he arrived in Diamantina, where he learned to read and earned his living as a butler. Later, he moved to Belo Horizonte and then to Rio de Janeiro, where he began to commit crimes.  In 1920, during detention at the Dois Rios Correctional Facility on Ilha Grande, Febrônio had a vision in which a woman with long blond hair chose him as the “Son of Light”. According to the vision, he was to tattoo boys with the symbol of DCVXVI, which meant “God, Charity, Virtue, Holiness, Life, Magnet of Life”. The tattoo would serve as a talisman for those who exhibited it on their body.  Febrônio then began to write a book titled “The Revelations of the Prince of Fire”, published in 1926, which brings incomprehensible messages, taken from the mysterious dreams that were transmitted to him.  Febrônio committed various crimes, including murder, rape, fraud, blackmail, bribery, theft, robbery, and loitering. He was detained by the police numerous times between 1916 and 1929. He passed away on August 27, 1984, in Rio de Janeiro.

1904Robert Edward Chamblissalso known as “Dynamite Bob”, was born on January 14, 1904, in Pratt City, Alabama, U.S. He was a white supremacist and a member of the United Klans of America. Chambliss was known for his involvement in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in 1963, which resulted in the death of four young African-American girls.  Chambliss was an expert bomber for the group, participating in the firebombing of African-American homes. A May 13, 1965 memo to Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) director J. Edgar Hoover identified Chambliss, along with Bobby Frank Cherry, Herman Frank Cash, and Thomas Edwin Blanton Jr., as suspects in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing. The investigation was originally closed in 1968; no charges were filed. Years later it was found that the FBI had accumulated evidence against the named suspects that had not been revealed to the prosecutors by order of J. Edgar Hoover.  The case was reopened by Alabama Attorney General Bill Baxley in 1971. In 1977, Chambliss was convicted of first-degree murder for the bombing in the death of Carol Denise McNair. He was sentenced to life imprisonment. Chambliss died in Lloyd Noland Hospital and Health Center in Birmingham on October 29, 1985, still proclaiming his innocence. He was 81. Chambliss served his sentence in a prison near Montgomery, Alabama.

1927Clarence Carnesalso known as The Choctaw Kid, was born on January 14, 1927, in Daisy, Oklahoma. He was the oldest of five children and was raised in poverty. His criminal activities began at a young age, starting with stealing candy bars from his school.  At the age of 16, Carnes was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of a garage attendant during an attempted hold-up. In early 1945, he escaped from the Granite Reformatory with several other prisoners but was recaptured in April 1945. Following his recapture, he was sentenced to an additional 99 years for kidnapping a man while he was on the run.  Carnes was then sent to Leavenworth, but after attempting to escape while in the custody of the United States Marshals Service, he was transferred to Alcatraz along with an additional five-year sentence. He arrived at Alcatraz on July 6, 1945, and became known as the youngest inmate incarcerated there.  On May 2, 1946, Carnes and five other inmates participated in a failed attempt to escape from Alcatraz, which turned into the bloody “Battle of Alcatraz”. Three inmates and two prison officers died during this event. After the escape failed, Carnes was tried for murder along with the two other survivors, Sam Shockley and Miran Edgar Thompson. He was found guilty of participating in the plot. Shockley and Thompson were sentenced to death, but Carnes was not executed because he had not directly participated in the murders of the officers. Instead, he was given a life sentence.  Carnes remained on Alcatraz until its closure in 1963, spending most of his time there in the segregation unit. He claimed that he had received a postcard from Frank Morris and the Anglin brothers, John and Clarence, which read “Gone fishing”, a code word that their escape had succeeded. However, no material evidence of such a postcard has been found.  At the time of Carnes’ convictions, the federal government still had parole. Consequently, he was paroled in 1973, at the age of 46. However, Carnes’s parole was revoked twice due to parole violations, and he was sent back to prison. He passed away on October 3, 1988.

1946Harold Frederick Shipman – He was the second of three children in a working-class family. His father was a lorry driver and his mother was Vera. His parents were devout Methodists. Shipman was particularly close to his mother, who died of lung cancer when he was aged seventeen. Her death came in a manner similar to what later became Shipman’s own modus operandi: in the later stages of her disease, she had morphine administered at home by a doctor. Shipman witnessed his mother’s pain subside, despite her terminal condition, until her death on 21 June 1963.  On November 5, 1966, he married Primrose May Oxtoby and the couple had four children. Shipman studied medicine at Leeds School of Medicine, University of Leeds, graduating in 1970.  Shipman was an English general practitioner and is considered to be one of the most prolific serial killers in modern history, with an estimated 250 victims. On January 31, 2000, Shipman was found guilty of murdering fifteen patients under his care. He was sentenced to life imprisonment with a whole life order. Shipman hanged himself in his cell at HM Prison Wakefield, West Yorkshire, on January 13, 2004, aged 57.  The Shipman Inquiry, a two-year-long investigation of all deaths certified by Shipman, chaired by Dame Janet Smith, examined Shipman’s crimes. It revealed Shipman targeted vulnerable elderly people who trusted him as he was their doctor. He killed his victims either by a fatal dose of drugs or by prescribing them an abnormal amount. Shipman, who was nicknamed “Dr. Death” and “The Angel of Death”, is the only British doctor to date to have been convicted of murdering patients, although other doctors have been acquitted of similar crimes or convicted of lesser charges.

1952Sydney Biddle Barrows – is an American businesswoman and socialite recognized for her role as the owner of an escort agency, operating under the alias Sheila Devin. Renowned as “The Mayflower Madam,” she transitioned her career to become a management consultant and writer. In October 1984, her escort service was dissolved, leading to her pleading guilty and receiving a $5,000 fine for promoting prostitution. Subsequently, she penned her autobiography, “Mayflower Madam: The Secret Life of Sydney Biddle Barrows” in 1986. The book inspired a 1987 TV movie, starring Candice Bergen, titled “Mayflower Madam.”

1958Colin Fergusonis known for a tragic event that took place on December 7, 1993. This incident, referred to as the Long Island Railroad Massacre, involved Ferguson opening fire on a Long Island Rail commuter train, resulting in the death of six people and injuries to nineteen others. At the time of the killings, Ferguson was a permanent resident of the U.S., holding a Green Card through his marriage to an American citizen. This event marked a dark chapter in the history of mass murders in the United States.

1864Boone Helmalso known as the Kentucky Cannibal, was born on January 28, 1828, in Lincoln County, Kentucky, U.S. He was an American mountain man, Old West gunfighter, and serial killer. Helm gained his nickname for his opportunistic and unrepentant proclivity for consuming human flesh, usually in survival situations, though instances of killing people for their meat unprovoked were also documented.  Boone Helm was born into what was considered an honest, hard-working, and respected family. His family moved to Jackson Township, Monroe County, Missouri, when he was still a boy. Helm delighted in demonstrating feats of strength and agility, such as throwing his Bowie knife into the ground and retrieving it from a horse at full gallop.  In 1851, Helm married 17-year-old Lucinda Frances Browning in Monroe County Missouri, and fathered a daughter, Lucy. He became known for his heavy drinking, riding his horse into the house, and beating his wife. The domestic violence grew to such an extent that Lucinda petitioned for divorce. Helm’s father paid for the costs. Having bankrupted his father and ruined his family’s reputation, Helm decided to move to California in search of gold.  For the journey to California, Helm asked his cousin, Littlebury Shoot, to accompany him. Shoot initially agreed, but when he attempted to back out of the trip, an angered Helm murdered him by stabbing him in the chest and headed west alone. He was pursued and captured by Littlebury’s brother and friends and convicted of murder, but his antics in captivity quickly landed him in a mental asylum. Upon entering the asylum, Helm became taciturn and convinced his guard to take him on walks through the woods. After these walks became routine, Helm was able to escape.  Helm died on January 14, 1864, in Virginia City, Montana, U.S. at the age of 35. The cause of his death was execution by hanging.

1979Thomas DeSimone – also known as “Two-Gun Tommy”, “Tommy D”, “Animal”, and “Spitshine Tommy”, was an American criminal associated with the Lucchese crime family in New York City. He was born on May 24, 1950, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Both his paternal grandfather, Rosario DeSimone, and uncle, Frank DeSimone, were bosses of the Los Angeles crime family. DeSimone had two sisters, Dolores and Phyllis, and two brothers, Robert and Anthony. Both of his brothers were associates of the Gambino crime family.  DeSimone was introduced to Paul Vario, a caporegime in the Lucchese family when he was 15 years old. He worked under Vario, Burke, and Hill, among others, becoming involved in truck hijackings, fencing stolen property, extortion, fraud, and murder. While hijacking, DeSimone would always carry his gun in a brown paper bag, giving the impression he was bringing a sandwich instead of a .38.  DeSimone is alleged to have participated in both the Air France robbery and the Lufthansa heist. He also committed numerous murders, including killing William Bentvena in 1970. DeSimone went missing on January 14, 1979, and is believed to have been murdered. His career in the Lucchese family is explored in the book Wiseguy by Nicholas Pileggi and inspired the character of Tommy DeVito, portrayed by Joe Pesci, one of the main characters of the 1990 film Goodfellas.



                                                                     Tyne Daly

1699 – Massachusetts holds a day of fasting for wrongly persecuting “witches”

1717 – German mob leader & thief “Sjako” sentenced to death in Amsterdam

1931 – Chicago mobster Terry Druggan is sentenced for contempt of court

1975 – Lesley Whittle is kidnapped by Donald Neilson aka The Black Panther

1982 – Serial killer David Bullock is arrested in a basement in New York City

1989 – Former Belgian Premier Paul Vanden Boeynants is kidnapped

1991 – Tyne Daly, star of Cagney & Lacey is arrested for drunk driving in Van Nuys, California

1998 – Charles Barkley pleads not guilty to an assault charge

2019 – Pawel Adamowicz, Mayor of Gdansk, Poland is stabbed on stage at a charity event, he dies 2 days later

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