1645 – William Kidd – also known as Captain Kidd, was a Scottish privateer turned pirate who was born in Greenock, Renfrew, Scotland in 1645. He followed the sea from his youth and became known as the bold captain of a privateer in the West Indies during King William’s War between the English and the French. Despite only ever capturing one significant prize ship, Kidd has become legendary thanks to the persistent rumor that he buried a fantastic treasure that nobody has yet found. Some accounts suggest that he served as a seaman’s apprentice on a pirate ship during this time, before beginning his more famous seagoing exploits as a privateer. By the end of the 17th century, he had become a successful shipmaster sailing from New York City, which the English had taken over from the Dutch. There he befriended many prominent colonial citizens, including three governors. In 1695, Kidd received a royal commission from the Earl of Bellomont, the governor of New York, Massachusetts Bay, and New Hampshire, to hunt down pirates and enemy French ships in the Indian Ocean. He received a letter of marque and set sail on a new ship, Adventure Galley, the following year. However, his voyage was fraught with difficulties. He failed to find many targets, lost much of his crew, and faced threats of mutiny. In 1698, Kidd captured his greatest prize, the 400-ton Quedagh Merchant, a ship hired by Armenian merchants and captained by an Englishman. However, the political climate in England had turned against him, and he was denounced as a pirate. Kidd was arrested, sent to England, and hanged in Wapping Old Stairs in 1701. Despite his execution, Kidd was romanticized after his death and his exploits became a popular subject of pirate-themed works of fiction. The belief that he had left buried treasure contributed significantly to his legend, inspiring numerous treasure hunts in the following centuries.
1854 – Luke Short – was an American Old West gunfighter, cowboy, U.S. Army scout, dispatch rider, gambler, boxing promoter, and saloon owner. He was born in Polk County, Arkansas, and was the fifth child of Josiah Washington Short and his wife Hetty Brumley. The family moved to Montague County, Texas shortly after Short’s birth. At the age of 13, Luke was said to have “carved” the face of a bully when he was still at school, which was the reason why he and his father moved to Fort Worth. In 1869, at age 15, Short started work as a cowboy, which he continued through 1875, during which he made several trips to the Kansas railheads. Short was reported by Bat Masterson to have killed six drunken Sioux at various times. Nonetheless, Short had been in over 30 engagements fighting Indians while working for the government, with his first fight occurring in 1869. While working as a scout for General George Crook in 1876, he was stationed in the Black Hills during the Sioux insurrection. While conducting a scouting expedition for the army, a band of 15 Indians ambushed and fired at him with rifles. Short managed to draw his pistols and fired back, killing three of the attackers. Some of the Indians gave chase on horseback, and Short killed two of them before finally reaching safety. Short survived numerous gunfights, the most famous of which were against Charlie Storms in Tombstone, Arizona Territory, and against Jim Courtright in Fort Worth, Texas. Short had business interests in three of the best-known saloons in the Old West: the Oriental in Tombstone, the Long Branch Saloon in Dodge City, and the White Elephant in Fort Worth. He passed away in Geuda Springs, Kansas, United States.
1893 – Francesco Ioele – known as Frankie Yale or Frankie Uale, was an American gangster based in Brooklyn and the second employer of Al Capone. He was born in Longobucco, Italy, on January 22, 1893, to Domenico and Isabella (née DeSimone) Ioele. He and his family arrived in the United States around 1900. As a teenager, Ioele was befriended by John Torrio, who ushered him into the Five Points Gang and groomed him for a life of crime. Shortly after Torrio left for Chicago, in 1909, Ioele “Americanized” his last name to Yale. Despite his medium height and chubby build, Yale was a fearsome fistfighter and thief. In 1910, at age 17, Yale and a friend, a wrestler named Bobby Nelson, severely beat several men during a fight in the Coney Island pool hall, which involved cracking pool cues and hurling billiard balls. One of his early arrests, in October 1912, was on suspicion of homicide. Like his mentor Johnny Torrio, Yale was one of a new breed of gangsters who believed in putting business ahead of ego. After getting started with some basic racketeering, Yale took control of Brooklyn’s ice delivery trade by selling “protection” and creating monopolies. In 1917, with the proceeds from these rackets, Yale opened the Harvard Inn bar on Seaside Walk in Coney Island. Hoping to capitalize on the collegiate name of his bar, he began using the name Yale. It was at the Harvard Inn that a young bouncer named Al Capone got his famous facial scars in a dispute with Frank Galluccio after Capone flirted with Galluccio’s sister. After two years in Yale’s employ, Capone was shipped off west to Chicago by Yale and joined Torrio’s organization. Yale’s gang engaged in Black Hand extortion activities and ran a string of brothels. Their gang became the first new-style Mafia “family” which included Italians from all regions and could work in partnership with other ethnic groups if it was good for business. Yale’s “services” to his customers included offering “protection” to local merchants and controlling food services for restaurants, as well as ice deliveries for Brooklyn residents. Yale’s notorious sideline was his line of cigars, foul-smelling stogies packaged in boxes that bore his smiling face. Yale also owned and operated his own funeral home at 6604 14th Avenue (he and his family lived across the street). When asked about his profession, Yale wryly commented that he was an “undertaker”. Yale died on July 1, 1928, from gunshot wounds.
1930 – Daniel Camargo Barbosa – He is known as one of the most prolific serial killers in history. His criminal activities spanned from 1974 to 1986, during which he is believed to have raped and murdered at least 72 young girls in Colombia and Ecuador. Camargo’s early life was marked by hardship. His mother died before he reached the age of one, and his father was emotionally distant. His stepmother, Dioselina Fernandez, was abusive and often humiliated him, even forcing him to go to school dressed as a girl. Despite these challenges, Camargo was a good student with a reported IQ of 116. However, financial difficulties forced him to drop out of school. His criminal career began with petty theft, for which he was first arrested in Bogotá in 1958. He later formed a criminal partnership with a woman named Esperanza, who helped him lure young girls to an apartment where he would drug and rape them. He was arrested and sentenced to eight years in prison for these crimes. After serving his sentence, Camargo’s crimes escalated to include murder. He was apprehended again in 1986. He was given a 25-year sentence and a 16-year sentence for his crimes. Camargo met his end in prison, where he was stabbed to death by a fellow inmate on November 13, 1994.
1931 – Elfriede Blauensteiner – also known as “The Black Widow”, was an Austrian serial killer born on January 22, 1931, in Vienna, Austria. She was notorious for her method of killing, which involved poisoning her victims and subsequently inheriting their possessions. Blauensteiner’s criminal activities spanned from 1981 to 1995, during which she targeted wealthy older men. Her first known victim was her husband, Rudolf Blauensteiner, whom she poisoned in 1992. She was also found guilty of murdering her 64-year-old husband Friedrick Doecker and 84-year-old female neighbour Franziska Koeberl. Although she was only convicted of a total of three murders, Austrian police believe that she may have murdered at least 10 people. Keoberl is believed to have been her only female victim. After serving less than seven years of her life sentence, Blauensteiner died from a brain tumor on November 18, 2003, in a Vienna hospital. She was cremated at Feuerhalle Simmering, where her ashes were buried.
1951 – Anatoli Nezelski – is an Estonian serial killer who was convicted for the murder of three people in Tallinn between 1994 and 1996. In his early life, Neželski worked on fishing boats and traveled around various sea ports before changing professions to work in a plywood and furniture factory. He had a lifelong interest in firearms and manufactured a pistol which he later used in the killings. He was described by his ex-wife as a religious fanatic who attended the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral every morning to pray. Neželski’s crimes began when his financial situation started to worsen. He decided to turn to robberies to survive, using his experience and knowledge of police procedures to avoid getting caught. His first known victim was his ex-wife’s new boyfriend, whom he killed on June 27, 1994. He then attempted to rob a bureau de change but was met with resistance from the head manager, resulting in an exchange of gunfire that left the manager dead. His final crime occurred two years later, in 1996, when he killed an accountant during an attempted robbery. After his crimes, Neželski went into hiding for two years, constantly changing his hideouts and stealing food from stores to survive. He was finally apprehended on March 17, 1998. After being found guilty, he was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment and was released in 2013 after serving out the entirety of his sentence.
1962 – Oscar Ray Bolin – His family consisted of laborers and carnival workers who were spread across multiple states including Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio. His father used to beat him when he was a child and his mother once walked him to a school bus stop on a leash. Bolin frequently got into trouble with the law during his youth. In 1977, he committed theft in Ohio at the age of 15 and was arrested. He later moved to Florida in the early 1980s and began working as a carnival worker. In 1982, his girlfriend, Cheryl Haffner, told authorities Bolin had kidnapped her and driven her around the Tampa Bay area for hours. He was arrested for false imprisonment, but the charge was dropped. In 1983, the two were married in Hillsborough County, Florida. Bolin was an American serial killer and convicted rapist who was executed in Florida for murder. In 1986, Bolin kidnapped and murdered three young women in Tampa, Florida. He was later connected to a fourth murder in Texas in 1987. The murders went unsolved for nearly four years until the husband of his ex-wife called a tip line and implicated him. He maintained his innocence to the end. In 1987, Bolin and two other men kidnapped and raped a 20-year-old waitress in Toledo, Ohio. Afterward, Bolin attempted to kill her with a gun, but the gun jammed. He let the woman go along a highway in Pennsylvania. Bolin was captured and was sentenced to 22 to 75 years in prison. Bolin died on January 7, 2016, at the age of 53 in Florida State Prison, Raiford, Florida, due to execution by lethal injection.
1969 – Shelly Andre Brooks – His father neglected him, and when he was 4, his mother left the family, leaving him in the hands of his grandparents. Brooks was reported to be angry at his mother throughout his childhood, though he never saw her again after she left the family. Throughout his early years, Brooks showed signs of low intelligence. Brooks is an American serial killer who murdered at least seven women in Detroit, Michigan, from 2001 to 2006, though he is suspected of up to 20 murders and possibly more. He targeted middle-aged female prostitutes or homeless drug addicts as his victims. He committed his crimes around the city of Detroit, dumping their bodies in abandoned buildings and houses. He was able to easily win his victim’s trust because of his own life on the streets. He started killing at age 32 in 2001, and throughout the next five years, he would kill at least six more women until 2006, at age 36. He is suspected of up to 20+ murders from as early as 1999. Brooks would take his victims to abandoned buildings and houses, where he sexually assaulted them and beat them to death with rocks. He left his victims bodies in the same abandoned buildings he lured them into. His victims ranged in age from 30 to 54 years old. On June 26, 2006, Brooks was arrested for sexually assaulting a woman. After his arrest, his DNA was transferred into a database in an effort to possibly connect him to any unsolved cold cases. Authorities had their first hit after they successfully linked him to the 2002 slaying of Pamela Greer. Thanks to further research, they exposed his involvement in the other murders. In 2007, he was found guilty and was sentenced to two terms of life imprisonment. He is currently imprisoned at the G. Robert Cotton Correctional Facility in Jackson Michigan.
1983 – Robert Steinhauser – He was a student of the Gutenberg Gymnasium until early October 2001. At the end of September 2001, he had spent a few days away from school, for which he presented a mandatory medical certificate which was quickly identified as a forgery. Because of this forgery, Steinhäuser was expelled by the principal. Due to the regulations used in the State of Thuringia at the time, Steinhäuser, on expulsion, found himself with no qualifications at all and therefore had very limited job opportunities. Steinhäuser committed a mass shooting at the Gutenberg-Gymnasium secondary school in Erfurt, Germany on April 26, 2002. He shot and killed 16 people, including 13 staff members, two students, and one police officer, before committing suicide. One person was also wounded by a bullet fragment. According to students, he ignored them and aimed only for the teachers and administrators, although two students were unintentionally killed by shots fired through a locked door. On the day of the shooting, before leaving his residence at his usual time, Steinhäuser armed himself with a 9mm Glock 17 C, a Mossberg 590 Mariner 12-gauge pump-action shotgun, which was unusable due to an earlier handling error, and a diving knife. Steinhäuser probably entered the school unmasked at 10:45, carrying his weapons and ammunition in his sports bag or backpack. As Steinhäuser was in the hallway, he encountered the building’s caretaker and briefly talked with him. He asked whether or not Ms. Alt, the principal, was in the building. He went into the men’s toilet on the ground floor and changed some of his clothes, including a black face mask. He left his coat, wallet, and identification. The shooting started shortly before 10:58 am. From the toilet, Steinhäuser went to the school office. There he shot the deputy school principal and the secretary. In the next room was the headmistress, but Steinhäuser did not enter the room despite the door being unlocked. When the headmistress went to check the noise, Steinhäuser had already left the room.
R. Budd Dwyer
1888 – Braxton “Brack” Cornett – was born on May 22, 1841, and grew up in South Texas, in and around Goliad County. He is most well known as a member of the Bill Whitley gang, which is sometimes referred to as the Brack Cornett gang. The gang was formed in February 1887 to rob trains, but their first outing in early May 1887 was a bust. However, on May 18, they successfully robbed the Missouri-Pacific train while it was stopped at McNeill Junction, thirteen miles outside of San Antonio, getting away with about $4,000. The next month they robbed the eastbound train from San Antonio near Flatonia, in Fayette County, getting away with over $7,000. In 1888, Whitley, Cornett, and the gang robbed the bank in Cisco, Texas, escaping with $25,000. Several days later they stopped an I&GN train and stole $20,000. On June 18, 1888, Cornett, using the alias “Captain Dick” led the band that robbed the Southern Pacific near Schulenburg, Texas. It was described as “the most daring train robbery that ever occurred in Texas”. Later that same year Cornett and the gang planned to rob a Southern Pacific train out of Harwood, Texas, on September 22. U.S. Marshal John Rankin somehow received advance notice of the robbers’ plans and hid himself, Deputy Duval West, and a number of Texas Rangers on board the train. Just three miles outside of town, the gang stopped the train and attempted to rob it but were driven off by the lawmen. However, the gang then went on to successfully rob another train near Flatonia, Texas. On September 25, 1888, in Floresville, Wilson County, Texas, the gang was run to the ground by a contingent of U.S. Marshals. There was a massive shootout in which Bill Whitley was killed and one other gang member taken prisoner. Cornett himself fled alone on horseback. There are two stories about how Cornett met his death at the hands of Texas lawman Alfred Allee near the town of Frio, Texas. In one version, Cornett was tracked down and shot dead in a gun battle; in the other, Cornett, on the lam, sought out his childhood friend Allee on his La Salle County ranch just south of Frio; Allee welcomed him with a six-shooter instead of breakfast. Regardless, Allee collected various express company rewards of $3,800 for bringing down Cornett. Cornett died on January 22, 1888.
1906 – Pierre Basson – also known as “The Insurance Killer”, was a serial killer in Cape Colony, South Africa. Born on January 3, 1880, in Claremont, Cape Town, Basson is infamous for murdering and burying at least nine people in his backyard so he could later claim their life insurance payout. From a young age, Basson exhibited violent tendencies, often hurting animals for pleasure. He tortured birds to death and cut off cats’ feet to watch them suffer. When he was 12, he sliced a boy with a knife. After this incident, he stopped committing violent offenses for a number of years but gained a reputation as a petty thief. When Pierre was around 17 years old, his father passed away after a short illness. In addition to becoming the head of the household, he received a small amount of money from his family’s insurance company. As an adult, Basson lent money to people. Borrowers had to name him as the beneficiary for their life insurance policies, after which he killed them to claim the money. In February 1903, he brought his brother Jasper, who was 17 years of age, to Gordon’s Bay to go fishing. He had insured Jasper for £3,500, a large sum of money at the time. On his way back to the hotel where they were staying, Basson met two people and informed them of the horrific accident in which his brother drowned. The body was never found and the insurance was paid to Basson. Shortly after the incident, several friends of Basson were found dead, shot, or drowned, and they had all previously given Basson the insurance policies for those deaths. Basson took his own life when the police uncovered the grave of his last victim, Wilhelm Schaefer (a German farmer). Despite not having any money, Basson wanted to purchase his land. After Schaefer received the complete cash, ownership would be transferred. When the two men went to see Schaefer’s lawyer, Schaefer made the decision that he had to be there for the transaction and have documentation confirming Basson had paid before giving the land away. Basson made numerous attempts to obtain the farm without making a payment by using various lies, but nothing was successful. In order to prevent Schaefer from demonstrating that the payment receipt was a forgery, he intended to kill him. Basson strangled him with a cable and used chloroform to overwhelm him. After being stripped, the body was lowered into a large pit at night.
1976 – Kiyoshi Okubo – was a notorious Japanese serial killer. He was born in Takasaki, Gunma Prefecture, and was a quarter Russian. His mother, who was half Russian and half Japanese, doted on him even after he grew up. He was bullied by other children after the Pacific War began on December 8, 1941. Ōkubo had a troubled past with several instances of sexual assault. He raped a woman on July 12, 1955, and attempted to rape another woman on December 26, 1955, but was unsuccessful. He was arrested, put in jail, and then released on December 15, 1959. On April 16, 1960, he attempted to rape another woman but was again unsuccessful. The victim, however, withdrew the charge. On May 5, 1961, he married a woman and had a son and a daughter. He threatened a man on June 3, 1965, and then raped two women on December 23, 1966, and February 24, 1967. On June 7, 1967, he went to prison. He was released on March 3, 1971. Between March 31 and May 10, 1971, he raped and murdered eight women, ages 16 to 21. He used a pen name, Tanigawa Ivan. The victims were Miyako Tsuda (17 years old), Mieko Oikawa (17 years old), Chieko Ida (19 years old), Seiko Kawabata (17 years old), Akemi Sato (16 years old), Kazuyo Kawaho (18 years old), Reiko Takemura (21 years old), and Naoko Takanohashi (21 years old). On May 13, a 21-year-old woman disappeared, and her brother traced her. He found Ōkubo and the police finally arrested him on May 14, 1971. The district court in Maebashi sentenced Ōkubo to death by hanging on February 22, 1973. He did not appeal and was executed on January 22, 1976. It was reported that he couldn’t stand up on the day of his execution.
1987 – R. Budd Dwyer – was born on November 21, 1939, in Saint Charles, Missouri. He was the son of Robert M. and Alice M. Dwyer. He attended Townville High School and later went to Theil College. He graduated from Allegheny College with an A.B. in economics in 1961 and an M.A. in education and political science in 1963. Dwyer started his career as a teacher and an assistant football coach at Cambridge Springs High School. He also served as a deputy game protector for the Pennsylvania State Game Commission from 1961 to 1964. He was the director of the Crawford County Young Republicans and was chosen as the Crawford County Community Ambassador to Poland in 1963. He was elected to the Pennsylvania State House of Representatives in 1965 and served until 1970. He then served as a Republican member of the Pennsylvania State Senate from 1971 to 1981, representing the state’s 50th district. Dwyer served as the 30th state treasurer of Pennsylvania from January 20, 1981, to January 22, 1987. Dwyer was married to Joanne M. Grappy Dwyer and they had two children, Rob and Deedee. Tragically, Dwyer died by suicide on January 22, 1987, at the age of 47, during a live press conference. He is interred at the Blooming Valley Cemetery in Blooming Valley, Crawford County, Pennsylvania.
1908 – Katie Mulcahey is arrested for lighting a cigarette, violating the 1 day old “Sullivan Ordnance” banning women from smoking in public, and is fined $5. Appearing before the judge she stated “I’ve got as much right to smoke as you have. I never heard of this new law & I don’t want to hear about it, no man shall dictate to me”
1957 – George Metesky dubbed the Mad Bomber who is accused of 30 explosions, is arrested
1976 – There is a bank robbery in Beirut with between $20 – $50 million stolen
1990 – Robert Tappan Morris Jr is convicted of releasing the 1988 internet worm
2007 – The jury portion of the trial against Robert Pickton, accused of being Canada’s worst serial killer, opens in New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada
2015 – Former nurse Niels Hogel is charged with 97 counts of murder