restricted access 37 The Police Called It Suicide
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The breath drained out of my throat and I stood in speechless horror at his announcement. Then I screamed. “Steady, Honey, take it easy,” Gus said, coming over to me. After a few minutes of tears I said, “Gus, is that what you were talking about when you said you didn’t believe it? Did you mean you didn’t believe Eddie committed suicide?” “Yes,” he said, “that’s what I meant. As good as Eddie felt when we took him home, in the time that elapsed he couldn’t have sunk to the point of suicide. Besides that, I had him feeling pretty sure he’d get out of it.” “Do you think somebody shot him?” I queried. “Maybe yes, maybe no,” he answered, “but whether he fired the shot or somebody else did, he was killed just as sure as we’re both standing here.” “What do you mean?” “Imeanthatsomebodygottohim—somebodywhodidn’twanthim talking to the federal officers. “Eddie was either killed outright or scared into suicide; it’s the same thing either way.” “But Gus,” I continued, perplexed, “who knew he was going to give himself up?” “I did,” was the answer, “and Ralph Pierce did. I didn’t tell a soul. Murphy brought me straight back home after we delivered Eddie to his house.” 37 The Police Called It Suicide 211 212 al capone and his american boys “Then Pierce told it,” I said emphatically. “Suit yourself,” Gus said. “You know Pierce.” Later that day, I took occasion to ask Murphy, the chauffeur, just what happened after he drove away from Lebensberger’s house. He told me he drove directly home with no stops. Of course, Lebensberger’s death threw the bond theft investigation into an uproar, for this was a new clue. It was understood that Lebensberger was about to give himself up, and even the newspapers felt as Gus did, that someone prevented it. That day Gus was informed that he was wanted at the government office again, presumably for further questioning in the bond case and Lebensberger’s death. “Go right down,” I advised him. “No,” he said. “Monday is Chicago Day and the offices will be closed until Tuesday. I don’t want to lay in stir that long. I’ll wait until Tuesday and give myself up.” To avoid being located he said we would leave the apartment and go to his suite in the Lincoln Park Arms, directly under those where his business office was located. Shortly after we arrived, Ralph Pierce informed him a syndicate meeting was being held in Berwyn and he was wanted. I was uneasy, but I knew he had to go, for to refuse would have precipitated a showdown right then. I heaved a sigh when he returned but I couldn’t get a word out of him concerning what had happened at the meeting. That night he said, “Honey, I’m not going out. The police will be on the lookout at the clubs and chances are I’d be picked up. You’d better go on down to the Chez Paree and take care of whatever there is to be done. Explain to the boys why I’m not there.” Before I left for the club, Ralph Pierce came up and asked Gus to go out with him, but he refused. When Pierce insisted Gus said, “No, I go no place until I turn myself in at the ‘G’ office and see what they want.” Therewasastrangelookinhiseyes,andhewasunusuallythoughtful of me. I supposed that Lebensberger’s death was preying on his mind, andthatsuppositionwasborneoutwhenGusmentioneditseveraltimes as I dressed. The Police Called It Suicide 213 When I was ready to leave he reached in his pocket and handed me a roll of bills. “Burn a candle for Eddie,” he said quietly, “and order some flowers to be sent to the chapel—something nice.” It was nearly noon before I started home, then I had a strange feeling that someone was following me. I kept a close watch on the rear view mirror, hoping to be able to identify some car that might be trailing, and even turned off on less traveled streets so that my vision would be better. Several times I drove into blind alleys and stopped. Although I saw no one, the feeling persisted until I got home, where I told Gus about it. He laughed. “You’re nervous,” he said. “Lebensberger’s death on top of all the other trouble we’ve been having has upset...


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Subject Headings

  • Crime -- Illinois -- Chicago -- History -- 20th century.
  • Murder -- Illinois -- Chicago -- History -- 20th century.
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