The Early Years

Involvement in the Criminal World



Conviction and Death

The Legacy


The Author


Capone had many connections within his organization, many of which helped him stay out of legal trouble. Sometime in 1924, a small time thug, named Joe Howard, assaulted one of Capone’s friends. After hearing the news, Al became furious and wanted revenge, so he began looking for Howard. On May 8th, 1924, Capone found Howard in a bar and after being insulted by Howard, Capone he shot him six times. Capone was immediately considered a suspect, and prosecutor William H. McSwiggin began developing a case. Although there were several witnesses in the bar, when it came time to question them, they had developed faulty memories. Capone was arrested on July 11, 1924, but later released due to lack of evidence and witnesses. This is one way Al’s power helped him stay out of legal trouble; many believe that he had people talk to the witnesses or they just feared him too much to communicate with the police.

In the spring of 1926, Capone and his men mistakably killed William McSwiggin (the prosecutor) outside of a bar. This created a major stir in Chicago, which led Capone to leave the city. After three months of hiding, Al decided to come back to Chicago and face the accusations of the murder. Once again, the authorities did not have enough evidence to bring Al to trial, and he escaped criminal charges. The crime that Capone is most well known for is the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre was the attempted murder of a rival gang member, Bugs Moran, which resulted in seven bootleggers murdered under Capone’s command. Although Capone was the number one suspect, he was conveniently in Florida when the massacre took place, and once again all charges against him were dropped. No one was ever brought to justice for the assassination.

Capone also had connections with Chicago’s Mayor, William "Big Bill" Hale Thompson Jr., with whom he did business with. After some time, Thompson decided that Capone was bad for his image, so he hired a new police chief to run Capone out of the city. Realizing that he may be in trouble, Capone started looking for a new place to live, and settled on a house in Palm Island, Florida. This move marked the beginning of Capone’s downfall.

On May 17, 1929, Al Capone and his bodyguard were arrested in Philadelphia for carrying concealed deadly weapons. They had been sentenced to terms of one year each. Capone served his first ever prison sentence and was released in nine months for good behavior. However, while Al was at Eastern State Penitentiary he received special treatment, and was provided with a "special cell."

The corruption that surrounded Capone’s empire helped him to get out of several murders; this allowed him to continue his criminal behavior. If the police and other city officials had not been bribed by Capone, lives could have been saved. Corruption is a terrible thing; unfortunately it is still around today. Hopefully cities will realize, from Capone’s era and other examples, how severe this problem is and begin to crack down on it hard.