Thursday, May 20, 2010

Chicago hit man Aleman dies at 71

Convicted Chicago underworld hit man Harry Aleman died May 15 at the prison infirmary of Hill Correctional Center in Galesburg, Illinois, according to stories by Andrew L. Wang of the Chicago Tribune and Robert Herguth of the Chicago Sun Times. Aleman was 71.

Regarded as a chief enforcer for the mob in 1970s Chicago, Aleman (left) was suspected of involvement in 20 or more murders. However, he was convicted only of the Sept. 27, 1972, shotgun murder of Teamsters union steward William Logan. It took many years for prosecutors to win that conviction. Aleman was acquitted of the murder in 1977. An informant later revealed that trial Judge Frank Wilson had been bribed. Wilson apparently took his own life during the ensuing investigation in 1990. The bribery accusation cleared the way for a second trial though defense attorneys argued it exposed Aleman to double-jeopardy (a second prosecution on a charge for which he had already been tried and found not guilty). Prosecutors successfully argued that Aleman faced no actual jeopardy in the first trial because of the bribery of the judge. Aleman was convicted of the Logan murder in 1997. Judge Michael Toomin sentenced him to a prison sentence of 100 to 300 years.

During his underworld career, Aleman was feared throughout the Midwest. Retired reporter John Drummond, who covered Aleman's murder trials, told the Tribune, "You were in trouble if you looked in your rearview mirror and saw Harry Aleman."

Read about the Chicago Outfit:
Family Secrets: The Case That Crippled the Chicago Mob
Capone: The Life and World of Al Capone
The Outfit: The Role of Chicago's Underworld in the Shaping of Modern America
Mr. Capone: The Real - and complete - story of Al Capone

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Writer, editor, researcher, web publisher, specializing in organized crime history. (I am available to assist with your historical/genealogical research, as well as your writing and editing chores. Email me at
I am editor/publisher of crime history journal, Informer; publisher of American Mafia history website; moderator of Mafia-related online forums; author of Wrongly Executed?; coauthor of Deep Water: Joseph P. Macheca and the Birth of the American Mafia and DiCarlo: Buffalo's First Family of Crime; contributor of American Mafia history to Australian-published Mafia: The Necessary Reference to Organized Crime; writer/co-writer of crime history articles for Informer, On the Spot Journal, Cigar City Magazine, Tampa Mafia Magazine.