Official Blog of Author MICHAEL THOMAS BARRY.
A blog which discusses varied topics that are related to the authors many books. Michael is a columnist for CrimeMagazine.com and a reviewer for The New York Journal of Books.
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Monday, January 12, 2015
Doc Barker was Killed While Escaping from Alcatraz - January 13, 1939
This week (January 12-18) in crime history – Malcolm X’s
daughter was arrested for conspiracy to kill Louis Farrakhan (January 12,
1995); Doc Barker was killed while attempting to escape prison (January 13,
1939); Old West lawman Wyatt Earp died (January 13, 1929); Notorious traitor
Benedict Arnold was born (January 14, 1741); Bill Cosby’s son was murdered
(January 16, 1997); Moon Maniac, Albert Fish was executed (January 16, 1936); The
Great Brinks Robbery (January 17, 1950); Washington, D.C. Mayor Marion Barry
was arrested in drug sting (January 18, 1990).
Story of the Week -
On January 13, 1939, Arthur "Doc" Barker was killed
while trying to escape from Alcatraz Prison in San Francisco Bay. Barker, of
the notorious "Bloody Barkers" gang, was spotted on the rock-strewn
shore of the island after climbing over the walls. Despite the fact that guards
were ordering him to surrender, Barker continued tying pieces of wood together
into a makeshift raft. As he waded into the water, the guards shot and killed
him. Doc Barker, along with his brothers Herman, Lloyd, and Fred, and their
mother, the infamous Ma Barker, formed one of the more formidable criminal
gangs of the 1920s and 1930s. Carrying out a series of bank robberies and
kidnappings throughout the Midwest, Ma shrewdly paid off officials in towns all
over the region, allowing the gang to avoid the law for long stretches of time.
In 1934, with their pictures in all of the newspapers,
Doc and Fred Barker tried to change their appearance through plastic surgery.
They enlisted Dr. Joseph Moran to conduct the operations, including removing
their fingerprints. But the plan was a disaster, and each ended up with
terrible scars and infected fingers. Dr. Moran was adopted into the gang as a
matter of necessity, but when he started to talk about their activities to a
prostitute, the Barkers killed him. On January 8, 1935, FBI agents, led by
Melvin Purvis, captured Doc Barker in Chicago, Illinois. As he searched Barker,
Purvis reportedly asked, "Where's your gun?" Barker replied,
"Home—and ain't that a place for it?" Eight days later, Fred and Ma
Barker were pinned down at their hideout in Florida. A massive gun battle left
both of them dead.
Check back every
Monday for a new installment of “This Week in Crime History.”
Michael Thomas Barry is a columnist for www.crimemagazine.com and is the author
of Murder & Mayhem 52 Crimes that Shocked Early California, 1849-1949.
Visit Michael’s website www.michaelthomasbarry.com
for more information. His book can be purchased from Amazon through the