His death at the Hill Correctional Center in Galesburg was reported to be from natural causes following a lingering illness according to a spokesperson for the Illinois prison system. Knox County Coroner Mark Thomas says he has scheduled an autopsy for Monday.
Despite his suburban upbringing and slight build, in the annals of organized crime there was no one feared more than Harry Aleman. When he died, Aleman was serving time for the 1972 murder of a union official. Law enforcement authorities agree that he killed many other people-possibly as many as 15-during a multi-faceted criminal career smeared only by bloodshed and arrests.
Backed by the notoriously-powerful First Ward Democratic Organization, Aleman was insulated by crooked politicians, corrupt cops and the Outfit's thick bankroll. That became apparent when Aleman was going to stand trial in 1977 for the shotgun murder of Teamster Union steward William Logan.
Directed by First Ward Committeeman John D'Arco Sr. and his major domo Pasquale "Pat" Marcy, Billy Logan was ambushed by an assassin in a parked car outside his home on West Walton Street in the Austin neighborhood on September 27, 1972. Aleman was identified as the triggerman and the case against him appeared to be bulletproof.
However, the Chicago outfit need to protect it's contract killer.
"This is a very serious matter, some very important people are concerned about this individual [Aleman]....don't say you can do it unless you can do it...we have to know for sure," said John D'Arco, Sr., in a conversation with corrupt attorney Robert Cooley who said he could arrange the "fix."
Cooley enlisted Judge Frank Wilson for help and told Mob-connected pol's he was certain Wilson could be bribed - for $10,000. The fix proceeded without a hitch until Judge Wilson discovered that a witness was being paid the same amount of bribe money and he demanded much more from Cooley. "I am going to lose my job on this thing and that's all I'm getting...it's not fair. I deserve a lot more than this," he told Cooley.
Wilson got what he agreed to and did as he was told. Aleman got off.
Years later, when it came out that the fix was in, the case was brought again. Overcoming challenges that it was illegal "double jeopardy," prosecutors managed to convict Aleman of the Logan murder during a 1997 retrial.