Cold-case cops take on Capone-era murder

January 28, 2010 8:31:05 AM PST
Chicago police will reopen the 1939 murder case of a mob-linked businessman turned federal informant who helped put Al Capone behind bars.Alderman Ed Burke, the city council's unofficial historian, dug up some old dirt from the days of Al Capone during a committee meeting Tuesday. Also at the meeting, Jonathan Eig, author of the book "Get Capone." Both Burk and Eig want to solve a bloody, old murder.

"The resolution before you today would ask that the Police Department discuss the possibility of assigning the cold case squad to reopen the investigation into the murder of Edward O'Hare," said Ald. Burke, 14th Ward.

Capone was a silent business partner of Eddie O'Hare, who owned Sportsman Park in Cicero and several other questionable businesses. Capone got a big cut of the action - until Big Al went to prison on tax evasion charges.

"There's new evidence that suggests that O'Hare may have been murdered because he played a role in the conviction of Al Capone," said Eig.

O'Hare was heading east from his racetrack on November 8, 1939, near the intersection of Ogden and Rockwell on the city's southwest side when he was shot to death. The case was never solved.

Capone was just a week away from his prison release when O'Hare was killed. So, officials knew he didn't pull the trigger- but said Capone could have ordered it. After 70 years, why is the case being reopened?

"Well, I suppose for the same reason we absolved Mrs. O'Leary of the great fire of 1871. It's a way to set the record straight," said Ald. Burke.

While O'Hare may have been shady, he did help the feds get Capone, according to Eig.

"He told the feds who the bookkeepers were. He helped them figure out where the records where that showed that Capone had income," said Eig.

The head of Chicago's cold cases agreed to look into the 1939 murder- until they determine the killer or find there's nowhere else to go with it.

O'Hare's son, Butch, a World War II Navy pilot died a much more glorious death. He was killed in action in the Pacific after receiving the Medal of Honor. O'Hare International Airport is named after Butch.