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The Story behind the Larry Neumann Photo on the cover of MURDER IN MCHENRY

Submitted by on Wednesday, 20 November 2013One Comment

The Story behind the Larry Neumann Photo on the cover of MURDER IN MCHENRY

 

Photo on the front cover of the book MURDER IN MCHENRY

Photo on the front cover of the book MURDER IN MCHENRY

On the cover of my book, I have a photo of Larry Neumann in glasses. The day was August 1st, 1956. There is a large story behind that photo. A lot of lives were changed because of the events leading up to that day. This is that story.

On May 9th 1956, 28  year old Larry Neumann was at a Jazz bar called Mickey’s Miracle Bar at 1114 Argyle Street in Chicago, IL. The bar was owned by two brothers named Max and Mickey Epstein. On that day Neumann got to an argument at the bar. The argument in one paper suggested that it was with a woman friend. Larry Neumann’s one time boss and later mobster turned government witness Frank Cullotta, states that Neumann had told him that he was shortchanged less than $2.00 at the bar. Frank Cullotta ran the Hole in the Wall Gang during the 70’s and 80’s in Las Vegas. Neumann was a member of the Hole in the Wall Gang and they were all portrayed in the movie CASINO. The argument at Mickey’s Miracle Bar escalates to a fist fight with one or both of the Epstein brothers. Mickey Epstein was a onetime prize fighter. Neumann’s fiancé would later be quoted to saying that he was “very bitter about being beaten up” by the Epstein brothers. This incident resulted in the Chicago Police being called for a disturbance at the bar. Neumann was arrested and held by the Chicago Police until his release on May 25th. He may have been held because he was just in prison for robbery and had a police record going back to 1947 when Neumann was still in his teens.

Mickey's Miracle Bar on 1114 Argyle Street, Chicago, IL.

Mickey’s Miracle Bar on 1114 Argyle Street, Chicago, IL.

On June 9th, 1956 around 2:00 PM, Neumann traveled back to 1114 Argyle Street. The same place he felt disrespected by the Epstein brothers, Max and Mickey. He walked back into Mickey’s Miracle Bar, but this time he had a double barrel shotgun in his hands. “I’m going to kill everyone in the place,” yelled Neumann as he walked into the bar to begin his murderous rampage. Everyone hit the ground including Max Epstein who was behind the bar. He was heard begging for mercy as Neumann was calmly walking, making his way to the bar. As Max Epstein continued to plea for his life, Neumann stepped onto the bar rail and leaned over towards Max, killing the 54 year old with shotgun blasts to the back. Neumann then took aim at Mickey Epstein who was hiding on the ground near or in a booth. Neumann fired his shotgun but did not hit Mickey Epstein his intended target. He hit Lois Gates who was a 28 year old operator of the “26 game,” a dice game. She too was pleading for her life but died due to the shotgun blast to the neck that she received from Neumann. Neumann seemed that he was going to open fire again but changed his mind. When he was moving towards the direction of the front door, it flew open at that very moment. It was the newspaper vendor named John Keller, who heard the shots outside of the bar. He was trying to block the killer’s path of escaping out of the bar. Larry Neumann pushed the 49 year old newspaper vendor on to the sidewalk outside the bar and cut him down with a blast to his side.  Neumann escaped on foot running down a long alley that ran parallel with the “EL” train tracks or elevated train. Neumann  was noted by police as a cool and deadly shooter. He had fired four times, calmly reloading during his murderous massacre and all died within minutes of being shot by Neumann.

This is a newspaper clipping from the Logansport Pharos Tribune. The article is dated June 8, 1956.

This is a newspaper clipping from the Logansport Pharos Tribune. The article is dated June 8, 1956.

Police started a dragnet of the area which included the upper scale apartments located in downtown Chicago on Lake Shore Drive. Authorities in 16 states were notified of the triple killer now known in the media as the “Grudge Slayer.” In Chicago they had “shoot on sight” orders given for the “Grudge Slayer.” The widespread search was ordered because they received a report that he once stated, “If I ever get into trouble, I’ll head to Mexico.” The authorities were looking for his cream and brown 1953 auto heading south towards Mexico.

Monessen Daily Independent June 11th, 1956. In this article there was a false siting of Larry Neumann.

Monessen Daily Independent June 11th, 1956. In this article there was a false siting of Larry Neumann.

On June 11th, 1956 there seemed to be a break in the man hunt for Neumann. He was spotted in the Granada Theater on the North Side of Chicago. It was heard that the police had trapped the 28 year old “Grudge Slayer” inside. As word got out, over 8,000 people had jammed on to the street outside of the theater nearly starting a riot. Two women had fainted from being crushed by the mob of people. There were already 15 squads of police already on the scene but they had to call for reinforcements to control the crowd. The police moved in on the man in the theater audience that fit Neumann’s description. When they caught up with the man, they realized that it was not Neumann. The search that started in the Chicago City Limits and later stretched to include much of the United States continued.

On August 1st , 1956, 200 police surrounded a three square mile area of Chicago’s near West Side. This was in response after two detectives reported that they were exchanging gun fire with who the detectives believed to be the fugitive dubbed the “Grudge Slayer”, Larry Neumann. The search was complicated by the fact that residents of the neighborhoods searched were curious to all of the police activity. They started staring out of their windows at the police and even going outside and mingling with them. Police were ordering the residents back into their homes and to lock their doors. At around 3:00 AM the police heard a woman screaming and moved in on the location. Mrs. Pat Ward, a 40 year old resident of one of the neighborhoods being searched was letting her dog outside. When she did, she saw Neumann and he rushed at her motioning her to be quiet. Mrs. Ward started to scream “Who are you, who are you?” and then collapsed. Apparently startled by the large man hiding underneath a porch. Neumann tried to flee but was captured by the police that heard Mrs. Ward’s cries.

Oshkosh Daily Northwestern August 2nd, 1956. Larry Neumann is captured on August 1st for the triple murder he committed on June 8, 1956.

Oshkosh Daily Northwestern August 2nd, 1956. Larry Neumann is captured on August 1st for the triple murder he committed on June 8, 1956.

Larry Neumann confessed to killing Max Epstein, Lois Gates, and John Keller. Neumann was found to have dyed his hair, grew a moustache, and gained 20 pounds to help disguise himself as he was on the run. Mickey Epstein, whose brother Max was killed by Larry Neumann, and whom also was a target of Neumann’s during his murderous rampage, stand face to face with the murderer. He stood their looking into his eyes and Neumann looking back, as Mickey pointed at the killer of his brother, a photo was taken. This Associates Press Photo was used in various newspapers and I now own that very same photo. If you click on the image you can see the two men staring each other down. Neumann’s lack of remorse burns past the stare of Mickey Epstein.

On December 17, 1956 while sitting in the Cook County Jail awaiting trial, Lawrence Neumann and nine convicted murderers staged a protest. They were protesting that their jail khaki denims had “Max. Security” stamped on them. They were all quartered in the maximum security section in the jail and ripped off the lettering. “You’re holding us like caged animals-this is ball and chain methods,” Neumann told Warden Jack Johnson. Larry Neumann was identified as the ring leader of this protest (credit danielson). Johnson reacted by sending the uniforms back to the tailor shop for patching and re-stamping .

1956 Press Photo Mickey Epstein Lawrence Neumann Detective Bureau James McMahon

1956 Press Photo Mickey Epstein Lawrence Neumann Detective Bureau James McMahon

On February 4th, 1957 the now 29 year old “Grudge Slayer,” Larry Neumann was sentenced to three 125 year terms for the murders of Max Epstein, Lois Gates, and John Keller, the murders that he committed just nine months earlier. He was sentenced by Chief Justice Wilbert Crowley to run all three terms concurrently. Neumann pleaded guilty to his crimes but threw himself on the mercy of the court. Neumann’s attorney Herbert Barcy argued that “his offense does not warrant the extreme penalty.” The Assistant State’s Attorney that prosecuted this case, Robert Cooney said that the state would “recommend nothing and waive nothing.” Cooney had said, however, that he felt Neumann “should be given a penalty to make sure he doesn’t kill anyone again.” That was the intentions, but he went on to kill at least three more people and likely more.

Van Wert Times Bulletin, February 7th, 1957At the time, Illinois States Law would have required Neumann to serve at least one-third of his sentence before he would have been eligible for parole. That would have forced Larry Neumann to serve at least 40 years of his 125 year sentence. He would have been 69 years old before he was eligible for parole. The law changed and Larry’s father was wealthy. It is believed because of these two influences Larry Neumann served only 12 years of his three 125 year terms that he was sentenced by Chief Justice Wilbert Crowley.

Because the system failed to keep a sociopathic killer behind bars, Robert Brown, a jeweler was horrifically hacked to death with a machete by Larry Neumann when he and Wayne Matecki went to rob him. When Frank Cullotta turned government witness, he testified to this murder conducted by Neumann. On or about August 4th, 1983 the now 55 year old Neumann was found guilty of burglary, armed robbery, and murder of the 1979 killing. The death penalty was sought but Neumann would get life.

Daily Herald, August 8th, 1983. This article is stating that Larry Neumann was convicted for the 1979 murder and robbery of Robert Brown

Daily Herald, August 8th, 1983. This article is stating that Larry Neumann was convicted for the 1979 murder and robbery of Robert Brown

On June 2nd, 1981 my father, 37 year old Ron Scharff and 32 year old Patricia Freeman would suffer the same fate as Robert Brown at the hands of Larry Neumann. Frank Cullotta and the FBI turned this information on over to McHenry County Sheriff George Hendle and the States Attorney for McHenry County Ted Floro. They were connected to the Chicago Outfit so they never pursued the murder of my father and Patricia Freeman. This is the consequence of a corrupt system in Illinois. A consequence that I now live with every day of my life from the time that I was ten years old.

LINK TO ALL NEWSPAPER ARTICLES USED FOR THIS STORY

LINK TO PICTURES FROM THE CAPTURE OF LARRY NEUMANN, MICKEYS MIRACLE BAR, AND THE HOLE IN THE WALL GANG

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One Comment »

  • Duncan Mchenry says:

    You can even buy your way our of jail if your family has enough money and enough connections… Clearly, if Larry Neuman had completed his stint in jail he would not have been out to Murder Paul’s Father… We can change the system, by changing the people we put into office… It is our responsibility and no one else’s… Bill Prim is just waiting in the wings to take over McHenry County… That is just the beginning. Because if we can create a newer and better Government in Mchenry County by changing the people we put into office, there is potential for change in Government anywhere.

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