Archive for the ‘crime’ Category

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 29, 2017

Former Chicago Outfit Mobster Implicates Tony Spilotro in Numerous Unsolved Murders

DENVER, May 28, 2017:

“…There are probably more killings I don’t know about,” wrote former Chicago Outfit hitman Frank Cullotta in his new book The Rise and Fall of a ‘Casino’ Mobster. The killer he referenced was Tony Spilotro, one of the Outfit’s most notorious enforcers.

Cullotta’s book implicates Spilotro in over twenty murders—most of them still thought of as usnolved. But in Cullotta’s mind, Spilotro was the clear culprit.

One of the murders Cullotta attributed to Spilotro is former Chicago police officer Richard Cain. In his book, Cullotta wrote:

Some called him [Cain] the most corrupt cop in Chicago history because he was also a hit man for the Outfit… In late December 1973, while I was locked up in the federal prison in Terre Haute, the story broke that Cain was murdered in Chicago on December 20 in Rosie’s Sandwich Shop at 1117 West Grand Avenue. Reports were that three masked gunmen entered Rosie’s and shot him twice in the head with a shotgun at close range, virtually decapitating him.

During one of the many conversations I had with Tony after I got out of prison in 1974, Cain’s murder came up. Tony said, “You were in jail with him weren’t you?”

“Yeah, we were in Cook County together for a while. Why?”

“What did that jackoff have to say?”

“Not much, Tony. He was a real quiet guy, but I knew he was tight with Giancana [Outfit Boss] and Willie Potatoes [Outfit big shot William Daddano]. I had a connection with the deputy warden and got him to give Cain extra visits with his wife, and we teased him about the bathrobe he always wore. Other than that, I don’t remember much about him.”

Tony laughed. “Me, the Little Guy, and the German [Frankie Schweihs] whacked him.”

I was surprised he said it like that, kind of a boast. It made sense, though. As I said, Tony came to my mind as one of the hitters as soon as I heard about the murder. I assumed the “Little Guy” Tony mentioned was Saint. He and Tony did a lot of things together, and Saint was the only guy Tony worked with who was shorter than he was.

Was Tony just blowing smoke that day for some reason?

My money is on he was telling the truth.

“Oftentimes mob hits go unsolved because no one’s willing to talk,” said WildBlue Press co-owner and New York Times bestselling author Steve Jackson. “But Cullotta is done covering for Spilotro, for Giancana, for all those guys. The book truly exposes one of Chicago’s most dangerous eras.”

The Rise and Fall of a ‘Casino’ Mobster is now available from WildBlue Press. Promotions for the book will take place in Chicago this summer. To arrange an interview with the author, please contact WildBlue Press at Promos@WildBluePress.com.

Frank Cullotta is a former enforcer for the Chicago Outfit. He is now an author and has been involved in making documentaries. In 2012, he was inducted into the Mob Museum in Las Vegas.

Dennis N. Griffin is an award winning true crime author, focusing on organized crime in Las Vegas and the Tony Spilotro era in particular. His books have been the basis for multiple organized crime documentaries, and he has frequently been a featured speaker at the Las Vegas-Clark County Library’s Mob Month.

Contact:

Michael Cordova

promos@wildbluepress.com

(303) 744-2178

Note: Review copies of this book are available by emailing promos@wildbluepress.com. Interviews can also be arranged with the authors. Please include your mailing address and note the web address where you post your reviews/interviews. Thank you.

 

 

 

Meeting Frank Cullotta

May 25, 2017

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Jim Cooley describes meeting Frank Cullotta
Meeting Frank
I sat with my head on a pivot and my heart in my chest. It was early for me as I was up late the night before announcing an MMA event in this amazingly over-the-top town, Las Vegas. I was not sure what to expect or how to act. What do I say to him? What will he ask me? My friends had made the usual sarcastic comments upon hearing of who I was meeting. Things like, “Don’t go to his car with him,” and “Don’t make him angry.” I laughed and smiled, but it did get me thinking. Of course they were only joking and he was not going to kill me. Yet, I still had no idea what to expect.
My line of work brings me into contact with some very famous people. I have enjoyed a casual cocktail with people like Mike Tyson and interviewed A-list celebrities including actors, athletes and musicians on numerous occasions. Having traveled all over the United States while announcing in front of huge raucous crowds, I have come into contact with people from every walk of life. It has given me a unique perspective on people and left me almost numb when in the face of fame and celebrity, as a result I rarely get nervous or flustered in any situation. I consider myself cool and collected and a bit of a chameleon. I can attend an event with outlaw bikers at their clubhouse in the afternoon and in the evening go to a black tie affair with someone like Evander Holyfield. From a t-shirt and jeans to a suit and tie, I am thoroughly comfortable around any person from any culture.
I found out very quickly though, that nothing had prepared me for this day. This was not breakfast with a celebrated athlete or a first meeting with a well-known actor. This was a meal with an admitted killer. A sit down, so to speak, with a real-life Mafioso.
I was sitting in a half circle booth waiting for the gangster who once ran Vegas. The man who stood up and did not back down from the very Mob he was part of when his life was on the line. The restaurant was a who’s who of Vegas stereotypes. There were the locals who looked like they could have eaten in this place every day, the ones who smoke cigarette after cigarette and sit in front of a video poker machine with dreams of wealth. There were tourists who were taking in the scenery of this storied restaurant while having their photos taken by the staff. There were the twenty something weekend warriors who had clearly had a bit too much to drink the night before and were hoping to find solace and headache relief in mimosas and scrambled eggs. Perhaps they had received their hangover from the bar in this very building. The one that was recognizable to anyone who has seen the movie Casino. This was the Peppermill in Las Vegas and I was here to meet him.
To say I was nervous would be a serious understatement. Truth be told, I was more nervous than I can ever recall being at any time when meeting another human being. However, that is exactly what I had to remind myself of, this is a human being, a man just like me. His past is just that, his past. The difference was this was a man I had studied; a man I had wanted to meet for some time. This was a man whose books had intrigued me and left me wanting more of the story. As I pondered all of this in my head I happened to look up and I saw a figure making his way toward the booth. He was graying but somehow still seemed young and spry. A shorter than average man who obviously had lived his life to the fullest, yet he was still stout and solid. At 78 years old you would assume he was past his prime, but upon seeing him I was not sure that was true. On any other day I would say this was merely an older gentleman who happened to be a snappy dresser. However, this gentleman was different. Once known for being a feared fighter, a stone killer and a master thief who had connections to the storied Chicago Outfit. Best friend and cohort of famed Mob enforcer Tony “The Ant” Spilotro. I had seen this man’s life play out on the silver screen. I had read of his experiences in books and been amazed at the life he had lived. This however, was no book, nor movie, this was real life.
As he approached the table I stood up to greet him. Keep in mind I am six foot two inches tall and weigh 240 pounds. As an ex bouncer and mixed martial artist I do not rattle easily. But at this moment none of that mattered. I was scared. I was intimidated. This man was probably 7 or 8 inches shorter than me and 32 years my senior. Yet I was close to puking from nerves. Just as I felt I was going to stumble over my words and come off like a blundering idiot fan boy, Frank Cullotta reached out his hand and said “You must be Jim.” His smile and demeanor were very disarming. All of the sudden I was comfortable. I was relaxed as we sat for our meal. I had been worried over nothing. This was not the 70s or the 80s, this was 2016 and Frank Cullotta was a different person. A Las Vegas Mob Tour guide and an author with a family and a contagious smile.
Over the next couple of hours, we shared stories and he told me things I never knew about the Chicago Outfit, his life and the mafia in general. I was enthralled. Not only was I sharing a meal with the former “Boss of Vegas,” but very quickly I realized something. This man was an encyclopedia of organized crime. In addition to living it and being there he also had clearly studied and in the process become one of the most knowledgeable people I had ever come across on his chosen subject. I have heard the so called “Experts” speak and have learned what I could from them. But it is apples and oranges between these guys and Frank.
My belief has always been that reading a book written by an expert on a subject is the quickest way to gain facts. However, reading a book written by someone who lived the material is life- changing and the quickest way to feel the history. In this case, when you read a Frank Cullotta book you have the unusual advantage of being treated to both. A man who lived it and is also an expert on the topic. This is the reason I maintain that reading a Frank Cullotta book is a must for any mafia fan (for lack of a better term), true crime buff or those just intrigued by biographies and history. This man doesn’t just write about history he is a living piece of history and is an expert at sharing it in the most creative and engaging ways. I left that day feeling like I had been one of the luckiest people alive. I had the opportunity to break bread with and learn about one of the most interesting figures alive today.
In the past year I have become friends with Frank and I consider him to be one of the most genuine and honest men I have ever met. He has given me life advice, shared with me things he has not to my knowledge even written in his various books. Hell, the guy even flirted with my mother right in front of me! It was tongue in cheek and I took it as such, but that is Frank You never know what you will get. He is all at once funny, intriguing and real. So if this is not your first Cullotta authored book then you know what to expect, unbelievable stories, amazing insight into the world of organized crime and the history of both Chicago and Las Vegas all rolled into one. Comedy mixed in with heart pounding drama and a historical account of when organized crime ruled the United States.
In his new book, The Rise And Fall Of A ‘Casino’ Mobster, Frank tells his the inside story of Tony Spilotro and the days when they ran Las Vegas. In the process he names the killers in many murders that are currently listed as unsolved. So get the book and sit back and enjoy as you delve into the mind of a gentleman, a family man, a thief, a killer, and a man who today has nothing to hide.
Jim Cooley “The Voice Of Champions”
VOC NETWORK
(925) 389-0138
www,lastroundpod.com

 

The Process

May 9, 2017

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After writing three manuscripts with Frank Cullotta, we have developed a process that allows us to write efficiently although we are 2,500 miles apart. Our primary tool is Free Conference Call (FCC). It’s a free program with many features, but I only use it for calls with more than three participants or if I want the call recorded, which is the case with Frank.

The way it works is that Frank makes notes of what he wants to talk about in a particular chapter. When he finishes putting his ideas on paper we schedule a day and time to get together on FCC and I activate the recorder. We go through his notes item by item. He lays out the bones and I ask him questions that will put the flesh on them.

When we’ve completed Frank’s list and I’ve elicited all the information I can from him, the ball is in my park. I do the necessary research to verify Frank’s information, such as finding newspaper articles or TV news clips that verify dates and the correct spelling of the names of persons involved with the specific incidents. As part of the process I replay our recording several times to make sure I haven’t missed anything and run any questions past Frank via phone or email.

When I’m satisfied I have sufficient and accurate information I begin the writing. I do a first draft and email it to Frank for his review. We go back and forth until he is satisfied that each event has been described as he remembers it; and I’m satisfied that I have ample corroboration.

However, there are times when available corroboration is lacking or it doesn’t precisely match Frank’s memory. When that happens we talk it over and decide what to do. If it is a minor detail that is not critical to the story, we will likely simply omit it. If it is something that needs to be included I’ll insert wording such as “approximately,” “around that time,” or “to the best of my recollection.”

When the first draft is completed we do a read through via telephone. Frank focuses primarily on the accuracy of the information while I look for organization, grammar, typos, etc. Depending on how many problems we find, the read through may take two or three sessions.

After that process is over I do a solo read through and then send the manuscript to one or more proofreaders I have confidence in. Upon making any suggested corrections or changes they find, it’s time to start submitting to a publisher.

 

Meet Burl Barer and Ken Eurell, co-authors of Betrayal In Blue.

February 21, 2017

Crime Wire on February 22.
BETRAYAL IN BLUE: The Shocking Memoir of the Scandal That Rocked The NYPD is the story of Mike Dowd and Ken Eurell, two cops who ran the most powerful gang in New York’s dangerous 75th Precinct, the crack cocaine capitol of 1980s America. These “Cocaine Cops” formed a lucrative alliance with Adam Diaz, the kingpin of an ever-expanding Dominican drug cartel. Soon Mike and Ken were buying fancy cars no cop could afford, and treating their wives to levels of luxury not associated with a patrol officer’s salary.

They were daring, dangerous and untouchable. Then “the biggest police scandal in New York history” exploded into the headlines with the arrest of Mike, Ken, and their fellow crooked cops. Released on bail, Mike offered Ken a long shot at escape to Central America—a bizarre plan involving robbery, kidnapping, and murder—forcing Ken to choose between two forms of betrayal.

Adapted from Ken Eurell’s shocking personal memoir, plus hundreds of hours of exclusive interviews with the major players, including former international drug lord, Adam Diaz, BETRAYAL IN BLUE reveals the truth behind what you didn’t see in the hit documentary THE SEVEN FIVE.

9:00 p.m. Eastern at

 

BETRAYAL IN BLUE: The Shocking Memoir of the Scandal That Rocked The NYPD is the story of Mike Dowd and Ken Eurell, two cops who ran the most powerful gang in New York’s dangerous 75th Precinct, the crack cocaine capitol of 1980s America.

Where Is Randy Leach?

January 27, 2017

Randy Wayne Leach and his car, a 1985 gray Dodge 600, disappeared from Linwood, Kansas on the night of April 15/16, 1988, following a pre-graduation party at the home of Kim Erwin in rural Linwood. He was 17 years old.

According to his family, Randy, an only child, wasn’t selfish or self-centered. He was always willing to help others and do what he could for neighbors, friends and family. He was an upbeat, clean-cut and normal boy.

Although Randy never acted like he cared for school, his grades didn’t show it. He was always an honor student, or honorable mention as a B-student. He never had to study much to keep up.

His senior year could have been finished with an early out in January, but his parents, Harold and Alberta, talked to him and he decided to enjoy his last semester of the senior year. For a graduation present, his parents bought him the car of his dreams—a restored 1966, cherry-red Mustang.

Randy planned to earn some money mowing grass the next summer and help around the home doing odd jobs and possibly going to a trade school of some kind. He made no long-range plans, just wanting to enjoy the summer.

The day before Randy disappeared; he and his dad purchased a brand new John Deere lawn tractor for Randy’s summer jobs. Randy took the new mower and mowed four and a half hours on a contracted job in the afternoon. He came home then and mowed the family’s front lawn.

When Randy got ready to go out on April 15, 1988, his dad asked him if he had enough money. He said he did, but if he dropped by Wal-Mart or K-Mart, he would like to get a bottle of water glass wax to put on his new tractor to hold the paint. The cost was around $15. Harold gave him a twenty. That gave Randy a total of approximately $50 to $60. He left in the family car, a gray 1985 Dodge 600, four-door sedan with license plate number LVJ 8721. The time was approximately 6:45 p.m.

Randy eventually went to Linwood and rode around town with Steve Daughtery. When later interviewed, Steve said he bought a six-pack of beer, but Randy declined to have any. The two drove to DeSoto at about 8:30 p.m. They went to the body shop where Randy’s Mustang was being restored. Randy took Steve to show off his car. The man at the body shop said that they were drinking beer and offered some to Randy, but Randy turned it down again.

By 9:30, Randy and Steve were back in Linwood, where Randy dropped Steve off. Randy went to Stout’s Corner, a convenience store. Four or five people reported having talked to Randy there. They all said he was joking and acting normal. He bought two candy bars, two Pepsis, and $3.00 worth of gas. It was Randy’s habit of putting back into the vehicle the gas that he thought he would use in an evening. Therefore, the family didn’t think he planned to travel very far.

Randy went to the party between 9:45 and 10:00. Randy’s cousin and others who were at the party said Randy could hardly walk. The cousin later stated that Randy didn’t smell of alcohol and he didn’t think Randy was drunk.

So what happened to Randy in the 30 or so minutes from when he was acting normal at the convenience store and when he was observed at the party barely to walk? One story that subsequently circulated is that someone put a drug called Thorazine in Randy’s drink at the party. However, it turned out that the person suspected of spiking Randy’s drink wasn’t at the party.

A friend of Randy, who arrived at the party at midnight, later said he was around Randy off and on. He didn’t see him drink anything, but Randy wasn’t acting right. At one point, he said, “Randy, what’s wrong?” Randy said, “Man, I don’t know what’s wrong.”

Another friend, James Burns, reported helping Randy to his car at 1:30 a.m. Unable to find the car keys, Randy laid down in the front seat. James went with his brother, John Burns, to give a girl a ride home who’d had too much to drink. When they returned between 2:00 and 2:10 a.m., Randy and his car were gone.

However, two other people said they saw Randy at the Erwin house as late as 2:15, waiting in line to go to the bathroom. Mrs. Erwin said she told him to go outside, claiming she didn’t want him to fall in the house and hurt himself.

At 6:00 a.m., Randy’s mom awoke to find Randy missing. The panicked parents were barefoot in the driveway, when Harold spotted Steve Daugherty drive by their house on Highway 32. Harold later said that it seemed odd because it was so early Saturday and Daugherty was only driving, “about 10 miles per hour,’” where the posted speed limit was 55 mph.

After Harold and Alberta reported Randy missing, a massive air, river and ground search was launched. But neither Randy nor the car was ever found.

Following Randy’s disappearance, rumors swirled. According to one of them, there was another young man with Randy when he stopped at the convenience store at 9:30 p.m. The man was identified by witnesses as Jim Hadle – possibly spelled Hadley – who was Steve Daugherty’s roommate. Hadle was reportedly seen sitting in Randy’s car. Word got back to the Leach family that both Daugherty and Hadle were drug users who had spent time in jail. Harold Leach contends that investigators never talked to Hadle, and that when Hadle later came to their house, he denied even knowing Daugherty. Both Hadle and Daugherty subsequently passed away, supposedly of natural causes.

As time went by, internal police reports about Randy’s case began showing up in the Leaches’ mailbox. Harold says he doesn’t know the source of the documents, but believes they were from sympathetic officers who were convinced the investigation was botched.

In 1993, a man purporting to be a “research journalist” offered his assistance to the Leaches and spent several months without pay interviewing partygoers and others who might have known something about the case. The man went by the names of Terry Martin and Lee Harper. Martin and Harper pooled information with Leavenworth County Sheriff’s Detective Dawn Weston, whom had been assigned to review the case.

Executing warrants issued by the assistant Leavenworth County Attorney, Weston arrested three men for the alleged kidnapping and murder of Randy Leach. The men were quickly released. The sheriff explained, “She was a new investigator and overzealous, so to speak. It didn’t pan out when the evidence was double-checked by the county attorney.”

As of this writing, Randy Wayne Leach remains missing and the case is cold. Someone still alive knows what happened to him on the night of April 15/16, 1988. If you are that person or know who is, it’s time to step forward and help bring resolution to the Leach family.

 

 

Survivors of Murder Victims

January 26, 2017
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Denny Griffin, Crime Wire

Over the past several years Crime Wire has profiled a large number of unsolved murder cases. Many of them are “cold” and have been inactive for years or sometimes decades. The survivors we deal with often believe the police did a poor investigation that contributed to a solvable case going unsolved and cold.

Our new Crime Wire Case Review Service (CWCRS) was formed to help survivors resolve their doubts about the quality of the investigation. Our panel of investigators, analysts and advocates will examine the case documents and render an opinion as to whether the initial investigation was adequate and appropriate; things were missed or not followed-up on; or that advances in technology (particularly DNA) that weren’t available at the time of the murder may now prove beneficial. This service is provided pro bono.

Unfortunately, the biggest obstacle a survivor is likely to face when preparing their submission is a lack of police reports. Because unsolved murder cases remain open (even if inactive) most police agencies tend to refuse to release any information at all, or  at least nothing relating to their investigation. The inability to be able to see those important documents obviously limits the effectiveness of the review.

However, all submissions, even those without police reports, will be given consideration for review.

 

 

 

The Rise and Fall of Tony Spilotro

January 26, 2017

The manuscript is currently undergoing Phase I editing with the publisher. There will be two more phases of editing followed by formatting and cover design. I’m optimistic we’ll be able to get on the production schedule by spring.

cruise-mobster

Denny Griffin, true crime author

 

 

Crime Wire LIVE: Peter Hyatt and the Madeleine McCann Case

December 18, 2016

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On Wednesday, December 21, 2016, Crime Wire will broadcast for 90 minutes LIVE from 3pm to 4:30pm Eastern time. Statement Analyst Peter Hyatt will discuss the case of missing Madeleine McCann.

Crime Wire will be taking live calls and the chat room will be open to questions from international listeners. The number to call in is: (646)-478-0982. For advance questions or topics you would like discussed on air, please email to thenewcrimewire@gmail.com

Madeleine McCann at 4 and age enhanced

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4-year-old Madeleine McCann disappeared from a resort in Portugal while on vacation with her family and a group of other families and their children. Her case has been widely publicized around the world and she is still considered missing.

From the beginning, Madeleine’s disappearance has been the source of controversy, much of it surrounding her parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, and their subsequent actions. After several inquiries, a campaign by the parents, and numerous theories, Madeleine’s case is still unsolved.

Peter Hyatt, Statement Analyst

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Peter Hyatt is a Statement Analyst and instructor who teaches statement analysis and analytical interviewing to law enforcement and corporate America. He has authored the investigator training manual for DHHS, State of Maine, as well as the book Wise As a Serpent; Gentle as a Dove. He has been interviewed extensively on radio and television, including the nationally televised program, “Crime Watch Daily” and “Taken Too Soon: The Katelyn Markham Story” documentary.

Hyatt has analyzed statements made in many high-profile crimes and missing persons cases such as Jon Benet Ramsey, Hailey Dunn, Darlie Routier, and Santa Claus on his blog, Statement Analysis.

Hyatt Analysis offers a variety of services:

  • Analysis – Statements, employment questionnaires, deposition prep and analysis
  • Interviewing – Law enforcement interviews and analysis, employment interviews
  • Training – For any professional who desires to detect deception and get to the truth in any situation
  • Website: HyattAnalysis.Com

Books Make Great Gifts & Stocking Stuffers

December 18, 2016

See if any of my works tickle your fancy or satisfy your need as a gift for someone else. They are all available on Amazon.com.

True Crime/History

Note: Fans of the movie Casino and/or Las Vegas will be interested in The Battle for Las Vegas or CULLOTTA. Surviving The Mob is a true story from the streets of New York.

The Battle for Las Vegas–The Law vs. the Mob. The real story of the era dramatized in the 1995 blockbuster movie Casino.

CULLOTTA–Chicago Criminal, Las Vegas Mobster and Government Witness. The biography of Chicago Outfit associate Frank Cullotta and his decades-long career as a master thief and Mob killer.

Surviving The Mob. The story of Gambino crime family associate Andrew DiDonato.

La Bella Mafia is the inspiring true story of a girl who overcame years of verbal, physical and sexual abuse at the hands of her own family.

Policing Las Vegas. A history of law enforcement in Las Vegas and Southern Nevada.

Fiction

The Morgue. My very first published book is a fact-based story of a medical examiner run amok.

A three-book series featuring a male/female team of Las Vegas Metro homicide detectives Steve Garneau and Terry Bolton in the order published: Killer In Pair-A-Dice, One-Armed Bandit and Vegas Vixen.

Bumping Off Fat Vinny: A tongue-in-cheek story of three writers who want to murder their publisher.

Possible Closure in 1981 Illinois Double Homicide Case

February 15, 2009

Authorities in McHenry County, Illinois, may be closer to solving a pair of 1981 killings thanks to a former mobster’s biography. For details please read http://www.lvrj.com/news/39633437.html.