January 12, 2010 / 11:27 PM / 9 years ago

Chicago police dust off murder linked to Al Capone

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Police will reopen the unsolved 1939 murder of the Chicago lawyer who put the finger on gangster Al Capone for tax evasion, a city politician said on Tuesday.

The Chicago Police Department’s “cold case squad” will look for fresh clues to the gangland-style slaying of Edward O’Hare in the newly published book “Get Capone” by Jonathan Eig.

Alderman Edward Burke, who asked for the case review in part to get O’Hare the credit he deserves, and the Chicago Tribune newspaper said the police had agreed to look into it.

“Most of us ... think it was (federal agent) Eliot Ness and the Untouchables that got Capone. Nothing could be further from the truth,” Burke said.

O’Hare provided key evidence to Treasury Department agents that helped to convict Capone in 1931 of income tax evasion.

The new book argues O’Hare was gunned down because he refused the ruined mobster’s demand that he share earnings from a horse racing track he operated.

Other historians argue O’Hare’s murder was a “gift” from fellow mobsters to Capone, who was coming out of prison at the time, according to Burke.

O’Hare became an informant, the book says, in exchange for admission to the U.S. Naval Academy for his son Edward “Butch” O’Hare.

The son became a decorated pilot in World War Two and was killed in action. Chicago honored him by naming O’Hare International Airport after him.

Reporting by Andrew Stern; Editing by John O'Callaghan

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