This week in 1941

July 1st, 2013 by admin

In a letter enclosing playing cards—four aces and a joker, with the ace of spades under lined:
“You never know when. Life is like a deck of cards and we are all the jokers. First it’s hearts, then it’s diamonds. Next it’s clubs, and now it’s spades.”

—Edward “Paddy Ryan” Riley, convicted of murder, electric chair, Illinois.
Executed June 20, 1941

Riley, who had had prior convictions and had served time twice in Michigan, held up a tavern in Chicago with two accomplices. In the process, they shot and killed an undertaker and wounded two police officers, one of whom also died. The trio fled to Detroit and were captured. Riley wrote ten letters in his last few hours, seven of them to women. He went to the death chamber quietly.

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