The good news for Touhy was that Murray Humpreys, Red Barker's assistant, did not fight being jailed on federal income tax charges, no doubt to avoid sure death at the hands of the Touhys. The bad news was that the shooting put a far more competent and dangerous man in charge of the outfit in the form of Paul "the Waiter" Ricca. Ricca's first move was to bring in 'Three Fingers" Jack White to replace the murdered Red Barker.
White was a Valley Gang graduate who said he got his nickname when a brick fell on his hand on a construction site when he was a boy, crushing several fingers. It was a deformity he tried to hide with a glove, stuffing the empty fingers with cotton. In fact it's more likely that White lost the fingers in a bungled burglary attempt where he mishandled nitroglycerin, a common mishap that probably cost Roger Touhy his right thumb as well. White recruited James "Fur" Sammons, a certified psychopath and probably the most dangerous man in Chicago, if not in the United States.
Like White, Sammons' record was long and varied. In 1900 he and four others kidnaped an eleven- year-old, eighty-five-pound school girl, raped her, broke her nose, punched out one of her eyes and stabbed her in the vaginal area with a pencil. Sammons, who showed no remorse over the attack, smirked at the girl's parents in court. He was given five years for his part in the crime and was paroled two years later. Two months after his release, Sammons was arrested for the murder of Patrick Barret, a saloon keeper. He was convicted and sentenced to be hanged. He was put into solitary confinement where it was said he was driven insane by the solitude. He remained on death row until 1917 when he managed to escape and commit a series of robberies before being recaptured.
Both Three Fingers Jack White and Sammons had been paroled in 1923 by Illinois Governor Len Small after paying a small fortune in bribe money to "Porky" Dillon, a Touhy gunman who had been one of Small's bagmen. Porky Dillon had an interesting background. He had once been sentenced to serve ten years in the state prison but managed to rig a pardon for himself from the same corrupt governor, Small.
White was a competent battle tactician. Now backed by Sammons' psychotic brutality, he was able to take back the upper hand in the battle against the Touhys in four quick and deadly blows. The first to die under the White-Sammons regime was Teddy Newberry, the mayor's bag man who plotted the Nitti shooting. Newberry was found lying face down in a ditch of frozen water in Porter County, Indiana. The killers were on their way to a mob burial ground, the gruesome real estate that belonged to "Machine Gun" Jack McGurn and was later passed down to Mickey "the Ant" Spilotro in the 1970s.
Next they got Touhy's strongest ally, Paddy Barrell. Barrell was the international vice president of the Teamsters. He was killed while he and his bodyguard, Willie Marks, were vacationing in Wisconsin. Marks, a former Moran gunner, had survived the St. Valentine's Day Massacre by being late for work. This time he wasn't so lucky. The killer, believed to be Fur Sammons, caught Barrell and Marks off guard while the two were fishing knee deep in a lake. The blast from the shotgun, fired only inches from the victims, nearly took off Barrell's head.
A second and awesome setback for the Touhys came when White and Sammons caught Matt Kolb at his saloon, the Club Morton. Kolb was standing in the hallway next to a roulette wheel. Walking up from behind him, Sammons said, "Hello Matt. " As Kolb reached out to shake hands, Sammons grabbed his hand and arm tightly as White pulled out an automatic and poured the six shots into the little fat man. After the killers started to leave, Sammons said, "I better make sure." He returned and fired another shot into Kolb's head. The final round picked up the dead man's skull and bounced it off the floor. With Kolb dead and his blackmail records gone, the price for political and police protection went through the roof, even with Cermak on their side.
The next blow came when Tommy Touhy was gunned down by Fur Sammons. It happened when Tommy and two cars of his men combed the streets of Chicago looking for Fur Sammons. As it turns out Sammons was out in an armor-plated car, looking for Tommy. The two groups spent several hours stalking each other until Tommy decided that he had had enough of the cat and mouse game and ordered his caravan to pull over at the intersection and wait for Sammons.
Several minutes later Sammons brazenly pulled up alongside them, Tommy leaned out his window, machine gun in hand and opened fire on Sammons, hitting his tires and radiator. Then, without taking his finger off the trigger, Tommy climbed out of his car and stood on the bumper and fired into Sammons' windows. Sammons leaned out of his window and released a clip into Tommy's legs while driving with one hand and firing with the other. A squad car from the town of River Forrest pulled onto the scene and demanded that the gunmen pull over. The Touhys answered by firing a clip off at the cops who returned fire, but by then Touhy and Sammons had disappeared into the city.