I began work on this book while I still was an undergraduate student in the Criminal Justice Program at the University of New Haven in 1975. The book grew out of class assignment, given to us by Dr. Henry Lee who later came to some fame as an expert witness during the sensational O.J. Simpson murder trial.
Dr. Lee assigned each of us in the class to investigate and write about a case of a miscarriage of American justice.
I had heard a few, vague facts about the Roger Touhy case from my father, who had heard about it from his father, who had known Roger Touhy. After some initial research, I placed a call to Betty Brennan, the widow of Touhy's ghost writer on his autobiography, The Stolen Years.
Betty was a wealth of insightful, important information and she encouraged me to follow up on the case, which I did, not realizing then that the investigation into the true facts behind the Roger Touhy case would take up almost twenty-six years of my life and propel me across the United States, from
Washington to Las Vegas and Los Angeles to Miami and back again, in search of the truth. I interviewed several hundred people and pored over thousands of pages of documents that relate to the case.
After all of that, I am only certain of one thing; no one except Roger Touhy and John Factor really knows the full truth behind this case. However, after tens of thousands of hours of research, there are some aspects of the story which I am certain are true but can't prove. As a result, they have not been included in the main text of this book.
I am certain that Touhy and Factor knew each other before the kidnapping occurred, that Factor probably didn't completely understand that he would never be freed of the Mafia's iron-clad grasp on his life and that Sam Giancana was one of the wheelmen for Touhy's assassins on that frigid December night when the Capone mob killed Touhy.
Which brings us to the title of this book. Although A1 Capone had been dead for twelve years by the time Touhy was shot to death, and although the intention of the murder was to silence Touhy forever and was carried out with chilling business-like efficiency, Roger Touhy's murder was personal. His killers had been members of the old 42 Gang and had fought Touhy in Capone's name twenty-six years earlier. The same holds true for the mob bosses who ordered the killing. They had watched as Touhy's Irish gunmen shot their way across the Windy City, murdering their childhood friends, cousins, business partners, and brothers.
I also want to take this opportunity to share my concerns about the secretive and powerful role of the United States Pardon Attorney, which, officially anyway, falls under the Office of the Attorney General of the United States.
In my quest for the truth about President Kennedy's very suspicious twelfth-hour pardon of John Factor, the Pardons Attorney's Office went out of its way to derail my research. Pardon records that I requested as part of this investigation were moved around the country making access difficult, sometimes impossible. On several occasions, records were hidden from me. I was lied to several times regarding the existence of some pardon records and members of my staff were questioned about my personal life.
Still, even with this interference, I uncovered a total of 500 pardons granted by Presidents Truman and Kennedy, which, at the least, can be considered highly questionable. For this reason, I have come to the conclusion that John Factor's presidential pardon was granted as part of the federal government's tangled and illegal dealings with the Mafia during the Kennedy administration.
However, this is the stuff for another researcher and another writer for another book, but the undis- putable fact remains that if details of the Factor pardon have not been released, the fault lies squarely with the U.S. Pardons Attorney's Office.
-John William Tuohy Washington D.C.