Paul Drexler

Joseph Duncan (Courtesy photo)

Joseph Duncan, the bank wrecker

When it comes to celebrity criminals, Los Angeles has it all over…

Joseph Duncan (Courtesy photo)
Alex Goldenson and Mamie Kelly (Courtesy photo)

The Death of Mamie Kelly

There is no doubt that 18-year-old Aleck Goldenson shot Mamie Kelly. Was…

Alex Goldenson and Mamie Kelly (Courtesy photo)
Billy Mulligan (Courtesy photo)

The End of Billy Mulligan

The New York Times may have said it best: “Billy Mulligan’s Death;…

Billy Mulligan (Courtesy photo)
Jean McPherson’s death by cyanide poisoning is announced in the San Francisco Chronicle on May 30, 1947. (Courtesy photo)

The Deadly Gas: A poisonous tale of murder-suicide

It could have been a headline story with casualties in the hundreds.…

Jean McPherson’s death by cyanide poisoning is announced in the San Francisco Chronicle on May 30, 1947. (Courtesy photo)

The Father of Electrical Medicine

There is often a fine line between a quack and a visionary.…

The front page of the San Bernardino Daily Sun on Sept. 6, 1921, tells of Roy Gardner’s escape from McNeil Island prison in Washington. (Courtesy photo)

Roy Gardner, King of the Escape Artists

Whether you’re a rock star, movie star or criminal, fame is fleeting.…

The front page of the San Bernardino Daily Sun on Sept. 6, 1921, tells of Roy Gardner’s escape from McNeil Island prison in Washington. (Courtesy photo)
Bertha Heyman, June 1881. (Courtesy photo)

‘Big’ Bertha Heyman, the Confidence Queen

The term “Big Bertha” is used to describe the most spectacular example…

Bertha Heyman, June 1881. (Courtesy photo)
Charles Russell sentenced to death for the murder of James Crotty and was executed July 25, 1873. (Courtesy photo)

Murder most foul: The execution of Charles Russell

The Charles Russell murder case of 1872 split The City over the…

Charles Russell sentenced to death for the murder of James Crotty and was executed July 25, 1873. (Courtesy photo)
A handwritten declaration from Choy Kum alleges Fong Ah Sing shot Choy on Oct. 27, 1881. (Courtesy photo)

Fatal superstition or suspicious frame-up?

Either Fong Ah Sing was framed or he had one of the…

A handwritten declaration from Choy Kum alleges Fong Ah Sing shot Choy on Oct. 27, 1881. (Courtesy photo)
Elmer "Bones" Remmer, a notorious California casino owner, is fingerprinted by San Francisco police patrolman Bill O'Connor. (Courtesy photo)

Elmer ‘Bones’ Remmer: San Francisco’s gambling czar

Anyone who believes that fat people are jolly never met Elmer “Bones”…

Elmer "Bones" Remmer, a notorious California casino owner, is fingerprinted by San Francisco police patrolman Bill O'Connor. (Courtesy photo)
Left: Isabella J. Martin testifies in court. Right: Martin’s adopted son, “Baby John.” (Courtesy photos)

Isabella J. Martin: Queen of Grudges

If holding grudges was an Olympic event, Isabella Martin would have won…

Left: Isabella J. Martin testifies in court. Right: Martin’s adopted son, “Baby John.” (Courtesy photos)
Lloyd Sampsell and Ethan McNabb were serial bank robbers the 1920s known as the “Yacht Bandits.” (Courtesy photo)

The Yacht Bandits

Lloyd Sampsell and Ethan McNabb, dubbed the “Yacht Bandits,” were the Errol…

Lloyd Sampsell and Ethan McNabb were serial bank robbers the 1920s known as the “Yacht Bandits.” (Courtesy photo)
What the butler saw

What the butler saw

"Burglar and Butler Battle in the Dark,” read the headline in the…

What the butler saw
Calls to pardon Tom Mooney and Warren Billings spread to Moscow, New York, London and Paris. (Courtesy photo)

The Mooney-Billings Case Pt. 2

On July 22, 1916, the San Francisco Preparedness Day parade was to…

Calls to pardon Tom Mooney and Warren Billings spread to Moscow, New York, London and Paris. (Courtesy photo)
Warren Billings, pictured left at age 40, and Tom Mooney, at age 22. (Courtesy photos)

The Mooney–Billings Case

One hundred years ago, everyone knew who Tom Mooney was. Simply mentioning…

Warren Billings, pictured left at age 40, and Tom Mooney, at age 22. (Courtesy photos)
Maurice Curtis, the actor who portrated the title role in “Samuel of Posen,” was acquited of murder in the death of San Francisco Police Officer Alexander Grant in 1891. (Courtesy photo)

Celebrity Murder: Shady dealings help Maurice Curtis skirt conviction

We’re all familiar with the famous Los Angeles case in the 1990s…

Maurice Curtis, the actor who portrated the title role in “Samuel of Posen,” was acquited of murder in the death of San Francisco Police Officer Alexander Grant in 1891. (Courtesy photo)
Left, a diagram shows the entry wounds for the bullets that killed Issac Hoffman in 1897. Right, an illustration shows how Hoffman’s body was found in his office. (Courtesy photos)

A tale of two theories

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,…

Left, a diagram shows the entry wounds for the bullets that killed Issac Hoffman in 1897. Right, an illustration shows how Hoffman’s body was found in his office. (Courtesy photos)
A newspaper clipping shows an ad in the San Francisco Examiner taken out by Gladys Kidd, who offered her services as a cook, maid or housekeeper for 10 years in exchange for a lawyer willing to represent her husband, Robert Lee Kidd. (Courtesy photo)

Did Kidd die by the sword?

"SF Antique Dealer Slain — Tortured With Sword,” screamed the headline of…

A newspaper clipping shows an ad in the San Francisco Examiner taken out by Gladys Kidd, who offered her services as a cook, maid or housekeeper for 10 years in exchange for a lawyer willing to represent her husband, Robert Lee Kidd. (Courtesy photo)
Joseph “Fatso” Negri, left, is shown kissing his wife Betty Morgan in an article about his marriage around the time Negri began cooperating with federal authorities. (Courtesy photo)

‘Fatso’ Negri earns his stripes in crime world

Joseph Negri was born in San Francisco in 1905, and he gravitated…

Joseph “Fatso” Negri, left, is shown kissing his wife Betty Morgan in an article about his marriage around the time Negri began cooperating with federal authorities. (Courtesy photo)
Spud Murphy, one of the leaders of the Howard Street Gang, is pictured with his mother at trial. (Courtesy photo)

The Howard Street Gang

In 1894, a mob of inebriated San Franciscans at Market and California…

Spud Murphy, one of the leaders of the Howard Street Gang, is pictured with his mother at trial. (Courtesy photo)