Burton Turkus

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Burton B. Turkus)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Burton B. Turkus (December 2, 1902 – November 22, 1982) was an attorney and arbitrator best known for prosecuting members of the Brooklyn gang known as "Murder, Inc.". He served as assistant district attorney and chief of the Homicide Division in the Office of the District Attorney, Kings County (Brooklyn).


As an assistant district attorney in Brooklyn in 1940, Turkus interrogated mobster Abe Reles, who had been arrested for murder. Reles became a government informant who revealed the existence of a violent gang of racketeers in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn. The group was named "Murder Inc." by the press. Reles's revelations led to numerous other prosecutions. Turkus prosecuted Murder Inc. and sent seven of its members to the electric chair.[1] He was later an arbitrator and a member of the State Board of Mediation.

Turkus later wrote about his experiences in a book entitled Murder Inc., published in 1951. In the early 1950s, Turkus became host of the TV series Mr. Arsenic. He was portrayed in the 1960 movie about Murder Inc. by Henry Morgan, while Peter Falk portrayed Reles.

Murder Inc. was republished in 2012[2] by Tenacity Media Books, an imprint of investigative reporter Peter Lance. In the forward to the 2012 edition, Lance describes how his examination of the FBI's counter-terrorism investigations that began when he was a reporter for ABC News' Nightline had been informed by the Turkus book and later led him to discover an extraordinary link between the FBI and a 1996 Bureau sting of an al Qaeda terrorist involved in 9/11.

The Burton Turkus Papers, which document his career, are housed in the Lloyd Sealy Library Special Collections at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.[3] Many photographs from his papers have been digitized in the Lloyd Sealy Library Digital Collections.[4] Additional documents and papers relating to the career of Burton Turkus can also be found at the Brooklyn Collection, Brooklyn Public Library's local history division.[5]


  1. ^ Gargan, Edward A. (November 24, 1982). "Burton B. Turkus, 80, prosecutor of Murder Inc. in the 1940s, dies". New York Times. Retrieved March 5, 2013.
  2. ^ Turkus, Burton B.; Feder, Sid; Lance, Peter (June 15, 2012). "Murder, Inc. The Inside Story of The Syndicate Killing Machine". Tenacity Media Books. Retrieved May 28, 2017 – via Amazon.
  3. ^ "Lloyd Sealy Library Special Collections, Manuscript Collections". Lloyd Sealy Library Special Collections, John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Retrieved 17 December 2013.
  4. ^ "Burton B. Turkus Papers (digitized photographs)". Lloyd Sealy Library Digital Collections. Retrieved May 4, 2014.
  5. ^ "Burton Turkus Papers, collection description". Brooklyn Collection, Brooklyn Public Library. Retrieved December 11, 2013.

Further reading[edit]

  • Turkus, Burton, and Feder, Sid. Murder Inc. New York: Tenacity Media Books (June 15, 2012 reprint edition with new forward).
  • Turkus, Burton, and Feder, Sid. Murder Inc. New York: Da Capo Press, 1992 (reprint edition).