Jake Lingle

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Jake Lingle
Jake Lingle.jpg
Screenshot from The Mystery of Al Capone's Vaults (1986)
Alfred Lingle Jr.

July 2, 1891
Chicago, Illinois, United States
DiedJune 9, 1930(1930-06-09) (aged 38)
Chicago, Illinois, United States
Cause of deathGunshot to back of head
Body discoveredFound June 9, 1930 in a Chicago train station
EducationJohn Calhoun North Elementary (8th grade)
OccupationJournalist, crime reporter
Years active1912–1930
EmployerChicago Tribune
Known forWorking with Al Capone
Net worth$60,000 (annual income)[citation needed]
Opponent(s)Leo Vincent Brothers
Spouse(s)Helen Sullivan
ChildrenAlfred Jr. and Dolores

Alfred "Jake" Lingle, Jr. (July 2, 1891 – June 9, 1930) was an American reporter for the Chicago Tribune. He was shot dead gangland-style in the underpass leading to the Illinois Central Randolph Street station on the afternoon on June 9, 1930, as dozens of people watched.[1][2] The man convicted of the murder was German-American mob associate Leo Vincent Brothers.[3]

Lingle was initially lionized as a martyred journalist, but it was eventually revealed that he was involved in racketeering with the Capone organization and that his death had more to do with his own criminal activities than his journalism.[1][4]

Early life[edit]

Jake Lingle was born July 1891 and raised on the West Side of Chicago. When he was eight years old, his parents converted from Judaism to Roman Catholicism.[5] He received an education up to the eighth grade at John Calhoun North Elementary. His childhood friend William F. Russell later became the chief of police in Chicago.[citation needed] Before becoming an office boy for the Chicago Tribune, Lingle played semi-professional baseball and worked for a surgical supply company.


Jake Lingle began his career in journalism in 1912.[5] Lingle was known for his work as a legman covering gang-related crime stories. He reported from the scene by telephone to a writer at the Chicago Tribune office and then that person would write up his story. During this period, Lingle made connections outside journalism, and while he earned $65 a week reporting, he had an annual income of $60,000.[3]


In Chicago, on the afternoon of June 9, 1930, Lingle left the Sherman House Hotel, where he had conversed with some power brokers, to catch the 1:30 pm train to a racetrack in Homewood where he gambled on horses. On his way through the Randolph Street Terminal, he was followed by two men. One of them, described as thin, with blonde hair, and blue eyes, raised his .38 caliber pistol and shot Lingle once directly in the back of the head, killing him.[1]


The police sent 664 hoodlums out to perform what they called a "manhunt" in Chicago. To find the killer quickly, the Chicago Tribune told readers the newspaper would give them a $25,000 reward if they had information that led them to the killer. Other local newspaper companies said they would throw in an extra $30,000.

In January 1931, the police received a tip and arrested a man by the name of Leo V. Brothers from St. Louis. Many people swore that he was Lingle's killer. Others, including Brothers, denied his involvement. Convicted, Brothers was given the minimum sentence for murder of 14 years, and he served 8 years of the sentence.[3]


Lingle's death brought to the public's attention his connections with gangsters.[1][4] Lingle turned out to have been setting the price of beer in Chicago and involved in organized dog racing and gambling. He had maintained two homes plus a suite at the Morrison Hotel and had a six-figure stockbroker account. High-placed friends of his in the police department resigned.[6] Not only did some people discover what Lingle's occupation really was, but also they learned about the gangs and about those with whom Lingle was associated.[7][8]


Once other journalists learned about Jake Lingle's association with mobsters and his gambling activity, they began questioning the Chicago Tribune about it. In response, the Tribune said that it had not been aware of Lingle's activities. However, Frank Wilson, an IRS agent, said Robert McCormick, who was the Tribune's proprietor, had arranged a meeting between Lingle and himself when he was investigating the Al Capone case, and claimed this proved that the Tribune knew about Jake Lingle's involvement with gangs.[7]

In popular culture[edit]

The 1931 film The Finger Points was loosely based on Lingle's life and death, and starred Richard Barthelmess as the reporter, Fay Wray as his love interest, and Clark Gable as the gangster who corrupts him.

In 1959, the Jake Lingle murder was dramatized on a television episode of The Untouchables.

In the 1959 film Al Capone, Martin Balsam played a fictional corrupt reporter named Mac Keely, who was Lingle in all but name.

In the 1979 film The Lady in Red, Lingle is seen as the reporter harassing John Dillinger's escort/girlfriend, Polly Hamilton (called "Polly Franklin" in this film). But this is fiction, as Dillinger first met Hamilton in 1934, four years after Lingle's murder.[9]

The 1988 novel by Howard Browne, Pork City, depicts Lingle's murder and the subsequent investigation by the Cook County State's Attorney's office.

In the 1993 series, The Untouchables, Jake Lingle's murder is depicted in the two-part story, "Murder Ink," and is portrayed by David Perkovich.


  1. ^ a b c d Krajicek, David. "Corrupt Chicago Tribune newsman Jake Lingle gunned down by Mafia thug". Daily News. Retrieved 4 February 2014.
  2. ^ O'Brien, John (1930-06-09). "The shooting of Jake Lingle". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved 2014-04-15.
  3. ^ a b c Vitaliev, Vitali. "Mob rules in the Windy City There are still racketeers in Chicago, but fortunately they don't quite run things the way they did in the 1930s". The Daily Telegraph. London. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  4. ^ a b "Martyr Into Racketeer". Time. July 7, 1930.
  5. ^ a b Robert L Gale (2013-01-21). Characters and Plots in the Novels of Horace McCoy. ISBN 9781477259719.
  6. ^ Aylesworth, Thomas G.; Aylesworth, Virginia L. (1986). Chicago: The Glamour Years (1919–1941). New York: Gallery-W. H. Smith. pp. 165, 167. ISBN 9780831712549.
  7. ^ a b Silverman, Gary (July 7, 2011). "A Chicago twist on the tabloid troubles". Financial Times. London, England. Retrieved 3 February 2014.
  8. ^ Burns, Walter N. (1931). The One-way Ride: The red trail of Chicago gangland from prohibition to Jake Lingle. New York.
  9. ^ Poulsen, Ellen (2002). Don't Call Us Molls: Women of the John Dillinger Gang. New York: Clinton Cook Publishing.

External links[edit]