Jack "Legs" Diamond

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Jack Diamond

Birthdate: (34)
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Death: December 18, 1931 (34)
Albany, Albany County, New York, United States
Place of Burial: New York, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of John Diamond and Sara Bradshaw
Husband of Alice Diamond
Brother of Eddie Diamond

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Jack "Legs" Diamond

Legs Diamond

Gang member of the Hudson Dusters

Also known as Gentleman Jack, was an Irish American gangster in Philadelphia and New York City during the Prohibition era. A bootlegger and close associate of gambler Arnold Rothstein, Diamond survived a number of attempts on his life between 1916 and 1931, causing him to be known as the "clay pigeon of the underworld". In 1930, Diamond's nemesis Dutch Schultz remarked to his own gang, "Ain't there nobody that can shoot this guy so he don't bounce back?"

Death

On December 18, 1931, Diamond's enemies finally caught up with him. Diamond had been staying in a rooming house in Albany, New York while on trial in Troy, New York on kidnapping charges. On December 17, Diamond was acquitted. That night, Diamond, his family and friends were at a restaurant. At 1:00 am, Diamond went to visit his mistress, Marion "Kiki" Roberts. At 4:30 am, Diamond went back to the rooming house and passed out on his bed. Two gunmen entered his room around 5:30 AM. One man held down Diamond while the other shot him three times in the back of the head.

A narrow brick building with dark brown steps leading to the main entrance. Most of the upper two stories are obscured by a tree House at 67 Dove Street, where Diamond was murdered in 1931 There has been much speculation as to who was responsible for the murder; likely candidates include Dutch Schultz, the Oley Brothers (local thugs), the Albany Police Department, and relatives of Red Cassidy, another Irish gangster at the time. According to William Kennedy's O Albany, Democratic Party Chairman Dan O'Connell, who ran the local political machine, ordered Diamond's execution, which was carried out by the Albany Police. The following are Dan O'Connell's own words recorded during a 1974 interview by Kennedy and appear on pages 203 and 204:

"In order for the Mafia to move in they had to have protection, and they know they'll never get it in this town. We settled that years ago. Legs Diamond...called up one day and said he wanted to go into the 'insurance' business here. He was going to sell strong-arm 'protection' to the merchants. I sent word to him that he wasn't going to do any business in Albany and we didn't expect to see him in town the next morning. He never started anything here." "Prior brought him around here...but brought him around once too often. Fitzpatrick finished Legs." O'Connell added that William Fitzpatrick (a police sergeant at the time and later chief) and Diamond were "sitting in the same room and (Fitzpatrick) followed him out. Fitzpatrick told him he'd kill him if he didn't keep going."

Given the power that the O'Connell machine held in Albany and their determination to prevent organized crime other than their own from establishing itself in the city and threatening their monopoly of vice, most people accept this account of the story. In addition it has been confirmed by other former machine officials. Fitzpatrick's promotion to chief of police was believed to have been a reward for executing Diamond. Chief Fitzpatrick himself was shot and killed in his own office by an Albany police detective, John McElveney, in 1945. Detective McElveney was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison. He was released in 1957, when his sentence was commuted by Governor W. Averell Harriman.

On December 23, 1931, Jack Diamond was buried at Mt Olivet Cemetery in Maspeth, Queens. There was no church service or graveside ceremony. Two hundred family and spectators attended Diamond's interment; no criminal figures were spotted.

On July 1, 1933, Diamond's widow, Alice Kenny Diamond, was found shot to death in her Brooklyn apartment. It was speculated that she was shot by Diamond's enemies to keep her quiet.

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Jack "Legs" Diamond's Timeline

1897
July 10, 1897
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
1931
December 18, 1931
Age 34
Albany, Albany County, New York, United States
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New York, United States