Friday, May 22, 2015

The Life & Death Of Richard Cain, Giancana Underling, Chicago Cop, Kennedy Gunman(?)

Our latest upload on ChiTownView series "Chicago Crime Now & Then" takes us to the site of a Mafia hit on Sam Giancana associate and one time Chicago cop Richard Cain. It was not just another run of the mill outfit hit though and Cain wasn't just another bent cop. Here then is a brief history of Richard Cain

Richard Cain first became acquainted with Sam Giancana while a teenager through his mother who was a friend of Momo's. When he was sixteen Cain joined the army and when he got out he went to work for a form OSS operative turned private investigator named John Buenz. Buenz was a close friend and did work for Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista. Cain spent time in Cuba doing investigative work during the early 1950's. This work along with the private eye skills he learned, like wiretapping, would serve him well later in life.

In 1953 Cain moved with his wife and child to Bay City Mich. where his father lived settled down and became a bartender. After only six months Cain moved to Chicago where he started doing security work for UPS. He would also renew his friendship with Sam Giancana and shortly became a made member of the outfit. While organizing a string of burglaries and hijacking at UPS he was made head of security. Who would better know the criminal mind better than another crook.

In 1955 at the behest of Giancana Cain applied to become a Chicago policeman but was rejected because he was too short and had 20/200 vision. All it took was a little money and a word from his outfit backer and Mr. Cain soon rose in the eyes of the law. Once a cop he quickly made a name for himself as an expert on gangsters and quickly moved up soon becoming a detective. His $9,000 a year salary was matched by his mafia backer for whom he acted as a bagman distributing bribe money to fellow officers and warning about raids against the outfit.

Cain's criminal tendencies began to catch up with him in early 1959. In quick succession he was accused of stealing money and became involved in a questionable shooting that resulted in the death of Harry Figel. Although he was exonerated in both cases Cain withdrew from the streets and took on a couple of assignments where he acted as a mole for his mobster backers.

First he went to work for Assistant States Attorney Richard Ogilvie who was a mob buster building a case against Tony Acardo for tax fraud. As Michael Cain explains in his book on his brother Tangled Web; "From Giancana's perspective, Dick's job was to provide enough information to convince Ogilvie that he was a crack investigator and along the way to introduce a couple of flaws in the case to ensure that it would be over-turned." It was a strategy that worked . Acardo was convicted on income tax evasion charges that were thrown out on appeal.

Then in January 1960, Richard Cain was recruited by representatives of Illinois State's Attorney Ben Adamowski to spy on Irwin Cohen. Cohen was commissioner of investigations for Mayor Richard Daley. Adamowski was a thorn in Daley's side and was embarrassed when Cain was caught installing a camera to spy Cohen's office. Adamowski was out of a job later that year and in 1963 ran against Daley coming closer to beating him than any other challenger.
Cain was never brought up on charges but was forced to resign from the force and left Chicago for awhile to cool off.

 Following his return to the windy city he started his own investigations company Accurate Laboratories specializing in investigations, guard / undercover services, polygraphs and wiretapping. It was during this time that the CIA began subcontracting some of it's work to the Chicago mob and Cain returned to Cuba to assist in the Bay of Pigs and later attempts to kill Fidel Castro. He also did work for the Federal Police in Mexico until he beat a man then tried to arrest him. This escapade got him deported back to the states and Chicago.

Back in Chicago returned to work for Richard Ogilvie helping him in his run for Cook County Sheriff. Ogilvie won the election and as a reward Cain was made head of the county's Special Investigation Unit. It was the zenith of his career during that time he allegedly became involved in Kennedy's assassination his mentor Sam Giancana fingered Cain as one of the JFK shooters indeed as the actual gunman in the alleged ‘Oswald sniper’s nest’ in the Texas School Book Depository. Followed by his attempt to take over the Chicago outfit. Culminating with his kidnap Joey Aiuppa who would go on to head the outfit in the 1970's and early 80's.

Cain was becoming a threat to the established order and needed to be taken down a couple of pegs. He had plans to take over as sheriff when he found himself in legal trouble. In December 1963 thieves stole $250,000 worth of prescription drugs from Zahn Drug Company in Melrose Park another bastion of mob power in suburban Chicago. Later some of the drugs were recovered in a raid at the Careville Motel that was led by Cain. As it turned out the raid was staged the motel had been rented by an SIU sergeant that reported directly to Cain. Also Zahn claimed that Cain offered to sell them back the drugs just a few days before the raid. Cain and three others were indited and dismissed from the Sheriffs Department.

Although he still had Sam Giancana as a protector Momo was having his own problems with both the law and the real bosses of the outfit Paul “the waiter” Ricca and Tony Acardo. The heat was so intense that both Giancana and Cain relocated to Mexico in 1966. He would still make trips back to Chicago and during one of these trips FBI agent Bill Rohmer tried to recruit him as an informant. Cain declined and during another Chicago visit got arrested for his connection to a 1964 bank robbery. He was convicted in 1968 and a year later he was finally convicted in the Zahn case.

Richard Cain was imprisoned until 1971 when he was paroled and returned to the streets of Chicago. There he tried working both sides of the street as an on again off again informant for Rohmer while still doing jobs for the mob. He was allegedly one of the gunmen in the assassination of “Mad” Sam DeStefano. Another of his projects was to turn his Bay Of Pigs story into a movie. By late 1973 Cain had several meetings with Marshall Caifano about taking over the south side gambling operations.

He had been talking too much though and not just to Bill Rohmer his loose lips were getting wider. As an expert wiretapper he'd been making tapes in 1973 he said to girlfriend Marlene Kennedy ‘If anything happens to me, listen to this tape.  It’s worth a lot of money to you.’ Then on December 19, 1973 ‘Richard Cain let it slip in a bar in the hearing of outsiders that he and his chief had had something to do with an international conspiracy and a political murder on an assignment from the CIA. Exactly 24 hours later two masked men walked into the same bar, ordered everyone at gunpoint to line up face against the wall, singled out Cain, shoved a gun barrel in his mouth and silenced him for good.’ After blowing his head off and before leaving the killers took something off his body.

Web sites
Richard Cain

Richard Cain: the JFK shooter in the alleged ‘Oswald sniper’s nest’

Iona Andronov, ‘On the Trail of a President’s Killers, ‘The New Times, 1977.

Michael J. Cain, The Tangled Web, 2007.

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