By Mike Mayo
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Additional resources for American Murder: Criminals, Crimes and the Media
Two juries could not reach a verdict. ” Not that it mattered; by then, the damage had been done. In his day, Arbuckle was one of the silent screen’s most successful stars, right up there with Charlie Chaplin and Harold Lloyd. He invented the pie in AMERICAN MURDER Arbuckle, Roscoe “Fatty” the face, and Paramount paid him a cool million dollars a year. He worked hard for the money, cranking out six pictures a year at the height of his popularity. Over Labor Day, 1921, Arbuckle decided to take some time off from work, with friends director Fred Fishbach and actor Lowell Sherman.
His story is the archetypal American Dream. Born into a poor Mississippi family, he served in the Army in World War II and took part in the invasion of Normandy. After the war, he went to college, married, started a family, and went to work for a black-owned insurance company. He quit that job to become the first NAACP field officer in Mississippi, among the most racist states in the union. Evers knew he was a target. In May 1963 his carport was firebombed. On the night of June 12th, he came home from a meeting with NAACP lawyers.
Gallo used his connections to deliver large amounts of pure heroin to Barnes, after he was released. Barnes, in turn, set up a system of workers and apartments where the dope was diluted with other substances and packaged for AMERICAN MURDER retail sale. He also provided the black “muscle” to run things in his neighborhoods. It was a profitable setup for both of them. It was profitable for Gallo until 1972 when he was gunned down by rival Mafiosi. Barnes continued to prosper until the Times magazine piece was printed.
American Murder: Criminals, Crimes and the Media by Mike Mayo