Executions · Illinois

Teen executed for shooting police officer in back of head while in squad car

October 29, 1926
Chicago, Illinois
19-year-old Richard Evans (pictured) is hanged for killing a police officer after he and a friend were pulled over for speeding

On March 27, 1926, officer Edward Finnegan (27) pulled over Evans and his friend Otto Hacker who were speeding and intoxicated. At the time, it was not protocol to search suspects for firearms. While Finnegan was driving back to the police station, Evans — who had been placed in the backseat of Finnegan’s patrol car while Hacker was seated in the front passenger seat — drew his weapon and shot Finnegan in the back to the head. Hacker and Evans attempted to push Finnegan from the car but he became tangled in the car’s running board. Finnegan was dragged for some time before he fell from the vehicle; he died at the scene. Evans and Hacker fled to Texas but were soon captured.

After Evans and Hacker were apprehended, Evans claimed Hacker was the shooter. He maintained this claim until the day of his execution, 7 months after the murder, finally confessing he had been the guilty party. Hacker was acquitted.


Chicago Daily Tribune. March 29, 1926.

Sources:

  • “Patrolman Edward F. Finnegan.” Officer Down Memorial Page. Accessed: October 29, 2018. https://www.odmp.org/officer/4851-patrolman-edward-f-finnegan
  • “P.O. Edward F. Finnegan #3444.” Chicago Police Memorial Foundation. December 7, 2012. Accessed: October 29, 2018. https://www.cpdmemorial.org/fallen-heroes/fallen-heroes/p-o-edward-finnegan-3444
  • Bienen, Leigh. Homicide in Chicago 1870-1930. Accessed: October 29, 2018. http://homicide.northwestern.edu/database/7732/?page=Object%20id%20#28
  • Hearn, Daniel Allen. Legal Executions in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky and Missouri: A Comprehensive Registry, 1866-1965. Jefferson: McFarland & Company, Inc. 2016
  • “Search All Suspects.” Chicago Daily Tribune [Chicago, Illinois]. November 7, 1926
  • “Richard Evans Makes Confession at Last.” The Jacksonville Daily Journal [Jacksonville, Illinois]. October 29, 1926
  • “Richard Evans Gets Stay of Execution for Period of Week.” The Jacksonville Daily Journal [Jacksonville, Illinois]. October 22, 1926
  • “Slayers Are Sought in E. Chicago.” Chicago Daily Tribune [Chicago, Illinois]. March 29, 1926

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