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date: 04 March 2021

Dillinger, Johnlocked

(22 June 1903–22 July 1934)
  • Robert L. Gale


Dillinger, John (22 June 1903–22 July 1934), criminal, was born John Herbert Dillinger in Indianapolis, Indiana, the son of John Wilson Dillinger, a grocer, and Mary Ellen Lancaster. When he was three, his mother died, and his seventeen-year-old sister took over his care. He attended public schools in Indianapolis, disliked arithmetic, enjoyed reading, and excelled in schoolyard fights. In 1920 his father, by then remarried, moved to nearby Mooresville with his family, including two stepsons, and Dillinger quit school and began to work in a machine shop and furniture factory. In 1923 he joined the navy, was punished for being absent without leave, deserted, and was dishonorably discharged. He married Beryl Hovious in 1924; they had no children. Dillinger worked as an upholsterer in Mooresville, but he got drunk with a friend and was caught trying to rob a grocer. He served time in the Indiana reformatory at Pendleton and then the state prison at Michigan City. He attempted to escape, was ordered to serve more time, and was punished for gambling and disorderly conduct. His wife divorced him in 1929 and remarried. Though sentenced to ten to twenty years, he was paroled in May 1933 and promptly went on a crime spree, usually with accomplices who were often less lucky than he....

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