Jimmy Hoffa


I'm thrilled to announce a fascinating new podcast original called not guilty. It examines controversial criminal cases and attempts to determine why solid evidence doesn't always lead to a conviction. Stay tuned after our show. So you can hear a clip of the first episode to listen to the full first episode subscribe to not guilty on Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts. On July thirtieth nineteen seventy five Jimmy Hoffa, a union leader once said to be as powerful as the president of the United States left his house in his green Pontiac to go to the matches red Foxx a restaurant in suburban Detroit. He was meeting with two high ranking organized crime figures off ahead maintained relationships with the American mafia throughout his career these connections had once benefited him immensely. They would eventually lead to his demise offer skinned his surroundings as he pulled into the red foxes parking lot. He'd lived long enough to now to never let his guard down lately he'd grown increasingly wary and his mind seemed to spot danger around every corner, but he knew the red FOX it was safe territory. He tried to put his mind. He's a familiar car pulled up to Hoffa in the parking lot of the restaurant the window roll down and Hoffa nodded to the figure inside a hand reached out of the vehicle and gestured at Hoffa to get in here. Blige d- believing that the meeting had been moved to a different location. That was the last time Jimmy Hoffa was seen dead or alive. Hi, I'm Molly. And I'm Richard welcome to gone a cast original every other Monday. We examined mysterious disappearances and the theories they spawned from the amber room to Michael Rockefeller Picasso. Paintings to the trust in language. The Roanoke colony to the lost Russian cosmonauts if it's gone. 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A collective of truck drivers that controlled the movement of goods across the country from the nineteen thirties until his disappearance in nineteen seventy five Khaw built the Teamsters up from a struggling union to an immensely powerful national organization. He infamously achieved his goals by forming. Strong ties with the mafia after a stint in jail hafa sought to rebuild himself in his reputation in the nineteen seventies. He never got the chance Jimmy Hoffa disappeared in nineteen seventy five after meeting with an unknown. Number of mafia associates. His body has never been found in the decade since he vanished. Jim. Hoffa has become both an engaging mystery and something of a cultural punchline with every year that passes it becomes less and less likely that his remains will ever be recovered in this episode. We will discuss Jimmy Hoffa's rise to and sudden full from power will consider the fallout of his disappearance and look at some of the more recent and outlandish theories about where he actually ended up Jimmy Hoffa's deep public ties to the mafia make it more than likely that he was killed by a mob enforcer hitman. Frank Sheeran, and Richard Kuklinski are both possible suspects in the killing as Tony pro Hoffa's former friend turned nemesis who set up the fateful meeting with Hoffa in nineteen seventy five the question of who kill Jimmy Hoffa is just part of the mystery Hoffa's body has never been found in this episode will also cover the potential theories. As to where he ended up something Hoffa was cremated after his assassination other state that he was dissolved in an oil drum some even think he was buried underneath a famous football stadium. Jimmy Hoffa was born James riddle Hoffa on February fourteenth nineteen thirteen in Brazil, Indiana. He was one of four children, and he grew up in a BoomTown where his father worked as a coal miner from young age Jimmy witnessed the plight of the exploited worker. His father John Hoffa worked for low wages and had little to no protection from numerous hazards of the mine. He died in nineteen twenty when Jimmy was only seven with union protection. Hoffa's father might have lived longer as he watched his now widowed mother struggled to support her family by working multiple jobs. Jimmy internalized at a young age a sense of moral duty to protect workers rights in nineteen twenty four the Hoffa's settled in Detroit, which at the time was an emerging auto city for a few years Jimmy took on part time work to help his mother. Other in nineteen twenty nine when he was fifteen he dropped out of school and started working time at a Krogers warehouse. The work situation was unfair Jimmy and his fellow workers would wait for hours at the warehouse docks for the produce trucks to arrive, but the company only paid them for the time. They actually spent unloading boxes the workers didn't have much negotiating power by nineteen thirty the country was in the beginning. Throes of the great depression if Jimmy or his colleagues complained the company could simply fire them and replace them with one of hundreds of jobless men who lined up outside the warehouse every morning looking for work, the fairness of it all in rage, Jimmy and furthered his belief that unions were necessary to protect the rights of workers by nineteen thirty two Hoffa. Then nineteen didn't care if he was fired. He just wanted to make a point. Half lit walkout. He and his other dockworkers refused to unload the produce while the food rotted on the docks hafa and the other men barricaded the entrance. So that no one could get in. The tactic worked Hoffa and the other strikers manage to negotiate with croakers management to establish a one year contract guaranteeing job security and better pay. It was Jimmy Hoffa's first union deal. But after the year past their agreement expired and Kroger refused to negotiate another contract off a realized he needed the support of a broader organization, and so he reached out to the international brotherhood of Teamsters known as the IB t the Teamsters were technically truck drivers. But the organization was desperate to increase its membership. So that it could secure stronger collective bargaining power. As such with office help the Teamsters proposed that Hoffa and his fellow dockworkers fell under the same jurisdiction as truck drivers since they unloaded produce from trucks. The Kroger's warehouseman voted to join the IB t- local six seventy four chapter. They enjoyed the unions protection for a short time. But the six seventy four soon went bankrupt due to low membership and lost its charter. Hoffa was back where he started with no union and no contract. Kroger finally fired Hoffa in nineteen thirty five after he dropped a crate of vegetables during a confrontation with a Forman covering his superior in juice and Paul undeterred. The twenty two year old Hoffa used his connections within the IB t to secure a new job as an organiser at the office of the local to ninety nine a Detroit charter of the Teamsters. This would be the beginning of his lifelong, passion and obsession. The local to ninety nine only had four hundred members when Hoffa started working there. But the organization was looking to expand the automobile industry was rapidly growing, and thus the number of professional truck drivers was skyrocketing. The local to ninety nine wanted to recruit new members. So that they could make more induce and have a larger membership for negotiation purposes at around the same time that Hoffa joined the to ninety nine the group started employing ruthless mob light tactics to increase its membership. Offer would leave groups of men armed with baseball bats chains to car hauling companies throughout the city. His threat was simple. If the company didn't enroll its employees with the Teamsters than Hoffa and his men would bomb their trucks, these strong arm tactics made the Teamsters and Hoffa notorious throughout Detroit and. They were affective during the first few years after Hoffa joined the Teamsters union saw an uptick in membership. They were able to use that growing number of workers to leverage the trucking companies for better pay and benefits. So even though some these drivers had been coerced into joining they were now enjoying a better quality of life. And thus chose to commit to the Teamsters office recruitment efforts helped grow the Teamsters membership from west than one hundred thousand in nineteen thirty-three to nearly half a million by nineteen thirty nine. He was one of the most effective organizers the union had. Hoffa continued to rise up through the ranks of the union over the next decade. The US government had a high demand for drivers at the end of nineteen forty one after the country entered the second World War by then the Teamsters were large enough organization that they were able to take heavy advantage of these lucrative government contracts membership soared throughout the war Papa was made president of the local to ninety nine chapter in nineteen forty six by then he had his eyes set on the national stage. He continued to rise was the union rep for all of Michigan by nineteen fifty. His reputation grew as a rose in prominence. Those outside the union viewed him as a brute and a criminal whose default method of getting things done was violence, and extortion, but within the union Hoffa was seen as a champion of workers rights. A man who would stop at nothing to protect the Teamsters members the nineteen fifty two when he was thirty nine Hoffa was elected national vice president of the IB for nearly twenty years he had helped establish the Teamsters as an organization of national prominence. And now he was in a position to take them even higher half a began using the organization's financial resources to make political donations. His intent was to support politicians who would cooperate with the needs of the union. He couldn't have known at the time. But the practice he was establishing would one day help get him out of jail. Hoffa also began making inroads with the Geno vs and the buffalo Lino families. These were two prominent east coast mafia organisations Hoffa hadn't given up his own violent tactics. But now that he was the national vice president of one of the largest unions in the United States. He knew he needed a higher level of muscle to help secure his interests, the mafia supplied Hoffa with enforcers to help with the dirtier aspects of securing fair contracts for the Teamsters in return Hoffa appointed mobsters to leadership positions at local union charters and provided access to those charges. Finances and short the mob was able to use the union like a private off the grid banking service. That's Hoffa and the mob became entangled in each other's business. It was a mutually beneficial relationship. As long as both parties goals could coexist, but his hafa grew more powerful, and thus started to attract attention from law enforcement that relationship with start to strain. We'll discuss Hoffa's career on the national stage and the event leading to his disappearance right after this. You have the suspect's fingerprints at the crime scene. 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Again, search not guilty or visit park cast dot com slash not guilty to listen now. And don't forget you can hear the beginning of the first episode right after our show. Now back to the story by the mid nineteen fifties Jimmy Hoffa had helped build the Teamsters from a scrappy small collective of truck drivers to a national powerhouse of an organization that had deep political influence and financial ties to the mafia shortly after he became the vice president of the IB t the union relocated its headquarters to Washington DC, Hoffa's mob ties were quickly becoming public knowledge and the relocation to the nation's capital essentially dared, the country's leaders to make a move against him. And in nineteen fifty seven that is exactly what happened that year. The Senate formed of select committee on improper activities in labor and management to investigate the Teamsters and other labor related malfeasance. Senator John l McClellan was the chairman and Robert Kennedy brother of future. President John F. Kennedy was the chief counsel though, it was nicknamed the McClellan committee. Kennedy was the main force driving the investigation. Their first target was Teamsters president Dave Beck who had been reportedly lining his own pockets with union dues after televised hearing in which Beck invoked the fifth amendment the right to refuse to answer for fear of self incrimination sixty five times in one day. He was disgraced and did not seek reelection for the presidency of the IB t the government had inadvertently played into office hand as vice president of the union autho was the clear favourite to take over the presidency of the IB t he had the solid backing of local officers across the country and established relations with mob leadership. But the government wasn't going to be outdone hafa wanted to keep the McClellan committee focused on Beck. So that he could work his campaign unencumbered to that end. He offered a former federal officer named John site chased -i money to leak damning evidence of Beck's misdeeds back to Kennedy and act is spy for the Teamsters within the committee in March of nineteen fifty seven Hoffa made the blunder of meeting with chase d in person to deliver the bribe the F B I was waiting for him. And as soon as Hoffa handed over the money agents swarmed in and arrested him it was Hoffa's. I arrest. It would not be his last Hoffa was charged with attempted bribery and obstruction, but he was ultimately acquitted at his trial held in the summer of nineteen fifty seven so the prosecution had photographs of Hoffa in the act of trying to bribe chase iw. They had not considered the public response to Hoffa's arrest. The jury at the trial was two thirds African American off his lawyers employed, a strategy of linking his efforts as union leader to the civil rights movement, workers rights and civil rights. We're one in the same. According to the defense the tactic worked and Hoffa didn't serve time for the bribery charge. But Kennedy wasn't done after the trial in September of nineteen fifty seven Hoffa announced his goal to be named the new president of the IB t he won the union election with an overwhelming majority despite the McClellan committee investigation Hoffa was still quite popular among the Teamsters, but two major things happened over the next few years that signified Hoffa's luck was running out. I in nineteen fifty seven the FBI raided the now infamous Appalachian meeting, which was a summit of over. Sixty mafia bosses the bust was historic because for the first time law enforcement had proved that established the mafia as a nationwide criminal conspiracy. The public was made aware of the extent of the mob's corruption and the F B I was charged with rooting out mob activity. The second major development was the nineteen sixty election of John F. Kennedy. John Kennedy appointed his brother, Robert as Torney general Robert was now in a position to go after high profile mobsters criminals and Jimmy Hoffa was at the top of his list of targets under Kennedy's leadership. And with the support of the office of the attorney general the McClellan committee broke new ground in office case. Hoffa was tried a number of times over the next few years with no convictions. Ironically, it was for crimes he committed against his own union that ultimately led to his downfall. In nineteen sixty four Hoffa was arrested and tried for using the Teamster pension fund for personal loans and investments he was personally profiting off of land investments in Florida that he had made with Teamster money and had even loan money. From the pensions to mobsters to invest in mob controlled casinos in Las Vegas and Cuba. In short hafa was using Teamster money to help fund criminal enterprises. Thanks to Robert Kennedy's team of prosecutors who by then were being called the get huff squad. Jimmy Hoffa was found guilty of pension fraud and jury tampering and sentenced to thirteen years in federal prison office meant the next three. Years trying to appeal the charge to no avail. He was admitted to Pennsylvania's Lewisburg federal penitentiary in March of nineteen sixty seven when he was fifty four years old. Hoffa tried to govern from inside the prison, despite his incarceration, he maintained his title as the president of the IB T, but named one of his longtime supporters and recently elected vice president Frank Fitzsimmons as the acting president Fitzsimmons was to be a puppet for Hoffa, but not everything would go, according to plan Fitzsimmons, gradually gained more popularity with Teamsters rank and file members and started to replace Hoffa supporters with his own men in high ranking positions, he maintained the unions, cozy relationship with a mob and under his leadership, the mobsters were granted even more access to the Teamsters substantial financial resources hafa did what he could to maintain his influence from his cell at Lewisburg. He had the company of Anthony, Tony pro Provenzano, a captain of the New York Genevieve's crime family who had been a tea. Teamsters vice president before he too was jailed for pension fraud. The two initially continued their alliance in prison with Tony pro using his mob ties to gain respect from other prisoners. However things turned sour between the two men after nasty argument Hoffa found out that Fitzsimmons was granting the mob greater access to Teamster funds. And he felt that the union needed to start putting limits on what they allowed the mafia to get away with Tony pro didn't take too kindly to that idea. But Hoffa doubled down. According to witnesses half, a laid his entire incarceration at Tony pros feet. He blamed the mob and the reckless spending forgetting him arrested and convicted in the first place Hoffa hated prison. He hated the feeling of powerlessness, and he hated that the union he had dedicated his life to building was becoming more and more of a shell for the Ma. Bob. He knew that when he got out and retook control of the Teamsters. They're going to be some changes Tony pro and his mafia compatriots weren't particularly happy about that attitude, and thus a rift began to form between Hoffa and his former friends hafa had benefited from the mob support for decades. Now, it seemed he was setting himself up to learn what it was like to have the mafia as an enemy. Hoffa didn't even serve half of his thirteen year prison sentence. He was released in nineteen seventy one when he was pardoned by president Richard Nixon, Nixon was preparing for the nineteen seventy two election and was looking to secure blue collar votes. He allegedly made an arrangement with Fitz Simons that included pardoning Hoffa in exchange for Teamster support. Only after he was released from prison did Hoffa find out that Nixon had imposed a condition to the parole. Officer was not to be involved in union activities until March nineteen eighty this was possibly Fitzsimmons work as well he'd secured his former bosses release, but had also ensured he wouldn't be able to take back his position. The outraged. Auto was determined to retake his command at whatever cost he wanted to de-legitimize Fitzsimmons leadership. By exposing his supposed- mob ties. This was a dangerous course of action Fitzsimmons had done his part to make the mob. Happy Hoffa with his public conviction and banned from handling union. Business was something of a pariah moving on Fitzsimmons might be seen as an active aggression. But Hoffa didn't seem to care the union was his and he made it clear that he would do whatever it took to get his power back and doing so he may well have played a role in securing his own downfall. On July thirtieth nineteen seventy-five. Jimmy Hoffa had a lunch appointment with two. Mafia leaders Anthony, Jack Loney of the Detroit partnership, and Tony pro of the Geno VI's family. They were to meet at two pm at the parking lot of the matches red Foxx a restaurant in the suburb of Detroit off felt comfortable with the meeting location. They were meeting in a public place at a restaurant that was well known to him the red FOX at hosted Hoffa's son's wedding reception. The likely purpose of the meeting was for Tony pro and Hoffa to reconcile while. Jack Aloni mediated the conversation. Tony pro had been making death threats towards Hoffa ever since they had a falling out at Lewis Berg in nineteen seventy four off ahead asked Tony for his support to run for re election to the presidency of the IB t Tony pro responded that he would pull out Hoffa's guts and kidnap is. Granddaughters. Tony pro was not a person that one would want as an enemy in addition to the men that he had dealt with as a mob enforcer. He was also known to take extreme measures to make his political opponents disappear. There was never proof of these allegations. Because the bodies were never found hafa couldn't afford to take Tony's threats lightly, which is why he needed to reconcile with him to have a chance at the presidency off awaited for fifteen minutes by two fifteen. He was still alone in the parking lot. And he was getting irritated off a cold his wife Josephine in a fury to check. If he had any messages. He didn't no one had called the house. He kept waiting in the parking lot pacing around his green Pontiac at around three pm. He called his friend Lewis, Lynn, tow, a former Teamster officials. Missile and complained that he was being stood up. Lynn toad tried to come. Huff it down Hoffa eventually relented and even made plans to meet Lynn toe after the meeting off then hung up that phone. Call was the last time anyone heard from Jimmy Hoffa. Hoffa had told Josephine he'd be home by four. He didn't show up and the next morning. She started making calls to anyone who might know where her husband was she called each of her children growing more desperate as each claimed. Not to have heard anything from their father, Lynn, tow her that Hoffa was missing and went to the red FOX to see if he could learn anything he found Hoffa's green Pontiac still in the parking lot of the matches red Foxx. Hafa? However was nowhere to be seen James Hoffa. Jimmy son filed a missing persons report that night the local police soon reached out to the FBI office. Disappearance felt eerily like a mob hit the FBI rounded up the usual suspects. But they made no progress in the case, they knew that Hoffa was supposed to meet Tony pro and Jack Aloni, but both men had solid. Alibis Jack Loney had been getting a haircut. And Tony pro was in New Jersey playing cards. Why both men had airtight alibis during the time period when they were supposed to be meeting with Hoffa is naturally a major question in the Jimmy Hoffa mystery. But with no trace of a body and no witnesses the search for Hoffa dried up he was declared legally dead in nineteen eighty two the legacy of his mystery, however would live on in. Spawn a canvas of theories and speculation as to what really happened. We'll cover the major suspected theory as to what really happened to Jimmy Hoffa after this. Now back to the story. On a summer day in nineteen seventy five famed union leader turned convicted felon, Jimmy Hoffa phoned his wife, and then his friend from the parking lot of a restaurant where he was waiting to meet with his former mafia friends, they were the last calls he ever made and Hoffa was never seen again after that day. This is the end of what the F B I and the public know for sure and where the story starts to splinter off into different theories. Everything else that follows from now on is only corroborated by individual accounts, and are essentially speculations. Jimmy Hoffa's body has never been found and without that vital evidence to shine the light on what happened all those years ago almost any theory could be true. The first theory is that a hitman named Frank Sheeran executed the hit on Hoffa Sheeran. A high ranking mob affiliate of the buffalo. Lino family and longtime friend of Hoffa recalls. The day in Charles brands two thousand four book. I heard you paint houses Frank the Irishman Sheeran and closing the case on Jimmy Hoffa in the biography. Frank states that he was sent to the red FOX to meet Hoffa for the two pm meeting. He was accompanied by Salvatori Sally, bugs Brig aglow. Tony pros right hand, man. Chuckie O'Brien one of Hoffa's longtime friends, drove them in a maroon mercury that was believed to belong to Jack Aloni son Hoffa recognize the car and the men when they finally arrived at the red FOX he likely assumed that they were there to pick him up, and that the meeting location had changed hafa was era -tated. But he knew he couldn't pass up the chance to make peace with Tony. He got in the car with the men. After a short drive their rive at a house Sheeran. Hoffa got out of the car. O'brien and Sally bugs stayed inside. The car is they weren't important enough to be at a meeting of the significance. But Hoffa trusted Sheeran. Hoffa walked into the house first and as Shirin entered he shut the door behind him. As he entered the foyer off of realized that nobody was in the house to greet them. Oughta began to suspect that he and Shirin were about to be ambushed little did he know that Sheeran was complicit in the plan by Sheeran's account as Hoffa turn to leave the house Sheeran leveled his handgun and shot Hoffa twice behind the right ear Sheeran left immediately, leaving the body and the gun on the floor. Low ranking mob affiliates would later clean up the blood and wipe the house of any evidence. Hoffa's body was cremated. Before he died in two thousand three here told numerous reporters that he murdered Hoffa almost as if confessing his sins Sheeran was one of the most trusted associates of Russell Buffa Lino and extremely powerful mob boss who feared that Hoffa's threats to expose Teamster and mob ties would become reality. Buff Lino would have the authority to order a hit on Hoffa and here in as one of his most trusted and skilled affiliates. Would logically be his picked to execute the plan. Although Sheeran was good friends with Hoffa to he knew that if he were to refuse. Buffalo knows orders. He would risk being killed himself Sheeran's account was fuzzy, but the FBI was able to use his confession to track down the house where the alleged murder took place the physical description he provided matched up and the timing was right to the house wasn't being rented to anyone during. The time period in which the murder took place. Finally within the house, the FBI found the smoking gun or more, specifically, the blood that the gun had shed. There were bloodstains underneath the hardwood floors of the foyer, but after extensive testing, none of the blood was linked to Hoffa's DNA. Frank Sheeran's account was one of the more viable theories on what happened to Jimmy Hoffa. But in the absence of a body or even proof of what really happened that day in nineteen seventy five dozens of other theories have emerged. This leads us to our second theory. Although Hoffa's DNA wasn't found in the house that Sheeran described. They did find Hoffa's DNA someplace else in Chucky O'Brien's car, which Frank Sheeran described in his story in the back seat of O'Brien's car. There was a three inch piece of Hoffa's hair. This could mean that Hoffa was in O'Brien's car the day of his death, contrary to Shirin story that they were in a maroon mercury belonging to Jack Aloni son as Jimmy Hoffa's son James describes they have our full cooperation with regard to this prosecution, and we shouldn't wait thirty months. We should bring to Justice those people who are responsible for my father's disappearance who Brian May have been the sole person to pick up Hoffa from the parking lot of the matches red FOX and take him to an undisclosed location to be murdered as we've said O'Brien and Hoffa used to be close. But while Hoffa was in jail O'Brien switched his loyalty to Fitzsimmons wanted to retain the Teamsters presidency. Perhaps O'Brien's newfound allegiance led him to commit the murder, but he never publicly claimed that it was him. In fact, he vehemently denied having anything to do with the disappearance. A third theory implicates both O'Brien and Shereen in the murder. Terrence McShane was a former FBI agent. He was also the chairman of the board of monitors of the IB tea and as such supervised a cleanup of the union beginning in nineteen fifty eight. He shared the account of an unnamed east coast Teamster official who claim to be a witness to the murder, according to this east coast Teamster office tensions with the mafia not only stemmed from his determination to replace Fitzsimmons. But also from issues in his marital life. This theory centers around the premise that Hoffa was a busy man often out of town for union business and that this supposedly left his wife Josephine lonely and available. These coast Teamster allege that Josephine had an affair with a low level Detroit mobster named Anthony semi when Hoffa found out he went to the kingpin of the Detroit mob. Anthony's Ereli for help with this matter. Supposedly this caused Sara Lee does lose respect for Hoffa because of his inability to handle his family issues by himself. The combination of Hoffa having lost face with the mob and the mobs reluctance to have him resume leadership of the Teamsters set the stage for the murder Zarella consulted with Russell Buffa Lino about Hoffa as one of buffalo knows men. Tony pro had tension with Hoffa from their days in the Lewisburg penitentiary, the two mob bosses decided that the best way to settle. The problems would be to order a hit on Hoffa by the east coast Teamsters account on July thirtieth nineteen seventy five O'Brien was driving the car to meet Hoffa with Tony pro in the passenger seat in Sheeran sitting in the rear Hoffa was lured into the car. And as he sat next to sheer in the rear seat sharing smashed a gun but to his head to knock him. Unconscious and then strangled Hoffa to death with the wire afterwards. O'brien drove the car to a mob affiliated sanitation services company down the street where the anonymous Teamster witnessed them put Hoffa's corpse into the incinerator. Although this theory seems plausible at first there are a few inconsistent details. I there are no other records of Hoffa having trouble in his marital life. He's largely written about as a family man for whom family came first and the union second second, if his wife was having an affair with a low level mobster, isn't it questionable? Why Hoffa would bring the issue to the kingpin of the Detroit mob, regardless? Tony pro had a firm alibi during the time that Hoffa disappeared. He was in New Jersey playing cards, though, if he did have a hand in orchestrating Hoffa's death. Then the alibi would make for a shrewd move. So even though Terence McShane seems to have credentials connections that could give him a unique insight into Hoffa's death. This theory is probably incorrect. The final theory centers around Richard Kuklinski, a hitman affiliated with the east coast mob in New Jersey and New York Kuklinski was well acquainted with Tony pro from their childhood days. Tony pro had an order for a hit from Russell Buffa Lino and decided that Kuklinski was trustworthy enough for the job a may afternoon of July thirtieth nineteen seventy five an unidentified driver Kuklinski, and Tony pro drove to the matches red FOX restaurant and met hafa in the parking lot. Tony pro got out of the car to greet Hoffa and lured him into the back seat. Tony retook his spot in the front seat leaving Hoffa in the back next to Kuklinski a few minutes after they had driven out of the parking lot. Tony pro gave the signal for Kuklinski to attack Kuklinski drew a job raker from his hiding place in swung it via. Silently at Hoffa knocking him out as Hoffa's head load against his shoulder. Kuklinski struck the final blow driving a knife through his head the unnamed driver pulled the car over at a rest stop, and he cook linski and Tony pro stuffed Hoffa's body into a body bag Kuklinski drove the car with Hoffa's body to New Jersey to junk yard under Polaski skyway there. He and other mom associates at the junkyard put the body in an oil drum and set it on fire before welding shot and varying it. A few years later as the story goes an unnamed mobster had gotten in trouble with the law, and there was a rumor that he might cooperate with the F B I about the remnants of Hoffa's body in order to avoid the risk of the oil drum being found by the FBI. It was Doug backup compacted in the trunk of a car and sent off to Japan as scrap metal that would be used for car parts. Again, the problem with Kuklinski's story is that Tony pro wasn't actually in Detroit at the time of office disappearance. Also, hafa was a smart, man. It isn't so believable that he would have gotten into a car where he didn't know most of the people sitting in it, especially since Hoffa knew that Tony pro had a grudge against him. He would be cautious. So this gives us two stories from people with intimate knowledge of the situation and to direct confessions from people admitting to the murder and disposal of the body. If only one of these stories existed, it may be more believable. But the presence of two conflicting stories just muddles the truth, and in all honesty, makes it more likely that the real answer to this mystery will never be found the problem with all of these accounts is that in the absence of body. None of them can be fully verified share. In his long dead. And the fact that he laid out such detailed confession seems to make his story the most likely theory, there's a lot of corroborating factors even though a lot of the story relies mostly on Sharon's word. Although the F B I didn't find any of Hoffa's DNA in the blood at the house where the murder allegedly took place DNA's lifespan can depend on the weather exposure to chemicals and other factors taking into account that the mom affiliates cleaned the house afterward. It could also be that they did a supremely thorough job and didn't leave any biological evidence behind. They might have been pretty experienced at this after all given that Hoffa was a famous and powerful figure in America at the time. It's likely that only a high level mobster could have ordered his head Sheeran's close connection to Buffa Lino lens his story the most credibility in. I heard you paint houses Shirin recounts, a meeting with buffalo Lino Hoffa and himself buffalo Lena was trying to tell Hoffa not to run for the presidency of the Teamsters and to let Fitzsimmons continue leading the union. He hinted that other mafia bosses even more powerful than he was perturbed by Hoffa's threats to expose the mob and the rumors surrounding him cooperating with the FBI, but Hoffa determined and strong willed neglected these warnings. Jimmy, Hoffa's disappearance in the mystery behind his final resting place has become a cornerstone of American pop culture. His is one of the most famous cold cases in American history, and it has worked its way into the very fabric of our culture, like many, cultural touchstones Hoffa's legacy has at times crossed over from mystery to parody for every new book or dateline special exploring the story. There is a TV show or movie making Hoffa a punchline the specter of Jimmy Hoffa has made appearances on everything from the X files to the Simpsons. The discovery of his body was even a main plot point of Bruce almighty, the mystery of his disappearance became a running joke among the mob one story claims that after he was murdered. His remains were buried in the cornerstone of the renaissance hotel in Detroit. Jack Aloni would reportedly wave Hello to Jimmy whenever he passed a building on the street. When it comes to Jimmy Hoffa, even real-life can get a little ridiculous for years. One of the more fanciful theories about where Jimmy Hoffa was sanded like a plot from the sopranos, according to this rumor after the hit a mobster dumped Hoffa's body in the construction site for what was Giants Stadium in New Jersey in two thousand ten the TV show Mythbusters even took a crack at proving or disproving the starey when they scan the field with ground penetrating radar. However, they proved that the giants theory was just that a theory that like all the others didn't provide enough evidence to be considered. As fact if his been over forty years since Jimmy Hoffa went to that fateful meeting at the red FOX in all that time. No reporter, no law enforcement officer, no friend, or family member has ever been able to locate. His remains as more and more people who were alive back then die off each passing year makes it that much less likely that will ever know the truth Jimmy Hoffa associated with dangerous mobsters in order to help secure his own rise to power in the end. It was his own ambition that likely killed him Hoffa was declared legally dead in nineteen eighty two. But given what we know about the circumstances. He almost certainly did not survive that nineteen seventy five meeting with whomever was the mob sent to pick him up. No matter what gruesome fate befell his body. Jimmy Hoffa is and will likely remain one of the most famous missing persons cases in American history. And so long as his body is not found. There will always be new theories as to what really happened. Thanks again for tuning into gone. We'll be back in two weeks with another episode. You can find all previous episodes of gone as well as all par casts. Other shows on Spotify and anywhere else. You listen to podcasts. Several of you have asked how to help us if you enjoy the show the best way to help is to leave a five star review. And don't forget to follow us on Facebook and Instagram at par cast and Twitter at park cast network. We'll see next time just because it's gone doesn't mean it can't be found. Gone was created. By max Cutler is a production of Cutler media, and as part of the par cast network. It is produced by max and Ron Cutler sound designed by Andy weights with production assistance by Ron Shapiro. Paul Moller, Maggie add Meyer, and Freddie Beckley. This episode of gone was written by jasmine Kim and stars Molly Brandenburg and Richard Rossner. And here it is a clip of the first episode of not guilty. It's about Robert Blake whose wife was found dead in his car from gunshot wound to the back of her head to listen to the full first episode subscribed to not guilty on Spotify. Or wherever you listen to podcasts. Due to the graphic nature of this investigation and trial. Listener discretion is advised. This episode includes discussions of murder and sexuality that some people may find offensive we advise extreme caution for listeners under thirteen. On the night of may fourth two thousand one newlyweds Bonnie, Lee Bakley and Robert Blake ate dinner together at vitelle os and talion restaurant in the studio city neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. It was one of Blake's regular haunts even earning him in upon this dish on the menu facetiously ministre, Allah Robert Blake normally when he came to tell us he utilized the restaurants valet service tonight. He parked his nineteen ninety one dodge stealth on the street a block and a half away after dinner Blake in Bonnie headed to his car to drive home. But before driving off Blake realized he'd forgotten something inside the restaurant. He left Bonnie to wait while he retrieved it assuring her that he'd be right back. The next ten minutes would change both of their lives forever. Blake returned to a horrific scene. Blood was everywhere. Bonnie had been shot twice and struggled with every breath. Blake frantically ran to a nearby house and they called nine one one. Blake found an off duty nurse and enlisted her help rushing her back to his car pleading for her to do what she could to save his wife. But by the time, Bonnie Lee, Bakley reached Saint Joseph medical center in Burbank at ten fifteen pm less than thirty minutes from the time she'd been shot she was dead. How should we determine a person's guilt? Do we defer to the evidence discovered by police or the verdict reached by jury and what happens when the evidence and the verdict don't line up. Hi, I'm Vanessa Richardson. And this is not guilty apar- cast original each week. We look at complicated. Criminal cases that test the limits of innocent until proven guilty. I will follow the police as they gathered evidence and testimony to build a case in charge a suspect in our next episode. We'll see that evidence play out in the courtroom and understand how the jury reached their verdict this week. We're examining the two thousand one murder of Bonny Lee Bakley will examine the investigation into her death her colorful celebrity stocking past and how police narrow down there several suspects. Next week. We'll follow the resulting criminal trial civil trial and see for ourselves. How the evidence matches up with the verdict. LAPD Detective Ronald ITO arrived on the scene in studio city, just before midnight on may fourth two thousand one he quickly got up to speed with the other officers who had been working the area since they arrived around ten pm. They had already discovered a gun in a dumpster around the corner and believed it was the murder weapon, but the World War Two era nine millimeter pistol had no serial number which made it practically impossible to trace back to the owner. Etoh noted that sixty eight year old Robert Blake was in hysterics three times. He asked for a glass of water drained it then puked it out onto the grass. It was either very good or very bad acting from the television star ITO couldn't decide which from his career experience. Ito knew that more often than not a husband was connected to his wife's murder and Blake was the last. One to see Bonnie alive. Ito had also read tabloid headlines about Blake and his recent baby mama drama with the victim. Forty four year old Bonny Lee Bakley, he hoped the actor would cooperate with the investigation he had a reputation as being a bit temperamental. In the five years since OJ Simpson had been found not guilty discussions of celebrity privilege had continued in Los Angeles Justice system, ITO was aware of the possible impact Blake stardom from his days as TV cop. Baretta might have on the case the burden of proof was that much heavier. Every step would be by the book, Robert was still visibly shaken, but agreed to accompany ITO back to the police station for an interview the detective noted that once in the car Blake's demeanor was calmer. And by the time, they reached the station he was explaining an extensive detail. All of the many reasons why several people had good reason to come after his late wife. Blake didn't mince words with the detectives Bonny Lee Bakley was a con artist. He claimed that she had been running a lonely hearts scam for thirty years writing letters to single men around the country, sending them naked pictures, pretending to be in love with them all in exchange for money. Well, she didn't outright ask for cash. Instead, she let her pen, pals know, how grateful she would be to them for a little monetary assistance. Bonnie would claim she was short on rent or her cat was sick or her car needed to be repaired. If they would just be so kind as the sender. A few hundred bucks Bonnie would fix her car and immediately drive to meet them, then she described in graphic detail how vigorously she would thank them for their help. Though. Of course, she never did show up her next letter would say she got lost or ran out of gas money or the repairs cost more than she expected. If only they could send a bit more money or even better a credit card number Robert Blake told detective ITO that he didn't know about his wife's letter service until after they married in November of two thousand Bonnie had only recently relocated to Los Angeles. So they could raise their eleven month old daughter Rosie together. Ito ask Blake to describe his relationship with Bonnie how they met. The pair were first introduced it. Comedian Chuck McCann's sixty four th birthday party in August of nineteen ninety eight another guest screenwriter will Jordan had brought Bonnie as date, but it was Blake that she left with they drove back to her hotel in Hollywood he said they did sleep together that night. But it wasn't a big deal. They started up a casual relationship, Bonnie, forty two at the time lived in Memphis, Tennessee, but made frequent trips to Los Angeles to see sixty five year old Blake in between visits. They talked on the phone and wrote letters regular letters. He stressed not the dirty ones. She wrote to schmucks. Bunny told Blake then that she was on birth control. But he found out later that the pill. She took were actually for Tila ty- drugs by late nineteen ninety nine. She was pregnant when detective ITO asked Blake how he felt about the baby Blake admitted that he had hoped Bonnie would get an abortion. Instead she had the baby in June of two thousand they decided to get married. A few months later after hammering out a very aggressive prenuptial agreement. It precluded Bonnie from inheriting any of Blake's money or property at any point. She also signed a temporary custody agreement granting Blake sole physical custody of their daughter. Bonnie's visits would be prescheduled and monitored Blake assured ITO that he was glad now to have Rosie. She was a perfect little baby girl and he loved her. But when he I found out Bonnie was pregnant he. He had no interest in being a father. Again, he was sixty eight years old with two grown children. He didn't need any more. This was why Rosie was now living with his daughter thirty four year old Delina Blake. She had wanted kids of her own. But was unable to have any at the time. Now, she had Rosie it worked out for everyone. Ito asked Blake to walk him through the events of the evening. They went to dinner at vitelle those Blake reported that before they left the house Bonnie asked him to bring along one of his guns. She thought someone was stalking her and felt safer with his thirty eight nearby. They parked on the street a little over a block away from the restaurant. The hostess sat them in Blake's customary corner booth around eight thirty pm after they ate Blake paid the Bill his receipt timestamped nine twenty three pm, but when they reached his car, he realized that he'd left his jacket and the thirty eight caliber handgun in the booth. He left Bonnie to wait while he went back to the restaurant to retrieve them while there he asked for two glasses of water and drank them, both when he got back to the car at nine thirty eight PM he found bunny had been shot twice. She was barely alive. Frantic Blake ran to the nearest house and banged on the door. He had to try more than one house before someone would answer when they did he insisted that they call nine one one police registered the call at nine forty pm Blake. Then ran back to vitelle owes to see if there was a doctor present Terry Lorenzo custody. Ada a nurse jumped up from her dinner to help. But by the time, they reached Bonnie, she was bleeding from her eyes nose and mouth, custom yadda. Couldn't do anything. Then the lights and sirens arrived by the time. The ambulance reached the hospital at ten fifteen pm Bonnie was dead on arrival. Blake then reiterated to ITO that Bonnie had pissed off a lot of people over the years with her letter scheme. She had plenty of reasons to think someone was following her. This was probably the work of some guy. She bilked revenge ITO wrote down the theory, but also noted how quickly Blake turned from visceral grief moaning on the sidewalk to trash talking the deceased mother of his child. So far it appeared to detective ITO that Robert Blake had plenty of motive to kill his wife and ample opportunity, he also had the means Blake owned several guns. In addition to the thirty eight caliber, but the forensics team found no significant gun powder residue when they tested his hands. And no blood on his clothes Bonnie was shot at point blank range. It was unlikely that the shooter could've walked away free of. Any spotter. Frustrated ITO sent Blake home. He knew he was missing something. He needed more information and more manpower ITO reached out to another detective Brian Tendal to join the investigation. Together, the detective spoke with Bonnie's younger sister in Dover. New Jersey thirty nine year old Marjorie Bakley. She had learned of the murder, not even four hours after it occurred when tabloid reporters arrived on her doorstep just after midnight on may fifth two thousand one they asked her who would have wanted to kill MRs Robert Blake Marjorie told the gossip rags the same thing. She later told detectives it was Robert Blake simple as that. She said, quote, I didn't agree with what? My sister was doing to him. There was a point when I felt sorry for what she was doing with the baby but murder is wrong. There is a better way to deal with things and quote detective ITO asked Margery to verify Blake's claims about the pregnancy. Was it true that Bonnie had intentionally become pregnant contrary to Blake's wishes Marjorie? Admitted that Bonnie had harboured the fantasy of marrying a celebrity for most of her life when presented with the chance to finally bag Hollywood man, she would have done whatever necessary including getting knocked up. She tried to justify her sister's behavior explaining that Bonnie's childhood was to mull choice. Their father was a drunk and molested her. Their mother was no better a dour woman who referred to the children as stupid and ugly. She abandoned Bonnie at age eleven sending her to live with their maternal grandmother. It made Bonnie feel like no one wanted or loved her Marjorie described their grandmother Grammy hall as tight fisted. She only bought secondhand clothes and didn't allow Bonnie to bathe daily thinking it was a waste of water. Bonnie was teased at school for her old worn out clothes and rat's nest hair. It made her all the more determined to prove the bullies wrong by becoming famous star or at the very least adjacent to a famous star. It took Marjorie a minute to recount for ITO. All of the celebrities Bonnie had chased over the years. She spent the summer she turned twenty in Graceland trying to catch a glimpse of Elvis, but then he died the next year in nineteen seventy seven Dean Martin in the early nineties before he died. Gary Busey, Chuck mcken chubby checker all of the Frankie's valley Sinatra and Avalon she followed some for a few months. Others for years starting in nineteen Eighty-four Bonnie spent nearly two decades stocking Jerry Lee Lewis ingratiating herself in the outer rings of his circle she befriended roadies bodyguards even Lewis is wife's personal secretary. Anyone who might help her get close bunny even tried to claim in nineteen Ninety-three that Lewis was the father of one of her daughter's naming her third child. Old Jerry Lee, spelled J E R. I L E when she leaked the story to tabloids. The singer ordered a paternity test and cleared his name. Detective Tendal pointed out the similarity in Bonnie's tactics with Lewis and with Blake Marjorie agreed. Her sister was a determined woman. Who knew what she wanted Bonnie had once told her that being around celebrity made her feel better than other people it made her forget about her time as the smelly little girl in old clothes ITO asked Margery if she remembered the last time, they spoke she told him they talked for several hours the morning of the murder from eight AM to two thirty PM Bonnie was panicky terrified of Blake and certain he wanted to kill her but was trying to play off her fear with humor, she instructed Marjorie, which tabloid reporter. She wanted to write her obituary and what headshots to use for the magazines ITO asked. Why Bonnie thought Blake was after her Marjorie said it came straight from the horse's mouth apparently the night before her murder. Had gotten into an argument. He told Bonnie, quote, I've got a bullet with your name on it. And quote, Bonnie insisted that she wasn't just some Bimbo. He could push around. She said, quote, I must be kind of smart. I got you to finally marry me. I got myself a movie star. And nobody thought I could do it and quote, according to Marjorie Blake fired back, quote, girl, you better remember who you are dealing with. I'll kill your ass and quote. Coming up. Detectives ITO and tend to learn more about Bonnie's letter scheme and try to connect the murder weapon to a suspect.

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