A single shot…a fatal “gutwound”…murder in coldblood…
George Remus, the “King of the Bootleggers,” killed his wife Imogene on October 6, 1927, in Cincinnati’s Eden Park. The Queen City became the stage for one of the most sensational and media-saturated trials of the Jazz Age. Proving himself worthy as the evil genius of the Roaring Twenties, George devised a strategy to outwit the jury, convincing them that he had done society a favor by killing his wife. Remus claimed that she had wrecked his home, not only stealing his fortune, but taking on a lover.
At the time viewed as more a folk hero than confessed murderer, Remus and his co-counsel, the legal wunderkind Charles Elston, convinced the jurors that George had been insane when he pulled the trigger, driven mad by Imogene’s duplicity. “Temporary maniacal insanity,” was what Remus called it.
While George’s life would be spared, the state of Ohio would not let him go free. He was committed to the Lima State Hospital for the Criminally Insane, where he would — ironically — battle the courts to prove that he was no longer insane and not a threat to society. On February 21, 1928, he and Elston had Dr. P. I. Tussing testify that George was sane. The alienist even went so far as to assert that the murder was “what a large percent of normal persons would do under similar circumstances.”
The wrangling would continue…insane for an instant…sane ever after… The saga of George Remus and his fight for freedom would continue.
Read more in Bob Batchelor’s The Bourbon King: The Life and Crimes of George Remus, Prohibition’s Evil Genius, coming soon from Diversion Books.