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On October 21st, 1927—a year after the murder of Ward “Casey” Jones—Birger gangman Rado Millich mounts the gallows, reads aloud his final words, and is hanged.

The testimony of Jesse Cremer, a witness to the murder of Joe Adams, results in the conviction of Harry Thomasson. In August 1927, Sheriff Coleman arrests Fred “Butch” Thomasson and Joe Booher for the murder of Lyle “Shag” Worsham. Meanwhile, Arlie Boswell is again fired upon by, he believes, members of the Birger gang.

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SIU / SIU

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with SIU Admissions Director John Frost and Alumni Association Executive Director Jeff Gleim about the new "Recruit A Saluki" program.

At trial, Art Newman’s schemes are expected to ensure convictions for Charlie Birger and Ray Hyland, leading the men’s attorneys to mount a weak defense. While Newman and Hyland receive life imprisonment, Birger’s hanging is scheduled for October 14th.

SIU Brings Bucky's Legacy to a New Generation

Dec 28, 2020
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Mick Haupt unslpash

On this edition of WSIU InFocus, Pioneering Design Professor Buckminster Fuller's ideas are being brought to today's SIU Students, as a part of an Honors Class on the SIU Carbondale Campus.


Charlie Birger’s trial unfolds, captivating the entire town, from reporters to small children. Witnesses to the gangsters’ crimes tell story after story of their harrowing ordeals.

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Southern Illinois University

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with SIU President Dan Mahony as he closes out 2020 and prepares for 2021 as the system's CEO.

SIU Virtual Tree Walk
Tree Campus Higher Education / Tree Campus Higher Education

The SIU Forestry Club and Tree Campus Higher Education Committee had to cancel their annual campus tree walk in the fall because of COVID-19.

The tree campus committee has to provide a service learning event to maintain their tree campus designation.

After a brief trial full of conflicting testimony, two Birger gang members, Eural Gowan and Rado Millich, are convicted of killing Ward “Casey” Jones.

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with SIU Political Science Department Chair Tobin Grant about the 2020 Electoral College vote, and how it compares to previous elections.

Birger and his gang members confess to numerous crimes and murders, including the gruesome killing of an innocent witness, Ethel Price. As the truth comes out, shaking Southern Illinois to its core, Birger attentively watches the trials’ outcomes, aware of his own precarious fate.

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Southern Illinois University

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with SIUC Chancellor Austin Lane. 

The Thomasson brothers confess to the murder of Joe Adams and recount the details of the crime, revealing the roles of Charlie Birger and Art Newman.

All three Shelton brothers are sentenced to 25 years in prison for the mail robbery in Collinsville; meanwhile, the body of patrolman Lory Price is found. Charlie Birger is arrested at his home, and Arlie Boswell is attacked and threatened by an anonymous letter.

People
Southern Illinois University

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with SIU President Dan Mahony, as the system moves from a hybrid of online and in-person classes to a fully online plan for the rest of the semester.

Shady Rest is destroyed in an explosion and four bodies are found at the scene. Soon after, state highway patrolman Lory Price, who remarked that he had seen Charlie Birger, Art Newman, and Connie Ritter driving toward the scene that night, goes missing along with his pregnant wife Ethel. Charlie Birger testifies against the Sheltons in the trial for the Collinsville mail robbery.

The Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at SIUC is partnering with the University of Illinois Institute for Government and Public Affairs' Edgar Fellows program to highlight leaders in the state working for the greater good.

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SIU / SIU

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with SIUC's Director Admissions, John Frost, about recruiting during a pandemic, along with the university's "Getting to Know SIU" night - set for this Tuesday (11/17). 

With the murder of Joe Adams and the theft of a local reverend’s brand new red Chevrolet, the Birger gang’s criminal disruptions have pushed the law to its limit, and authorities devise a plot to arrest Charlie for good.

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SIU / SIU

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with SIUC Chancellor Austin Lane, as students prepare to move to online classes for the remainder of Fall 2020, and look ahead to Spring 2021.

A bank robbery, attacks on Shady Rest, home bombings, and even the murder of a mayor: the squabbles between Birger’s gang and his enemies grow increasingly violent as Birger’s notoriety spreads.

When Birger and his gang have scores to settle, dressing in drag might be their best option to take care of their dirty business. Meanwhile, Birger resorts to threats of violence to keep the doings of his gang under wraps.

The war between the Birger and Shelton gangs rages on, with Charlie Birger desperate to get his hands on the Sheltons’ prized tank. In October, the bodies of two gangsters are discovered, with no culprits in sight.

Summer and fall of 1926 sees several attacks and murders in quick succession between the Birger and Shelton gangs. The Sheltons’ attack on their former friend Art Newman and his wife Bessie causes Newman to reconsider his allegiances.

People
Southern Illinois University

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with SIUC Chancellor Austin Lane about how the campus is handling COVID-19, along with what he's working on to boost enrollment in the future.

Relations between Birger and the Sheltons break down, owing to a variety of circumstances, including Birger’s refusal to pay the Sheltons their cut of the proceeds from local slot machines. Tensions in Williamson County are nearing a breaking point.

New Illinois Supreme Court rulings force Attorney Arlie Boswell to dismiss dozens of liquor cases. In 1926, a Herrin election sparks another battle between the Klan and bootleggers, which spells the ending of the Klan’s influence in Southern Illinois.

Todd Graham, SIU Debate Coach
SIU

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with SIU Debate Director Todd Graham ahead of the first Presidential Debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.

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Southern Illinois University

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with SIU President Dan Mahony about the university's response and plans surrounding COVID-19, and also recent "Conversations of Understanding" and initiatives combatting racism throughout the system.

One of a string of burglaries south of Harrisburg in 1925 leads to the arrest and trial of one of Birger’s most notorious gangsters, a man known by the pseudonym “Steve George.” In 1926, Birger marries his new wife, Bernice.

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