Saturday is the anniversary of one of Missouri’s most sensational crimes, an event that turned the FBI into the major law enforcement agency it is today. But one investigator thinks FBI lying about the case led to the execution of a man who might not have been there. June 17, 1933 – law enforcement officers are escorting a criminal to a car from Union Station in Kansas City when three men sent to rescue hoodlum Frank Nash show up. Shooting breaks out. Among the four law officers killed was an agent for the Justice Department’s Bureau of Investigation. FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover used the event to get Congress to turn his agency into a law enforcement powerhouse by insisting the killers were Pretty Boy Floyd, his associated Adam Richetti, and gangster Verne Miller.
But Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Robert Unger has dug into the facts, not what he says is Hoover’s fiction. And Floyd and Richetti might not have been there at all. But he says the truth from the FBI’s own files is that the main killer was FBI agent Joe Lackey, sitting in the back seat of the car with an unfamiliar shotgun, who accidentally killed Nash, sitting in front of him in the car, and an FBI agent standing near the windshield. A second mis-aimed shot killed a Kansas City policeman. Another officer was hit by two bullets, one of which might have been fired by a fellow officer, and killed. In his book, The Union Station Massacre: The Original Sin of J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI”, Unger says the FBI manufactured evidence, hid evidence, and lied to convict Richetti, who went to the gas chamber. In today’s courts, he says Richetti would at least get a new trial or be released entirely. And, Saturday, on the 73rd anniversary, the true identity of the three shooters will remain a mystery – but the FBI won’t admit it.