Kiki's Love Cost Life Of Diamond

"Albany, Dec. 18 [1931] - Jack (Legs) Diamond, laughing in alcoholic glee at his latest victory over the law, marched from the arms of titian-haired Kiki Roberts into the fatal revolver blast of Manhattan underworld assassins, detectives determined tonight... Three times in the last four years his enemies tried to put him on the spot. Each time Legs went to a hospital. Each time he cheated death. But after his last miraculous recovery it was declared that his body was so full of lead that it would sink in Salt Lake."

- Daily News, Saturday, December 19, 1931

Legs Diamond wasn't well liked. In fact, he never had a friend he didn't betray, killing many of them. Legs was notorious for the double cross, an art admired by many fellow mobsters. But Diamond took it to an extreme not usually practiced even in his underworld circles. Unsurprisingly, Legs had to pay the ultimate price. But before he was hit by his enemies, Legs Diamond became a power in New York's underworld. He was known to be completely without remorse, or any other form of conscience.

Diamond sold booze during Prohibition and narcotics when he could. He terrorized laborers into following the union line. None of which was unusual. But his business methods - always cheating his friends and mouthing off to his rivals - gained him little sympathy among his contemporaries.

For three years, Diamond became a clay pigeon. He was shot on three separate occasions before he was slain in the fourth attack. He survived more than 11 bullets. He began to think he was invincible.

Shortly after victory in his last trial, Diamond went into hiding near Albany; he knew the mob, including Dutch Schultz, was out to get him, but his weakness for Marion (Kiki) Roberts, a dancer, urged him outside. Killers found him by following Kiki. This time they took no chances and held his head while firing bullets through it.

Despite it all, Diamond's wife loved him to the end. "The former Alice Schiffer [Diamond's wife] washed the blood from the slain gangster's face with her handkerchief and kissed his cold cheeks wildly. Three soft-nosed bullets had ripped through Diamond's head. All entered on the left side and from the deep powder burns about the wounds detectives decided the death weapons had been pressed against their target."

- Daily News, Saturday, December 19, 1931

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