After a fire at a hotel in Tucson, Arizona, America’s public enemy number one, bank robber John Dillinger was arrested there. He was sent to back to Indiana to face trial for killing of an officer after his previous escape from jail, and prosecuted by Robert Estill, and Lake County Sheriff Lillian Holley.
During the trial, Dillinger, Estill and Holley were asked to pose together. One photographer shouted for Estill to put his arm around Dillinger, which he did with Dillinger resting his elbow on Estill’s shoulder. Not only was Estill shown buddying up to Dillinger, Dillinger with his signature roguish smile also looked as if he was in control, and appeared to be making the classic gun signal, viewed as message to his supporters to take Estill out. One of the photos was published on the frontpages of national newspapers the next day, causing an uproar that would doom ambitious Estill’s politicial career. It would eventually cost him his chance to become governor of Indiana.
Like Estill, Sheriff Holley too would lose her job. She boasted that her jail was escape-proof, but Dillinger was able to carve a wooden gun in his cell and with it, he tricked a guard into opening his cell. He fled, but not before rounding up all the guards in the jail, and stealing Holley’s new Ford car, embarrassing her and the town. Dillinger, himself, fared no better: before six months were out, he would be shot dead in Chicago.