November 17, 2022 –Found guilty of committing a brutal Chicago mob-ordered double-murder that occurred on New Year’s Eve 1980 in Phoenix, 76-year old Murray (Mad Hatter) Hooper was finally executed by lethal injection inside an Arizona prison Wednesday morning.
Hooper, known simply as “Hoop” to most people, is just the second prisoner convicted of an organized-crime related offense to die from capital punishment in the United States since the 1940s and the first in nearly two dozen years. He joins the two men who allegedly green-lit the homicides, Chicago Outfit figures Harry (The Hook) Aleman and Robert (Fat Bobby) Cruz, in the big gangster social club in the sky.
The legendary “Harry the Hook “Aleman and “Fat Bobby” Cruz were cousins and members of the Chicago mob’s Cicero crew. Their uncle was Joe Ferriola, the Godfather of the entire mafia in the Windy City before succumbing to cancer and a bad ticker in 1989.
Aleman was one of the most feared Chicago mob enforcers in the history of the Outfit, believed to have been involved in a series of high-profile underworld rub-outs. Cruz had moved to Tempe, Arizona in the 1970s and was helping his bosses back in Chi-Town move dirty cash and stolen property, as well as setup drug and extortion rackets in South Phoenix.
On December 31, 1980, Hooper, Willie Bracy and Eddie McCall murdered Pat Redmond and his mother-in-law Helen Phelps as they prepared to host a New Year’s Eve party at the Redmond’s posh North Phoenix home. Hooper and Bracy were members of the “Royal Family,” an African-American murder-for-hire gang that formed inside the walls of Stateseville Prison and kept an affiliation to the city’s Italian mafia.
McCall was Caucasian and a former Phoenix policeman. Bobby Cruz introduced McCall to the pair of Royal Family hit men weeks earlier when Hooper and Bracy came into town and stalked Pat Redmond to Chester’s Lounge and tried unsuccessfully to kill him in a drive-by shooting. McCall acted as the getaway driver in the Redmond family hit on New Year’s Eve.
Hooper and Bracy forced their way into the Redmond residence at gunpoint and raided the house for valuables. Redmond, Redmond’s wife Marilyn and Marilyn’s mom, Phelps each were bound, gagged and shot in the back of the head in the master bedroom. Pat Redmond’s throat was slashed ear to ear.
Marilyn Redmond miraculously survived the attack and was the star witness at the 1982 trial. She is alive today at 89 and didn’t campaign for her attackers to get t
McCall confessed to a female companion in the hours after the crime took place. That female companion alerted police of what McCall had told her.
Bracy and McCall both died in prison before their death-penalty sentences could be carried out by the state of Arizona. According to people familiar with the details of the murder conspiracy, the hit team was hired by Aleman and Cruz to kill Redmond and his family for Redmond’s refusal to allow his printing company, Graphic Dimensions, to be used as a laundry mat for Las Vegas casino skimming proceeds. The wife of Redmond’s co-owner in Graphic Dimensions would be indicted and initially convicted in the murder conspiracy, however, like Cruz, earned exoneration at a subsequent trial
The Chicago mob controlled the Las Vegas hotel and gaming industry at the time and would use legitimate businesses in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Florida to wash the money it was stealing from casino count rooms. The Outfit would often use some of Chicago’s many Black street gangs like Hooper’s Royal Family for muscle work.
Hooper and Cruz had met serving time in prison together. Per Chicago Police Department files, Hooper was a suspect in close to a dozen gangland slayings dating back to the 1960s (he was convicted of killing his girlfriend in 1968 and committing a triple murder in Chicago in a drug deal-turned-robbery-execution that occurred six weeks prior to the killings of Redmond and Phelps).
“It’s all been said, let it be done,” Hooper declared on the gurney Wednesday prior to taking the death jab. “Don’t be sad for me. Don’t cry or say goodbye. Say, I’ll see you later. So, let’s go.”
Harry Aleman was incarcerated on a federal racketeering case when the double homicide went down in Phoenix and was never charged, nor publicly implicated in the case. Fat Bobby Cruz was first convicted of the murders, did 15 years sitting on death row in Arizona and then later had his guilty verdict tossed on appeal and won his freedom.
Cruz was murdered himself for allegedly stealing from the Cicero crew in the 1990s after Aleman was no longer on the street to protect him. He disappeared in December 1997, three months following Aleman getting locked up for good on a separate murder case tied to a labor union beef, three days removed from
Aleman died of lung cancer behind bars in 2010 at age 71. Harry the Hook went on trial four times for the 1972 gangland slaying of Chicago Teamsters official and mob associate Billy Logan. Aleman’s first trial resulted in an acquittal. Years later, the case was found to be fixed and he was eventually convicted of the slaying and slapped with a life sentence.
Before Murray Hooper’s Wednesday execution, St. Louis Syrian mob enforcer David Leisure was the last member of organized crime to die at the hands of the government, Leisure was put to death in September 1999 for the 1980 car-bombing murder of St. Louis Syrian mob boss James (Horseshoe Jimmy) Michaels.