True Crime On This Day May 5th

Last Updated on September 23, 2022 by Ben Oakley

True Crime On This Day May 5th

May 5th

On May 5th in true crime, Iranian embassy siege, mob murders, discovery of a body, cop murder, mystery disappearance, and unsolved crimes.


In Illinois, the body of 14-year-old school girl Elizabeth K. West was discovered in a creek between Belleville and Millstadt.

She had been strangled to death and was last seen just a block from her home after performing in a high school play. She is suspected to have been a victim of Illinois serial killer Dale R. Anderson, who may have killed over seven young girls and women.

Anderson wasn’t arrested until 1989 and was subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment in 1990 for one of them. Evidence of his involvement in West’s murder is circumstantial.


In Cincinnati, Ohio, following a year of violence, 28-year-old police officer and Vietnam War veteran Melvin Henze was shot dead while following a suspect who was wanted for assault.

The suspect was later caught and sentenced to life in prison. In the eight months prior to the murder of Henze, four other officers had been murdered in the streets. The police had also killed four civilians in that time.

Three days later, Cincinnati police parked their cruisers on the street and went on strike over a lack of protective police equipment.

It was the first time police had gone on strike in the city since 1918. They were met a day later with an angry mob, protesting civilian deaths caused by police.

The tensions between civilians and officers is said to remain to this day.


In Kensington, London, the Iranian Embassy Siege came to a violent end. Six says earlier, on April 30th, six armed men belonging to the Arabs of KSA group stormed the Iranian Embassy on Prince’s Gate and took 26 people hostage.

The group were campaigning for Arab national sovereignty in the southern Iranian region of Khuzestan Province.

They demanded the release of Arab prisoners from Khuzestan and their own safe passage out of the United Kingdom. The British Government declined their demands and the siege continued.

On May 5th, the frustrated gunmen killed a hostage and threw his body out of the embassy in front of the world’s media. Margaret Thatcher’s government ordered the SAS (Special Air Service) to carry out an assault on the embassy which became known as Operation Nimrod.

A couple of hours later, SAS members were seen abseiling from the roof of the building and forcing their way in through the windows. It was streamed live on British television.

It took 17 minutes for the SAS to rescue all but one of the remaining hostages and kill five of the six attackers.

The surviving gunmen was convicted of terrorism and sentenced to life in prison where he served 27 years. The event put the SAS into the public eye and cemented the no-holds-barred reputation of Thatcher’s government.


In New York, three members of the Bonanno Crime Family were assassinated for plotting to overthrow the then Bonanno boss Phillip Rastelli.

In a Brooklyn nightclub, loyalists to Rastelli and future boss Joseph Massino, lured the three Capo’s to the club with the intention of killing them. Dominick ‘Big Trin’ Trinchera, Alphonse Indelicato, and Philip Giaccone were shot dead by three gunmen in an ambush.

The bodies were buried in a known Gambino mob graveyard. In 2005, Massino pleaded guilty to multiple murders, including the three Capo murders. He was sentenced to life in prison after taking a plea to avoid the death penalty.


In Niagara County, New York, two-year-old Russell John Mort vanished without a trace. He had last been seen playing in his family’s backyard at the Lynch’s Trailer Park, in Wheatfield.

When his mother returned to the yard after fixing a toy, she discovered he was missing and alerted the authorities.

Witnesses claimed to have seen a white couple in their twenties or thirties acting suspiciously near the park shortly before the disappearance.

It remains unclear whether they were involved. Despite one theory that Mort had left the backyard and fallen into the Niagara River, investigators have long suspected foul play.

No trace of Mort has ever been found. His case remains unsolved.


In Florida, 29-year-old Correctional Sergeant John Dennard was stabbed to death with a shank by two inmates who attacked him and other guards in the main housing unit at the Union Correctional Institution.

He was rushed to hospital where he died of his injuries. Three other officers and guards suffered serious stab wounds.

They were attacked by a gang of inmates. Five suspects were immediately transferred to the maximum security Florida State Prison.

Witnesses likened it to a hit and run. One of the killers was 18-year-old Ronald Woods who was sentenced to death but was later commuted to life.

The other man involved in the stabbing was sentenced to life in prison but was later commuted to 25 years.

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