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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Former Alcatraz inmate, 95, dies

When he was a young man, Willie Radkay, a KCK native, was a prolific bank robber who eventually landed in Alcatraz. He died Sunday at a Fort Scott hospital at age 95. He was a friend of Pretty Boy Floyd and Machine Gun Kelly, and his early life sounds like something out of a Warner Bros. gangster flick from the '30s. (His prison number was 666.)

What's interesting is that, after he got out of the slammer, he went straight and had a relatively normal life as a school janitor with a wife in LaCygne.

His niece helped him write his story, titled "A Devil Incarnate: From Altar Boy to Alcatraz."

A snip from the AP article: While researching his crimes, she came across a newspaper account of a 1935 jewelry store robbery in which her uncle was shot 12 times. She inquired about it, but her uncle said he couldn't recall the shooting.

"I asked how can you get shot 12 times and not remember. He said: 'Tough skin, soft bullets and they didn't hit anything important.'"

When he died, he still had six slugs in him, remnants of shootings from decades ago, his niece said.

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