The Players



For those of you who want a scorecard to keep track of the names, here are the folks who make an appearance throughout this website. Included is a brief description of each as they relate to Charles Makley. This section will continue to be updated as new articles are added.   

Ed Axe – A member of an earlier Charles Makley gang circa 1926 – 1928. Axe participated in the Ansonia bank robbery, several car thefts and other burglaries in Northwest Ohio. It seems likely that he was also in on the Linn Grove and Portland, Indiana bank robberies as well. Axe confessed and was convicted of robbing the Chickasaw, Ohio bank. Sent to the Ohio State Penitentiary in Columbus, he perished during the April 21, 1930 prison fire.

Mason Beasley – A Detective Sergeant of the Hammond, Indiana police department, he started investigating Charles Makley and his gang in March of 1927 as suspects of the first of two Linn Grove, Indiana bank robberies.

Ernest Botkin – Prosecuting attorney for Allen County, Ohio at the trials of Harry Pierpont, Charles Makley, Russell Clark and earlier, Loren Truesdale. A graduate of the University of Michigan Law School, Botkin was also a Justice of the Peace and worked in private practice throughout Ohio for a majority of his career.

E. Borchard – Author of Convicting the Innocent, 1932, Garden City, New York, Doubleday Company

Ray Brown – Cashier of the Peoples Bank of Gambier, Ohio, J. R. “Ray” Brown, was thirty-eight years old when he went up against the “Terror Gang” in October of 1933. Charles Makley and company had stopped by the bank to nab some used-looking currency. Their last haul three days earlier had netted them uncirculated money which was harder to spend since it was new. Instead of giving them the cash, Brown engaged Makley in a gunfight. Stories vary as to whether Brown was actually shot or if his own gun misfired but either way he ended up as a hostage in the getaway car with a bleeding hand. The trip was cut short when Brown was dumped out about a quarter of a mile away. Evidently the experience didn’t sour Brown; he would recount his adventure with the first Dillinger gang while working as the Peoples Bank cashier for over forty years until his death in 1967. Information courtesy of Kenyon College  

Russell Clark – One of the members of the “first” Dillinger gang, Clark received a guilty verdict with a recommendation of mercy for the murder of Jesse Sarber. He served out a life sentence at the Ohio State penitentiary.

John W. Cook – Chief of Police for the City of Lima, Ohio until 1934. At the time of Jesse Sarber’s murder, he led the search party at the farm of Harry Pierpont’s parents. Cook was a key witness in the trial of Harry Pierpont.

Harry Copeland – A bank robber who was involved with John Dillinger through November 1933, he was identified by Wilbur Sharp as one of the three men who entered the sheriff’s office. Sharp testified that it was Copeland who held a gun on him during Jesse Sarber’s murder. Copeland never stood trial for that crime and was later released from prison in 1949.

Otis Custer – Another of Charles Makley’s St. Marys Ohio crew, Otis had been indicted for burglary but plea bargained to a charge of receiving stolen property in June of 1928. His attorney “expressed the belief that his client was not guilty of the theft of the provisions from the St. Marys warehouse but that a man now held in Decatur, Indiana (Charles Makley) had done the work and carried the loot to Custer’s mother’s house. Custer pled guilty in order to save his mother from full responsibility in the receipt of goods.”    

 John Dillinger – A fellow prisoner, gang member and friend of Charles Makley. When Makley learned of Dillinger’s death, he said “As a man, you could be proud to have called John brother.”

Emmit Everett – Judge for the murder trials of Harry Pierpont, Charles Makley and Russell Clark in March 1934. He also presided over the first trial which ended in a mistrial for Loren Truesdale in 1932. A different judge replaced Everett for the second Truesdale trial.

Claude Euclid – A bootlegger who was being held in the Allen County jail during the October 12, 1933 breakout of John Dillinger. Euclid testified at the Harry Pierpont trial.

Fred W. Ficketi – A judge in Pima County, Arizona who directed a verdict for Lucy Sarber in the amount of $30,000.00 in damages for her civil lawsuit against Harry Pierpont, Charles Makley, and Russell Clark for the death of her husband, Jesse Sarber. But when Lucy tried to collect, there was nothing left to get. It had all vanished.

William Fogerty – He was one of three defense attorneys for Harry Pierpont and Charles Makley at their Lima, Ohio murder trials. Although a lawyer, Fogerty did not normally practice criminal law. Instead he worked for the bank that Harry Pierpont’s parents patronized in Indiana. His late addition to the defense team shows how desperate the situation had become.

John Hamilton – The only member, besides John himself, who was in the “first” and “second” Dillinger gangs. Hamilton was named by Ed Shouse as one of the lookouts during John Dillinger’s Lima jail break. No other witnesses placed him there.

Della Harr – A first cousin of Charles Makley, she strongly objected to the possibility of his burial in St. Marys, Ohio because the Makleys there had “cared little for him during his life.”

John Keville – President of the Citizen’s and Taxpayer’s League in Lima, Ohio, he was one of the most vocal in objecting to Charles W. Long representing Harry Pierpont and Charles Makley during their murder trials.

Herman Kuhlman – The owner of The Peoples Savings Bank of New Knoxville, Ohio Kuhlman started out in the grocery store business in 1873. He worked his way up from a clerk to become a partner along side his mother-in-law. In 1901, Herman Kuhlman built the three story brick house still standing today on the corner of Main and Spring streets. By 1910, he had expanded his holdings with a combined grocery & hardware & dry goods store and a brand-new bank, both of which sat less than thirty steps from his front door. Over the years, Kuhlman may have considered Charles Makley to be the perpetual wad of gum stuck to the bottom of his shoe. Not only did Makley rob Kuhlman’s bank but he used the New Knoxville area as a parking lot for his cache of stolen automobiles. To add insult to injury, Kuhlman’s son’s residence was broken into during 1927. The robbery turned into a botched up job with a member of Charles Makley’s gang caught sitting on the front steps.  Information courtesy of the New Knoxville Historical Society  

Jessie Levy – Another of the defense attorneys for Harry Pierpont, Charles Makley, and Russell Clark at their respective murder trials in Lima, Ohio. Miss Levy handled most of the actual trial work for all three cases. She was based out of Indiana.

Harry Lewis – The Allen County Coroner and undertaker who conducted the autopsy for Jesse Sarber. He testified at the trials of Pierpont, Makley, and Clark.

Eugene Lippincott – Charles Makley’s initial attorney for his murder trial. Lippincott lasted two to three weeks before dropping out.

Charles W. Long – Solicitor for the city of Lima, he also freelanced as a defense attorney. His clients included Harry Pierpont, Charles Makley, and Loren Truesdale. Afterwards, Long left Lima, Ohio and relocated to Indiana.  

Charles Makley The subject of this website. After he gained notoriety, it was claimed by some that Makley was actually a foster child who had been adopted by Edward Makley. This has been retold so often, many consider it the truth. During his murder trial, The Lima News routinely misspelled his last name as “Makeley” perhaps to put a little distance between Charles and the Makleys of St. Marys. Ironically, he was a Makley, just not in the way people think of him. (Author’s note: Sorry for the cryptic “where Charley came from” answer, I promise to elaborate on this at another time with a full article.) 

Edith A. Slife Makley – Sister-in-law and who knows whatever else to Charles, Edith was connected to the Makley family in several ways since she and her older sister each married a Makley brother. Different members of Charles Makley’s gang (circa 1926-1928) detailed how Edith was involved in the Ansonia, Ohio bank robbery. It appears that Edith participated in other bank jobs as well. When she was initially arrested in Hammond, Indiana, Edith and Charles were living together under the alias “Mr. and Mrs. Albert Owens”. She didn’t stick to this for very long before tearfully confessing who she really was. Edith was released for “insufficient evidence” when Charles Makley cut a deal to confess to the 1927 Linn Grove, Indiana bank robbery. After Charles was sent to prison, Edith and her daughter returned to St. Marys Ohio, and moved in with her parents. Her husband, Fred joined them. Edith and Fred remained married until her death in 1969. The headline of her obituary listed her not as “Edith” but as “Mrs. Fred E. Makley”; however her name remains linked as a part of the Charles Makley gang.

Edward Makley – On Michigan City prison records, Edward was listed as Charles’ father. However those same records named his wife, Martha as Charles’ mother. She was not. Martha had already passed away before that information was gathered. Maybe Charles figured it wouldn’t matter anymore so he used Martha instead of his real mother. Existing records show that Edward Makley did attempt to obscure Charles’ origins when he was a child. How the two were connected is not totally clear but it now seems likely that Edward did not father Charles. Edward Makley died in 1944. As quoted from his obituary, “he married Eliza Tindall, who is left to mourn his death together with four children from a former marriage”.

Fred Makley –  As the sole defense witness at Charles Makley’s murder trial, Fred described himself as a step brother to the defendant and the youngest of the Makley family. He distanced himself by testifying that he and his stepbrother hadn’t kept in touch during the five years Charles was in prison. This is a little hard to believe since according to prison records, Fred’s wife, Edith, had an extensive correspondence with Charles, averaging a letter every week and a half during the time that Makley was incarcerated. I also stand corrected (Thank you Janie Southard) that Fred Makley was a chain maker for some time. Later he went on to work at the same place that his father had, the St. Mary’s City Water plant. When Fred died in 1979, his sister Mildred was the only sibling listed in his obituary.

George W.Makley – – The older step brother of Charles Makley, George led an interesting life. He, like his brothers Charles and Fred, worked at the chain works in St. Marys, Ohio and was involved with a Slife sister. In the early thirties he ran afoul of the law for bootlegging and stealing a barrel of sugar. As a result, George was remanded to the Ohio State Penitentiary from 1932 to 1936. Although he and Charles were incarcerated together in 1934, George was housed at the Reformatory, a different facility so the two never had the opportunity to see each other. After George’s death in 1961, his obituary mentioned a deceased brother, Charles..

Anna McGray – Listed as the wife of Charles W. McGray (aka Charles Makley) in January 1920, Chicago, Illinois.

Charles W. McGray – Alias of Charles Makley circa 1919 to 1927, this particular name must have been a favorite. It not only shows up in Chicago, Illinois as a part of the 1920 census but is mentioned in a local newspaper seven years later. It seems that Charley and two of his buddies were “business visitors” from out of town.      

Clarence Miller – The third defense attorney and the only one based in Lima, Ohio. Miller was initially hired to represent Russell Clark. At 28 years of age, he did a lot of watching from the sidelines as Jessie Levy took over the case and the subsequent appeals.

Frank Morris MD – One of the two doctors who testified at Charles Makley’s trial, Dr.  Morris attended the autopsy of Jesse Sarber and assisted with the completion of the Certificate of Death. At that time, Morris did not consider the two head wounds a contributory cause to death because there is no mention of them on the document. A few months later at the Makley murder trial despite his earlier testimony that “death resulted from a loss of blood and shock”, Morris speculated that “the wounds on the sheriff’s head alone might have caused death.” Why the “might haves”? It was a way for the prosecution to link Charles Makley directly to the death of Jesse Sarber since the Certificate of Death and the testimony of the other doctor who had attended Sarber after he had been shot did not do so. A pivotal witness, Frank Morris, had been a close friend of Jesse Sarber and was one of the pall bearers at Sarber’s funeral.

Florence Makley Naus – The oldest stepsibling of Charles Makley, and the oldest child of Edward Makley and Martha Sunderland Makley, it was reported in newspapers that she was Charles’ “half” sister. Florence made the long trip along with Mildred from Kansas to Ohio for her brother’s murder trial. Unlike Mildred, she was able to duck most of the courtroom photographers. There is only one full face photo found which shows her standing next to her brother Fred and her sister Mildred. Six months after his trial, Florence attended Charles funeral. Evidently she had thought enough of him to name the eldest of her three sons, Charles. Florence died in 1976.

Mildred Makley Barthelemy Seefeldt – The youngest step sister of Charles Makley, she traveled from Kansas to Ohio for her brother’s murder trial. Afterwards Mildred visited him at the Ohio State Penitentiary and was there when Jim Tully interviewed Charles on death row. Photos were taken (and later printed) of Mildred and Tully at this time. Mildred was a single mother working as a waitress to support herself and her son but she gladly spent her savings of three hundred dollars on attorney’s fees for appeals even though according to Charles, she (sic) “was wasting her money”. Mildred stayed loyal to her brother, making sure that Charles’ suit was dry-cleaned for his court appearances. Mildred passed away in 1981, the last of Edward and Martha Makley’s children.

Albert Owens – The alias used by Charles Makley when arrested in Hammond, Indiana on June 2, 1928 for bank robbery.

Harry Pierpont – A fellow gang member and friend of Charles Makley. Both were sentenced to die in the electric chair for Jesse Sarber’s murder. In the end, Pierpont was the only one who kept the date. According to a reliable source, Pierpont arranged for his family to pay for Charles Makley’s funeral. His sisters had run out of money and his brother George was still in prison. No one else came forward. This is why he is buried at the Sugar Ridge Cemetery in Leipsic, Ohio.    

Lena Pierpont - The devoted mother of Harry Pierpont, Lena stood by her son to the bitter end.

Don Sarber - The only child of Jesse and Lucy Sarber, Don graduated college with an engineering degree. During school breaks, he would work as a fill-in deputy. After his father’s death, Don became sheriff. At the age of 24, he was the youngest sheriff in the United States at the time. 

Jesse Sarber – The Sheriff of Allen County in Lima, Ohio from 1929 through 1933, Sarber died on October 12, 1933 during the jail break of John Dillinger.

Lucy Sarber – The wife of Jesse Sarber, Lucy was the jail matron from 1929 through 1935. After her husband was killed, friends of the Sarbers initially suggested Lucy as the replacement for sheriff but questions were raised concerning her fitness. Lucy was one of two eyewitnesses who testified at the Pierpont, Makley, and Clark trials.

Wilbur Sharp – Deputy Sheriff in Lima, Ohio, Sharp was the other eyewitness who testified during the three Jesse Sarber murder trials. Sharp had known and worked for Jesse Sarber over the past nine years both in law enforcement and the used car business.    

Edward Shouse – Supposedly such a good friend of Charles Makley that he didn’t want to testify against him, Shouse didn’t have a problem being the stool pigeon at the Pierpont and Clark murder trials. Evidently on July 26, 1945 when reviewing old grand jury indictments, Lima officials didn’t look too hard for Shouse when they stated that he had disappeared. Shouse was at the same place that he had been for the past thirteen years, Michigan City prison. He was released the following year.     

Harry Smith - A member of an earlier Charles Makley gang circa 1926 – 1928, Smith was convicted of robbing the Chickasaw, Ohio bank although he was suspected of participating in other bank jobs (Linn Grove, Indiana,1927 and possibly Portland, Indiana, 1926). Smith was arrested in Columbus, Ohio, brought to Celina, Ohio to stand trial and then sent back to the Ohio State Penitentiary in Columbus, where he perished during the April 21, 1930 prison fire.

Howard "Sport" Smith - Another member of the St. Marys, Ohio/Hammond, Indiana- based Charles Makley gang. “Sport” was convicted of robbing the Ansonia, Ohio bank and was a suspect in at least one other bank robbery. As an interesting side note, he claimed to be the younger brother of Harry Smith. This turns out to be untrue. However newspapers picked up on his story and reported that "Sport" joined his "brother" to the Ohio State Penitentiary in Columbus. "Sport" survived the April 21, 1930 prison fire.  

W.O. Smith – The First National Bank of St. Mary’s Ohio Conservator, Smith readily identified Charles Makley as one of the participants of the October 3, 1933 robbery.  

John Wilson Snook – The resourceful warden who helmed the Idaho State Penitentiary during Charles Makley’s stay. Snook held the position from 1909 to 1917 and then again in 1924 when the current warden died. He was a man ahead of the times with his ideas for prison reform. Snook put his inmates to work, turning desolate land into farms. Over a two year period, the men grew enough crops to feed the entire prison population. As a result of the prisoners self sufficiency, Snook was able to return thousands of dollars to the state’s coffers. Later on John Snook became the warden of the federal prison in Atlanta, Georgia from 1924 to 1929. He lived to be almost one hundred years old. Information courtesy of the Idaho State Historical Society    

T.R. Thomas MD – The principal doctor who attended Jesse Sarber at Memorial Hospital the night of October 12, 1933, he testified at the Pierpont, Makley, and Clark trials.

Earl Truesdale – The victim of a double homicide on May 30, 1931. Later on, his older brother became the key suspect. At the time, it was called “Lima’s Perfect Crime.”

Loren Truesdale – The older brother of Earl Truesdale, Loren put the notoriety of his two murder trials behind him and stayed in the Lima area until his death.

Jim Tully – An important literary figure from the first half of the twentieth century and a fascinating character in his own right, Tully was born around the St. Marys, Ohio area.  He and Charley Makley worked together when both were around twelve years old. Over twenty years later, they met up again while Makley was marking time on death row at the Ohio State Penitentiary. The yeggs, ‘bos, and cast-offs like Makley provided inspiration for Jim Tully throughout his writing career with manuscripts such as Honor among Thieves, Jail Birds, Thieves and Vagabonds, and Yeggs. Although St. Marys was eager to claim Tully as a hometown hero, he kept them at arms length. When the city marked its centennial, an official committee contacted Tully, requesting that he attend the show as one of the speakers. He declined, replying “A hell of a lot of water has flowed under the bridge since I left St. Marys on a freight, one of the loneliest kids in the world.” Tully passed away in 1947. The quote was taken from Jim Tully, an interview by Sarah Haardt in the May 1928 edition of The American Mercury.

Martha Sunderland Makley Wagoner – The stepmother of Charles Makley, Martha and Edward Makley had four children of their own, Florence, George, Mildred, and Fred. Although Martha and Edward divorced some time between 1907 and 1910, members of her side of the family kept in contact with Charles. After Martha left Ed, she moved to Chicago, Illinois and remarried. In March of 1925, she returned to St. Marys, Ohio for a family visit and to seek medical attention. While staying at her son George’s home, Martha died. Three days later, she was buried in St. Marys. No mention of Charles was made in her obituary. 

James Weadock JR. – The attorney for Machenzia, Weadock, and Weadock of Tucson, he was the solicitor who represented Lucy Sarber in her civil lawsuit against Pierpont, Makley, Clark, and Dillinger. Weadock came to the Lima, Ohio murder trials and took depositions of the witnesses. 

Thelma Woods – The other victim of the double homicide on May 30, 1931 in Lima, Ohio.  Thelma was out on her first date with a new beau. The crime which later came to be known as the The Quarry or Memorial Day Murders was never solved.  

Herbert Youngblood – The only prisoner who escaped along with John Dillinger from Crown Point jail, Youngblood was trapped in a fatal shoot-out with police the same day Charles Makley’s case went to jury deliberation.

Lloyd Ziegler – Convict who served time in Mansfield Prison, Mansfield, Ohio. Ziegler confessed at several different times to the murders of Thelma Woods and Earl Truesdale.


Copyright 2009 - 2016, all rights reserved