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Faked His Own Death

On Wednesday, June 8, 1955, a St. Louis jury found Albert L. Paglino guilty of the first-degree murder of a migrant railroad worker named Willie Burchett.

Paglino killed Burchett in an effort to make it appear that he himself had died in a motel fire that had occurred the previous April. It seems that Paglino was in deep financial trouble and “wanted the world to think that he was dead.”

He probably could have gotten away with it, but Paglino made the stupid mistake of being sighted in a bar on the day of his very own funeral.

Paglino was sentenced to life imprisonment. While he was being taken back to jail, Paglino entered the elevator just as the door was closing. That separated him from Deputy Sheriff Jack Culligan. It was thought that Paglino had escaped and radio alerts were sent out.

Paglino’s freedom didn’t last long. He had simply taken the elevator to the parking garage. When the door opened, he said “I’m Paglino. I’m waiting to be taken to jail.”

And that’s exactly where he went. 

Albert L. Paglino arriving at the Lambert St Louis field for his trial.
Albert L. Paglino arriving at the Lambert St Louis field for his trial. Image originally appeared on page 1 of the February 20, 1955 publication of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
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