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Elmer Francis BURKE






A.K.A.: "Trigger"
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Notorious hit man
Number of victims: 1 +
Date of murder: July 23, 1952
Date of arrest: June 17, 1954
Date of birth: 1920s?
Victim profile: Edward "Poochy" Walsh (bartender)
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: New York City, New York, USA
Status: Executed in the electric chair at Sing Sing Prison on January 9, 1958

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Elmer "Trigger" Burke (1920s? - January 9, 1958) was a notorious hit man during the mid-to-late 1940s. He was brought up by his older brother, Charlie.

In 1941, he was sent to reform school, but later had his sentence cut for joining the army, where he served in the Italian campaign. Later, he served a sentence of two years in Sing Sing Prison for robbery. During his time in jail, his idol and brother, Charlie, was murdered by a man named George Goll. Goll was arrested and later released. To get revenge, Burke shot Goll in Manhattan at the age of 27.

Later, he murdered bartender Edward "Poochy" Walsh on 23 July 1952 because he attempted to stop Burkey from kicking a man he had bested in a fist fight in the head. Walsh broke up the fight and Burke left the bar, but came back and shot Walsh in the face.

Brinks Job

Burke was a supporting player in The Brinks Job. In 1954, the mobsters who pulled off the record heist hired Burke to murder Joseph 'Specs" O'Keefe, one of brains behind the million-dollar Brinks robbery, because the Mob believed O'Keefe, who was under pressure from the police, would turn into a stool pigeon.

Burke took the job and traveled to Boston. Hunting O'Keefe, he found him in a Dorchester, Massachusetts housing project and chased him for a half an hour, firing dozens of rounds at his fleeing quarry. He finally shot O'Keefe in the leg after thirty-five minutes. Thinking he had killed O'Keefe, Burke got into his car and drove off. He remained in Boston as a sight-seer.

O'Keefe contacted the police and swore out a complaint against Burke for attempted murder. He was arrested eight days later in Back Bay, Boston and incarcerated at the Charles Street Jail. Burke escaped but was recaptured a year later while waiting for a bus in Charleston, Massachusetts.


Burke was arrested and convicted of murdering Bartender Edward Walsh and was sentenced to death in the electric chair. On 9 January 1958, after eating a final meal of steak, smoking six cigars and spending his last evening reading newspaper clippings about himself, he was executed at Sing Sing Prison.



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