Officer George Connery
End of Watch : April 24, 1917
Minneapolis Police Department
OFFICER GEORGE CONNERY
Died April 24, 1917
On the afternoon of Tuesday, April 24, Officers Charges Ziegler and Frank X. Kort tried to stop a speeding vehicle, but it ignored their signal. Officer George Connery was asked to assist them and was able to stop the vehicle at Oak Street and University Avenues. He arrested the driver and got into the suspect’s vehicle and had them drive to the East Side station to post bail. The suspects, their car and the officer disappeared. The car and its occupants had been stopped for speeding a half hour before Officer Connery stopped it. At that time, the driver gave his name as Howard Lux. He posted the $25 bail and was released. The car was later discovered to be a stolen vehicle.
Several hours went by and Officer Connery and his prisoners hadn’t arrived at the East Side Station. However, it was assumed that he allowed the men to drive to St. Paul to get more bail money. It wasn’t until Officer Connery’s wife called the station later that afternoon that there was any reason to be alarmed. Officer Connery was to be off duty at that time and never arrived home. A search was started for the missing officer.
The stolen car was found that evening in St. Paul behind the Rex Theater at 501 Mississippi Street. It had blood on the rear seat and the crank of the machine outside the vehicle also had blood on it. Officials feared the worst.
On April 26, in Omaha, Nebraska, one suspect was arrested. He was identified as Frank J. McCool, Alias Frank H. Curtis. In his possession was a 32-20 policeman’s Colt revolver. The numbers were filed off, but several numbers matched that of Officer Connery’s missing gun. Curtis was discovered to have been the one that killed Officer Connery.
On May 5, Connery’s body was found in a wooded lot near Fridley in Anoka County. He died from a skull fracture, but also suffered a gunshot wound to the leg. With his body was a notebook in which Connery had written a description of his captors, a farewell letter to his wife and another note to his children.
On May 11, the driver of the car was arrested in San Francisco. He was identified as Joe Redenbaugh, alias G.C. Loucks and Howard Lux. He was wanted for bank robbery in Nebraska and was found to have committed the murder of Alice Dunn in St. Paul two days after the Connery kidnapping. He was hired by Alice’s husband, Frank Dunn, to commit her murder. He later admitted that Frank Dunn had agreed to pay him $4,000 for the job. When Officer Connery stopped them, they had no money, and were there to commit the Dunn murder in a few days, so they killed Connery. He stated that McCool held Connery at gunpoint and they drove to the remote area in Anoka County where Connery was beaten to death. The same day he gave his confession, Redenbaugh pled guilty to Connery’s murder and was sentenced to life in Stillwater State Prison. On August 30, 1918, he pled guilty to third degree murder for his role in the Dunn murder. He was sentenced to 7-30 years. On May 9, 1962, at the age of 64 and having served 45 years, Rednebaugh was released from prison. McCool pled not guilty to the Connery murder, but was found guilty and sentenced to 30 years in prison. Frank Dunn was also convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. He died there February 26, 1958.
Officer Connery was hired October 1, 1909. He was survived by his wife and five children; Mary, 12, Genevieve, 10, Katherine 6, Helen, 2, and George Jr. (unknown age). The family received $6,600 from workers compensation, $1,000 from an insurance policy with a fraternal organization and donations by the officers of $358 – $1 from each officer, and $500 from the Policemen’s Benefit Association. His funeral was held at St. Clement’s Catholic Church and he was buried at St. Anthony Cemetery.