On this date in 1952, Steve Suchan and Lennie Jackson were hanged at Toronto’s Don Jail for the murder of a policeman.
Not hanged with them (or ever; he died in British Columbia in 2002) was the gang’s leader and namesake, Edwin Alonzo Boyd.
The wartime commando legendarily launched his stick-up career by robbing a bank so unrecognizably made-up that he was able to walk back in and change a $20 without notice a few days later.
Boyd’s further exploits (and occasional close scrapes: he seemed to have a gift for not getting hit when people shot back at him) plundering banks, and then escaping jail with the cohorts who became the “Boyd Gang” to plunder some more, threw a splash of color across the headlines of staid 1950s Ontario that moved newspapers.
When the Boyd Gang stuck up a bank and it made the front page, people started cheering for them, because it put some excitement in their lives. And of course the interesting thing about Edwin was, if there is such a thing, he was a “good” bad guy.*
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Jackson and Suchan were two of that group who helped author the Boyd Gang’s most notorious larcenies. And they put a screeching halt on the “fun” of the Boyd gang’s crime spree in March 1952 when they shot a Toronto cop dead at a traffic stop.
Suddenly, it wasn’t just the banksters getting hurt. The crooks couldn’t dodge the ensuing manhunt.
But somehow the quartet of criminals locked up in the Don Jail with this murder rap hanging over them actually managed to escape again, hours ahead of their arraignment. It turned out to be the bandits’ last great exploit, worth only a few days of liberty before they were recaptured.
Jackson and Suchan went from trial to gallows — said to be a badly botched hanging — in mere weeks. Boyd and another gang member named Willie Jackson (the two Jacksons weren’t related) drew long prison sentences from which they were paroled in 1966.
Some Books about Edwin Boyd