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Murderer of Dutch Schultz Goes Free

Mar. 10, 1964 - Charles (Charlie the Bug) Workman (pictured in 1941) was released from Trenton state prison today after serving 23 years of a life sentence for the murder of Dutch Schultz, one of New York’s bootlegging overlords during Prohibition. The stocky 54-year-old Workman, gray-haired but looking fit, walked out the narrow visitors’ gate of the stone-walled prison shortly before 10 a.m.

Workman served the first 11 years of his term at Trenton. He was then transferred to the Rahway penitentiary, which is regarded as a more lenient institution. He returned to Trenton last Thursday for a final processing before his release.

Schultz, whose true name was Arthur Flegenheimer, was shot down with three of his henchmen in the back room of a Newark café on Oct. 23, 1935. There were no clues to his slaying, however, until early in 1941, when Abe (Kid Twist) Reles and Albert (Allie) Tannenbaum, two gunmen of Murder Inc., told William O’Dwyer, then Kings County District Attorney, that Workman had boasted of being the man who had killed Schultz, and an Essex County grand jury handed up an indictment.

When an East Side undertaker who had provided Workman with an alibi for the night of the slaying recanted his testimony, the defendant abruptly changed his plea to “no defense” and was sentenced on the same day to life imprisonment.

Asked on that day to comment on his conviction and sentence, Workman merely said: “See me in 15 years, and maybe I’ll have something to say.”

Today, however, the ex-convict had nothing to say. Silent and staring straight ahead, he pushed his way through a knot of newsmen and into the back seat of a dark blue Thunderbird that had roared up a moment before on a signal relayed by three guards. A fourth guard, carrying an automatic shotgun and revolver, patrolled the street.

Accompanying Workman was his wife, Catherine, who wore dark glasses and a kerchief over her streaked blonde hair. Prison officials said she had not missed more than one or two visiting days during the 23 years her husband was incarcerated.

About an hour after they sped away, Workman, who will make his home on Long Island and hold a clerical job, reported to the State Parole Commission office at 320 Broadway. He will be under supervision for the rest of his life.

Arthur Edmonds, chief deputy at the Rahway facility, said Workman had been a model prisoner. “He was quiet, unassuming, pleasant when he was spoken to,” Mr. Edmonds said. “If they were all like him, we’d have no problems.”

Workman’s lawyer, Samuel Kessler, said recently: “I always took the position that Workman did not kill Schultz; he changed his plea against my advice.”

Mr. O’Dwyer disagreed.

“The Bug changed his plea to beat the death penalty,” the former Mayor said today in New York. “It all seems like a long time ago. Don’t the years go by fast?”


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