In Memory

Marc Hadesman

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04/13/14 02:28 PM #1    

Evan Dunsky

Marc Hadesman had what must be considered one of the more colorful trajectories through life.

He was from amongst a group of Jewish nerdballs from Skokie (myself included) who were included in the Evanston School District, and came to E.T.H.S. by way of Skiles Jr. High.

There comes a time in the life of most boys, around the seventh grade, when it feels necessary to assert one’s place in the pecking order by picking a fight with another kid. The one fight I’ve ever had in my life, to my great shame, was when I reached over the wide wooden table in Mr. Simonitis’ shop class, and landed a punch to Marc’s jaw, in a completely unprovoked fashion.

I had chosen the time and place and target of my attack with cold-blooded calculation. Mr. Simonitis, a man with a greasy ducktail and creased leathery face, who looked somewhat like a cross between Ronald Reagan and Jack Palance, often used to spend the first few minutes of class vaguely explaining the task of the day, before beating a retreat to his broom closet-sized office at the far end of the shop -- I imagine to drink and weep with his face in his hands -- leaving us in complete Anarchy, to fashion throwing stars out of sheet metal, blow guns out of narrow diameter copper tubing, and darts for the aforementioned blowguns fashioned from needles, glue, thread, toothpicks and small lead fishing sinkers. It was a complete jungle; one in which we intentionally dropped heavy objects on each other’s feet and threatened each other with power tools.

As for my choice of victim, Marc was possibly the only kid in the class who was smaller and scrawnier than me. I also took into account the fact that he seemed to have no friends, so there was little likelihood of anyone jumping in on his behalf.

Hadesman never saw my fist coming. He looked up in complete bewilderment, and it was on. He threw a few, I threw a few, before Simonitis rallied from his cave and held us apart. I had the advantage of surprise, and considered it a slim win for myself. I learned that day that fights hurt a lot more than they’re worth, and haven’t thrown a punch since.

While the rest of us Skokie boys were fulfilling our pre-ordained destinies as Dentists, Podiatrists, Stock-Brokers, or in the rare case of actual talent, architects (Bradley Winick) and, when we really had no idea what else to do, lawyers, Marc embarked early and with great commitment to a serious life of crime.

I never saw Marc through the high school years, but soon after graduation, my mother began sending me clippings from the Chicago papers, about this or that heinous thing Marc had managed to do, like the time he stepped into an elevator and filled a woman full of darts from what must have been an early prototype of the taser, while in the commission of a robbery. She lived, barely, but the attack -- like mine had been on him -- seems to have been seriously undermotivated.

(A new wrinkle in violence: Stun gun: A shocking development?The News, p3, 4/22/1976.

Marc Hadesman was arrested for armed robbery.

Authors:?     Susan Nixon

Subjects:?     Crime and criminals - Robberies

Names:?     Hadesman, Marc

It seemed Marc had turned not only criminal, but vicious – a real psychopath of some kind.

Eventually he mobbed up, and became the bagman for a Vegas-based gangster named Jimmy Chagra, who was then considered by the FBI to be the largest importer of Mexican marijuana of his day.

I learned this when yet another clipping arrived, detailing how Marc had been arrested stepping off a plane in Las Vegas with a duffel bag stuffed with money and guns.  Bagman for a Gangster was about as likely a career choice for a nice Skokie boy as becoming an astronaut.

In an interesting side-note from Wiki:

Chagra's downfall began in 1978 when he was arrested on trafficking charges. He was scheduled to appear before Wood, a judge who had a reputation for giving out the maximum sentence allowed for drug-related crimes. Chagra faced a possible life sentence without parole if convicted, and a law clerk of the late judge told Joe Chagra, Jamiel's brother and attorney, that Judge Wood intended to give Chagra life without parole. Chagra allegedly attempted to bribe Judge Wood for ten million dollars. Facing life for smuggling, Jamiel Chagra allegedly decided to have the judge killed.

Chagra was accused of (and was acquitted of, although he later confessed to) conspiracy in a deal to help his wife, by hiring hitman Charles Harrelson (actor Woody Harrelson's father) to kill Wood for $250,000; on May 29, 1979, Judge Wood was murdered outside his home by a shot in the back. The authorities did not immediately suspect Chagra of involvement in the assassination. His drug case went to trial and Chagra was sentenced to 30 years. He was released for health reasons in Atlanta, Georgia on December 9, 2003.

Harrelson was eventually caught and convicted of being the gunman after Chagra talked about the assassination with his brother Joe Chagra during Joe's visit to Jimmy in United States Penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kansas, after FBI agents placed microphones under the tables they were speaking at. The FBI's position was that even though Joe Chagra was a lawyer, he was talking to his brother as a brother and not an attorney; therefore, their conversations were not covered by attorney-client privilege.

Both Harrelson and Chagra's brother Joe were implicated in the assassination. Harrelson got life, Joe Chagra got ten years, and Jimmy Chagra's wife Elizabeth was also sent to prison for delivering the payout money. Chagra himself was acquitted of the murder of Judge Wood in front of Judge William S. Sessions, future director of the FBI. Chagra's lawyer in the case was Oscar Goodman, formerly the Mayor of Las Vegas. In a deal with the federal government, Chagra admitted to his role in the murder of Judge Wood and the attempted murder of a United States Attorney. He did this in order to have his wife released before she died and to have him transferred to a medical prison. His wife was never released and she died in custody of ovarian cancer at age 41.

Another of the brothers, Lee Chagra, was gunned down in 1978 in a petty robbery of his office. Joe Chagra died in an automobile accident in 1996.

Marc, who as I mentioned earlier was physically slight, was known in mob circles, entirely unironically, as “Baby-Face Hadesman”.

I lived in fear that the unprovoked fight I had picked with him, had been in part responsible for setting him on his life of crime, and that, given his well documented proclivity for violence, he would also show up one day to kill or maim me, as payback. So it was with a combined sense of relief and shame when I received what would be the last of my mother’s mailed press clippings, some time before our thirtieth reunion, that Marc had died.

Cause of Death was unlisted. I can imagine that it wasn’t pretty.

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