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Fifty years after murder of Chicago detective, man gets life for bank robbery

David Walsh’s sentence followed a lengthy, profane outburst last fall in which he threatened to kill a federal judge and the judge’s family, records show.

Security footage of a July 14, 2018, bank robbery committed by David Walsh.
Security video shows David Walsh robbing a bank on July 14, 2018.
U.S. District Court records

A Cook County prosecutor argued decades ago that David Walsh should be “securely locked up forever.”

Walsh had murdered a Chicago police officer in the 1960s only to be granted parole in 1983, the prosecutor wrote. Walsh had since been arrested with an Uzi submachine gun, “disguises of all sorts,” restraints, ski masks and bulletproof vests, he said. Then, in April 1987, he wrote that Walsh “celebrated his 10th day out of prison by walking into a restaurant on 63rd Street and sticking the place up using a replica of an antique gun.”

“Each time this thug was released, his acts became more sinister and sophisticated,” the prosecutor argued.

His request has finally been fulfilled, but only this week. U.S. District Judge Gary Feinerman on Wednesday sentenced Walsh, 74, to life in prison for bank robbery and other crimes, according to a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office. The sentencing followed a lengthy, profane outburst by Walsh last fall in which Walsh threatened to kill Feinerman and his family after the judge said he would give Walsh 13 years, records show.

“Because you’re a filthy stinking pig, you motherf---er, and I’d blow your f---ing brains out,” Walsh said, according to a transcript. “I not only would blow your f---ing brains out, you pig, but I would kill your entire f---ing family and torture and murder each and every f---ing one of them, you filthy, motherf---ing lying pig motherf---er, you.”

Walsh went on at length, according to the transcript. He also referred to the murder of a Chicago police officer as something that “happened over 50 years ago, man. That was another century.” Feinerman ended that earlier hearing after Walsh’s outburst and finished the sentencing this week, records show.

Patrick Boyle, Walsh’s defense attorney, declined to comment other than to say Walsh planned to appeal his life sentence.

Walsh was previously sentenced to between 20 and 40 years in prison for the May 1968 murder of Detective Young Hobson, according to prosecutors. Hobson was gunned down while off-duty at a tavern in the 1100 block of South Halsted Street after he spotted Walsh carrying a pistol and asked him, “Do you have a right to carry that gun?” according to a Chicago Sun-Times report at the time.

Chicago Sun-Times report on the May 1968 murder of Detective Young Hobson.
Sun-Times

Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Kerwin wrote in a court memo that Walsh shot Hobson five times in the chest. Roughly 50 customers ducked for cover as Hobson slumped to the floor, according to the Sun-Times report.

Phil Cline, executive director of the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation, called it “a vicious murder” and said he was “shocked that back in (1968), they only gave that sentence for the murder of a police officer.”

“He was a good cop, and it was a shame that that happened,” Cline said.

Walsh was paroled in 1983 but was repeatedly arrested after that, according to Kerwin. He also allegedly used several aliases, including “John Dean,” “Ronald Broadstone” and “Howard Bell.” Less than a month after he was paroled again in July 1984, he crawled out of his car after a traffic accident holding a .38-caliber revolver, Kerwin wrote. Officers also found a loaded 12-gauge shotgun and Uzi submachine gun in the car, according to Kerwin’s memo.

After Walsh’s armed robbery of a restaurant in 1987, a Cook County prosecutor wrote that Walsh should be “locked up forever,” records show.

“An examination of his prison record will convince you that you have your hands full,” the prosecutor wrote. “He has stabbed an inmate, possessed numerous shanks, thrown scalding water, been caught with escape plans and maps, pills, and has threatened guards and even parole officers and counselors,” the prosecutor wrote.

That time, Walsh got 60 years and served half of it, winning parole in October 2017 despite another prosecution for obstruction of justice and several prison infractions, Kerwin wrote.

On July 14, 2018, Walsh robbed the U.S. Bank branch in the 4700 block of North Western Avenue while wearing a clear plastic mask, Kerwin wrote. He told tellers to give him “100s, 50s, 20s,” court records show. Then, when they hesitated, Walsh pulled a .357-caliber Smith & Wesson and said, “I’m not playing.” They then gave him $3,700.

Walsh pleaded guilty to the robbery last February, records show. The feds arrested him July 24, 2018, fearing he was about to rob a TCF Bank in the 4900 block of North Milwaukee Avenue, according to court records.

That time, Walsh had tried to recruit an accomplice who then met with the FBI and agreed to wear a wire, records show.

Navy knit hat and mask allegedly seized from David Walsh during his arrest.
U.S. District Court records