Billy GohlBilly Gohl was a short, rounded fellow, tough and thick. There are many tales attributed to him. Some say that he bombed a cigar store. Other's say that he shot up boats staffed with non-union sailors. Some folks even credit him with shanghaiing numerous sailors into tedious lumber boat crews. But no matter what's attributed to him, Billy Gohl was definitely a nasty son of bitch.
The most common description of Gohl's crimes revolve around his life in Aberdeen, Washington. In 1903, Billy Gohl became a delegate for the Sailor's Union of the Pacific in Aberdeen, a salty lumber town. No one really knew where he had come from, but his loose lips and ability to talk faster than most people thought made him a natural for the job.
Typically, sailors would come to the union office to look for work, check their mail, or stash valuables and money before wandering around town looking for liquor and pussy. Gohl became the head honcho of the Union office by 1909, and tended to man the operation by himself.
Between 1909 and 1912, Aberdeen became known as a violent port from whence sailors would not return. Usually, the missing sailors would float to the shore, dead from a bullet wound to the head, their pockets emptied. Around 200 some odd bodies were found in the waters around the Big Cut between 1903 and 1913, and most of them were thought to be sailors.
Gohl was very vocal about the slapdash nature of the police in Aberdeen at the time. He berated them for not being able to solve the heinous murders of his men. He called for more protection for sailors and demanded law enforcement apprehend the killer.
In fact, the killer was Billy Gohl. When a sailor came into the office to deposit their fistful of newly acquired cash, Billy would nod at them knowingly and lock the front door so they would not be disturbed. As soon as the coast was clear, he'd shoot, stab, beat, or strangle the man, take all his valuables, and drop the body into the ocean through a trap door he had installed in the floor.
Eventually, after doing this around 52 times, Gohl fucked up. He found a pocket watch on one of his victims engraved with the name August Schleuter. As he suspected that selling a watch with the name of the dead man on it would get him caught, Gohl left the time piece on the body.
When he was called down to the shoreline to identify the body a few days later, Gohl said "Yep, that's August Schleuter. He came in a few days ago to check his mail." Unfortunately, the man's name was in fact Fred Nielssen. Gohl was convicted in 1913 and spent the rest of his life in jail, saved from the executioner by Washington's 1912 repeal of the death penalty.
Gohl died in prison, most likely with a prolapsed rectum, in 1928.