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Crime History: Cabaret singer's boyfriend killed in 'Chicago' case

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Local,Crime,Scott McCabe,Crime History

On this day, March 11, in 1924, cabaret singer Belva Gaertner allegedly shot and killed her married boyfriend in a sensational case that became the stuff of Hollywood legend.

Gaertner's lover Walter Law was found in the front of her car with a bottle of gin and gun lying beside him. She was later found drunk with Law's blood on her clothes.

Despite evidence pointing to her guilt, Gaertner was found not guilty by an all-male jury.

Chicago Tribune reporter Maurine Dallas Watkins covered Gaertner's case and the subsequent trial of femme fatale Beulah Annan. Watkins adapted their stories into the play "Chicago" in 1927.

In the 2002 movie musical, Gaertner's character was played by Catherine Zeta-Jones. "Chicago" won the Oscar for Best Picture, and Zeta-Jones won for Best Supporting Actress.

- Scott McCabe

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