Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Shondor Birns & Danny Green: Cleveland's Killer Celebrities

The Cop and the Killer

In 1973, Robert Doggett, director of Cleveland's Model Cities project, was shot while walking to his office. The multi-million-dollar plan to rebuild the rundown Hough Area had been plagued by scandals.

Paging through the police "mug book," Doggett picked out Danny Greene as the man who shot him.

The head of the police homicide squad was Lieutenant Edward Kovacic, who lived near Greene and had coached Greene's son in Catholic Youth Organization football. In Kovacic's official capacity, he regularly dropped by Greene's house to grill him about recent crimes.

Eventually the two developed a grudging respect for each other. Greene would pass along information about other racketeers, something he was already doing for the FBI. Kovacic would pass along warnings about rivals out to kill him.

Kovacic thought there was something fishy about the Doggett case. He told Greene, "Danny, I'm going to send you to prison, but not for something you didn't do."

Sure enough, it turned out the shots had been fired by Gerald Johnson, a former employee of a shady contractor who was seeking a city contract. Johnson's body was found in the Ohio River, an anchor tied to his leg.

Johnson's murder went unsolved.

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