By Steve Neavling
John Dillinger may continue to rest in peace.
A judge on Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit by the nephew of the 1930s American gangster, who sued for permission to exhume Dillinger’s gravesite in Indianapolis to determine if he’s actually buried there, the Associated Press reports .
Dillinger’s nephew, Mike Thompson, believes he may have evidence that his bank-robbing uncle was not fatally shot by the FBI at a theater in Chicago in 1934.
His plans were thwarted by Crown Hill Cemetery, which refused to give him permission to exhume the body.
Marion County Superior Court Judge Timothy Oakes dismissed the lawsuit, saying state law requires a cemetery’s consent to exhume a body.
“The limited question before the Court today is whether disinterment may occur under this section of the statute without cemetery approval. Court finds that the statutory requirements for this section of the statute are clear in that disinterment requires the cemetery owner to give consent before disinterment may occur,” Oakes wrote.
Indiana law, the judge added, “does not require that the cemetery have a valid, rational, or meaningful reason” for withholding its consent.
In the 1930s, then-FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover declared Dillinger as “Public Enemy No. 1” after his gang killed at least 10 people, robbed banks and even staged three jailbreaks.
The FBI has disputed claims that the FBI killed another man who was not Dillinger.
“A wealth of information supports Dillinger’s demise including 3 sets of fingerprints, all positively matched,” the FBI tweeted on Aug. 1.
Attorneys for the cemetery dismissed the nephew’s claims as “a decades-old conspiracy theory.”
One of the attorneys, Alice McKenzie Morical, said Wednesday that relatives identified Dillinger after he was fatally shot.
“His close family believed it was him and they wanted him in the family plot,” she said.