Dillinger exhumation lawsuit dismissed, but new suit expected

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John Dillinger

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An Indiana judge has granted a motion dismissing a lawsuit filed by a nephew of 1930s gangster John Dillinger, who wants to exhume the notorious criminal’s Indianapolis grave.

Marion County Superior Court Judge Timothy Oakes had dismissed Michael Thompson’s lawsuit without prejudice last month after finding that he needed Crown Hill Cemetery’s permission to exhume the site.

The judge later granted Thompson an extension until Jan. 15 to file an amended complaint. But his attorney filed a motion Tuesday seeking to voluntarily dismiss the suit without prejudice and Oakes approved the request.

Thompson’s attorney, Andrea Simmons, said in email to The Associated Press that the motion the judge approved was “just a procedural step that allows us to re-file at an undetermined future date.”

Thompson sued the cemetery in August after it objected to his plans to exhume the grave for a television documentary. Thompson has said he has evidence that Dillinger’s body may not be buried there, and that he may not have been the man FBI agents fatally shot outside a Chicago theater on July 22, 1934.

Attorneys for Crown Hill Cemetery call that “a decades-old conspiracy theory.” They opposed the exhumation, saying in court documents that Indiana’s Legislature has granted cemetery owners the right to “protect its gravesites from unwarranted disturbance.”

The History Channel dropped out of the planned Dillinger documentary in September.

Thompson had obtained two separate permits from the Indiana State Department of Health for the exhumation. The last permit, approved in October, called for the remains to be exhumed on Dec. 31.

Timeline information gathered through PBS.org, JohnDillinger.com, and Wikipedia (John Dillinger page and the Dillinger Gang page)

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