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Chicago’s Willie The Wimp Went Out In Style

Chicago rackets Prince William ‘Willie the Wimp’ Stokes, Jr. was killed in a drug deal gone bad on February 24, 1984 at the iconic Roberts Motel on the Windy City’s South Side, ending the life of a rising star in the underworld right as he was coming into his own as a gangster. Stokes’ burial proceedings made national news and inspired a song made famous by guitar legend Stevie Ray Vaughan.

The Roberts Motel, a sprawling complex with a restaurant, lounge, nightclub, performance venue, ballroom, banquet hall and swimming pool, was the epicenter of African-American culture at the time in Chicago. According to the police report, Willie the Wimp was ambushed as he approached one of the motel’s suites for what he thought was going to be a quality-check on a shipment of heroin he was negotiating the purchase of on behalf of him and his father.

Willie the Wimp, 28, was buried in a $10,000 custom-made Cadillac coffin with $10,000 of cash in his hands and lap. Stokes was dressed in a pink-colored three-piece suit and fedora and wore a diamond pinky ring on his right hand. The coffin featured a vanity Illinois license plate with the letters W.I.M.P. on it… read more >

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