On this day April 2 …
1992: Mafia boss John Gotti is convicted of murder and racketeering in New York City; he would be sentenced to life in prison.
Also on this day:
- 1513: Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León first sights land in what is now the state of Florida.
- 1792: The Coinage Act is passed establishing the United States Mint.
- 1900: The United States Congress passes the Foraker Act, giving Puerto Rico limited self-rule.
- 1902: “Electric Theatre”, the first full-time movie theater in the United States, opens in Los Angeles.
- 1911: The Australian Bureau of Statistics conducts the country’s first national census.
- 1912: The ill-fated RMS Titanic begins sea trials.
- 1917: President Woodrow Wilson asks Congress for a declaration of war on Germany.
- 1956: “As the World Turns” and “The Edge of Night” premiere on CBS and become the first daytime TV dramas to debut in the 30-minute format.
- 1972: Charlie Chaplin returns to the United States for the first time since being labeled a communist during the Red Scare in the early 1950s.
- 1973: The LexisNexis computerized legal research service launches.
- 1986: Alabama governor George Wallace, a former segregationist best known for the “Stand in the Schoolhouse Door”, announces that he will not seek a fifth four-year term and will retire from public life upon the end of his term in January 1987.
- 1989: Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev arrives in Havana, Cuba, to meet with Fidel Castro in an attempt to mend strained relations.
- 2004: Islamist terrorists involved in the March 11, 2004 Madrid attacks attempt — and fail — to bomb the Spanish high-speed train AVE near Madrid.
- 2006: More than 60 tornadoes break out in the United States; Tennessee is the hardest hit with 29 people killed.
- 2014: A spree shooting at the Fort Hood army base in Texas leaves four dead, including the gunman, and 16 others injured.