Lester Joseph Gillis (George Nelson) was born on December 6, 1908. On July 4, 1921, at the age of twelve, Nelson was arrested after accidentally shooting a playmate in the jaw with a pistol he had found. He served over a year in the state reformatory. Arrested again for theft and joy riding at age 13, he was sent to a penal school for an additional 18 months. Nelson became gang-affiliated during his mid-teens, and would later become the leader of the gang. It was within this first gang where he was called by the alias Baby Face by members of his first gang for his youthful appearance. He would later meet and marry Helen Wawzynak and the couple would have two children.
His career as a criminal would bring him in contact with other known criminals such as John Dillinger and Al Capone, as well as many others. Nelson would enter into a partnership with John Dillinger, helping him escape from prison in the famed Crown Point, Indiana Jail escape, and was later labeled along with the remaining gang members as public enemy number one.
Nelson was responsible for the murder of several people, and killed more FBI agents in the line of duty than any other person during that time. On November 27, 1934 a gunfight between FBI agents and Nelson took place outside Chicago in the town of Barrington, resulting in the deaths of Nelson and Federal Agents Herman “Ed” Hollis and Samuel P. Cowley. He was buried at Saint Joseph’s Cemetery in River Grove, Illinois.