Leon Trotsky Assassinated (1940): Around 5:30 p.m. on August 20, 1940, Trotsky was sitting at his desk in his study, helping Ramon Mercader (known to him as Frank Jackson) edit an article. Mercader waited until Trotsky started to read the article, then snuck up behind Trotsky and slammed a mountaineering ice pick into Trotsky's skull.
Trotsky fought back and even remained standing long enough to say his murderer's name to those coming to his aid. When Trotsky's bodyguards found Mercader, they began beating him and only stopped when Trotsky himself said, "Don't kill him. He must talk!"
Trotsky was taken to a local hospital, where the doctors tried to save him by twice operating on his brain. Unfortunately the damage was too severe. Trotsky died at the hospital on August 21, 1940, just over 25 hours after being attacked. Trotsky was 60 years old.
Mercader was handed over to the Mexican police and claimed his name was Jacques Mornard (his real identity wasn't discovered until 1953). Mercader was found guilty of murder and sentenced to 20 years in jail. He was released from jail in 1960.
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