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Informer is published quarterly in electronic and print editions. Individual electronic issues are available for purchase through the Scribd.com document-sharing service. Individual print issues can be purchased through informer.magcloud.com.
THE HISTORY OF AMERICAN CRIME AND LAW ENFORCEMENT
ISSN Print: 1943-7803 Electronic: 1944-8139
Editor and Publisher:
P.O. Box 1350 New Milford, CT 06776-1350
On October 27, 2010, the Mattix family of Iowa lost a beloved patriarch, the community of true crime writers lost a treasured friend and this journal lost its editorial director. Rick Mattix, a highly regarded historian and a mentor to true crime authors, agreed late in July to oversee the editorial content of Informer. Rick noted that he was dealing with some health problems at the time—he mentioned pneumonia. He recently had shut down his own gangster-era history journal, On the Spot. Just a month later, he was diagnosed with emphysema. Early in October, doctors informed Rick and his family that he had a rapidly spreading lung cancer. Determined to fight the disease, Rick immediately began treatment at Iowa Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines. Between treatments, Rick was allowed to return home to Bussey, Iowa. On October 26, he reportedly experienced serious breathing problems and was rushed back to the hospital. According to his family, Rick refused the assistance of a medical ventilator. He passed away the next evening. Rick’s death was keenly felt by both of his families—the one related to him by blood and marriage and the other tied to him by professional appreciation and admiration. While we gave some consideration to closing Informer following the tragic news, it seemed a far better choice to use the journal as a means for his second family to assist his first family. As a result, all advertising proceeds in this issue of Informer have been transferred to the Rick Mattix Memorial Fund, where they have helped defray the costs associated with Rick’s funeral and a planned memorial stone. The issue also memorializes Rick through testimonials and other features.
Issue 2, February 2011
Copyright © 2011
Article submissions and letters are always welcome. Publishers and authors of books related to True Crime History may send review copies along with press releases and author biographical information to Thomas Hunt P.O. Box 1350 New Milford, CT 06776-1350
A Test of Resolve: The Murder of John Bazzano ........ 4 Last Days of the Brady Gang .......... 44 Warner Files: Masseria.................... 56 Genovese Crime Family Chart ......... 59 Interview: William J. Helmer ........................ 66 Tribute: Crime Historian Rick Mattix ........ 76
The truth about ‘Joe the Boss’ Masseria. Page 56.
Recently reorganized under the Commission system, in 1932 the American Mafia reacted quickly to a bloody revival of old underworld rivalries
A Test of Resolve
By Thomas Hunt and Michael A. Tona
As a member of the Mafia criminal network in the United States and a veteran of Prohibition Era gang wars, Pittsburgh underworld boss John Bazzano surely knew he was in jeopardy when he received a summons from higher-ups in mid-summer of 1932. Vito Genovese wanted to see him in New York City.1 Second in command of Charlie “Lucky” Luciano’s massive underworld empire, Genovese was one of the elite criminal leaders in the country, certainly the most powerful Neapolitan gangster.2 An order to appear before a more senior gang boss did not come with an explanation. It did not need one. Mafiosi understood that attendance was mandatory. Though the call to such a meeting often preceded the harshest form of underworld discipline, refusal of the summons surely meant death.3 Just a year earlier, Bazzano witnessed his friend and mentor Nick Gentile being put “on the spot” in a disciplinary meeting in Chicago. Only through an unflinching resolve that earned the respect and support of meeting host Alphonse Capone was Gentile able to save his life.4 Perhaps hoping to follow his mentor’s example, Bazzano made the required early August trip to midtown Manhattan.5 He was accompanied by two other men. The three Pennsylvanians arrived in New York and took rooms, appropriately enough, in the Pennsylvania Hotel. One of Bazzano’s traveling companions was Giuseppe “Big Mike” Spinello6 of the Pittsburgh suburb of Wilmerding. Spinello had recently allied with Bazzano in an effort to dominate the region’s criminal operations.7 The third traveler, whose scribbled
the leader of the Pittsburgh Mafia was taken before an assembly of other bosses and senior racketeers in an empty building on Hicks Street in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn. he did not check out.”13 Drawing on the lesson he learned from Gentile but exhibiting none of his mentor’s tact. but.blogspot. Bazzano grew visibly indignant at the proceedings. “You have provoked great evil.” he shouted. Bazzano also left the establishment that day. Rather than mitigate his offense by citing Volpe antagonism or other justification. Neapolitan racketeers based in Wilmerding. Hotel management held Bazzano's room for him for several days but never saw him again. Spinello and Tito shared the room next to Bazzano’s.FEBRUARY 2011 INFORMER 5 name in the hotel register looked to be “I.14 The gathered mobsters had heard informer-journal.11 On the evening of August 6.12 There he sat at a table as a panel of Sicilian and Neapolitan underworld big shots challenged him to explain his role in the recent unauthorized murders of John. Yobi. James and Arthur Volpe.com . showing unwarranted optimism. slamming his fists onto the table. “and you have implicated others in this deed.” one inquisitor stated. (Tito also had been ordered to appear in New York City at the same time. “We finally can eliminate these Neapolitans. The group waited at the hotel to hear the place and time of the Mafia meeting.”8 was almost certainly Pittsburgh gambling racketeer Joseph Tito. He acknowledged involvement in the Volpe slayings and insisted that he had done the right thing. Spinello and his roommate checked out of the hotel on August 6 and vanished. making them appear to be accomplices. he incited his judges by calling for an expanded Sicilian Mafia war against Neapolitan gangsters.9) Bazzano took a single room.10 The underworld tribunal apparently no longer required their presence.
Law enforcement officials extracted statements from some of the prisoners which indicated a link to counterfeiting operations in New York and other American cities. Scalise told police he had fled an angry Camorra in Boston. Ferdinando Mauro. the Camorra bosses reduced – but did not withdraw – their cash demand. informer-journal. Black Handers. One said.com . They dropped the large parcel near a refuse pile known as Tin Can Mountain on Brooklyn’s Center Street between Hicks and Clinton. John Bazzano was a loose cannon. gangs confined their activities to enclaves of immigrants from their own Italian or Sicilian hometowns. Mafiosi Sicilian-Italian organized crime in the Pittsburgh area dates back at least to December of 1890. McKees Rocks to the west and Braddock and Wilmerding in the Turtle Creek Valley off to the southeast were also unwilling hosts to these criminal entities. Wilkinsburg to the east. The refusal to meet the demands of such letters was said to have resulted in the death of Mike Corrazola of Dunlevy.blogspot. as well as Larimer and Homewood on the East End.15 Police later found an unidentified corpse covered with burlap at that location.21 Camorra Black Handers targeted Sicilians. Found near death.16 The “Sack Murder” investigation made headlines around the U. The Pittsburgh satellite communities of Arnold and New Kensington to the northeast. a danger to shaky year-old underworld pacts. the assassins folded his body up. On the night of December 4. Authorities raided the house where the couples lived and nabbed the remaining fifteen suspects. Pittsburgh and its suburbs had a number of Little Italy and Little Sicily colonies and a number of organized gangs preying on those neighborhoods. twentyyear-old Scalise was awakened by a band of three men. Counterfeiters.24 By 1907. even those belonging to the Mafia underworld. One fastened a rope around the struggling Pittsburgh boss’s neck. As a group. One violent confrontation was the 1904 knifing of Sicilian immigrant Peter Scalise by a relentless Neapolitan Camorra organization. they jumped at Bazzano and held him down.23 After the direct involvement of local Mafia leaders. leader of a Camorra band. police estimated the membership of Neapolitan extortion gangs in the Pittsburgh area at four hundred men. We have come to kill you. though they certainly were well established before that time. But interaction between gangs was inevitable. stabbing him a total of eighteen times. tied it with clothesline and wrapped it with burlap sacks. while others punched small but deadly holes into his chest with ice picks. Mafia organizations based on Sicilian traditions and Camorra groups originating in Naples18 were detected in Pittsburgh’s central Hill District. After the life had drained from him.” The three men set to work on their victim. when a band of nineteen Italian counterfeiters was arrested and more than one thousand dollars in fake coins was secured.S.20 Black Hand extortion rackets were documented in western Pennsylvania’s Donora and Monongahela communities early in 1906. and a Calabrian associate known as Calabró of Johnstown22 brazenly attempted to extract thousands from a Sicilian named LaMantia.6 INFORMER FEBRUARY 2011 enough. Giuseppe Barli was arrested and charged with attempting to extort money through the use of threatening letters signed only with the name “Black Hand” or with a black handprint. “Get up. only to be pursued through Chicago and then to the home of his sister in Pittsburgh. and alerted the nation’s law enforcement agencies to a complex and firmly entrenched criminal network in western Pennsylvania with formal connections to gangs across the country. who was well connected with the Mafia. Two Italian men and their wives were apprehended as they passed the phony money. fruit merchant Joseph Sunseri struck a blow for the Sicilian community against the then-dominant Neapolitans.19 Early on.17 In the 1900s. Late in that year.
They welcomed Rose’s sixty-fourwhen he emigrated from Italy to the United 28 year-old father Joseph into their home. On a Declaration of ler. The States aboard the S. opposed to the transhe proved his mettle as planted Neapolitan CaJohn Bazzano well as his allegiance to morra. Witnesses Bazzano was born to Stefano and Carto the union were Domenico Lezeno and Anmela Bertone Bazzano on May 22. nous coal mines and on the Sicilian drew a firerailroad building proarm and shot Rei dead. jects. Palizzi Marina on the southern coast of the who was more than six years his junior. while officially working as a described his occupation as “laborer.25 SicilianMine disaster.” It is retail merchant for a confectioner.29 Many of his Italian Filippo Rei demanded countrymen settled in ten thousand dollars that region to toil in from Sunseri in exsteel mills. Bulgaria. Penn“boot. in bitumichange for his safety. married dation or merely a matter of choice.34 Bazzano and his new bride.FEBRUARY 2011 INFORMER 7 vania’s Cambria CounWhen Camorra leader ty. gang consoliBazzano. a comunderworld influence grew. He became ownmunity named for the West Virginia Collier er of movie theaters in Vandergrift and ButCompany located there.blogspot.33 some old family link across the Strait of In the early years of the Prohibition Era.com . 1888. West Virginia. in western Pennsylinformer-journal. through New York sons and two daughters. Rose Zappala in New York City. arrived.32 ern Calabria26 he beBazzano became a came firmly allied to the citizen of the United Sicilian Mafia underStates on January 4. like other and less strenuous work immigrants from southas a clerk. Bazzano’s wealth and for a time in Wevaco. Messina.”27 He was nearly twenty years old sylvania. It is not known if his adopted homeland his allegiance to the Siwhen he entered the military to fight in the cilian underworld society was the result of Great War.35 City’s Ellis Island and headed inland. setCalabria region – the toe of the Italian tled into a home in New Kensington.S.37 he inunclear what sort of labor he performed. he profit. then in his mid-thirties. Bazzano managed originally from the Italto find less hazardous ian mainland.S. Shortly thereafter. he moved from Wylie Avenue in the City of Pittsburgh38 and Wevaco to Johnstown. living During the 1920s. and later sold those at a Intention to become an American citizen. which Neapolitan gang warclaimed 239 lives in fare filled much of the nearby Rostraver Townnext quarter century of ship. a consequence of U.S.30 These were deA coroner’s jury found manding and dangerous Sunseri innocent of any lines of work. vested in the Rome Coffee House at 704 After a few years.31 was still in rewestern Pennsylvania’s cent memory as Bazzano underworld history. The Darr wrongdoing. After continuSiding with the Mafia ing briefly in a laborer’s Though Bazzano was role. Pennsylvania. world and just as firmly 1916.36 Then. Bazzano family quickly grew to include three He entered the U. in drea Zappala.
44 established a wholesale liquor business at 801 Wylie Avenue near Chatham Street in the Steel City’s Hill District. Guckenheimer & Sons liquor warehouse and removing sixty barrels of whiskey from it.. Succession of Pittsburgh Bosses At the time Bazzano reached the U.8 INFORMER FEBRUARY 2011 in the Virogo Yeast Company. aided by the departure of underworld rivals. John Bazzano was poised to assume the leadership of the local Mafia.39 He quietly dealt in home brewing and whiskey distilling supplies.blogspot. They moved into a comfortable thirty-thousand-dollar home on Washington Road in the Mount Lebanon community. as many others experienced the financial pains of the Great Depression. Sicily. He and his nephew Giuseppe Cusumano. including a Conti- informer-journal. often by violence. With the arrival of Prohibition. After a lengthy climb. His only serious brush with the law occurred in 1925.40 Friction between Pittsburgh’s local gangs increased over time.S. As other rising stars of the local underworld were removed from the scene by arrest or by murder. a druggist. when a federal indictment charged him and four other men with breaking the seal on the A. Gang consolidation occurred. sometimes by diplomacy. Prosecutors eventually dropped the charges. Bazzano. Gregorio Conti was the leader of an important Sicilian gang within the City of Pittsburgh. the Bazzanos were well off.45 New immigrants from a wide variety of backgrounds populated “the brawling” Hill District. Conti arrived in Pittsburgh in 1907.42 separated by the Monongahela River from bustling downtown Pittsburgh. which were in great demand during the Prohibition Era.41 By 1930. greater organization and more extensive networking was rewarded with enormous profits. a village not far from Agrigento.43 A native of Comitini. and ethnic gangs. who managed to avoid the bullets of rivals and the reach of law enforcement. became more and more powerful.com .
as the War Prohibition Act – precursor to the Eighteenth Amendment – went into effect. a community northeast of Pittsburgh. Calderone and his wife Annie filled their Warren Avenue home with children. and Pietro Monastero informer-journal. and brought his underworld influence with him to western Pennsylvania. Calderone and Sons. There they became wholesale and retail sellers of fruit. Salvatore Calderone was the most important Sicilian underworld figure in western Pennsylvania.” Stefano. son of Nicasio Landolina. Salvatore “Sam. (Conti also seems to have established a working relationship with the local Camorra.50 Calderone of Apollo As the nation went officially “dry” with the effective date of the Volstead Act.55 He also had some pull in Chicago’s Little Sicily. Nicasio had been an important Mafioso in the Caccamo-Trabia area of Sicily.48 Conti unwisely practiced this particular deception in a large business transaction with Camorra leader Ferdinando Mauro.blogspot. Some of Calderone’s sons took jobs with that firm. Conti refused to set things right.53 The sons were eventually welcomed into the family fruit business. Though he should have been financially set. the family also became interested in the Apollo Bottling Works. anticipating a huge windfall through future black market sales.FEBRUARY 2011 INFORMER 9 sponsored wing of the Sicilian Mafia. were employed there as security forces. By that time. Conti greedily sought to improve his bottom line further by packaging inferior product as Ferro China Bisleri and Fernet Branca. In the early years of the Prohibition Era. Calderone’s daughter married Giuseppe Landolina.49 His remains were sent back to Sicily for burial. 1919. 1919. He confided in colleagues that his “peasant” customers were unlikely to know the difference between his substitutes and the genuine articles. herb-flavored liqueurs of Milan which were highly prized by well-to-do immigrants. which became S. Conti had stockpiled liquor.46) Conti’s Pittsburg Wine & Liquor Company47 went out of business officially on July 1.54 The Calderone family was tied through marriage to the Landolina clan of Pittsburgh’s East End. 1858.51 Born in Termini Imerese on June 29. and Mauro’s palate was sensitive enough to detect the fraud.com . and he was subsequently shot to death in his automobile on September 24. an ancillary business to the bootlegging industry. in August of 1895. Calderone entered the U.52 He and some relatives settled in the Borough of Apollo.S.
A sters and the Landolinas’ unwillingness to tailor by trade. least two North Side supply stores for the illicit manufacture of liquor and beer. According to Caccamo Mafiosi under family history. They were the sons of Pietro Arizona. Stefano partnered with Salcomply reportedly led to an enormous explovatore in a wholesale fruit business on Pittssion in Pittsburgh’s produce district on Febburgh’s “Strip” – the narrow. Several unsucNorth Side. the brothers operated at 58 firm. based in Pittsburgh’s Hill Disboss. Their combined Mafia Landolina buildings.64 Salvatore Calderone’s retirement from his legitimate and underworld businesses The Monasteros shared Caccamo roots roughly coincided with the destruction of the with the Landolinas. They came closest Monastero rival Joe Pangallo killed inside the Orleans on September 19 of that informer-journal. he Monastero. leader of a gang on Pittsburgh’s nals of other Italian regions. Pangallo was ruthless and headstrong. as in-law Nicasio Stefano’s primary rival in the region was Landolina served as Monastero’s underJoe Pangallo. Calderone endorsed Stefano bition Era competition from organized crimiMonastero. Calderone was consulted by other McKees Rocks. Cash demands from rival gangmerchants and racketeers in Allegheny. Perhaps aided by their Mafia heritage. a New Orleaccumulated his share of ans cobbler murdered by enemies and was put on a lynch mob in 1891 for the spot on several occahis alleged links to the sions. hijack1933. Landolina Brothers & Company. Starting out as the owner of a speakeasy in statesman. him and preyed on other racketeers.60 Settling into a role as a Mafia elder trict.blogspot. the Landolinas ran a produce 57 Pennsylvania.56 Like the city to city until it settled in Allegheny. as overall Mafia boss in the recessful attempts were made on Stefano Mongion. Stefano was merely a few The transplanted months old.61 Monastero of Allegheny ing liquor shipments and holding up lottery Monastero and his racketeers (numbers older brother Salvatore runners).66 He also made (“Sam”) possessed an considerable money through a real estate exceptional American investment swindle in Mafia pedigree.com .10 INFORMER FEBRUARY 2011 Parish Prison.65 in underworld matters.”68 ther’s death.62 Salvatore was three world traps earned him the nickname. “the at the time of his faGhost of the Hill. on Pittsburgh’s North Side. Calderone continued to have influence astero’s life during the late 1920s.67 Naturally.63 firm. he gathered a gang around gang bosses until his death on April 16. flat region beruary 18. The blast caused one huntween the railroad and the Allegheny River dred and thirty thousand dollars’ worth of that was home to numerous produce firms. damage to three buildings of the Landolina In their spare time. The family then moved from where his brother Cosimo settled.59 Nearing his seventiorganization faced tough and violent Prohieth birthday. His uncanny abilSicilian criminal socieity to escape from underty. 1925. Calderones. the Landolinas were targeted by Black Hand the Monastero brothers became successful extortionists. the boys Stefano Monastero tried had just been brought to repeatedly to eliminate New Orleans by their Pangallo beginning in mother when Pietro was 1927. Despite their status within the Mafia.
but brought their period of Mafia leadership to his wife did not survive long after the birth of an end in 1929.69 an underworld associThe Monastero gang ate. shotguns opened business began intrudfire from a vehicle ing on Monastero turf in parked nearby. the Gorilla pendicitis and required was shot to death in surgery. went to St. struck by story headquarters was the initial blasts. Curran’s threeMonastero. as a 74 Neapolitan criminals. then in thirty-nine-year-old Mafia ruler had been his mid-seventies. Landolina enethe year 1930 arrived. The loss. as he watered a garden at his MaySiragusa of Squirrel Hill flower Street home. and on Siragusa. Stefano and ing Prohibition. their son Giovanni in January 1919. was well adjusted September 27 Antonio was fatally struck by to his adopted homeland by that time. through the roof of his They intended to visit sedan. He married.77 the family was destined to remain on top. A Pathree slugs as he walked past 1613 Penn Avlermo native. Four gunmen armed With North Sider Stefano Monastero out with shotguns fired the fatal volley from the of the picture and the influence of the Lando72 windows of a passing automobile. Underboss Nicasio Landolina.S. 1910. After a 1927 murder attempt against falling out with gang Pangallo. he had been a U. when an exploding Salvatore Monastero car bomb sent Pangallo. Siragusa spent a finger of blame at the Pittsburgh area’s most of his first two years in the U. Stefano 1929. 1923. “Ghost of the Hill” Pangallo finally and set up shop as a baker. front of his Chatham As the Monastero Street restaurant. 24. pital on the North Side. Calogero Spallino.75 was more successful in Free on bail as he awaitdealing with other comed trial for a recent petitors. New Yorker. linas reduced through assassinations. and apparently connected with The Monastero family remained ununderworld leaders there. the Monastero to unload a handgun inorganization suffered a to Stefano’s head.S. And it might have looked as though the Pittsburgh region in July 1912.78 DurOn August 6 of that year. East Nicasio nephew Antonio Landolina travEnd-based Giuseppe Siragusa became the eled from Chicago to Pittsburgh’s “Strip” most powerful Mafia chief in the region as with revenge on his mind. mies did not appreciate his presence. John’s Hosdazed but still alive. fell at 71 leveled by a bomb. since September 29. Siragusa’s dual jobs as proinformer-journal. 70 brothers stepped from And. resident 73 The existence of Black Hand extorenue. once to the ground.blogspot. when Morris Curtheir bulletproof autoran’s moonshine supply mobile.FEBRUARY 2011 INFORMER 11 year. 1928. He headed west to scathed.76 Spallino sufboss Luigi “Big Gorilla” fered an attack of apLamendola. was shot to death on July deposed. One In between its victoof the gunmen hidden in ries over Lamendola and the parked car emerged Giuseppe Siragusa Curran.com . forty-eight. He moved into a home on Liberty Avenue However. and a naturalized tion letters targeting the Landolinas pointed citizen since May 23.
79 nered with Maranzano in bootlegging enterAfter marrying his second wife. A postwar convention of American MafioHe was opposed by a conservative Sicilisi was held at Chicago’s Hotel Congress in an alliance led by Salvatore Maranzano of May 1931. some old of Maranzano. valuable alliances with The Maranzano forces New York City gang succeeded in knocking bosses.” the Casteltore D’Aquila.blogspot.85 to two competing Maranzano’s adcamps. a End of his own city – former boss of bosses Monastero’s old stompwho served as ing grounds – was some81 Masseria’s trusted adviwhat less cooperative. and antiager of Empire Yeast Company on CedarMasseria gangs in Chicago. Chicago and New 80 From the baselar.com .83 huge profits by supplying the sugar and Under Giuseppe Siragusa. Mafia organizaBrooklyn. York. but the North off Giuseppe Morello. Siragusa was joined at the informer-journal.12 INFORMER FEBRUARY 2011 prietor of a confectionary and general manD’Aquila loyalists in Brooklyn. Siragusa Masseria’s top men. as well as gangs in East Harlem.84 tion of a large home on manicured grounds The North Side’s secret sympathies appear on Beechwood Boulevard in Pittsburgh’s to have been with Masseria. served as Golfo. whose prestige was motellammarese Mafia clan led by Stefano mentarily enhanced by his wartime support Magaddino in the Buffalo region.86 With that “hit. Sicily. Luciano combined Mafiabetrayed his boss and Camorra alliance that included his own lowarranged Masseria’s assassination in Gerarer Manhattan gang. who quickly mended Brooklyn. Philadelphia. Maran his illicit enterprisranzano gained the upes. Al Mineo. and Maranzano Chicago. the East End Pittsburgh Mafia also invested some of his profits in the construcwas solidly in the Castellammarese camp. was victorious. who had partyeast necessary to moonshining operations. As Siragusa was sor. The home inrival underworld netcluded a basement works erupted in Declubroom and wine celtroit. He was able to forge per hand in New York. a portion of the Brookdo Scarpato’s Coney Island restaurant on lyn family of previous boss of bosses SalvaApril 15. Al Capone. Detroit and Cleveland. 1931. Maranzano had the support of the event’s host. a closely related Caswas led by Siragusa. ville Street put him in a position to reap Detroit and the Bronx.87 Cola Schiro’s predominantly CastellamThe Pittsburgh delegation to the meeting marese Brooklyn gang.82 New Yorkvant age c om p elled based Mafia boss of Masseria’s opportunistic bosses Giuseppe “Joe lieutenant Charlie LuciNick Gentile the Boss” Masseria led a ano to defect. moving into the job of Masseria’s muscle in boss. eastern Squirrel Hill War between the district. A native of Castellammare del fences with the new boss of bosses. and puppet tions across the United gang bosses in the States were dividing inBronx and Brooklyn. the Capone organization of lammarese War was over. Through a series of ambushes targeting ment quarters. Siragusa prises.
Gentile took a firm stand: “I came with a clear conscience. trusting in Gentile’s good nature to let the matter go.89 Gentile saw the worth of letting bygones be bygones and withdrew his threat. The Pittsburgh boss immediately recanted.” Gentile’s resolve impressed Capone. His face was covered with lather. 1931. a simmering feud between Maranzano and Char- lie Luciano boiled over. Gunmen had apparently interrupted the boss’s morning shave in his basement bathroom. perhaps questioning his loyalty to the Maranzano regime. as short-sighted Siragusa – protected through his friendship with the supreme leader of the Mafia – saw no reason for compromise. Unfortunately. his allies and the Pittsburgh delegation waited in another room. But. Noting that the convention represented an opportunity to resolve all differences peacefully. Also present was well-traveled Pittsburgh Mafia adviser Nick Gentile. Bazzano saw opportunity and immediately moved against local crime lord Giuseppe Siragusa. Gentile’s attendance was involuntary. privately questioning the unwilling guest. though he seemed not to know it. Though he had little affection for either Maranzano or Siragusa. informer-journal. I will claim the heads of those who made them. at the bottom of the basement stairs. they ended the boss of bosses’ brief reign along with his life. 10. “Poor Joe” On the afternoon of Sept.88 Accusation Unlike the other conventioneers.” he told Capone. 10. he urged Gentile not to act against Siragusa.92 A meeting of local gang chiefs in late August failed to resolve the pricing dispute. His insistence on holding down the prices of supplies he sold to home-brewers undercut and angered competitors on the city’s North Side. When some underworld rivals at the convention made charges against him. riddled with bullets. Capone personally looked into the matter.93 Just three days after Maranzano’s assassination. “I believe that some trap has been set for me. even at the cost of a trusted and resourceful associate like Gentile. As Maranzano. circumstances would cause Bazzano to forget very quickly his own sound advice. With knives and firearms. His efforts to curry favor with Maranzano. Siragusa’s wife returned home from church to find his body. His stature within Maranzano’s new order plunged when Capone went to confront him with Gentile’s threat.91 Siragusa had been in a precarious position for some time. Bazzano managed to keep his feelings to himself. John Bazzano. The accusations against Gentile apparently originated with Siragusa. had eroded support within his organization. Luciano men identifying themselves as federal agents barged into Maranzano’s offices on the ninth floor of the Grand Central Building at 230 Park Avenue in Manhattan.com . he was summoned from his home to a meeting at the Hotel Congress’s bar.FEBRUARY 2011 INFORMER 13 event by the Steel City’s rising star. Investiga- Boss of bosses Salvatore Maranzano was murdered in his Manhattan offices on Sept. I warn you. 1931. who fondly recalled an earlier meeting between them during the Mafia reign of the late Mike Merlo. malicious statements. Bazzano brought word out to the waiting Gentile that the charges against him had been dropped. if the accusations are nothing but false.90 When word of the assassination reached Pittsburgh.blogspot.
he was convicted Italian royal bloodline. Poor Joe. Giovanni or John tenced to a half year behind bars. Adding a law enforcement connecmainland Italian community about sixty tion to his sibling’s political connections was miles from Naples in a region of Campania an effective move for a clan that seemed to that had long been home to the Camorra be forever in trouble with the law. John also exhibited an ability to esdered within just forty-eight hours of Macape criminal conviction. in June 1932 of a second offense and senThe oldest brother. Though arrested ranzano’s death. While in entire Turtle Creek Valley region. After being fined on a federal liqfamily legend that made them part of an 96 uor law violation in 1930.. which included the alleged beatworlds of the Borough of Wilmerding and the ing of a federal Prohibition agent. apparently the only witness to Siragusa’s murder. local office.14 INFORMER FEBRUARY 2011 tors noted that a pet parrot in the home. Some of Luigi Lamendola’s James – won election to the Wilmerding Borformer associates also were eliminated at ough Council during Prohibition. criminal society. a lice chief. The Volpes were takeone of the family ever to be sent to prison charge men. incessantly repeated the words. commercial and political and 1926. despite recinformer-journal. a crew of eight Volpe brothers (Arturo). The only streets of Wilmerding. While Monastero and Siragusa were at work trying to establish Mafia supremacy withPittsburgh crime boss Giuseppe Siragusa’s Squirrel Hill home (left) and in the city proper.com . convinced as they were of a was Louis.blogspot. James succeeded in placing a The large Volpe family immigrated piecebrother-in-law in the position of borough pomeal to the United States from Agropoli.97 only East End mobster to meet his end in His brother Vincenzo Volpe – known as the fall of 1931. thirty to forty ties in that district to his favorite candiolder Mafiosi across the country were murdates.”94 Camorra in East End The Neapolitan Camorra had grown strong in Pittsburgh’s East End. Louis. Siragusa was not the fully prosecuted.98 Volpe. Joseph and Raymond. the the stairway where his body was found (right). “Poor Joe. Neapolitan Volpe brothers became prominent orded arrests for assault and battery in 1921 in the criminal. According to the legend. Chester (Cesare). the legend of royal blood and Siragusa’s demise was one of just a few his preference for the finer things in life. Guy was making its powerful presence felt on the (Gaetano)..95 By the start of the ProhiThe other Volpe brothers were Arthur bition Era. He verifiable gang murders that gave birth to became a powerful Republican leader in Wilthe legend of a Luciano-inspired purge of old merding’s Fourth District and was said to be -line “Mustache Petes” in the American Maable to deliver overwhelming voting majorifia. was widely known as “Prince Johnny” because of his stature as the eldest brother New Underworld Order in the family. he was not successed by any evidence.99 While the numbers and for murder in 1919 and for assault and batthe timing cited in the legend are unsupporttery in 1926 and 1931.
were Joseph Bonanno. Calabrian and Neapolitan racketeers were all welcome within the Mafia.101 Whether the legendary purges occurred or not. In a fouryear span.com . Luciano had learned that the boss of bosses title was administratively ineffective and personally hazardous.FEBRUARY 2011 INFORMER 15 nearly the same time. The American Mafioso spirit had proven itself incompatible with dictatorship. Salvatore “Toto” D’Aquila.105 With Luciano on the first Commission. Witnesses claimed they saw Spinelli with Amarosa just a few hours before. Amarosa was subsequently found dead in a car that had been set on fire at the Turtle Creek “Lovers Lane. he had lucrative business relationships with criminal organizations outside of the Mafia. As a front to the illicit enterprises. Giuseppe “Joe the Boss” Masseria and Salvatore “Turridru” Maranzano – had been removed from office by the bullets of underworld rivals. 1931. Palmere and Amarosa went into hiding for a time.103 While he was the de facto boss of bosses or capo dei capi. at the end of 1931 the treacherous Luciano was in a position to dictate to the other Mafia bosses in the United States. but the authorities could not locate him. Bronx-based Tom Gagliano. a Castellammarese immigrant who took the reins of the former Schiro organization in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Frank Milano (right).” His charred remains bore evidence of gunshot wounds and strangling. and Frank “Ciccio” Milano of Cleveland. “Little Joe” was indicted for the killings. Leaders of the more powerful Mafia clans were asked to join the Commission. His partners in the business were Saverio “Toto” Amarosa (also known as Argenti) and Phillip “Little Joe” Spinelli. Unfortunately. essentially a garage where whiskey and beer were stored. and Luciano commanded one of the largest Sicilian-Italian gangs in the country. one of the Chicago gunmen imported by Lamendola. elected to replace Frank Scalise as head of the New York’s old D’Aquila clan.102 Masseria and Maranzano were out of the way. Perhaps less efficient than a single supreme leader. it appears to have been one already invested in the success of the Volpe gang in nearby Wilmerding.blogspot.100 Palmere’s new gang caught the attention of a New York-based criminal empire. Luciano’s “Commission” system had the virtues of being less cumbersome than the Mafia’s traditional democratic General Assembly104 and less hazardous for its top officeholders. Beyond that. he was greeted with a single pistol shot to the head. ran a Turtle Creek-based enterprise supplying sugar and yeast to moonshine operations and wholesale liquor to area speakeasies. Sicilian. The Commission Charlie Lucky formally abolished the boss of bosses position and installed a representative body for the mediation of intergang disputes. Jack Palmere. “Little Joe” Spinelli suddenly disappeared. Several seats on the ruling body were reserved for pro-Castellammarese bosses who initially had every reason to mistrust the assassin of Maranzano. Capone from Chicago. Vincenzo Mangano. informer-journal. the group maintained the Locust Auto Repair Company. and rumors said he was siding with the Volpes and the New Yorkers against his old friends. the last four supreme leaders of the criminal society – Giuseppe “Piddu” Morello.106 In the Luciano-designed underworld. Joseph Profaci of Brooklyn and Staten Island. provided Charlie Luciano (left). When Palmere showed up at Wylie Avenue and Chatham Way at seven-thirty on the evening of October 7.
as the eventual election victors owed nothing to the Fourth District political machine.115 The Bazzano-Volpe partnership was unusual in western Pennsylvania. Volpe was known to travel by airplane to New York each Friday to look after his business interests. including Meyer Lansky. Bazzano allowed the Volpe brothers to use his Rome Coffee Shop at 704 Wylie Avenue – the heart of the city’s Hill District – as their base of operations. an election returns board led by Judges Elder W.114 The continuing Volpe expansion seemed to have the blessings of John Bazzano..16 INFORMER FEBRUARY 2011 they contributed to the mob’s bottom line. the brothers were finding new racketeering opportunities. They quickly took over liquor distribution to speakeasies throughout the East End and advanced westward along Penn Avenue into the Strip region.com . After 1931 primary balloting.110 they saw no reason not to expand their control of numbers gaming and bootlegging beyond their local Turtle Creek region into the City of Pittsburgh. a Sicilian by birth. were coordinated with those of the Mafiosi. Louis Buchalter and Benjamin Siegel. His successes forced the Camorra into an uneasy treaty with Calderone’s Mafia. Bazzano’s close friend Gentile recalled the great strength of the pre-Prohibition Camorra in Pittsburgh. was too weak to fight the abuses committed by the Neapolitan Camorrists. The attitudes and histories of the rival underworld societies typically prevented such combinations. with Siragusa’s untimely death and with mentor Nick Gentile’s strong support. Luciano. his motivations for entering into a partnership with the Volpe brothers in 1932 informer-journal. It also greatly eroded the local influence of the brothers. which had seen its share of Mafia-Camorra feuds. Marshall and George V.. Connected to an inexpensive liquor source in Brooklyn109 and friendly with the powerful Al Capone. Financial gain was the sole motivating force. Moore decided to throw out the vote of the Volpecontrolled Fourth District due to fraud. The Mafia.108 At the same time. They simultaneously expanded their gambling enterprises into the area. He noted that the regional Camorra boss had five hundred men under his command – a twenty-five percent increase over the local police estimate of 1907: The organization became so powerful that it succeeded in overpowering the Honorable Society.117 The Mafia gained in strength by the time of Prohibition but remained subservient to the Camorra. a capodecina118 in the Mafia organization of Salvatore Calderone. Borough politics was slipping from Prince Johnny’s grasp.116 The fact that the Camorra often came out on top in underworld dealings and gang conflicts caused great resentment among the members of the Mafia secret society.107 Shaky alliance Wilmerding and the Volpe Brothers were growing apart in the early 1930s. He reportedly had a girlfriend in the city. The decision was costly to Volpe-backed candidates for borough and county offices. a popular summer recreation spot for city dwellers.” Since Bazzano was very much a pupil of Gentile.112 But he also had another interest in New York that caused him to regularly leave his “matronly wife” Amelia113 behind in their Wilmerding apartment. showed commitment to the new order by embracing Neapolitan Vito Genovese as his family’s underboss. The activities of Jewish gangsters. had risen to command Pittsburgh’s Mafia. to a certain extent. found the situation intolerable in the early 1920s and launched a small-scale gang war. had nothing to do with the Neapolitan Camorra. Gentile made it clear that the two organizations remained separate underworld entities: “The Honorable Society [Mafia].119 Still.blogspot. Sicilian Mafiosi looked down on their Neapolitan rivals as illiterate thugs. In his autobiography. Gentile.111 John Volpe strengthened his tie with New York City by investing in a resort at Coney Island. who. Traditional rivalries were outlawed.
a contingent of ritory. There they heard news that Volpe sumed their aggressive expansion. bootleggers was held in a downtown Pittsburgh hotel in late spring. this last scenario seems most likely. Bazzano might have decided to cede the Hill District and Downtown Pittsburgh to the Wilmerding gang in order to concentrate on his North Side underworld interests. A Volpe-sponsored John Bazzano’s Rome Coffee Shop (far right) sat just two doors away meeting of the region’s from the La Trinacria Sicilian newspaper on Wylie Avenue in Pittsburgh’s lower Hill District. about to leave on a trip to Syracuse. Whatever the initial motivations of the two parties. was biding his time. University of Pittsburgh der keg awaiting a spark. Considering Bazzano’s secret plotting against Siragusa just a year earlier. had North Siders told him to “go to hell” and informer-journal. Bazzano disappeared. a slap at the liquor dealers who reNorth Side liquor merchants objected to the fused the Volpe price hike.FEBRUARY 2011 INFORMER 17 are suspect. They venwholesale prices were going up. but the tile. the BazzanoVolpe alliance was a powIrene Kaufmann Settlement Collection. it is also possible that Bazzano.122 An arrogant John Volpe Soon after. assessing the Volpes’ strength and waiting for an opportunity to continue the Mafia resurgence started a decade earlier by Gentile.blogspot.121 However. As the Wiltured across the Allegheny River to acquire a merding brothers had secured a virtual mocontrolling interest in a Babcock Avenue nopoly on the western Pennsylvania liquor roadhouse. It is possible that both sides sought merely to bury the hatchet. the Volpe Brothers revited.124 The business was well within supply.123 hundred retail-level liquor dealers were inIn early summer. faced with a superior foe. higher prices.com .120 However. most of the retailers had no choice the Mafia’s jealously guarded North Side terbut to go along. Genwarned the group to stay in line. One stormed out of the meeting. He might have exchanged territory for shared access to the Volpes’ low-cost liquor supply.
“Perhaps you might yet find him at my brother Ciccio’s house. brothers John “Prince Johnny” (left) and Vincenzo “James” Volpe of Wilmerding. Due to the competitive nature of the business. He reached the sidewalk. brother of Cleveland Mafia leader Frank “Ciccio” Milano. John Volpe’s custom-built roadster. At one o’clock.blogspot. That Friday afternoon. a former numbers runner. a numbers operator from the Hill District. a coffee shop employee. Volpe had plenty of money and delighted in spending it.”131 Volpe’s initials and the number of brothers in the family (an inaccurate number since brother Chester met his end in a roadway accident earlier that year).128 The Wilmerding gang boss’s refusal was surely not due to a lack of financial resources. an edgy133 John Volpe stepped out the front door of the shop.127 Wylie Avenue massacre Shortly after noon on Friday. green Cadillac roadster – a must-have for any bootlegger wishing to make an impression. a massive. John Bazzano was not present.”126 Without seeing Bazzano as planned and reportedly without knowledge of the boss’s location or activities. Below. Volpe was in a rush to make an appointment at the Rome Coffee Shop. A tiepin featured another flashy six-carat stone. a few of the Volpe gang’s men and John Bazzano’s brother Santo.com . he was dressed in the finest clothes. as always. Modarelli asked Volpe for the loan of some money.18 INFORMER FEBRUARY 2011 an appointment to meet the Mafia boss – his old chum – at a Cleveland speakeasy run by Nino Milano. A sixcarat diamond sparkled atop a ring decorating his carefully manicured hands. and he told me Bazzano had left. “I asked Ciccio about Bazzano. Gentile departed for Syracuse. I had even proposed that he be made boss of the Pittsburgh family. with his brothers James and Arthur. Even the automobile’s license plate spoke of its owner’s importance.130 Under its sprawling hood sat a pow- Above. With him were Joseph Tito. erful sixteen-cylinder engine. A watch fob on which twenty-five diamonds spelled out his initials hung from his vest pocket. Modarelli escorted him to the shop132 and left him there. Nino told Gentile. and Charles Modarelli.129 Out on Wylie Avenue waited Volpe’s ostentatious custom-built machine. July 29. the automobile was fitted with bulletproof glass in the windshield and the windows.” Gentile rushed to Milano’s country home125 in the hope of reaching his old friend Bazzano there.” Gentile recalled. It was tactlessness on Bazzano’s part. But Bazzano wasn’t around. “JV8. “As soon as I got there. John Volpe was in a barbershop at Fifth and Wylie Avenues. It bore the markings. just as three men climbed out of a dark blue Ford sedan about a block away on the opposite side of Wylie informer-journal. I became puzzled because I could not believe the difficulties I had to deal with. Volpe refused. as I had done so much for the wretch.
The other two Gentile’s Pittsburgh MaArthur and James Volpe (below). The He told police that the Volpes were his gunmen brushed by the fallen gangster and “good pals” and that he had no idea who entered the shop’s front door. He was hit by four bullets. coffee shop owner John Volpe spotted the men. the underworld knew better. I don’t wan137 sion.FEBRUARY 2011 INFORMER 19 Ford and sped off. another through his head. of Corn Flakes.” Without a pause.138 He The close mentorprotégé relationship betook bullets in the back tween Gentile and and in the head. playing cards when the against the well-connected brothers without shooting began.141 Alarmed by the noise. a newcomer to the rank of Mafia boss. Gentile astables for cover. as returned to their blue it seemed to be a coninformer-journal. law Frank Zappala. Gentile was very ended the life of Arthur concerned that powerful Volpe. “I don’t wanano-created Commisna be shot. might have wanted them dead. near Ambridge. his neck.140 Avenue. known. The group Pittsburgh could have reassembled on the been viewed as further Wylie Avenue sidewalk. tending to One of those passed through his heart.135 and “Prince Johna restaurant business he owned there. The others hit his back and papers and knew Bazzano was responsible. darted behind thrown-over the approval of some higher-up. James Volpe While police initially seemed satisfied rushed to the front of the shop to see what that Bazzano had nothing to do with the happened. way. evidence against him. the gunmen quietly split Gentile was more up.134 Aftermath The three men walked down the block. As he dove for the cover of a table. He found the gunmen in the doormurders. He said he had been in Midland. they drew revolvers. the While apparently gunmen moved on to the unmoved by the Volpes’ shop’s back room and deaths. backtracked through the fia crew.blogspot. Caught between Bazzano noted that he had been out of town the shop and his powerful Cadillac. ny’s” life ended there on the sidewalk. repeatedly and member of the Lucimumbling. One went out the concerned when he disback door of the estabcovered that Bazzano lishment and into an drew his assassins from alley leading to Tunnel the membership of the The graves of John Volpe (above) and Street. he spun around to flee. would not have acted Six Volpe men. who was sitting Volpe allies would conat a table eating a lunch nect him with the hit. Santo Bazzano leaped besumed that Ciccio Milano. turning down Tunnel.136 He understood that Bazzano. endorsed the hit. One penetrated the assassinations through the Syracuse newsback of his skull. at the time of the shootings. The timing of shop and exited the Gentile’s vacation from front door. Vacationing Gentile learned of the Volpe three slugs caught him.139 As if looking for Bazzano was widely more Volpes to murder.142 na be shot.com . Cleveland boss hind a counter and hid there. In a 30-minute interview with police in As they crossed the street in front of the the presence of his attorney and brother-inRome Coffee Shop.
143 Genovese also suspected that Bazzano’s Brooklyn-based ally Albert Anastasia. Bazzano never would have committed a crime like that. Genovese remained uncertain of Gentile’s role.. under guard of a U.145 The Volpe brothers were buried on August 1. was preparing to avenge the deaths of his fellow Neapolitans: When the news spread about this atrocious crime.144 Gentile hid out at the home of a friend in Auburn. Bazzano’s brother-in-law. without my permission. Bazzano was summoned to appear before an underworld gathering in New York City to defend his actions. Gentile’s underworld grapevine warned him that Luciano’s second-incommand. Frankly. as three hearses moved through the borough. Vito Genovese. All concurred that I appeared to be Bazzano’s accomplice.20 INFORMER FEBRUARY 2011 scious effort to establish an alibi. Vito Genovese intended to find me. Anastasia associate Joe Biondo and Brooklyn gang boss Vincenzo Mangano helped to plan the murders. however. who put me in touch with Bazzano at last. The Roman Catholic Church. “I said to him.com . deputy marshal.146 Authorities allowed Louis Volpe out of prison for a few hours.” In New York City. Vito Genovese – originally from Naples and a friend and countryman of the murder victims – acted immediately. “I telephoned the lawyer Zappala. It was obvious. Anastasia managed to convince Genovese that he. probably well aware of the Volpes’ criminal reputa- informer-journal. followed by seventeen carloads of flowers. ‘You have done an insane thing!’ He responded that the reasons for his actions soon would become clear to me. He was convinced that. Arrangements were moved up a day because of the crushing crowds gathering around the family homes in Wilmerding. to attend his brothers’ burials. sending squads of thugs with the aim of locating me.. New York. an estimated seven thousand people lined the streets.” Gentile wrote.S. Biondo and Mangano had no part in the Volpe killings. while he tried to get in touch with Bazzano and find out what was going on. bring me in and kill me. that Bazzano was directly responsible.blogspot.147 Even with the rescheduling.
who had been with John Volpe just before the murders.000 bond and was released. Two grocery delivery boys told police they recently saw a man matching Spinello’s description at the Bazzano home. Mt. reportedly for a vacation in the East.154 When investigators once again sought John Bazzano. police charged him with possession of a pistol. he said.” the family reportedly said. A bootlegger with connections to the Volpe clan. the same day as Joe Tito. In fact. the two men were released. a Wylie Avenue landlord seized the contents of the Rome Coffee informer-journal.151 Police took Sam Lakin into custody as a material witness. No member of the clergy was observed at the burials.153 Powerless to do anything more. Tito left the city. “He’s gone.149 Modarelli acknowledged asking for a loan and accompanying Volpe from the barbershop. Santo posted a $1. Wealthy Prince Johnny had no bills smaller than a ten. in the account Modarelli gave to police.155 Mobster Giuseppe “Big Mike” Spinello vanished at precisely the same time as Bazzano and Tito. but claimed to have no knowledge of the killers’ identities. Lakin insisted he was not in the coffee shop at the time of the murders and knew nothing about the crime.blogspot. and the barber could not make change. police later found Spinello’s automobile abandoned miles away and across the river at a garage near Bazzano’s A World War I veteran. denied them funeral services. he was out of town.152 Investigators brought Santo Bazzano back to the coffee shop to re-enact the events of July 29. police questioned Tito and Modarelli. Almost immediately.156 Also on August 4. the two men stopped off at a Wylie Avenue drugstore for a milkshake on their way to the Rome Coffee Shop. and he won’t be home for a long time. Volpe was not rushing. But. John Bazzano was given a military funeral (above) in August 1932.150 After questioning. He said he paid for Volpe’s barber visit after Volpe rushed from the shop to head to his office for an appointment. Lebanon home. He went through the basics. His family revealed that he left on August 4. Though he was a resident of Wilmerding.148 Investigation The next day.com .FEBRUARY 2011 INFORMER 21 tions. Pennsylvania. Tito had little to offer. Police were certain that he was there. He was buried in Union Cemetery in New Kensington.
Miller took a taxi to the Hamilton Avenue police station and directed homicide detectives under Lieutenant Raymond Honan to his discovery. His clothing was of fine quality – a new gray suit with black “pencil stripes. it appeared to be an oversized sack of potatoes. unable to match those with any on file at Police Headquarters in Manhattan. “He wasn’t a racketeer.22 INFORMER FEBRUARY 2011 Shop for non-payment of rent and padlocked the premises. the detectives took fingerprints.159 Detectives Jacob Blum and Thomas McGovern found that the folded body had been bound tightly with sash cord and wrapped in two burlap sacks. Hemorrhage. Why can’t this all be a bad dream and let him come home to me?”165 informer-journal. he discovered the dead body of a middle-aged man. circulating photographs of the dead man and comparing casts of his dental work to the records of missing persons. August 8.162 Clues eventually led to John Bazzano of Pittsburgh. The victim looked to have been financially well off. where an assistant medical examiner had determined officially that death was caused by. However. traveled to New York City with Pittsburgh homicide detective Lieutenant Frank Ferris and identified Bazzano’s remains at the Kings County morgue. More than twenty puncture marks in the chest made it apparent that the detectives were looking at a murder victim. Clearly. To Miller. which contained sixty-four cents.blogspot. tan shoes and a blue tie. except one. another Bazzano brother-in-law.161 They resorted to tracking the labels on the victim’s clothing. Ercole Dominicis. employed as a runner between the Stock Exchange and New York brokerage houses. nineteen-year-old Joseph Miller was walking to the home he shared with his mother and his siblings near the intersection of Centre and Hicks Streets in Brooklyn’s Red Hook section. His hands were described as soft and well tended.163 Andrew Zappala. pastor of Holy Soul Roman Catholic Church. with a third thrown over its head. and it was no longer an issue after that date. Rose Bazzano collapsed when she learned of her husband’s death. It was brought to the parlor of the Bazzano home for a wake and quiet services presided over by the Rev. The pockets of the clothes were all turned inside-out and emptied.157 The landlord must have had problems collecting the rent for some time to resort to so drastic a measure.com .160 Finding no identifying papers. he discovered a large burlap sack. about half a block west from the intersection with Clinton Street and just a block and a half from his house.158 Along Centre Street. something prevented the property owner from acting against the establishment before August 4. Homicide. Pursuing the Killers On Monday.” an expensive new shirt. “Stab wounds of the chest. The face of the victim had been blackened through contact with charcoal dust from within the sacks. When later questioned about Bazzano’s ties to organized crime. they were Brooklynites Albert Anastasia (left) and John “Johnny Bath Beach” Oddo (right) were among the fourteen suspects arrested in New York after the Bazzano murder.”164 The Cicero and Cacciaguida funeral home arranged for the body to be transported by train to Pittsburgh. Looking inside. They judged the man to be about one hundred sixty pounds and thirty-five to forty years old. she protested.
166 As if to mark the occasion. John Oddo of 1995 West Tenth Street.169 “Flying squads” were sent to several hotels around the city where the gangsters were known to be staying. Cassandro Bonasera of 7515 Thirteenth Avenue. The same car had been used to carry flowers to the Volpe burial. The group included five Brooklyn residents and nine men who were from out of town – four of those were from Pittsburgh. men believed to be Bazzano’s criminal associates. informer-journal. Ciro Gallo of 708 Bushwick Avenue and Joseph Traina of 1778 Seventy-First Street. In advance of the party.FEBRUARY 2011 INFORMER 23 John Oddo’s close friend Cassandro “Tony the Chief” Bonasera and Giuseppe “Lu Viddanu” Traina were also suspected of involvement in the Bazzano murder. Seven riflemen from Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 99 and American Legion Post 347 fired a final salute. Michael Bua of 208 South Atlantic Street. Peter Lombardo171 of 103 Greenwood Avenue Sam DiCarlo of Buffalo (left) and Paul Palmeri of Niagara Falls were arrested in New York City after Bazzano’s murder. Peter’s Church Pastor Nicola Fusco. Also arrested were Paul Palmeri of 1538 Whitney Avenue in Niagara Falls.170 The remaining fourteen men were charged with participating in Bazzano’s murder and were provided with accommodations in the Raymond Street Jail in Brooklyn. The arrested Brooklynites were Albert Anastasia of 151 Sackett Street.blogspot. Salvatore DiCarlo. It was followed by seven cars of flowers and seventy-five cars of mourners. New York. Frank Adrano of 90 Washington Street and Michael Russo of 1202 Fifth Avenue. August 13.com . but it must have involved one or more informants. Bazzano’s five-thousand-dollar steel casket.167 Fourteen arrested As soon as they discovered the identity of the “sack murder victim. How they connected the local men to Bazzano was not revealed. The women and four of the men were later released. After a final blessing from St. The squads arrested eighteen men and two women in Manhattan and Brooklyn hotels in carefully coordinated strikes.” of 274 Prospect Avenue in Buffalo.” New York Police began watching the movements of some local mobsters. On the morning of Saturday. draped with an American flag in honor of his war service. the police pounced. known as “Sam” or “Toto. Those from Pittsburgh were Calogero Spallino of 1215 Penn Avenue. The vehicle was blown to pieces. the Pittsburgh Mafia boss was given a military funeral at Union Cemetery in New Kensington. Informants might also have alerted police to connections between the Bazzano and Volpe killings168 and to a social gathering of hood- lums scheduled for a midtown hotel on the evening of August 16. was driven from his home. early that morning a bomb exploded in a Buick touring car owned by Volpe friend Charles Farina.
a top gangland mouthpiece who ants had been used in the operation. Leibowitz and Bonasera were involved in Brooklyn scoffed at the charges against the fourteen racketeering. James and Arthur Volpe proved to be a red herring. old Frankie Yale gang.” At the time of his arrest in New Pittsburgh residents suspected of involveYork. Santo Volpe was a nia (about nine miles from Pittston). PennsylvaWilmerding. acclaim.173 Anastasia’s record and it will result in a general dismissal of was particularly extensive and included a the charges. he pleaded not guilty. Roche had previously labeled the older sibling “Public Enemy No. insisting walked out of Sing Sing’s death row after informer-journal. New Jersey. Pennsylvania. Through successful legal appeal At arraignment.com . also known as Michael Valenzano.177 while the “We have circumstantial evidence Volpe Brothers were from the Naples region against all these men and some documentary of mainland Italy. evidence.blogspot.”179 rare feat.174 Police quickly established that Sam DiCarlo was the kid brother of Buffalo underworld big shot Joseph DiCarlo. murder victims John. Leibowitz continued his survived a 1921 sentence of execution and assault on the prosecution’s case. Sam DiCarlo was ment in the Bazzano murder included (top out on bail during his appeal of a federal conrow. Calogero viction for stealing and Spallino. of Bazzano murder suswas linked with organized criminal activipect Santo Volpe of ties in Buffalo and Cleveland in addition to Pittston and Pittsburgh Pittsburgh. McGowan The suspects were ably represented of the Brooklyn Homicide Squad told the by defense attorney Samuel Simon press. Sicilian.175 given authorities incorrect street addresses. Buffalo Police Commissioner Austin J. McGowby that time had been victorious in seventyan added that most of the men in custody seven out of seventy-eight murder trials and had police records and one closely resembled had recently begun work in the “Scottsboro the description of a murderer sought by 172 Boys” case that would win him international Cleveland police. all fourteen suspects and the disappearance of key witnesses.24 INFORMER FEBRUARY 2011 months of residency there.176 In fact. fact underscored by the brothers’ relatives in and Angelo Polizzi of Dunmore. Santo Volpe of 215 not at all related to the Volpe Brothers.” acting Captain John J. Michael Bua and (left) Frank Antransporting a motor venata. The shared surname Russo. a Wyoming Avenue in Pittston.178 Authorities knew that Anastasia. All of those suspects appear to have hicle. Santo Volpe was in Trenton. 1. He did not indicate that any informLeibowitz. born in Montedoro. Bazzano murder suspects: “This is just anThey were linked with remnants of the other of the general roundups of the police. left to right) Mike Russo. Oddo In front of the New York press.
a police source spoke not about the circumstantial and documentary evidence earlier cited by Captain McGowan but. Hands protruded from the other. At the Harrison morgue. The local police decided that the two men were killed in New York and transported to New Jersey for disposal. The following day. were found in a vacant lot near the Driver Harris Roller Bearing Company at Somerset and Fourth Streets in Harrison.com . and Kennedy called in Detectives Thomas Wardell and Peter Higgins. Oddo. their skulls had been fractured by beating and their legs had been folded up and tied to their necks with clothesline. absolutely nothing.188 Boccio and Fabrizio were both known to Brooklyn police as organized criminals attached to the old Frankie Yale and Augie Pisano gang. Folwell of the Brooklyn Homicide Court in Flatbush initially sided with the prosecution. Haubert scheduled an August 24 hearing in Adams Street Court and set bail at $5. old friends in grocery and restaurant businesses. Spallino. “Nobody ever testifies in a gang case. for the first time.189 They had been arrested a number of times. had assembled in New York City for a fraternal reunion:180 There is not a scrap of evidence on which to hold these men. The lifeless bodies within the sacks had been stabbed numerous times with ice picks. twenty-two.181 Magistrate George H. Wozniak summoned Patrolman Edward Kennedy. Despite earlier confident statements.182 The judge ordered the prisoners released. This is the most wholesale homicide arraignment in the history of criminal procedure in this country. “public enemy” Anastasia had an airtight alibi. the police reported that it was hopeless. There is nothing against these men. Boccio.000. agreeing to hold the suspects without bail on suspicion of involvement in the Bazzano slaying.183 Eight of the men were rearrested immediately for consorting with known criminals.) The remains of Brooklyn gangsters Vincent Boccio. Russo. facing both the consorting charge and a Sullivan Law violation for possessing a weapon.187 Peter Wozniak.” the source said. had to post $1.184 Anastasia was rearrested under a new “public enemy” law.000 bail before winning his release. Bonasera.FEBRUARY 2011 INFORMER 25 that his clients. As the case was reviewed. the state’s case against the fourteen suddenly and completely collapsed. They know what happens to them if they do. as Leibowitz vowed to take a fight against the Public Enemy Act to New York’s highest court. And it will also be the most wholesale discharge of defendants in the history of criminal procedure. (Sitting in a Brooklyn lockup at the time. They offered no explanation for the turnaround. and the suspects were returned to their cells. it was determined that the deaths had occurred around the previous midnight. Just twenty minutes later. August 21. police informed Folwell that they had no evidence to connect the fourteen men with Bazzano. Folwell said he was willing to continue to hold the men until midnight to allow the police more time to gather evidence. New Jersey. and Andrew Fabrizio.blogspot.185 When asked how the murder case fell apart so suddenly. of 265½ Penn Street in informer-journal. DiCarlo. Palmeri. though never sentenced to any jail time. was outside feeding his pigeons at about eight o’clock in the morning when he spotted the two burlap sacks.”186 More sack victims Precisely what happens to them seemed well illustrated by the discovery of two more sack murder victims on the morning of Sunday. One seemed to have feet sticking out of it. Lombardi and Polizzi were subsequently released by Jefferson Market Court Magistrate Benjamin Greenspan after they each posted $500 bail. Brooklyn Magistrate Charles H. about the use of informants: “You can’t bring your stool pigeons into court. Anastasia remained in custody. twenty-six. a resident of Fourth Street.
he fell into the hands of his adversaries. to effect his release. but he was not prosecuted. Boccio and Fabrizio were killed that evening.26 INFORMER FEBRUARY 2011 Brooklyn. Anthony Boccio was found dead at Monmouth Beach. New Jersey. a resident of 6207 Fort Hamilton Parkway.190 The medical examiner found seven mortal wounds through Boccio’s heart. A dozen ice-pick holes passed through his heart. Apparently confused by the name written near Bazzano’s in the register informer-journal. David Kroeger and Charles Warshewsky – were arrested. According to Kashmer. investigators discovered a small pocketknife and seventy-five cents. August 20. at an apartment in Newark. Fabrizio. The charge was thrown out by Magistrate Francis J. Kashmer. Kashmer said. While attempting to escape to a safe haven in New Jersey the previous week. Boccio’s brother Anthony had recently been kidnapped. went to police on August 23 to provide information on the killings. where four men – Harry Green. Erwin. was also known in the underworld rackets as Joseph DiMaio.191 In Boccio’s clothing. Sam Castellano.195 Kashmer’s story led police to link the Boccio and Fabrizio murders to a Jewish underworld feud between the gangs of Buchbinder and Louis “Pretty” Amberg and to discount any connection to the Bazzano murder. Boccio and Fabrizio were told to appear on Saturday. A gold graduation ring dated 1924 was found inside the sack with his remains. Police also arrested the pair just fifteen weeks before they turned up dead.196 Settling on Spinello Pittsburgh authorities continued their efforts to solve the Volpe murders and sought clues in the Bazzano case evidence coming out of New York. twenty. Fabrizio was a victim of still greater overkill.194 They did not follow up on the threat.193 police officials stated their desire to round up the fourteen suspects in the Bazzano murder and force them to account for their movements since leaving custody. Boccio’s fiancée Olga M. they were awaiting trial at the time of their deaths.blogspot. Fabrizio’s pockets held only one penny. That order came from members of the Harry Buchbinder gang. The two men were then arrested in February of 1932 and charged with burglary and extortion. New Jersey. lived just a block from Bazzano murder suspect John Oddo. He had gotten into some trouble with the local underworld. Kashmer’s information led police to 135 Barclay Street in Newark.com .192 Convinced that the recent sack murders were tied to the Bazzano case. Released on bail. That arrest was for felonious assault. Fabrizio was arrested in January of 1931 for armed robbery.
however. Cerone was arrested on suspicion and arraigned by Magistrate Leo Rothenberg of Central Police Court. Spinello’s refusal earned him a slap across the face and a dismissal from the Volpe gang. 32. authorities dropped Volpe-related charges. After about a week. however.FEBRUARY 2011 INFORMER 27 of the Pennsylvania Hotel.202 His theory was entirely compatible with a Mafia tradition of employing someone close to a victim as an assassin.201 Detective Ferris. thirty-four. law enforcement had little luck finding Little Joe. Cerone remained in custody. while two other gunmen dispatched James and Arthur. aided by the statement of a female witness to the Volpe murders. Detectives decided he met his end because he knew too much. he was among the more visible mourners at Chester Volpe’s funeral early in 1932. an African American living in the multi -cultural Hill District.”199 According to underworld rumor. was known to have been near the Rome Coffee House at the moment of the Volpe slayings. After the funeral. leaving no forwarding address. and he ordered a stop to the relationship.197 Once again. who had a wife and children back in Italy.com . Giuseppe “Big Mike” Spinello was charged with participating in the Volpe killings. After holding him in a Pittsburgh lockup overnight. The day after Ferris obtained the Spinello arrest warrant.198 Spinello was known to have been a close friend and neighbor of the Volpes. Volpe disapproved. believed that Spinello personally killed his old friend John Volpe. turned up dead. possibly because the woman was a relative of his. From the same Italian hometown as the Volpe family. A warrant sworn out by Detective Ferris on August 22 cleared things up by calling for the arrest of Giuseppe “Big Mike” Spinello for the shooting deaths of the three Volpe brothers. Eventually. The two men were not on speaking terms by the time of the Wylie Avenue massacre. the chest and head showed close-range gunshot wounds and the throat had been deeply cut.206 Pittsburgh authorities hadn’t been looking into the Bazzano murder. aside from the sinister-sounding note. as it occurred informer-journal. Cerone Authorities conducted a vain search for Phillip “Little Joe” Spinelli (left). when George Pannell.203 One other suspect in the case was local racketeer Tony Cerone. Pannell. of North Avenue.”204 There was little evidence against him. the Pittsburgh police figured out that the alleged killer of Palmere and Amarosa was not the person they wanted to talk to about the Volpe and Bazzano murders.205 Pittsburgh police lost a potential witness in the Volpe case on August 28.blogspot. was found to have in his possession a letter apparently written by an underworld associate. Spinello. Steel City police conducted a manhunt for Phillip “Little Joe” Spinelli beginning on August 15.200 was becoming romantically involved with a local woman. Unfortunately. He disappeared from his home a few days after the murders. When his body was found by a watchman at the Booth & Finn brickyard at Reed Street and Rook’s Hill. as federal officials considered deporting him. inviting him to Kansas City “if things get too hot in Pittsburgh. he and John Volpe had a serious quarrel over a “family matter. news of the warrant leaked before Ferris was able to follow up leads on Giuseppe Spinello’s whereabouts. Little Joe had been indicted for the Palmere and Amarosa killings in 1931 but hadn’t been found.
manager of the Volpe gang’s numbers game and a close family friend. Piper. police had another related gangland killing to investigate. brother of the three Volpes murdered in July.211 Detectives attributed Pecora’s death to an ongoing feud in the underworld. When he was looking for some money in early August. His wife Antoinette was looking on from the steps of their home a short distance away. Ohio.208 Within a month. By their count. they did not publicly speculate on the nature of the underworld association that called the group together. drove up at that moment and yelled at approaching Patrolman C.209 They were unable to note the license plate number of the car or the appearance of its occupants. he admitted that his confession was a lie. But the meeting of so many Sicilian and Italian crime figures in one place was noteworthy for its purpose as well as for its membership. By the end of 1932. stated that he recently killed “a wop” in Brooklyn. They lost track of the car in the Saturday night traffic.500 for committing a murder. Even Antoinette Pecora. decided she actually knew nothing. Learning of the confession. PecoGuy Volpe ra’s life ended there in the gutter. told police he had been a Pittsburgh numbers racketeer until forced out of the business. but the confession of a local man forced them to change course momentarily. Pittsburgh resident Edward Morgan. Pittsburgh Lieutenant Frank Ferris rushed to Steubenville. As the sedan sped away down Patton Street. Attilio Pecora. Antoinette rushed to her husband and fainted by his side.com . political and financial forces at work during the notoriously corrupt Prohibition Era. who initially promised to reveal “all I know” of her husband’s underworld connections.M. DiCarlo. He claimed he went there and was paid $2. A number of the men rounded up on August 16 were current and future leaders of Mafia clans.212 Band of Assassins While law enforcement officials must have wondered how fourteen racketeers from various regions happened to be gathered in New York City at the moment Bazzano was assassinated there.213 Oddo. nineteen. Business alliances and family relationships tied some of them together in ways not considered by law enforcement. Morgan said he did not know the identity of his victim. it was the 102nd Prohibition Era gang -related death in Pennsylvania’s Allegheny County. was murdered in a Saturday night drive-by shooting in front of his Wilmerding fruit business near the corner of State and Middle Streets.28 INFORMER FEBRUARY 2011 outside of their jurisdiction. but brought Morgan back to Pittsburgh with him.” Piper and two other Wilmerding patrolmen commandeered an automobile and attempted to chase the black sedan down Patton.210 The subsequent investigation was hampered by the unwillingness of witnesses to speak with authorities. some friends told him he could find underworld employment in New York. do something! Please do something. He refused to reveal who hired him. Under questioning. he said. Piper: “For God’s sake.blogspot. Bonasera. Ferris found Morgan’s story unconvincing. Palmeri John Oddo and Cassandro Bonasera of Brooklyn were close friends and underworld informer-journal. arrested in Ohio. That is hardly surprising. the Mafia assembly was essentially forgotten. Guy Volpe. to interview Morgan. considering the personal.207 As soon as Morgan reached the Steel City. nabbed for stealing a car. Morgan. when two shotgun blasts were fired into Pecora’s chest from the windows of a small black sedan.
his police record showed more than twenty arrests and four convictions.215 Oddo rose through the ranks of the New York crime family headed by Joseph Profaci and later Joseph Magliocco. While maintaining an olive oil business. Two years after his arrest in the Bazzano case.” was born in June 18. Bonasera attended public school for a few years – he reportedly knew Charlie Luciano from his school days – but gave up on formal education midway through the sixth grade. In the period 1923 to 1958. 1903. Between 1916 and 1944. He became involved in the Profaci rackets of Bath Beach and Bensonhurst. which had settled in Buffalo after leaving Vallelunga.226 he arrived in New York City in 1909. She died during childbirth in September 1906. he married into the DiCarlo family.com . Paul Palmeri shared a common Castellammare del Golfo heritage with Salvatore Maranzano. Palmeri was arrested on suspicion in a 1931 Chicago kidnapping.220 Sam DiCarlo was born in Vallelunga on April 2. He also had a distant family connection to the DiCarlos. Palmeri was naturalized a U. DiCarlo was found to be a key figure in a gambling operation in Miami. Bonasera was frequently the target of assassins. Less than one year after the Bazzano murder arrests. Palmeri’s problems with the law continued after he relocated to the Village of Brewster.227 He was twentyeight when he moved from New York to Niagara Falls. Only once was he convicted of an offense.222 He became affiliated with the Mafia network as a young adult and was arrested on suspicion at a 1928 underworld convention in Cleveland’s Hotel Statler with twenty-three other Mafiosi. Born in Palermo on January 4. in Vallelunga. where he was repeatedly arrested. he was convicted in Niagara Falls of assault. Joseph Bonanno and Stefano Magaddino. daughter of legendary Buffalo Mafia boss Giuseppe DiCarlo and sister of Mafioso Joseph DiCarlo Jr.219 Bonasera apparently communicated with fellow Vallelunghesi living in the Buffalo area. He served as a crew captain after that underworld organization was taken over by boss Joseph Colombo. he was arrested a total of nineteen times. he was indicted as a principle in a bootlegging ring informer-journal. Florida. and developed a close friendship with Oddo. 1892. Bonasera. with family at the age of two. The two men were longtime members of a crime family in Brooklyn and also became linked to the underworld clan of Buffalo and Niagara Falls. Oddo and Bonasera each caught bullets during 1931. including Profaci and Magliocco of New York. and Brooklyn detectives noted he was shot at more often than the late Jack “Legs” Diamond.229 he also involved himself in underworld affairs. he was living in the U. in Putnam County.S. citizen in 1923.blogspot.214 Oddo was widely known by the gang nickname “Johnny Bath Beach” because of his criminal authority in Brooklyn’s Bath Beach neighborhood. known from his teen years as “Tony the Chief. That transport took him across state lines and made the offense a federal one – a violation of the Dyer Act.224 Years after his arrest in the Bazzano case.FEBRUARY 2011 INFORMER 29 associates for many years.225 Born October 1. Oddo suffered a gunshot wound just weeks later.S. Brooklyn. where his brother Angelo (“Buffalo Bill”) led a Castellammarese Mafia organization.S. New York. 1904. and Bazzano suspect Sam DiCarlo.216 and arrived in New York City with his family at the age of eight.228 While he worked as a funeral director in the firm of Panepinto & Palmeri. where Sam DiCarlo and Paul Palmeri – also suspects in the Bazzano murder – both were related to Mafia bosses. by the early years of Prohibition and was naturalized a citizen in December 1931.218 His mother Lucia Spoto Bonasera did not survive her first year in the U. Sicily. (“Johnny Bath Beach” Oddo served as the best man.221 and sailed to the U.) His bride was Sarah DiCarlo. There. early in 1942.S. Bonasera was seriously wounded in January.223 His car theft conviction in 1932 sprang from his transport of a stolen car from Chicago to Buffalo. 1897.
“Russell” Bufalino.230 in West Pittston. nue in Trenton. but to the Brandy Patch secthere was no Angelo in tion of Pittston.30 INFORMER FEBRUARY 2011 LaTorre’s organization. miss the profound imWhile he provided police portance of Santo Volpe with an Elm Street adto the Mafia underworld dress in Dunmore.239 later rose to lead the northsuspects in the case is unknown. His conviction the following year car1920s move from an apartment on Pittston’s ried a penalty of three years in prison and a Main Street into a home on Wyoming Avenue $9. his wife Doronamed Pace living there. through Boston in 233 The young faminamed Polizzi lived a 1906. in the local Bufalino family in 1930. but no husGaetana entered the band is shown. Census was born October 20.com . known to have lived at Santo Angelo Volpe that address. Police statements indicated that he Volpe was once again in the news about a was Peter Lombardo of 103 Greenwood Avedecade after his arrest in the Bazzano case.234 A signal of inthat conspired to evade $3. tor trying to resolve the coal miner’s strike of The closest match would have been Peter 1943.” believed to be “Men of Volpe became an imMontedoro. Pennthat household. But no such person lived at At that time.240 sylvania.5 million in U. eastern Pennsylvania criminal organization Pittston delegation founded by LaTorre and Volpe. informer-journal.S.” was a powerful leader of the Sicilian rested in connection with the Bazzano murunderworld in the Pittston-Scranton area der appears to have given police an abbrevithrough the much of the Prohibition Era. where Volpe’s Some Detroit Mafiosi brother-in-law Stefano with the Polizzi surLaTorre led a local Maname – possibly related fia society known as to Angelo – also were “the Men of Montedoro.232 He. tea Licata Volpe and One daughter was listed their newborn daughter as married. Sicearlier show a family ily. address. known in underLombardo of Trenton world circles by the nickname “King of the The only New Jersey resident to be arNight.235 Volpe. he was a management negotiathat address. A family U.blogspot. creased influence and affluence was a midtaxes. who traced his roots to Giallombardo’s connection to the other 231 Montedoro.”241 It apportant member of Santo Volpe of Pittston. records from two years 1879.236 ated version of both his last name and his As the operator of a coal mining business. mark. However.S.000 fine.238 Rosario 1913. an importVolpe’s daughter Gaetana married into er of oil and cheese who entered the U. of northeastern Pennsylno one named Polizzi is vania. aside from his authorities appeared to birth around 1900.S. short distance away on ly immediately headed the same street. in Montedoro. PA. The lack of any family link between SanBazzano murder suspect Angelo Polizzi to Volpe and the murdered Volpe brothers remains very much a was established by pohist or ic al quest ion lice and press.237 Giallombardo of 1003 Greenwood.
He was arrested as a pickpocket and con-man in Buffalo in 1919. Spallino and Russo. Through the years. also known as Michael Valenzano.251 Bua was not prosecuted on the charge. Bua might have risen as far as underboss within Bazzano’s underworld administration. However. As the orchestra played “Home Sweet Home” and attendees danced and collected pieces of wedding cake.247 In 1928.245 At the age of thirteen. As detectives interviewed the hundreds of wedding attendees.FEBRUARY 2011 INFORMER 31 pears that those Polizzis were rooted in San Cataldo.blogspot. as Baretta attempted to flee.252 Both Frank Adrano’s name and his address prove to be dead ends in Pittsburgh records.com .249 Michael Bua. It appears he supplied authorities with an invented name to go along with an invented address. Pittsburgh authorities checked their records and could link only Michael Bua with the address he provided. they discovered that none of them saw anything helpful. 1918. about a dozen miles east of Montedoro but likely close enough for membership in the LaTorre-Volpe secret society.248 Spallino. union. He was a suspect in the Pittsburgh murder of Luigi Lamendola and in an attempted murder of Joe Pangallo. Salvatore was shot to death January 29 along with Frank Ulizzi.243 While police found criminal records for Bua. Leo Baretta. a Nea- informer-journal. Detective Florenz Brunner apprehended the gangster before he reached his automobile. Michael Russo was among the two dozen suspicious persons rounded up at the Mafia convention in Cleveland.250 also apparently rose through the ranks of the North Side Mafia. who was visiting from Buffalo. 1930. Police burst into the hall just as Spallino slipped out a side exit.242 Pittsburgh delegation Most of the Pittsburgh Mafiosi rounded up after Bazzano’s murder share one distinguishing characteristic: They seem to have given authorities incorrect addresses. John’s Hospital. crossed the dance floor and fired five shots from a handgun into the back of Salvatore Cirlingione (also known as Joseph Blair). one local Mafioso of the period had a somewhat similar name. where he was shot to death in 1929. Pittsburgh Police arrested Bua and Frank Palermo on July 17. Michael Russo and Frank Adrano could not be connected with their listed addresses. Ulizzi was known to authorities as a Black Hand extortionist and the operator of a safe haven for Mafiosi. became a key member of the North Side gang in Pittsburgh during the Monastero days. Russo traveled to the U. Cleveland and Pittsburgh. as an adult in May of 1910. born about 1900. Baretta and Cirlingione were taken to Allegheny General Hospital where they were pronounced dead.246 Russo was eventually linked with criminal societies in Buffalo. Four hundred invited guests. He also appears to have been involved in the interstate smuggling of stolen goods.S. According to authorities the two men had been partners in a North Side cafe and were linked with local bootleg operations. they had nothing on Adrano. a native of Trabia who entered the U. landing at Ellis Island in the summer of 1899. Sicily. Half a year after the Monastero slaying. crowded into Eagles Hall on West Stockton and Sherman Avenues to celebrate the January 22. Seconds later. Sicily. aboard the S. Calogero Spallino. Frank Amato. one uninvited guest. on November 16. Spallino could not be prosecuted. He also figured in the murder of his own boss.S. for the murder of a man believed to be Salvatore DeMessine. It was a visit to Spallino that brought Stefano Monastero to St. including Spallino. Authorities noted the murder of his artist brother Salvatore in Cleveland early the following year. Lazio with his mother and four siblings. Spallino was involved in a double-murder that took place at the wedding reception of Angelina and John Cancillierie. Spallino emptied his handgun into the assassin’s head. Russo. was born to a well-to-do family in Cerda.S.244 His father Calogero was the first to cross the Atlantic. 1893.
Amato’s recordsetting tenure as Pittsburgh boss ended with his semi-retirement in the mid-1950s. Born Umberto Anastasio in 1902 in a fishing village on the coast of Italy’s southern Calabria region. Traina appears to have been savvy in underworld politics.256 the name was “Amato. Amato would have been a likely attendee at the Bazzano disciplinary meeting. In fact. The state’s case against Anastasia collapsed with the deaths of several witnesses. was just a half mile from Amato’s residence and could have been home to his confection business. And Amato was certainly among the chief beneficiaries of the Bazzano assassination.258 Capizzi’s 1937 retirement left the Pittsburgh Crime Family entirely in Amato’s hands. Traina was one of the early defectors to the Maranzano cause.263 With D’Aquila’s approval. made use of several spelling variations of his surname.259 However. The following year. illegally in 1917. Traina tutored young Castellammarese immigrant Salvatore Sabella for his Prohibition Era position as boss of the Philadelphia Mafia. owner of an importing business262 and the Empire Yeast Company of New York.”253 In census documents for 1930. Though he was known to his associates by the teasing nickname lu viddanu (the peasant). and the original murder indictment was dropped in April 1922. the Volpe murders would have concerned him greatly. When arrested in connection with the murder of bootlegger James Bruno. so much so that he stood in for the boss of bosses when he was unable or unwilling to attend official functions.com . An April charge of felonious assault was dropped.261 Joseph Traina. Traina attended the convention at the Hotel Statler in Cleveland. he was in trouble again. Immediately following the sack murder. when he made the newspapers for shooting a holdup man at his Braddock home255 and for placing pay-off pinball games in area businesses.blogspot. He found work as a longshoreman in Brooklyn and became involved with the waterfront rackets.32 INFORMER FEBRUARY 2011 politan confectioner and bootlegger from the Pittsburgh borough of Braddock. He spent months on Sing Sing Prison’s death row. had been a member of boss of bosses Salvatore D’Aquila’s crime family in Brooklyn.265 Like DiCarlo and Russo.” That Amato adjusted his name to “Adrano” during processing on murder charges is not an unreasonable suggestion.266 During the Castellammarese War.257 Though Adrano and Amato cannot be definitively identified as the same person.S. As a Neapolitan Mafioso in western Pennsylvania. He was a trusted lieutenant under D’Aquila. After a successful appeal. That Gallo was born twenty-three years earlier in Avellino.260 Other Brooklynites Little is known of Ciro Gallo before of after his arrest for the Bazzano murder. using Capizzi as a front man. Amato was the real power in the local underworld. the name became “Amata. his surname was written “Annata. a new trial was ordered. which runs through an industrialcommercial district along the river in Braddock. He ran afoul of the law almost immediately.267 Albert Anastasia was perhaps the best known of the fourteen Bazzano murder suspects.268 he entered the U. A man by that name sailed into New York harbor late in 1912 headed for Brooklyn. Washington Avenue. ally of Manhattan boss Giuseppe Masseria. he was selected as second in command of the western Pennsylvania Mafia under new boss Vincenzo Capizzi. he remained an influential force in the local underworld until his death in 1973. Anastasia was a free man momentarily. Traina briefly served under Al Mineo. But a charge of carrying a handgun resulted in a June 1923 conviction informer-journal.264 After D’Aquila’s murder in 1928. Anastasia was convicted of murder in 1921 and sentenced to die in the electric chair.”254 In the 1950s. Though the 90 Washington Street address proved to be a red herring in Pittsburgh proper. it might have referred to an actual location in Braddock. a town just outside of Naples.
A Glimpse of the Future A decade after his arrest for the Bazzano ice pick murder. which officials nicknamed “Murder. are virtually sealed by blood pumping from his still-beating heart.A. Inc. thirty-five of those arrests occurring within his home borough of Brooklyn. Inc.”272 Facing a possible death sentence for the murder of Alex “Red” Alpert.. Inc. Albert Anastasia was linked to a group of contract killers operating out of Brooklyn’s tightly crowded and largely Jewish Brownsville neighborhood. while the victim is still alive. and because. He had been arrested forty-one times in five different states. killings he recalled277 and stated that he had worked directly with Anastasia on the May 25. a 1940s Brooklyn prosecutor.269 Local authorities could not have been surprised when Anastasia was found with the suspected Bazzano assassins.274 Kings County District Attorney William O’Dwyer and Assistant D. it spilled little blood. perhaps. when properly used. Anastasia was again arrested for murder in 1928. Burton Turkus. Albert Anastasia was accused of leading a band of Mafia assassins known as Murder. 1939. Reles.273 Reles. it seems possible that the disciplinary action against Pittsburgh boss John Bazzano and the subsequent sack murders of Boccio and Fabrizio were the work of a fledgling Murder.FEBRUARY 2011 INFORMER 33 and a two-year prison sentence. Inc. a Brownsville assassin named Abe “Kid Twist” Reles decided on March 23. Inc. It reportedly specialized in ice pick slayings.. The killings were. to exchange all he knew of the underworld enforcement arm for a prosecution recommendation of clemency. Turkus learned from Reles that the Brownsville enforcement arm had been taking murder “contracts” from Syndicate bosses since about 1934275 and that Albert Anastasia had ordered mur- Less than a decade after the Bazzano murder.blogspot. However. 1940. The ice pick became a favorite tool of professional killers because it was readily available and virtually untraceable. “Perforations made by a tool such as an ice pick. while informer-journal.279 A state case against Anastasia for leading Murder. murder of trucking union official Morris Diamond. After his release from Blackwell’s Island Penitentiary. ders on behalf of the Mafia’s ruling Commission. noted. had been continuously in trouble with the law since the age of thirteen.”271 served as an enforcement arm for the multiethnic criminal syndicate devised by Charlie Luciano. a trial run for the concept of Commission discipline. went out the window along with witness Abe Reles in 1941. the significance of his connection to the Bazzano slaying might have more to do with his future than his past.276 Reles accused Anastasia of involvement in at least thirty-one of the sixty-three Murder.270 The group.com . in his early thirties at that time.278 Considering these details of Anastasia’s later career. He was released due to insufficient evidence..
OlymSupreme Court. the defense arguments and agreed with the Naples decision. The minisfought extradition on the grounds that he ter decided that Spinello should remain in had not become an American citizen and was not subject to the U. County.280 Anastasia became boss of the old D’Aquila clan following the disappearance of Vincent Mangano and the murder of Mangano’s brother Philip in 1951. After the brief trip to New York with U. The most damaging account was provided by a young woman who Spinello’s attorneys. Inc.S. They argued that victim John Volpe was also an Italian citizen. he also decided A court of appeals in the City of Naples that Spinello should be tried for the Volpe learned that. But. American law enforcement exported its evidence against Spinello. despite the fact it occurred on American soil. Authorities They argued that their client never notified shielded her identity and placed her in prothe Italian consul that he intended to relintective custody.289 Spinello’s trial took place quish his citizenship and that he allowed his name to remain on Italian elector lists..284 have seen the shooting.290 attorneys noted that Spinello had been a solDefense attorneys protested the use of uncontested statements as evidence. legal system. while Spinello had not been murders in an Italian court. contested that ruling.281 informer-journal. In November. The near the end of the following year. That motion was deunder police protection.blogspot. attempted to have him extradited so he could However.282 officials began to mull the issue of who should be assigned to a delegation to escort Spinello was arrested in Italy as a fugiSpinello back to Pittsburgh.283 Italy.S. State Department expressed Canada and had sailed from there back satisfaction with the decision of the Italian across the Atlantic aboard the S. Finding One Conviction that the declaration of intent ended SpinelGiuseppe “Big Mike” Spinello eventually lo’s Italian citizenship protections. state and federal pic.34 INFORMER FEBRUARY 2011 five children in a community where he once served as acting mayor.285 Vanelli and Castelletti attempted to package the Volpe murder case as an entirely Italian matter. prosecutions ended with the 1941 death of Abe Reles.S.286 Bazzano. including the writthe 1925 immigrant had renounced his Italian citizenship through a formal declaration ten accounts of four witnesses who claimed to of intent. the Italian Supreme Court rejected Murder. insistdier in the Italian army and that his 1932 return home reunited him with his wife and ing that the witnesses be brought into court for cross-examination. 1957. The U.S. Spinello’s attorneys were sucbe tried for the Volpe murders. he had slipped across the border to The U. fied Spinello from a photograph. Anastasia was known as one of the nation’s more powerful underworld bosses at the time of his gangland assassination on October 25.com . Spinello cessful in a last ditch appeal to Italian Minister of Justice Pietro de Francisci.288 naturalized a citizen of the United States. in April of 1934.287 tive criminal in October of 1933. the court turned up in his Italian hometown of Agpaved the way for him to be extradited to the ropoli.S. was apparently thrown from his hotel room to his death on an adjoining rooftop. Mario Vanelli and said she witnessed the shooting and identiSaverio Castelletti.
He was noted at a Pittsburgh area prize fight on Aug. 123. Gaspar DiGregorio’s refusal to attend a Bonanno family meeting in 1964.” The report statement could not be verified. and Charles Brandt. 1932. 2 arrival date can be calculated through the reporting in. A later boss of the Pittsburgh crime family was named Michael Genovese (though Michael would have been just 13 years old at the time Bazzano was summoned). 1968. p. with the Pittsburgh newspapers generally using the “o” ending. No one with the name Yobi is known to have been affiliated with Bazzano and Spinello. 2007. p. “Volpe slayer linked with Bazzano case.” New York Times. 1932. 2006. Chapter X (translated by the authors). tactics used by Bonanno to avoid appearing before the Commission in 1964 p. Though prosecutors briefly held in their grasp fourteen leading members of the Mafia criminal society. can produce similar-looking letters. That article states that Bazzano reached New York four days after the Volpe murders on July 29.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.” Buffalo Courier Express. 1932. Volpe suspect flees search. were never charged in connection with the case. “Mysterious Bazzano’s life unlike Volpes. 12. 6 It appears from Italian birth records that Giuseppe Spinello’s surname was originally Spinelli. p. Thurs.” Pittsburgh Press. “Volpe slayer linked with Bazzano case. “Arrest of 14 foils murder fete plan. 1932.. Maas. That spelling is used here largely to differentiate from fellow gangster Philip Spinelli. July 31.P. 61. 113-114. remains officially unsolved. Aug. see Masseria’s call to Magaddino in 1930. 15. Vito Genovese is reportedly from Rosigno. which reinforced the rule of the Commission and the cooperative nature of the post-1931 Syndicate. 18. Spinello died in 1959 at the age of sixty-five.” Pittsburgh Press. Pre-1931 Mafia discipline is described in Gentile.” Pittsburgh Press. 1932. indicates that Genovese was responsible for the action against Bazzano. Repetto. Aug. 23. Bazzano’s final words were. p. 1932. Genovese’s interest in Pittsburgh might have been family-related. notes p. Vita di Capomafia. p. and Maas. and Spinello was convicted of premeditated homicide. they were unable to build a successful case against any of the suspects. 1932. except where noted. 4 date for Bazzano’s trip east was reported in. while Michael Genovese’s parents emigrated from Fisciano. It is unclear whether he used the “Spinello” name while in Pittsburgh. “Ma in fin dei conti noi possiamo anche eliminare questi quattro napoletani!” or “But finally we can also eliminate these four Neapolitans!” Bazzano’s use of the number four is curious.292 He did not live to see the 1964 expiration date of his sentence. Aug. Tito returned home. 251253. died in a car accident earlier in 1932: “Volpes buried brother with huge funeral. Philadelphia: Running Press. 1932. 20. the Court of Assizes in Salerno sentenced him to thirty years in prison. 7 Spinello’s abandoned car was later found in the Clearview Garage not far from Bazzano’s home: “Spinelli linked to abandoned auto. Both spellings of his surname were used in newspaper articles of the period. New York: St. 10 Spinello was not seen for some time. The 1932 assassination of Pittsburgh’s Mafia boss. In mid-December. 14 According to Gentile.. Authorities were unable to identify them. Bonanno.com .. including the boss of the organization’s just forming enforcement arm.” Pittsburgh Press. Martin’s Press. 1932.293 The other two Volpe killers were never brought to justice. Wed. Yobi”: “Hotel record bares names of two men.” however. Joseph Tito and Charles Modarelli. Tito. Peter. p. More recently.’” Pittsburgh Press.” Brooklyn Daily Eagle. In Bonanno. 11 “Sack murder clues sought in 2 states. Joseph.. 25. 3 Meeting protocol was spelled out in Gentile. who were in the best position to ensure that “Prince Johnny” Volpe arrived at the proper time and place for his assassination. A careless scribble of “J. Aug. It is possible he was referring to the four surviving brothers. 1932. 13 This quote was assembled from paraphrased remarks in Gentile. An earlier Aug.” Pittsburgh Press. 9 “Underworld fears more killings. “Hotel record bares names of two men. p. Joseph D. (There were originally eight Volpe brothers but one. An Aug.” Pittsburgh Press. “Warrant out.” Pittsburgh Press. p. 2 Gentile. Maas. New York: G. 201-203. p. Donnie Brasco: Unfinished Business. “Link Pittsburgh gunman in Gotham murder syndicate. Aug. 23. A Man of Honor. 1983. Thurs. Aug. 25. Thomas The American Mafia. Raab. 4 Gentile. 12: “Home shaken. Tues... p. 123. Rome: Editori Riuniti. Aug. Chester. 13.FEBRUARY 2011 INFORMER 35 nied. Volpe case prosecutors still fared far better than their counterparts in the Bazzano murder case. 17. New York: Henry Holt and Company. Five Families. 55-60. 85-86. Notes Pittsburgh gravesite photos by Stephen Tirone. Aug. Thurs.” “Mystery hems ‘murder ring’ case collapse. 12 "Volpe slayer linked. Nick..” New York Times.291 Prosecution evidence – including testimony from Ignazio Volpe. 5 The precise date of the trip from Pittsburgh to New York is not known. 1932. The families of the two Genoveses appear to come from different villages in the Naples region. 124. 1932.. 96. 217. An April 1958 report of the New York State Commissioner of Investigation examining the 1957 Apalachin crime convention noted Michael Genovese’s attendance and indicated that Michael and Vito were related “but the precise degree is unknown. 15. The Valachi Papers. 1932. p. Wed. Tues. Aug.blogspot. 8 Authorities decided that the register signature looked like “I. and “Volpes ruled by ‘iron hand. 12. Putnam’s Sons. 93.. 1932. 3: “Arrests link Bazzano with slaying here. auto wrecked by explosion.. 1963.” Pittsburgh Press. Fri. Chapter X. 12. Aug.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 20. p. p. 147-148. Mon. Aug. New York: Simon & Schuster.” Pittsburgh Press. 1 Gentile. Aug. Joseph Valachi recalled being ordered to a “table” in the 1940s. 255. father of the three slain men – was persuasive. but the same newspaper – in a separate story – reported that Bazzano arrived in New York on Aug. Selwyn. Aug. It seems he was not referring to his attack on the Volpes – only three of them were targeted. Other photos from the authors’ collections. 4. 24. Bonanno. informer-journal. the subject of mob disciplinary meetings was dealt with in Pistone. Aug. 1932. 2004.
a Rosario LaMantia of Monreale. 17. Immigration and naturalization records indicate that Brooklyn gang boss Frankie Yale. 4. 1974. However. 18. authorities denied that claim: “Clue to slayers of Volpe partner found. 1971..com/2002/US/07/25/ mine. 19 Ove. The Bazzano home was called “palatial” in Ove. “Body of man found in sack. 1932.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Thurs. 1932. p. 1907.000 today.S. p. reported that Bazzano had his tongue cut out and his mouth sealed with tape.” Pittsburgh Press. p. 11. engaged in racketeering in Milwaukee. New York: William Morrow & Company. waterfront.pl ). p. The abundance of municipalities in the Pittsburgh region is the subject of Bucsko. 25 “Trap Black Hand in secret passage. 2000. New York: St. 20 “Camorra’s work.S. Oct.com/id122. Ithaca. 1890. Thurs.” Washington Post.. 5. Aug. 8. 24 Gentile. Ove. 43 Gentile. Lebanon.org/title% 20panel. Rival fruit importers Joseph DiGiorgio and Antonio Lanasa were connected to feuding gangs in Pittsburgh. Feb. 5.com. Census for 1930. disaster at Darr Mine. According to an inflation calculator provided by the U. “Plot to murder told. 1957).” New York Times. auto wrecked by explosion.” “Body of man found. 18 The fragmented nature of the early Sicilian-Italian underworld is documented in Kobler.stm ). 1908. 1. 30 Pane e Lavoro: A History of Western Pennsylvania’s Italian Americans. Aug. 19.. 1.myalcaponemuseum. 1932.” Coshocton OH Tribune.” Pittsburgh Press. p. Aug.. 8. Torsten. 16 “Man with face blacked. 18. Pittsburgh. World War I Draft Registration Record. Fri. Much earlier.S. Aug. Ove’s description seems appropriate. accessed through Ancestry. 11. Nov. 41 “Home shaken. Mike and Ed Blazina. 36 “Gang killing orphans. July 30. 1. June 5. communities sitting close to each other in the Calabria region. 1917. Sunseri’s killing of Rei (whose name was also spelled “Rea” in newspapers) was cited as one of the triggers of a later gang conflict at the Baltimore. Aug. 1. The 1910 U. Some news accounts added additional Bazzano wounds.” New York Times. Dec. essential ingredients in the home manufacture of alcoholic beverages. 11. p.000 for murders. and his grave bears a World War I veteran’s marker. 13. Selwyn. 1932. 5. was from the Cosenza area (Raab.. 54. growing from bootlegging days. victim knifed. One biographer puts Costello’s place of birth in Lauropoli (Wolf.” 40 Bazzano’s business involvement with a confectioner and the Virogo company provided him access to sugar and yeast.bls. 13. NY: Cornell University.pghhistory. Jan. Sicily. Sat. 25.com.htm ). 26. 1932. p. Mon. 1. who shows up in World War I draft registration records as the owner of a store and pool room in Gallatin. 27 punctures were counted in “Sack murder victim identified by kin. before joining up with Al Capone’s enemy Joe Aiello in Prohibition Era Chicago. “Mafia has long history here... Senator John Heinz History Center. p. 4. 24). Certificate of Arrival for Giovanni Bazsano [sic]. New Kensington. was born either in Acri or Longobucco. 1. “Gang killing orphans five in Mt. Census for 1930. After Aiello’s demise in October 1930. p. WI. John.. MD. 1915. Mon. Aug.gov/cgi-bin/cpicalc. p.. 2004 (www.” 37 U. The Certificate of Death filed with New York City’s Department of Health – Reg. Sat.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Sun.. Documents do not always agree on Bazzano’s birth year.” Pittsburgh Press. a leading figure in the Giuseppe Masseria organization prior to the Castellammarese War. 22 Gentile. 2006. towns increased from 7 townships to 130 municipalities. Jan. 1932). 27. With real estate prices generally rising faster than the inflation index. 1932. Census for 1930. 2003. It might have been 1889. Aug.” Brooklyn Citizen. (www. Aug. Five Families. Thurs.000 in 1930 is equivalent to about $370. informer-journal.” Pittsburgh Press.pa. Capone. It appears that the coffee shop . 6. a close ally of Charlie Luciano. 1.” Pittsburgh Press. Joseph and Crucifina LaMantia and their four children lived at 54 Spring Garden Avenue.. was a fruit merchant.S. July 26.cnn. p. 1932... 28 U. 15 “Man with face blacked found slain in sack. but Bazzano was given a military funeral in 1932. 1906.” 17 “Counterfeit money. 26 Some of the more powerful Mafiosi of the period were actually non-Sicilians from the Calabria region of southern Italy.” CNN. Aug. Giovanni Bazzano… 35 U.” Brooklyn Daily Eagle... Joseph worked as a bricklayer.com/pg/04221/357841. p. Aug. 12. and “John Bazzano put on spot in New York. Dec.” “Fourteen men held as members of murder ring vigorously deny charges. p. PA.S.” Monessen PA Independent. PA. 22. 23 The specific identity of this LaMantia is not known. Francis. p. His oldest son. Gentile explains that Calabró was a Calabrian working in the service of the Neapolitan Camorra. Angelo LaMantia turned up in Pittsburgh.. p. Martin’s Press. Petition for Naturalization documents for Giovanni Bazzano dated Feb. p. State of New York. 1907.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “$30. Jan. Bazzano might also have been speaking of four unidentified Neapolitans attending the disciplinary meeting.. 39 “War to rule city rackets.asp ). 27 Certificate and Record of Marriage.36 INFORMER FEBRUARY 2011 July 30. Angelo LaMantia was later charged under the name Joseph Rizzo in connection with a murder in Philadelphia: Gomes. it’s old neighborhood and a good portion of Wylie Avenue were lost during the 1961 construction of the Pittsburgh Civic Arena (later named the Mellon Arena) and its parking lots.” My Al Capone Museum website (www. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (http://data.blogspot. 1924. Greenwich CT: Fawcett.. where he and Anthony LaMantia were among those charged in the June 1932 murder of Morris Curran. While the press generally reported 22 ice pick wounds to Bazzano’s body..S.” Washington Post. Census for 1930. 1932. $30. 1908. 29 Petition for Naturalization documents. Census shows one LaMantia family living in Pittsburgh proper. p. July 19.post-gazette. 42 U. 1904. 38 “War to rule city rackets is revealed. Department of Labor Immigration Service. 8. according to “Pennsylvania mining fatalities. PA: “LaMantia-Calderone. 197. 34 Certificate and Record of Marriage. Sun. Frank Costello.. and “Volpes’ death trap padlocked for rent. Mario. Rebels and Mafiosi. #16529 – noted that a gag had been placed in the victim’s mouth. Another LaMantia family just outside of Pittsburgh was related by marriage to the Calderone clan of Vandergrift.” Syracuse Herald.” Indiana PA Messenger. 33 The specifics of his military service are not known. Calabró was possibly Antonio Calabró. 1932. PA. “Angelo LaMantia. Mon. An Angelo LaMantia of Termini Imerese. Giovanni Bazzano and Rosina Zappala. 21 “Threatened by Black Hand. 31 The use of open lamps by miners is believed to have caused the Dec.com . 2002 (archives. Frank Costello: Prime Minister of the Underworld. Sicily. U. 59). James. Dec.. 41. “In Allegheny County. “Arrest of 14 foils. 2000.” Boston Globe. 1916. crossed the Atlantic to join up with a 19th Century New Orleans Mafia clan run by Salvatore Marino: Fentress.” Ogden UT Standard.fatalities/ ). Albert Anastasia hailed from the Calabrian village of Tropea (“Anastasia rose in stormy ranks. 1932. 19.S. 23. 32 World War I Draft Registration. 9. George.
” Pittsburgh Press.S. July 31. 1884. 1967.. PA. p.” Indiana PA Evening Gazette. Aug. 52 Salvatore Calderone’s Petition for Naturalization.” Pittsburgh Press. Sept.” Pittsburgh Press. p. 57-58..’ most hated of gangsters here. Martin A. 70 Armstrong. 1929. two daughters.” Clearfield PA Progress. p. bootlegger Luigi Lamendola arrived in Pittsburgh around 1925 and made a deal with Conti for the purchase of Conti’s supply of 12 barrels of pre-World War I whiskey at $1. 2004. Monastero declares. June 8.” Pittsburgh Post. Then.. 3. 10. Census for 1920 and correspondence with Calderone family historian dated July 11. June 7. 4. “Slaying of leader ends big gang war. Lamendola and seven friends from Chicago first opened a speakeasy in the Hill District.000 per barrel. Calderone descendants recall family rumors of such a meeting: correspondence with Calderone and Landolina family historians dated July 2007. The Genealogy of American Organized Crime. Fri. 31. 42. p. PA. 69 “Nab gangster as murderer.S. Aug. p.” Charleroi PA Mail.. 8.S. wrecking it and injuring a passenger (“Reo truck was wrecked. 64 “Nab gangster as murderer of Monastero. p. 49 “Man slain in shadow of church. born Dec. 55. 21. entered the port aboard the S.S. Thurs. In June 1922. The two men were headed to Chicago.. 1927.S. p.carnegielibrary. Francis L. was also injured in the truck. Sunday was involved in two vehicle crashes in the early 1920s that made the local newspapers. and Richard Hammer. p. both of Caccamo.org/exhibit/ hname. cit. another of Salvatore Calderone’s sons. 1922. in the 1920s. “Monastero’s gang of racketeers got its start by hi-jacking.S. 1922. 1925. 25. The authors do not consider Gosch & Hammer to be a reliable source. 24. Stefano Monastero seems to have entered the U. Campbell. 67 “Nab gangster as murderer.. Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (www. Stefano indicated that he had never been in the U. 4. 18. Brown & Company. Feb. 46 Gentile. 58 “Incendiary dynamite explosions. in 1912. Aug. Cretic indicates Stefano’s birthplace and his tailor occupation. Boston: Little. where Cosimo Landolina (Nicasio’s brother and Cesare Sunzeri’s cousin) lived at 1613 Lowe Avenue.” Danville VA Bee. No family was noted living with Pietro in the shanty or in his previous home on Chartres Street. Sept. op.. Calderone. 18. and “Conti cleared of liquor scandal.S. Aug. which landed in New York on Dec.” The Pennsylvania Department. 9. 1). 9. Sept.com ..” Clearfield PA Progress. The ship’s manifest states that he was going to visit his older brother Salvatore in Allegheny. with “Pittsburg” in common use in the period between 1890 and 1911: “How to spell Pittsburgh. Sept. the Calderone home in Apollo. From there.. 1932. 2007. 50 Gentile.. 10. Carpathia in 1907 shows Conti arriving in New York along with chemist Cusumano. 1. 30. Fri... 57. Plata from Palermo. 1925. 25. Western District of Pennsylvania. 1. Census for 1920. Conti quickly left for Italy with the proceeds of the deal before Lamendola discovered the whiskey had been cut. 56. Sunday’s skull was fractured in the accident. 48 Gentile. p. 351).” Pittsburgh Press. 54 Salvatore’s son. aboard the S.S. also notes Calderone’s retirement. 53 U. 1929. 1932. contained Salvador and wife Annie. 31. p. living at 1413 Lowe Avenue in Chicago Heights. 71. A different story of Conti’s departure from Pittsburgh was told in “‘Big Gorilla’ soars to racket heights.” Pittsburgh PostGazette. 1919. Aug. 25.” Pittsburgh Press. Dec. Pittsburgh Division. Orizaba. According to that article. Ross J. he branched out into distilling spirits. takes tribute until bullets stop him. The ship’s manifest shows Pietro. p. informer-journal. Feb. The auto driver. 1929. 59 Gentile. 60 “La Cosa Nostra. he overturned a company truck. Calderone’s date of death was revealed in a local newspaper obituary and in the Petition for Grant of Letters filed with the Armstrong County court. No one claimed Pietro’s body in March 1891. 1. p. 1.. 4).” “Police resolved to end gang rule for Pittsburgh. 51 Gentile. p. Wed. and it was buried in a Potter’s Field (Hunt and Sheldon. went to work as a driver for Apollo Bottling.” FBI Pittsburgh office memo #92-599 dated Aug.” Pittsburgh Press. p.” Monessen PA Independent. Cretic. PA.S. where he was not expected to survive his injury. 1. p. suffered a broken neck and died at the scene. 3. 71. 1. 45 Gentile. and a daughter-in-law. four sons. Luciano traveled with Michele Miranda to Pittsburgh to consult with Calderone before ordering the assassination of Salvatore Maranzano in New York.. particularly the timing of Sam’s and Stefano’s arrival in the U.. 1975. The manifest of the S. he notes that he stopped in Pittsburgh to speak with “ex-boss” Salvatore Calderone. He was interred at Riverview Cemetery.S. the six-foottall Lamendola went to Pittsburgh after being cast out of Al Capone’s Chicago Outfit. p. 57 Three Pittsburgh buildings belonging to the Landolina Brothers firm were destroyed in a bombing on Feb. Two passengers in the auto suffered injuries. p. 6. 56 According to Philadelphia immigration records.. and “Man hurt when truck overturned.) 55 Correspondence with Landolina family historian dated July 9. 1. according to “”Man slain in shadow of church.” Indiana PA Progress. PA (“Autos collide. Armstrong states that Lamendola and Pangallo were friends. According to “‘Big Gorilla’ soars. 63 There are reasons to doubt the details of Sam Monastero’s story. p. 9. before. 2007. Monastero’s participation in the wholesale fruit business is documented in the U. 1932. p. 1919. looking for a way to resolve a feud between the current and former Mafia supreme bosses. PA. 1919. p. The 27-year-old was taken to the hospital in Indiana. Samuel Calderone. Aug.” op. 40. of Trafford City. 1929.. 66 “Joe ‘the Ghost. Pietro Monastero’s entry into New Orleans is documented with the January 1890 arrival of the S. Charleston SC: BookSurge.” Pittsburgh Press.S. age 41. 7. 18. p. 1919.” 68 “Terrorism’s grip of four years is beginning to relax. Aug. a son-inlaw. PA. However. describes the business relationship of Conti and Cusumano. p. The Last Testament of Lucky Luciano. Carmen. 47 The spelling “Pittsburg” (without the final “h”) was used in the business name. 62 “Mob lynched father. It appears that Calderone had already removed himself from the day-to-day business of the underworld.. As Gentile crisscrossed the U. 1925: “Pennsy-grams. but no family. “Wholesaler slain in car on eve of return to Italy with his family. PA. Conti’s World War I draft registration confirms his liquor wholesale business. a Nicasio Landolina and a Cesare Sunzeri. 24. describes Monastero ownership of bootleg supply warehouses and notes the several attempts made on his life. 61 According to Gosch. World War I Draft Registration records show a Cosimo Landolina. p. 1905. Gentile was outraged to find that Conti permitted the Camorra to prey upon Sicilians who believed themselves to be under Conti’s protection. Sunday Calderone. According to the census. The spelling of the city’s name varied over the years.html ).FEBRUARY 2011 INFORMER 37 44 Naturalization application materials of Conti and Cusumano. 1. a position that apparently represented more his interest than his skill. 1929. Sunday crashed a delivery truck head-on into an automobile on the William Penn Highway near Blairsville.” Clearfield PA Progress. 5. filed in Armstrong County. Apollo. cit. reported that the car bomb explosion occurred a year after the date reported in the Post-Gazette. p. 123. 136. in early December 1927. p. Ove Torsten.blogspot. 65 The manifest of the S.
. 2003. describes the formal rum-running relationships within the non-Mafia “Seven Group. 139. 1932. Brown and Company. p. Blood and Power. 80 Siragusa. p. Published by Morello. respected baker.38 INFORMER FEBRUARY 2011 71 “Pittsburgh gang leader murdered by racket rivals. 4. 1932. 96 “Volpes claimed to be princes. 10. 87-88. Bonanno. 11.. p.. 16. 1932. p. New York Skyscrapers website (www. dies in attempt to rule gangs. 7. 87. 1929. His Brooklyn. Maas. Robert. informer-journal. 1. G. Italy. 113-114. George Uffner. planned for 1929.S. The Business of Crime. aboard the S.. July 30. July 29. Nick Gentile claimed some credit for the Commission idea: Gentile. July 25. Interestingly. 118. “Says 12 witnessed gangster killing.. 1930.html ). Wed. Giurato. 91 Gentile. p. 1. Aug.” Pittsburgh Press. p.” Pittsburgh Post Gazette. respected baker…” 95 Immigration records show a couple of trips by family patriarch Ignazio Volpe. 1930: Bonanno. 1992. Bonanno left out Milano of Cleveland. 87-88. p.” Pittsburgh Post Gazette. Fri. p. Sat. Siragusa’s death did not fall within the 48hour time period of the Luciano purge legend. Da Capo Press. 141. According to birth records of Agropoli.. 100 “Hill rum rings…” 101 “Hill rum rings…” 102 Nelli.. p. Repetto. Sept.” Pittsburgh Press. U.” Louis Volpe was also known by the name of Malley or Malli. Gaetano’s arrival was dated April 1910. p. 2. 107. p. Gentile. discuss Luciano relationships with Arnold Rothstein and Meyer Lansky. 1. respected baker. 1. and Bonanno.net/NYC/nyc2. Mangano and Buffalo families had openly sided with Maranzano during the Castellammarese War. 29.. 1. notes that underworld tensions forced the postponement of his wedding. to visit his cousin Camillo Verta. p.” “Turtle Creek under. yields to greed. 1928. U.” New York Times. dated Sept.S. p. p. denied that the Volpes were related to the Italian royal family: “War to rule.. p. regional nobility. p.. Morello. Bonanno. robbery of a Tammanyoriented gathering in the Bronx to the start of the conflict. p.. 1932.. 81-82. Turkus. Inc. 3. links the Dec. 116. (Piddu/Peter) Morello on Aug. Gagliano was hostile toward Masseria during the war. 87 86 Maranzano’s good fortune during the war suggests that he had a top-level informant within the Masseria organization all along.S. 92 It appears possible that a quarrel between the East End and North Side Mafias led to the murder of Sam Monastero in spring 1930: “Racketing ends for Monastero. 78 Siragusa declaration of intention to become a citizen. 1931. Bonanno indicated that the first Commission was comprised of seven bosses. 14. 93. Murder. Tom Gagliano. The Bonanno. James passed through Ellis Island in October 1913. 15. Humbert S.” However. according to “Sugar-yeast racketeer pays with life. The list of members differs in Bonanno.” Pittsburgh Press. 119. 1932. in June 1914. Celeste A.. 93-94. 109.” 75 Spallino was widely known as Carlo Sparlino. Joe Parrino and Cesare Lemare . respected baker. the facial gash suffered by Luciano during a beating in 1928 – a beating often attributed in legend to Maranzano – is a strong indication that an underworld associate felt Luciano was being twofaced. 7. However. 87 Bonanno. 1928. 94 “Siragusa. New York: William Morrow and Company. His efforts to control the Bronx. 72 “Gunmen in car kill aged man amid flowers. July 29. Before Bruno: Book 1 – 1880-1931. Bonanno.. 1932. and Lacey. March 19. 100-101. 1. 107. Joe Profaci and Vincent Mangano – were joined by the leaders of Buffalo and Chicago families. 99 Turkus. 90 Repetto. 91-92. The second was to Wilmerding.S. Thomas. Aug. “3 more seized in rum killing.greatgridlock. “Powerful bootleg baron of Pittsburgh garroted. 84 Gentile. 1989. John Volpe arrived in the U. Maas. 77 Siragusa petition for naturalization. 97 “Turtle Creek under..” Clearfield PA Progress. David. Wed. 180. Census of 1930 shows three of the Volpe brothers out on their own in homes on Bridge Street in Wilmerding. Profaci claimed neutrality in the conflict but had strong ties to the Bonanno clan. Werra in February 1901. p. 113-114. 2004. Census of 1920 shows Ignazio living with six of his sons on State Street in Wilmerding. p. 1932. 1930: “Harlem racket gang murders two in raid. Charles Solomon of Boston and Abner Zwillman of New Jersey. 76 “Sleuths hunt gang killers of racketeer. 28. p. 93 “Siragusa.” Pittsburgh Press. 85. Boston: Little. Guy Volpe’s given name was Gaetano. approved May 23. p. 88 Gentile. Fox. p. Sept. 85 Masseria was severely handicapped by the losses of adviser Giuseppe. 98 “Volpes ruled. The leaders of the five New York families – Luciano. Bonanno. Sept. p. The year 1930 is favored as the start of the conflict in Maas. 1930. 79 Ove.” “Slaying of Volpe brothers laid to ‘muscling in’ feud. Aug. 83 Gentile. 118... Chicago: University of Chicago Press. March 19. p.. 1929. 1929. 92. 1. The piecemeal nature of the family immigration is shown in Ellis Island records. Brooklyn and Detroit were thwarted when his puppet gang leaders. 113-114.” New York Times.” Pittsburgh Press. 106 Gentile. Wed. Maas. 1. had been completed in 1929: “The Helmsley Building. 1930. 207. p. 5. Bonanno.” Indiana PA Evening Gazette. 1991. 2000. p. 104 Nelli. were all assassinated in the same year: Bonanno.S. 135136.” Art Deco Era. Rothstein. 1928. in January 1910. July 29. p. New York: Carroll & Graf. Burton B. p. 64.. which sparked the war.com . Stephen R. 82 Morello. “Siragusa. “Gunmen drop trio in Hill District raid. 51. 105 Bonanno.” Pittsburgh PostGazette. 1923. 138-139. at Pittsburgh. Little Man. including Stefano Magaddino of Buffalo instead. Bonanno. 141. known also as the Helmsley Building. p. dies in attempt to rule gangs.. 8..blogspot.. Chapter IX. p. p.. Maas. Chapter IX.and Bronx-based leaders Al Mineo (Manfre/Manfredi) and Steve Ferrigno (Ferraro/ Fanuzzo) were lost on Nov. 1931. p. 1932. Tues. Census of 1920. occurred in 1929. Aug. 1. p.S. p. 1981. “Turtle Creek under Volpes’ rule 14 years. 119. p. 73 “Racket gangs kill again as jury probes. and Sid Feder. 106-107. The first was to Utica NY aboard the S.” 81 Ove. “Gang kills suspect in alien smuggling. p. Curran survived until a drive-by shooting on June 24. it remains possible that the clan was related to older. 74 “Gunmen in car kill.. 119-120. 1920. Aug.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Joe Pinzolo . New York: Henry Holt and Company. p. p.” of which Luciano was a founding member. Arturo and the rest of the clan reached the U.” Pittsburgh Press. 120. Wed. 159-160. yields to greed. 196-203. p. p. The 35-story Grand Central tower. 26.” Pittsburgh Sun Telegraph. puts the start of the Castellammarese conflict in 1927 but notes that Masseria’s subjugation of the Castellammaresi. 3. 126-128. p. the eight sons were born to the farming family of Ignazio and Rosa Principe Volpe. Phoenix edition. Aug.” New York Times.S. 89 Gentile. The Italian consul in the Pittsburgh area. 88. Prinz Oskar in June 1905. p.. p. 4. 103 Pietrusza. 4. further outlines Luciano’s ties to the Diamond brothers. American Mafia. p. p.” Clearfield PA Progress. U. Sept. p.
.. 1932. Sat... 1932. 109 “Mass of federal Volpe evidence is given to police. 1932. 156 “Spinelli lined to abandoned auto.” 133 According to a newspaper report.. Tues.” Last rites were administered at the scene of the murders by the Rev. 158 U. 2. 1. At that time... 1. 115 “Mass of federal Volpe evidence…” 116 Gentile. “Volpe kin late returning to jail after funerals.” 154 “Pinchot takes hand in Volpe murder hunt. 1932. Wed.” Pittsburgh Press. Sat. p. 122.” “War to rule city rackets is revealed.. p. in stories published before and after August 1932.. Aug. 1..” Pittsburgh Press.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Nelli... 1932.” Pittsburgh Press. 1932.. 124 “Slaying of Volpe brothers. 10900 Lake Shore Boulevard.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. matronly wife. 6. Eugene McGuigin of St. Mon.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 1932. 1932. 1932. July 30.. Aug. 1932... 1932. 12. 143 Gentile...” The other Volpe brothers had similar license plates with their initials on them: “Deny pull gave Volpe plates.. 131 “Gunmen drop trio. the leader of ten soldiers. 1932. 159 “Man with face blacked found slain in sack. Tues. 3.” it is noted that only about half of the invited liquor dealers attended the Volpe meeting. 16.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.” says Santo hid under a chair.” 125 Gentile did not reveal the location of Milano’s “country home. Aug. beer baron. Volpe’s smallest bill at the moment was a ten. 1932. Aug.. 138 “War to rule city. “Kline orders drive on underworld in Volpe death search. While Tito did not specify the amount of Volpe’s barber tab. Mon. Thurs. Mon... Aug.” “Three gang chiefs die in Pittsburgh.. “Joe Tito.” a blockhead. 123 “Kline orders drive. p.. “City and county sleuths baffled by Volpe killings..” 134 “Kline orders drive. July 30. Fri.S.” Pittsburgh Press.. 1932.blogspot.” “City and county sleuths. mumbling about not wanting to be shot.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette...... 1932..” indicates that Santo was wounded in the arm by a bullet.. July 30. Aug... “Gang leader sentenced by Italian court. 8. 121. 53-54. In “War to rule city. 150 “Joe Tito. “Police battle huge crowds. 1932. However.” Erie PA Times. the New York Times specified that Honan’s position was “acting lieutenant”: “194 policemen cited for merit in service. Ann’s Catholic Church. 162-163. 1932. Wed. Aug. stayed away. Aug. 1..” Pittsburgh Press.. p. 4.” 136 “War to rule city.” 137 “Pittsburgh underworld trio slain by imported killers. referring to him repeatedly as “testone. 1932.” 139 “War to rule city. police picked up Milano for questioning at the estate of Peter P... According to “Police battle huge crowds at Wilmerding. 121.” says Santo was shot in the jaw. second to be grilled.” but there are clues from Cleveland Press reports in July 1930. p. 1. 1932.” New York Times.” Pittsburgh Press.” New York informer-journal.” 149 “Three grilled in Volpe case. 1932. 4. Mon. 3. p. Capone also reportedly sent a $300 floral arrangement to the funeral after Chester Volpe died in an automobile accident in spring 1932 (just as Capone was heading off to Atlanta Federal Prison on a tax evasion conviction): “Racket chiefs shot down by three gunmen. beer baron.. 157 “Volpes’ death trap padlocked for rent. Tues. has Santo Bazzano hiding behind the counter. 150. “Clue to slayers of Volpe partner believed found. 1932. 129 “Racket czar. 53.. 1932.. 12.” “Three grilled. July 30. According to Tito’s story.” “Liquor conference linked with killing.” Pittsburgh Press. Aug. 128 “Joe Tito.. 2. 4. “Three gang chiefs die. 28.” Buffalo Courier Express. Aug. Aug.. beer baron.. Brooklyn’s Third Assembly District...” This incident implies that the North Side Mafia had some independent source of alcohol. 1932.” “Racket chiefs shot down.. July 29. 8.” 140 “Racket chiefs shot down.” 114 Federal investigators revealed that John Volpe had yet another girlfriend in Pittsburgh: “Mass of federal Volpe evidence is given to police.FEBRUARY 2011 INFORMER 39 107 Bonanno. 130 “War to rule city...” 121 “War to rule city.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.” “John Bazzano put on spot in New York.000 people filed through the Volpe apartments over the weekend. 1932.. sensing trouble.. p. p.. 122.” The Corn Flakes were noted in. The Eagle reported that Raymond Honan was a police captain...” 153 “Volpe kin late... 1932. “Gunmen drop trio. 117 Gentile. 144 This is an early indication of Genovese-Anastasia friction that would lead to Anastasia’s death in a Manhattan barber chair 25 years later. Aug... The article unkindly referred to Amelia as Volpe’s “fat... according to “Rackets chiefs shot down. Aug. Kobler puts the first Mafia inductions of non-Sicilians in the 1930s. 1. 111 “War to rule city..” Pittsburgh Press. 155 “Slain Volpe trio fails to leave wills.. Palzanes had recently sold Milano some property at Willow Beach bordering Lake Erie on the route to Toledo.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 55-57. 1935. 108 “Volpes ruled.com ..” Erie PA Times. p. 1. July 30.. p. 1932.. 112 “Racket chiefs shot down by three gunmen. 1. Aug. 110 Capone was reportedly the godfather of one of John Volpe’s children: “Volpe funerals scheduled for today due to crowds.” 151 “Sleuths fail to bare new Volpe clues. 126 Gentile. 2. but the North Side was his protected territory.. 11.. it was clearly nowhere near the ten-dollar range. He might have constructed a Willow Beach retreat for himself by 1932.” Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Aug.. “Three gang chiefs die.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.. 1932. 142 Gentile. p. 203.” Pittsburgh Press. p. 146 “Volpe funerals scheduled for today due to crowds.” Pittsburgh Press. Aug. 145 Gentile. July 30.” Pittsburgh PostGazette. 127 Gentile. Dec. Thurs...” 141 Kline orders drive. “Racket chiefs shot down. Aug.” Pittsburgh Press.S...” 122 It isn’t clear if Bazzano was present at the meeting. Gentile apparently thought very little of Cleveland boss Frank Milano. “The others. 152 “Joe Tito.” 148 “Police battle huge crowds..” Pittsburgh Press..” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 1932. Milano reportedly used Palzanes’ home as a hideout in 1930.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. It is possible that the North Side’s relationships with the Cleveland and Youngstown branches of the Mafia allowed it access to imported liquors.” Pittsburgh Press. 147 “Volpe gangsters attack newspaper cameraman. 113 “Wives of Volpes mourn for dead. 118 The term capodecina refers to a low-level Mafia supervisor.” “Slaying of Volpe brothers laid to ‘muscling in’ feud... Aug. 1932.. as many as 50. 1932. Aug. beer baron.. Palzanes. 2..” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette..” 135 “War to rule city. Mon. aids quiz in gang deaths. 120 “Clue to slayers. Mon. p. 119 Gentile.. p. Census of 1930. 121. p. Tues. 132 “U. Aug.” Pittsburgh PostGazette. July 30... 2. July 31. witnesses said Volpe was acting nervous: “Racket chiefs shot down. July 29.
” 168 Frank Zappala appears to have been the first to label the Bazzano slaying an act of mob discipline. Mon. Fri.. Census. Aug.blogspot.” New York Herald. 185 “Mystery hems ‘murder ring’.” 180 “Fourteen men held as members.. 1. 11. p. p. 17.. 20.” Brooklyn Citizen.” 166 “Underworld fears more.” Coshocton OH Tribune. 1932. Thurs. 17. 1932. 23.” New York Times.” “Suspects held without bail. DiCarlo’s sentencing occurred May 9. 13. 24. Wed. 1983.S. 1932. Thus. The nature of Bazzano’s military service is not known. 171 Peter Lombardo’s actual name probably was Peter Giallombardo. Bazzano registered for the World War I draft in New Kensington..” Charleroi PA Mail. p. 1. “Clue to slayers of Volpe partner believed found.” The six released suspects were not identified.. Sat.” Buffalo Courier Express. Aug. Aug. Wed.” “Arrests link Bazzano. 18. “Arrests link Bazzano with slaying here.” Pittsburgh Press. Wed... jurist and Scottsboro Case lawyer.html ). worked as a clerk and had no dependents. Mid-Atlantic Region. School of Law (www. Aug. bodies put in sacks. victim knifed. 164 “John Bazzano put on spot in New York.” Brooklyn Citizen.. Thurs. 1932. 1932. Aug. 186 “Mystery hems ‘murder ring’. Aug. 18. 1932. Tues. Leibowitz.” New York Times. Aug. Senate. Vito Genovese.. Facial similarities are noted in the Lombardo photo in the Pittsburgh Press. and the Milano photo in the Cleveland Press. suspect Peter Lombardo bore a resemblance to Cleveland Mafia boss Frank Milano. The Herald story notes that federal Judge John Knight sentenced the younger DiCarlo months earlier to two years for his stolen car offense.. indicating that he was born in Italy. “Arrest of 14 foils murder fete plan. 17.” “Two suspects beat rap on slaying charges here. 2.S. p. 17..” “Four seized as U. p.. Aug. Bazzano’s family indicated that he had left for a long trip.. then rearrest nine. 17. 1932. 177 Fox. p. Washington D. 30.. 1932. Ninety-Eighth Congress. who was regularly sought for questioning after local murders. Aug. Thurs. 28. 170 “14 arrested in Volpe spite.. Aug.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 160 “Body of man found in sack. Aug.. 1. p. p. Thurs.. 1932. case adjourned..C. 19. A hearing on the consorting charge was repeatedly delayed until Sept. 1. 17.. U. “Fourteen men held as members of murder ring vigorously deny charges.com ..” Syracuse Herald. There is reason to believe that the coins were deliberately left or deliberately placed in the pockets.. Wed...” New York Times. p. 183 “Police uncover murder ring. 18. Mon..” New York Times. Aug. when Magistrate Francis J. p. B2.” Pittsburgh Press. 1. “14 men held for Bazzano.” Pittsburgh Press. 163 While the police indicated that dental records pointed them to Bazzano.. p. Aug. 1932.. including Al Capone and Vincent Coll: “Suspects held without bail. 18.. Leibowitz defended nine young African American men accused of raping two white women in Alabama: “Samuel Leibowitz” University of Missouri-Kansas City.. April 6. 1932.. 1932. Back in Pittsburgh. 172 “14 arrested in Volpe spite.” Brooklyn Daily Eagle. 1932. 11. 173 “Arrest of 14 foils.. Fri. p. “Raid by police spoils party to pay off killers. Aug..law.” Pittsburgh Press. July 7.” 181 “14 arrested in Volpe spite. 12.. 1. A man by that name was shown living at 1003 Greenwood Avenue (newspapers reported the address as #103) in Trenton in the 1930 U. 1932.” Pittsburgh Press. 28. 12. who reportedly called for the underworld investigation into Bazzano’s involvement in the Volpe murders. Oct. 3. Fri. Aug. “Police uncover murder ring in roundup of 14. auto wrecked by explosion. 179 “Police uncover murder ring. 18.” “Raid by police spoils party to pay off killers. 84. Wed. “Arrest of 14 spoils murder fete plan. 1932.” “14 men held in sack murder may go free. Interestingly..” New York Times. May 4.. 1932.. 1932.” New York Times. Aug. On the same day the remains were identified. p..” Pittsburgh Press.” Buffalo Courier Express.. 1932. Death certificate of John Bozzano (sic). 15.. p. 1. 1932.” Pittsburgh Press... causing the prosecution case to collapse.. 1932. It is more likely that the police learned the sack victim’s identity from informants.” 187 “Two slain by gang. “Pittsburgh kin identifies sack murder victim.” 162 “Arrests link Bazzano with slaying here. There is no evidence that the family reported him missing.” informer-journal.” “Slain man found in sack. Aug. First Session. p. Sat.. Government Printing Office.” “Police uncover murder ring in roundup of 14. 1. 13... “Profile of Organized Crime. Aug. Aug..” Pittsburgh Press. 1932.. 19. 17.... 1932. Aug.” Buffalo Courier Express. 13. Leibowitz represented a number of underworld big shots. “Slain man found in sack. 9. p. Aug. 1932. “8 suspects in Bazzano case freed on bail.” Syracuse Herald. but noting that his right eye was “in bad shape. 1932. 1932. 1983. 1930.. Department of Health of the City of New York. 32. 22..” Zanesville OH Times Recorder. “Samuel DiCarlo guilty.” 182 “14 men held for Bazzano killing freed. 1932.. 184 “Free 14 in slaying. It is worth considering that witnesses or informants might have changed their stories or disappeared. 1932. 176 “Arrests link Bazzano. 1932. 1932. 2. He later became a judge of the Kings County (Brooklyn) Criminal Court: “Samuel S. The discovery of small quantities of money in the pockets of underworld victims who had been robbed of other cash and identification appears to be an oddity of these disciplinary killings. 2. 1932. Aug. Aug.: U. 1940. 18. Aug. 64..40 INFORMER FEBRUARY 2011 Times.. 1932.S. “Raid by police spoils party to pay off killers. p. was not among the 14 charged in the case. Mon. Aug.. 8. p.. 20. 18..” New York Times.” “14 suspects are freed in Bazzano quiz. Thurs.S. 17. Fri. 1932. Jan. 1932. 165 “Gang killing orphans five..” Brooklyn Citizen.” Hearings Before the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the Committee on Governmental Affairs. “Sack murder victim identified by kin.. p.. 20. 178 In the “Scottsboro Boys” case of the 1930s. He was an importer of oil and cheese.. 18.” Syracuse Herald. However.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/scottsboro/ SB_bLieb.” McGowan did not say which of the suspects matched the description of the man wanted for murder in Cleveland. 1. 1932. Erwin of Jefferson Market Court dismissed the case: “Dismisses suspects. Aug. It is possible that the discrepancy was due to Honan being the senior member of the homicide division on duty at Hamilton Avenue station when the sack victim was discovered. Wed. p..” “Home shaken.” New York Herald. 174 “Arrest of 14 foils. Aug. p. p. 1978. 5. 1932. 12.” Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Aug. Wed. Stephen. 18..” 169 “14 arrested in Volpe spite gang murder. Thurs. 18.. 1932. Aug. 12. During the Prohibition Era. hits at rackets. New York: William Morrow and Company. PA. Aug. 8.. Aug. 188 “Two slain by gang. May 5. 175 “Witnesses to be called for DiCarlo today.. “Sack murder suspect brother of public enemy.” Brooklyn Daily Eagle.. 1989. Feb.. 161 “Body of man found in sack…..umkc. dies. “Bombs burst as racketeer goes to grave. 20. 22. 1. 1. but their significance is unknown. the story sounds far-fetched. “Seizure of 14 calls off gang murder party. “Seek 14 again in new slaying of 2 gangsters.” Zanesville OH Times Recorder.” Zanesville OH Times Recorder. the attorney met with Pittsburgh police and indicated that the killing was “the first retaliation” for the Volpe murders: “John Bazzano put on spot. Aug. Thurs. Aug. p.” “Home shaken.” 167 “Bombs burst. Blood and Power. “Police department.” Pittsburgh Press. 1932. p.
” Pittsburgh Press. Gangster City.” 225 The Palmeri and DiCarlo families had in-laws in common. 17.S. 1932.” “2 gangsters slain. June 28.” “Pecora murder probe blocked. 23.” Pittsburgh Press. Aug. 29. Tona. Mon. 26. “Volpe killer reported here. Oct. July 16. Jan. Sun. Oct.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.” Pittsburgh Press. The well-traveled Gentile was on friendly terms with Paolo DiGiovanni. The couple had a son. p. Thurs.. 22. 30. 221 Birth record for Salvatore DiCarlo. 4. IA: Mad Dog Historical Society. “Ex-Capone gangster meekly yields $835.” 200 According to records of Agropoli. 18. 5. 206 “Link to Volpe case seen in Hill murder. Sicily..” Buffalo Courier Express. p. 75.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.” New York Daily News. Aug. 1932. p. “Volpes’ ally slain. “4 seized in Jersey in sack murders. Mon.” New York Times.” Pittsburgh Press. p. 1. 219 Bonasera’s criminal record was examined in connection with deportation proceedings in 1953-54. 3.” Buffalo Courier Express. Cerone might have been one of them.” Buffalo News. Giuseppe Morello.” Brooklyn Daily Eagle. 1915. was believed to be the architect of the counterfeiting ring.. 1932. 14. Interestingly. Anthony Boccio’s fatal trip to New Jersey occurred on Thursday.. Dec. 1932. 1920... Aug. 25.. “Bootlegger trial begins.” 197 “Clue to slayers of Volpe partner. 5.” “Triple slaying laid.. 1954. 1943. 207 “Negro confesses killing. 13. 1932.. 1953. They had a son. denies he knew Bazzano.. 216 Birth record of Cassandro Salvatore Bonasera. Paul Palmeri’s brother Angelo married Rosaria Mistretta.” Connellsville PA Daily Courier.” New York Times. 1921. p.. who formed the Mafia family later controlled by Giuseppe Masseria and Charlie Luciano. 1933. 1931. 4. “Capone ex-aide seized.. June 29. 215 “Court hits new law for drive on gangs.” New York Times. 1932. “Alleged Volpe slayer named. 199 Warrant out. “City alien wins appeal. 24.S. Nov... Sept.” 213 Unfortunately. 1932. Springfield IL: Charles C. 2. 1909. certificate #625. Tues. 5. 194 “Arrest sheds new light on sack killings. Madonna. he did not explain why: “Arrest sheds new light on sack killings. Sept. 1942. 24. Fri.. p. Bussey. Sept. p.” New York Times. Feb. July 12. Mistretta was a cousin of Giuseppe DiCarlo’s wife. 16. 1932. 23. 1943. He successfully battled deportation in court. there seems to be no surviving record of the identities of the four men and two women who were interviewed and released after the Aug. Sat. 1932.. Thomas and Michael A.” 203 The Mafia’s use of victims’ friends as assassins is discussed in Hunt. Aug. p. Aug. “Wedding attracts crowd to church. “Seek 14 again in new slaying of 2 gangsters.. Aug. 1932. Mon. certificate #123. eldest brother of Kansas City’s ruling Mafia family: Gentile. According to the Times. Francesco. Fri. 205 “Court clears Volpe suspect. “4 seized in Jersey. 1932. 1923. 190 “Two slain by gang. p. Patrick. p. 1932. 208 “Negro says he lied in admitting Bazzano slaying. 17. 1932.. Volpe suspect flees search. Vallelunga.S. Castellammare del Golfo. Captain John McGowan stated that he did not believe Boccio and Fabrizio had participated in the Bazzano murder.. 1919 at the age of 24.com .” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.. 1906. Giuseppe Spinelli married Germina Passaro on Jan. Aug. Vallelunga. 26. Aug.” Pittsburgh Press. 5. p. due to the coincidence of their deaths with the dropping of the state’s case against the 14 suspects. 229 The Panepinto & Palmeri Funeral Home became the Spallino Funeral Home in 1939 and then the Magaddino Funeral Home in 1946. 202 “Warrant out.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Sicily. 1932.” 192 “Two slain by gang. was born Oct. 1932. Aug. NY. 217 Ellis Island passenger record. 13. 196 “Denies part in shooting. 25. 21. Spring 2007. 1.. p. 230 “Indictments bare huge bootlegging ring. 5. Feb. S. 10. 23. 1.. Thurs. S. Sept.. 210 “Widow is clue in racket feud. it is difficult to avoid the assumption that Boccio and Fabrizio were suspected by their underworld associates of supplying information to the police or at least of protecting an informant. Indiana. 24. Nov. p. Thomas. Prinzess Irene. but there was insufficient evidence to charge him in that case: Downey. 1932. The practice is confirmed in Allen. Jan. Fort Lee. 2. Fri.blogspot. Feb..FEBRUARY 2011 INFORMER 41 189 “Link Newark. Gaetano. Mario. 1906. 1932.” Pittsburgh PostGazette. “Link Pittsburgh gunman in Gotham murder syndicate. “The Good Killers: 1921’s Glimpse of the Mafia.” New York Times.. 8.” “Underworld fears more. 22. 22.” Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Aug.. 1932. 212 “Volpes’ ally slain. Aug. informer-journal. 1932. 226 Birth record for Paolo Palmeri. Aug. Thurs. p. 1954...” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Another son. 1933. 1918. 231 Though there is little reason to believe he was related to Peter Lombardo. 2. 21. Aug. 214 “7 seized as gangsters. 209 “Volpe clansman slain in gang feud. 211 “Widow is clue in racket feud.” New York Times.. 5. 1932. Maria Spinelli died Jan. May 23. p.” “Samuel DiCarlo guilty. Merchants of Menace – The Mafia: A Study of Organized Crime. raids. Bonasera and Sarah Loretta DiCarlo filed with Erie County Clerk. 1933.” New York Daily News. Giuseppe and Maria Spinelli were married March 2. 191 “2 gangsters slain. p. on Jan. Additional underworld connections might have been discovered through that information. 5... 3. “Alcohol ring sentenced. bodies tied in sack. “Suspects held without bail. Sept. local murders.” New York Times. 20: “In many cases the murder is perpetrated by those closely associated with and friendly to their victims. p. Though he seemed certain. 201 “Gang expose slated when Spinello faces trial as Volpe slayer. Sat. 227 Ellis Island passenger record. 27. 1928. 22.. p. Wed. 5. 22. a Giuseppe Giallombardo was arrested in New York State along with a gang of counterfeiters in 1903. S. Feb. 3. the day after the case against the 14 Bazzano murder suspects fell apart. Sicily.” Cleveland Press. 1954.. 1962. on March 1. 220 Marriage certificate for Cassandro S. 228 Naturalization certificate #1864272.” Pittsburgh Press.” 198 “Triple slaying laid to John’s ex-bodyguard. 195 “Tip from girl nabs 4 men in sack murders. dated June 4.. 1914. Niagara County. 31. 2004.” 204 Gentile did not identify the men drawn from his crew by Bazzano to perform the Volpe murders. Sept. 1933.” 193 Though no official statement was made with regard to the identity of any informants relating to the Bazzano case. 1932.. 6.” Pittsburgh Press. 1.... 223 “Police seize gang of 23 occupying luxurious suites.” On the Spot Journal. 1931.” New York Times. 1932. Aug. NJ: Barricade Books... Feb. Aug.. Edward J. 218 Deposition during Immigration and Naturalization Service deportation hearings. Italy. 1. Sun. p. 1. The Bonasera-DiCarlo wedding was noticed by the press: “DiCarlo nuptials. “Warrant out. 3. 224 “Witnesses to be called.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.” New York Times. 10-22. p. 21. local mob blamed. 222 Ellis Island passenger record.” New York Times.
. 1950. 1928. p. 1899. Cleveland Police Department. 2. Jan. Sun. Cambridge. 13.. Census records indicate that the addresses did not exist. 1912. 1942. 1930. 1958. p. 17. “Two in murder ring quickly convicted.S. 7). July 8. N. p.S. 1958. 240 U. 255 “Would-be bandit is wounded in holdup attempt at Pittsburgh. In 1969-70. suspect seized. 236 Cook. Amato and other co-defendants. 244 Birth record of Michele Eduardo Calogero Russo.S.” 270 The arrival of Jewish Eastern European immigrants in Brownsville beginning in the 1880s is documented in The WPA Guide to New York City. 23. 264 Morello. “O’Dwyer draws inquiry’s fire on Anastasia. “death squad” (p. 251 “Man shot dead in street.” 239 Birth record for Rosario Alfredo Bufalino. according to “McCandless.S. S. men guilty in kickback case. p. 135. Jan.” Monessen PA Daily Independent.. Mafiosi in Pittsburgh. “Personal feud caused murder.S. 26. Sun. S. Census of 1930. 23. Census records of 1920 and 1930. July 18. April 20.: The Story of the Syndicate. The move from Pittston to West Pittston is also noted in “Gaetana V. memo to Deputy Inspector Chas. 265 Bonanno. Jan. http:// www. 256 “Pinball machines in Braddock are halted in raid. 245 Ellis Island passenger records. May 10. 84.. Federal Writers Project. Feb. p. “Two men killed in Eagles Hall as 400 dancers riot.S.I. 23. MA: Da Capo Press. 120.” Monessen PA Daily Independent.” Pittsburgh Press. p. which he referred to with such terms as “the Extermination Department for Murder. Straus and Young).” New York Times. 20. p. 24. 249 “Rum. S. 1957. p. 250 Ellis Island passenger records.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 234 “Say gangsters made plans aboard yacht. 1955. 16. 135. p. March 24.” Monessen PA Valley Independent (UPI). Sicily. Amato faced federal charges connected with kickbacks arranged on loans from the Teamsters Union pension fund. 233 Immigration records of the port of Boston. March 24. rather than just to its enforcement arm. “2 L.” New York Times. Braddock. Fred J. 257 U.S. 1943.” Pittsburgh Post. 1929. 169. Census for 1930.” North Hills (PA) News Record. p. 1. The authors generally do not consider this a reliable source but note this detail due to its relevance. Sterling. June 22. p. CO. 1932.” Connellsville PA Daily Courier. 1939. p.” The Detroit Outfit. 260 Social Security records place Amato’s death in February of 1973. p. p. 123. 15.S. 272 Turkus.com/jiggs2000_us/polizzi. 21.S. March 1.” New York Times. Martha Washington. With that in mind. 1940. 247 Cavolo. Saale. 266 “Police seize gang of 23 occupying luxurious suites. Nov. it is difficult to view seriously Santo Volpe’s work as a management negotiator: “Coal negotiations are resumed today. Allegheny County. Sicily. explains that the relationship between the Syndicate and the Brownsville assassins was in place before the murder of Dutch Schultz in 1935. p. Census of 1930. Inc. July 2. 1946. Dec. 64. 20.blogspot. Sicily. 5. Thurs. 254 U. 1929.. 248 Cleveland Police Department records of Dec.” New York Times. 1940. 28.’s enforcement squad” (p. July 28. 263 Gentile. Murder. 5. certificate #156. p. p. New York: William Morrow and Company. Lazio. p. 268 “Anastasia rose in stormy ranks. 1. but they found that “Of the four. p. 1903.” informer-journal. It seems that Turkus intended the term “Murder. 1970. 29.” Pittsburgh Press. Jan. p.. only Bua was known at the Pittsburgh address given”: “Two suspects ‘beat rap’ on slaying charges here. 235 Volpe addresses are established by the U. 17. “27 men of Montedoro believed bosses of all organized crime. and other documentation within his FBI file. March 21. 261 Passenger list from the S. 1.. p. p. 262 U.” New York Times.” Gettysburg PA Times (AP). 459). Aug. 12. p. Gentile notes that D’Aquila sent Traina to preside over a mid-1920s disciplinary hearing for three Pueblo.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 84. 1906. 1. certificate #112. Bufalino. 269 Anastasia’s criminal record is contained in an FBI biographical memo dated Nov.” Gettysburg PA Times. Dec. 15. Detective Charles.. gambling feud is blamed. PA. Hagerty. 273 “Reles is telling story of murders done by his gang. 3.S. two suspects held. 6). 1910. 2006. Stampalia sailing from Naples on Oct. 274 “Reles began crime career at the age of 13. 26.. 11. dated Feb.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “Slaying is linked to Brooklyn gang.. 1928. Turkus would not have placed an earlier date on the contract relationship because he believed the Syndicate had been formed in 1934 (p. 243 Pittsburgh homicide detectives had been ordered to search the homes of all four Pittsburgh-area suspects in the Bazzano slaying. 252 Calderone. “Release man held in killing. Nov. 1930. including Pittsburgh crime boss John LaRocca and mob bigshot Gabriel Mannarino were acquitted: “Pair convicted for Teamster loan kickbacks. 1970. While two New York men were convicted in the case. 5. rum feud thought murder cause. 5. 17. 275 Turkus. 276 Turkus.. James A. 1. 1920. 267 Bonanno.42 INFORMER FEBRUARY 2011 232 Birth record for Santo Angelo Volpe. 5. p. Romanic from Naples on Jan. p. 46. 24. West Deer men head Cosa Nostra. 1957. Aug.” 242 “Michael Santo Polizzi. Bua was 25 years old at the time. “Dual slaying brings threats of vengeance. 1930. Jan.” (p. 6.S. FBI biographical notes dated Nov. 258 Gentile. 19. 237 The local Mafia also developed connections to mine workers unions: Fox Stephen. Inc. p. 5. 1973. Searches of Pittsburgh area directories of the period and of the U. 6. p. 1984. Cerda.. 135) and “Murder Inc. 46-47.html. 241 “27 men of Montedoro.. Jan. 1970. 11. p. Montedoro.. p. Aug. 29. 40.html 271 Turkus. Montedoro.” to apply to the entire national crime Syndicate. Bufalino dies at age 100. 1992 (reprint of the 1951 edition by Farrar. Blood and Power.net/ neighborhoods/brownsville.” New York Times. p.brooklyn. p. Oct. 1918. 1957. 13. Burton B. p. Cook mentions Santo Volpe’s nickname while explaining that Volpe was the senior Mafioso presiding over the welcome back party given to Vito Genovese at Manhattan’s Hotel Diplomat on June 11.” Buffalo Evening News. Wed. certificate #242. Dec. 1940. and arriving in New York on Oct.” Pittsburgh Press. 23. May 17.” Scranton PA Times-Tribune. 246 Ellis Island passenger records. 13.” Cleveland Press. Census for 1930 puts Frank Amato’s residence on Braddock’s Oak Street near the intersection with Lillie Avenue. 1951. and Sid Feder. 4. Mafia! Greenwich CT: Fawcett. 1. The Pennsylvania Crime Commission felt that Amato was the real power in the underworld from Bazzano’s death until his semi-retirement in 1956.” Charleroi PA Mail.com . Fri. 1906. p. reputed crime boss. Inc. 10. quoted on the web: www. 259 The Pennsylvania Crime Commission decided that Amato turned the reins of the local Mafia over to John Sebastian LaRocca in 1956: “Crime boss LaRocca dies in bed. as well as in “Anastasia rose.” New York Times. 253 “Vendetta. S.” Pittsburgh Post -Gazette. “John LaRocca. 238 “Gaetana V. Sept.geocities. 1984. 277 “Anastasia rose. 4. 17. 1989.. 1930. Sept.
Tues.” New York Herald. potentate. 17. Nov.. 284 “Sleuths get ready to go for Spinello. 1.. 11. “Guards demoted in Reles escape. 1932. Thurs. 1941.” TIME. Tues. strangled to death and tied up within a large burlap bag.FEBRUARY 2011 INFORMER 43 278 “Inquiry discredits O’Dwyer for calling Reles important. p.. Dec. p. p. just a block from his home. Nov. Dec. 1933. 1. April 8.” 285 “Spinello ordered returned to U.. notes the date of his death. Nov. 1932. The restaurateur had feared an anonymous end since Masseria’s April 15. Italy. 12.. p. 12. 34. 17. 1933.” 292 “Spinello is given 30-year..” Italy had outlawed capital punishment. 281 “Anastasia rose.. 1935.” Buffalo Courier Express. state or sovereignty. Sun. p. 1932. 289 “Spinello is given 30-year. Sept.”. Sept. Nov.. 4.” New York Times.” Pittsburgh PostGazette. 13. There were rumors that Diamond had cooperated with District Attorney Thomas E. p. 1932. 22. Nov..” New York Times.. 1939. May 26. 1941. was that Reles was trying to escape: “Abe Reles killed trying to escape. April 11.. 3... p.. May 6. Diamond was shot five times in the upper body at 6:10 a... and particularly to (blank) of whom I am now a subject.m. May 25.” New York Times. 29. 1. 4. p... Murder sentences were typically served in solitary confinement without the possibility of parole.” 290 “Italian court will try Pittsburgh murder case.com . Gerardo Scarpato.. 1933.. Dewey in an investigation into union racketeering.” New York Times. Fri. 286 “Spinello ordered returned to U. for some time. The Declaration of Intention document used by the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization and signed by prospective citizens states: “It is my bona fide intention to renounce forever all allegiance and fidelity to any prince. 1933.blogspot. 279 Another killing that might have been performed by an early incarnation of Murder..” “Gang leader sentenced. 1935. p. 280 The official story. 283 “Sentenced in Italy for crime in U.” New York Times. 1951.” New York Times. Inc...S. 13.” New York Herald.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. was that of Gerardo Scarpato. 288 “Italians prepare trial of Spinello. 14. murder in the Nuova Villa Tammara on Coney Island and took the precautions of having himself fingerprinted by police and having his name tattooed on his arm: “Scarpato slain in reprisal for Joe the Boss. Dewey denied the rumors: “Official of union slain in Brooklyn. 287 “Washington voices satisfaction. Dec. Brooklyn.. Sept. p.” “Extradition fight is lost by Spinelli. 19. 25. 68th Street. 1934.. 1894. Scarpato was found in an abandoned car Sept.” New York Times. Sept.” Pittsburgh PostGazette. Nov. 291 “Spinello is given 30-year.S. 1931.S. the restaurant owner who hosted Giuseppe Masseria’s legendary last meal. E1.... 16. He died about an hour later at Israel Zion Hospital. informer-journal. 4.” Pittsburgh Press. Sat. “Cabaret owner’s body is found trussed in sedan. 293 Spinello’s birth record from Agropoli..” New York Times. 34. p. 1934.. Fri. “Died.. 1939. 3.. 282 “Spinello is given 30-year term for Volpe massacre.” “Spinello ordered returned. 1932. 1. “Police question Pisano on slaying of Scarpato.” “Gang leader sentenced.
The body of his partner Lee Shaffer is further up the street. 1 Al Brady lies dead across streetcar tracks in Bangor.blogspot.44 INFORMER FEBRUARY 2011 Public Enemy No. informer-journal.com . Maine.
Most can pinpoint exactly where they were and what they were doing when the story broke. October12. Up the street I saw a guy with his hands in the air. too. When [Shaffer] was hit. typing the day's menu. She watched his baby face grimace as the barking guns of G-men ripped his torso to pieces.” she said. when all hell broke loose.’ she recalled. while others in downtown Bangor. nineteen year old Poppy Valiades.blogspot. But there she was. the Brady Gang massacre was a unique moment in the lives of many Maine residents. blood spilling out – bullets. he went into a kind of a coil as he moved into the street. She could have relaxed at home. located at 3032 Central Street. Kennedy.FEBRUARY 2011 INFORMER 45 Gunshots upset a pleasant mid-autumn morning as Hoover’s G-Men confront a band of outlaws The Last Days of The Brady Gang By Richard Shaw Poppy Davis may wish she'd never gone to work that autumn morning sixty years ago.” Along with the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the deaths of Presidents Franklin D. as yet unmarried.. Then I heard gunfire and [Alfred “Al” Brady] was dead. “My father was in Boston that day and left me in charge of the restaurant. “I thought at first. squinted through the plate-glass window around eight-thirty that morning to see mobster Clarence Lee Shaffer. but isn't it strange how they kept it so quiet. staggering toward her from Dakin's Sporting Goods. I was probably ten to fifteen feet from him when he dropped. Maine. they're making a movie.” Hopping onto a small radiator. It sounded like very loud firecrackers. but I didn't know who he was. “I was just finishing breakfast at the New informer-journal. standing in the window of the Paramount Cafe with a ringside seat to history. “I was up front. Jr.com . experienced the terrifying rattle of gunfire. 1937. The date was Tuesday. “I saw his clothes – oh. Roosevelt and John F.
com . four years informer-journal. Since Indiana. John R. Ira Wells. As the paper's twenty-one-year-old state editor.blogspot. Two months after her death. his stepfather. Clara moved Al. and sprinted to the Bangor Daily Commercial. died of gunshot wounds. whispered that either she or Al had done away with the old farmer. ‘There's been a shooting!’” recalled Kalil Ayoob. where Clara Brady had taken her only child to live. killing Brady and Shaffer and capturing a third bandit. into Indianapolis. fast cars and easy money was the glue that held the gang together. Unlikely Outlaws Indiana probably never saw a less likely outlaw trio than the Brady Gang. by then a gawky. They also shared abused childhoods and were unleashed on society as bitter young men struggling to survive during the Great Depression. When he was fourteen. a far cry from the hatchet-faced Edward G. Al Brady and “Jim” Dalhover were country boys. towheaded teenager with a hot temper and a penchant for arson. Biddle. leaving nineteen-year-old Brady on his own. The edition was rolling off the presses within a few hours. She died there in 1929. “Lee” Shaffer. Edgar Hoover's agents sprang their trap. Around 1925. The competing Bangor Daily News also rushed an extra into print that day. nicknamed “the Midget Bandits” or “Half-Pint Killers” because of their small stature. J. He did not see the inside of a prison until sent to a reformatory in 1934 for vehicle theft. He was convicted of the robbery but received a suspended sentence. Cynics in North Salem. the youngest of the three. only thirty-seven years old. Indiana. Most in Bangor had never heard of the Indiana outlaws. Capping an exhaustive manhunt. Al was only two when his father Roy was killed in a farming accident. even though Brady was Public Enemy Number One. Fleeing the scene. It looked like the running of the bulls in Spain. at his Hanover. preserving for today's readers a colorful peek into an era long past.46 INFORMER FEBRUARY 2011 Atlantic Restaurant on Main Street when somebody hollered. he was shot three times by a patrolman. the saga can be relived seven decades after gunfire shattered a serene October morning. farm and met a bootlegger named Jim Dalhover. Newly released in January 1935 and schooled in the ways of crime. each appeared innocent.” The buzz around town was that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had just routed the Brady Gang. A love of callow women. Ayoob gathered information at the scene they were young and led genteel lives even while on the lam. he mobilized the staff to assemble a special edition. “We followed the crowd rushing to the scene. Both papers chronicled the history of the Brady Gang. Rhuel James Dalhover. Al’s nerves snapped and he set out to rob Indianapolis grocer Clifford Barnard. Robinson characters of gangster movies. Brady visited his legal guardian. Combined with newly-discovered details about the gangsters' lives and the Bangor shootout. was a city kid. inside Dakin's where he had returned to buy a submachine gun.
his senior, living nearby. ceremony. Shaffer also “Dalhover had a long wed Minnie Raimondo “They kicked Paul after record of penitentiary whom he had met at a he had been shot, and offenses,” wrote J. Edgar local restaurant where Hoover in a 1938 magashe worked tables. A even sprayed him a sezine article, “ranging third sister, Josephine, from robbery to moonwould have nothing to cond time with gunfire -shining, plus something do with Brady’s overwhich interested Brady tures for a third marand they were proud of greatly. He had an absoriage and remained sinit. They even stole the lute mania for guns.” gle. Joining up with The outlaws’ third and first aid kit from his young Shaffer and a final murder was also Kentucky bootlegger their most notorious: cruiser so nobody could names Charles the machine-gun slaying come along and try to Geisking, who ran with of Indiana State Trooper the gang for a while, the Paul Minneman and the save his life.” outlaws were petty wounding of a deputy thieves on their way up. sheriff in front of the “Thus, in the fall of Caley Church near the 1935 and the spring of 1936,” Hoover wrote, town of Royal Center. That incident, follow“an epidemic of motorcar and grocery-store ing the May 25, 1937, robbery of the Goodrobberies broke forth in Indiana land State Bank, had sadistic overtones. Reand Illinois...” sponding to a police bulletin, the two law enBrady killed a twenty-three-year-old forcement officers had been pursuing the Ohio store clerk on March 21, 1936. On April bandits when they were shot. 27, Indianapolis police Sergeant Richard “It was a lonely day out at that country Rivers was murdered outside a doctor's office church,” said David Morrison of Battlewhere the gang had sought treatment for ground, Indiana, a former Indiana State PoGeisking, wounded during a jewelry heist. lice sergeant who reported out of MinneWhile awaiting trial for Rivers' murder, the man’s Post No. 14. Part criminologist, part three men broke out of the Greenfield, Indihistorian, Morrison has researched his fellow ana, jail on October 11, 1936, in the style of trooper’s heinous murder in detail. their idol, Hoosier bank robber John Dil“They kicked Paul after he had been shot, linger, whom Shaffer, not Brady, as reportand even sprayed him a second time with ed, had vowed to “make look like a piker.” gunfire -- and they were proud of it,” he said. The gang fled to Baltimore, a safe dis“They even stole the first aid kit from his tance from the Middle West, where a police cruiser so nobody could come along and try and FBI dragnet made life risky. Moving in to save his life.” with Margaret Raimondo and her famiA dragnet was drawn over much of the ly, who had been conned into believing they nation to catch the killers. The manhunt fiwere furniture salesmen from Bangor, Maine nally turned to the Eastern Seaboard after (a place they had not yet visited), the gang the bandits had a gun battle with Baltimore continued into 1937 to make forays in Indipolice who happened onto the suspiciousana, robbing banks and returning to Baltiacting trio in a park. After that fiasco on Aumore to the sanctuary of the Raimondo gust 7, the outlaws fled to Buffalo, New home. York, and soon afterward to Bridgeport, ConDalhover wound up marrying Mary Rainecticut, on September 3. mondo on November 30, 1936, in a double Always hungry for more guns, Al Brady
fantasized about befriending an employee of the Colt Firearms Company in Hartford and securing the weapon of his dreams, the trademark of all gangsterdom – a Thompson submachine gun. Thirty-nine days later, Brady and Shaffer would die in a hail of bullets while Dalhover attempted to buy that very gun. But the place was Bangor, not Hartford. A Maine “Hunting” Trip Although Jim Dalhover opposed the plan, a mini-vacation in Maine seemed like a wonderful idea to Al Brady and Lee Shaffer. The gang could enjoy the fall foliage, dine on Down East cuisine, and expand their arsenal without their cronies back in Bridgeport knowing what they’d been up to. The outlaws had mentioned Bangor often to Minnie and Mary Raimondo while living in Baltimore but, strangely, had never visited the city. Holding to a pact they had made earlier to vote on their every move, anxious to avoid a power struggle within the gang, Brady and Shaffer said yes, Dalhover no, to their Maine outing. Dalhover relented after admitting he’d heard anyone could buy weapons there, no questions asked. Maybe he had a premonition as their first meeting with Everett S. Hurd of the Dakin Sporting Goods Company would lead to disaster for the gang. Around noon on September 21, Hurd returned from lunch to find one of his clerks, Louis LaCrosse, discussing guns with Dalhover and Shaffer. He sensed they were strangers in Bangor, especially at Dakin’s, a small store at 25 Central Street which the forty-two year old Hurd had owned since 1923. In addition to weapons and ammunition, he sold football equipment, bicycles, cameras and other wholesale and retail merchandise. A shrewd businessman, “Shep” Hurd – a college nickname earned during sheeptending duties behind his Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity house in Orono - joined LaCrosse when he heard the men asking lots of questions.
“They said they were up here hunting,” LaCrosse later told an FBI agent, no doubt knowing the weapons they sought were not favored in the Maine woods. “They had a letter of introduction from Hussey Hardware, Augusta, Maine [where a clerk, unable to furnish the guns they desired, had referred them to Dakin’s earlier that day]. I introduced Mr. Hurd to the two men. They then talked about Colt .45-caliber automatics.” They also discussed a .35 Winchester automatic rifle. “They wanted a new one,” Hurd recalled. “I pointed out that new ones hadn't been made for more than thirty years and that I could possible get them a secondhand one, but this they did not want.” “After talking over other rifles they suddenly decided to buy two .45 Colt automatic pistols, with extra clips and a box of fifty cartridges,” he said. “They wanted a third pistol of the same caliber, but we did not have another new one and they would not take a second-hand pistol.” Dalhover and Shaffer hesitated when Hurd and Lacrosse asked for their names and addresses, explaining that law required recording such information during any gun sale. The spokesman, Dalhover, gave his name as Charles Harriss and Shaffer identified himself as Edward Macey, both of Warren, Ohio. Neither would list a street address which, coupled with “a certain sinister air about them,” piqued Hurd's suspicions. After the two men left, Hurd said to Lacrosse, “You know those fellows look like crooks to me. I think I should go up to the Police Department and tell them about these fellows.” Dalhover and Shaffer met up with Al Brady, who had been waiting in their car, and later headed back to Bridgeport by way of New Hampshire, where Brady wanted to view the natural rock profile known as the Old Man of the Mountains. In addition to the two pistols and clips purchased at Dakin's, the gang went back to Connecticut with three .32 automatic pistols purchased at the Rice and Miller hardware company at 28-32
Broad Street in Bangor. Hurd's meeting with Deputy Police Chief John Mahoney went poorly. After conveying his suspicions and listing the day's gun sales with a police stenographer, he was shown the door. Although he remained on excellent terms with the local police for the rest of his life, there was no doubting they had dropped the ball during this critical first stage of the biggest crime story in local history. Alfred Brady and his gang were having a ball in Bridgeport, Connecticut. In addition to indulging in his passions for horseback riding and roller-skating, Brady was also in love again, this time with an innocent twenty-year-old unemployed secretary named Alicia Frawley. Lee Shaffer and Jim Dalhover were happy in New England, too, glorying in a new phase of their lives when their dastardly deeds were paying off in finely tailored suits, silk underwear and expensive shoes. But again, Bangor, Maine beckoned with the prospect of buying more weapons. So, on October 5, “Shep” Hurd, owner of Dakin’s Sporting Goods, again saw Dalhover in his store. Alone this time and once again posing as Charles Harriss, the bandit casually checked out merchandise on Dakin’s shelves.
“He seemed to be a little taken aback when I immediately recognized him and asked him how the other two .45 Colts were working,” Hurd remembered. “He bought another .45 Colt automatic pistol, a .45 caliber automatic clip and a box of fifty .45 caliber cartridges.” “Dalhover asked me if I could get him some cartridge clips to hold thirty-two separate cartridges for a .38 caliber Luger,” he said. “I then figured to get him back in the store again and I told him I didn’t have any but could get some. He also wanted me to get some clips for the .45 caliber Colt automatic to hold twenty-five cartridges and I told him that I had never heard of them but that I would try and get some.” Dalhover was so encouraged by the conversation that he asked the callous question Bangor people are still snickering about: “Well, how about a machine gun?” “Well, of course you know that is against the law unless we have a license,” Hurd replied. “If we got one we would have to pay $125 tax and $125 license fee.” “Think nothing of it,” Dalhover said. “We would be glad to pay it.” Then Hurd had “a happy thought,” he later recalled. Sometime previous to this, a coastal fisherman had picked up a Tommy gun after a rum-running battle. So he asked
Dalhover: “How about getting a secondhand one?” “Fine,” the outlaw said. “All you have to do is to find out where it is, tell us, and we will go and get it.” After agreeing to pick up the gun in a week, either on Monday, October 11, or the next day, Dalhover departed, driving off with Brady and Shaffer, who had been sitting in front of the store in their doubleparked Buick, one of its doors remaining open during their wait. Turning to clerk Harold Ellingwood, Hurd said, “Do you know who that fellow was? He is the gangster who was in a short time ago, that is, I think he is the gangster.” Ellingwood commented, “Why, I think he dressed up fine. I thought he was a school teacher.” The FBI's Plan On Saturday the FBI's plan to trap the Brady Gang at Hurd's store began to come together, but only after around-the-clock planning in Bangor and in the bureau's Boston and Indianapolis offices, with growing concern about the entire operation being expressed by Director J. Edgar Hoover in Washington. An elite group of twelve G-men, known as the Braga Squad – Braga being the code name for the Brady Gang – began filtering into the city from around the nation to prepare for what most of them later would claim was just another day on the job. But for the people of Bangor, Tuesday, October 12, would be one of the most thrilling days of their lives. By Sunday evening, October 10, Shep Hurd was frightened and exhausted. At noon inside his store, he conferred with Bangor Police Chief Thomas Crowley and Myron Gurnea, the tall, taciturn FBI agent who headed the Braga Squad. After strong persuasion from Gurnea, Hurd relented and allowed him to conceal plain-clothesmen at Dakin's beginning Monday morning, anticipating the gang's return. But he still feared for his safety and that of his clerks. Saturday had been a nerve-wracking
Confronted by FBI agents, Brady stepped agreeably from his car. When he drew a handgun, agents shot him to death.
day, as Hurd waited in vain for FBI agents to meet with him. There were strange men all around his store, he recalled. Even on that day, before the trap was to be set on Monday, there would often be two G-men in front of him who would suddenly and mysteriously disappear. "The store crew certainly were getting jittery," he remembered, indicating he had let them in on his secret, "and I hoped that something would be done and done quickly." Shep and Marguerite Hurd's 17-year-old daughter, Rae, was visiting her parents in Orono that weekend and was concerned when her father told her something was up at the store. She was a senior at Maine Central Institute in Pittsfield. "Saturday night Dad was down at the store until late into the evening going all through the mug shot book," Rae Hurd Smith of Orono recalled. "He never brought it home with him; he only kept it at the store. "He used to say the G-man who showed him the book smoothed over the gang's vi-
a teenager at the time. he was livid. Louis Skoufis." Rae Smith recalled with amusement. After Dakin's closed at six o’clock. The FBI chief was still smarting from politicians' criticism that he was merely a bureaucrat in a suit. Hurd. 'W-e-ll. When Hoover realized a Bangor store owner and other civilians might garner more media publicity than he from the expected coup. An FBI memo to Hoover. "This is just tripe!" From then on. fearing his presence in Bangor would compromise the secrecy of their operation. the agents again drove Bangor's streets searching for the Brady Gang. they stopped at John's Cafe at Main and Hodsdon streets for dinner. the man said calmly. There was one more matter to attend to. The G-men. hurried inside and demanded. Tamm of the bureau's Washington office. Nervous clerks asked customers to repeat what they wanted four or five times. "When Dad asked him just how vicious they were. they're not too bad. agent in charge of the Boston office. If he wasn't told the name by federal agents. Hurd recalled. He could have cut the suspense with a knife. was working for his father. checking out cocktail lounges for the trio. Bureau documents reveal Gurnea and Edward Soucy. They released her unharmed when they learned her identity. At the Bangor House and Penobscot Exchange hotels and a Main Street rooming house the twelve FBI men.J. with some direction from Soucy and others in Boston. and his employees took their places at Dakin's on Monday morning but the gang never showed up. that night. where's the grocery money?" "The G-men closed in on her. Gurnea is of the opinion that it would be undesirable for the Director to proceed to Maine at this time because of the possible publicity attendant upon the Director's movements To which Hoover scribbled in the margin. check into a hotel and conduct the investigation himself.blogspot. with property damage and danger to pedestrians walking on Central Street during the gunplay. Ohio license number YK-747. he apparently relinquished direction of the operation to others in the bureau. John Skoufis. Gurnea's G-men were on their own in Bangor. Newberry Co. Hoover later was infuriated to learn that Stewart had joined his men in Bangor. Hoover wanted to fly to Bangor. notes that "Mr. Marguerite Hurd provided the day's only comic relief when she drove up to the store dressed in an old beaver coat. They had divided the city into zones searching for the gang's 1937 Buick Roadmaster. but documents and interviews suggest he knew the name Brady Gang in advance. Soucy stated that Mr. In a 1988 interview he recalled seeing the three men sitting at the counter chatting with his father through the open informer-journal." she said. dated October 10 and written by E. planning to pick up the Tommy gun in the morning. What they didn't know was that the desperadoes had slipped back into town late in the afternoon. According to the plan. the rest hidden in unmarked cars parked on the street and behind the store. then certainly he learned the information Sunday evening when he anxiously leafed through detective magazines at Clare's newsstand on Hammond Street and found stories and photos of the gang. on Main Street and looking around the city for a room to rent for the night. A. After the gun battle took place much sooner than the FBI director had been led to believe. special agents would work in pairs. not a hands-on gangbuster.FEBRUARY 2011 INFORMER 51 ciousness so as not to get him too excited.com . hated Hoover's plan. After shopping at J."' The FBI later maintained it never revealed the gang's identity to Hurd until after the shootout. but never spotted the vehicle. along with former Indiana State Police Detective Meredith Stewart. feeling he then had license to blast his men in Bangor for what he felt had been a botched operation. two to be concealed inside Dakin's. were adding last-minute details to their "battle plan" to take effect the next day. "Shep.
John Skoufis. near closing time. With him was Inspector Jack Hayes. where Kalil Ayoob. the sign hanging over the front porch of the spacious Brady cabin read "Elizabeth. and others were soon to have their morning meals disrupted by gunfire a few blocks away. "One of the men didn't care for the way the cook had fixed his potatoes so he sent them back. Massachusetts.blogspot. proceeding up the street and turning left onto Harlow Street.52 INFORMER FEBRUARY 2011 kitchen. Around eight-twenty.. Across the street from Dakin's the Paramount Restaurant. the three outlaws gawked into the store but passed by. sat Brady. The trio never turned down the bedclothes. A string attached could be pulled from inside as a signal to G-men. The gang had driven through that city en route to Bangor. The foliage must have been brilliant all along Route 2 as they headed back into Bangor to buy the Tommy gun. where they ate a leisurely breakfast. with Dalhover next to him. who had taken the place of Carl Lobley." John Skoufis chatted with the outlaws about Springfield. Shaffer returned to the cabin while Dalhover walked across Route 2 to buy beer and cigarettes from Harry Willey. and rented a threedollar cabin at Auto Rest Park. he had spied the gangster's car proceeding down Hammond Street to Union. a young newspaper editor. was filled with the usual breakfast crowd. Dalhover later said if the officer had so much as reached for a handkerchief. The gang is spotted G-man Walter Devereux. Shaffer drove down Main Street by Freese's Department Store and the New Atlantic Restaurant. hidden on the street. but the gangster kidded him along. Many of them were downtown employees who had to work that day despite its being a holiday. All was quiet. Vafiades. a popular amusement spot they no doubt had seen while driving into Bangor earlier in the day. on the passenger's side. owned by Cost S. Each unit in the semicircular tourist court bore a woman's name. In the front window.com . a small town eleven miles west on Route 2. He returned to the cabin and retired for the night. owner Leo Wise showed the gang to their cabin. hung a hunting advertisement. Around nine-forty-five. In the back of the store. a local police sergeant who had hidden there the day before. FBI agents inside Dakin's were alerted by Chief Tom Crowley who said that. that a gang member had entered the store. while being driven to the police station. who operated a store and cafe. The gangster trio then drove off into the darkness to Carmel. leaving dozens of pennies under their plates as a tip. where some of his relatives lived. they finished. downtown streets then were two-way. Shaffer took his usual position behind the wheel. he would have shot him dead. Unlike today's rotary traffic. surmised they must have been playing penny-ante poker the night before. Around six-forty-five Tuesday morning – Columbus Day – the outlaws left Carmel on a postcard-perfect autumn morning. The thugs again pulled up to John's Cafe on Main Street." Skoufis said. hiding in a car near the Paramount jumped out and ran across to Dakin's after making a positive identification of all three men. While eating they were startled to see State Trooper Russell Fletcher at the counter buying takeout coffee. In the back seat. Driving by Dakin's on their right. G-man Bill Nitschke waited behind a partition. especially informer-journal. Brady stayed inside while Shaffer and Dalhover dropped into the park's nearby restaurant for a snack. The agents took their positions as on Monday. this time they knew it was not a dry run. sleeping on top of the blankets to be on alert for any trouble outside. Shaffer then turned their stolen Buick onto Central Street. "The cook wasn't too happy about it. who thought they were nice young men." after Wise's mother. thirsting for some gunplay.
Brady. 'There he is." the tall.' "Then I walked out into the floor and suddenly looked up and said hi to Dalhover. "When Dalhover came into the store. having lost the gang's car in traffic. I saw that he and his picture that I'd been studying were absolutely identical. the G-men returned to Central Street to find the target Buick double-parked a few doors down from Dakin's. Hurd recalled.. I then ducked into the store and told Walter Walsh. now headed in the opposite direction. After a while. "I made pretense that I had not seen [Dalhover]. Dalhover had left the vehicle. walked down the sidewalk and into the store. There was no mistaking his profile. When Shaffer drove up Hammond Street – and possibly out of town – Devereux. Brady waited in the back seat. Shaffer also got out of the car. Virginia. who was posing as a clerk in the store. now ninety and living in Arlington. informer-journal.com . He had studied the public enemy's mug shots so many times while chasing him in Chicago. After five or ten minutes.FEBRUARY 2011 INFORMER 53 The FBI’s gunfight with the Brady gang occurred on a busy morning on Bangor’s Central Street. his partner." Hurd said. and I walked behind Walsh and took a couple of films off the shelf and in walking back I nudge Walsh and said. Disguised as a clerk behind the counter. "He walked up to me and said." said Walter Walsh. going out of sight.blogspot. "and told them the suspects had just gone north in their automobile and crossed the bridge. perhaps fearing his pal had been inside too long. burly Devereux recalled in a 1980 tape recording. Walsh urged him to return to his vehicle and soon afterward the gang's car passed Dakin's again. the G-man casually polished guns and waited on customers. "I went to the alley along the store to where squads of other agents were stationed in the back." Devereux's unplanned venture onto the street could have blown the plan wide open.. especially his prominent nose. and two men in another FBI car decided to tail the Buick and catch the bandits.
with Nitschke shooting machine gun street. turned him around.blogspot. Brady stayed true to his word that side both guns blazing.54 INFORMER FEBRUARY 2011 bullets. as Walsh continued to pound him in the face "Don't shoot. he cried as he inched toward the door."Where are started crawling up in Brady slid along the your pals? Where are seat toward the driver's your pals?" the air. Believing the latch was locked. he had a gun in thing to that door. Walsh ning several feet from his car. a quickdraw artist. the Gshoe leather hit the pavement as the curious men finished off Shaffer with a total of 23 informer-journal. and fell to arms over the front seat. and he sank back seat resting his booted him. Walsh looked up to see ley Church in Indiana after a bank robbery Shaffer standing in the doorway. Brady come in. the fired four shots while holding the gun in his outlaw began firing through the glass. With the brief was able to unlatch the door and walk outstand. Devereux and other agents had apcause Walsh. fired back at the Myron Gurnea shooting from across the outlaw. Then a third-floor window across the street. "and he sank down as if he locked so I smashed the were going to shoot. He colbullets over his shoulder." Devereux re"Dalhover had both of his hands in his called. stuck a gun proached the rear of the Buick while Shaffer into the outlaw's ribs and barked. including by one of Shaffer's bullets. Walsh landed down as if he were going with his head toward on his back and with the the store. who was in the der. 'They're right reached into his waistband and pulled out outside. the floor. Dalhover didn't answer floor. right hand. jerked around butt of his gun. Brady. nearly falling out Nitschke raced toof the car as he lost his ward Dalhover and the footing due to the many two G-men yanked the weapons concealed beneath a blanket on the gangster to his feet. Then he drew and I told him he was said. "went to the left rear door of the fourpockets and. My was on crawling up in the air. don't shoot me. he had a gun in each door sedan and tried the door but it was hand. up!" "I got out my . trying to on May 25. each hand. I'm coming. 'Have you got that stuff I ordered?"' He fell hard onto the street's cobbleHurd never had a chance to answer bestones. Then he drew out his in and hands and they started “Dalhover had both of his reached partnerunlocked it. the . Walsh."' Hurd said. 1937. began to hammer out his hands and they under arrest." the other side of autoHurd recalled that hands in his pockets and. Despite chest and lapsed onto the streetcar tracks after runfacial wounds caused by flying glass. who had been hit in the right chest Devereux and three others. "No copper's going to take me alive. mobile doing the same Walsh then grabbed Dalhover by the shoulof course. "Stick 'em was being shot." With the help of two riflemen firing from For a moment there was silence. of course. get out of Dalhover behind the ear the car. But as "Finally." Hurd said.com . Like Minneman. window with my rifle. he nothing was happening at all. returned the bandit's fire.38 revolver he'd stolen from state TroopWhile Hayes handcuffed Dalhover at the er Paul Minneman as he lay dying at the Carear of the store.” side." screaming." with the pistol butt.351 rifle. Hurd to shoot. Dalhover said very quietly as if he stepped out onto the running board.
and eventually it most likely was destroyed. Devereux rested on the curb for a few moments. MAKE HISTORY Informer seeks well-written and carefully documented articles on crime history. who still talk about the October day Central Street ran red with the blood of the infamous Brady Gang. he displayed the canceled check at his Central Street store and later. a woman. "Frankly. Dalhover was executed in the Indiana electric chair on November 18. 1938. Devereux went to his own grave convinced his rifle shots hadn't killed Al Brady. Shep Hurd was awarded the entire $1. past his dead buddies and to the city jail a block away." Shaffer's mother wired money for his body to be returned to Indianapolis for burial. If you would like to have your work published in the Informer quarterly journal. get an ambulance. ending with the remark. please contact us at informerjournal@gmail. While Walsh stood outside Dakin's waiting to be taken to Eastern Maine General Hospital. Walsh said.FEBRUARY 2011 INFORMER 55 ran to the scene to view the mangled remains of the nation's most-wanted criminals. who had been standing behind Dakin's. He was quietly buried in the city grounds of Bangor's Mount Hope Cemetery in a grave that remains unmarked. After the shooting. in which his pack of cigarettes and holster were damaged by Brady's gunfire. "I was numb in body and spirit. they agreed.500 reward posted by Attorney General Homer Cummings for information leading to the apprehension of the Brady Gang. and since times were hard during that Depression year. It didn't look different from any other brain.blogspot.com informer-journal. after having been found guilty of the murder of Trooper Minneman. whenever curious nursing students or vacationing G-men were in Bangor they stopped at Eastern Maine General Hospital where doctors showed them the outlaw's brain preserved in a glass jar.Neither had the people of Bangor. A few minutes later Jack Hayes. Long after the autopsy of Al Brady. I doubt if he had a brain. at his expanded store on Broad Street." mused Walter Devereux in 1980. no one claimed his remains. but confessing he had no memory of the brief gun battle beyond the point when the outlaw got out of the car with his hands in the air. For years." he recalled." she said. Nitschke responded with a string of offcolor epithets. ran up to Nitschke and made an appeal: "Oh. Because Brady had no close relatives. "We shot him to kill him! Get this man of ours to the hospital. this man is still breathing. walked a badly shaken Dalhover through the crowd. having never experienced anything like it.com . appalled at the sight of the dying Shaffer twitching helplessly in the street.
to pursue answers beSometimes along the way. was most likewonder how many people watch these proly placed there by a press photographer out grams and learn about Al Capone or Lucky to acquire personal fame. A historic criminal’s sordid past man supposedly responsible for the Castelis hard enough to discover. The card. If I can round dicted each other. we often encounChannel or Biography and see or hear someter a photo of his dead hand holding an ace thing that I know is just not true. Likewise in the study of organized crime One example of an important but largely we have encountered all sorts of tidbits of misunderstood underworld character is misinformation that have clouded the truth Giuseppe “Joe the Boss” Masseria. As the of the past. they did and when they did it. followed by scores of I wonder how many people believe Frank works by writers. intentionally or historical figure. when I was an avid reader of “Bugsy” Siegel beat up Joe Adonis and made non-fiction. but then I will do that too. he is truly a fascinating further concealing by people. graphical account.blogspot. The search for the truth forced me their good deeds cancel out their bad ones). (Please I believed (and still believe) the truth is don't interpret this to mean that I believe worth it. Yet none of the authors bothered to informer-journal. however. I had to out their lives by looking beyond dig deeper to find the truth. Some of them had succestors and relatives were. when I watch documentaries on the History Starting with his death. I organized crime figures seemed want to know when and where to have connections to each oththey were born. to broaden my vision. I hit snags. what sions like a royal family. cost a lot of time and money. Notorious gangland figures were Jack Dragna bark like a dog because they especially fascinating. But some of Nash’s entries and what were the circumstancand bits of information contraes of their deaths. Luciano for the first time only to have part of We read in Joseph Bonanno's autobiothat lesson include historical myths and lies. I have to of spades. spreading falsehoods. I couldn't help graphical information on orgato notice that that many of the nized crime figures as possible. and death has been mutilated by misinforBy now. their crimes and documenting By Richard N. I've learned enough to cringe mation. it doesn't need lammarese War. of how Joe Masseria was Nitti was thrown off a building to his death a glutton who stuffed himself at his last by Eliot Ness (when he really died at his own meal. who their anceser.56 INFORMER FEBRUARY 2011 THE WARNER FILES On the Trail of Giuseppe ‘Joe the Boss’ Masseria My interest in the study of organized hand in 1943) because they saw it in The crime history springs partly from my high Untouchables? And how many people believe school years. So. I try to find out as much bioters and Badmen. saw Warren Beatty do those One of the books I read things in Bugsy? (actually a series of three books) In the search for “real” histowas Jay Robert Nash's Bloodletry. It makes the job just that much often as feasible. Some yond published books and to examine origihistorical accounts are riddled with errors or nal documents and other primary sources as even lies.com . harder. Warner The resulting journey has some of the good things they did. but he's also one who's life not.
but that's another story. Yet Nick Gentile. researcher Michael A. With his death. New York. but Masseria wasn't stupid by any means. I have no doubt that Masseria was ruthless. I believed he was born in 1886 – the same year Maranzano was born – but I couldn't prove it. including Naples (likely because of the large number of Neapolitans in his crime family). but most agree that he was Sicilian. notorious in White Plains. Sicily. It doesn't mean he was heinous in every aspect of his life. I've seen all sorts of claims on his place of birth. I initially concluded that he came from Marsala.com . in other words. informer-journal. Digging back to his position as capo di capi (“boss of bosses”). Sicily. as we just saw. Tona located the Menfi. in the province of Trapani. and his family loved him. revealed that Masseria was temporarily removed from this position. Perhaps there were other underworld leaders. he set her up in a high-rise for her health. He loved his family. 1931. After his daughter had asthma attacks. When Masseria went to expand the size of his Borgata. Finally we get to Giuseppe Masseria’s birth.blogspot. By looking at his immigration record. birth record of Giuseppe Masseria. Masseria’s birth has been traditionally misplaced in Marsala. Masseria’s 1931 death record and his Acting on a tip from Richard Warner. Was “Joe the Boss” intellectually subpar? To become not only a boss but a boss of bosses required skill. with support from Bonanno. he never had).FEBRUARY 2011 INFORMER 57 look at Masseria’s coroner's record. Being ruthless sort of comes with the territory of being in the Mafia. but I don't know if he was any more or less so than other Mafiosi. he wasn't afraid to look outside the box by bringing in a large number of non-Sicilians. such as Salvatore Maranzano. including former Camorristi such as Rocco Pellegrino. intelligence. Another piece of misinformation we have been fed is that Masseria was ruthless and simply not that bright. the family had to let go of the apartment and the daughter died shortly afterward. The same location was known for producing the Genna brothers of Chicago. who were more educated. The role was given to Gaspare Messina of Boston. while enjoying a last meal (that. which shows that Joe the Boss never ate his last meal – his stomach was empty at the time of death! Nor was Masseria excessively heavy for his size. Very few writers even mention Messina as a boss in Beantown. most of the literature states he held the position until his own men killed him on the fateful day of April 15. strategy and tactics.
Masseria's supporters were based in Sciacca. a man whose research skills astound even me. Moreover. It looked like we hit a brick wall. but Menfi sits only about twenty kilometers from Sciacca. A hometownof Marsala was noted on their passenger manifests as they traveled to America. Other researchers told me the same thing. A final note on Rick Mattix: I never met him. he met up with his brother Calogero at 248-252 Elizabeth Street. while I held onto 1886.58 INFORMER FEBRUARY 2011 mausoleum both state that he was forty-five years old when he died.com . Menfi. once owned a large farm. I didn't seriously consider it before.) The Menfi birthplace helps finally to explain something Nick Gentile wrote. Marsala and Sciacca are in different provinces. Mike looked through microfilms of Italian official records at a Family History Center and found the Masseria birth record. a Masseria supporter. With it. the original home of the Lonardos and Porrellos. Several more children were born to Giuseppe Masseria Sr. So. It seems unlikely that the Masseria family had any contact with the Lonardos and Porrellos back in Sicily – Licata and Menfi are far apart – but they may have felt an affinity for each other in Cleveland due to their common Agrigento history. The traditionally mentioned Masseria birthplace of Marsala is over seventy-six kilometers from Sciacca. Once across the Atlantic. The discovery also resolved the mystery of his date of birth: It was January 17. means “farm” and Giuseppe Sr." I hope you have enjoyed my first column for Informer. Some other researchers stuck with 1887. He was always courteous and friendly. Sicily. A resident of southern California. Richard N. In New York. and the former Vita Marceca at Marsala. informer-journal. The insight provided by the basic verifiable details of a gangland figure’s life allows us better explanatory power than often-repeated myths or lies. but his World War I draft registration card says he was born in 1887. and he gave me my first opportunity to publish an article on organized crime. in the province of Agrigento. See ya next time. The name Masseria. The point of all this is that it's generally better to go to the original sources. It can take a long time. who then lived at 242 Elizabeth Street. But in the end. Interestingly the cities Nick Gentile. were most closely associated with. turned out to be correct. Siculiana and Realmonte. A truly decent human being. – later “Joe the Boss” – came to the New World in 1902 (not 1903) shortly after his sixteenth birthday and joined his father. according to Gentile. how did the Masseria family ever become linked with Marsala? The answer is that the Masseria family moved there sometime after Giuseppe’s birth. I look forward to writing more. During the Castellammarese War. is also located in Agrigento. the rewards are personal satisfaction and clearer understanding. (He celebrated his birthday the same day as Al Capone. I went after the birth record but hit a snag: I couldn't find any record of Giuseppe Masseria in Marsala. but I thought. There can be bureaucratic red tape and high costs. It is interesting that Licata. several Masserias left New York for Cleveland. Fortunately I had a source that indicated Masseria was born somewhere else. which he sold before coming to America in 1898. but both Menfi and Sciacca are in the province of Agrigento. are also in Agrigento province. you may ask. by the way. “Why not give it a try?” I shared this information with Mike Tona. about sixty kilometers southeast of Marsala. he will be greatly missed. Giuseppe Jr. we had confirmation that Giuseppe Masseria was born not in Marsala but in Menfi. but we corresponded regularly. It is not always easy to access the original sources. who powerful families in Cleveland Mafia history. Warner has been studying organized crime for almost thirty years.blogspot. 1886. Some sources may have been destroyed.
Italy 1905 ri in aturali a Notes Salern . Lascari. Guarini. Numerous family relationships exist among Mafiosi. Deportations: Adonis 1956. Iamascia was shot to death by police. Scarfo and Tourine are identified with the crime family’s operations in New Jersey. x— Death was a homicide. Massachusetts. Boiardo. Perillo 1953. It is likely that some family links are not shown on the chart. Camerota and Cufari are identified with Springfield. Al Bruno. S=son. the Morettis. Sabio. U=uncle. Santuccio operated in Connecticut. B=brother. USA / Calabria aples. Campisi. M b Rel M An . Lombardino. Bonadio. Battaglia. M=related by marriage. Sicily 1920 n USA 1930-60s Genovese Mafia Chart Cap decina Cap decina Cap decina S ldier S ldier S ldier S ldier S ldier S ldier Rank S ldier S ldier . Chiri. Catena. Italy 1901 Barrafranca.blogspot. LaPlaca. C=cousin. Spinella 1953. Schillaci 1947.Ar ne M The Genovese Crime Family Membership Chart on the following pages includes information on known and suspected members active from the 1930s through the 1970s.FEBRUARY 2011 INFORMER 59 1930-70s James ? Enna. Sicily 1902 i le C Carmine Ba a lia 1896-1983 1930-70s 1930-60s 1930-50s 1930-60s 1930-70s 1930-50s 1930-70s 1930s 1930s-1970s By Bill Feather I. column indicates family ties: F=father. Lucania 1947. Salern J seph S 1930- Era 1905-1967? 1902-1931x Birth-Death 1877-1930s? 1906-1997 1904-2001 1906-1959 Jimmy Blue Eyes James Alt mare An ellin (real name) * Documentation suggests but does not explicitly state that the individual was a member of the crime family.com Belvedere Albanese Alt mari An elina Barrese Appiert Barra Amat Alber Al Ralph Amast 1905-1975 The Mob Rel. Santagata. 1907-1979 1902-1964 1884-1967 Philly Kat Charlie Bullets Bi Dick Mickey M rris Alias Francesc Vincent Charles Vincen Ant ni James Phillip Given M rris Michael Surname informer-journal. Rega. the Ferraros. Liguori 1940s. Italy 1912 USA USA USA Salern . Gencarelli. N=nephew. Bongiorno.
Italy 1920 Caserta.M re U 1909-1984? USA USA Palerm . Italy 1895 P ten a.D t C t 1891-1984 aples. Italy 1910 Alfred 1903-1987 USA G. Italy aples.T urine M .blogspot. Italy 1907 1908 Calabria. Italy 1906 1895-1985 USA J hn B 1904-1970? Pescara.com Camer ta ich las Campisi Pietr Cap bianc Edward Cap ni James Caravell * Paul Carfan Anth ny Carill Ant ni Casertan Stephen Cass * Saveri FEBRUARY 2011 Cas lia Edward Cas lia Catald Francesc J seph . Calabria 1918 Francesc Edward B B C. Sicily 1899 S ns 1895-1946? USA 1905-1978 1904-1985 Bari. Italy 1893 Calabria. Italy 1900 Anth ny S 1940-70s 1930-70s 1930-60s 1930-60s 1930-70s 1930-50s 1930-70s 1940-60s 1930-40s 1930-50s 1940-70s 1930-50s 1930-70s 1930-60s 1940-50s 1930-50s 1930-70s 1930s 1920-30s 1930-50s 1930-50s 1930-60s 1906-1967x 1903-? USA USA 1930-60s 1930S ldier S ldier Cap decina S ldier S ldier S ldier Cap decina S ldier S ldier S ldier S ldier S ldier S ldier S ldier S ldier S ldier S ldier Cap decina Cap decina S ldier S ldier S ldier B ss S ldier 1900-1954 USA 1930-50s S ldier Given Alias Birth-Death ri in aturali a n M b Rel Era Rank 60 Bernava Giuseppe Biell Bilan i Gi vanni ich las B iard Ru ier B nadi Francesc B nﬁ li Mari B n i rn J seph B ve Carmine B vin * Pasquale Brescia ren Brun * Al Brun * Jerry INFORMER Brun J seph informer-journal. Italy Ad lf ? 1890-1985 1898-1979 Salern .Surname J e Bedelli J hn / F t B bby Blanche Richie the B Paul Frankie Kid Steech T ny Russ Patsy arry / Chappie Alf nse Jerry the u ?-1955* 1904-1972 1876-1967 Eddie Starr Sam Br wn Cavella Au ie Pisan / Carfa n 1895-1959x T ny the Sheik Buck J nes Casad Eddie C stell Frank C stell J e the p 1902-1974 1902-1939? 1882-1936 1886-1975? 1891-1973 1908-1980 1910-1952x 1907-1974 USA USA USA / Salern .
Italy 1914 1903-1975? 1907-1984 USA 1900-1966 Salern .s S ldier Cap decina Cap decina Cap decina S ldier Cap decina Cap decina S ldier Cap decina Cap decina S ldier S ldier S ldier Cap decina Cap decina Cap decina S ldier S ldier S ldier S ldier 1902-1931x Palerm .) J hn Jr.blogspot. S 1908-1987? USA 1903-1973 1888-1968 Palerm . Sicily 1908 Canna. Sicily 1902 J seph B 1930-60s S ldier Given Alias Birth-Death ri in aturali a n M b Rel Era Rank Catania Gir lam Catania Giuseppe FEBRUARY 2011 Catena Gerard Cavella* Pa l Celambrin Salvat re Celan Francesc Chiri* Salvat re Ciaﬀ ne D minic Clemente Michelin C pp la Michael Sr. Italy 1920 1906 USA D minic C ( ucc. Italy 1906 Pasquale B Gener s B 1897-1974? USA? 1903-? USA 1902-1974 USA se Sam 1901-1983 Calabria. C pp lin Carmel Cuc la Francesc INFORMER Cufari Salvat re informer-journal. Italy 1913 1930-50s 1902-2000 USA / Salern Eu ene B 1940-80. Italy 1902 D. Italy 1900 Michael Jr. Italy 1920 Calabria. Italy 1906 Avellin .com Cup la Alfred Cusaman Iac DeBellis J hn DeCarl An el DeFe Pietr DelDuca Gener s DelDuca Pasquale De e ris J seph De ia Gi vanni Den c J seph 61 DiC stan ich las S ldier S ldier Didat D minic . 1930-70s 1930-80s 1930-60s 1930-70s 1930-60s 1930-70s 1930-70s 19301930-60s 1940-70s 1930-80s 1930-50s 1930-60s 1930-60s 1930-40s 1930-60s 1930-70s 1930s 1894-1952? Calabria. Sicily 1903 James B 1920-30s S ldier Ac n B ss 1900-1991 Palerm . t C (DeCav) 1903-1971 USA 1930-70s 1930-70s 1930-60s G.Surname Jimmy the Baker J e the Baker Gerry Paul i le Sally 1896-1973 Charles Swats Mulli an Michael Tri er Mike Charlie Bananas Frank Casin Bi Sharkey Yar /James J hnny Dee Gyp Phillip Aquilina D d Del T dd J e R ss J hnny Duke J e Bari Fat Butcher Terry Burns 1894-1967 1899-1947 1898-1981? 1899-1982 1894-1936x Calabria. S arry ? 1890-1964 1886-1960 1902-1993 1902-1973 USA USA / aples Avellin .Vast la M DeCav.
Italy 1919 J seph ? C sm ? 1901-1992 USA USA 1906-1971? USA E. Italy 1903 USA 1907-1980 USA aples. D lce Pietr D t Giuseppe Erc le Anniell Faicc Alfred Ferrar D minic Ferrar Raﬀaele Fl ri Ant ni F r i ne J seph INFORMER F rtunat Ma e Cap decina S ldier Cap decina S ldier S ldier S ldier S ldier Cap decina B ss Cap decina S ldier S ldier Ac n B ss S ldier Fraccacreta Pa l informer-journal.Palmer T ny Green 1897-1969 1895-1975? 1906-1993 1903-1957 18 ?-1930s 1902-1931x USA Anth ny B USA 1895-1981 1905-? USA 1901 aples. S 1904-1972 USA 1930-70s 1930-50s 1930-50s 1930-60s 1930-50s 1930-60s 1930-60s 19301930-80s 1930-60s 1930-70s 19301930-60s 1930-50s 19301930-70s 1930-60s 1930-70s 1930-70s 1930-50s 1930s 1930s ?-1988? 1905 D minic Jr. a ara ? hitey 1900-1977? USA D minic ? 1903-1958? USA Ralph ? 1900-1970 USA 1896-1959 1905 1902-1972 aples. ? 1930-60s S ldier Given Alias Birth-Death ri in aturali a n M b Rel Era Rank 62 Di Guardi ui i DiPietr Salvat re DiQuart D minic Sr.com Frasca C sm Frasca J seph Ga liad Charles Gallucci Francesc Gencarelli Salvat re Gener s Vincen Gen vese Vit Grec Th mas Griec rland FEBRUARY 2011 Guarini Anth ny Gusae ? Iamascia Daniel .Surname uis Kin 1902-1970 D m the Sail r Peter J e Ad nis Mr. Sicily Di uardi br s. Italy 1915 J seph Jr. Italy 1912 Messina. Sicily 1903 Michael S Michael B 1898-1967 1907-1968x aples. S 1930-60s C sm ? 1930-60s S ldier Cap decina S ldier Underb ss S ldier S ldier S ldier S ldier S ldier S ldier 1890-1979 Cerda.blogspot. T Al Butch Fats Ralph / T ny Andrews 1900-1979 Ma y Br wn 1898-1974 Gus / Duke 1900-? Chalut Frank Galuche Salvie James DeMin D n Vit ne Mr.
Bi illie M S lly M re re 1890-1972 1890-1965 1903-1959 1896-1973 1894-1951x 1903-1952 n 1900-1978 1892-1965 1897-1962 1913 Palerm .Ev la ? (B n. Italy 1919 1910 USA aples. M San Catald . Sicily 1905 J seph B 1908-1977 USA J seph B 1930-70s 1930-60s 1930-70s 1930-70s 1930Pasquale ? (Gamb.) 1918 USA 1902-1967? USA .s Cap decina 1896-1960 USA 1930-50s S ldier Given Alias Birth-Death ri in aturali a n M b Rel Era Rank Iand sc An el I ele* An el FEBRUARY 2011 aie a Au ust an a J seph an a un i aPadura An el aPadura J seph aPlaca Peter ascari Marian aur Salvat re e ne Peter INFORMER i u ri* Ralph S ldier iv rsi Frank informer-journal.) 1930-80s 1930-60s 1930-40s 1900-1968? USA . Italy 1903 M re Br s.blogspot.com mbardin Andrew mbard Phillip n an Arthur ucania Salvat re Marchi ne Paul Mar n Gaetan Mar an Alf ns Ma i a Gi vanni Mil Th mas Sr. Italy 1905 USA / Calabria USA / Calabria Sabat S B naventure Salvat re B Guarin B Vincent ? USA ercara Friddi. Sicily 1916 aples. rment ( ucc. Italy M 1930-60s Paul ? 1930-60s 1930-70s 1930-70s 1930-40s 1930-60s 1930-70s 1930-60s 1930-60s 1930-50s 1930-70s 1930-50s 1930-50s Cap decina S ldier B ss S ldier B ss S ldier S ldier S ldier S ldier S ldier C nsi liere Cap decina S ldier J. Miranda Michele 63 M re Guarin M re Salvat re .Surname Jerry the u Yale Jerry Ryan S cks Harry 1891-1972 1904-1988 di Pete Mike askey 1904-1980 Petey Mu ins / Mi ne 1896-? The Pimp Cheech 1904-1979 Benny Squint 1904-1971 Charlie ucky ucian J e T m D n Alf ns J hn / Chappy Mr. Sicily 1905 An el B San Catald .) 1902-1979x Calabria. Sicily 1906 1908-1980 USA USA 1903-1967 USA 1910-1968? R me.Guma M 1930-60s 1906-1988 1897-1968 Calabria. Italy 1904 Francesc B 1930-60s S ldier Cap decina Cap decina S ldier Cap decina Cap decina Cap decina S ldier S ldier 1930-70.
INFORMER Pe ll Davide Piccarelli James informer-journal.) J. Italy 1912 uca Sicula. Italy 1924 1930-60s 1903-1984 S. Italy 1915 1876-1945 Avellin .Stefan . Sicily 1905 F ia.M aver M F. S (C l. Isabella M (( ucc.) 1930-70s 1930-70s 1930-70s 1930-70s 1930s 19301930s 1930-60s 19301930-70s 1940-60s 1930-60s 1930-60s 1930-70s 19301892-1965? Ba n li. B J seph B 1887-1932x USA Cefalu.) Perill Armand Per An el Persic * Carmine Sr. Italy 1905 1883?-1974 Chie . Italy 1893 1889-1975 Calabria.C. Italy Paul ? (C l.com Pisc p * J seph P llaccia Saveri Prad ui i Pulvin * Julius Ra J seph Ra Vincent C. Ratenni ich las Re a illiam Renni* Anth ny FEBRUARY 2011 Ricci Gaetan Russ * Carmine Russ Frank .Surname 1908-1972 Patsy Murray D ct r Sandin Pand lf Bi Mike J e Swede The ld Man T mmy the Bull Pete Herman 1905-1971 1909-1976 Davey Be ll Jimmy Rush 1907-1991 Sam P llaci / P llace uis Patsy J e Cana r 1907-? C ck-Eyed ick Si / Pelle rin T ny Gr an / Ren T ny G ebbels 1906-1982 1892-1986 1887-1965 1893-1981 1896-1974? 1904-? Serin . Sicily 1903 1930-70s 1898-1976 USA 1930-70s S ldier S ldier S ldier S ldier S ldier Cap decina S ldier S ldier S ldier S ldier S ldier S ldier S ldier C nsi liere S ldier S ldier S ldier S ldier Cap decina S ldier S ldier S ldier S ldier S ldier Ernest ? 1930-70s S ldier Given Alias Birth-Death ri in aturali a n M b Rel Era Rank 64 Muscarella Raym nd rmand Pasquale t Phillip Pand lﬁ Alexander Panne Michael Paterra J seph Pelle rin R cc Pennachi Gaetan R.DeCarl M 1901-1962 1904-1936x USA USA 1909-? USA S. Italy 1903 1880-? 1901* 19301930-60s 1930-60s 1930-40s 1930-50s 1930-60s Carmine Jr. Italy 1899 aples.Stefan . Italy aples.Gen vese M? 1902-? Carrera. an a C Carmine B A. Sicily 1909 Vincent.blogspot. Sicily 1904 1906-1976 USA Salvat re ? 1908-1983 USA / Salern USA V.
Italy 1903 J hn B P.Ra M 1901-? C rle ne. Italy 1898 1898-1977 Bari . Sicily 1899 Catania.com Scarf Filipp Scar lat Daniel Scarpinit J seph Schillaci Gi vanni Smurra Ge r e Spinella Michael Stancanelli Peter St ppelli Inn cen i Stracci J seph Str ll Anth ny 65 Terran va Cir Cap decina B ss Tieri Alph nse . Sicily Th mas ? 1903-1982 USA 1902-1975 Calabria. Italy 1896-1989 Calabria. Sicily 1905 A.Barrass M 1896-? USA 19301930-50s 1930-50s 1930-70s 1930-60s 1930-60s 1930-60s 1930-60s ic demus S (Phil.blogspot.Italy 1912 J hn ? 1901-1980 Bari. Sicily 1908 Siculiana. Sicily 1893 aples.M rell Hal r J.Surname Chica uis Black Charley F ur Cents Blackie J hn Bart Bi Y k 1888-1968 1889-1968 B bby D yle James Zackie 1899-1972 P ker Face Phil Danny H an 1903-1983 Al Br wn Blair Mar n Steel Bi Pete J hn the Bu J e Stretch T ny Bender Ar ch ke Kin Frank / Fun i 1903-1989 1907-1993 1906-1984 1899-1962x 1888-1938 1904-1981 1894-1971 1910-1981 USA Marine . Salern M 1901-1983 Fl ridia.) 1930-60s 1930-70s 1930-70s 193019301930-50s 1930-70s 1930-70s 1930-70s 1930-60s 1930s 1930-80s 1906-1972 USA 1930-70s 1906-1983 1930-70s 1902-1987 USA Ferdinand S 1930-70s S ldier S ldier S ldier S ldier S ldier S ldier Cap decina S ldier S ldier 1895-1986 USA Frank B 1920-70s S ldier Fat 1899-1949? USA 1930-40s S ldier Given Alias Birth-Death ri in aturali a n M b Rel Era Rank Sabi Anth ny Saccar ma ui i FEBRUARY 2011 Salern An el Salern Anth ny Salv Ba st San Giac ma Carmine Santa ata Anniell San n Alf ns Santucci Gir lam Savin * Gir lam Savin J hn INFORMER Savin Salvat re S ldier S ldier S ldier S ldier S ldier S ldier S ldier S ldier S ldier S ldier S ldier Ac n B ss Scalise Ge r e informer-journal. Sicily 1905 USA USA USA C rle ne. Italy 1911 J.
Valentine's Day Massacre. is based on a manuscript by Georgette Winkeler on The St. articulate. Iowa. It calls to mind your coauthor and great friend Rick Mattix. he was really a genius. Italy 1892-1971 ri in 1902-1986 1893-1966 1909-1977 1904-1981 The Blade Charles Sr.com Birth-Death aples. I introduced him to G. My aunt was a student nurse at Cook County the night Dillinger was brought in.66 INFORMER FEBRUARY 2011 Cap decina INTERVIEW S ldier S ldier S ldier 1930-60s S ldier S ldier S ldier S ldier S ldier 1930-60s 1930-70s 1930-60s 1930-70s Charles Jr. Nelson. who also hated the misuse of authority. and members of the Dillinger family. but in fact he was a great researcher and a pretty fair writer. (Actually. The locals considered him harmless. As it turned out. had written a contemporary and excellent manuscript on John Dillinger. and The St. Valentine's Day Massacre as told by gunman Gus Winkeler. He lives in Boerne. Helmer.) 1940-70s G. bandana-wearing ex-hippie.” Informer: Your father sounds like he was marked by the Depression of the 1930s. He even informer-journal.blogspot. based on conversations with John’s attorney Louis Piquett. Also. S (Chic. when many people hated bankers. former senior editor at Playboy. the movie was pretty lousy but it had great sets. interesting. Capone and a career at Playboy Interview by Ellen Poulsen Editor’s note: William J. to be published by Indiana University Press. Baby Face Nelson. Texas. his assistant Art O’Leary. wildlydressed.Ra Frank ? USA 1907-1957 1901-1970 Zumba Alexander Al Zapp la Salvat re S lly C USA USA USA / aples USA USA Helmer: I grew up on Dillinger. Russell Girardin. authored The Gun That Made the Twenties Roar. in 1935. an aging gentleman who. and possessed of a delightfully warped sense of humor. and coauthored Dillinger: The Untold Story. putting together all sorts of stuff on gangsters and outlaws of the Twenties and Thirties – the same period covered in my Tommygun history.) 1930-60s 1930-70s 1930-50s Reflecting on Dillinger. the title of which was later used by Bryan Burroughs for his book and for a movie. gentle.) One time when Rick came to Chicago. Only his overall appearance struck fear into the hearts of Bussey’s kids. Italy 1913 aturali a J. and “my good ol’ daddy” already thought he was real fun and gutsy. he didn’t like cops or bankers or anybody in “authority. Reina M ( ucc. Informer: Can you tell us what influenced you toward the study of Dillinger’s era and the 1920s Chicago mobs? M b Rel Era Rank n Cassin . A forthcoming book. Public Enemies. even then. He looked like a long-haired. T urine J e Stut The Eye Fat T dd 1906-1980 J seph Carmine J seph J seph Surname Alfred T rt rici Valachi T cc * T rrice T riell T t J seph Given J e Ca Alias P i 1904-1971 . When did you first meet Rick? Helmer: Sometime in the late Seventies or early Eighties I got to know a young whippersnapper named Rick Mattix from Bussey. I got him into publishing by way of a Facts on File book. not given to drugs. With a lot of encouragement.
blogspot.com . Helmer informer-journal.FEBRUARY 2011 INFORMER 67 Gangster-Era historian Gangster-Era William J.
one of which ran off the fan belt and could be heard for five miles.blogspot. and horrified by the reality of violence. where the Pharr Volunteer Fire Department congregated for beer after their regular Thursday night drills. I just liked the action. or trapped.” If I pedaled my bike there fast enough. “Billy Joe. It sounds like your “angel of mercy” stage embodied these feelings.” I still like the “implements” of violence—just guns. “There’s a baby in there!” It wasn’t a baby. “old. The river was the Rio Grande and my dad ran the Hub Café truck stop. With the driver. I walked into the office of the viceprincipal. whose later paperback covers listed Rick as a contributor to its “After the Facts” section. Informer: When you say. Then he finally turned around and said. “Oh. naturally. Today they'd have a lockdown and call in SWAT teams. complete with red lights and two fantastic sirens. dead gangsters. just some poor jerk committing suicide.” T you are referring to The Gun That Made the Twenties Roar – an historical account of the evolution not only of the gun itself. you described yourself as “extremely non-violent.” Other drivers in our little community knew us as two teenage angels of mercy. In the 1950s.” and you identified with people who are helpless in situations like fires. I became their unofficial mascot because they “couldn’t afford a Dalmatian. or in a burning house. So. back in 1988. I landed a job at Playboy. everybody had guns.” I was already pretty notorious as a prankster. I didn’t hear you come in. things like that. Brooks. Informer: This confirms what you told me on the phone the first time we talked. And to keep people puzzled I still use my old motto. But I did a great job as a kid ambulance attendant. about sixty miles “upriver” from the Gulf of Mexico. I could ride the fire trucks. When he ignored my “ah-hem. who was nineteen – I was maybe fourteen – we could top 100 mph on the way to a wreck. I’d early-on learned to chase fire trucks and ambulances. Informer: Were you born on a rifle range. with its graduating class of thirty. not brutality or torture – and I’m sure it accounts for my fascination with gangsters – old. who was working on some papers with his back to me. precipitated your interest in firearms? Helmer: I pulled a good stunt in my high school. population 5. would you please put that thing away?” After school. Mr. “Death to Violence. What in your early years. but couldn’t get a rise out of any teacher except Mrs.380 tattooed on your neck? Helmer: Glad you know the caliber of John Dillinger’s Colt Pocket Pistol. with the trajectory of a cannonball. Informer: When you say your " ommygun history. I showed up with a . At the time you were living in Chicago and working for Playboy magazine. and twelve miles north of the Mexican border town of Reynosa. In 1969. and working weekends at a funeral home. Actually. The class needed a gun for its annual class play.” didn’t you once visit the “old” hangout of the Chicago Outfit and meet a few who were alive and well? Helmer: I didn't exactly meet them. and they parted like the Red Sea. I visited the former Hawthorne Hotel informer-journal. the number . During that conversation. and once I kicked my way into a burning shack of a house when a neighbor lady came out screaming. Helmer: Hardly. On my first or second Saturday in Chicago.000. But I’d have no qualms whatever about shooting some sumbitch who was coming after me or somebody else. we had a really hot 1953 Pontiac station wagon converted into professional-looking ambulance. The trick was to “drive fast and stop arterial bleeding.22 revolver stuck in my belt. but of the manufacturer’s unsuccessful efforts to sell the weapon to the American military forces. Sebring. I grew up in the little South Texas town of Pharr. while taking up photography and ham radio. From my dad. What I still can’t stand is situations in which people find themselves in danger. while finishing an master’s thesis on the history of the Thompson which I parlayed into the Macmillan book The Gun that Made the Twenties Roar. dead gangsters. Back then.com . Bill. There I’d stick my neck out.” I fired a blank into the air but he still didn’t move. and nobody even bothered to investigate the bang. who told me. I read about them. and that you could have made a career as a doctor or paramedic.68 INFORMER FEBRUARY 2011 had a copy on his bookshelf! I later turned that into Dillinger: The Untold Story for Indiana University Press.
Anna Sage and Polly Hamilton – the two women at the Biograph Theater – and of course. and disapproved when all they could bust him on was a tax beef. “Whut can I do fer you?” Feeling like a general who’d gotten ahead of his army. the place looked deserted. and when I entered the lobby. but the only time I trafficked with Bunnies was in the elevator or at photo shoots. in 1966. One time he drove back home with a carload of booze. to make the rounds of speakeasies. I knew how to stop arterial bleeding from my old ambulance days. he liked Al Capone as a public servant.” I smiled real big and got the hell out. I also figured out that was why our old Mayor Daley didn't want to preserve anything related to gangsters. He also told me. but decided that it was a little too stressful to become a bootlegger. though I'd probably give it to someone who could hit a distant target while I kept my own head down. thanks to dumb luck. I wudn’t here den. Seems that mob boss Tony Aiuppa had his offices upstairs.” Sorry. by way of a bullet. how he and a buddy would drive back and forth between his home town of Iowa City and Chicago. and what an exciting town was Chicago. that’s where I met “Texas Tower Sniper” Charles Whitman. After I later made it to the basement of the Student Union building to wash up. Valentine’s Day Massacre. I was hired by a magazine for which I’d written some articles. and worked as Supervisor of Student Publications and as a photographer while earning a master’s degree in American History with a minor in American Studies. during Prohibition. all I saw was a big goon of a desk clerk. Informer: What did you do while working at Playboy? Helmer: My first job at Playboy involved editing Playboy’s Guide to Organized Crime in America. So. I discovered a tiny nick in my neck from a bullet fragment. Only wished I'd had a rifle. In fact. Hence. where. I gobbled something about researching a machine-gun battle in 1926. several civilians grabbed scoped deer rifles out of their trunks and kept the sucker ducking for the next hour until two really gutsy cops and another civilian got onto the tower’s parapet and killed the rascal. Especially the “Lady in Red” thing. the St. Informer: You also got your master’s degree in Texas? Helmer: After three years I returned to the University of Texas. I don't even hunt and usually miss paper targets. Valentine’s Day Massacre. today’s SWAT Teams. He said.com . I also headed up the Playboy Defense Team that helped out young pot smokers and otherwise gave the magazine its “redeeming social value. Dil- informer-journal. Then I hitched a ride to New York City. the Roaring Twenties. he reached around with his other hand and pulled one out of his pocket. Informer: The experience didn’t turn you off to gun violence? Helmer: Hell. Thankfully. who later died of “lead poisoning” while cooking supper for some friends. but I was a bit rattled and didn’t think to get myself listed as an official Whitman victim.blogspot. the St. I spent twenty-five years on the Playboy Forum that was devoted to letters and editorials. The place was still full of them. probably a dozen times over the years. “I don’t know nuttin’ about dat. an article that brought together all the topics you would later turn into books – Capone. stupidly expecting it to be festooned with neon lights and serving stuff like “Al Capone Burgers. A ricochet went through the forearm of the guy beside me and we hit the deck. the wound pumping out blood a good three inches high.” Oh. Informer: You turned that excitement into a March 1990 article in Chicago magazine. and then I found out that Chicago still had Tony Accardo and Sam Giancana. “Cicero Mob Headquarters Burns. The very next day the place went up in flames – I had nothing to do with it – and on Monday the Chicago Tribune’s banner headline read. But it was the Dillinger killing that really miffed my dad. Informer: You got your education in Texas. Still. boy. He said. What made you decide to leave and settle in a big city like Chicago? Helmer: I majored in journalism at the University of Texas. Many Texans have prospered “up north” simply because they didn’t know their limitations. no.FEBRUARY 2011 INFORMER 69 in Cicero.” Instead. and when I yelled for a handkerchief. that’s how I learned about Big Al. Baby Face Nelson.
Supposedly he wisecracked to a Tucson guard. Informer: The Almanac is shorthand for The Complete Public Enemy Almanac.” and was quite lovable. and I adopted it mainly to look like either a smart-alec or desperate amateur who had gone to lots of trouble with his Thesaurus trying to come up with just the right word. Remember.” Later. “We can’t all be saints. you don’t like using big words in print – words like “hubris” give you the shivers. He also came up with the name Horace Naismith. unlike Nelson or the Barkers. declared that we should form the John Dillinger Died For You Society. And I would like to receive proper credit for always calling her "the duplicitous Anna Sage. also published in Chicago magazine. I always call her. and see a ball game every day. The perfidious Anna Sage. and except for bank robbery. “hid in plain sight. Helmer: Good ol' Dad told me all about the Great Depression and what he called "banksters. During one evening class I smuggled in a sort-of-illegal Model 1928 Thompson submachine gun – like a “show and tell” thing – to enhance the delivery of my brilliant paper on something like “John Dillinger’s Role in American History.” Helmer: The Chicago article was legit. loved pranks and horseplay. which I thought was fine.” Informer: Anna Sage always brings out the orator in you – you save the biggest words for describing her. in most other circumstances. Anyway. “In Defense of Dillinger: He was Crooked but not Twisted.” You were the first writer to cast Dillinger in a sympathetic light.70 INFORMER FEBRUARY 2011 linger. which deliberately violated my otherwise casual writing style. and they put it in that National Enquirer style. and Lou Louderback’s The Bad Ones. which was a takeoff on Elvis Presley fan clubs of the day. and the only woman who didn't fall for him was Anna Sage. be clear of everything – not worry. which you coauthored with Rick Mattix and which is an expanded edition of your original Public Enemies collaboration. where the most common theme was one of righteous indignation over the crimes and their consequences. . Informer: Do you stand by that early idea of a “crooked but not twisted” Dillinger. “Now understand. What was Rick’s role in producing the Almanac? informer-journal.” This enthralled both my professor and classmates. . “The Man Who Stole Dillinger’s Brain: And Other Torrid True Confessions From the Golden Age of Gangsters. Dillinger was clearly the best of the bunch in that. Yet Anna Sage is “duplicitous. Professor William Goetzman. if deliberately comical. “Note that she has the nerve not only to challenge his nom de guerre (or whatever you would call it) but also to demand that he show her his gun!” Yet. JDDFYS for short. who afterwards always descended on the tables behind the old Scholz’ Garten to get soused on beer. mainly I thought it had a nice wise- acre quality. In Chicago. The woman/automatic pistol thing was just turning a paraphrase from Joe Pinkston’s book John Dillinger: A Short and Violent Life into a quote. “Never trust a woman or an automatic pistol”? Helmer: Well. the man who allegedly said." Maybe someday I'll accommodate "hubris"—but not in my lifetime. Then he’d suck on his toothpick and say. This magazine article was a precursor to what would become your body of work over the next two decades. Informer: It was published shortly after your premier 1988 piece. even if it was entitled. Quimby’s The Devil’s Emissaries.” In the Almanac he’s quoted as saying – which sounds plausible – “I’d like to have enough money to enjoy life. that you did this during the era of Myron J. he seemed to have a pretty conventional value system. you wrote this caption: “Duplicitous Anna sticks it to Polly’s dear John. but ya gotta give him credit!” During my graduate work I founded The John Dillinger Died For You Society. take care of my old man.blogspot." which included Dillinger’s memorable wooden-gun escape. anyway? Why Anna Sage? Helmer: “Duplicitous” is an old term that was once in vogue to describe "two-faced" or "deceptive" or something. by emphasizing his human side over the crimes involved.” How many syllables is that. I don’t approve of some of the things he done . although he generally used automatics himself. who’d won the Pulitzer Prize for something.com .
The idiot Prohibition official got a bunch of these ideas into headlines that day and the next before he was transferred out of Chicago for implicating even the police. wrongly believing that the country's new G -men would or even could take action against Chicago's local racketeers. It must be the first time ever that any gangster's wife wrote of her personal hair-raising experiences. Valentine’s Day] Massacre but listened patiently in the hope she could shed light on the Barker-Karpis kidnappings and St. in the FBI's Reading Room. Rick had polished his writing skills and also became what must be the best-informed gangster and outlaw historian in the country. I used her manuscript verbatim. a little magazine devoted mainly to “the boys” of the Twenties and Thirties. had her husband killed in 1933.. which is to be published by Indiana University Press? Helmer: It's mainly the memoirs of Georgette Winkeler.blogspot. Informer: Do you think that the world still misunderstands the circumstances of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre: has been virtually carved in stone and perpetuated by every writer and filmmaker since. Rick also started publishing On The Spot. and I stumbled onto it. Valentine’s Day Massacre? Why do you feel that readers and writers still don’t “get it”? Helmer: The reason they don't get it is because the original account has been virtually carved in stone and perpetuated by every writer and filmmaker since. and then lost his job. and entirely by accident. with many newspaper accounts and FBI documents that he used to correct all the misinformation in earlier books.. “ The reason they don't get it is because the original account ” Helmer: Over the years. In 2007 we coauthored the Almanac. he said that Chief of Detectives John Stege was on Capone’s payroll. which she did. The FBI didn’t much care about Gus’s robbery adventures or the [St. who. were involved. “they just killed them all. I learned that Moran himself called the meeting and was Capone’s main target. Capone obviously put it in motion at a meeting in Wisconsin in the fall of 1928 but left others to carry it out. who is the author of The Man Who Got Away.com . Also. Valentine's Day Massacre and the Kansas City Massacre. misfiled. Paul corruption.. and they really screwed up. From Rose Keefe. which included everything from the role that her husband played in the killing of Frankie Yale in New York to the St.” according to lookout Byron Bolton. Informer: Can you tell us something about the book you have coming out. She was really mad at Frank Nitti.. He already had put together a huge and growing library. so Stege never followed up informer-journal. as she called them. When the Chicago mob intimidated her publisher into breaking their contract.FEBRUARY 2011 INFORMER 71 On the continued misunderstanding of the St. and since the shooters didn’t know what he looked like. but he wasn’t there. adding biographies of the mobsters and short features describing his major crimes in more detail. she gave the manuscript to Melvin Purvis. The idea of the trap being laid by a shipment of Old Log Cabin was an elaboration on one talkative Prohibition official’s goofy hijack theory. Some of the American Boys. once Capone was in prison. She recounts hubby’s crimes in great detail. But his speculations have gone down as history.
Also. when he was an ally of Captain Leach of Indianapolis. Two of these guys. Stege seemingly did not want the Massacre “solved” as it would have revealed that a couple of prominent politicians were in on the early planning. Zeigler. Do you know the path they took to end up with the Barker-Karpis gang in the 1930s? Helmer: In those great days. Do you believe that Stege remained an “honest cop” throughout his post on the “Dillinger Squad”? Helmer: That was what Massacre lookout Bryon Bolton claimed. Miller was a former robbery partner of Winkeler who had approached him for a hideout in Chicago after the Kansas City Massacre. every crook knew or knew of every other crook. also played significant roles in the kidnappings executed by the Barker-Karpis gang in the Twin Cities in the 1930s. Valentine’s Day Massacre were from St. and by then. Michigan.com . Bolton's "confession" was independently supported by Georgette's memoirs. but steered clear of their robbery or ransom money. Your book. the guys were Moran's lieutenants dressed in their Sunday best. But his speculations have gone down as history. The idea of the trap being laid by a shipment of Old Log Cabin was an elaboration on one talkative Prohibition official's goofy hijack theory. there is no talk of Stege being on any take in the 1930s during the Dillinger hunt.a. Stege was running the Dillinger Squad and presumably on the level. because nearly everyone was "on the pad. Informer: You said that Captain John Stege was on the mob's payroll in the 1920s. his “secret” visits to the FBI." and state police were mostly paper organizations at the time. as in Dillinger’s case. Burke was busted after killing a St. who did not have a reputation for wit or for kindness. and began helping the Feds track down Verne Miller who led the Kansas City killings. or they wouldn’t have had to keep the place under surveillance for two weeks. killed by other hoods. and Byron Bolton soon hooked up with them. Outlaws didn’t have vast racketeer organizations but were like raiding parties who depended on anonymity to avoid capture. As for Stege. Louis. Capone practically ran the police force and most politicians. Gus was prospering as a Chicago nightclub and casino owner. because the police were pretty corrupt and he probably found he didn't have much choice. But that's a long story. Baby Face Nelson was thought to be an irrational and wanton killer. Informer: Some or all of the hired killers who executed the St.k. and after his capture in 1935 Hoover had to privately report that and other findings later to a Justice Department superior. and then forever vanished. and he didn’t know what Syndicate secrets Winkeler might be spilling. Louis. They found Miller dead in Detroit a month or so later." as they say. By this time. Presumably Nitti knew about Winkeler’s collaboration with the Secret Six in getting some robbery loot returned. although that gradually emerged much later in newspaper articles written by reporters and retired detectives who stayed on the case.blogspot. Informer: Along with the Barker-Karpis gang. bought beer from nonCapone operations. which gives some credence to his being in Capone’s pocket – most of the cops were. Otherwise. So he had Gus killed outside his now-legal brewery on Roscoe Street on October 9. Paul at New Year’s Eve. including some top officials. Fred Goetz. end of 1931. 1933. That wasn’t true after Nitti took over about the time a new mayor had unseated "Big Bill" Thompson and wanted to beat down the Chicago mob. a. cop in December 1929. Winkeler stayed in the old Capone camp. hired by Capone. Nugent headed for Florida to join up with Ralph Capone. They were called "motorized bandits. though he didn’t accomplish much. The idiot Prohibition official got a bunch of these ideas into headlines that day and the next before he was transferred out of Chicago for implicating even the police.72 INFORMER FEBRUARY 2011 on his detectives’ leads pointing to St. as he believed they’d killed his friend. Gus got to know the Barker-Karpis at a big “all hoodlum” party in St. Frank Nash. an honest cop. hardly planning to unload a truckload of booze. That really angered him. and then lost his job. deliberately. the “American Boys” from St. Louis gunmen. Joseph. The outlaws or bandits of the 1930s could only touch some local cops. Baby informer-journal. Yet. Also. he probably was taking payoffs from Capone. including the involvement of Detroit's Keywell brothers.
Helen's the one we sympathized with. there are no recorded accounts of outlaws loading their Thompson submachine guns.FEBRUARY 2011 INFORMER 73 Face Nelson attempted to humanize Lester Gillis. a "whiskey priest" and spiritual counselor to outlaws. I couldn't to buy into their totally negative accounts. possibly a couple of stick magazines in a coat or back pocket. The C drum was more prone to misfire or actually misfeed. They usually had hostages on their running boards to deter police fire and a stock came in handy poked out the back window to fire at any pursuing police car. and killed people when didn't even have to. and went to the trouble of mounting the relic on a tripod to modify it for use in 1937? Although they were armed to the teeth. I believe the Marlin was the relatively lightweight oddball thing.com . The only known notable occasion was Nelson’s at Barrington. like boyhood buddy Jack Perkins and Father Coughlan. or was he indeed. even in the Barrington battle. She never engaged in any of his crimes. Yet before your book on Baby Face Nelson. Informer: You make a case here for disputing some of the totally negative accounts of Nelson.351 rifle. but because other books were so hard on him. Floyd and Kelly garnered.” like Dillinger. and whatever else they had in the Austin or University of Texas libraries. Helmer: My guess is that the Brady Gang was mainly showing off how tough they were. Technically. during the Battle Barrington and the aftermath of Little Bohemia. The Type L was nearly always reliable. The L magazine and stock usually accomplished that. out of some kind of co-dependency. whose members never got the publicity that the “Class of 1934. Yet. and also. especially one that fired big rifle instead of little pistol ammo. they dragged this relic around with them. Regarding their arsenal. and to his long-suffering Mama. hard to get along with. He was notorious for his reckless machine gun activity during bank heists. because by their era in 1937. Do you believe that Nelson had a human side. Hoover was preoccupied with “Commies” and the GermanAmerican Bund. I think they'd call it now. owing to its larger size and occasional failure of the spring mechanism to reliably feed rounds exactly as needed. “twisted”? Helmer: He was twisted for sure. thought he really liked the Thompson with the L drum that held 50 rounds. the crazier he got. Informer: The Brady Gang was a copycat gang in the late 1930s. And it seems like Nelson was loyal to a few people he considered dependable friends. The more I learned about Nelson. Informer: How many magazines or clips would the outlaws anticipate using per weapon on a bank heist? Helmer: During bank jobs they usually barged in with Thompsons with stock and one drum. and is there any record of a Thompson misfiring by any of the public enemies during an escape or bank job? Helmer: Nelson had one jam on him in the Barrington battle. Researchers of crime have long understood that criminal behavior is often blended with a second personality which is generally kind and expresses itself in deeds that are helpful to others. Everybody else was into Thompsons and they wanted to be different by way of a “real” tripod mounted machine gun. do you have any idea why the Brady Gang stole a vintage World War I Marlin machine gun from a war monument. where he machine gunned three FBI agents to death. possibly because of the sometimes inferior ammo of the day. Nelson. there was no work in print that even attempted to paint a different picture of him. where he was mortally wounded. a misfire is the failure of a round to go off at all. as everybody knew what a Thompson looked like and that these guys meant business. and lived the rest of her life as pretty much a recluse. very temperamental. Informer: What was the likelihood of a misfire. Did Baby Face Nelson sit patiently. whence he then grabbed a . not widely used by the informer-journal.blogspot. I wrote the Thompson book in 1969 and didn’t know all that much at that time about gangsters and outlaws so I depended a lot on The Dillinger Days by John Toland. who also stuck with him. loading 100 cartridges into the Type C Drum magazine? Helmer: There’s no record of Nelson patiently loading a Type C 100-round drum. It does seem like the only redeeming quality Nelson had was his devotion to his wife Helen.
Rick would have liked your short story. longer barrel. Only in the summer did doctors at the Des Moines hospital discover that he was acutely ill. it probably depended on how they expected to use the gun. he remained in good spirits until the end came suddenly in late October. Ellen Poulsen is the author of Don't Call Us Molls: Women of the John Dillinger Gang and The Case Against Lucky Luciano: New York's Most Sensational Vice Trial. speculating that his old buddy Father Coughlan probably gave him last rites and absolution before he died. Informer: Rick “Mad Dog” Mattix was a passionate lover of our canine friends and owned and cared for many dogs. his favorite holiday. Problem was.S. The user had no sights and “aimed from the hip. That went pretty hard on Linda Mattix. both cops and the FBI always worried about hitting bystanders. He owned it and cherished that gun. then. the Alsatian who witnessed the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. both of which he happily shared with other gangster and outlaw researchers. Rick was the best of the best. and also. with excellent judgment and a fantastic memory. Do you know if the public enemies of the 1930s and the Capone-era gangsters always went out on jobs with the stocks removed? Helmer: Usually when they went out on a hit they wanted to use the sight for a drive-by or to otherwise hit some individual from their car and then split. Outlaws sometimes fired them in the air to scare people. the stock was removed. but they really didn’t have many occasions.blogspot. The fact that they could steal one and get it to work. How did Rick develop from a hippie genius into the respected “Godfather of True Crime History. It put several holes through Nelson’s car's windshield. As for the stock. Informer: When the Thompson was used on the hip. occasionally used them in a bank to shoot some individual who was trying to duck into his office and call the cops or hit an alarm button. Basically. But early in the year he started going downhill. Speaking of the Brady Gang and full-auto rifles. It could be removed by just pressing a button. In your story. I sent Highball to heaven on the basis of his Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder that had to be taken into account. Still. a few days before Halloween. and if the Good Lord had a problem with that He could always make him the equivalent of a Walmart Greeter. during Nelson’s bizarre gun battle in Barrington where he killed two federal agents.” because earliest prototypes didn't have stocks. despite all the photos in magazines. but usually they fired from the hip or by just looking down the barrel. did Highball go to heaven? Helmer: A lot of animals have heart. which was a full-auto rifle. Informer: Rick Mattix loved to pose with his modern-day Thompson.” It was the tale of Highball. “Some Dogs Go to Heaven.” a status that he achieved in his later life? Helmer: By 2010. first misdiagnosed with having pneumonia. but police rarely found an instance where they could just blast at a crowd – one of the cops’ ongoing complaints. the wife he left behind. informer-journal. or did they prefer shooting from the hip? Helmer: The FBI presumably used the Thompson with sights to avoid “collateral damage” to pedestrians. Informer: What about the cops and the FBI? Did they fire from the shoulder. probably had some appeal. which had only the semiautomatic feature of the new Thompsons. World War 1 soldiers would have had to “fire from the hip” by way of “sweeping trenches. but souls are beyond my comprehension.com . if the FBI was firing from cover of a tree or their car they probably did use the sights. the commercial version of the U. using the sights. She is currently writing a book about Indiana State Police Captain Matt Leach. who was a key figure in the Dillinger saga. the gun fired by his buddy John Paul Chase from the back seat of their car was a rifle-caliber Monitor.74 INFORMER FEBRUARY 2011 army and called a “potato digger” because it had a longish lever that ran down one side and flapped back and forth. etc. Army’s Browning Automatic Rifle. I also sent Baby Face Nelson to heaven.” Accuracy was contingent. they knew the sights weren’t all that useful. on spraying in the direction of the target. However.
FEBRUARY 2011 INFORMER 75 informer-journal.blogspot.com .
2000. informer-journal. Oct. He appeared on the History Channel and on an A&E Biography program. Iowa. Rick went to work for a local factory. at the Iowa Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines. He was a world renowned author. 1953. On April 28.blogspot. a sister and her husband: Pamela and Terry Bonnett of Bussey. He graduated from Twin Cedars High School with the class of 1971. “He will be remembered as a one of a kind person that never had a harsh word for anyone. speaking on gangster history.76 INFORMER FEBRUARY 2011 Crime historian Rick Mattix. Iowa. three brothers: Delmar and Darrel Mattix and Frank Wignal. He took Linda all over the country doing historical research. Rick was preceded in death by his parents.including The Complete Public Enemy Almanac coauthored with his friend William Helmer .and his knowledge in the field will be greatly missed. Rick’s passion in life was researching gangster history. his father in law: Kenny Hunt of Lacey. 57. of Bussey. Rick was diagnosed with lung cancer early in October. Rick announced that he and Thomas Hunt would partner in the operation of quarterly journal Informer: The History of American Crime and Law Enforcement. after an accident. According to Rick’s wish his body was cremated following the funeral. He enjoyed listening to the Beatles and enjoyed a laid-back life. 1953-2010 Rick “Mad Dog” Mattix. two stepsons: Adam Steele of Bussey and Eli Steele of Des Moines. Delores DeVore. and three sisters: Beverly McDaniels. He suspended publication of the journal earlier this year. He wrote several books on the subject . and Patty Wilson. His family noted. and his mother in law: Darlene Hunt. He was known by the gangster community as the “Godfather” of gangster history. He was born on September 21. Following high school. and Leland Mattix of Chicago.com . Illinois. researcher and historian on the subject. Funeral services were held Sunday. He retired from there in 1998. He was a strong supporter of Indian rights and the National Rifle Association. a very close grandson: Ridge Steele. died Wednesday. 27. 2010. October 31. In July. Rick published a journal of “Gangster Era” (1920s-1930s) crime and law enforcement history called On the Spot. at Oskaloosa. the son of Virgil and Aletha McKim Mattix. at the Bates Funeral Chapel in Oskaloosa with Pastor Alvern Boetsma officiating. and two brothers: Duane and Barbara Mattix in Georgia. He is survived by his wife Linda Mattix of Bussey. He was an avid dog lover.” Between 2006 and 2010. he was united in marriage to Linda Steele at Bussey. and many nieces and nephews.
Rick was a great friend to me. When he wrote the Foreword.blogspot.FEBRUARY 2011 INFORMER 77 To Informer: I was a writer in the Dillinger field when I was introduced to Rick online. Now. . He always helped and encouraged me. or send an e-mail. When I wanted to digress from Dillinger to write a book about the underworld characters in the Luciano trial. He will never be replaced and his contributions can never be measured because they will benefit research for generations to come. Andrew and I attended several gangster events with Rick and his wife. He was especially inspiring to me because he was a crossover writer who could write about both desperadoes and organized crime. I was less qualified. Linda. Rick loved to write and talk to his friends. Rick never liked mistakes in the history of 1930s crime. because I was a woman writing in a male-dominated field. and made it his life's work to clear them up and make the truth stick in people's minds.com informer-journal.com . which was so very important to me. My husband. Meeting in person cemented a relationship that began with e-mails. Rick gave me tons of encouragement. and ask some factchecking question.Ellen Poulsen www.Lucianotrial1936. He shared his vast network of organized crime experts with me. I wish I could pick up the phone. He made it clear in the Foreword that The Case Against Luciano was not another fiction that would further the misunderstands about Lucky Luciano. He was integral to this field. He never thought that. he didn't mince words and immediately trashed all the myths and untruths that exist about LuRick “Mad Dog” Mattix ciano.
there was astonishing depth and reason and intellectual flexibility. felt he was a good friend. the biography-mob history I coauthored with Martha Sheldon. Informer. I guess we first began comYou have all been so wonderful. For me. In the Thank you again.” However. . and I know Rick was very Rick and I never met in person. But I never advertisements in this issue of Informfound its breaking point.com . What I did find er. generally well-founded and strongly held. we announced that Rick would begin serving as Informer’s editorial director. he generously consented to review Deep Water: Joseph P. At first glance. the dean of crime researchers. Rick presented an outward appearance probably best described as “uncompromising. . At the end of November. and I occasionally tested Rick's paRick's Memorial Fund by purchasing tience on various subjects. Rick and I discussed plans for this journal. It is my hope that the issue will increase public awareness of Rick. I jumped at the chance to partner with Rick in the operation of an expanded Informer. Rick was very supportive of my idea for an organized crime history periodical and provided much encouragement as it was launched in September 2008. I am deeply grateful! was a considerate man possessed of a mind Informer is a wonderful historical that never lost its hunger. I municating steadily when he announced wish you all a Very Happy New Year. this seemed out of character. but I never had that opportunity. The fall issue of Informer was released just as Rick was diagnosed with lung cancer. beneath all that imposing hair and the other superficial From Linda Mattix distractions. his work and his many contributions to the work of others.blogspot. which grew to include more general crime history subject matter. A number of times. Rick Mattix. When On the Spot ceased publication this past year. Rick published a number of articles I wrote or co-wrote.78 INFORMER FEBRUARY 2011 Note from the Publisher I suppose it seems odd to some that the serious study of history's criminals draws in many fine people. magazine. I had hoped to work closely with Rick. plans for his On the Spot journal. Jeffery King. but we proud of it and of Tom for the great job corresponded with each other for years. But I have found it to be true. Rick always was generous with his time and his vast knowledge. In 2007. I want to thank Ellen Poulsen. Just after the summer’s Informer issue was published. I he has done with it.Linda Mattix and family Macheca and the Birth of the American MaDecember 2010 fia. He also readily shared his opinions. the most impressive thing about this impressive man was his willingness to consider differing views. with all advertising proceeds directed to the Rick Mattix Memorial Fund. was among the very best. I announced my intention to publish an issue of Informer—this one—dedicated to Rick’s memory. which were numerous. and I knew him as a great person. I can be a tad opinionated myself at To all of you who contributed to times. Deirdre Griswold and Michael Tona for their contributions and support.TH informer-journal. journal.
com informer-journal. Rick thought that was bullshit. but until we all meet again. please know the following: Many an aching heart continues to beat for you and many an eye continues to pay tribute Too solemn for words. I haven’t fully accepted the fact that there will be no more wryly humorous e-mails from Rick. Rick soon took up that cause. When I wrote The Man Who Got Away and The Starker. he’d apply for a bonfire permit. Rick. discussing his current projects and encouraging me to persist with a good idea. I’m talking about Rick ‘Mad Dog’ Mattix. 2010. Some forums are zealously (or maybe jealously is a better word) guarded by gatekeepers who regard any new blood as a threat to their standing.FEBRUARY 2011 INFORMER 79 To Informer: On October 27. “Today’s newbies will probably be one of your favorite authors tomorrow.com . In 2003 Bill Helmer encouraged me to turn my long-time fascination with Dean O’Banion into a book. and corrections for both titles and graciously agreed to provide the foreward for the former. He’s right. Right again. and best friends. Even if he was having a bad day. .” he told me once. Guns and Roses. complaining that if he saw another Al Capone biography come out.blogspot. Like Bill.Rose Keefe (From her blog : rosekeefe. strongest supporters. he could reframe all the aggravating people and incidents in a way that made me tell him more than once that he should write skits for Saturday Night Live. I soon caved in to such hilarious determination and assembled my collection of notes and photocopies into a book. suggestions. He believed that we all stood to learn from one another. the true crime community lost one of its greatest minds. Rick warmly greeted newcomers to the field of true crime writing.blogspot. I like to think that they are much better books because of his input. you’re probably having a great time right now and wondering what we’re all fussing about down here. Rick sent me material.
80 INFORMER FEBRUARY 2011 informer-journal.blogspot.com .
com .blogspot.FEBRUARY 2011 INFORMER 81 informer-journal.
drunkenness transformed from a workingclass vice to middle-class rebellion. and written with an eye for the truths that have remained largely hidden.“Few crime encyclopedias pass my rigorous test—to go beyond the well-known and wellworn stories and into the lesser-known but often just as absorbing tales of minor-league criminals. Crime Historian. . lavishly detailed. and the revolution in crime control. Meticulously documented. it was between 1920 and 1940—the roller-coaster years when a rural nation became urbanized and the nineteenth century finally gave way to the twentieth. and organized crime established nationally.Laura James. The Complete Public Enemy Almanac impressively manages to break new ground in a well -tilled field by offering previously unpublished stories and photos from the gangster era. exhaustively researched. Clews the Historic True Crime Blog If American crime had a golden age. The same forces that reshaped society also changed the face of crime.” . the development of crime labs. and soon the Progressive movement that battled urban decay led to the unintended consequences of increased police and political corruption. The Complete Public Enemy Almanac provides a reliable source of information about the violent and lawless gangster era.
48 pgs.n01) To Kill the Irishman. n03) DiGiorgio of Los Angeles. 2010 JAN (v03. Joseph Petrosino. Mob's Worst Year. 1957. 1928 Convention. Mafia of Dallas.n04) Castro and the Casinos. Philadelphia Mafia Chart. 1 5 2 6 3 7 4 9 8 2008 SEP (v01. Chicago’s Early Mafia Bosses.scribd.n02) The Dreaded Anthony D'Andrea.com/Informer%20Jou Informer%20Jour Scribd service ( http://www. 2009 APR (v02. 60 pgs. 60 pgs.n02) Morello-Lupo Counterfeiting Trial. 1957.n03) 1909 Mafia Murder in Danbury. 80 pgs. 2009 JAN (v02. Pittsburgh Mafia Membership Chart. 2010 APR (v03. Pt. 2. Kansas City Mafia Membership Chart. 1. 56 pgs. Cleveland Membership Chart. 56 pgs. Winkeler and Moran. 48 pgs. Gambino Membership Chart. Eastern State Penitentiary.n01) Martyr.com/Informer%20Journal) . Chicago Outfit Membership Chart. . OCT 2010 OCT (2010-01) Al Capone in Philadelphia. New Orleans and Dallas Charts. 1891 Lynchings. 2010 JUL (v03. The Masserias of Cleveland. Early New Orleans Gang War. 48 pgs. Capone's Triggerman Kills Michigan Cop. Bonanno Membership Chart.magcloud. 2009 OCT (v02. Print format issues can be purchased online through the MagCloud service ( informer. All electronic format issues are available through the http://www. Nemesis of Counterfeiters William Flynn.n01) The Mob's Worst Year. 56 pgs. First Dinner with Mickey Cohen.com ).scribd. 2009 JUL (v02. Jack Ruby in Cuba. Pt. Buccellato’s Bushwick Crew.Back issues of Informer remain available in print and electronic formats.
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