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The Gangster Original

Before O.G.'s, there was The Gangster Original

A Revelation of The Family's Most Well-Kept Secret

 

"We got balls and brains; you got those, you don't need an army."  -Arnold Rothstein

©2012-2014 

The Gangster Original's true story is more dramatic than most well-plotted novels. Packed with rich and referenced historical information opening one's eyes up to a world rarely seen before. His biographical blue print, even his mere familial existence, was unearthed reviving long lost and forgotten family documents, news articles, archives, and trial transcripts.

by John "Johnny Boy Shields" Scillitani. Thanks to Gerry "Gerry The Martyr Shields" Scillitani and Al "Fast Freddy Shields"  Scillitani. Special Thanks to my "Across the Pond" friend and brilliant true crime researcher/writer Steve Turner. If you Have Any Comments or Suggestions Feel Free to Contact us at:  johnscillitani@yahoo.com

Oresto Shillitoni
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Signed as "John Shillitani"

Gangster Original - Oresto Shillitoni

Table of Contents

Preface -The Genie-ology of Things

1) Gangster Original - His Date with Destiny

2) Blood is Thicker Than Water - Getting Deep Inside The Boot

3) The Journey to America - Rough Seas Ahead, But the Streets are lined with Gold

4) The Madness on Mulberry Street - That's Not Gold. It's Horse S...

5) 100% Certified Gangster - House of Refuge, First Stay at Sing Sing

6) The Streets, The Gangs, The Rackets, The Family - Making Money 1910s Gangster Style

(a) America's First Prohibition - Narcotics

7) Grand Opening Night - It opens with a Bang

8) Gangster Rules of The Street - Rule #1 R-E-S-P-E-C-T

9) Piecing Together Who Dunnit - See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak Not-a-Thing

10) Manhunt Shuts Down New York City - Extra Extra - Read All About It!

11) The Clean Get Away - 100 Year Old Mystery Solved ?

12) Fugitive Negotiations - We're Doing it Our Way

13) The 'Turning In' Ceremony - Family Re-Union...at Police Headquarters

14) The Tombs & The House of Detention - Witnesses Terrified

15) Witness Intimidation - I'm Not Sure What I Saw?

16) Trial for Life - Orchestrated by The Fine Italian Hand

17) The Verdict - Laughing in the Face of Death

18) Home Sweet Home The Death House at Sing Sing, Prison

19) The Appeal of Corruption - Poisoning the Wells of Justice

20) The Camorra - Who & What are They?

21) Struggle for Life - Last Ditch Effort to Save The Kid

22) No Hope...Then there's Always Insanity

23) Gangster Original Escapes - Wearing only his gun

24) Final Words at the Final Dance - Life ends in a Single Poof

25) The Aftermath and Prison Reform - Silver Lining

Epilogue: United and Bound by Blood - The Family Scillitano

 

Author's Note:
The intent of this story is not to glorify crime, murder, or the life of a gangster. It is merely to present facts of a little known, unique, and true crime story. In the majority of instances, citations are utilized to verify the facts. Throughout the process, there were circumstances where one or more sources provided conflicting information. The big events in The Kid's life, like the shooting had many versions of the same event. Some versions were similar, some not. In these cases, the account most logical, taking into account timeliness of the source, the accuracy of reporting, and analysis of circumstantial evidence was utilized. In some instances, family stories were passed down. Any speculation will be indicated by in text by words or phrases such as "likely" or "it stands to reason" et al. If information was unavailable and necessary to connect points in his life story, research was performed as to the norms and commonly accepted methods or practices were explained. Words and phrases such as "customary" or "common practice" will indicate such passages. On rare occasion thoughts of family members will be expressed. These are not recorded. Oresto died almost 100 years ago and no one living can dictate his thoughts not previously recorded. I have taken that liberty, as I can confidently theorize knowing the family's well ingrained mind-set and thoughts on many issues. The events, details, people, and crimes are real and well researched. One last thing...I apologize for rough spots, new information is continually added and revised, and certain parts may not be polished. Though the Gangster Original went by many names, we'll call him "Gangster Original", Oresto, or The Kid, for simplicity's sake.

Hear What Mayor Fiorello La Guardia has to say About Gangster Original and His Family

Click Here
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Hear Mayor LaGuardia


Mayor Fiorello La Guardia, Talk to the People Radio Show,
Jan 28, 1945

Hear One of The Most Popular Mayor's in The History of New York City

Speak About The Gangster Original, His Two Brothers

...and His Fine Family...The Shillitanis


 
 
 
Resume of The Gangster Original - Oreste Scillitano

AKAs: Oresto Shillitoni, Harry Shields, Oresto Shillitani, John Shillitani, Oresto Shieldiana, Oresto Shieldiani, Oresto Shieldianna, Oresto Sciallentano.

OCT 22, 1890: Gangster Original born, His Original Family Name: Oreste Scillitano, Foggia, Italy [Aged 14 on OCT 22, 1904 Inmate Case History, New York House of Refuge #29968] [Ellis Island SS California Manifest, 12/3/1895]

DEC 03, 1895: Gangster Original aboard the SS California Arrives at Ellis Island as Oreste Sullitone [Ellis Island SS California Manifest, 12/3/1895]

JAN 09, 1903: Received. Catholic Protectory. [List of Boys received from OCT 1, 1902 - OCT 1, 1903; 41st Annual Report of The New York Catholic Protectory]

cJUL 01, 1904: Released. Catholic Protectory. [Inmate Case History, New York House of Refuge #29968]

OCT 26, 1904: Received. Term: 29 Months. NY House of Refuge [Inmate Admissions Log, New York House of Refuge #29968] "He (Oresto) has been arrested twice before and was a year and a half in the Catholic Protectory coming out three or four months age." [Inmate Case History, New York House of Refuge #29968][1905 NY Census, June 1, 1905]

MAR 01, 1907: Paroled. From the House of Refuge to Father at 241 Mulberry St. [Register of Discharges, New York House of Refuge #29968]

JAN 29, 1909: Arrested Grand Larceny. [Brooklyn Daily Eagle, June 14, 1913]

MAR 29, 1909: Sentenced. Term: 3yrs 6mths. Rec. Stolen Property. Grand Larceny. Arrested Jan 29, 1909. (18 yrs old) [Admissions Register, Sing Sing Prison #59254]

MAY 08, 1909: Received. Sing Sing Prison. (18 yrs old) [Admissions Register, Sing Sing Prison #59254]

NOV 18, 1911: Paroled. Sing Sing Prison. (21 yrs old) [Parole Register, Sing Sing Prison #59254]

MAY 03, 1913Shillitoni Shoots Three Two Patrolmen and Gangster at 235 Mulberry Street (22 yrs old) [New York Times, May 4, 1913]

MAY 23, 1913: Indicted. Murder in The First Degree. [The People Against Oresto Shilitano. Case #1844. Court of General Sessions, City and Count of New York.]

JUN 14, 1913Shillitoni Arrested at 9:00am. Six week manhunt comes to an end.  (22 yrs old) [New York Times, June 15, 1913]

MAR 03, 1914Shillitoni Convicted Sentenced to Death, Sing Sing Prison, Triple Homicide including Two Police Officer (23 yrs old) [New York Times, March 3, 1914]

MAR 06, 1914: Received. Sing Sing Prison. Death House. (23 yrs old) [Receiving Blotter, Sing Sing Prison #64301]

MAY 09, 1916: Court of Appeals Affirms Conviction. Shillitoni will be executed. (25 yrs old)[The World News, May 10, 1916]

JUN 22, 1916Shillitoni Escapes Death House at New York's Sing Sing Prison (25 yrs old) [Prison Log of Inmate Escapes, Sing Sing Prison #64301] [New York Times, June 22, 1916]

JUN 29, 1916: James W. Osborne Implores Governor Charles S. Whitman by Telegram for Delay of Execution regarding Oresto Shillitani. [Executive Clemency Files, Sing Sing Prison, Western Union Telegram 12:22pm 5/29/1916] 

JUN 29, 1916: Governor Charles S. Whitman to Hon. James W. Osborne, I Decline to Interfere. [Executive Clemency Files, Sing Sing Prison, Western Union Telegram 5/29/1916] 

JUN 30, 1916Shillitoni Dies on The Chair at 6:01am. Sing Sing Prison. (25 yrs old) Quadruple Homicide including One Prison Guard, Two Police Officers, one Gangster 6/30/1916 [Inmate Case File, Sing Sing Prison #64301]

JUL 02, 1916: Oreste Scillitano Cremated. Fresh Pond Crematory and Columbarium Middle Village Queens County New York, USA. Find A Grave Memorial# 117966977


Teddy Roosevelt, NYC Police Commissioner
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300 Mulberry Street

Gangster Original

Preface - Genie-ology

Strolling along the shores of our ancestry, we stumbled upon a bottle buried in the sands of time. While dusting off it's surface, a great genie appeared, showing us things about our family that we could have never imagined. A black sheep in the family may have been expected, but the dark world our ancestors were fully a part of, was beyond belief. What and how we thought about our family, and how we thought about ourselves, changed forever. And so, the bottle has been opened and the smoke has cleared. It's well guarded secrets, almost a century old, are out, and can now be passed on to you.

Not only is this story a significant piece of familial history, it chronicles an unknown and extraordinary Gangster, in an unexplored time period in New York City's history. A time after the great five points gangs and before the prohibition era mobsters that intoxicated the big apple. It is a stunning and ground breaking account of a one-of-a-kind gangster in a particularly crime-ridden and corrupt time in American history.

There has never been another time with such great access to history. The great information age is really upon us. The quantity and quality of the information available to anyone and everyone is utterly amazing. Search engines are the gateway to an abundance of islands rich with the fruits of information [addendum 1]. The low hanging fruit had given us just a taste of what was to come. The real treasures were buried on these islands. We had to dig, and dig, and keep digging to find: Surname Spelling discrepancies, Government Reports inside other Government Reports, Archives of Authorities and Acquaintances, and Addresses.

The ancestral map started at the very tip of the Italian boot. The original family name, 'Scillitano', was recorded in Palmi, Italy as far back as 1783 [addendum 2]. Upon arrival to Ellis Island, the US Bureau of Immigration recorded it as 'Sullitone' in 1895. And to the courts of New York, it was recorded as 'Shilitano' in "The People against 'Shilitano' " court transcripts. And as fate may have it, there appeared over ten different spellings recorded by various sources at various times. It was quite commonplace with Italian last names of the time. Any gangster appreciated the misspellings, and most likely helped the less detailed officer or reporter down the wrong path [addendum 3].

The journey became an obsession and  fully consuming. It was a blind dive into a different time and a different place. It was a time before television, and even before radios were in homes. Boys peddled the many newspapers of the day...hawking the latest stories in The New York Tribune, The New York Times, The New York Herald, The New York World and The Sun.

Steamships chugged across the Atlantic (1892-1910) bringing Italian Immigrants by the millions to the USA, packing them in like canned sardines shipped to New York City. This time period brought a psunami of Italian Immigrants to the USA escaping the years of oppression, devastation of earthquakes, and an economy that was starving Southern Italians to death.

New York City was unprepared for the wave of immigrants that was to over-whelm their fine Island. These poor, hard-working people not only couldn't speak English, but more than half couldn't read or write in their own language. The great majority of Southern Italians were forced to work for next to nothing and abandon their education before they reached the age of ten.

"There were more gangs in New York than at any other period in the history of the Metropolis"  -Herbert Asbury, Gangs of New York, re: c1910

A seeming inexhaustible supply a gangsters abounded in the big city. Two gangsters would go down, and before their funeral procession was over, three more would join up.

In the decade of the 1910s, the Mulberry District in New York City was an amazingly violent place with an ever mushrooming and thriving criminal element. The Mulberry District became the greatest breeding ground for the toughest and baddest criminals in the world. Italians, upon Italians, were crammed into this tiny section of the relatively small island of Manhattan.

Mulberry Street was where it all started. The very first family of the great Italian Immigration came to live on Mulberry Street. [The Sun, Dec 14, 1913]  In short time, Mulberry Street became the 'Avenue of The Stars' for gangsters. The biggest and most influential 'Who's Who' of Italian American Gangsters lived, worked, killed or got killed on Mulberry Street.

Mulberry Street wasn't just a home to gangsters, at 205 Mulberry Street, stood Mulberry Street Station, home to NYPDs 12th Precinct. Mulberry Station covered a very small geographic area with one of the highest concentrations of crime in the city of New York. While the majority of other precincts dealt mainly with vagrants, drunks, and prostitutes, the 12th Precinct had double the average percentage of Felonies at 10%, in a much smaller and concentrated area. Their job was one of the toughest in the world. They had to deal with the toughest and baddest men in the land, face to face, every single day. These guys were the most brave, hard-nosed patrolmen in all of New York City. [Annual Report of The Police Department of New York City, 1913]

Teddy Roosevelt was The 26th President of The United States, and a decorated war hero, enjoying tremendous accomplishment and success with almost all tasks put before him. A rare, self-admitted, unsuccessful venture, was as The Police Commissioner of New York City (1897). He was stationed in the heart of crime and corruption at 300 Mulberry Street...where he fully intended to crack down on crime and eliminate the gang activity. His quest to clean up Mulberry Street was one of the very few tasks in life, he was unable to conquer. The gangsters were always one or two steps ahead (mostly two) of the police and were under the covers and tucked in bed with the politicians. He lived by the motto "Speak softly and carry a big stick" which carried him through victory at war, and helped him build the Panama Canal. But 'sticks and stones' didn't work on Mulberry Street. [Zacks, Richard. Island of Vice. New York: Anchor Books, 2012]

New York City Police Department
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12th Precinct, 205 Mulberry St. 1905

Of Course, the most recent and famous address, was 247 Mulberry Street, headquarters to John Gotti and Gambino Crime Family. But John Gotti wasn't the only tough guy on Mulberry Street. Many other tough, hardened gangsters roamed the so-called 'Promised Land' throughout the great history of New York City. Just to name a few- Al Capone, Lucky Luciano, Ignazio 'The Wolf' Lupo, Guiseppe Morello, Guiseppe "the Boss" Masseria, Vito Genovese, Joseph Bonanno, Benjamin 'Bugsy' Siegel, Meyer Lansky, Dutch Schultz, and Frank Costello. Two long time, and popular Mafioso, made their homes on Mulberry Street. Aniello Dellacroce, Underboss in the Gambino Family lived at 232 Mulberry Street for over 45 years (1914-1960s), and Peter DeFeo, Capo in The Genovese Family, lived at 276 Mulberry (1930-?). [Ferrara, The Manhattan Mafia Guide, Charleston, SC: The History Press, 2011]
 
Before the Five Families, before La Cosa Nostra were Kings of N.Y., The Gangster Original and his Family came to America to live and own a piece of Mulberry Street. This section of the Mulberry District sat between Canal Street to East Houston Street has been called the 'Promised Land' of American Gangsters. It housed leaders of the toughest and most feared organizations in the U.S., The Neapolitan Camorra, The Sicilian Mafia and The Black Hand. The Gangster Original and his family owned many tenements side by side, one of which was right next door to 247 Mulberry Street, Sixty years before it was better known as the Gambino Family headquarters, known as the Ravenite Social Club (70's and 80's).
 
Even the self-proclaimed mobster expert, hasn't heard of this Mulberry Street Gangster. Wikipedia, which has otherwise done an outstanding job giving us information about everything and anything on the planet, missed this one. It is beyond the realm of possibility that a mobster, and his family, that dominated the card games, saloons, numbers, gun trade, bootleg wine, false docs, and counterfeiting in this section of Mulberry St. for so long (c.1904 - c.1918) would be unknown.

This is a ground-breaking account of an unknown gangster. A fascinating look into the underworld pre-commission (The Five Family, Italian American Mob) days. The goal is to offer this unique gangster's story to all. This one-of-a-kind gangster's story is uncovered for the first time. It is unique, rare, and untold...until now.

Walk in the footsteps in one of the baddest men to walk on the face of this planet- all 5 foot 1 3/4 inches of him. He was a prizefighter and an automatic pistol expert...with both hands.

This historical piece reveals a gripping saga of Murder and Mayhem on Mulberry Street. An astonishing true story unearthed reviving long lost and forgotten family photos, family archives, evidence, articles, and transcripts.


Sing Sing Mug Shot
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Oresto Schilitano (Lewis Lawes Collection)

Chapter 1: Gangster Original - His Date with Destiny

It is better to Die on your Feet, than Live on your Knees -Italian Proverb

It was a beautiful morning, June 30, 1916 in Westchester County, N.Y., perfect weather for today's activities. Legal particulars had postponed this magnanimous event one time after another. But not today. Today was different. Many ranking citizens got sick and tired of the red tape and the excuses. They wanted the show to go on. Brass decided it was time, time to draw the line. Today was happening, rain or shine, with special measures taken to make sure everything went according to plan.

This was a Special Invite Only event. New Yorkers travelled from different parts of the great state to witness this morning's activities. The Progressives, Reformers, Republicans, and Democrats attending this event, were all for once in agreement on an issue...approving of today's event. Only a few Reformers, not in attendance, were brave enough to write letters directly to the Governor to put a stop to this event. 

The attendees lined up with conviction and filed into a place that quickly became filled with a mostly standing crowd, clearly violating the posted maximum capacity in the process.

The crowd patiently waited in a reserved whisper for the main event. Silence was an essential requirement to commence the day's activities. Even the press had to pipe down to comply the venue's requirements.

Spectators had time to absorb the atmosphere while they painstakingly resisted fidgeting in their front row seats. All four walls were white with not much else displayed but a couple of signs with letters faded in many shades of red.

The only other fixture in the room was a chair sitting center stage. But this was no ordinary chair, it was the only one of it's kind in the State of New York. More unique and more costly than any King's gem crusted Throne. It was a wonder of it's time, built by two of America's most well-known and brilliant geniuses.

Though the chair was special, it was nothing special to look at. It felt awkward with nothing really to see and nothing really to say, yet most held a steady strength waiting for the staged experience.

The participants no idea what to expect. Things could get crazier then they hoped for. Crazier than even the specially sanctioned reinforcements could envision. After all, if things got out of control, it wouldn't be the first time the operators of today's event had their hands full with this headliner.

The monotony was getting to be unbearable. But just then, the venue's commander of security notified the crowd to quiet down. The attention of all in attendance now focused on the big red door to the right. The officer approached door, slowly unlocked it, and the men that were surrounding the door cautiously backed away.

It cracked opened and for a moment remained slightly ajar. Then the gates of hell burst opened, and the first of four mammoth men in his entourage marched into the room. Two preceded him, two followed, and his spiritual advisor was at his side.  [NY Evening Telegram, June 30, 1916] His mere presence sent shockwaves through the audience.

He was dressed to impress, a sharp dark suit made with the finest Italian threads, a crisp white collared button down shirt, and a tie made of the finest Italian silk. Special custom made slippers were the final touches for his wardrobe of the day.

The press had everyone in the room expecting a stark raving lunatic. Instead, they saw a man dressed like a movie star, marching calmly and peacefully to his destiny. His slicked back hair, suit, and tie all meticulously in place.
 
Most men that walked in his shoes, stumbled in neurotically repeating freshly memorized passages in incoherent mumblings. Others had to be lugged in with their knees buckled beneath them in a scientifically unexplainable narcotic-like stupor.
 
Not The Kid...The Kid entered the room like he was at a ball room dance with no fears, and no worries. A well composed man took strides before them, in a humbled, yet confident stride.
 
The State would be maintaining 1600 to 2000 volts until confirmation he broke the barrier into the other world.

The Event was made possible by two of the days most prominent inventors, and businessmen. Mr. Thomas Edison, and Mr. George Westinghouse. They were fierce adversaries until they decided to work together on this unique invention. They meticulously analyzed, experimented, and tested this technological wonder until it reached it's peak performance of today.

The Invention: The Electric Chair.

The Main Event: State Sponsored Death- By Electrocution

Today's Venue: The Death House Chambers, Sing Sing Prison, Ossining NY

The Subject of Today's Event: One Oreste Scillitano. Known as Oresto Schilitano in Sing Sing Prison, as Oresto Shilitano in the courts of New York, as Oresto Shillitoni by local NYC Police, Harry Shields by his friends, and "The Paper Box Kid" by those who feared him.

Ironically the two brilliant inventors brought light and enhanced the lives of millions, were the same two that worked together to bring death to societies most outcast members.

Most Republicans knew the Gangster Original was a prime example of the filthy scoundrels that plagued the neighborhoods of New York City. The great citizens of New York were up in arms regarding this fully engulfing nemesis. These fine citizens would no longer turn a blind eye to the wide-spread and repulsive infestation problem it now was faced with. The event leading to this occasion caused the NYC Police Commissioner to decry full-scale war against the gangster element, with the battleground all of the Burroughs in New York City.  This vermin is to be a prime example, and an example to all of his kind, that the time has come to completely exterminate this proud city of this rapidly spreading disease.

The Conservatives in the audience were indifferent to his tranquil persona. They were not fooled with what they saw before them, they knew what lurked behind this short-lived façade. He had to pay. And pay dearly for the ruthless and senseless crimes he committed against society. Paying with his life was the minimum acceptable punishment. Torture, prior to death, was far more appropriate for this kind of villain. He was fortunate, fortunate enough not to be subjected to the type of suffering he inflicted on others. His race, surely a primeval sub-human species- and devolved from some early form of primate. Capital punishment was the only option that justice could be served.

Democrats and Progressives normally sensitive and sympathetic to the usual collection of felonious hoodlums that the Gangster Original belonged to, had recently changed their sentiment to match that of the growing public outcry to put an end to the ever-growing senseless crimes committed on their streets. Their well established and publicly expressed beliefs were well forgotten when these heinous crimes hit home. Maybe, quite possibly, a slight remorse, but their underlying human primal need for revenge, also had higher convictions than their public stances on such issues. 

Reformers had a few leaders brave enough to swim against the tide of public sentiment, but the reformers in attendance remained subdued and silent. Quietly they must have questioned how the victim's fine, respectable, and charitable families could equate vengeance with justice? Only a few special people in this world have never thought of vengeance, but redemption was not in vengeance, redeption was in making good, specifically and to society as a whole. After-all to murder a murderer was committing the same act society was up in arms against in the first place. It was a mis-carriage of justice, and giving mankind an authority that should only belong to God. By most estimates, it cost more to execute than incarcerate, so those that gave expense as their cause for execution were in reality without reason.

Gangster Original fearlessly walked in stride towards the chair and nonchalantly sat down in it's ominous presence. He took the heat that came with the seat, casually, and even with a little panache. Many of his colleagues did not stand up to the heat as well, routinely broke down, and whimpered like lost, homesick puppies.
 
The large corn-fed escorts methodically and systematically strapped him belt by belt, strap by strap, and buckle by buckle. While another moved to stand behind the chair holding a leather mask. The men moved to his flanks and began strapping his limbs leaving a completely unobstructed view of the monster.
 
Mourners in the first row, sitting only 10 feet away, now face to face with the devil himself. No Glass...No Partition...and No Idea what they would witness once the show began. [Dash, Mike, Satan's Circus].
 
Ironically, the Warden allowed the condemned man to say his final words. In other high profile cases most Wardens opted to ban such person essays. 
 
All in the room were fully aware, this madman's words had the power to re-ignite a severe and deep mental anguish. They braced themselves for the very moment he opened his mouth.
 
Silence, was a hard and fast rule at the venue and restraint was necessary for them to remain in the chambers. They've waited years to witness this occasion and have been anxiously awaiting closure to move forward with their lives.
 
The Keeper on his right touched his arm signalling the OK to read his statement. [NY Evening Telegram, June 30, 1916] People in the crowd had to have winced as the first words rolled out of his mouth. The Kid's last words were-

"I am sorry, gentlemen, that unfortunate man died (referring to McCarthy). He grabbed my gun. I am innocent of the crime of which I am charged. My brains are not right...Goodbye and God Bless you All."  -Oresto Shillitani via The Springfield Daily News, June 30, 1916

Finished with his last word, The Kid settled in his seat and looked ready-to-go on his state sponsored trip into the unknown. The leather mask that contained slits for only his nostrils, was slipped over his face and attached to the back of the chair. The skullcap with another electrode was next placed atop his head, in a well-orchestrated succession. This man now slowly backed away, leaving the guest of infamy solo on center stage.

There was no escape, or attempt this time. From all appearances The Kid looked at peace with the process, and ready to meet his maker.

Gangster Original's calm demeanor and humble words put authorities at ease yet his unanticipated behavior and words brought on a creeping uneasiness amongst the crowd.

Where was the homicidal, crazed lunatic that was to enter the chambers? His presence contradicted all that was understood and known about the man. The fact he displayed some human-like qualities was just plain eerie to most in the crowd. This certainly could not be the monster that devastated victim's families and wreaked such havoc on the streets of New York. Or the Animal that had such little regard the lives of others. Or could it?

Dr. Squire, Head Physician at Sing Sing Prison, then stands next to the chair to signal the executioner that sits in a nearby booth. Dr. Squire waits until The Kid takes a breath out, so that when the current surges his lungs will collapse. This reduced the air inside his cavity lessening the chances of him producing a gruesome gasp. The Warden required Dr. Amos to perform this duty so as to diminish the horrifying effects on the crowd of the electrocution.

The time had finally come for mourning friends and families of the victims. They stood resolute in their conviction for vindication.

Dr. Squire waited for the right moment and then he gave the signal by ringing a bell, five in succession for stages of preparation and one final to throw the switch. The electrocutioner wearing a suit and polka dot bow tie, throws the long wooden lever on the wall.

At first jolt his body stiffened against the straps with full force as there was a loud crackling sound, followed by a hissing sound, and then a stunning blow to his upper body. A puff of smoke then appears from the top of his head. It was set at 1600 Volts. 

On his Skin, the electrodes reached temperatures upwards of 2000 degrees Fahrenheit. This was passing the melting point of the many metals. This intense voltage sears his flesh and drives up his body heat from 98.6 to 138 degrees.

Witnesses see the grotesque contortions of the limbs, and fingers. The eyes bulge out with the color brown as the red corpuscles are obliterated.

As the process goes on, a heart felt steady and deep, electrical hum goes through the very core of every living body in the room. The odor of burning flesh and singed hair permeates the air.  The stench in this small, over-crowded and poorly ventilated room could over-whelm even the toughest in the crowd. It wasn't hard to speculate that some became extremely nauseous and would need a breath of fresh air. [The Elkhart Truth, "Slayer of Guard is put to Death", June 30, 1916]

It took three strokes of the switch to stop the Kid’s heart. And that was at 1600 Volts, enough energy to light 640 light bulbs. Enough energy to turn good old Mr. Lincoln's head and the wheat on a penny's back to liquid.  [The Syracuse Herald, "Oresto Shillitani Walks Calmly to Chair in Sing Sing." June 30, 1916.]

The doctor checks him one final time and pronounces his dead.

"He played his last scene on earth before one of the largest audiences ever assembled in a Sing Sing Execution Chamber" - Chief Physician, Sing Sing Prison, Dr. Amos Squire

At 6:01am, on June 30, 1916. Oreste Scillitano aka "Harry Shields", aka "The Paper Kid" at the age of 25 years old, was officially pronounced dead by execution in The Death House Chamber at New York State’s Sing Sing Prison. [The Syracuse Herald, "Oresto Shillitani Walks Calmly to Chair in Sing Sing." June 30, 1916.][Inmate Case File, Sing Sing Prison #64301]

His Final request was to be cremated, insuring his blood line would come to an abrupt end. Never again would society or an immediate family member be subject to the moral deficiency that diseased his DNA.  [The New York Press, Saturday, July 1, 1916]


The Rock that Characterizes
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The Shores of Scilla, Italy

Chapter 2
Blood is Thicker Than Water - Deep in The Boot

The only Rock I Know that Stays Steady...is Family -Lee Iacocca

Some children don"t fall far from the family tree and some become a "product of their environment". Oresto was the quintessential product of both.

His pedigree was genuine pure breed gangster. Gangster blood flowed through his veins. Bred for crime. He was more than bad-to-the-bone...it was down to the marrow. He could scale fences. Sneak into windows. He had a marksmen shot. And he could throw a great punch and take one too. And from all accounts he was a natural gangster. A true Gangster Olympian.

Like his roots, Oresto was as solid as the rock his family emanated from. Sturdy, steadfast and unrelenting, like the Italian landscape of his childhood. Hardened and honed over time by the streets of New York City and the children's reformatories that were supposed to rehabilitate him.

And when the environment enhances one's natural abilities, a person becomes exceptional, in a league of their own. A real Gangster Original.

Scilla, Calabria, Italy
Climbing up Oresto's family tree, it was then, we find his original family name- Scillitano. Oreste Scillitano. Rarely and only early in his life, does that name appear. But this is the original unaltered, unmodified surname of The Gangster Original.

The etymology of the Scillitano family name has it's roots planted in a beautiful little town called Scilla. Scilla sits at the very tip of the boot in Southern Italy, in the Province of Reggio Calabria. The earliest traces of Oresto's family (as of today's date) go back to his Great Grandfather, Michelangelo Scillitano. Michelangelo was born 1783 in Palmi, Italy. Palmi's closest neighbor was the town of Scilla.   [Italia, Matrimoni index, Michelangelo Scillitano 07 Jun 1821. Marriage Cert.][addendum 2]

Scilla is a not only a beautiful town, but a strategically important place throughout ancient times. Most historians believe the town's name derived from the Phoenician word Skola (Rock). Named after the gigantic rock anchored on it's shores, over-looking the treacherous Messina Straits. [Italy City Guide, Scilla IT, In Italy Today]

Scylla The monster
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Scilla, Italy

Altough Oreste's origins are fully encompasssed in mythological lore, his life was very real and recorded in the annals of history. Orestes in greek mythology, son to Agamemnon, spent his early years in exile after his father was dishonored and slain. Orestes came back to avenge his Father's honor and killed the perpetuators of this great misdeed. But he was not rewarded for this act of bravery and honor, instead Mythological creatures had come to incessantly torment his mind.

Even ancient history contains a parallel bearing his name- Roman Augustus Orestes, because of his great expertise in battle, sat next to Attila the Hun in his court. But in the end, it was the defense of his family, that brought his life to execution and a swift end.

Like Oreste, the man himself, Scilla is shrouded with mystery and danger. Home of the notorious Mythological Greek Monster, Scylla, and the legendary evil sorceress, Fata Morgana, also known as Morgan le Fay.

According to Greek Mythology, Scylla was a beautiful girl, transformed by a wicked spell into a six-headed monster. Oresto was born a beautiful, and radiant child that quickly got transformed by the spell of his elements. [Harrison, Jane Ellen. Myths of the Odyssey in Art and Literature]

And like the Monster Scylla that devoured sea goers that were brave enough to pass the Messina straights, Oresto wiped out any man that was willing to cross him, or get in his way. 

According to legend, the evil sorceress Fata Morgana resided in the straights of Messina. She created the mirage of land ahead to lure sea goers to their death. The mirage Morgana created was of a great and glamorous life, being a big man in a big sea. Oresto, fell into the illusion of this myth, and it only led to his eventual death.

These ancient myths provide incredible parallels to Oresto, his family, and the gangster world they lived in.

Fata Morgana was the mirage, and Scylla lived on the Italian Peninsula side of the straight, while Charybdis lived on the Sicily side. And to pass through this great, and very dangerous Italian waterway, one would have to steer clear of Scylla- "the rock" and Charybdis- "the hard place". To brave the straights was to "chase a dream" and wind up "between a rock and a hard place."

Whether you were a Sicilian Gangster (Charybdis), an Italian Mainland Gangster (Scylla), or just passing through their worlds, it was a treacherous and dangerous place to be. If one monster didn't get you...the other would...and being in the middle...well...one could just sucked in, and wind up in the abyss of darkness.

This mythology carried it's parallels well into our past. The Beauty of the Italian coastline was all around our ancestors, but like Scylla the monster, a wicked spell would soon come to take this all away. In the same year of Michelangelo Scillitano's birth in 1783, One of the most devastating Earthquakes the world has ever seen, struck Scilla and the Calabrian Province. The subsequent Psunami, completely leveled the town of Scilla, and severely damaged most of the Province of Reggio Calabria.

There were a series of Five Earthquakes within two months that started with a magnitude 7.0, and four after all with magnitudes greater than 5.9. Major damage was inflicted on the town after the first earthquake, most remaining survivors parked themselves on the beach to get away from their damaged homes. The following day, a large psunami over-whelmed the scillese citizens and in a matter of minutes, took over 50% of it's residents. Death and devastation came to this once beautiful town. [Maramai, A., Graziani, L. & Tinti, S. 2006. A revision of the 1783–1784 Calabrian Earthquake.]

With baby Michelangelo only a matter of a few months old, the family fled this area of heartbreak and death, and headed to a new beginning and a new life. Their trail of documents would show they would leave Palmi for good, never to return. During this time period there were no planes, trains, or automobiles. The most likely way of travel was by mule or donkey. Father, Mother with baby Michelangelo in hand, had to have travelled by way of the donkey, a long, painstaking 470km (almost 300 miles) journey, that went through lands of rogue bandits and rugged terrain.

Their final destination was Foggia, a strategically located city on the east coast of Italy, in province of Puglia. (as noted by his brother's birth in 1786, Foggia, Puglia, Italy).

The Scillitano family tree was planted and had grown in fertile soil along the Italian shores, but the most hostile of hostile of environments, would shake, bend and strip their tree of all it's fruit. The tree bent but never broke. The thickness of the Scillitano blood was able to withstand even the strongest attacks the ocean waters had to offer. Most friends, family, and enterprise, were washed away, back into the oceans where the origins of life once began.

Corso Vittorio Emanuele
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The City of Foggia c1900

Foggia, Foggia, Italy (late 1800s)
Foggia, the city, is the capital of the province of the same name. According to the Handbook for Travelers in 1896, Foggia was a clean town with approximately 40,300 inhabitants.

Looking out from the train station, to the left you would see houses of the town, the Giardino Pubblico, and beautiful Botanical Gardens in the background.  The main street was Corso Vittorio Emanuele pictured right. People were everywhere, and shops abounded. As you walk into town, monuments and busts of local heroes could be seen from any point of view.

Further down the Corso Vittorio Emanuele, was the older part of town, where a magnificent fountain was centered, Pozzo dell' Imperatore. The Piazza Frederico II and a Magnificent cathedral originally built by the Normans, that was re-constructed after the earthquake of 1731 destroyed it. [Baedeker, Karl. Handbook for Travellers, Southern Italy. Baedeker Publisher, 1896]

The city of Foggia was a poor town, and a congested town, but the people had a healthy pride in the way it looked...and it showed.

The Kid, his Dad, Mom, and Brother were all born in the city of Foggia. [Italia, Nati e Battesimi, 1806-1900 index] They were city dwellers from birth, and while they didn't endure the burdens of life on the farm, the city had a completely different set of problems.

Oresto's Father was born "Michele Scillitani" on Nov 24, 1855, [Italia, Nati e Battesimi, 1806-1900 index] and a shoemaker by recorded trade [Ellis Island Manifest, Dec 3, 1895]

His Mother, was born "Angiola Verzicco" on Feb 23, 1861. [Italia, Nati e Battesimi, 1806-1900 index].

Records of Baptism do not exist in Foggia, for either his brother Giovanbatista, or himself Oreste. Along with these lack of documents in the archives, is the marriage of Michele and Angelina (Angiola). My best by hypothesis given the facts, would be that Michele and Angelina were not married when they had both Giovanbatista and Oreste.  The church would not have been able to baptize out-of-wedlock children, and thus no record exists.

But alas, the great age of information has provided other sources to obtain their birth dates. The birth date for GiovanBatista is June 1, 1883 [WWII Draft Registration Card], and for Oreste, Oct 22, 1890 [NY House of Refuge, Inmate Case File].

Oresto even at only 4 years old would have tried to help his father make shoes. Michele, as most Italian fathers did, enlisted the help of his children in his trade. The Kid, like most boys his age in Italy, were strong of mind, and endless in energy. Since the day he was born, The Kid lived in desperate times. These times left most Southern Italian boys extremely independent, and cool as a cucumber in the face adversity.  

The Environment

An Earthquake Achieves what the Laws Promise, yet Do Not Deliver - Equality to All Men -Silone

By the time the Scillitano Family made their life altering decision to leave their homeland in 1895, it would be almost two thousand years since Rome (Italy) was at the height of it's glory.

Since the death of the final emperor of Rome in 511 AD, Italy was conquered, defeated, and enslaved by a one foreign occupying force after another.

Timeline for The Leadership of The Kingdom Of Naples
In 536 AD - The Byzantines would seize and capture Naples.
In 542 AD - The Goths would defeat The Byzantines for control of Naples.
In 615 AD - The Rebellion against the Goths began.
700-1100 AD - Southern was under partial control of many different Empires
In 1139 AD - The French Normans would over-take Naples.
In 1194 AD - The Germanic Swabians seized and captured Naples.
In 1266 AD - The French Royal House of Anjou would defeat The Swabians, and rule Naples.
In 1442 AD - The Spanish Royal House of Aragon seized control and ruled Naples.
In 1495 AD - The French Seized Control of Naples.
In 1503 AD - The Spanish were handed over the reigns of Southern Italy
In 1647 AD - The Citizens of Naples rebelled and took control of Naples
In 1650 AD - The Spanish took back control of Naples
In 1707 AD - The Austrians conquered Naples.
In 1734 AD - The French Charles of Bourbon was declared King.
In 1806 AD - Napoleon grants The Kingdom of Naples to his Brother Joseph.
In 1816 AD - Naples is declared capital of the Kingdom of Two Sicilies.
In 1820 AD - The Revolution of July commences.
In 1848 AD - The Revolutionary movement produces a constitution and parliament.
In 1849 AD - The parliament collapses.
In 1850 AD - The last of the Kings of Two Sicilies rules until 1859
In 1860 AD - A new constitution is drafted. Italy begins it's reunification.
In 1861 AD - Garibaldi rides into town in 1861. And takes control of Italy. 
In 1870 AD - Revolt from the South begins. North vs South on policy and economics. Many people rejoice and many still revolt. People from the countryside and the South of Italy strongly feel the Unification greatly helps their countrymen from the cities in the North and does little to help the plight of the citizens in the southern parts of Italy.

In addition to the successive government changes and invasions many other influences were tremendously negatively impacting the Southern Italians way of life.

Timeline of The Southern Italians Natural and Man-Made Catastrophes
 79 BC - Mount Vesuvius erupts and buries the towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum.
1349 AD - Earthquake of Large proportion crumbles cities surrounding Naples.
1631 AD - Mount Vesuvius erupts once again wreaking havoc on surrounding cities.
1656 AD - The Black Plague infects approximately 1/3 of the population in Southern Italy.
1659 AD - Earthquake of Large proportion crumbles cities in Italy.
1669 AD - Mount Etna Erupts killing 15,000
1693 AD - Earthquake Magnitude 7.5 killing 60,000 in Sicily.
1693 AD - Mount Etna Erupts
1706 AD - Violent Earthquake kills 15,000
1759 AD - Mount Vesuvius Erupts
1783 AD - One of the world's most destructive earthquakes ever recorded
1834 AD - Mount Vesuvius Erupts once again.
1857 AD - Earthquake in Naples 6.9 magnitude. 11, 000 dead.
1872 AD - Mount Vesuvius rears it's ugly head once again.
1883 AD - Volcano Epomeo erupts on an island off of Naples
1908 AD - Earthquake in Messina 80,000 dead
1917 AD - WWI
1942 AD - WWII; Foggia absorbed a total of 9 air raids from allied forces. The bombardment wreaked major destruction to the city and caused over 20,000 civilian deaths. Turin, Genoa, Milan, Naples, Taranto and Rome were also Allied targets from the air. While the Germans bombed Palermo and other Italian cities. Even Vatican City couldn't escape the bombing from both the Allies and the Axis.

These lists are not presented as brief lessons in Southern Italian history, they are more-over a chronologically documented series of misfortunes that stretched through an amazing amount of time. This type of misfortune, for this length of time, seemed a statistical impossibility. Even greats Leonardo da Vinci,  Galileo, and Fibonacci wouldn't have been able to put a probability on such traumatic events.

Nero and the Devil himself couldn't have dreamt up a more nefarious list of hardships for a people to endure.  Under Bourbon Rule, the regimes were extremely brutal, and "free thinkers" were commonly executed publicly. Soon after the arrival of the family to Foggia, in 1793, in close by Naples, 120 Professors, Physicians, and Priests were executed in the public square at the whim of Ferdinand I. [Train, Arthur. Courts, Criminals, and The Camorra]

Invasion after invasion, at it's best, Southern Italians could only hope for an incapable or incompetent man, in a King's costume. At it's worst...a man would come wearing a suit of armor, imposing his brutal and oppressive dictatorship on the will of the people.

In the early to mid 1800's Italy was divided up into eight separate and autonomous states. Seven of which were ruled by a foreign land. All Italians would wish for a unified country, under self-rule, with the possibility of getting back to the glory of the Holy Roman Empire. [Mangione & Morreale, La Storia]

Ah, but alas, in 1861, Garibaldi, their Italian Knight in shining Armor would come riding into town and liberate Italy, from the Bourbon Tyranny.  Garibaldi with an all volunteer army, would drive away the Bourbons for good, and open the pathway to independence. Italy would unify, all the states coming together under only one king.

Only 2.5% of the entire population spoke the same form of the Italian Language. Most spoke a mixed tongue of the occupying forces. Tremendous communication barriers would block any smooth transition into the great Italian Unification.  [Mangione & Morreale, La Storia]

In 1871, Rome was made the capital of Italy. Because the Catholic Church had lost control of Rome, The Pope decreed that the new government and state was an invalid. The Roman Catholic Church had ordered Italians not to vote for government figures. The lack of support from the church was a major weakness for the government in Rome.

Italy was a poor country, in utter chaos from 1870-1880. It had large debt, few natural resources, and almost no transportation or industries. Southern Italy had the had the additional burdens of extreme poverty, illiteracy, and an uneven tax structure.  During the 1880s the Nationalist Movement started developing among the city workers. There huge differences in the distribution of wealth between the impoverished of rural south, and the wealthy industrialized north.

In 1892, another hero would come riding into town, to free the Italian people from depression and their troubles. The First Prime Minister of Italy, Giovanni Giolitti, was chosen to harmonize a country in utter turmoil.  The Prime Minister's tenure would last only 1 year before the collapse of his office. Only a small fraction of Italians had voting rights, voter fraud and corruption was a widespread epidemic.

The chaos affected everyone, even the royal family was not safe. In 1900, King Umberto I, King of Italy was assassinated by 'anarchist' Gaetano Bresci that allegedly had contacts in Paterson, New Jersey. Giolitti was said to have mastered skills from the mob, bribing, coercing and manipulating the government officials.

Northern Italy enjoyed their the Italian Government's heavy involvement in larger industries and businesses. Large investments from countries like France, Britain and Germany would only go into Northern Italy, while their southern Italian compatriots remained isolated, ignored, and undeveloped.

The government could not solve the problems of Southern Italy.  Political In-fighting on what, when, and  if changes are to be brought forth for the people of Southern Italy never resulted in any help. Any proposal for changes were never passed through as legislation.

So you see, it was a natural thing for Southern Italians to have faith in neither the government, nor it's laws. There were many stories, fables, and parables that beg the listener to follow God's Laws and not trust those imposed by any government. These stories were told over and over in the barber shops, grocery stores, tailor shops, and pharmacies. Anywhere and everywhere men, women or children were to gather and chat. A short edited version of one, is as follows:

There once was a Holy Friar, that was such a good and saintly man even the wildest of animals licked his feet. One day, he heard two voices arguing in the forest, shots were fired, one lay on the ground, and the other galloped away with fury towards the city. The Friar closed the victim's eyes, and resolved to go into the city and denounce the assassin.

On the way, he met a Rabbit. The rabbit said, "Be Careful you might be on the way to denounce your benefactor." The Friar replied, "I don't care."

The friar went forward and met an old dog, "Oh, destroy the thought holy brother. Don't you know he has more gold pieces than you have hair on your head? He will corrupt justice, buy it, and imprison you for false testimony!" To which the Friar replied, "I must do what I must."

The friar went forward, and met a lamb that said, "Leave it to God. You can't interfere with his will." The friar paid no attention and trudged on towards the city. 

At the gates of the city, stood a statue with a horn. The statue had moved to blow it's horn, and the Friar interrupted, "Am I an enemy, that you are about to blow your horn?" to which the statue replies, "Why have you not listened to the animals? Know this, you scoundrel, that young man you want to denounce, will in time, become a great saint and leave all his riches to the poor of God."

The Holy Brother thought and thought at the gates of the city. The Friar turned around and headed back to his home. All the way back the rabbit, the dog, and the lamb would lick his feet in great merriment.

The moral of the story: Human Authority is the source of all Evil. [Mangione, Jerre & Morreale, Ben. La Storia, New York, NY: HarperCollins, 1993] Hence, over hundreds, perhaps thousands of years, an inherent, instinctual distrust of the government, it's laws, and it's  enforcement was ingrained in almost every Southern Italian Family.

In addition to the political troubles of Southern Italy, quakes and volcanic eruptions further devastated the area. Great Earthquakes of 7.9 hit Calabria in 1905 and 7.1 hit Messina in 1908. The Messina quake killed over 70,000 people and leveled 90% of the structures in Messina. This 1908 quake caused a great psunami that further destroyed beach fronts. Mount Edna and Mount Vesuvius were also very active 1862-1908 spewing ash and frightening residents and visitors alike.

The poverty, illiteracy, and lack of the ability to compete with the heavily industrialized North left many Southern Italians hungry and destitute.

The Obvious Choice for Millions of Southern Italians
Most Italians choose to leave everything behind and endure a rough journey into unknown fate. They could only hope and pray for a good job in the U.S. and provide for their families. At first, most Italian Families would send the able adult males (Michele and Giovanbatista) to make some money in the US, and send it back home to the others.

But Michele and Angelina decided to bring the whole family and leave their roots and most their belongings behind. [Ellis Island Manifest, Dec 3, 1895] The dire situation at home (Italy) the Economic recession/depression, political turmoil, and Natural disasters that plagued Italy for decades, undoubtedly erased all hope and any idea of leaving anybody behind.

They like most emigrating Italians, had to over-come the language differences and illiteracy. Barriers brought on by their foreign conquerors and an economy that forced young children to fore-go their education for work.

With no obvious chance of progress, the family along with millions of other Southern Italians emigrated to the United States.


Boat to Ellis Island
Boat-to-ellis-island-web.jpg
A Long Rough Ride

Chapter 3 
The Journey To America - ROUGH SEAs AHEAD...But the Streets are Lined with Gold.
"St. Joseph protect me...We beg You...to look with your loving eye, and the power and help to us and our Brethren" -A blessing given to those departing Italy
Although many accounts vary, estimates are that over 4,000,000 people emigrated from Italy to the United States during the time period from 1860-1920 [The Arrival, Library of Congress]. For most Southern Italians the trip to America was beyond question and became a necessity.

Steerage tickets were sold without space reservations, obtaining a ticket was easy. Freelance ticket agents traveled through parts of Europe, moving from village to village, selling tickets. Michele most surely secured tickets before the families long journey to America. Passports were not needed. It was only after 1900, that immigrants had to secure a passport from officials in their home country.

Like most citizens travelling from Foggia to America, they likely began their journey at the Foggia Railway Station (built 1864) and used the newly opened (1886) Foggia-Naples line of the Adriatic Railway to travel to Naples, the family's port of departure. (as Ellis Island Manifest in 1895 indicated).

Once they arrived at the Naples Railway Station, they checked in with their cruise line, and the whole family submitted to it's first set of Medical Examinations. Steamship lines at the time were held accountable for medical examinations before departure. [American Family Immigration History Center at the Ellis Island Immigration]

Next they submitted to a Disinfection process, in which they were sprayed like an unwanted insect with a foul liquid all over their bodies and belongings (4 pieces of luggage were recorded on their Ellis Island manifest). And any necessary vaccinations required, were performed at the ports. [American Family Immigration History Center at the Ellis Island Immigration]

Before they departed Naples, laws enacted in 1893 dictated they had to answer 31 questions that were recorded on the manifest list.  [American Family Immigration History Center at the Ellis Island Immigration]

Some of the questions included, among others: name, age, sex, marital status, occupation, nationality, ability to read or write, race, physical and mental health, last residence, and the name and address of the nearest relative or friend in the immigrant’s country of origin. They were asked whether they had at least $25; whether they had ever been in prison, an almshouse, or an institution; or if they were polygamists or anarchists.

Finally, with all questions answered, medical exams completed, vaccinations still stinging and disinfectant still stinking, they were herded off to their temporary accommodations before the ship was to depart. (Train schedules were not coordinated with sailing dates. The wait typically took several days.)

The day has come for departure. The Scillitano Family enters the port. They sit and wait....and wait...and wait. Nuns were commonly seen handing prayer cards to all, wishing them well on their journey. The card read: (translated)

"I am leaving my homeland, St. Joseph protect me. To you, O' blessed St. Joseph, we descendants of the great people who formed the Kingdom of Two Sicilies, placed in a time of great tribulation, faithfully run to You and your blessed wife, the Virgin Mary, to seek your aid...For the Fatherly love that you gave to the Child Jesus, We beg You...to look with your loving eye, and the power and help to us and our brethren who have been forced to emigrate from our country." [Scarpaci, The Journey of the Italians in America]

Many mothers rocked with a steady, shaking intensity, while tightly gripping the prayer cards. Whispering the words of faith with an unrelenting and repetitive fervor. Suddenly the ship's booming stack blows, drowning the eery concert of whispering prayers. the apprehensive crowd were almost jolted right out out of their seats. But now, the time is here, time to leave their fears behind, and look forward to the fate that awaits them. Both anxiety and excitement moves the crowd, as they are herded down to the pier and across the gang plank. The Scillitano family, Michele, Angelina, Giovan Batista, and Oresto would now embark on their journey to the new world aboard the The California. [See Addendum 4][Ellis Island Ship Manifest, Dec 3, 1895]   

They walked past the tiny deck space, squeezed past the ship’s machinery, and cautiously walk down steep stairways into the enclosed lower decks. They are directed towards the 'aft' or rear of the ship (as the manifest in 1895 indicated).

Seating was unassigned, passengers sat in a chaotic order, within the jammed packed steerage compartment. A passengers only access to water, was cups of water or tea served, and the ocean itself.  Even their dead, native fish friends, the Sardines, were shipped to America packed nicely and neatly... in water.

The food was atrocious, a taste some said was worse than mud, served in an area filled with the stench of filth, sewage, and sea sickness. 

During the course of any voyage, there was a great likelihood the ship would encounter a storm or very rough seas. Panic would run through the passengers in steerage, especially those whom had never travelled by ship before. Waves would move the ship around as if it were a toy, while mothers grabbed their children for dear life. All would sit eerily silent and too frightened to even cry. [Hopkins, Shutting out the Sky]

The ride was a long and arduous one. From Naples to New York the ships typically took anywhere from two to three weeks over rough seas. They arrived at the entrance of the lower bay of New York harbor on December 3, 1895. [Ellis Island Ship Manifest, Sullitone] Each and every passenger had the same first destination, Ellis Island (Since 1892).

Medical inspectors boarded incoming ships in the quarantine area at the entrance of the lower bay. The quarantine examination was conducted aboard ship and reserved for first and second-class cabin passengers only. Third class and steerage passengers stood by, while their higher paying shipmates got examined, allowing them to by-pass the Ellis Island chaotic process. (U.S. citizens were exempt from the examination) [Hopkins, Shutting out the Sky]

After the visiting medical inspectors climbed down ladders to their waiting cutter, the ship would finally move north through the Narrows leading to Upper New York Bay and into the harbor.

As the voyage approached it's destination, Oresto could not have have missed the beauty of the Statue of Liberty standing proud in her harbor. This is about the time when most passengers exude excitement and relief, relief their over-whelming journey has ended safely. The emotions would gradually rise as they approached New York Harbor. Oresto had to be in awe as the ship's course gave him an up close view of this towering beauty. Within a shadow of the Lady of Liberty, Oresto would have clearly seen a huge fortress, cross between penitentiary and castle. It was the new immigrant processing center on Ellis Island. Immediately stories began amongst the passengers foretelling of streets paved with Gold in the United States and the great fortunes that would be bestowed upon all those aboard. [Hopkins, Shutting out the Sky]

Ellis Island Regisry Hall
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Steerage, Third Class Pssengers

Ellis Island was a new federally operated facility in 1892. The facility was built almost entirely on landfill with the land displaced from the construction of the New York Subways.  Prior to the opening of the new facility, each state processed immigrants through their own individual operation. Many immigrants entered America through the Port of New York, in the District of the City of New York.

On January 1, 1892, Ellis Island began processing immigrants, and from 1892 to 1954 it processed over 12 million immigrants. Over 4 million were Italian immigrants, mainly from Southern Italy. Today, Americans of Italian ancestry are the nation's fifth-largest ethnic group. [The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, EllisIsland.org]

Ellis Island would process as much as 2200 immigrants in a day. First and second class passengers would disembark, pass through Customs at the piers, and were free to enter the United States without going through the process at Ellis Island.

Oresto, his family, and the rest of the Steerage passengers, poured across the pier to a waiting area. Each member of the family wore a name tag with their manifest number written in large figures. They were assembled according to manifest numbers, and packed on the top decks of barges while their baggage was piled on the lower decks.

Once on the island, the inspection process took about three to five hours. The two US agencies present and responsible for the immigration process was the United States Public Health Service and The Bureau of Immigration. The US Public Health Service conducted the medical examinations almost immediately.

Interpreters led groups through the main doorway and directed them up a steep stairway to a huge inspection hall with wall to wall iron railings. Then, herded like cattle to fill a seemingly never-ending maze of steel pipes. Doctors were stationed atop the stairwells observing everyone for any obvious signs of medical issues: signs of lameness, heavy breathing that might indicate a heart condition or “bewildered gazes” that might be symptomatic of a mental condition. [American Family Immigration History Center]

Once through the line, a doctor would examine them with the chalk of fate in hand.  A large white letter written in chalk on the immigrants shirt or jacket indicated a passenger needed examination. For suspected mental defects, an "X" was marked high on the front of the right shoulder; an "X" within a circle meant some definite symptom had been detected. A chalked "B" indicated possible back problems. "Pg" for pregnancy and "Sc" for a scalp infection. If an immigrant was marked, he or she continued with the process and then was directed to rooms set aside for further examination. On average approximately 20% of the passengers would have to be detained for further medical inspection. [American Family Immigration History Center]

Fellow "chalked" countrymen would pace around anxiously, with the devastating weight of deportation on their minds. Extreme tension was in the air during this inspection period.

Other physicians checked new arrivals for possible contagious diseases such as cholera, plague, smallpox, typhoid fever, yellow fever, scarlet fever, measles and diphtheria. These physicals included a painful check for trachoma—a contagious eye condition—in which the examiner used a buttonhook to turn an immigrant’s eyelid inside out. [History Channel, The History of Ellis Island, 2012]

Once stamped and approved with verified healthy condition, the Scillitano family was grouped in the main building’s registry room where they waited to present their papers. They approached the final gatekeeper to America. The “primary line” inspector was seated on a high stool with the ship’s manifest open on a desk in front of them. An interpreter stood by the family's side. This questioning was performed to verify the 31 items Michele and Angelina answered on the manifest before they departed Naples. [American Family Immigration History Center]

The “primary line” inspector took only about two minutes to decide whether each member of the family was able to land in America. They would verify age, marital status, financial situation, and employment prospects in an effort to cross-examine the information they’d provided at embarkation. It was a large room, crowded and noisy, easy for them to get confused during questioning.

The Bureau of Immigration's priority was to analyze each immigrant for the potential of becoming an illegal contract worker, or the probability of them being, or becoming a criminal. [The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, EllisIsland.org]

Each family member was cleared with the required verbiage at the time, “clearly and beyond a doubt entitled to land".

Landing cards were then pinned on each of their clothes. Next the moved to the Money Exchange. Here six cashiers exchanged gold, silver and paper money, from Italy for American dollars, based on the day’s official rates, which were posted on a blackboard. All that remained was to make arrangements for their trunks, which were stored in the Baggage Room.

With admittance cards and box lunches in hand, their journey to and through Ellis Island was complete. Now they would wait on the dock for the 1 mile ferry ride to Manhattan and a whole new world. 

A the docks, freelance entrepreneurs would solicit newly landed immigrants for an "orientation package" of services. They would offer a ride into the city, room, and board to those that have no one to help them.

Oresto and his family were not the first "Scillitanos" to land in New York. Michele's closest cousin had arrived in New York four years earlier [District of The City of New York, List of Passengers Manifest, Dec 15, 1891]. Michele's closest cousin (also named Michele) was sure to insist on greeting Oresto and the family at the dock in Manhattan.

With four passengers and four pieces of luggage, it would have been impossible for Michele's cousin to have picked them up with anything other than a horse and cart. The buildings were sky high, the bridges were immense, and there were trains over head. The uncontrolled circus of Mulberry Street had to be over whelming, with all it's vendors squawking amongst the colossal crowds.

The areas most Italians settled were in New York City's Lower East Side, and East Side of Harlem. Both were over-crowded, over-burdened, and in most cases filthy. The legend of gold lined streets faded rather quickly into the filth that covered nearly everything on the block.

Despite the horrendous living conditions many Italians went on to become tremendous contributors to society. Italians were fisherman, shoemakers, barbers, waiters, fruit merchants, and most of all builders. Many Italians went on to dug the tunnels, lay the railroad tracks, and construct the bridges, roads, and buildings that still stand today.

In fact a little known fact that most Americans don't know, was that a group of Italian Farmers introduced the culture of vine growing and use of silkworms, has amongst them an influential writer that became a close advisor to Thomas Jefferson. Filippo Mazzei was an avid political writer and a devotee to the American cause. In 1773, one of his political writings was as follows

"Tutti gli uomini sono per natura egualmente liberi e indipendenti." Which Jefferson had translated into english. "All men are by nature equally free and independent." [Eiseman, Alberta. From Many Lands,1970]

These were of course later echoed by Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence. Writers, Sculptors, Painters, Builders, Glass Blowers, Musicians and Farmers would go on to lend their Italian talents into the U.S. A legacy for their families to be proud of.

Oresto and his family had other things on their minds. They would go on to build a different kind of legacy, for their families.


Mulberry Street
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cicra 1900

Chapter 4 

The Madness on Mulberry Street: Little Italy, New York. That's Not Gold it's Horse...

"Slums are the most prolific breeding grounds for crime" -Dr. Amos Squire, Chief Physician, Sing Sing Prison
"If you lived on Mulberry street it was late to bed, early to rise" -unknown
New York City - The 14th Ward, 1900:
It was a dark, dirty, and dingy place, Tenement after dilapidated tenement lined both sides of Mulberry street. Clothes flapped in the wind, as they dried over the fire escapes and hung over their lines. People were hanging out of windows, speaking to others sitting on the stoops. Noise was everywhere. Horse driven carts carrying every type of basic produce known to man were moving up and down Mulberry Street. Men and women were walking and talking in every which direction. Children, lots and lots of children, raced through the streets, navigating their way through the carts and people with ease. The dirty part of Mulberry Street was plain to see, but the dark side permeated the air, and was physically tucked away in every alley along the street. Ripe with the ancient traditions of murder, mayhem, and larceny.
 
This downtown debauchery was in the cradle of hell that spawned many of America's most evil monsters, scamps and scoundrels.

You had to keep your head up and your chin high in this part of town. The people here can immediately see, smell and sense weakness in a man. A weakness that would be simultaneously and spontaneously exploited and could even get a man put out of existence. But...keeping your head up, could also get you stepping into another problem that plagued Mulberry Street...horse manure. It was everywhere. There were too many people and too many horses corralled all together in one congested place, all too tight a quarters, for any vendor to possibly clean up the mess. There was no city service at the time, that could come close to keeping up with the mess.

Winter time it would luckily bake it's way into the snow. But in summer time, it would dry up, flake, and with the winds blowing, would fly through the air like confetti thrown at a home-coming parade. [Mangione & Morreale, La Storia]

The Scillitano's were not in Foggia anymore. But looking past the filth and overcrowding, New York City had spectacles never seen before like the towering buildings that touched the sky.

Over half of all New Yorkers were considered poor and below the poverty level in 1900. Most were Italian immigrants and crammed into small sections of the city.

The Kid would hear a vendor there, "Razors, Scissors and knives to grind", ringing his bells. Then the Kid would look here- Another would be yanking the string on his bells, Ring, Ring, Ring and "Sharpen your knives here!"(rough translation). The Fish vender is pounding his forks and knives against pans, Bam, bam, bam, to announce the freshness of his fish. "Get your Fresh Fish...bring your pans...fill em up." (rough translation)

During the day, it was a non-stop rag tag orchestra of out of tune bells, playing non-stop to the enjoyment of all on Mulberry Street. A cacophony of unmelodious squawking from vendors only added to ambiance for the tenants of Mulberry Street.

The Kid wasn't the only one looking around with mixed feelings. Americans at the time looked at the Italian Immigrants with a wide variety of feelings. Big business, railroad companies, and construction companies welcomed the hard working cheap labor with open arms. The unskilled work force already working in America despised the new entrants. They saw their presence as competition for their jobs forcing them to work harder longer hours for less. City service workers were mainly well connected 2nd and 3rd generation immigrants that lost their compassion for the new immigrants and were to despise the additional work crowded streets brought to their employment.

To a majority of New Yorkers, Italian Immigrants were commonly portrayed as filthy, dumb animals. They symbolized a lowered standard of living for the working man and a increasingly violent city life.

Amongst every boat load of Italians was murderers, thiefs, gamblers, drunks, cripples, depraved human beings. Many a New Yorker would cringe at the sight of these ships entering the harbor.

These Americans wanted restrictions on mass migrations, others though it was great for America, yet others thought a little of both, but most Americans forgot about their origins and the trials and tribulations of their ancestors. Italians were different. They couldn't speak the language, they were smaller, darker, and had strange and superstitious behaviours.

The politicians playing both ends, allowing the mass migration to happen for the backing of big business' money, yet denouncing the immigrants over-whelming presence to maintain the common constituency. Limiting the immigrant access to jobs, benefits, also part of the political plan.

The Market on Mulberry
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Mulberry Street

During the summer, the ice man's pitch was a welcome song of sheer melody. "Heeeere comes The Ice Man. The Ice Man is Here. Hurry before the Ice is all gone!" (rough translation) Kids would follow him where ever he went, hoping, begging, and praying for a chip of ice to suck on.

Young girls would sell chewing gum, candy, drinking straws, zippers, and safety pins out of their younger siblings baby carriage. Sometimes, even with the baby in it.

New York City's heat and humidity soared to unbearable levels in the over-crowded and cramped quarters of tenements. Leaving the windows open was a necessity and many days it was unbearable even with all the windows open. Oresto would have to sleep out on the fire escape, or the roof, to avoid getting baked inside from the heat.

The kids would come in droves when the department of Sanitation opened the fire hydrants to flush the city gutters of garbage and horse manure. It was the only way for the tenement kids to cool down and escape the heat.  It was the unofficial public pool of Mulberry Street.

What they couldn't escape from, was waking up early. Before sunrise, tenants are woken up by the "clop clop" noises only a horse-drawn wagon can make. Milk vendors began squawking "Fresh Milk...wake up...it's time to get a 'Beee uuu ti full' bottle of fresh milk this morning".(rough translation) 

A chorus of crying babies quickly follows. Only for the cycle to begin over and over again, same time, same place, everyday single day. Getting a good nights sleep on Mulberry street, was not an option. Most stores stayed open well past 12 midnight, and the pool halls and saloons could be loud well past that. If you lived on Mulberry street it was late to bed, early to rise...every single day. And...once your up, you would get in line for the bathroom. Which by the time you got use, was a horrible stench (especially if Michele got their first). [Dad's 'first nose' account about going into the bathroom after Michele]

Most people in the Italian Colonies of Lower Manhattan(some reports say up to 85%), lived in tenements, there were also flophouses and boarding houses. Immigrants housed 2 to 3 times more people than the tenement was originally designed for. Typical tenements on Mulberry Street had four to six stories and had four units per floor. There was 1 Bathroom per floor that serviced from 18 to 24 tenants.

One would pay a premium for a front unit that has light from the sun. Some units also housed machines of the trade, such as sewing machines, tools, paper collar and flower machines, and cigar rolling machines.

Toilet paper was a luxury that mostly the middle class and upper income people used. Squares cut out of the morning newspaper made for great toilet paper after reading. Children commonly shared one bed, even four at a time. Bathtubs and toilets were later added to some units. Since the tenements were not designed for such things they may have been installed in the kitchen or a closet. Clothes lines didn't just hang clothes. They were used as dumb waiters to send up groceries or other items. They also were used to send messages to the ground floor or to a neighbor.

Much like the snow birds of today in America, the Italians thought of themselves as “Birds of Passage” not thinking their stay in America would be permanent. They stayed in deplorable living conditions, even while earning decent wages, so they could send money back to their families.

Many Italian mothers would wait a month or two past the delivery of their last child to begin working on the next one. In plain view for all to see, Mothers would be nursing their babies on tenement doorsteps just so they could get a breath of fresh air. Privacy and quiet time were not options on the streets of Little Italy.

Back alley craps games were common most hours of the day. Noisy pool halls, saloons, and cafes were open all hours of the night. The lights would be burning in Grocery stores and drug stores til mid-night or later.

At the time, Criminals out numbered Judges, Police, Lawyers and doctors combined 4:1.

But even amongst this extreme over-crowding, the Mulberry District was a gigantic Italian enclave teeming with a commercial and shop keeping community. Most people who lived on Mulberry Street, shopped right there on Mulberry Street. For the streets provided all the needs a family could possibly want. Fruits, food, razors, even puppies were right in front of you every day. Boarding Houses, tailors, undertakers, grocery stores, drug stores, florists, fruit emporiums plus many more vending carts selling everything under the sun. Shops would have cut outs of what they sold hanging somewhere outside there store, so that people who couldn't read would know what they sold. The Italian people were a hard working and enterprising people and could make do under any circumstances. 

Most people worked 12 hour days and had no choice and no overtime. Italian children may have started work as early as 5 years old. Young boys sold newspapers, cleaned chimneys, or polished shoes. The also worked in sweat shops that were make shift factory floors in tenements. Little girls sold candy, cigars, shoelaces, ribbons, and flowers out of the their younger brother or sisters baby carriage.

Madison Square Garden boasted Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, with genuine sharp shooting and trained horses. Most Kids went to Coney Island, The Zoo, or Central Park for fun. They also played checkers, kick the can, games with their pocket knifes, tiddlywinks and Parcheesi. Popular Sports to play by kids were baseball, stickball, and bowling. Horseless Carriages (Automobiles) had just come onto the scene. Most Italians had little or no use for them. They were expensive, They broke down all the time, and they couldn't make it up steep hill. They even struggled going up small hills. A horse was stronger and faster.

Italians were almost entirely of the Catholic religion. They adored the Virgin Mary and their Patron Saints. Churches with their adorning statues were commonplace in Little Italy and areas just to the north.

For Italians, family was the heart and soul of their lives in America. Literacy and language barriers prevented most Italian Immigrant parents from being able to communicate in America.

The children of the family had to become great communicators, translators, and workers. In America most would stay in school just long enough to get a grasp of the language. Italians were accustomed to working at an early age, and at the expense of their education became great builders of America.

Settling on Mulberry Street, Oresto's two younger brothers were just two of the millions of immigrant babies born in New York City during this time period. Saverio Scillitani (later known on the streets as "Sammy Shields") was born 03 Jan 1899. Alfredo Scillitani (later known Alfred Shillitani and "Freddy Shields") was born 27 Apr 1901.

It was said there were over 600,000 "Sons of Italy" in the colonies of New York (by 1913). There were more "Sons of Italy" in New York than in Rome itself. [The Sun, Dec 14, 1913].

Oresto and the family would come to own many properties on Mulberry Street. [addendum 5]

Kids on the Lower East Side
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Growing up way before their Time

Education: From Elementary...to The Elements

The schools in the Lower East Side of Manhattan were inundated with immigrants, with some having up to 50:1 teacher to student ratios. Most Italian children in New York had to overcome even larger barriers than ratios...they didn't understand or speak English.

The elementary school in the Kid's neighborhood was built to teach a maximum of 1000 children, but over 2000 children attended. The New York school system and the Teachers within, were in no way prepared for the psunami of immigrant kids that came to blanket the lower eastside.

There were no "English as a second language" classes. For recess, the school had no playground and no place to sit down, just the ground. Just an over-loaded school system, with untaught, frustrated immigrant kids, that had a bundle of physical and mental energy and nowhere to use it.

Kid fights broke out anywhere and anytime. Fights were rarely broken up by teachers at the time. For one, the fights were too dangerous, and secondly, if they were to break up two students fighting, what would come of the other 48 kids? Lower East Side 'Kid fights' were very dangerous at the time. Boys would typically bite, kick, and punch during a fight and many before the age of ten were trained at home on how to fight. No such thing as bully training, or how to handle such outbursts. Some kids would come home from school with major damage to their bodies and never return.

New York City Teachers in the early 1900s did the best they could with the situation presented before them. They would utilize the few foreign students that could speak English as translators for the other kids. Many classes didn't just have one foreign language to over-come. There may be four or five different languages spoken by students to a classroom. To make things even harder, many Italians had to over-come understanding the many different dialects spoken by the "interpreter students".

The second grade classrooms would have the normal 7 & 8 year old children mixed in with the 12 year old Immigrant children that could not speak English. This set-up was sure recipe for disaster for both age groups. As the English speaking kids had to slow their education down to almost a halt, and the older Immigrant kids felt degraded and quickly became disenchanted with education. [Freedman, Immigrant Kids]

The Public schools on the lower east side had No Gyms or No Sports equipment, and the toilets were outside in the yard. Their exercise time was rudimentary, to say the least. Teachers would instruct the kids to stand while she grabbed a pole to open windows, that always seemed to get stuck. The children were instructed to breathe in...breathe out. "Hands on your shoulders", "Arms up", "Arms out", "Shoulders Back". OK, now it was time to sit back down at your desks. Their exercise was done for the day. [Freedman, Immigrant Kids]

Employment and Crime

The education for most kids in the tenements came mainly from the streets. When Oresto was a child, most Mulberry Street kids dropped out of elementary school. When the Kids on Mulberry street weren't working or committing a crime, they were running around and bumping into anything and everything that came in their way.  [Mangione & Morreale, La Storia]

The fighting in the schools was nothing, compared to the fights on Mulberry Street. The Early Childhood Mulberry Street Education (from about 6 to 10 years old) consisted of kids mastering the arts of fighting with fists, bricks, and broken bottles. They soon graduated to baseball bats and knives. Then of course to guns. And if you were really good you could use a tin garbage can lid as both, a weapon, to hit people with to defend yourself with.

At age 9, he got his first real job at a paper box factory. This is the place he earned his street name and aka "The Paper Box Kid". Like other kids, he tried to do both work and school, but at an age of 9 years old working and going to school was an incredibly hard thing to do.

The Kid quickly became disenchanted with his education and when The Kid was 10 he started up boxing. The Kid would then go on to spend his most of his early years in reformatories, starting from the age of 12 years old. [NY House of Refuge Inmate Case File]

At 12 years old he served 1 1/2 years in the Catholic Protectory, and at 14 years old he served 2 1/2 years in the House of Refuge.

The trade schools at the reformatories is where he learned to be a tinsmith, a plumber's assistant, and a tailor. His Inmate case file at The New York House of refuge shows was working as a tinsmith at age 13, and upon his release at age 16, he was employed by a plumber.

The law precluded him from getting full-time working papers until the age of fourteen, most were working part-time, at home, in a sweat shop, or under the table well before that age. What we call today "child slave labor", was commonplace right here in the USA (early 1900s). They began and ended their lives working menial jobs never to understand the language of the country they now call home.

But his real training in the reformatories, was in the art of being a criminal. The Kid was also home schooled in criminal arts by his brother and father.

If The Kid was ever sick, the Doctors in Little Italy, were literally a dime a dozen. Doctors were unaware of what germs were, or how they worked. Medicines were given without knowledge of efficacy or side effects. Thousands of 'snake oil' medications were around that could cure any sickness.

And The #1 Doctor's recommended medication...cocaine. Cocaine was even in the in the soda back then. Many children in tenements were using cocaine to cure all kinds of ailments before the age of 10 years old. Cocaine would eventually become regulated in New York City in 1907, and nationally, in 1914, by the Harrison Act. [New York Times, "New Cocaine Ordinance", January 31, 1907]

But life wasn't all bad in New York City. The Disneyland of the time, had just opened. Once in a rare while, the Kid would go to the world's largest amusement center, The "enchanted, story-book land" of Coney Island. The parks inside of Coney Island, Luna Park, and Dreamland, boasted over 1,250,000 lights, and could be seen over 30 miles out at sea. It was a literal paradise amongst the sordid over-crowded city of New York.

The Kid had a full 360 degree education. During the day he learned how to survive and make money by the streets of New York and at night he took classes at Cooper Union. He exuded confidence, spoke well, dressed the part, and adapted well to his surroundings. 

Whether he was in a pool hall with the lowest members of society, or at City Hall with the elite members, he would fit in like finely tuned piano at a jazz festival. He learned how the business in America worked by starting his career at a very early age. [NY House of Refuge Inmate Case History]


The New York Catholic Protectory
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Westchester New York - 1903

Chapter 5
Resume of a 100% Certified...Gangster Original  
The Catholic Protectory, House of Refuge & First Stay at Sing Sing
"All Criminal Conduct can be traced largely to early environment or home influence that was Negative, Faulty, Improper, or Evil" - Doc Squire
In the early 1900's penal codes were particularly harsh on children. Commitment of children to reformatories and/or prisons with lengthy sentences was commonplace. Even when they tried to enact child friendly laws, it was inconceivably harsh for today's standards.

One such penal enacted required that "No child under 12 Years Old shall be committed to the House of Refuge for any crime of misdemeanor". A Child under The Age of 12 Years Old however shall be committed to The House of Refuge if the crime they committed was a felony. This enactment was considered going soft in those days.

Children between the ages of 12 and 16 years of age must be submitted to The New York House of Refuge if they lived in the heavily populated counties of New York and Kings. [Documents of The Senate of The State of New York: Volume 13, For The Year Ending 1905.]

New York had gigantic institutions, using all types of euphemisms, to house delinquent children. There were Protectories, Reformatories, and House's of Refuge. They were typically over-crowded and completely incapable of properly educating or helping any child reform. Some institutions had thought themselves progressive by beginning programs that were cleverly named, "Help for the Mentally Defective."

New York Catholic Protectory
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Playground and School Building 1903

New York Catholic Protectory: Jan 09, 1903 - c.Jul 01, 1904
The Kid was sentenced to 1 1/2 years and received at the Protectory on January 9, 1903 at the age of 12 years old. The New York Catholic Protectory was a large privately run, religious based, reform school, located in the Westchester, New York.

In New York, the reformation and correction of delinquents could be entrusted in part or in whole to religious organizations. The most notable religious based Protectory was The Catholic Protectory at Westchester, New York, the largest religious based reformatory in the country, which in 1904 contained 2,566 delinquents. The boys department was run by the Brothers of the Christian Schools, of the Institute founded by St. John Baptiste de la Salle. [New York Catholic Protectory, 41st Annual Report to The Legislature of the State of New York. 1904]

The formation of "Good, Christian Character" was the aim of the facility. [Report of the Director of The Male Department]. Reading, writing, and exercise were the foundation of the boys stay. The practice of calisthenics, playground time, and military drill kept the boys physically active. Students were instructed in basic reading and writing skills with great emphasis on Christian religious instruction.

The protectory covered around 10 acres of ground. A statue of La Salle and Stained glass windows adorned the entrance to the facility. The Brothers worn long black gowns, with cloth caps worn on their heads. Walking past the staff chapel, brothers can always be seen kneeling before a religiously awe inspiring alter.

In the classrooms boys were to rise and sit as the Brother instructed. Boys that behaved well took on the responsibility to insure the rest behaved well or report them to the Brother. The weekday routine was a full schedule that kept the Kid busy all day long.

Weekday Routine
6:00 am: Rise and Shine in Summertime. (6:30 AM Wintertime)
6:30 - 7:30 am: Wash, get dressed, and report to Breakfast.
7:30 am: Breakfast is served. A Brother sits above all and says grace. Now all can eat.
8:30 am: Report to Religious Class
9:00 - 11:00 am: Report to Academic Class
11:00 - 12:00 noon: Lunch
12:00 - 1:00 am: Recess, Playtime.
1:00 - 3:00 am: Report to Trade class
3:00 - 5:00 pm: Report to Academic Class
5:00 - 5:30 pm: Wash up and Report for Supper
5:30 - 6:30 pm: Supper
6:60 - 7:30 pm: Wash up and get ready for bed
7:30 pm: Evening prayers. Each inmate is by their cot. The prayer if first read by the Brother, then repeated by the inmates.

Academic Classes were basic and thorough:
1) Catechism starts the day. Moral and Religious Truths are impressed upon the minds of the boys, keeping their minds from evil, and fostering growth of character.
2) Reading
3) Writing
3) Arithmetic

Trade Classes available for "the Kid" to choose from:
Electrotyping, Shoemaking, tailoring, chair caning, knitting, music, laundry, kitchen, baking, farming, dairying, gardening, blacksmithing, wheelwright, carpentry, machinery and painting. Industrial training was greatly emphasized. [New York Times, February 22, 1892]

For any of it's faults, The Protectory certainly appeared to have the Kids best interests in mind. The Kid's academic report showed his basic reading and writing skills as "good" in 1903 and he was released after serving his full 18 months in July, 1904.  [List of Boys Examination, New York Catholic Protectory, 41st Annual Report to The Legislature of the State of New York. 1904]

NY House of Refuge - Randall's Island
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New York Circa 1910

New York House of Refuge: Oct 26, 1904 - Mar 1, 1907

The oldest and the largest of all reformatories in the United States, was the New York House of Refuge on Randall's island, New York City. On Jan 1, 1825, the House of Refuge was opened on the property that is now called Madison Square, New York City. A new establishment was built in 1854, on Randall's Island. It was run by the Society for The Reformation of Juvenile Delinquents, in an effort to reform children through discipline and instruction. [Harpers Bazaar, New York 1868] But the population of juvenile delinquents at The New York House of Refuge mushroomed over 400x from it's modest beginnings in 1825 to 1904 causing a great strain on it's original values.

Commitments of all male children under 16 years of age from New York and Kings counties were required to be made to the New York City House of Refuge. The act took effect June 1, 1904. [Documents of The Senate of The State of New York: Volume 13, For The Year Ending 1905]

At the ripe age of 14 years old, measuring a whopping 4' 9", the Gangster Original served a 2 year stint in New York's House of Refuge. This having been his third arrest. He entered The House of Refuge as a seasoned businessman and criminal with a 3rd Degree Burglary charge. [New York House of Refuge- Admission Register, Inmate case history, and Register of Discharges- Oresto Shillitoni #29968]

According to Oresto's case history he entered the facility as a Tinsmith (at 13) and attended trade classes as a tailor. Classes for boys were held in hosiery, printing, carpentry, painting, tailoring, horticulture, baking, gas and steam-fitting. Military drill for boys became an important daily routine. In 1894 the reformatory began hiring parole agents. These parole agents began a system of post-admission home visits as well as inspections before and after discharge. Commitment of inmates under twelve years old was restricted to those convicted of committing a felony offense.

Randall's Island is situated in the East River in New York City, part of the borough of Manhattan. It is separated from Manhattan island on the west by the river's main channel, from Queens on the east by the Hell Gate, and from the Bronx on the north by the Bronx Kill. It is joined to Wards Island on the south by a landfill, the site of former Little Hell Gate.

During its one hundred and ten year history, from 1825 to 1935, the House of Refuge had thought itself to have pioneered the treatment of juvenile delinquents and actually served as the model for other reformatories. Thanks to great Age of Information, these files are still kept and available for any and all to see.

Although the New York House of Refuge was privately managed, the State of New York was involved from the beginning in organizing, funding, establishing inmate commitment procedures, and developing treatment programs.

Children in New York and Kings County to were committed to The House of Refuge for vagrancy, misdemeanors and other petty crimes. Children were sentenced or committed indefinitely; the House of Refuge exercised authority over inmates throughout their minority years. It was a rigorous course of instruction, ranked with punishment and demerit. By 1904, this children's reformatory had already become, New York City's House of Pain. There was no Refuge here. It was a rigorous course of studies and discipline on the surface, with indifferent teachers and over-zealous Disciplinary Officers on the inside.

Instructions to the officers and Teachers:
Orders to inmates should be followed up on. Officers should be firm. Inmates should be attentive. The officers "...first duty is to enforce absolute and prompt obedience, and respect for the law.

The Punishment Squad:
Shall be drilled at the marching and at the setting up drill.

The Disciplinary Officer:
Marks will be given according to three categories, each level with the corresponding demerit value. 5 Demerits in one week equals extensino of time one week.

1) Playfulness and carelessness
2) Indifference and Laziness
3) Insubordination, stubborness, immorality, disobedience, and violation of the rules

Marks shall be given in addition to to punishment inflicted by the Disciplinary Officer.

"No act of disobedience or insubordination shall go unpunished"

Visitation:
Inmates are to receive 1 visitation per month. Close and immediate relatives only.

A large part of an inmate's daily schedule was devoted to supervised labor, which was regarded as beneficial to education and discipline. Inmate labor also supported operating expenses for the reformatory. Typically, male inmates produced brushes, cane chairs, brass nails, and shoes. The female inmates made uniforms, worked in the laundry, and performed other domestic work. A badge system was used to segregate inmates according to their behavior. 

A typical weekday schedule for the Kid went as follows:

Routine Week Day
7:30 - 7:45 am: On the Yard
7:45 - 8:30 am: Drill.
8:30 - 8:45 am: On the yard
8:45 - 9:00 am: Bathroom and inspection
9:00 - 11:30 am: School
12:00 - 12:30 Lunch
12:30 - 1:00 pm: Recess
1:00 - 5:00 pm: Shop
5:00 - 5:20 pm: Bathrooms
5:20 - 5:45 pm: Supper
5:45 - 7:15 pm: School
7:15 - 8:00 pm: Dormitory and Fire Drill

[Rule and Regulations adopted by the Board of Managers for The House of Refuge, New York City 1897]

Classes
The young boys and older boys were mixed together in classes by division, not age. The oldest boys were obviously uninterested in studying or learning things they may already know or just don't care about. Teachers commonly handed out worksheets and had minimal interaction with the students.

But The House of Refuge was not just for Juvenile Delinquents. As the Society notes in Harpers Weekly, it took in Waifs and Strays (in their words) also. [Harper's weekly: a journal of civilization. New York: 1857-1916]

While the Protectory's board stressed fostering a child's growth of character, the House of Refuge Board's Rules and Regulations clearly stressed and instructed their staff to foster firmness, discipline, obedience and order. The problems with staff and the children, would soon follow.

Methods of whipping, hitting, solitary confinement, and use of a straight jacket were acceptable forms of punishment in the House of Refuge. The administration, however, recommended deprivation of privileges as a 'preferred form' of punishment. [Snedden, David S., Aministration and Educational work of American Juvenile Reform Schools,  1907]

Unfortunately, abuses by staff were a common occurrence. Fights frequently broke out, and were be amongst inmates themselves or with their keepers. It was not the place for which it was originally intended. It became an over-populated, under-staffed place, filled with very tough and hardened delinquents.

Continuing complaints about vocational training and discipline procedures resulted in investigations by the Board of Charities in 1903-1904 and again in 1908-1909.

In the disciplinary division, some officers required inmates to stand up to sixteen hours or more and some have been confined for 72 days or more. Slapping in the face and striking the children with fists was alleged. One testimony told of children's teeth being knocked out. Other kids were hit with a policemen's club without provocation. Inspectors concluded that a general tone of harshness and repression exists in The NY House of Refuge.

Handcuffs or ropes were placed around their wrists with their back to the cell grates and they were confined to stand for hours and hours at a time [New York Times, "Demand Shakeup in House of Refuge", August 23, 1909]

A few of the kinder, gentler staff members strongly felt most these kids needed help, more than punishment. But unlike a psychiatric hospital, there are no psychiatrists here, or at any of the state’s juvenile prisons.

These Kids were all twisted up in knots. When it was time get up, they couldn't. When it was time to go to sleep, it was an impossibility. This is especially true of those who have just arrived. Maybe it was the lack of city noise, the stress of incarceration, whatever the cause, insomnia was a widespread problem at The House of Refuge. The Solution: Injections. Many children were introduced to, and lullabied to sleep by the sweet needles of narcotics, administered by the House's own staff.

Reports filed show Kids have swallowed screws, punched walls, cut their arms, drank ammonia, and tried to strangle themselves with everything from long underwear to a garden hose. Half the time reports were not filled, but the files at the agency’s headquarters still overflow and make The House of Refuge sound like a madhouse.

The Kid ate his meals in a cafeteria that, at first glance, appears to resemble the lunchroom at any high school. They take a tray, go through the food line, sit down. But the scene takes on a surreal quality as the boys settle into their assigned seats, two boys to a table, each at opposite ends. It’s a strange sight, although there are many boys in the room, each is actually eating alone. They just stare straight ahead or down at their tray and talk to no one. Separating the boys decreases the odds that a fight will erupt, and on the schedule, they have twenty minutes, and if they talk, they don’t have time to eat. Basically an anti-social, prison model.

The Kid’s Cell Block would file into a classes daily five days a week. Boys were grouped by House Block and not age. Boys 12 to 17 were in the same classroom so that they could be managed easier.


 

The Death House. Sing Sing Prison
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Ossining New York

A Day in The Life at Sing Sing Prison, May 8, 1909 - Nov 18, 1911
Gangster Original's First Stay "Up The River"
 
"It has been conceded for many years that the cells that the cells at Sing Sing were unfit for Human Habitation"  -Superintendent of New York State Prisons. [Laws of 1905, Ch. 718]
Sing Sing Prison was the most notorious of all US prisons. Housing the most dangerous New York prisoners. Phrases such as "Up the River", "The Big House", "The Green Door" and even "old sparky" (the electric chair), that came to be the generic terms for prisons everywhere, originated as terms about Sing Sing Prison. Unsanitary, old, grim and known to house the hardest of hardened criminals, Sing Sing was the quintessential example of where bad guys were sent to get "locked up".
 
A new arrival at Sing Sing must go through a "Dressing in" ceremony. The new prisoner turns in his civilian clothes and all his personal possessions. He takes a bath and is issued his "medium-dark brown" reception uniform. Once he makes it through quarantine, he turns in his muddy browns, and is given his standard issue military grays. [Sing Sing Doctor, Squire]
 
The next two weeks he spends solo in his cell. During this time mental and physical exams are conducted. Conforming with Sing Sing Prison routine, schedule, and policy are stressed. The isolation period gives a new arrival healthy appreciation fo r the few privileges they would receive after the period's end.
 
He was younger than most, and early in life got a lesson on how to survive in sub-human conditions. Although he was already off to a good start, old masters of the trade, would provide lessons far beyond a man of his experience. The Kid would get a top notch education in the gangster life, from the lags that now resided in Sing Sing.

The night bucket system was in place during the Kid's stay at Sing Sing. Because there were no toilets, a bucket in which an inmates excreta is stored for ten to fourteen hours inside a cell adds foulness to an over-burdened germ-laden atmosphere. The sanity expert does not hesitate to say that the conditions inside an inmates cell during this time are far worse than living in the sewer itself. [Annual Report of the Superintendent of State Prisons State of New York, 1913]

Samples of Air taken at an early hour in the morning contain toxic levels of carbon monoxide. Just to illustrate how dangerous and sickly a place it was in 1 year (October 1, 1912-September 30, 1913) the medical department reported 5286 admissions for treatment with a prison population of 1294 at fiscal year-end. [Annual Report of the Superintendent of State Prisons, State of New York, 1913]

The Kid's cell measured 7 feet deep, 3 feet 4 inches wide for a total of 23.3 square feet of living space.  The cells also how low ceiling heights of 6 feet 7 inches. The New York City Health department required a minimum of 400 cubic feet for any human habitation. The Sing Sing cells were less than half of that deemed humanly habitable. The Annual Report of the Prison Association of New York gave it's...
Prison Association Recommendation Regarding Sing Sing Prison:
The only logical Recommendation...in the interest of the public and in justice to the inmate, is that the prison be abandoned. [Annual Report of The Prison Association of New York: Volume 70, 1914]
Dark cells were utilized for violent inmates or ones that violated prison policy. These cells were pitch black and an inmates food and water intake was rationed to small amounts of bread and water daily (later abolished in 1913). Prison Reform was a buzz word around the turn of the 19th century.

At Sing Sing, The Kid was kept and treated like an animal, and became more adept at living and acting like one. But, the prison reformers were riding into Ossining by now, and slowly, and very subtley, things would change.

The infamous striped uniforms were abolished in 1904. The Kid wore the Prison greys that replaced them. [Cheli, Sing Sing Prison, Images of, 2003] In a report of the prison reformers, it was noted that grey provided a happier, healthier, and more self-esteemed inmate. [Annual Report of The Prison Association of New York: Volume 70, 1914]

The Prison lockstep, in which the prisoners were forced to step in sync with the inmate in front of them, was also abolished in the very early 1900s. The inmates would now walk in a straight line, hands at their side when transitioning to another part of the prison.

A Cell in Sing Sing Prison
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23.3 Square Feet

The size of the cells and the weekend lock-down remained the entire time he was to stay at Sing Sing (1909-1911). Every weekend for almost 2 1/2 years he remained caged like an animal in a sub human cell. [Osborne, Thomas Matt. Within Prison Walls. New York NY: Appleton & Co. 1914]

The Principal Keeper (PK) informs the Kid of any and all Rules and regulations. At dinnertime every inmate is instructed to leave their cap and coat are left in the cell. Coats and hats are not allowed in the mess room. You get 1 fork, 1 spoon, and 1 knife placed at your setting every meal.

No talking on the way to, or in the mess hall, at anytime. Any violation of such rules will result in immediate removal, loss of meals, and solitary for multiples.

The Kid is escorted to his cell and dinner time approaches. The guards begin to open the cell doors by pressing down on levers. Oresto along with the other prisoners must push the bars open and fall into place. They form a single file line with their hands at their side.

Guards continually instruct prisoners to Stand up straight and keep your eyes forward at all times. They wrap their sticks on the floor, and the inmates must begin to walk quietly to the mess-hall. They walk in place until the first in line reaches the end of a long wooden table that seats eighteen. 

The Kid waits for the PK to wrap his stick on the floor once. He pulls out the stool under the table and stands at attention, with the other inmates doing the exact same procedure. The PK usually makes the Kid wait before he can sit, as any good animal trainer would, and then wraps his stick on the floor a second time, which signals The Kid and the others to sit down.

The food has already been placed at it's setting. An inmate is the bread waiter, he walks down the line with his bread basket. As Oresto grabs a piece of bread..."Whatever bread you take, you eat". No wasted food. If you don't think you can finish it, Don't take it. PKs were usually particular about wasting food, continually repeating their convictions. That was the law at Sing Sing.

When meal time is over the guards on duty hit their sticks on the floor. The Kid, along with the other inmates, must stand up, holding up their fork, spoon, and knife in their right hands. Guards would yell "hold'em up, hold'em  high, in plain sight" (their hands with utensils). As instructed by his PK, The Kid must slowly and deliberately place their knife, fork, and spoon in the receptacle in front of the guard. Guards repeatedly warn inmates to keep their hands up so the guards can see'em after they drop'em (the utensils). [Osborne, Thomas Matt. Within Prison Walls. New York NY: Appleton & Co. 1914]

Then The Kid would have to get in line and walk back to his cell with the rest. It was around 5:30pm by the time they got to their cells. From 5:30pm until 'lights out' at 9:00pm the Kid would read and smoke in his 23.3 square foot stone cell. He was locked in his cell for a total of 14 straight hours every night until Breakfast line-up at 7:30am.

A Guard with a flashlight (electric bull's-eye), patrols the corridor, about every 30 minutes through-out the night. The Kid, like most other inmates, would have his sleep abruptly interrupted several times a night by the intense beaming light. Just like the days of old on Mulberry Street, getting a good nights sleep in the cells of Sing Sing was not an option.

The routine going to the mess hall continues for breakfast. 7:30 line-up. Eat and return to cells around 8:30am. Line-up again at 9:00am to head to the exercise yard for 30 minutes. Each inmate was allocated 1 penny a day. Prisoners were allowed to spend a maximum of $3 a month for groceries, tobacco, or other general store items. Oresto like the other whopping 90% of Sing Sing's inmates spent most his money on tobacco. Oresto like the other inmates, got to the exercise yard two times a day, for 30 minutes each, Once after breakfast, and once after lunch.

The life at Sing Sing wasn't for the faint of heart, or for men with weak knees. The Kid would hang with the Neapolitan gangsters during his breaks as tradition would dictate. 

By the time he gets released on Parole, The Kid was sure to have absorbed a college level education on the life of crime. When he heads back home to Mulberry Street, he finds the world has changed, and there's gangs everywhere. New York City has become a Kingdom of Gangsters. It was a glorious time for gangsters. There was an abundance of recruits in NYC, and a never ending supply streaming in from Ellis Island.


 

black-hand-skull-web.jpg

Chapter 6 
The Streets, The Gangs, The Rackets, The Family - Making Money 1910s Gangster Style 
 
The Street Gangs of New York (1900-1920)

"There were more gangs in New York than at any other period in the history of the Metropolis"  -Herbert Asbury, Gangs of New York, regarding the early 1910s.

Some gangs were old and venerable, some new and formidable, and others on the tail end of their glory. There were gangs named after the streets they dominated, others named after their celebrity-like leaders, some brave enough to have a city's name in it, and yet others carrying names that didn't seem so strange in years past.

Some gangs held their chests out and head high, strolling with perfectly groomed slicked hair, square cut suits, polished bulldog toed shoes, and manicured hands. Others were exceptionally uncooth, plodding the streets needing a haircut, a shave, and in some cases a bath.

Members had names like "Eat 'em up" McManus, "Spanish" Louis, "Biff" Ellison, "Humpty" Jackson, Lupo "The Wolf", and "Razor" Riley to name a few.

There were as many rivalries as the number of gangs themselves. The Five Pointers vs The Eastmans; The Hudson Dusters vs The Marginals; The Kenmare Street Gang vs "Goldmine Jimmy's Gang.

These days were crazy...even the cops had gangs. They were graft gangs. Roundsmen, one level higher than Patrolman, taught the new recruits, your duty is simple:

"Hear, See, Say Nothing. Eat, Drink, Pay Nothing. There you have the secret (of being a policeman) in eight words"

"Follow those directions and you'll be a successful copper" [Lewis, Confessions of a Detective, 1906]  

But those cop gangs were small potatoes compared to The "Strong Arm" Squad. In all the land, they were the undisputed king of kings when it came to cop gangs. They had rivalries with most the gangs...that didn't pay 'em. The One Arm Gang, a notorious tough street gang, would beat on the Strong Arm Squad and the Strong Arm Squad would beat them back. 

Alliances were abound as well. But alas, if winds of money, revenge, jealousy, or a woman were to change, and different tact would come rather quickly. Enemies became friends, and friends, enemies. So goes the life of a gangster. Friends today, enemies tomorrow, here today, gone tomorrow. Just to name of few of the time...[addendum 6]

And don't forget about the guy all gangsters would need one time or another- "Stitch" McCarthy the all famous Bail Bondsmen in Manhattan. [Gangrule]

The 10th Avenue Gang was the first gang start robbing trains in New York.  The 14th Street Gang. The 106th Street Gang would be the Gambino Crime Family recruiting grounds. 107th Street Gang was founded by the head of the first Sicilian Mafia family in the U.S., Giuseppe Morello. And became the great recruiting ground for "Tommy Brown" Lucchese along with Charlie "Lucky" Luciano in the Bronx and East Harlem; 112th Street Gang were a group of toughs that eventually became Lucchese and Genovese Crime Family members. The 116th Street Gang would be the elite members of Vito Genovese's Family. The "Biff Ellison Association were election time specialists. "Biff" would round up the votes with his favorite weapons, a broken beer bottle and a black jack.

The Black Hand (Mano Nera) a parasitic gang that fattened themselves off the extorted money from their own countrymen. Led by the Sicilian "Lupo The Wolf". They were not adverse to blowing up houses with women and children, if they didn't get the money.

The Car Barn Gang: Famously placed a sign before entering their territory based at 90th street and 2nd Avenue:

This is the dead line for Cops
No Trespassing under penalty of Death
 - the car barn gang

And they weren't messing around. On more than one occasion they laid brutal beatings to cops that entered into their territory. One time, 8 patrolmen had been admitted to the hospital. After they knocked a patrolman out, they continued to "hoof him" (kick and stomp) as he lay out cold on the ground. Patrolmen had think twice before entering the Car Barn's turf without a platoon. [The Sun, August 3, 1919]

The "Chick Tricker" Gang was led by Frank "Chick" Tricker was an early New York gangster who served as one of its last leaders alongside Jack Sirocco. A longtime member of the Eastmans. John Rizzo, a future victim of The Kid, was allegedly a member.

La Mano Nera
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The Blank Hand

The Five Points Gang were the start of it all, for Italian Gangsters in New York. This gang boasts having the strongest alma-mater of 'em all. It's leader "Paul Kelly" (Paolo Vaccarelli), also a prize fighter, recruited over a thousand members and would go on to train some of the most infamous and notorious gangsters known to man. ie Johnny Torrio, Al Capone, Jimmy DeStefano. At their height the Five Pointers had a membership of 1500 members and 2500 affiliate members in other gangs. Vaccarelli had 4000 men at his call. The members got so brazen as to announce their one price, done-to-order services, complete with specials and free-bees: [Evening World, October 23, 1903]
 
Five Point Gang Fixed Price Services (1903)
$5  For an ordinary Punching
$10 For an ordinary Punching and a Razor Cut
$30 For a Beating with Brass Knuckles and Free use of Black-Jack
$50 For a Beating that will Send Victim to the Hospital
$75 For a Stabbing
$100 For a Murder
 
The James Street Boys, the Jack Sirocco Gang, The Jimmy Moore Gang, The Junior Forty Thieves, The Bowery Boys, The Joe Baker Gang, and the Jimmy Curley Gang - "Gold Mine" Jimmy's Gang.

In Hell's Kitchen, The Gopher Gang was lead by the famous casino/gambling guru, boxer and tough guy- Owney Madden. On the Westside, were the Hudson Dusters and the Humpty Jackson Gang headquartered in the cemetery between 1st & 2nd avenues. Uptown, The Gas House Gang were kings.

The One Arm Gang's leader in response to a patrolman directing him to leave the area: "No cop can make me move" -John Painz. Painz called two other one arm members, grabbed the patrolman's own club, and beat him mercilessly with it. It was only when Painz realized that he was shot, that he stopped and went to the hospital. [The Sun, September 10, 1911]

The Whyos' "Dandy Johnny" strutted about Greenwich Village, with his hand Carved Cane, striking fear into his enemies calling "weeeeoooo", alerting other members to action. [NY Times, April 4, 1926] [The Sun August 3, 1919]

Frankie Yale's Brooklyn Mob, The Navy Street Gang, The Lennox Avenue Gang, The Thompson Street Gang, The Marginals, The White Hand Gang, The Yakey Yakes of The Five Points District, and the 19th Street gang. "Dopey" Benny's Gang, Hell's Kitchen Gang, The Jungle Band, San Juan Hill Gang, The Battery Gang, The Canary Gang, Salter's Gang, and Moran's Gang. [The Sun, August 3, 1919]

The Kid would have been recognized by his peers in the neighborhood as earning extra stripes for his stay at Sing Sing. His rank in the Kenmare Street Gang was most certainly elevated.

The Kenmare Street Gang was a relatively new gang (c.1911),  with old guns as members. The organization had old hardened guns from the Louis Poggi, Five Points, and Jack Sirocco Gangs. "The Kid" is cited in multiple sources as being a member, and possible leader. These guys were the most dangerous gunmen in the great city. Their members were experts with automatic pistols, quick and sure in high pressure situations. Shooting, Killing or maiming was nothing to them. They rarely had rivals ready to take them on, but another group of feared gunmen in the city were members of the "Chick Tricker" Gangs and The "Goldmine Jimmy" Kelly Gangs. All three were considered extremely dangerous downtown gangs. They all had great arsenals, steady hands, absolutely no fear, no remorse, and the discipline to carry out the most intricate of plans.

The gang was the first to see opportunities in the strike breaking line of work and furnished nearly all the professional gunmen who act as guards at factories. Chick Tricker another former prize fighter has a gang of his own in greenwich village went into the strike breaking business recently. He was shot dead on April 13, 1913, at a factory in E. 59th st. allegedly by members of the Kenmare Street Gang. [The Evening World,  "Paroled Gunman Killed Policemen and a Gangster", May 5, 1913]

"Goldmine Jimmy" was so called because of the many gold teeth that shined when he smiled. His gang's headquarters were in The Mandarin Café on Mott Street in Chinatown. [NY Times July 22, 1912]

"Chick Tricker" has his headquarters over at 128 Park Row, across from the Brooklyn bridge and around the five points. A former prize fighter [The Sun, July 20, 1919]

Mike Salter's Headquarters were on pell street in Chatham Square. [The Sun, July 20, 1919]


Nickel Plated Colt Hammerless
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A Gangster Original Favorite - The .380 ACP

The Rackets 

United and Bound by Blood, Love, & Crime: "The Family"

"If you have a lot of what people want and can't get, then you can supply the demand, and shovel in the dough." -Charles "Lucky" Luciano

The Family Business - Scillitano Style

In the early 1900s, at the heart of any great business in America,  were four main ingredients: Cooperation, Keeping Trade Secrets, Making a Product Everyone wants, Locking out Competition, and Protecting Company Assets. Likewise, at the heart of any successful business on Mulberry Street was Respect, Omerta, Monopoly, and Violence. 

The business model on Mulberry Street paralleled very closely the well established institutions in the USA. For example, if you do not cooperate with your superior, he fires you. On Mulberry street, if you do not respect your superior, he kills you. Very similarly, if one does not keep trade secrets, the company sues you. On Mulberry street, if an 'employee' breaks Omerta, they kill you.

The third ingredient is the key for all business models at the time. Monopoly. Create a Monopoly (or euphemistically...locking out the competition). The corporations of the day, bought large supplies to tie up resources, and then used attorneys and politicians to enforce locking out the competition. To create a monopoly on Mulberry Street, you can give your competitors the option of: selling their business to you, for much less than market value, and never re-opening again...or die. Thus creating a monopoly in a rather simple and expeditious manner. But they also were involved in buying up commodities and produce to monopolize the market.

For both models, Outside influences must be kept at bay, by any means necessary. Corporations would use hired gunmen, police, security and used political connections against any outside forces that would interfere with business. The Business on Mulberry Street used the same enforcement. They opted for their enforcers against other gangs. But would use any means necessary to limit outside interference from other influences. They would also promise politicians addition votes and various other delicacies for favors with the law or business structure. [Nelli, Humbert. The Business of Crime]

They ran parallel businesses within their parallel government structure. The duly elected government was there to bargain and negotiate with, like the white house would do with a foreign government. They were looked upon as highly motivated people that would sell their souls for money or a vote. Mainly, blowhards that can speak well, and accomplished nothing.  [Nelli, Humbert. The Business of Crime]

Teeritory violators and Omerta violators met the same fate...death.

"Hear, See, and Be Silent, if you wish to continue Living in Peace" -Old Italian Proverb

You see to run your district, you needed a psyche that could hob nob with royalty, and have them see your way in a subtle eloquent yet firm manner. But also be able to strip the psyche bare to the bone, and protect your territory with veracity of animal in the jungle. And willing to fight to the death to protect "your family" and it's future.

Strong-arming the competition and creating monopolies made for a man's financial security.

Professional Criminals are either temperate or abstainers. They have to be cool-headed, quick-witted, and dextrous while on the job cannot afford to drink heavily. [Sing Sing Doctor, Squire] 

 

The Rackets 1910 - 1919

The Gun Trade -

"Since the Sullivan Law went into effect, the Gunmen of the Kenmare Street Gang, of which Oresto Shillitoni is a member, have been using every method they could think of to obtain (gun) permits. Police think the fake bomb outrage is merely another subterfuge to evade the law" [The New York Times, June 23, 1913]

Investigations of Detectives of the Mulberry Street Station uncovered an ingenious plan to obtain from the authorities permits to carry firearms. They first send threatening letters that are indicative of the notorious blank hand letters. The gang ignites a bundle of higher powered fireworks which simulate the sound of a bomb. People in the surrounding area panic and run to the police department. Patrolmen are alerted by the sound and rush towards the commotion. The report is put on the blotter and now the proprietor has record of such an attack. [The New York Times, June 23, 1913]

After every such attack many Kenmare Street Gang Members would bring clients in for a concealed handgun permit, and furnish a pistol. They would cash in on a lucrative business.

The Sullivan Law is a gun control law in New York State that went into effect on August 31, 1911. Possession of firearms without a license in New York State was a misdemeanor, and carrying them was a felony. Local police did have the discretion to issue a concealed handgun license to any person who satisfies specific criteria. At the time it was known that the local police would issue such permits to victims whose lives might be threatened by criminals

The Kid and his gang's idea of blowing up useless equipment and other items to get gun permits was just a way to have gunmen carry weapons...legally.. What gangster in the area wouldn't want to buy a canon from The Kid and his gang? and pay a premium for the permit that goes with it? Packing with carrying permits, gives his gang a huge advantage over other gangsters in the area. The Kid and all high profile gangs of the time highly encouraged perfecting the members expertise in shooting. The gang would always strive to corner this lucrative business of selling weapons and the permits to go with it. Guns were also loaned to any paying gangster.

The Colt Hammerless 1903 & 1908 Models were the gangster's canons of choice in the early 1900s. Many gangsters of this era favored the Colt Models 1903 and 1908 because they were small and easily concealed. 'Hammerless' models of course had hammers, but they were covered and hidden from view under the rear of the slide. This made it easy for a gangster to carry and withdraw the gun from a pocket quickly, smoothly, and without snagging. These two guns were by far The Kid's pistols of choice. He could shoot proficiently with both hands. When he was heavy for action he would carry one of each (The 1903 and 1908 models) [The People vs Oresto Shilitano (215 N.Y. 715), Trial #1844].  He was one of the very few, if not only, deadly double-fisted gunman of his time. The 1903 Hammerless model was a .32 caliber that had a 8 round magazine also called a .32 ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol), and the 1908 model was a .38 caliber that had a 7 round magazine, called the .38 ACP or Colt 380. His personal carrying pistols were the Nickel-Plated Colt .380 ACP and the Blue(d).32 ACP. [The New York Times, June 23, 1913]

The Machine Shop - Making screws and nuts on first floor. Gun sales in the back with permits. Downstairs is coin making operation

The Print Shop, 227 Mulberry St.- [New York Tribune, May 20 1903] Retail area printing relatively quiet. Back shop is bustling with people and activity making false documentation for immigrants to enter this country. A room fitted up for the use of the engraver contained every appliance that could possibly be needed.

Fraudulent Naturalization Certificates were issued sold to aliens in which, arrests  recently made. They report that thousands of forged certificates have been sold to immigrants in New York.

They learned that the purpose was not to facilitate the admission of immigrate into the United States, but to perfect male immigrants to secure the subway and other limits in New York, as under the law only citizens can work on ents of that kind. Chief the treasury secret service receiived information that in New a very large number, probably as 5,000, aliens were given

Certificates them cases as much, as $50 was fraudulent certificate. The ice agents in other cities e last year and a half have d numerous fraudulent naturalization papers. They are tearing up the papers wherever found. The cities which they have been discovered include Philadelphia, PA, Wilmington, Delaware, Providence, R.I. Pittsburg, Pa., St..Louis and Buffalo. In these cities fraudulent papers though granted In the regular manner by the courts, obtained through misrepresentations and perjured testimony and it is said, were used for political purposes.

Every foreign born male over the age of 21 years old was given papers old to vote for mayor of New York.

What does the family do for a living? They do a lot of things. There is a print shop, a pawn shop, a wine cellar and sometimes tailoring to make suits for stiffs.

A Tailor for Stiffs, 247 Mulberry St. - [New York Daily Tribune, May 23, 1906] They actually made the suits to put on cadavers. They stitched them together to keep guts from falling out.

The Bootleg Wine Cellar, 241 Mulberry St. - [Conversations with Dad, 2011-2013] It has been proven, according to Mr Woodworth, that in a large percentage of cases these supposed Credentials were forged. "Bootleggers have found it more profitable to sell faked whiskey—whiskey—than a carefully distilled product," said Mr. Woodworth. "The sale of this adulterated brand of liquor is nothing short of poison.

Liquor. Distribution of Illegal Beverages. - Auto Shop, 1692 Broadway during Prohibition. "Our Mechanics built storage under the cars floor boards for transportation and the cops never caught us." [Great Uncle Sam to his niece Bobbi]

Painter Painting the walls red with the blood of others. "Knowing that gangrene often develops in gunshot wounds when powder is present, gangsters have concocted a powder brew in which they boil the bullets before using. Rubbing their bullets with garlic, in conjunction with gunpowder is even more conducive to gangrene. [Sing Sing Doctor, Squire]

Shoemaker The guy you give your gambling slips too (the  bookmaker). FBI.gov

Gang Killer Have to be on their toes All the time. Revealing any signs of nervousness may in turn make them a target another gangland assassin. ("put on the spot" or "taken for a ride") The test after a First Murder Assignment. They come back to the headquarters and are offered a meal with a large spread of favorites. The Gang leaders look to for any signs of weakness. If the neophyte assassin shows signs of nervousness, can't eat, eats little, or has a hard time sleeping the leaders could call for his "rubbing out" Life of a gang killer can only last if a man has nerves of steel, the vanity of a movie star, and not ounce of remorse or sentimentality. Sing Sing Doctor, Squire] ]


Cocaine in your Wine at a Discount
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Sears Catalogue 1900

Chapter 6(a): America's First Prohibition - Narcotics

Cocaine, Opium, Heroin, and Morphine were all readily available in New York City's stores until 1907. You could even order Coca Wine (Cocaine mixed in wine) at a discount through the Sears Catalogue in 1900!

Cocaine was advertised as great for kids when they had a toothache, or a sore throat. If little Oresto had a toothache, no problem, cocaine was even specially made in toothache drops.

As a matter of fact, Heroin was commonly used to treat a plethora of common children's ailments. An ad by a New York manufacturer in The International Medical Magazine 1902 boasts;

Compared with Codeine and Morphine, Heroin wins hands down! In the treatment of

  1. Coughs
  2. Bronchitis
  3. Asthma
  4. Laryngitis
  5. Pneumonia
  6. Whopping Cough

Heroin, it touts, is proven through scientific investigation and prominent physicians, to have a more established therapeutic value, than good old Smith Heroin! Codeine and Morphine also have negative side effects that Smith Heroin doesn't. (I couldn't make this up if I wanted to).

Morphine in Mrs. Winslow's Soothing Syrup, was widely accepted as a mothers best friend to quiet down those crying or restless babies. The ads boasted of it's great effectiveness. And Mothers don't forget, you can use it for small children and yourselves too! 

So, if poor little Oresto, at 6 years old, has whooping cough that's causing: a little trouble breathing, a little trouble sleeping, and irritation in his throat. The cure to all his ails could be as follows:

Heroin, 3x a day, for the Whooping Cough
Cocaine Lozenges, 3x a day for throat irritation
Morphine, 2x at Night, to Sleep
Amphetamines (inhaler) as necessary, to help him breathe during the day.

Super Extra, Extra Strength Bayer
Bayer-Heroin-web.jpg
Bayer Heroin. Bayer Aspirin.

Cocaine Toothache Drops
Cocaine_Toothache_drops_web.jpg
Take em with you where ever you go

How's that for a children's formula? And his mother could go down to the pharmacy, pick it all up without a prescription and be back at home in 10 minutes.

A common cure for those poor babies going through teething pains?- Cocaine to numb the gums, and a teaspoon a morphine to relax the nerves. This stuff was amazing.  Good old warm milk and a lullaby couldn't compare.

Oddly enough, Cocaine was legal and available (retail) in New York City until 1/31/1907, when SECT 182 was enacted, requiring a doctor's prescription for use. [New York Times, "New Cocaine Ordinance", January 31, 1907]

From 1883 to 1908, Opium had minor restrictions on; who and how you could buy opium, but it was legally used in the big city until 1909, when "Smoking Opium" was banned by the US Congress. [McIllwain, Jeffrey Scott. Organizing Crime in Chinatown: 1890-1910]. China had already acted strongly in 1906, and All Opium Dens would begin to close in China. [NY Times, November 23, 1906]

The Board of Health announced an ordinance in 1910; medicines containing cocaine, opium, or any of their derivatives, would require a prescription. [NY Times, September 9, 1910]

America's "First Prohibiton Era" - Cocaine in 1907, and Opiates in 1910. Prohibition on retail drugs, would create a lucrative market for the gangsters. The age tested formula: Demand (regardless of "Politician's laws") + Monopoly = Raking in the Dough.

"We're not drug dealers, we're business people that sold drugs" -Ricky Ross

Gangsters didn't create the demand, they just supplied it. Plain and simple. There was a market for it, a monopoly was formed, and money was to be made. 

Sale of Heroine and Opium, 241 Mulberry St. - [New York Tribune, August 17, 1917]

Gambling. Floating Crap Games. Lottery. 223-245 Mulberry St. - [Conversations with Dad, 2011-2013]

 


Gangster Shot
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Little Italy c1913

Chapter 7: Grand Opening Night- One Dead Gangster, Two Dead Cops

"I got nothing against the honest cop on the beat, you just get them transferred someplace where they can do no harm" -Al Capone

It was Grand Opening Night and the band was playing at Peratto's Café. [Middletown Daily Times-Press May 15, 1913] By all accounts a beautiful Saturday Night on May 3, 1913, the drinks and food were complimentary to all. The "Kid" just pasted a crisp $2 dollar bill on the place's mirror. The combination pool room and cafe at 235 Mulberry St. was packed with gangsters getting free food and drinks.  [Washington Post Mar 28, 1915][For the addresses, and businesses on Mulberry street at the time of the shooting see addendum #5]

A raging gangster party right in the heart of gang land, packed with old time gangsters downing free brew in one of the most vicious and toughest parts of the great metropolis.

These guys weren't the typical armed rabble-rousers that couldn't shoot straight. These guys from downtown were first-rate murderers and the most dangerous gangsters in all of NYC.

All were born in filth and squalor, but the guys on Mulberry Street came with connected families. They could live in nicer places, but they didn't. They chose to be with, and were more comfortable living with and amongst the vermin. Their job- to guard, and to protect, the territories that they staked their own. 

Most out of area gangsters had the brains of a donkey with dementia, and the foresight of a ship in dense fog. But the men from this part of Mulberry Street were a breed apart and far cry from the aforementioned. Sharp in wit, expert with weapons, and versatile with illegal, illegitimate or unlawful acts.

The Rizzo "Kid Morgan" was a Gangster from Mott St, and a Strike Breaker. He was a Sicilian Gangster, who strutted around downtown like he was a cut above the rest. He and his pals wore sharp suits and sported sleek hair styles. He and his fellow gangmen were in the pool Hall when Rizzo displayed the utmost disrespect to The Kid’s Father.

Rizzo had pissed off the Shillitoni's Kenmare Gang by buying a pistol and not making payment.

The rumor on the streets was that Rizzo used the unpaid gun to shoot and seriously wound a striker at L. Loewy & Son at 447 Broadway. [Washington Post March 28, 1915]

After the shooting Rizzo, got rid of the gun, and quickly jumped on a train to flee the scene of the crime. Instead of being a stand up guy, Rizzo 'borrowed the gun' got rid of it and didn't pay for it. Being a strike breaker he was bigger than most, and stood over his comrades.

Michele noticed Rizzo in the Pool Hall and quickly approached him. Michele already knew the A to Z story about the gun, demanded payment- and respect. It showed flagrant disrespect not to report the status of payment to the 'Big Man'.

Rizzo was flushed with drink and tried to downplay Michele's questions. Michele continued as the old traditional Italians would do, and Rizzo, drunk, laughed off the unpaid debt, scoffed at Michele's concerns, and pushed him with a pool stick. Michele, known as a wealthy and powerful man on Mulberry Street, was at first in disbelief, then angered beyond any string of the worst Italian sayings or gestures that accompany such a verbal assault. This very public display of disrespect was a major violation of, and by, the code Michele lives by.

Michele, sternly, under partial control, exits the fine establishment and walks next door into the saloon at 233 Mulberry St. (another shillitani owned building) where Oresto is known to hang out. Michele informs him of the events that took place in the pool room. [Court of General Sessions- The County of New York  (215 N.Y. 715)  The People v. Oresto Shilitano Case #1844]

The Kid was an expert in automatic pistols, a well-known tough guy in the neighborhood, and rumored to be a stone cold killer. The Kid was also a Real hot head when it came to D-I-S-R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

As soon as Michele finishes explaining the details of the event, Rizzo's death warrant was signed. Rizzo committed multiple offenses 1) Disrespect of Family; 2) Disrespect of a Powerful Man; 3) Disrespect in another's territory.

Oresto and his father, storm into the pool room at 235 Mulberry St. and march towards Rizzo 's table. Rizzo by this time is slightly lit up and slouching a bit in his seat. There's three buddies sitting with him that are not half as bagged as him. Oresto's imposing presence is felt by all as he stands over him, loudly slaps his open hand on the table in front of Rizzo and challenges Rizzo to come outside. Both Oresto and his father walk confidently towards the entrance and burst open the doors and go outside the cafe.

They walk away from the cafe towards the front of 241 Mulberry St. (The tenement they own and live-in). Oresto took up his stand, perched on the stoop near the railing. Michele storms inside the same tenement and quickly returns handing Oresto a shiny object that looks like a nickel plated revolver. [Nellie De Carlo Testimony, Court of General Sessions- The County of New York  (215 N.Y. 715)  The People v. Oresto Shilitano Case #1844]

After handing Oresto the .38, Michele walks across the street, for a front row coliseum view of the slaughter. He waits standing tall, chest out, chin up, and arms folded, for the enforcement of Rizzo's Death Sentence. It was customary for an old time gangster- to watch the lamb walk into it's slaughter. Lambs that couldn't be herded and controlled had to be slaughtered or wolves would pick up it's scent and lead to the slaughter of the rest.

Oresto is now fully armed with a .32 ACP and .38 caliber ACP, waiting for the brazen gangster. One of Rizzo's compadres warns Rizzo that Oresto was outside still waiting for him. [New York Times, May 9, 1913]

Rizzo, playing the tough guy, took his time, and walked slowly outside, as if he already knew his fate. To show confidence in front of his pool room comrades Rizzo stands up with a slight wobble and turns to the guys, "The Kid's on his last legs, I might as well finish him up." [Washington Post March 28, 1915].

Rizzo walks to the door slowly, as his buddies slowly follow. Rizzo gets outside the doors and walks towards where Oresto is standing on a railing in front of 241 Mulberry St. Rizzo came out of the poolroom at 235, and starting walking towards No. 239. Oresto sees him and immediately comes off his perch and walks towards Rizzo. The meet in front of 239 Mulberry Street. 

Meanwhile, across the street and a few buildings up, a patrolman of New York City's 12th Precinct was on the beat. A young probationary (rookie) Officer named William Heaney was pulling on doors insuring the shopkeepers had locked up properly for the night. Heaney's post was on Mulberry Street between Spring and Bleecker. It was only 30 minutes or so away from the end of shift (4 pm-12 mid-night)  [Court Testimony, People against Oresto Shilitano Trial #1844]

In front of 239 Mulberry st., The Kid gets into a heated exchange with Rizzo about ten feet away. Suddenly shots are fired. With one shot, Rizzo immediately drops to the ground in front of 239 Mulberry St. The Kid puts his smoking gun in his pocket and signals another gangster, come over and help him drag the body off the street. Oresto and James Morelli, the same Morelli that was sitting friendly with Rizzo five minutes prior, start dragging Rizzo's dead body towards the hallway at 235 Mulberry.  [Court of General Sessions- The County of New York  (215 N.Y. 715 Case #1844)  The People v. Oresto Shilitano Case #1844]

As The Kid and Morelli are dragging Rizzo's body back towards the pool hall, Oresto signals for a second gangster to take over and help Morelli bring Rizzo's body back into the pool hall. [Court of Appeals, The People vs. Oresto Shilitano, (218 N.Y. 161) Case #2101] [NY Tribune, May 15, 1913]

Once shots were heard, it only took a matter of seconds for Officer Heaney to realize where and what had happened. The brave young Officer wrapped the leather from his black jack tightly around his fist, blew his whistle, and ran into the face of extreme danger without hesitation towards No. 235 Mulberry Street, the combination poolroom and cafe. 

After hearing the whistle of a patrolman from across the street, Oresto decided it was time to make his clean break.

With quickness and agility, Officer Heaney intercepted The Kid in his flight from justice. Heaney pulls back on his blackjack, and with a mighty strike blasts the Kid on his head right above the ear. The kid impulsively reacts, the only way he knows how...three Shots rang out, and the young officer fell immediately to the ground and in an instant his career and life would come to an abrupt end.  [Court of Appeals, May 9,1916, The People vs. Oresto Shilitano, 218 N.Y. 161 Case #2101].[NY Tribune, May 15, 1913]

Officer Teare, hearing all the commotion from his post, just one half block away. He ran south down Mulberry Street and quickly responded to the gunfire. He arrives on the scene firing his revolver at Oresto. Got two shots off that missed the Kid. The Kid responds immediately to the shots fired at him by firing back. With one shot, right in the gut, and Officer Teare dropped to the ground.  [The Autopsy released by Coroner's Physician Otto H. Schultz confirmed officer Heaney was shot three times with .38 Caliber bullets. Patrolman Teare was shot once with .32 caliber. Rizzo was killed with one shot that was a .38 caliber bullet.[New York Times May 9, 1913]

"The Kid" knew the heat was really on now. He ran back into the hallway of 241 Mulberry St. where he lived. and then disappeared into the night. It was speculated that this is where he washed off the blood and changed his clothes. Through the backyard, up tenement stairs and along the roof tops, back down stairs and to the train station. [Court of Appeals, May 9,1916, The People vs. Oresto Shilitano, 218 N.Y. 161 Case #2101]

Pandemonium struck Mulberry Street Station. All officers from Mulberry Street Station were 'called in' to the scene.  Some Officers tended to their fallen friends, other Officers had to cordon off the crowds, others were questioning Italians in the crowds and yet other panic stricken officers rushed to the Mulberry Station house at 205 Mulberry St to put a call St Vincent's Hospital to save their fallen brethren. [The People against Oresto Shilitano alias Harry Shields. CASE #1844]

Lieutenant Sullivan quickly ordered all reserves from the Mulberry Street Station to reoprt for duty. After a short while he realized the gravity of the situation, hurried to a telephone, and sent request for all reserves in the great city, south of 14th street to report to Mulberry Station. [NY Times, May 4, 1913]

Officers tending to Officer Teare, heard very little from the fallen officer and couldn't get an idea of what happened. Teare was weak and struggled speaking, but pushed through his pain to speak. But his words were incoherent. [New York Times, May 4, 1913].

Ambulance Surgeon Robert John McGuire got the call. The officer calling in, was so excited, he didn't mention the scene of the shooting. All Surgeon McGuire could make out was that the officer was calling from the 12th Precinct.  Surgeon McGuire immediately rushed to the Precinct. Upon rounding the corner to the Mulberry Station frenzied officers wave him off and towards their fallen compadres. [The People against Oresto Shilitano alias Harry Shields. CASE #1844].

The Surgeon escorted by Patrolmen makes his way through the crowds that packed the streets at the scene of the crime. The cops tried with no avail to push the crowds away from the bodies. [New York Times, May 4, 1913]

Father Gill, from St. Patrick's Church at Mulberry Street, saw the shooting from his rectory window and ran to the scene. He began administering last rites to Rizzo and Officer Heaney, evidently seeing the dire condition of both victims. [NY Tribune, May 5, 1913]

All three men were admitted to St. Vincent's Hospital:

John Rizzo, 35 years old, of 41 Spring Street, NYC was Pronounced Dead on Arrival. He was out on $2,000 bail at the time of  the shooting. Shooting a tailor, Isidore Streir, of 509 Metroplitan Ave., Brooklyn. [NY Tribune, May 5, 1913]

Probationary Patrolman William B. Heaney, 26 years old, of 717 Prospect St., Brooklyn was Pronounced Dead on Arrival. Survived by a young wife. His police funeral was given with full honors and full pension was awarded to the widow. [Brooklyn Daily Eagle, June 14, 1913] [NY Tribune, May 5, 1913]

Patrolman Charles Teare, 36 years old, of  633 Greenwich St., was Pronounced Dead Two Days After Arrival at St. Vincents Hospital.  His widowed mother, and brother, Fire Captain of Company 43 in the Bronx, were at his side when he died. A police funeral was given with full honors for the 12 year veteran. [NY Tribune, May 5, 1913][NY Times, May 5, 1913]

Of the hundreds of witnesses, not one would admit to seeing the occurrence. Only Father Gill, The priest at St. Patrick's Cathedral would admit seeing the fight and shots. But of course he admittedly could not see or identify the shooter. He would run to the seen and administer last rites to all three victims.

New York Times, May 4, 1913:

"At 12:30 o'clock this morning all Mulberry Street was in an uproar. One Policeman and an Italian Gangster lay dead on Mulberry Street, while another Policeman lay seriously wounded in St Vincents Hospital Police reserves were being rushed into the district from all stations south of 14th street. The Chief of The Detective Bureau showed up himself on the scene and dispatched his detectives all through out the Italian quarter of Manhattan to find the murderer. There were no shortage of theories on who committed the crime, why it happened, and how it happened."

Officers and detectives were already mixed in the crowd trying to find answers. After One Hour of scouring the crowd still not one person on the scene would admit to seeing what happened. Mulberry Street was jammed packed with crowds that numbered several thousand. Crowds came from all directions and were held behind the police lines even past 1:00am. [NY Times, "Slays a Policeman and a Gangman", May 4, 1913]

Detectives from the department theorized there were two shooters because of the accuracy and deadly effect of the crime. Yet others theorize it was a crack shot gangster from one of the dangerous downtown gangs.[New York Times May 4, 1913]. And thus the two shooter theory arises. The Coroner asserted that two men must have done the shooting. They held Ralph Lorito on charges of being the second gunman. Detectives arrested Pedigru Tipaldo due to his resemblance to Oresto. The Policemen knew better. Their Theory was that this was an expert gunman that carried two guns, One large caliber to kill at a distance, one smaller caliber to kill close up to the victim. [New York Times May 4, 1913]

[Washington Post March 28, 1915] [Court of General Sessions- The County of New York  (215 N.Y. 715)  The People v. Oresto Shilitano Case #1844]


Chapter 8: Gangster Rules of the Street - Rule #1 R-E-S-P-E-C-T

You think you're Big Time? You're gonna DIE - Big Time -Carlito's Way (edited)

Respect was the name of the gangster game. Anytime, any where, any place, a gangster was disrespected it could not be tolerated.  

As we know kids are not genetically caught up in the gangster life. They learned it in the streets and some even learn it at home. You can't learn this stuff at school or church. And you can't decide to be a gangster when your 30, either. You gotta start early.

Oresto wasn't a big guy. Newspaper and police profiles show him standing at 5' 1 3/4" and only 125 pounds. But guys twice his size would fear him. Hell his confidence would lead him to believe that a whole army of Sicilians couldn't take him down. He was strong, he had muscle, and he knew how to fight. But most of all everyone knew I he had balls. They knew even if they beat his brains in, he'd come back looking for you, and wouldn't stop looking til he found you. Ya gotta think like that to survive on Mulberry Street. It's mostly a mind game. He thinks like a crazy man...and they think he's a little crazy.

But as a matter of fact, crazy he wasn't. He was hardened criminal, with real business sense. Oresto not only sold guns, but was an expert with automatic pistols.

Oreste knew once the Seed is planted...it grows in their mind. And then, and only then, is when they Fear you...and Respect you...and Nobody wants to mess with you. Without that, on the streets you're done. You might as well break yourself, and sell apples outta a cart. Respect's what kept Oresto and his family alive til now. Nobody messes with the family or the family business

As hardened a criminal he was Oresto, like most other gangsters believed and tried to be an honorable guy. He would pay his debts (For the most part). And the Family, mainly his Motherwere always protecting and giving to the poor lops that worked hard for a living and got peanuts for bustin' their culo. And...as dictated by the family throughout time...he never...never forgot where he came from.

Oreste knew those poor coppers were just working the beat, and doing their jobs best they could. He certainly had no thoughts of ever killing a cop. By deduction, it was an impulse reaction to being hit, and being hit so hard the welt behind his ear was still prevalent 6 weeks later.

He loathed the low down crooked bull brass that gave the poor beat cops orders to do one thing then turn around and do another. Captains, Lieutenants, DAs, Judges... would take family money to fix things, then piss back on deals. The family emphatically believed those poor cops on the street paid for the 'higher ups' crimes with their lives.

They're the ones that should be warming up the chair for Oresto, they're responsible for more death than he surely was. If it weren't for the DA and them other guys running for offices, those bulls would would still be alive today.

Things were real simple back in the 1early 1900s for the family. There was the code of the streets, and the rules with the bulls. That's it. Follow them. The code was Respect. The bulls rules were "Kill your own and we leave you alone". It worked for a long time. Even President Roosevelt knew it worked.

And if codes were broken...For Oresto, for the Family, violation of the code meant an irrevocable death sentence. Passes are not an option. Most other (Sicilians) guys, give passes...have votes...gotta get an OK from this guy or that guy...Not us. You're dead, plain and simple. No Judge. No Jury. Just the Hangman.

Oreste knew death sentences were bad for business. So did the family. They didn't need or want the interruption. Everyone knows the code and the rules. They know what the consequences are. So if they violate them, there's no remorse at all. They're just enforcing the code. It was just Oresto's job. It's what he did. Some people were janitors, others grocers, Oresto was an enforcer. Even his Father knew...they violate code, it's their own death warrant...It's just plain suicide. It cannot go unpunished. You were drunk...Too Bad. You were sorry...Tough luck. They know how everything works and what the penalty is. They were just suicidal. That's it. Just another dead stiff laying on Mulberry Street.

Unfortunately, that's the only thing they understand. If you didn't put a gun in their face, and they'll walk all over you...that's not goin to happin to an enforcer. He tried to keep everything clean. People should have known better than to try him on for size.

The mindset was that everyone who tangled with him had it coming. One thing everyone knows around Mulberry Street don't mess with the family or you'll end up nailed face up a pinebox. People knew. It had been known that blasting someone never bothered Oresto either. He was described by most Sing Sing Officials as one of the most dangerous stoned cold killers to be housed in their fine establishment. [Sing Sing Doctor, Amos Squire]

Bottom-line, in the streets of NYC, someone messes with you, then you gotta show'em the hard way.

And if there was any question about this being a Death Sentence by public execution, the testimony at the trial clearly illustrates the answer. Oresto is waiting by the railing at 241 Mulberry for Rizzo after challenging him to come outside. The Father (Michele) went inside 241 Mulberry, where he lived, and returned with the Nickel-plated .38 ACP (A shiny object) and handed it to Oresto. The Father (Michele) walks across the street and faces the scene as it is about to unfold. Oresto walks towards John Rizzo (perpetrator of  the high crime), while Michele waits for justice. When Oresto meets Rizzo they are in front of 239 Mulberry ST. A shot is fired and Rizzo drops dead to the ground. Justice is served...street style. The Sentence is consummated.


See Nothing ... Hear Nothing
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Speak Nothing

Chapter 9: Piecing Everything Together - Whodunnit
"The Man who did most of the firing and who got away, using a Magazine Pistol with Deadly Effect" -New York Times, May 4, 1913
"The Police think that he was one of the crack shots of the dangerous downtown gangsters" -New York Times, May 4, 1913

After carefully interviewing people in the crowd, detectives found out that one Rocco "Ralph" Lorito was shot by the victim (John Rizzo) in November of 1912 and was attending the grand opening that night along with his brother Matilo. Detectives brought him and his brother to the station to assess whether he was a suspect or a witness to the crime. [The World, May 5, 1913]

Out of the Hundreds of people that may have witnessed the shooting that night, No one had been found at 1 o'clock this morning who would admit to having seen the murders. [The New York Times, May 4, 1913]

After being interrogated by detectives Lorito was determined not to be a suspect, and as a witness claimed he saw nothing. [The World, May 5, 1913]

The Captain of detectives theory was that it was impossible for one unaided shooter to shoot all three men dead. He would have had to shoot two different caliber guns one in each hand under the dimly lit green street lights of Mulberry Street. The detectives came to the realization that they underestimated the shooting expertise of this Italian Gangster.

After an interview with NYC Police Comissioner Waldo, The New York Tribune, splashed on it's front page-

All The Sleuths on Case. Waldo puts Every Available Plaincothes Man to Work to Run Down Slayer and Wipe out Gangs [NY Tribune, May 5, 1913]

The Police Department Started an Unprecedented Campaign to Rid The City of of Lawless Gangs [NY Tribune, May 5, 1913]

On May 9, 1913, The New York Times subtitle read Autopsies Show Bullets of Different Sizes Were Used Against Heaney, Teare, and Rizzo. May Have Been Two Slayers.

Mayor Gaynor's policy of treating all citizens with consideration and gentleness regardless of records or affiliations may be changed. It is in process of contemplation the modification his orders as to allow policemen and detectives to deal roughly with known gunmen. And to close up the pool parlors and coffee houses on the east side which are known "resorts of gunmen". [The World, May 5, 1913]

Once the detectives were able to figure out that there was only one shooter, it narrowed down the suspects greatly.

This gangster had to be crackshot and one of the most dangerous gangsters in downtown NY. and who the suspect is, the machinery was set in motion to apprehend the Kid.

The stories abounded exponentially. One source said the Kid was in the pool room, slapping his hand on the table, arguing with Rizzo, calling him out. Another told of Rizzo running Oresto out of the pool room. Yet others told of Oresto's father, Michele, getting into it with Rizzo. Some said it was part of rivals going against each other in a Gang War. Others said Rizzo and Oresto were friends of the same gang. Stories were flying everywhere and in every which direction.

There were credible stories and some that came from a land far far away. The detectives couldn't get a straight story. The only thread that held all the stories together, was that in the end, Oresto called out Rizzo, and those two met outside the poolroom.

Commander Cornelius Willemse, Commander of the First Detective Division of New York, "In the triple of Policemen Heaney and Teare, and a civilian named Rizzo by Killer Oreste Shillitoni we had three witnesses in the House of Detention. [First Hand Account, Commander Cornelius Wllemse, True Crime Detective Monthly April, 2003]

House of Detention for Witnesses

The House of Detention for Witnesses was the holding place for material witnesses who were required to testify in court but couldn't make bail. It was located along side the Mulberry Street Police Station (205 Mulberry Street) at 203 Mulberry Street. The witnesses lived in large dormitory rooms and were able to move about the building freely.  In December of 1915, the House of Detention was condemned by the NYC Buildings Department and was out of operation shortly thereafter.

"They weren't saying a word, and District Attorney Wasservogel called on me to see if I couldn't make them come across the truth." One of the three was a young man named Solito...he dominated the other two. I learned he that Solito had been married only a short while. I had an idea. Each day I took Giuseppe Solito for a walk, always passing his home on Mulberry Street." His wife, "was an extremely beautiful girl" and she would hang out her window exclaiming "Giuseppe! Mio Giuseppe!" so excited to see her new husband.

Giuseppe's response was more than predictable. "Please can I go upstairs?" Begging, "Just a little hour? No? Then perhaps a half-hour, fifteen minutes?, five minutes- one minute?" The commander, "Nothing doing. Giuseppe unless you tell the truth. Come along now." Day after day Giuseppe held strong. It looked as if the Commander's strategy was not going to work. Then a moment of surrender caught him by surprise. In front of his window on Mulberry Street, with his newlywed wife looking right at him, "I'll tell if you loet me go up". The Commander replied "Nothing doing yet. Giuseppe. Come clean, tell the district attorney, and after that the sky's the limit." And from then on the district attorney had his witnesses.


Wanted - Murder
oresto-picture-wanted2.jpg
Oresto Shillitoni aka "Harry Shields"

Chapter 10: The Manhunt - Gangster Original Shuts Down New York City

Paroled Gunman Killed Policemen and Gangster; Many Cities Join in Hunt -The World, May 5, 1913

NEW YORK, May 6, 1913: A country-wide alarm was sent out today by the New York police department for the arrest of Oresto Shieldiano, aka "the paper box kid"; gangster, ex-convict and alleged murderer of Frank Russo and two policemen on Mulberry street late Saturday night. Mulberry Bend men have vowed to give up sleep to hunt for the Slayer. [The Washington Herald, May 6, 1913]

The entire outgoing platoon of the Mulberry Street Station voluntarily gave up a day off to join the Special Detective Force of 75 Detectives, organized by NYC Deputy Commissioner Dougherty. [The Evening World, May 5, 1913]

Deputy Commissioner George Dougherty and Captain of Detectives Dominick Riley ordered the rounding up more than a hundred reputed gunmen. [Washington Herald, May 6, 1913]. Gangsters told stories that sent the Police down the wrong trails. But A protected witness’ gave information which resulted in him being formally charged with murder. He has fled. As soon as the warrant was issued thousands, of circulars were printed off, giving his description, his picture and finger prints. mailed to Every police department in the United States. [NY Press, May 6, 1913]

The Police Department machinery was set in motion to apprehend the Kid. The Dragnet stretched throughout the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Every point of escape out of the city was ordered shut down by Deputy Commissioner Dougherty and Detective Riley. Every available Detective was spread across the east side covering every railroad terminal and boat landing.

The task was huge. There were two gigantic stations usually packed with train goers, Pennsylvania Station, Grand Central Station. Four Bridges in the lower east alone, The Brooklyn Bridge, The Manhattan Bridge, Williamsburg Bridge, and The Queensboro Bridge gave great exits for the suspect. Not to mention The Fulton Ferry and the Subways running 24 hours a day. All ways out of the city were shutdown temporarily and when reopened, allowing only those with proper identification off the island of Manhattan.

Off duty officers volunteered their time in plain clothes to mingle amongst crowds at the terminals and landings. The entire platoon at the mulberry street station was assigned to the case, all other crimes took a back seat to this manhunt. Hundreds of officers were assigned to stations all over the city. Every available Detective was spread across the east side covering every railroad terminal and boat landing.  The Largest City in the world was at a complete stand still until The Original Gangster was found.

The double Police homicide set off one the largest and most intensive manhunts Manhattan has ever seen. Businesses came to a standstill. River crossings on both sides of Manhattan were shut down. 

The Police Department quickly put together and issued a booklet with pictures and full description of Oresto Shillitoni. The pamphlet was Headed:

Arrest For Murder- Oresto Shillitoni, alias "Harry Shield", alias "The Paper Box Kid"

Description: Italian-American, Age Twenty-One years, 5' 1 3/4", weight 125 pounds, slender build, thick black hair cut high up on the back of the neck, blue eyes, dark yellow sallow complexion, skin quite rough, smooth shaven, slightly pockmarked. Associates with prizefighters and is a frequenter of cheap grade pool and billard rooms. He was last seen wearing a grey striped suit, black derby hat, coat cut square, black shoes with bulldog toe, and a diamond horseshoe tie pin.  [The New York Tribune May 6, 1913] [Middletown Daily Times-Press, May 7, 1913]

...Watch for this Murderer at all railroad stations, trolley terminals, ferry houses, bridges, and all steamship lines, especially at nighttime.

Pictures were quickly distributed by the American Press Association to Upstate New York, Conneticut, and New Jersey papers. Other descriptions thrown out there by local newspapers included: That he was last seen wearing a gray pinstriped shirt, Black Derby, a coat cut square in the front, black shoes with bull dog toe and a horseshoe pin in his tie. [Middleton Daily Times-Press May 7, 1913]

According to Police Detectives, Gangsters throughout the city were not happy and not in sympathy with Oresto, as they have been put in peril due to the police shooting. (Note. Not one gangster turned Oresto in).[New York Times May 4, 1913]

Deputy Commissioner Dougherty is recruiting the help of other gangsters as it is his belief that gunman oftown are willing to "let one of their number shoot another", they frown upon such flagrant shooting down of a policeman. Dougherty was certain Shillitoni did not leave the city but is concerned about him getting away at night. All hospitals are now put on notice as policemen believe he was shot in the hip. [The Sun, May 7, 1913]

Nation-Wide Manhunt for Triple Salyer
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New York Tribune May 6, 1913

The information the detectives had was that the Kid walked along roof tops on Mulberry street and then down to the street level. A report showed he was last seen walking quickly down Hester St.

Headlines from all of New York City's Papers The New York Times, The New York Journal, The New York Herald, The Sun Times and The World covered this unprecedented city wide manhunt.

The double Police homicide set off the largest most intensive manhunts Manhattan has ever seen. River crossings on both sides of Manhattan were shut down. Thousands of ordinary citizens were detained merely because they had some features of the cold blooded Cop killer. Police were so frustrated they over flooded the jails with anyone that looked like the Kid. They captured everyone that had the faintest features...everyone but him.

Officers in plain clothes mingled amongst crowds at the terminals and landings. All Northeast sailing ports were notified to inspect outgoing vessels for his presence. Small squads of four plain clothes detectives were dispatched to every railroad terminal and boat landing in the city. 

An unparalleled number of officers were dispatched to this tracking operation. The police had boat landings with departures to Cuba, Italy, The West Indies, Mexico, and South America fully blanketed by undercover officers. Even soldiers were dispatched to help with the search.

Authorities from all other major cities were put on alert to make diligent searches of all incoming trains and outgoing vessels. Italian safe houses, boarding houses, and all known hang outs for the Kenmare Street Gang and The Neapolitan Camorra were searched with a fine tooth comb.

For six weeks Police detained hundreds of people and arrested no less than seventeen men that had similar traits as the Kid. No one can leave the island without identification for six weeks, jamming up getting out of the city for an unprecedented amount of time. The police detained anyone that may have heard, seen, or smelled anything. Additional squads were dispatched to every boxing work-out camp in the city.

Hundreds of ordinary citizens were detained merely because they had any similar features of the cold blooded Cop killer.

One man was arrested by a detective stationed on outbound trains from the city, in Rome NY. Just like any other criminal he had no idea about the crime and claimed he wasn't even Oresto Shillitani. He claimed his name was Bennie Levine and that he was not Italian but a Jew. The detective was sure he got his man...until the prisoner was finger printed. Bennie was one of ten men arrested that day on outbound trains that had similar features to The Paper Box Kid. None of which were him. [The New York Tribune May 10,1913] 

Another Paper box kid look alike in Hackensack NJ. Yet another Italian man was arrested, mistaken for aka Harry Shields was Angelo Flosso in Brooklyn, NY. [New York Times, June 24, 1913]. Reports began to circulate that Shillitoni had sailed on the Booth Liner Clement for Barbados because a man sailed under the name of Henry Shields [The Sun, May 7, 1913]

Sixth Avenue and 19th Street: Patrolman Rosenfeld spots a young Italian fitting the description of "RThe Paper Box Kid". "Stop where you are!" Rosenfeld shouted to the Italian getting away toward the Hudson Tubes. Rosenfeld arrested him and brought him back to the West Seventeenth Street Station. Although the prisoner bore a striking resemblance, he was one Pedigru Tipaldo of 131 Sullivan St. Another of the many false arrests that occurred before and after poor Pedigru's arrest. [The New York Times, May 9, 1913]

East Side Bad Man Being Sought by New York Authorities.


Gangster Original Get-Away Map
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100 year old Mystery Solved?

Chapter 11: A Gangster Original - The Clean Get-Away

The question all over the streets was, where is Oresto Shillitani? How did he make a clean getaway from the scene? Where is his hideout? I propose the answer to a 100 year old mystery, that is still unsolved today.

According to The Evening World News on May 5, 1913-

He (Oresto) escaped by way of back yards and roofs before the block could be surrounded.

The train lines of the time were run by the Inter-Borough Rapid Transit Company (IRT) that ran every 1-3 minutes before mid-night and every 10 minutes after midnight. The 3rd Avenue line Houston station (Houston & Bowery), was a 6 minute walk or 3 minute run from the scene of the crime.

If Oresto had run from the scene of the crime (241 Mulberry St.) at approximately 11:45pm, he would have gotten to the Houston Station before 11:50pm. Trains were running every 1-3 minutes. He would have boarded the 3rd Avenue line, sat down cooly, calmly, and collected. And been given a clear run to his destination. It would have taken him 31-35 minutes. [Inter-borough Subway Map and timetable from the Official Guide of the Railways, Nov. 1906]

Destination? How can we figure a destination when over 1000 detectives, officers and guards were scouring every inch of the city for over 6 weeks and still couldn't find him? The information we know now is that relatives lived at 27-29 E. 124th Street in East Harlem, NY.

Logically the hideout had to be a place with people you trust. You trust with your life. They are blood relatives and gangsters. Shillitani gangsters. No fear, No Law, and certainly No Cop could test their loyalty. The family blood, the blood they truly shared, and their deep rooted code of honor were woven tightly together to form an impenetrable allegiance amongst members.

The turn in point was at 123rd and Morningside in close proximity to what I now believe was the hideout place.

 

The Get Away and Hide-out Route

A: The Scene of the crime and retrace of the suspect after final shot.

B: Houston Station, 3rd Ave Line, IRT.

C: 125th Station, 3rd Ave Line, IRT.

D: Michele Scillitano's Property, Cousin of Oresto's Father. 27-29 E. 124th St.

E: Oresto's designated point where he would eventually turn himself in.


New York City Deputy
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Police Commissioner George S. Dougherty

Chapter 12: Fugitive Negotiations. Doing it "Our Way"
Omerta Scillitano - The Family Code of Honor. The Family Code of Silence.
Johnny went on to say-

“My kid brother Freddie told me the next morning about the shooting down the block. He came running to my house at 224 W. 25th Street and tumbled out a lot of stuff as kids will”

"Monday morning The Kid phoned me from a friend’s house up town at 123rd St. I went up there to see him. I went up to see him and he wanted to know what the best thing to do. He knew the coppers were picking up everybody that had a record or they could hang anything on...and that was the reason he slipped away. He had a record you know and had been around the pool parlor at No. 235 not long before the shooting took place." [Washington Post, May 28, 1915]

Johnny said, " He (Oresto) pasted a $2 bill on the mirror in the new place, you remember."

"The police began looking for me right away. I know that. But it took 3 days before they found out where I lived. There was a man on my heels every minute after that, but a lot of good it did them." -Johnny Shillitani via the Washington Post, May 28, 1915

"Cops or no cops, I didn’t fail once to keep any engagement I had with the Kid. The cops would try to stick with me, but they never did all the way through." -Johnny Shillitani via the Washington Post, May 28, 1915

About week and a half went by and the cops are getting really frustrated. There’s lots of heat on them to get my brother. The coppers tried everything. They lied and told me they know he’s innocent, but they want him to turn himself in to prove his innocence. Huh.

"They told me I've got $3000 you can have to help the Kid if he'll come in. I said I didn't want his money, not a nickel of it...They wanted me to sell me brother out. I told them there was nothing doing." -Johnny Shillitani via the New York Tribue, June 15, 1913

"Their messengers tried more than once to let me know that Commissioner Dougherty was willing to give me a sum of money. I told them every time go back and tell Mr. Dougherty that my brother is not cattle, and he is not for sale by me." -Johnny Shillitani via the New York Tribue, June 15, 1913

The coppers were getting desperate. They said they had evidence that could set him free but he’s gotta come in and verify it. I’m wiser than that old plan. I said, "OK then let me know what you got and I’ll tell what it is and we’ll go from there. The coppers didn’t even have a good answer for me."

The Kid was good for staying on the lam. He had $940 in his pocket and nobody had any idea where he was. [New York Times, June 15, 1913] Then he was told his father was arrested and indicted for complicity. Next they arrested this younger brother, Sam.

That’s when the Kid suggested Johnny go to the police and arrange everything to give himself up. He was determined to now turn himself, risk facing and rsik facing the Death Penalty to save his father.

The Kid had Johnny tell the cops what the conditions were. Johnny negotiated for The Kid, and the conditions for turning himself in. He arranged for the meeting place after there were several conditions met. First and foremost, The Commissioner would have to give his word that The Kid’s dad not be implicated regarding to the incident. Next, The Kid would have to be treated with respect and not abused by any of the cops. Lastly, his kid brother Sammy must be released on his burglary charges. [Washington Post, May 28, 1915]

The Kid arranged to turn himself in to rescue his father from jail and eventual death.

His father was arrested at midnight on May 9, 1913 and had been in jail since. [Brooklyn Daily Eagle, June 14, 1913]

The Kid's conditions that were met by the authorities read as follows:

1) Free our father immediately.

2) Exonerate our father from any charges regarding this matter

3) Free our brother Sammy. 

4) No disrespect in the handling of the Kid or his family.

Prior to turning Himself in

The Kid was smart… crazy smart. He arranged through Johnny, meeting a news reporter, and his photographer, right in front of the Tombs around 4 pm. The word was given to all three, Not a Word to anyone.

Johnny, along with the reporter, showed up right on time. Johnny was certain the Kid was ready to turn himself in and was prepared for the fall-out. But the "Kid" had a different idea. The Kid appears seemingly from nowhere and hands Johnny a piece of paper with the conditions of turning himself in.

He coolly and casually asks Johnny to put his back to the tombs and face the photographer. The Kid walks over and puts his arms around Johnny, asks him smile. and tells the photographer to take the picture. The Kid with Johnny, arm in arm, smiling, with the tombs, one of the busiest court houses in the U.S.A., as a setting in the background. All in broad daylight.

Johnny and the reporter must of thought what the hell is he doing? He's got every copper in New York got his eyes open to spot him and he's posing for picture right in front of the courthouse!

They must of thought The Kid was losing it. No, not the Kid. He had a plan. Take a picture of the two brothers arm in arm, smiling, right in front of the tombs. Put the picture on hold in case the coppers didn't hold true and give him a square deal. If the Commissioner and the boys did not come through on the deal, then he instructed the paper guy to release the picture and a story about how The Kid was seen hanging around the Tombs, right in under the coppers noses, with over a 1000 men still looking for him. The coppers would have no choice but to give him a 'square deal' or be publically humiliated. Any aspirations by top brass for higher offices would be crushed upon the release of those photos. The newspaper guy to gets a story, and Oresto has his insurance policy.

It was win-win for both parties. If the Deputy Commissioner holds true to the bargain, the newspaper guy gets the biggest story of the day ahead of time, and holds the tombs story. If The Deputy Commissioner unwisely decides to pull back on his deal, the newspaper guy was instructed to release the picture and story. This is not a plan of a dumb or crazy man

The heat was so high on the commissioner, the mayor, and the governor they agreed to the conditions.

The turning in of Oresto was arranged through his brother, Johnny, Lieutenant Riley, and Deputy Commissioner Dougherty. The arranged pick-up point was at 9:00am on June 14, 1913. The arranged location: Morningside Park at the corner Morningside Ave. and 123rd in the Morningside section of Harlem.

As it so happens, even in the corrupt circus of NYC, both Oresto Shillitani and Deputy Commissioner Dougherty were known to be men of their word. Whether they remain true to their character was yet to be seen.


Shillitoni Arrested. Brother is Go Between
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New York Times June 15, 1913

Chapter 13: The 'Turning In' Ceremony

Martyr - Someone who has given up their Life to Something Bigger than Oneself

With the terms of his arrest settled, the Kid arrived at the arranged meeting place. The commissioner's car was anxiously awaiting The Kids arrival when a black car approached. Although the Commissioner and his men were tense about a possible ambush, they bravely waited in their car with the windows open.

The door of the black door swings open, and right on time, 9:00 am sharp, as he had promised, walked out Oresto the "Paper Box Kid". The Kid is dressed to impress, dressed like "a man about town", with a black suit, tie, straw hat, and twisted brown cigar. [The Evening World News, June 14, 1913]

With a big smile, he walks right up to the commissioner's car, steps on the running board beside the commissioner, tips his hat, pulls the stogie out of his mouth, and says, "How do you do Commissioner Dougherty?". [NY Times, June 15, 1913]

Deputy Commissioner put out his hand and they shaked. "Come in Shillitoni. There's enough room for you in the car." Leiutenant Riley handcuffed himself with one wrist and the The Kid's wrist on the other. And of the Kid's other hand still smoking his big brown twisted cigar.

They drove off and as the Deputy Commissioner promised he and his men treated him with respect and spoke amicably with him on the way to the station. The Kid amused the detectives and The Commissioner during their ride. Not a word was mentioned about the triple homicide The Kid had allegedly committed.

The chauffeur driven automobile rolls in front of headquarters with "The Kid" still smoking a fat twisted brown cigar, looking like a man about town, and entirely at ease with himself. He exits the car with cigar in one hand and handcuffed to Lieutenant Riley on the other with Detectives Gamberdello and Bonano at his sides. Mobs continued to swirl out of the tenements to take a look at "The Kid".[The Evening World, June 14, 1913]

"They've got him—Shillltoni, the 'Paper Box Kid.' " This cry emptied the tenements with a rush and sent an admiring, curious crowd on the run. The mob ran towards the big automobile that swept around the corner and was rolling swiftly up to the north driveway of police headquarters. A large number of bluecoats were waiting in line to receive and guard against any escape of the suspect. The police finally had the 21 year old Kid, for whom the police of New York, and all the rest of the country had been hunting. A later mob that came late to the party swamped the police prisoner vans just in in hope to get a glimpse of The Kid.[The Evening World, "Gangster Caught as the Slayer of two Policemen", June 14, 1913]

A whole contingent of Officers escorted a calm and relaxed Oresto Shillitani through the doors at headquarters.

The Family Reunion at Police Headquarters [The Washington Post, June 15, 1913]

The officers quickly and discreetly rushed their high profile captive through the hallways, with only one goal in mind- getting The Kid to the Commissioner's Office ASAP. As they rounded one of the corridors, they were surprised by a party of Oresto's over-joyed mother, two brothers, and Aunt. The Kid was smiling pleasantly, they all exchanged greetings, and everyone in the family seemed to be having a good time. Right there in police headquarters. Right after a 6 week manhunt that shut down most the thorough fares out of the great city. And...all this hoopla, right in the midst of a triple homicide charge, and it's undoubted, and accompanying, sentence of death. No one person, Not The Kid, Not any in his family, seemed the least bit upset or concerned.  [The Washington Post, Jun 15, 1913] [The New York Tribune, June 15, 1913]

After the family reunion party was over in the corridor, they escorted The Kid to The Commissioner’s office surrounded by 4 Deputies at all times. The Manhunt was finally over. Detectives and the district Attorney all flocked to the commissioner’s office to see the man that caused all of Manhattan to be shut down.

Although he was questioned and interrogated in front of Commissioner Waldo, Deputy Commissioner George S. Dougherty, District Attorneys Charles C. Nott jr. and Deacon Murphy, and criminal identification expert Inspector Joseph Faurot there was not one hint of him saying anything other than he refused to make any statements without the advice of counsel. Oresto, nor his family would make any statements to the police or the press. [The Washington Post Jun 15, 1913]


The Tombs
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New York City

Chapter 14: The Tombs, Central Station & Mulberry Station House of Detention

"You don't shoot cops. Even I know that. The only one who doesn't seem to know that...is you." -Momma Lucas 

After the top brass had their go for a confession, it was time for the highly written about Detective Riley to get into action. They gave the Kid everything he wanted, now it was time for the 'third degree' from Lieutenant Riley.

Riley is hoping for a break with the Kid, but there was nothing doing. Three patrolmen waiting to open the door to take him inside the interrogation area. The Patrolmen walk him firmly but respectfully as promised. They escort Oresto into the interrogation room, a cold, eery, plain room. No windows, only 1 small table with 1 chair on each side and nothing on it's bare white walls.

Oreste is asked to sit. Everyone vacates the room as per the interrogation methods of the time. They leave him alone 'for a while' as the old "make 'em sweat" tactic. Detective Riley walks in with a pad of paper and pencil. The usual "I want you to come clean, you hear me? You need to come clean if you know what's good for you and your family." Just then three big detectives enter the room without a word and lean against the walls staring at The Kid.

The three big detectives look mean and angry about their fallen comrades. They begin to pull away from the walls and towards The Kid. The Kid does not look the bit intimidated. The Kid must of looked frustrated at the routine he had seen several times before.

Riley had received tremendous positive press for the arrest but that was not enough. The heat is on to close this case out. Riley leans over the table and looks down at The Kid. The usual come clean speech or we are going to make things very hard on you and you're family routine was most likely used. The lieutenant must of also threw in the "everyone on the streets will be better off," speech.

Roughing "The Kid" up had to been discussed. Most cops wanted to beat the confession out of him. They all thought with the Boys fists, a blackjack, and a hose we could get something outta him in less than an hour. But the Commissioner as it turns out was a man of his word...Even with street guys. The Commissioner knew that the Shillitoni's were a different breed, nothing was to be gained but a lot of heat from the press and the courts.

Detective Riley walks back in the interrogation room. The Kid looks sharp, attentive, and unaffected. Riley would use all his detective tools to nail this one. The psychological squeeze, letting the Kid know he is against impossible odds. That the police had Not 1, Not 2, Not 3 but 4 witnesses in detention, that said he did it.

Then the good guy technique; give your side of the story, so I can help you. The Kid didn't flinch. Not a word about that night was uttered.

After many was time to put The Kid in his cell at the Tombs. It was reported, the Gangster Original went whistling to his assigned cell on the 7th tier of the Tombs with his Father under arrest for complicity only two tiers down. Oresto announced to Asst. District Attorney Murphy that he knew his rights and there wasn't going to be any talkin' until his Attorney was present. [NY Times, June 15, 1913]

"I Don't want to be Fresh About it, but I Think I know what's best for me."

"His desire to obtain his father's release was the real reason for Shillitoni's ...Surrender. [NY Times, June 15, 1913]

The Manhattan House of Detention was the official name, but everyone in New York City called it the Tombs. It was located at 125 White St. at the corner of White and Centre. The Detention center earned it's moniker the Tombs due to the original building's Egyptian style of architecture. It was built on a freshwater pond that was back-filled and leveled with dirt. The job was hastily done, resulting in a swampy ground which invaded into it's granite foundation.

The Tombs' cells were in deplorable condition. Once entering the cell block the smell of filth and urine infiltrated your sinus cavity. It was a damp, musty, and filthy place. Notoriously over-crowded and under-staffed. It was originally designed to accommodate 300 prisoners with a maximum capacity supposed to be 350. The Tombs would regularly reach up to 2,000 prisoners. Rats in the cells were a common site. Food poisoning occurred on a regular basis. No Windows. No Running Water. Excrements into tin pails. Very little ventilation and temperatures soared into the high 90's during the summer months. There was just enough room in the cells for a man's cot. Not much room for anything else. [Dash, Mike. Satan's Circus. New York: Crown Publishing, 2007]

Noises penetrated the corridors 24 hours a day. Horrendous screaming, clanking of metal bars, crying, whining and other ghastly noises were always present. For most  novice criminals it was torture enough to end their lives of crime, but for The Kid it was just the way the environment was.

He slept like a baby regardless of the atrocious living conditions an awoke to a celebrity-like atmosphere. Hundreds of visitors were waiting for a chance to see him. A hundred notes waited for answers.

Across the way from the Tombs was the Manhattan Criminal Courts building. The two buildings were connected by a walkway that bridged across White and Centre. It was known as the Bridge of Sighs  to the many criminals that tread across it's tear soaked floors. Where the guilty headed back to their temporary cells awaiting shipment off to their new home in one of the state's notorious prisons.

New York Reporters clamoured for a chance to get some answers from the Kid.

Q. "Did you shoot Policemen Teare and Heaney?"

Q. "Did you shoot John Rizzo?"

The Kid must of shocked the reporters with how well he spoke English. (Not very common amongst the gangsters of the time).The Kid explained that he studied English at Cooper Union.

"Perhaps you thought Italians were low-down (var.), well, I hope you don't think so now."

"Why, I had $940 in my pocket when I was arrested?  I am a tailor by trade, and had my own shop. I saved my money; that's all."

Q. Why did you give yourself up?

"..Because my brother Johnnie advised it. That's all there was to it. They would have never caught me."

Q. Where were you holed up?" - "Who was helping you?" - "Did you really do it?"

The Kid was booked and scheduled to plead his indictment before Judge Foster on the Monday following his arrest. [New York Times, June 15, 1913]


Dread of Shillitoni
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New York Times, February 26, 1914

Chapter 15: Witness Intimidation

With The Kid lying within the shadow of the electric chair, the witnesses weighed the consequences of the terrifying and relentless organization and terrible as the dreaded Camorra or to be cited for perjury. The District Attorney has told the press that the fear of vengeance has come into the hearts of these witnesses. One young girl showed no fear and has agreed to testify.

Only one of the witnesses did not recant. The spirited 16 year old girl Nellie from the neighborhood stood in the face of New York’s most feared gangs.

As the trial neared the strong willed Nellie finally succumbed to the pressure and fear for her family. She recanted saying “because of my lie I was barred from receiving communion from her church.” I must purge myself of this horrible lie, even if it means the penalty of imprisonment…this is the price I would have to pay." 

The District Attorney wanted to deliver the news himself personally. He visited the house of The Kids’ to see if his parents and brothers would appear surprised. For if they already knew their demeanor would not be as joyous. The Mother and Brothers performed fabulously, while his father seemed to smirk at him and walk away.

The NYPD Detectives rounded up four witnesses and held them in indefinite detention. The sixteen girl actually moved in with a female clerk at the station to help hide her. The detectives had no luck with two young single Italian males. There were too many things in play with them. Bonds, strong National loyalties, and mostly the fear of death for talking. They knew they had no chance in hell. The stroke of luck came when Guiseppe Solito a newlywed, after being kept from his new bride for days broke down and promised a statement if he was able to go home and be with his new bride. Another break came when the 16 year old girl also committed to a statement.

With The Kid lying within the shadow of the electric chair, the witnesses weighed the consequences of the terrifying and relentless organization and terrible as the dreaded Camorra or to be cited for perjury. The District Attorney has told the press that the fear of vengeance has come into the hearts of these witnesses. One young girl showed no fear and has agreed to testify.

Only one of the witnesses did not recant. The spirited 16 year old girl Nellie from the neighborhood stared into the face of New York’s most feared gangs.

As the trial neared the strong willed Nellie finally succumbed to the pressure and fear for her family. She recanted saying “because of my lie I was barred from receiving communion from her church.” I must purge myself of this horrible lie, even if it means the penalty of imprisonment…this is the price I would have to pay.”

The District Attorney wanted to deliver the news himself personally. He visited the house of The Kids’ to see if his parents and brothers would appear surprised. For if they already knew their demeanor would not be as joyous. The Mother and Brothers performed fabulously, while his father seemed to smirk at him and walk away.

Witnesses Verno and Selitto confess they are gripped by fear. "Something will surely happen to us if the Paper Box Kid" goes to the chair."


The People Against Oresto Shilitano. Case #1884
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alias Harry Shields. Feb 24 1914.

Chapter 16: The Trial For Life

[Court of the General Sessions of the Peace, City and County of New York. The People against Oresto Shilitano alias Harry Shields. CASE #1844].

First and foremost items on the agenda for the prosecution were:

DAY 1: Securing the witnesses and Recruiting and securing men with the utmost and impeccable reputations for the jury. Doctors, lawyers, and bankers were sought after for their reputations and to limit the possibility of bribery.

Patrolman Assignment of Duty, New York City 12th Precinct, May 3, 1913

Officer William Heaney: His Shift 4pm - 12midnight; His Post Mulberry St between Spring and Bleecker.

Officer Charles H. Teare: His Shift 10pm-6am; His Post Mulberry St between Spring and Bleecker.

Witnesses for The People: Nellie De Carlo, Frank Chieffo, James Morelli, Gennaro Sellito, John Verno.

Frank Chieffo - 242 Mott St., Part of the "James Brandie Association", knew Oresto since he was a little boy. I lived in the same house as him. I was with Rizzo. Rizzo was in the saloon at 233 Mulberry St., then went to the pool hall at 235 Mulberry. Rizzo was wearing a shirt with black derby...no coat. I heard a shot, I saw Rizzo fall to the ground and I saw Oresto running up the street towards Prince street. They were about 6 feet away from eachother. He saw Officer Heaney across the street pulling on doors to make sure stores that were closed locked up. When the shot went off Officer Heaney tied the leather strap on his club around his hand and ran across the street. When Heaney was a bout five feet from Oresto a shot was fired and Heaney went down. Then a crowd came out and I couldn't see a thing.

Nellie De Carlo: Went to bed about 11:30pm.

James Morelli: 351 The Bowery. Chauffuer. I helped carry Rizzo's body into the hall at 235 Mulberry St.

Gennaro Sellitto: Oresto was 30 feet from Rizzo when the shots were fired. Teare was shot and
The First eye Witness of the crime called was one Gennaro Sellito of 230 Mulberry St. He was lucky enough to have do his brother a favor that night and cover his shift at the pool room. He testified he saw both Oresto and his father in the pool room that night.

District Attorney's Office of New York County
1.Charles S. Whitman - District Attorney (41st Governor of New York 1915-1918)
2.Isodor Wasservogel - Assistant District Attorney and Prosecuting Attorney (Elected to the Supreme Court bench in 1920)
3.Deacon Murphy - Deputy Assistant District Attorney

The Defense Team boasted an all-star staff of 5 attorneys, each with his own specialty. 

The Defense Team of Attorneys - Firm: Goldsmith, Koenig, & Sittenfeld

1.Samuel S. Koenig (Secretary of State of New York 1909-1910)
2.Goldsmith
3.Sittenfeld
4.Ogden L. Mills (State Senator 17th Dist. 1917; Chairman of Affairs of the City of New York 1917)
5.Frank Aranow

John Rizzo in the pool room that night? YES. Did you see Oresto and his father leave the pool room? YES. Did you see John Rizzo leave the pool room? NO. Were you a witness before the grand jury? YES I remember that. Did you testify before the grand jury that Rizzo left the pool room 5 minutes after the defendant and his father left the pool room? I did not see anybody at anytime leave the pool room.

Bailiff, Next Witness Nellie DiCarlo. Do you swear tell the truth and the whole truth so help you God? Nellie, I do. Nellie was a pretty 16 year old Italian Girl from the next door tenements to the saloon. She said she was looking out her window Saturday night. She saw The Kid’s father hand The Kid a shiny that looked like a gun. The Kid put the object up his sleeve and walked toward the saloon.

She testified that Russo walked outside the saloon and The Kid blasted him in front of 239 Mulberry Street, and then Russo lay listless on the ground in a pool of blood.

The Kid ignores his call. The young patrolman persists, drop the body and the gun or I’m gonna clobber you right on the noggin, he stated while waiving his night stick. The Kid ignores him. Because Nellie was the only one of 100’s of potential witnesses that was willing to testify, she was under protective custody of one detective Isabella Goodwin, at an undisclosed location.

Occurred at 11 o'clock at night when the street was crowded find brilliantly lighted from shop windows, few murders have presented such difficulties to the police and the district attorney. It was shown at the trial that the defendant's father, Michael Shillitoni, owns several tenements and business houses in Mulberry street.

Most of the witnesses for the defense either lived or worked in one of these places.

The police finally found Nellie Di Carlo, 18 years old, who testified, under the questioning of Assistant District Attorney Wasservogel that threats were made to prevent, her from giving information to the police; Her father, she said, tried to keep 'her from being an informer, The pressure became so great that she was sent to live at the home of Police Detective -Isabella Goodwin, who constantly guarded her.

The girl described every detail of the killing of the three men by Shillitoni.

Once shots were heard, Officer Heaney ran immediately to No. 235 Mulberry Street, the combination poolroom and cafe.

The defendant Shillitoni had "been in the neighboring, store or saloon, No. 233, and in there had seen Rizzo and a number of other men: Shillitoni left the store, went down the street in front of No. 241, which is where he lived, and took up his stand near the railing. Shortly after that, Rizzo came out of the poolroom at 235, walked down the street in front of No. 239. After a heated exchange of words and threats, Oresto pulls out a pistol from his pocket and drops Rizzo.


Closing Address from Lead Defense Attorney, Mr. Koenig:

"You have to obey the law of the land. The burden of proof is always on the prosecution...The Defendant need prove nothing. The defendant need do nothing. The burden is upon the people who make the charge, and now, gentlemen..."

"...would you, will you, can you, blot out a human life, a life breathed into the nostrils of this human being by the creator, the sole dispenser of life? The Responsibility is yours. Yours to save this life -- yours to destroy, to snuff it out, as one would a wax taper (wick). Beware of mistake. It can never be righted."

Closing Address from Assistant District Attorney Isidor Wasservogel:

"From the very beginning of this defense...the great power of Shilitano, the Elder, again became apparent."

"Just think of it gentlemen, father turned against daughter; brother against sister; wife against husband; mother against son. Is this natural gentleman? What is the influence that brings this about? "

"Gentlemen, I have often heard the expression and I know you have also, "The Fine Italian Hand", but I never knew its true meaning until we were in the midst of the trial of this case."

"Because which ever which way you turn in the consideration of the defense in this case, that fine Italian Hand is present and manifest. They (the Shilitanos)  bring into court a former Deputy Commissioner, Mr. Wright, of Corrections...to testify regarding the line-up. Commission Wright was only brought into this case to make another grand stand play, and his presence was another effort on the part of the defense to throw a little dust into your eyes."

"This crime was committed in the heart of the Italian Colony in this city. It was committed where this defendant's father (Michele) is a man of great influence, a man of power; this defendant's father, gentlemen, as has been testified in this case, is a man of wealth and the owner of considerable tenement property in the Italian Neighborhood."

 In the Court of General Sessions, on March 2, 1914, before Judge James T. Malone

[Court of General Sessions- The County of New York (215 N.Y. 715)  The People v. Oresto Shilitano Case #1844]


Gangster Original Laughs in The Face of Death
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Tampa Morning Tribune March 3, 1914

Chapter 17

The Verdict - Laughing in the Face of Death

"He who has money and friends can sneer at the law" -Old Italian Proverb

A contingent of The Kid's East Side friends packed the court room for the final day of the trial, March 2, 1914.

With Five Prior convictions the odds were way against the kid. Tension permeated for both gangsters and cops in the court room. The crowd was so great that many policemen were also stationed in the corridors of the court house. [New York Tribune, May 4, 1914]

After only 90 minutes of deliberation, The Jury returns to court. [Tampa Morning Tribune, March 3, 1914]

THE CLERK: Gentlemen of the jury, will you please arise. Jurors look upon the defendant, defendant look upon the jurors. Gentlemen of the jury, have you agreed upon the verdict?

FOREMAN: We have.

THE CLERK: How say you, do you find the defendant guilty o not guilty?

Whispers and noises that circulated through out the court room, come to a complete silence.

THE FOREMAN: Guilty as charged in the indictment.

Oresto staring into the face of death, indignantly cracks a smile, and sneers at all the members of the jury.

The court room explodes with the noises of a disgruntled crowd. Angelina, Oresto's mother, bursts out into hysteria and tears. The court room is quieted down.

THE CLERK: Oresto Shilitano, have you any legal cause to show why judgement of death should not be pronounced on you according to law?

MR. KOENIG: If your Honor pleases, the defendant moves for a new trial upon the following grounds...

Oresto's lead defense attorney goes on to list 11 different reasons for a re-trial. After his lengthy list is carefully read...

THE COURT: Motion Denied.

THE COURT: The judgment of the Court is that you, Oresto Shilitano, otherwise called Harry Shields, for the murder in the first degree of one William B. Heaney, whereof you are convicted, be, and you hereby are, sentenced to the punishment of death; and it is ordered that within 10 days after this days session of court, the sheriff of the County of New York deliver you, together with the warrant of this Court, to the Agent and Warden of the State Prison of the State of New York at Sing Sing Prison, where you shall be kept in solitary confinement until the week beginning the 13th of April, 1914.

Most men would listen upon their fate while profusely sweating. Hearing their death warrant read so clearly and methodically, would cause an immediate buckling at the knees. Next a chill would run down their spine from the top of their heads to the bottom of their toes, dropping the blood pressure as it goes. A scientifically unexplainable stupor over-comes their bodily functions as the toxicity of the verdict invades their mind.

The Paper box Kid was an animal of a different kind. It was unfathomable, but "The Kid" sneered at the judge immediately after he was finished reading his death sentence. From then, appeared to be completely unaffected by the prospects of getting executed in the electric chair. Being a "Bad Man" was not just hearsay, not just an unfounded reputation, but a reality he certainly proved in court that day.

As The Kid left the courtroom his mother, Angelina, completely distraught, threw her arms about his neck, crying, but the demonstration was seemingly lost on the The Kid. "Keep quiet," he said to her. "What are you crying about? I can take care of myself. It's nothing. Don't bother about me. What's the use of crying?" With a smile The Kid followed his guards to his cell. [Tampa Morning Tribune, March 3, 1914]

The Kid was escorted by the guards out of the court room. Before exiting the court room he turns for one last sneer at the Judge and Jury. He lets out a laugh, and strutted coolly out of the court room. His mother wept profusely and had to helped out of the building. [Tampa Morning Tribune, March 3, 1914]

[Unless otherwise noted all information in this chapter was obtained from: THE PEOPLE v ORESTO SHILITANO (215 N.Y. 715), Trial #1844]


The Green Door
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Sing Sing Death House

Chapter 18: Home Sweet Home
Life in The Death House; Sing Sing Prison, Ossining, NY

The Kid was transported from the Tombs to Sing Sing Prison. The most infamous prison that housed America's most notorious criminals. Frequently convicts that entered the prison were under the influence of drugs, but

"I am certain that it was impossible for inmates to obtain drugs at Sing Sing While I was Chief Physician." Dr. Squire 

The appropriately named new home is called The Death House. The Death House is a smaller replica of the main prison. There was a total of 18 cells in the house. The infamous green door is visible at the end of corridor where the cells are located. The door only opens to invite death or cart dead meat back in for a carving. An autopsy room was right outside the green door, and a small room for stove/oven named “chuck”.  and the The famous electric chair, "old Sparky" has a room all to itself. The Death House hosted New York's most dangerous prisoners throughout it's history. All it's killer tenants were in turn sentenced to their own deaths.

"I have been in the Death House for two years and in the that time I have not seen one ray of sunshine or had a chance to look at the stars or the moon." proclaimed one condemned man to a NY Times reporter. "The Death House is regular slaughterhouse...Seventeen men have gone away and let me tell you that is a mighty hard thing to see." On The night before a man's execution, is what the death house prisoners call a "living wake". "Each one of the prisoners reads a chapter in the bible, then someone suggests a song which we all know, and we sing it. These wakes last all night." [Maurice M. Lustig as spoken to The New York Times, July 10, 1912] 

The 'slaughter house' schedule is as follows: Every two weeks inmates are allowed to buy tobacco, and most death house inmates get their entire two supply then. Every Tuesday and Friday they get a shave. A haircut comes every six months. A bath comes only once a week. The bath is at the end of the death house in an open area. [Maurice M. Lustig as spoken to The New York Times, July 10, 1912] 

Three shifts of guards manned the Death House. Prison officials called them correction officers and sometimes Keepers. Convicts called them screws, bulls, or hacks. Guards were typically large men of German or Irish decent. Guards had to be physically intimidating since they would walk in and amongst the most notorious criminals in New York carrying only wooden clubs (since 1910). Pistols were banned from the facility due to a violent unsuccessful attempt to escape, whereby the inmate wrestled away the guard's pistol.

Principal Keeper Dorner would continually remind officers "Your uniform is the visible embodiment of the power and authority the state. Any challenge to the authority must be immediate, resolute, and absolute."

The Executioner at the prison was the person that actually threw "the switch" which turned on the large amounts of electricity to execute the inmate. There was only one person in this position at a time. Amazingly, The Executioner at the prison was not paid by salary. He was paid by commission, on a per job basis. The pay: $150 per execution.

Cells were 4 feet wide, 7 feet long, and 7 feet high. The was a tiny stool, a basin to wash up in, and a dented up tarnished tin cup to drink with. A very dim light bulb hung from the center of the cell and dangled 5 feet 10 inches off the ground. Oreste was one of the lucky ones that didn't hit his head on the bulb on a regular basis. Inmates were locked in their cells each with a bucket containing their feces from 5:30pm to the next morning. The foul smell was trapped in these poorly ventilated cells for the entire night. Drinking water was placed in a bucket next to their excrement which was easily contaminated and was the cause of many infectious disease outbreaks on Death Row.

Beds were made of vegetable fiber with gas piping frame. They were hinged to the walls and measured 2 feet wide and 5 feet 10 inches long. The Bath houses contained four showers of which never more then two worked at a time. The New York Central blew it's steam like clockwork everyday at the same time. The only way prisoners had a sense of time during the middle of the day.

All in all, there were 18 Death House cells each filled with victims of circumstance, whether it be drunken rage, cheating wife, abusive boss, un-compassionate landlord or just plain down on their luck. Most people on death row got their by circumstances, but weren’t cold blooded killers. The Kid was not like the rest. He was a killing machine when provoked.

The Death House at Sing Sing was a damp, ominous place. It was a death row inmate's permanent home, and final resting place. Most prisoners smoked incessantly, walked in circles, and talked to themselves before their scheduled execution. Mumbling to themselves throughout the day, about what shoulda happened, and what coulda happened. Neurotically, counting down the days to their death, over and over again. Not The Kid. He cooly and calmly settled into the Death House and made it a comfortable place to live. To The Kid, this place was just a temporary living place.

Oreste enters Sing Sing penitentiary in chains escorted by 4 guards. He walks through the welcoming sing sing archway that reads "All Hope Abandon Ye Who Enter Here".

The four guards then escort him through a series of iron barred gates. The first one clanks behind him leaving his freedom with it. After the third such iron gate it's time for the first stop. The bath room. There's a four guard escort to a bath that sits in a wide open room. Oreste enjoys a luke warm bath as four guards watch his every move. Oreste, "hey fellas, since you guys are just standing around, one of you screws wanna get my back?" Oreste lifts his arm with soap in hand and looks at the two guards standing at his back. Guards remain silent. The two behind him fold their arms.

While he's drying up another guard hands him his check-in prison package: Underwear, 1 pair of socks, a cotton shirt, a rough gray clothed prison suit, heavy prison shoes, a coat with 'State Prison' Embroidered across the front, a stiff and rough towel, and a cake of soap.

After the Kid dresses in his new duds he is escorted by two guards to the PK (The Principal Keeper). The PK hands him the rules, gives his marching orders for meals, rec time, and lights out. PK. The barber schedule is 1 time a month. Put in your written request for your shave. Only 1 shave per week (Inmates had the luxury of getting a shave because razors were not permitted anywhere in the cell block area. The PK reads with little enthusiasm.

The Sing Sing Prison's Death House visitation rules were as follows. Weekday Visits- Only 2 days a week. Any day except Thursdays; Sunday Visits - Only 2 Sundays a month. 2 hours maximum per visit. Passes for Sundays must be given to the Principal Keeper by Tuesday for and upcoming Sunday visit. All visitors must be fingerprinted. Persons allowed to visit are - Wife, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, In-Laws, Friends, and Kids. All Family members and friends must be fingerprinted and must have court order to visit.

Oreste is now escorted next door to the prison Chaplains office. Father Cashin was a tall long faced priest with round spectacles and a kindly manner. Father Cashin hands Oresto a Bible and the list of books in the prison library as he does with all death house inmates.

Next it's the quadruple team escort to the medical examination room. After a thorough examination and the filling out of form after form it was time for Oreste to be escort to his new home.

The Death House had it's own morse code system of communication at night. Guys would tap on the bars in set rhythms to communicate.

After breakfast they get time in the exercise yard. After lights out the Death House was a dark, dreary and lonely place. Occasional coughs, sighs, cries, and shuffling of feet periodically broke the eerie silence. Inmates of the Death House got to the exercise yard two times a day for 30 minutes each. After lights out the Death House was a dark, dreary and lonely place. Occasional coughs, sighs, cries, and shuffling of feet periodically broke the eery silence. Once after breakfast, and once after lunch.

An inmate on death row was not allowed to have or buy matches. The guards would spend a good time of the day lighting cigarettes for the death row inmates.

The rules of the Death House were very different and much tighter than the general population at the prison. Death row inmates did not leave their cells for meals, whereas the general population would go to the mess hall. Every meal was served through the bars of his cell and each inmate would eat in solitude. The same routine three times a day. No family. No big Italian meals. No homemade vino. A far cry from the big family meals that boasted some of the best Italian cooking this side of the Atlantic.

The illustrious tenants already caged here included Lieutenant Charles Becker convicted 10/1912, Appeal reveals bias by Judge 5/1913; Re-trial Convicted 5/1914; Executed 7/30/1915 (47 yrs old), Father Hans Schmidt Hung Jury first trial 10/1913; convicted 10/1914; executed 2/18/1916(33), Antonio 'Salem' Salemne (26), Guiseppe Marendi (28)(another gangster from Kings), Eng Hing (20), Ludwig Marquardt (51), Louis Roach (40), Antoni Impuellozzo (27), and Hymen Stransky (38). Guards D.J. McCarthy, Ernest Bullard and Charles Nichols. Warden Kirchwey was in office during the escape.

Shortly after his arrival two other high profile inmates arrived- One Charles Becker, and one Hans Schmidt. Becker was a convicted crooked cop that put a hit on a local gambling parlor owner who complained about his strong arm extortion tactics. Ironically the Kid’s cell was next to Becker. One a Cop Killer, and the other a Killer Cop. Schmidt was a convicted murdering priest. All three claimed their innocence to thwart their walk to the electric chair and became friends of circumstance.

Unbeknownst to The Kid, the rumor of the him coming to the Death House was of that of a coming celebrity. Most others in the death house were one time killers that killed in a bout of rage, jealousy, or to protect themselves and/or their images. Most claimed their innocence. More than half even had remorse. The Kid was a much different animal. He was a stoned cold killer. They all quietly watched his arrival.

Death House 1916
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Sing Sing Prison

Charles Becker, the notorious cop that had amassed a fortune on a $2,200 annual salary, and was convicted of calling a hit on gambling house owner was The Death House's newest tenant.
 
Oresto over heard Father Cashin speaking to Becker regarding Governor Charles S Whitman's denial of clemency, "Charley, I have bad news for you. Your appeal was denied." Becker then mumbling to himself "Denied...denied." [Dash, Mike. Satan's Circus. New York NY: Crown Publishing, 2007] From the next cell over, "What did you expect?" Becker replies, "Oreste, That you?" Oreste- "Yeah all the same. They're only out for themselves. Do you think this Whitman is going to give you a break? You is a dreamer Lieutenant." [Gado, Mark. Killer Priest. Westport CT: Praeger Publishing, 2006]
 
"You know Lieutenant you mighta been better off if you just went on a lam. You can't get justice in this town." Becker retorts, "Yeah, You should know Oreste, look where it got you. At least your cell is closer to the door, my boy!" Both Oreste and Becker laughed and got along. The Cop Killer and The Killer Cop neighbors in The Death House. [Gado, Mark. Killer Priest. Westport CT: Praeger Publishing, 2006]
 
Becker and Oresto were well aware of the Union Club guys' self-righteous, self-serving aspirations. Many people not in their circles felt they don't give a rats ass about anybody but themselves. The Union Club is a private social club in New York City, founded in 1836. At the time, it is an ultra-conservative group, that was thought to foster the political ambitions of it's members using "the end justify the means" philosophy. It was located on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 51st Street. 

Both Becker and Oresto felt harshly about Whitman. The Judges for once may have been rigged from the authorities this time. Whitman was a specially prolific District Attorney...for executions...and death. Inmates in Whitman's jurisdiction all felt strongly that they were unjustly treated by the court system because of his run for Governor.

Salem's time. Salem was led out for a bath, and was given a haircut and a shave. He was able to dress in his own drabby clothing and was given a pair of felt slippers. This was the routine that preceded an electrocution at the time. 

The idea of the last dance begins to infiltrate their minds, and Salem is no different. Salem begins his walk as confidently as possible, but the songs triggers the pain and suffering of all those who walked before him. The movie of the preceding condemned inmates walking to their deaths systematically breaks Salem down. The movie in his mind plays over and over, again. Salem begins to crack and walk as the others, in an unexplained stupor, as if he were drunk.

To the state, Antonio Salemne was just another young 26 year old Italian ready to get electrocuted. Salemne, originally from Sicily, killed his young wife in a jealous rage. He was educated and could read and write. He met and married Francesca. On their wedding night, Antonio discovered that his young wife was not a virgin. This was an important code of honor in the community and a code broken that Salemne could not live with. While shaving anger, jealousy, and paranoia got to him. He ran over to his sleeping wife and slit her throat with his razor.

The Kid was particularly fond of Salemne as he was an intelligent and well-spoken Italian, a rare breed at that time. When Salemne's time had come to approach the green door (September 3, 1915), Oresto made sure to offer words of support- "Be Strong, Antonio. God will provide for you. Say your prayers." Antonio straightens up and walks as confidently as possible and replies, " Arriverderci, Oreste. Buona Fortuna!" [Gado, Mark. Killer Priest. Westport CT: Praeger Publishing, 2006]

Locked in their cages like trapped animals they wailed and screamed knowing it was just a matter of time before they themselves would be led to slaughter. The weak minded inmates not only annoyed the Kid, but actually angered him. Oresto was known to shout "Shut up you God damn cowards!" [Gado, Mark. Killer Priest. Westport CT: Praeger Publishing, 2006]

After a busy day of Electrocutions, the autopsies were backed up. One body after another was sawed drilled and prodded. The sound of sawing skulls reverberated through-out the death house. The smell of burning blood and burnt bone permeated throughout the cells. By the time the third autopsy began several of the inmates were overcome by mass hysteria of fear and disgust.

The operating room was inside the death house very close to the cells of the inmates. Dr. Squire performs his autopsies right after a man's electrocution to study the effects upon a man from electrocution. Dr. Squire enters the autopsy room and leaves the door open as he does with every autopsy. The smell and the heat generated in the room was even too much for him to handle.

Very soon after Dr. Squire enters the room he starts up the saw which makes hideous whining noises because it is old, over-used and not properly lubricated and maintained. He would have to push very hard in order for the saw to penetrate the skull. The minute the saw hits the skull of the new corpse all the inmates hear the hi pitched sound that can not be mistaken for anything else. The inmates begin to all scream and make noises. Dr. Squire screams "be quiet out there! You've all heard this before!"

Oreste laid in his bed reading a newspaper as he always does, and over-hears another inmate tormenting another infamous tenant. The Murdering Priest, Father Hans Schmidt. "You disgraced the Church, you Bastard." Father Schmidt replies teary eyed, leaning through his bars, "I never disgraced the Church. I am an innocent man! Innocent as the day is long! God is my witness, I never hurt that poor girl!" Inmate that we can now discern as Venditti, yells back "You make me sick. You lie. You kill. You deserve what you get." Father Schmidt begins to breakdown, "guard! guard! I cannot breathe." Oreste, puts down his paper and frustratingly gets up the bars and shouts, "Venditti you shut your mouth right now or next time we're in the yard I'll make sure you can never speak again. Do you hear me?" Venditti, after a little pause, "Oreste, this guy is..." Oreste, "Venditti, one more time that's it. Keep your mouth shut...or your curtains before your dance." Venditti, "OK...OK".

Oreste, "Father, you're fine...There's no fixing any air in here...No sense in asking. Just lay down and relax. Venditti will never bother you again. Are you OK now?" Father, "yes, Oreste. Thank you. Thank you very much." Oreste, "Ok, can I read my paper in peace now?" Father, "yes", Venditti, "Ya". Oreste commonly heard Father Schmidt cry out of his "God why are you abandoning me? You know I'm innocent. Help me. Help me please" and let The Father go on.

In January, there was a big stir going on in the Death House. Inmate Angelo Leggio had found a way to wrap his sheets around his neck and hang himself in his cell. The guards were in a panic. The state government officials explicitly have given written orders to all death house personnel to prevent any inmate from taking his own life and cheat "justice being served".

Other Death House inmates 1914-1916

Orest Shillitani: 24 yrs old. Sentenced May 03, 1914. Received Death House May 06, 1914. Executed June 30, 1916.

Charles Becker: 43 yrs old. Sentenced May 24, 1914. Received c.May 27, 1914 after retrial guilty verdict. Executed July 30, 1915.

Father Hans Schmidt: 33 yrs old. Sentenced February 07, 1914. Sentenced c.February 10, 1914. Executed February 18, 1916. When it was the Fathers time he broke down.

Vincenzo Campanelli: 36 yrs old. Executed February 26, 1915

Giuseppe Gino: 23 yrs old. Executed March 22, 1915

Joseph Ferri: 26 yrs old. Executed June 30, 1915

Pasquale Vendetti: 47 yrs old. Executed September 3, 1915

Antoni Salemne: 26 yrs old. Executed September 3, 1915

Giuseppe Marendi: 28 yrs old. Executed February 4, 1916

Giovanni Supe: 31 yrs old. Executed June 2, 1916

Roy Champlain: 30 yrs old. Executed June 2, 1916

Antonio Impoluzzi: 20 yrs old. Executed May 17, 1917


All witnesses recant testimony
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New York Times March 13,1915

Chapter 18: The Appeal of Corruption - Poisoning The Wells of Justice

"...Don't talk to me about captains or Judges. If they couldn't be bought they wouldn't have the job." -Al Capone 

[Court of Appeals: The People vs. Oresto Shilitano, 218 N.Y. 161 Case #2101. May 9,1916]

Johnny Shillitani to Reporters

"What would you people say if I should bring you a man that testified against my brother...that has felt so badly ever since, that he is willing to swear now, it wasn't the truth. And is willing to swear that the police made him say what he did? You'd be interested, eh? You would take of him if he is willing to to tell the truth?" [Washington Post, Mar 28, 1915]

District Attorney Perkins to Reporters

"These witnesses are in abject and pitiable fear for their lives in the event that the man against whom they have testified is executed. They admit this freely. Who is terrifying them, and by what threats?  Those are the momentous questions demanding solution." [Washington Post, Mar 28, 1915]

Deputy Police Commissioner Lord to Reporters 

"The recanting of witnesses is plainly the work of the powers of invisible government a big secret force that is trying to set aside the operation of the law and pull a man back from the death house to which he has been sentenced for murder, even though the plan brings to those concerned jail terms for perjury." [Washington Post, March 28, 1915]

Prosecuting Attorney Wasservogel

"The fear of vengeance has come into the hearts of these witnesses. We realized the influences to which they (the witnesses) were exposed. Removed from these influences- in the House of Detention and of a Police Matron- they told us the truth...The witnesses were released from custody, and now, once more exposed to the old influences they have come back to their original declarations."

The Police Commissioner and the DAs office both cried foul, claiming the witnesses fear death if Shillitoni goes to the electric chair

Reporter to Johnny Shillitani

Q- "Don't you suppose they thought of what might be said or done after he was executed because they testified at the trial?"
A- "I'm not responsible for what they think...Am I?"
 
Q- "If your brother doesn't go free on this evidence; what will he do?"
A- "Look to God; what else is there he can do?"

Commissioner George S. Dougherty made sure his views were published in the newspapers shortly after the recanting witness story was plastered all over town in every New York paper. Commissioner Dougherty was intricately involved in this case and was the Deputy Commissioner that had picked up Oresto personally at his time of arrest.

Commissioner Dougherty
"...Italians are as fearful to testify against their countrymen as Chinamen are. Evidently some of the witnesses are being harassed by some of Shillitani's friends. I never questioned his (Oresto) guilt. When arrested, Shillitani had a wound on his head: from a blow by a nightstick received when the shooting occurred. His brother Johnny practically admitted Oresto's guilt when he had endeavored to procure a plea of a lesser degree of homicide."

While Oresto Shillitani lies in the shadows of the electric chair the four witness' have sworn that they have lied during their testimony at the trial Oresto was convicted. Of the five witnesses who testified against the defendant on the trial, all of them except James Morelli (Who never identified the defendant in the trial), have testified or deposed that upon the trial of the defendant they testified falsely, they were guilty of perjury, and that the police department coerced their testimony.

Leaving the authorities of The State of New York with a tremendous problem on their hands. Besides the fact that they had NO witnesses from the trial in 1914 that would identify the defendant, they may have huge potential scandal within the police department itself. Getting to the bottom of this witness change of heart had to be investigated and not dismissed.

Witness #1

Q1) is this the affidavit you swore too? A. Yes sir it is.

Q2) Is that your signature on the affidavit? A. Yes sir it is.

Q3) Doesn’t the affidavit you signed state clearly that you saw the defendant’s father Michele Shilanti hand the defendant Oresto Shilanti a shiny object that looked like a gun. A. Yes it does.

Q4) And now you are recanting everything you signed in this affidavit. A. Yes sir I am.

Q5) Do you know that you are committing perjury on a signed affidavit with the state of New York?

Star witness NELLIE DI CARLO's new story regarding the questioning by detectives Degilio and Leo Gambardello:

Detectives asked me if I knew anything about the shooting and I said, "No." Then they told me, "Get up and step inside the grocery store." Then they told me "sit down". Leo said, "Now I want you to do just as we tell you." I said, Why should I? Leo replied, "I want you to say that you were looking out of the window, that you had seen the whole shooting done." I told him, "No, I won't tell a lie like that...", then Degilio slapped me in the face, and Leo turned around and said, "If you don't say it we will kill you."

Then they took me down to Headquarters.

JOHN VERNO— For one and one-half hours first an assistant district attorney would try to get something out of me, then a detective would come up after he had gone away and talk and threaten me. He said that if I did not tell about it (the shooting) they would make it hot for me. The next eleven days I spent in the house of detention, and detectives came up to see me about five or six times in all. Every time they came it was the same thing; they told me that if I did not tell "the truth" about the case they would make it hot for me.

Johnny Regarding John Verno: Johnny and the family attorney Aranow found out about John Verno being held in the house of detention as a possible witness. They knew Verno failed to identify Oresto as the shooter in a line-up, but were wondering why he was still being held as a witness. So they went on their own investigation. Johnny explains, he saw John Verno while he was walking along with a cop, He told Johnny they had him in the house of detention. "What they got you in for? Verno Replied, "That Mulberry Street Case." I asked him what he knew about it. Verno replied, "Nothing". Johnny goes on to tell Verno in front of the cop, that he will be all right if he told what he knew.

JOHN VERNO to John Shillitani: "The police made me do that. They said they'd give me seven years. They scared me, so I had to do what they wanted me to." Verno goes on to say that not only did he not see Oresto Shoot Rizzo, but he wasn't even at the scene of the crime "...I didn't hear about the murder until the next afternoon in the evening paper." Verno also said that NY Detectives threatened and abused him until he consented to say what they wanted, and then they became very friendly. Verno explained to a group of NYC newspaper reporters that the reason he is talking now is he was sorry for what he had done and wanted to save the "Kid". REPORTER to VERNO: Q- You know that if you make an affadavit to this they may put you away for perjury? A- Yes. Q- But you're willing to take your chance on that to save the "Kid" ? A- "Well, it's like this: they may put me away, but if they do, some day I'll see the street again. But if the Kid goes up against it, that'll be the end of it for him." [Washington Post, Mar 28, 1915]

GENNARO SELLITTO— Two or three times a week (while in the house of detention) detectives would take me to a saloon and would try to make me drunk. I was drunk a couple of times. Every time they would say, "Why don't you say the 'Paper Box Kid' did the shooting?" They would say, "We'll put you away for twenty years." After about 40 days of this I gave it up. I was frightened, and I told them I would say what they wanted. They made me sign a statement that I saw the "Paper Box Kid" do the shooting. Sellitto went on to explain, the story on trial had been told that way because the police compelled him, and that was all there was to it. He was asked if he was afraid of the friends of Oresto Shillitani, and emphatically explained that he was afraid of nobody. All he wanted to do is tell the truth.

FRANK CHIEFO— On February 3 a detective picked me up. He said, "Unless you tell me you saw the shooting I'll take you down to headquarters and beat you up." That frightened me, and I said I would tell him I was coming out of the saloon on my way home, and that I heard shooting and saw the defendant running. All the time until the trial they would come and take me out, take me home and around, and they would keep digging at me, trying to pick out a little more, and telling me, "You'd better stick to this story, now, or you'll go away for perjury."

[Court of Appeals, May 9,1916, The People vs. Oresto Shilitano, 218 N.Y. 161 Case #2101]


Shillitani Doomed: Court of Appeals
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The World News May 10, 1916

Gangster Original is Doomed...In The Judges Opinion

Court of Appeals, People The State of New York vs. Oresto Shilitano (218 N.Y. 161) TR#2101; May 9,1916

As if this case wasn't colorful enough. The Judges opinions for concurrence and dissent were particularly interesting. Their opinions strongly reflect the truth in thoughts, without the need to be politically correct. Neither Magistrate felt a sympathy for the witnesses being squeezed from both ends, and most likely all fearing retribution from one side or the other. Their power at the time was immense. Such comments today, would surely have cost them their position in the courts. Of particular interest was the opinions of Judges JJ Seabury and J Cardozo.

Magistrate JJ Seabury

- Opinion of Witness' of Violence:

"Bearing in mind that witnesses to crimes of violence are often of low and degraded character. They are sometimes influenced by bribery and other improper considerations."

- Opinion of Witness' Recantation:

"...Prior to the trial and since the trial, vigorous efforts were unremittingly prosecuted by Johnny Shillitano to poison the wells of justice and that sinister means were used to involve these ignorant men in palpable contradiction...to assist the defendant"

- Final Opinion

'There were no errors of law which justify granting a new trial. The Guilt of the defendant is plainly evident. I vote in favor of affirming the Conviction.'

Magistrate J Cardozo

- Judging Witnesses:

"It is his (the trial judge's) duty to say whether they (the witnesses) were conscience-stricken penitents or criminal conspirators to defeat the ends of justice."

- The Buck Must Stop Here:

"I do not understand even the judges who think this judgment should be reversed. With such conflict of oaths, one should not abandon the search for truth. Turning it over to a jury is an easy escape. A trial judges duty is to try the facts and find where the truth likely lay. A judge is not at liberty to to shift upon the shoulders of another jury his own responsibility. That would have been to make the conspiracy triumph."

- Final Opinion

"I Concur with the Verdict."

On examination of the facts on appeal from a judgment entered upon a verdict convicting the defendant of the crime of murder in the first degree the rulings are as follows:

1) Request to impeach testimony of a witness by submission of own affidavits does not over-ride the oral examination by a trial Judge of the witness. The trial Judge held that it was plainly evident the defendant was guilty. No legal grounds for granting new trial is presented.

2) Request to recant witness testimony is not accepted. The testimony at trial is taken to be true as opposed to recantation at later date. The actions of the defendant’s, brother, attorney, and father clearly show the efforts to coerce witness.

In conclusion, there is no legal ground for granting new trial. Motion DENIED.As fate would have the district attorney on the case is planning to run for Governor and would stop at nothing to bolster his resume. He would not let down the heat on this case until a guilty verdict was a lock. He eventually won the campaign for Governor and would deny The Kid’s request for reprieve or retrial.

Issues Often Cited in this Case:

Recantation by Witnesses. Coercing witnesses. Subversive to proper administration of justice. Suppressing evidence against the defendant by sinister means. Nellie DeCarlo, Gennaro Sellitto, John Verno, Frank Chieffo, James Morelli recant. Guiseppe DeCarlo father. Sellitto and Verno accuse officers of improper influence. Chieffo states he was induced to recant by threats of murder. The wife of Sellitto, Angelina testified that Angelina Shillitani gave her money. Victim Rizzo shot Ralph Lorito, a friend of Nellie DeCarlos 

J. Seabury: Affirm conviction. J. Cardoza: Affirm conviction. JJ Hogan Dissents. All three victims had .38 caliber bullets from the same gun. Verno served a term at the Elmira Reformatory under a joint judgment -

[Court of Appeals, People The State of New York vs. Oresto Shilitano (218 N.Y. 161) TR#2101; May 9,1916]

An article released by the Washington Post, displayed a large half page article about the Recantation of Witnesses, in Oresto's Appeal. It is in this article we first see a clear picture of the organization Oresto and his Family belong to.

Is it the fear of an organization as terrible and relentless as the dreaded Camorra...or is it truly a determination not to let a fellow human being suffer unjustly?  [Mar 28, 1915, Washington Post]

What exactly is the Camorra? And what areas does it cover? How does it compare to the Mafia? Is it a Mafia? Is it the Mafia? How important in the Camorra Hierarchy is Oresto's Family? This was an immediate precedence for the examination of Oresto and the rest of his family.


The Camorra - The "Honorable Society"
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Brethren of The Dagger

Chapter 20: The Camorra - An Exclusive Italian Secret Society
"La Mala Vita" or "Malavita". "The Evil Life" or "The Bad Life".

Since the 1800s, the two largest Italian Secret Societies are the Sicilian Mafia and The Camorra. These two organizations have infiltrated every social and economic aspect of Italian life. In the U.S.,  only one is widely known and a media magnet for news and information...the Sicilian Mafia. At the very fringe of obscurity in America, is one of the most notorious and widespread of all secret societies...The Camorra. What is the Camorra, one might ask. The most simple and easiest explanation goes as follows: The Camorra is to Naples and the Mainland of Italy, as The Mafia is to Sicily.

Camorra (Neapolitan Secret Society) Brethren of The Dagger

The Secret Camorra Society may have dated back to 1575 AD [Brooklyn Daily Eagle, July 21, 1912] known then as the "Honorable Society" and to it's members as "La Sugleta Annurata" in Naples, Italy. But it's roots may go back even further to the Spanish Rule in the early 1400s. The Camorra was an organization steeped in the traditions of oath, honor, and respect.

The real Camorrista, the traditional Camorrista, was a knight defending his honor and the honor amongst those around him. It was pure chivalry, avenging the misdeeds of foreign tyrannical governments. The society was born from the oppressions, mistreatments, unfair taxations, and the unilateral, and brutal enforcement of unjust laws imposed by foreign invaders upon the people of Italy. These guys were real life swashbucklers, part pirate, part gangster, part sheriff, part knight and part patriots that even went to church on Sundays.

Because it was a natural thing for the people of Sothern Italy to distrust and dislike the laws, the government, and the enforcement, they took justice into their own hands. Many looked to the Camorra, their fellow countrymen, to right the wrongs committed against them.  In these time periods, it was said the common citizen, and common businessman, actively sought out the help of the society, and gladly paid the protection fees associated with such protection.

And hence a Society was born. Defending it's countrymen and it's members.  Bonded with absolute strength, and the hardness of a rock by the blood of fallen countrymen. They were the toughest and baddest of men with extreme convictions.  [Brooklyn Daily Eagle, July 21, 1912] 

The foundation of the Camorra is it's oath and it's code.  [Brooklyn Daily Eagle, July 21, 1912] 

The Camorra Oath: 1) Loyalty to The Brethren. 2) Obedience to Superiors. 3) Secrecy about The Brotherhood.

Violation of Oath: Punishable by death...No Reprieves...No Re-Trials.

The Camorra Financial Code: Any and All funds are to be divided as follows:

  1. The Police
  2. The Members in Jail
  3. The Aged
  4. Widows and Orphans of those who had died in the cause of a crime
  5. The Higher Officers
  6. The Shrine of the Saint (Usually Gennaro)
  7. The men who do the dirty work

[Train, Arthur. Courts, Criminals, and The Camorra. Miami, FL: Hardpress Publishing, 1912]

When these codes were followed there was great peace and prosperity within the Brotherhood.

At the heart of a Camorrista's persona, he was religiously superstitious...and superstitiously religious. Meetings would be held in churches, where they would worship, pray, and plan for the crimes in the upcoming week. The clergymen loved them, as the Camorra were lavish tithers to the churches of their choosing. The Camorrista strongly felt God would be in their favor, as they were good family men, attended church regularly, and contributed lavishly to their parish. [Nelli, Humbert S. The Business of Crime. Chicago, IL: Oxford University Press, 1976]

They were masters of the victimless crimes. And gave the people what they wanted (Gambling, Booze, Lottery, Policy, Dice, Cards, Protection, Collection etc.) and lived modestly so they can give a part of the spoils back to the poor and aged in their communities. 

In time (mid-1800s) the Camorra strayed from it's roots and obtained a Camorrista Style that could be recognized by his red neck tie which had it loose tails flung over his shoulder, brass rings  on most (or all) of his fingers, a multicolored sash, and a cane loaded also with brass rings. A less than low profile to say the least. A scar across the face and tattoos were also prominent on your Camorrista of the day. One would have the need to live the "Mala Vita" and be a "Bad Man" to think of joining the dreaded Camorra. [Contemporary Review (1891) ]

The origin of it's meaning, Camorra, interestingly enough is still unclear and remains a secret til this day. What we do know is that the name 'Camorra' first appears publically in 1820 in Naples, IT. But we know the society existed well before this. It may have existed under one or more of many society names over the centuries. The codes, the traditions, and the ceremonies  are very similar to Spanish raiders of the 1400s and may have been assimilated into Italian culture during the Spanish occupation of Naples. Author Arthur Train, believes the origin of 'Camorra' derives from the word 'gamura', which was the large cloak worn by Spanish raiders.

Another group of historians strongly believe it stems from the gambling houses first established in which the boss was "capo" and the card game was "Morra". According to these historians, over time Capo-morra was eventually shortened to camorra. The secrets kept by the old and traditional Camorra still remain a secret today.  [Brooklyn Daily Eagle, July 21, 1912] 

The Camorra had their own signs and language. If they so choose, can carry on in a tavern discussing previous crimes, or planning a future murder, without saying a word. But if they choose to speak, some say the Camorrista had his own exclusive use of around 5000 words. Many of the traditionals would speak in a smooth, fluent and poetic way. But it was only this way on the surface. Hidden in an eloquent stanza, would frequently be orders to kill, details of a murder, or instructions given to a crime.  An example passage of an actual Camorrista given by author Arthur Train in his book Courts Criminals and the Camorra, goes as follows:

The violets are out, Water for the beans, I have pruned my garden, How beautiful is the sun, So many fine sheep are passing

TRANSLATION (Loose): My wife is no longer. She is dead and buried. I have rid the boredom. It is good to be free. There are many fine women now available to me.

A contractor, many years after her death, found her corpse while repairing the walls in a home they once lived in. An old Camorrist had kept a diary of the ancient symbols used by his brotherhood and included this fine poem within. And upon investigation, this poem was found, and he incriminated himself of his wife's murder.

The initiation into the Camorra brotherhood was process and a ceremony that was strictly adhered to according to the fathers before them.

Initiation into the Camorra

Oath to The Brethren: First, No Brawling in the Public Streets. Second, Respect the Novices and they instructions they give. Thirdly, Obey wholeheartedly our professed members and carry-out their commission.

The Blood Ceremony: Blood is drawn from each member of the Assembly. The Initiate must taste the blood of each and every member.

Battle of Daggers (Duel): Now that he is filled with the taste of their blood he must report to the "Capo Di  Tiranta" (Master of Combat) to prepare for battle. He must duel a dagger champion picked by the Capo di Tiranta until blood is drawn. The victor must suck the blood of the loser and reconcile with traditional Italian kiss. If the initiate loses he must continue on to another champion until he wins. [Train, Arthur. Courts, Criminals, and The Camorra. Miami, FL: Hardpress Publishing, 1912]

The Final Step - Tattoo: The last step of initiation is the tattoo. Tattoos of two hearts joined together each with a key for each heart on the arm was common. Signifying the Heart to be big and bound to your Brethren and locked to all others. A heart with upside down crucifix impaled through it, was also a popular Camorrista tattoo. And finally the Spider, representing the secrecy and silence in which he weaves around his victim. Over years there may be a line representing initiation, and a dot placed over when inducted. Women typically had a purplish dot below the eye. [Train, Arthur. Courts, Criminals, and The Camorra. Miami, FL: Hardpress Publishing, 1912]

The Camorra was a very disciplined and formidable society. The head of all is the "capo intesta", there are district heads, full members, recruits, and basistas (affiliates) that help plan and facilitate activities. [Brooklyn Daily Eagle, July 21, 1912] 

The Society Organizational Chart

TOP: Cap' in Testa (or sometimes Capo Maestra)

LEVEL 3: Capo Paranza - District Leader

LEVEL 2: Picciotti - Experienced Member

LEVEL 1: Garzone - New Member or Initiate

ASSOCIATES: Basistas - Important non-initiated members that worked in government, police, schools, accountants and coordinated operations.

[Train, Arthur. Courts, Criminals, and The Camorra. Miami, FL: Hardpress Publishing, 1912]

Knives (Daggers) of The Camorra

Triangolo - The Murder Knife

'O zumpafuoosso - Deadly Duel Knife

Settesoldi - The Scarring and Ceremony Knife

The Sfregio: a sign of dishonor. A deep scar gauged in the face of an opponent or adversary designed to make them "lose face". An offense to a Camorrista's prestige, or territorial authority would warrant such a branding.  (ie Al Capone, Ralph Daniello) [Train, Arthur. Courts,Criminals, and The Camorra. Miami, FL: Hardpress Publishing, 1912]

Sfregio and Al Capone's Scar
Frank Galluccio entered Frankie Yale's Harvard Inn Tavern with his sister Lena and his date by the name of Maria Tanzio. Al Capone was a bouncer at the Inn. Al noticed Galluccio's young sister Lena, and began smiling at her. Lena became annoyed and embarrassed at Capone's constant staring. Lena mentioned this annoyance to her brother Frank. Frank to kindly ask Capone to stop it. Frank was just about to ask Capone to stop when Capone leans over to Lena and says,
"Honey, you got a nice a** and I mean that as a compliment, believe me"

Although there exists many accounts of the fight between Frank Galluccio and Alfonse Capone, the one that seems most plausible and logical goes as follows:

Galluccio saw Capone walking towards him, Galluccio pulled out a knife with a sharp four inch blade and slashed Al's left cheek

Capone required up to 30 stitches at Coney island hospital. Capone himself, gave many different accounts of this same story, one said Galluccio was going for the throat, another said capone turned away and his face was sliced inadvertantly. One of the many accounts by Capone was that his scar was a reminder of his service in France in the "Lost Battalion" during World War I.

After the incident;

Galluccio had a sitdown with the New York bosses and Capone was warned by the underworld

not to attempt retribution for the slashing. It was him, and him alone, that was at fault.  Insulting Galluccio's sister was an actionable cause and the slashing was justifiable. Capone agreed and apologized for insulting his sister. Galluccio did feel bad for scarring Capone, but did what he felt was right in protecting his sister's honor. Capone later hires Galluccio as one of bodyguards for his display of toughness. [Al Capone's Museum, My -online]

The scar on Al Capone's face was not an accident, or an errant strike, as some accounts profess. It seems obvious, it was use of Sfregio, the ancient tradition of the Camorra, to dishonor Capone with a slash in the face for disrespecting a member of Galluccio's family, violating Galluccio's "rights/territory". [Gambino.com]

Capone would go on to live the rest of his life marked by Sfregio, A Camorran sign of dishonor.

There were two integral parts that had to become incorporated in order for the brotherhood to not just survive, but thrive. The incorporation of the "High Camorra" or Camorra Elegante had to mesh with the Camorra Bassa. The organization included a new circle of affiliated members which were from the higher walks of life, Lawyers, Politicians, Teachers, News Reporters, and Judges. They were not official initiated members but had the protections of one. This powerful combination of legislative, judicial, and enforcement made the Camorra a force to be reckoned with. [Nelli, Humbert S. The Business of Crime. Chicago, IL: Oxford University Press, 1976]

No living soul escapes their watchfulness. They have spies everywhere, in every rank of life. They know who's coming. And they know who's going. Nobody escapes their eyes. One may live near or work next to a Camorrista for years, without ever suspecting a thing. The Camorra weaves it's net-work over the entire country. Crime is an absolute monopoly. No unaffiliated rogue is allowed to exist. Politically The Camorras power is immense.

Murder is used when necessary. It Is invariably resorted to punish traitors and to execute vengeance, and Is on occasions undertaken for pay. For suspected traitors death is not only Inevitable, but very swift. So, too, is vengeance.

The cities are divided into districts, and each district is again sub-divided. There are leaders of the sub-divisions, each reports to their district leader or chief. One member recognizes another by certain words and signs, but none except the most important know much about the organization.

It took a special Camorrista to become a long-standing District Chieftain.   There are no elections. The leader was the one that commanded the most respect from the men. The one whom has the presence and personality that stands out among the others. He who can plan well and have men obey his commands willingly would be the Leader. That being said, respect, personality and/or camaraderie is what gets a man into the leadership position, but the one that has the ability to make money, and distribute it properly, is the one that enjoys the lengthiest tenure. [Train, Arthur. Courts, Criminals, and The Camorra. Miami, FL: Hardpress Publishing, 1912]

Over time, as with many groups, the traditions were lost. It was those that were greedy, those that thought themselves above the Brethren, those that broke the code of silence, and those that committed heinous crimes against their own people, tore it's membership apart from the head down to it's toes. The Secret Society of The Camorra had times in it's past where it nearly met it's extinction.

The Camorra in America, 1890s-1900s: A Padrone is 'A Man' that Manages Men

What are, and who are, the secretive yet powerful Padrones? In this time period, the meaning of Padrone had an entirely different meaning then the  Padrone that was defined in 1917. Some of the traditional men, that still walked amongst the Camorra, would come to America in the two decades from 1885-1905. The Padrone System was manifested through the needed services of countrymen looking for work in America, and over-time came

In the last decade of the 1800s and into the first decade of the 1900s, a Padrone was a provider of passage,  a provider of lodging, and a provider of work. Many Padrone charged 10%-15% of the wages, and the fees for transportation, lodging, and food.

With the illiteracy rate in Southern Italy at 57.4% (1899) [The Padrone System] and next to no one speaking the English language, Southern Italians sought the only services available to help them get into the US with room, board, and a job. 

The Padrones used their own capital and fronted their services to most countrymen. It was a needed service, that was provided in times of need. The Honorable Padrone did not take advantage of his countrymen. But some did. And like in any business, the abuses got great publicity and the American politicians would soon enact laws to stop the practice. After utterly vilifying the system of the Padrone, it would almost disappear by year 1910. [Annals of America, Vol 12, 1895-1904.]and the services would soon come to an end. [New York Times, February 21, 1885] [Reports of The Industrial Commission on Immigration and Education, 1901 "The Padrone System"].

The Padroni activities, responsibilities, and power would evolve with time. As truth would have it, the Padrone system turned out to be no where near as lucrative a business as many other enterprises available in America.

As time progressed, the Padroni became powerful overlords of their designated territories and most had their hands in every activity conducted in their area. They were the all powerful and secretive wizard that controlled business and local government, yet many of their names remained shrouded in mystery, to the common citizen. The Padrones all knew each other, respected each other, and held each others territory, sacred and untouchable.

The Camorra in America, 1900s-1930s: A Padrone is 'The Man' among Men in NYC

The American Camorra was not a street gang. But it is a clannish crime group that ran it's operations closely with affiliated street gangs. The structure of the American Camorra emulated the "ring" structure of it's Italian brethren. In that it secured the services of affiliates outside the brotherhood, in high places, to facilitate it's goals. Such as the connections within the Police Department, Tammany Hall, Magistrates, Lawyers, Physicians, Professors and many other reputable occupations.

Many of the Camorristas swaggered the streets of New York City with names like, "The Barber", The "Butcher", The "Shoemaker", "The Grand Master", and "The Paper Box Kid". Named after the actual occupation once worked, or store front they currently operated out of. A far cry from the derogatory names the Sicilians would give their brethren. "Clutch Hand", "Three Finger Brown", "The Wolf" named after a physical handicap, or a habit of preying on weaker souls.

The "Black Hand" was a group often confused as being part of the Camorra. But the classic Camorrista would have been greatly insulted to be associated with such a low down criminal. The Camorrista thought himself from an ancient and honorable profession. And he was not a blood sucking parasite or a common criminal. And the record would show, the Camorra was not part of this ugly group, it was the Mafia that was behind it's treachery.

According to the FBI, The Camorra finances itself through drug trafficking/distribution, cigarette smuggling, people smuggling, kidnapping, blackmail, bribery, prostitution, toxic waste disposal, waste management, construction, counterfeiting, loan sharking, money laundering, illegal immigration, illegal gambling, robbery, arms smuggling, extortion, protection, political corruption, and racketeering and its activities have led to high levels of murder in the areas in which it operates. It is one of the oldest and largest criminal organizations in Italy.

Compared to the Sicilian Cosa Nostra's pyramidal structure, the Camorra has more of a 'horizontal' than a 'vertical' structure. As a result, individual Camorra clans act independently of each other, and are more prone to feuding among themselves. This however makes the Camorra more resilient when top leaders are arrested or killed, with new clans and organizations germinating out of the stumps of old ones. [FBI files, About Italian Organized Crime]

Today, The Camorra has more than 100 clans and approximately 7,000 members, making it the largest of the Italian organized crime groups. Also Called the Secondigliano Alliance by the insiders. It is estimated that the Camorra out number the Sicilian Mafia 5:1 and the "Ndrangheta 8:1. [Saviano, Roberto. Gamorrah 2006]

The American Mafia-Camorra War

Pelligrino Morano was the godfather of the Brooklyn Camorra and had his base of operations in an Italian restaurant in Coney Island. There he met frequently with underlings for dinner and was known to make his disdain for all Sicilians known by toasting, "Long life and prosperity to all Neapolitans, death and destruction to all Sicilians!"

Morano was sought out by Camorristi from across America seeking his advice and counsel. High ranking Camorristi like Andreo Ricci of working from the Navy Street gang. Morano led the Camorra's expansion into other areas of New York, but soon came into direct conflict with Sicilian mafiosi in Manhattan, as Morano and his group tried to take over gambling and extortion operations in the Sicilian enclaves of East Harlem and Greenwich Village. [FBI files, About Italian Organized Crime]

By 1914 the Morano and the Morello crime family of East Harlem were at war for domination of the most lucrative rackets in the Italian quarters of New York such as the Italian lottery, extortion, and food distribution routes. Pellegrino Morano and his lieutenant, Alessandro Vollero, the leader of the Navy Street Gang, were planning to eliminate their Sicilian rivals in New York and take over the Italian underworld completely. Camorra leaders from across America had met in New York several times in a council of war and it was decided that the other Camorra groups would support their New York brethren against the Sicilians.

The Brooklyn Camorra's major move was expansion into the territory of the Morello crime family, the top Sicilian mafia group in New York which was based out of East Harlem, Manhattan and by 1914 the hostilities had increased and a shooting war began between the two mafia factions. The war between the Neapolitans and Sicilians had raged for close to two years when Morano decided to strike at the heart of the Sicilian leadership

It shocks the non-Latin's religious sense, but it must be remembered that the Italian of Southern Italy must worship something- he turns to the saints of the Christian calendar as his ancestor did to the gods of the stream and forests. And bad as the Camorrista are, perhaps they would be worse if they did not sometimes burn candles for their sins at the old St. Patrick’s Church. [FBI files, About Italian Organized Crime]

Giuseppe "the Clutch Hand" Morello, aka "The Old Fox", aka "Peter Morello", aka "Piddu", was the first boss of the Morello crime family, what we will call the first Sicilian Mafia Family in New York. He was born in the ever infamous city of Corleone, Sicily, Italy. His father was reportedly one of the founding fathers of the Mafia in Sicily.

In the 1890s, Morello founded a gang known as the 107th Street Mob and the Morello crime family. The Morello Crime family later became The Genovese crime family that we know today. It is the oldest of the Five Crime Families in New York City.

Allesandro Vollero, was tried for first degree murder in on February 15th 1918. Vollero was retried on March 4th and was sentenced to life at Sing Sing prison. Frank Fevrola, on April 18th 1921, John Esposito and Antonio Notaro were sentenced in June 1918. Alphonso Sgroia, from the Navy Street gang, was sentenced on June 17th 1918.

Time of Extreme Troubles

On July 8, 1912,  in Viterbo, Italy,  the entire hierarchy of the Camorra (in Italy) was literally caged during the trial for their survival.  What happened to the Camorra, was this: All it took was one man to break Omerta (also caged for his protection), and after 840 Witnesses, 280 Sessions, with 41 Lawyers  sitting in their defense, they were all found guilty. To the main Chieftains, 30 years Solitary Confinement. Some got Twenty, Some got Ten, and the underlings got 5. [Forgione, Louis. The Men of Silence. 1928] The great strength of the Camorra wrestled down and practically choked to death by the government in Italy.

Speculating: Michele The Padrone of Mulberry Street & One of The Camorra Bosses of New York

If it Looks like a Duck, Walks like a Duck, and Quacks like a Duck...

The Spectacular trial of 1917, involving two hired hitmen, revealed an Organized Network of Italian Crime Padrones each with it's own murder squads. This structure existed well before the sensationalized Murder Inc. and the Five Family Structure of the 1930's. Well known and popularized by the media, Lucky Luciano's structure in 1931 was falsely tagged as the first of it's time. A sophisticated structure of Hitmen, murder squads, and Padrones (GodFathers, Bosses) existed and ruled the streets of New York City 20+ years prior to 1931.

Ralph Daniello layed out in his testimony the structure of the Padrones, how it was broken up, and what was important to them. All were "wealthy and powerful men" in their respective neighborhoods. Some were well known, some were not known to many. The strongest and the ones with most longevity also had control of the local street gang with little or no outside hired help. The Structure was laid out by location.

The question arises, what organization was Oresto and/or his family part of? Why are so many crime reporters of the day (and now) so confused about their affiliations? This is a huge unsolved mystery, that must be solved.

May 6, 1913: The New York Times article "Police Name Man Who Killed Three" claims Oresto Sciallentano is a member of The Kenmare Street Gang.

March 28, 1915: The Washington Post goes on to claim that Oresto and his family are part of the dreaded Camorra.

Which one is it? The Answer...Both. In the days before prohibition Secret Societies were affiliated with and associated with street gangs. Is it possible his Father was one of three Padroni on Mulberry Street, in the Camorra, and Oresto was a leader in the Kenmare Street Gang...The simple answer...Yes.

The following is the case for Michele Shillitani, Oresto's Father being one of the Padrones on Mulberry Street. The testimony from the Navy Street Gang Trials gave us great insight into the organized crime world at that time. The Following listed items are what we know about who and what the Padrones were and are.

What we know-

  1. There were 10 Total Padrones(i) that Ruled New York City: 3 Ruled in Harlem; 3 Ruled on Mulberry Street; 4 Ruled the Navy Street Gang
  2. All had Prominence and Wealth in Their Neighborhoods - Assistant District Attorney Wasservogel stresses  this point repeatedly about Michele in his closing argument TR#1844.
  3. All owned many Tenement Buildings in their areas - We know Michele owned many tenements and buildings on Mulberry Street
  4. All ran Legitimate Business' in their area - They had Restaurants, Saloons, and a Real Estate Company
  5. All made Money by Monopolizing Commodities in their Districts - Johnny goes out every year to buy carloads of grapes from California
  6. All kept their Revolvers and Weapons in their Headquarters - Michele goes into 241 Mulberry to retrieve the .38 for Oresto
  7. All Maintained the gambling operations in their territories - Dad would be look-out for the games being run in the alleys on Mulberry St.
  8. All did not allow rogue criminals in their territories - No reports of other criminals on the block. They would leave their expensive cars out on Mulberry street all the time, and there was never a scratch on 'em. (Except for the ones my dad made when he hit something)
  9. All collected protection money and actually protected their area's business' and people - More than once testimony of witnesses said they paid rent to Michele on buildings he didn't own. And then they retracted the statement of him being landlord.
  10. They Allegedly wore Fur Coats and adorned Diamonds on their Shirt Fronts. - My Father stated that Michele looked like the President of The United States when he left the building.  Whether he wore fur or had diamonds on his tie or shirt we do not know. We know from newspaper descriptions of Oresto, he wore a tie pin that was a horseshoe of diamonds.

[The New York Tribune, April 3, 1921]


Chapter 21: The Struggle For Life - Massive Effort to Save The Kid

The Kid worked tirelessly throughout the days on his case. Reading, writing and thinking of ideas to go over with his lawyer. Incessantly going over court documents and transcripts to find anything that may help over-turn his conviction. The Kid made notes everyday for his appeal, over-turn, Pardon (Executive Clemency) or Temporary Stay of Execution. The Kid was smarter than most and had good arguments to present his attorney at the regular visits.

The Kid would also read the newspaper front to back and again everyday, keeping himself well versed and up to speed with the world outside him. He kept cartons and shoe boxes of newspaper clippings filed and organized by topic.

Trapped in the specially designed escape proof “death house” The Kid would have routine feigned bouts of insanity. He screamed hysterically while smashing stools and tables against his cell bars, banging his head against the walls, and tearing his bed sheets to shreds, were every other day occurrences for the Kid.

The first day after the notice, his appeal for clemency was denied, The Kid almost started a riot in the death house. It began was Dr. Squire started up his saw to cut open the top of the first executed inmate of the day. The Kid started smashing his stool and table against the bars. Then he ripped the wash basin out of the wll and was smashing that against the walls and bars. He got many if the inmates to do the same. Dr. Squire immediately stopped his autopsy and ran in a panic to get help. The Kid had earned 10 days in the cooler.

When the Kid was put back into his cell he would immediately start acting crazy over again. Dr. Squire would be notified immediately. Once Dr Squire would arrive in Oreste's cell, The Kid would be banging his head against the walls and bars. Once he was given a shot of Hyocine, The Kid stop banging his head against the walls, but then begin to rip his hair out of his head and hand it to the doctor.

His bouts increased around the Death house Head Physician, Dr Amos. The Head Physician is the only man that carried the power over life and death for The Kid. The Head Physician had the power to deem any inmate insane thus sparing them the chair.

The Kid really appeared to be losing his nerve. Very uncharacteristic the Kid. After all he's known on the streets to be cold blooded killer and a 'cut-upguy' that eat antipasto while he is chopping up a victim.. But trapped in a small cell with nothing to look forward to and date with death fast approaching could crack even the toughest man. The Kid continued to smash everything in his cell. Ripping the sink out of the wall, ripping the bed to shreds in every cell the placed him. Soon he would have to be placed in a straight jacket on a daily basis. The Kid earned solitary on a regular basis. The solitary for the death house was in a separate part of the building where the cells had no running water or commodes. A Bucket for excrement is placed in the cell next to the the bucket of wash water.

The first time Oreste went crazy in his cell Guards opened the cell and tried to subdue him. Oreste was outfitted in a straightjacket and escorted off to isolation. Blood was dripping down his face. The other prisoners could see him licking is own blood.

The plan worked. On a day when the Warden and Dr. Squire were walking the row, The Kid went into a mad frenzy, running around in circles in his cell, screaming and yelling profanities. Dr. Squire ordered the guards to put The Kid in a straight jacket to restrain him.

Every night now The Kid was making a raucous in his isolation cell that could be heard through various parts of the prison and then go into bouts of silence for hours at a time. Warden Kirchway heard of these bouts and asked the inmate that was employed in his office to accompany him to the death house isolation cell. The Warden wanted an inmates opinion and assessment of The Kid's behaviour. "Harold I need you to give me an honest opinion to your thoughts on Mr. Shillitoni." Harold, "huh?". "As to his sanity." Harold, "well I know he is crazy from his reputation on the streets. They say the whole group of Sicilian guys won't go near his part of mulberry street until he's for sure put to sleep. I'll try to help Warden. But please don't let anyone know what we're doing or it'll be curtains for me." Warden, "You have my word Harold, he will not know why we are there."

Harold, "Warden, how longs he been in the cooler?" Warden, "Well its got to be around a week now." Harold, "Well Warden, I'll be honest, most men will be a little batty by then. He's probably going to want to talk our ears off." The Warden acknowledges the point. They are now entering the unmistakable white corridor walls of the isolation cells. The only noise that can be heard is a slight ruffling of papers. They casually walk by and peek in The Kid's cell. The Kid's is reading a newspaper and doesn't even look up to see who is walking by. They continue by his cell and out of the isolation area. Harold says, after they get outside the huge door of isolation area, "Warden, that's the strangest thing! Are you sure he's been in there a week?" Warden, nods yes. "Actually it's 9 days." Harold, "I've seen guys crack into a million pieces after a few days. That guy is still cool as a cucumber. It's eery." Warden, "Well I certainly know he is no ordinary Tom, Dick, or Harry. I have been told that he is one of toughest fellows to ever stay here. And that says it all Harold." [True Crime Detective Monthly, April 2003]

Warden Kirchwey questioned Dr. Amos as to Oresto's evaluation for insanity. The Dr. was sure that The Kid was not legally insane. Dr Amos, the Chief physician in the facility is the only one that could possibly make that assessment and postpone the Execution. In the Autopsy room, Dr. Amos examined The Kid. Before The Doc starts questioning. "I hope you choose the right answer. I really do…for both you and your family. God Bless." No one knows if he really meant it or he was just petrified of The Kid. Each question the Kid answered to the Doctor. After approximately an hour the Doc wrapped up the questioning and wrote his conclusions. After his well stated position assessing Oresto's sanity, Dr. Squires report would look like the following:

Examination
Name...............Oreste Shillitoni 
Age..................23
Mental Age........Adult
Education..........Home Schooled, Cooper Union
Classification......Unstable
Crime................Triple Homicide
Reason............."I don't know I don't feel right"
Examiner...........Dr. Amos Squire
Comments: Appears he may be feigning insanity as to avoid consequences for his crimes.
Impression: Very Intelligent. He is capable of feigning insanity. Intense and extreme swings in emotions may be act to appear insane. Extreme sense of being, purpose, and ambition. He has the intensity of a prisoner I've never seen before. His eyes dictate he wants to act out his intention of killing.

What Dr. Squire didn’t know- if this plan didn’t work, The Kid had a spectacular back-up plan. 

At the same time The Kid was being evaluated for sanity, hundreds of fellow countrymen were sending Governor Whitman correspondence requesting clemency or a stay of execution for the Kid.

Excerpts from an actual letter received June 28, 1916, at the governors office went as follows:  obtained from his clemency file were as follows: [Executive Clemency Files, Sing Sing Prison, Oresto Shilitoni]

"If he was sane he would know he had no chance to escape...to go to the Ossining Hospital is proof positive he is a lunatic. Will you not in mercy respite him long enough to have his mental condition seriously inquired into by competent physicians?" -Yours Respectfully, M. Daria

Governor Whitman replied through the New York Times:

"It is impossible for me to reply to the numerous communications which I have received from well meaning but mis-guided persons, some that have been life long friends. Shillitoni is not insane. As District Attorney, I directed the prosecution, and I am familiar with every detail of the case."

"No one in the State is more Thoroughly informed as to this case than I am. I decline to interfere." -Charles S. Whitman via the New York Times, June 30, 1916

Pardon Me? The Kids last effort to get pardoned was all for naught. After all, the District Attorney that prosecuted his case was the one and only newly elected Governor of New York, Charles S. Whitman. The chances of the unsympathetic and unforgiving Governor Whitman pardoning the man whom he had prosecuted were slim and none. And right on cue, his Pardon was denied.

As for the insanity angle, well unfortunately, for the Kid that did not work either. Dr. Squire was a confident man, and very sure of himself about the assessment of The Kid- Not Insane. His fate seemed sealed. He was an inmate in the so-called escape proof Sing Sing Death House, only to strut down the Sing Sing Dance Hall to his inevitable death by electrocution. His cell of hope, now just a tomb of abandoned doom.


Inside Sing Sing Prison
gangster_original_guard.jpg
Circa 1913

Chapter 22: NO Hope...Except Insanity. Livin' in 'The Cooler'
After Things have gone from bad to worse, the cycle will repeat itself 

"The arrangement of the condemned cells was barbarous" - Dr Squire. About the same time the Kid received the bad news from his Appeals case, two inmates were executed, one being Roy Champlain, the other Giovanni Supe, an inmate that The Kid had become friendly with. The infamous green door that leads to the execution chamber was only a few feet from where the condemned were housed. Men awaiting execution can hear everything that went on in the chamber, even down to the last words spoken. [Squire, Amos Osborne. Sing Sing Doctor, Madison, Wis.:Doubleday, Doran & Company, 1935]. 

At the time, it was New York State law that the chief physician conduct an autopsy immediately after every person that had been electrocuted. This autopsy also required an examination of the brain, which required the removal of the top of the skull. The autopsy room was gruesomely located inside the condemned men's cell block. Because the autopsy room was small and frequently had 2-4 assisting with autopsy the door was always left open due to the temperature and the smell.

"The most Horrible Thing on Earth was the sound of that Saw." 

Dr. Squire began performing his post-mortem. His powered saw made an eery high pitched noise as he cut into the deceased's skull. With each cut the pitched sound changed higher on the pulling up and the whining-high pitch returned as he cut further across the skull cap- just then the unmistakable smell of burnt skull permeated the death house corridors, and creeped into the condemend cells. This incessant noise and grotesque smell, sparked off The Kid going absolutely crazy in his cell. Dr. Squire heard wood being smashed, pounding, beating, breaking and screaming with noises at a far higher volume than his saw. The Kid had smashed his stool in pieces, ripped his wash sink out of the wall, and tore his bed to shreds. At first the others were watching in awe, and then the other condemned inmates joined in smashing and breaking things in their cells. [Squire, Amos Osborne. Sing Sing Doctor, Madison, Wis.:Doubleday, Doran & Company, 1935]

"Stay here!, I ordered. I'm going after help!" In the turrets above the outer walls were armed guards with standing orders to Shoot on Sight any persons prowling about in the dark.

If they mistook me for a convict My Goose would be Cooked.

"The execution and autopsies of Champlain and Supe coming so soon after the denial of his appeal had driven him into a state of Acute Hysteria." said Dr. Squire regarding Oresto's condition. The guards had to seize him and put him a straight-jacket, where he was removed from his cell and placed in an isolated padded cell.

Each day I would visit him, he would tear out his hair, knock his head against the bars and make wretched inhumane noises. -Dr. Amos Squire

"For many nights it was necessary for to me to give hypodermic injections of hyocine in order to quiet him." From that day on, The Kid would violently thrash about his cell and carry on with loud, hideous sounds. He earned many trips to the cooler which never seemed to bother him. The isolation cells, guards called the 'booby hatch', and convicts called 'the cooler', were airless, pitch black, padded vaults. The doors were grated strips of thick, heavy iron woven tight so as to let little light in. All furniture was removed including the bed. Inmates slept on the floor and were left with a couple slices of bread and the same old tin cup filled with only 2 inches of water every 24 hours. Washing was strictly forbidden.

A stint in the cooler has broken many a man...Not The Kid. He had a plan and nothing was getting in his way. A pipe with a 2 inch diameter through the ceiling and the small spaces between the heavy iron planks provide very limited ventilation.

The Kid's bouts were so maniacal,  so utterly crazy, most men were thoroughly convinced of his insanity. Many times, The Kid was removed from his cell wearing a straight jacket. Sometimes they would leave him in his 'booby suit' for hours at a time in the cooler. When things seemed calm they would eventually place him in his cooler jump suit.


Shillitoni Shoots Guards and Escapes
NYT.Shillitoni-Escapes-web2.jpg
New York Times June 22, 1916

Chapter 23: Gangster Original Escapes The Death House - Sing Sing Prison, Ossining N.Y., June 21, 1916

Shillitoni began to swear at me and shrieked,

"You'll get yours in 24 hours."

"Shillitoni, this is about the first really crazy statement you have made since you've been with us."

Little did Dr. Squire know, but Oresto had a loaded revolver in his cell and could have easily shot and killed Doc right there and then.

"If he had shot me then he would have spoiled his chances of getting out of the death house.  He was sane enough to figure that out alright."

It was around mid-night, the night of June 21, 1916, when The Kid called Guard Daniel McCarthy for a slop can to relieve himself. The Kid standing in his isolation cell looking as if he just woke up, tired, messed hair, and wearing only his underclothing. Guard McCarthy was at ease, seeing The Kid is half-awake, opened the cell door and placed the slop pail on the floor. It was only a short instance Guard McCarthy was in his cell, as guards typically try to minimize the time standing in close proximity to homicidal maniacs. The Kid bursts with energy, pulls a revolver from behind his back and thrust the revolver against McCarthy's stomach. "Give me the keys McCarthy".

However small his conscience, The Kid actually liked Guard McCarthy, and did not want to kill him. Guard McCarthy, shocked, and definately in the most unexpected of situations, with incedible courage tries to wrestle the gun away. The Kid pulls the trigger and puts one in his gut. On his way down to the floor of Oresto's cell, Guard McCarthy tries one last effort to remove the gun from The Kid's hand and at the same time calling for help. [Squire, Amos Osborne. Sing Sing Doctor, Madison, Wis.:Doubleday, Doran & Company, 1935]

The shot fired echoed throughout the corridor along with the screams for help from Guard McCarthy alerted both guards and inmates to the problems that have just arisen in the Death House.

Two other guards were on duty in the death house that night, Guard Bullard and Guard Nichols. Guard Nichols, valiantly responds, rushes towards the commotion and is the first to respond. He races towards the isolation area to shut the large wooden door that separates the Isolation area from the death house and the only way out of the death house. Guard Bulloch is on the second tier and responds to the gunfire. [True Crime Detective Monthly April 2003] Bullard rounds the corner towards the isolation area and helps Guard Nichols barricade the wooden door with their bodies. [New York Times, "Long Fight in Death House", June 23, 1916]

Convict Joseph Y. Norton had a pass to remain out of his cell, when he had completed his work as he passed through the Principal Keepers Office he saw Warden Kirchwey, and Harold Robbins another inmate with pass privileges to perform his job duties into the night. Harold requested that Joseph come for a walk with both the Warden and himself. They walked through the whitewashed cell walls of the isolation block, turned right towards the door to the death house. Commander and Captain Vaughn and Doc Reynolds were by the door when the Captain shouted, " I wouldn't go any further if I were you, Warden. There's a man loose in there with a gun." Frantic Calls were being made for details of officers. At first like inmate Norton, they thought he was loose in the cell, and would be quickly subdued by the dreaded ammonia gun. But Oresto had indeed obtained keys to the city of death and was on a mission like no other. The Kid coolly drags him to the back of the isolation cell and rips the keys the from his pocket. The Kid exits his cell and locks Guard McCarthy in his cell. The Kid heads for the wooden door that separates him from the new death house and eventually to freedom. [Squire, Amos Osborne. Sing Sing Doctor, Madison, Wis.:Doubleday, Doran & Company, 1935][New York Times, June 23, 1916] [First Hand Account, Inmate Joseph Y. Norton, True Crime Detective Monthly

The shots fired, the cries for help, and the intense uproar from the Death House inmates alerted Guards Bulloch and Nichols to the major problem that existed on their watch.

Bulloch wisely pressed the lever which rings the alarm in the office of the prison, then both guards sprang into action. [New York Times, June 23, 1916]

Captain Claude Vaughn was in command that night. He quickly responded ran to the old death house. He peered through the panel on the old Death House door to see if the coast was clear, and began to open the door.  On the floor, blood still flowing from his abdomen, and obviously weak from the loss of blood, Guard McCarthy mustered up enough energy to scream out

"Don't open the door. He's got a gun. I'm shot and dying. Don't open the door!" [New York Times, June 23, 1916]

Meanwhile, inside the new death house, both Guards are in complete shock. This was an unthinkable event happening before them. An inmate with a gun? It was impossible. They quickly compose themselves and comes to realize that not only is an escape in progress, but the toughest and craziest inmate has a gun, whilst they are unarmed. 

Guards Bulloch and Nichols continued to brace the door with their burley bodies to stop the kid from opening the door. The Kid tries to open the door to no avail, steps back, and instantly starts blasting away at the door. All six shots ploughed through the door of which two shots hit Guard Bullard in the arm and one shot passed through the trousers of guard Nichols. [New York Times, June 23, 1916]

Guard Nichols holds on to the door with dear life as Guard Bulloch fell back from the wincing in pain. Nichols sees Bullard looking weak almost listless dripping a pool of blood and unable to help him hold the door. Nichols let go of the door, held Bulloch and they both fled for the exercise yard. [New York Times, June 23, 1916]

The Kid reloads the revolver as he bursts through the door and races after them. The Kid catches up the them at the courtyard wall ordering them to raise their hands. They comply as The Kid marches them back into the Death House. With Both guards arms up, The Kid rips all keys from them. Their backs to The Kid he directs them to put their faces up against the bars. The Kid opens the next cell door over, an obvious Death House compadre's cell, Antonio Impolluzzo. The Kid instructs the guards to get in  Impolluzzo's cell. Both Guards comply and get into the cell. Impolluzzo made as though he was exiting the cell, The Kid exclaimed "Look out you, you back quick!"  The Kid locks it up, points the revolver at the three in the cell instructs them to quiet. The inmate and two guards nod in acceptance of their terms. [New York Times, June 23, 1916]

The Kid runs with disappointment down the corridor as the remaining ammo in his revolver's chamber had Doc Squire's name on it (Dr. Amos Squire). But the Doc was home. As fate would have it, he scheduled himself later in the day.   

The Kid bursts through the death chamber door, knocks over the Electric Chair, ran through the mortuary, in which the bodies of the executed are laid out, and one more wooden needed to be open to get outside into the yard, which he blasts through with little effort. The Kid unlocked the wooden door to the exercise yard where he exercised everyday. [The Auburn Citizen, June 22, 1916]

Guards from the general prison cell blocks, respond to over-whelming noises coming from the Death House and race to the cell area. The general area guards cautiously enter the Death House. Slowly they proceed insuring a problem does not still exist, as the Death House is in complete chaos, with screaming, yelling at deafening levels. They split up and inspect each cell one by one. One of the guards see two (Guards Nichols and Bulloch) of their own locked in cell with an inmate. Both with bloodied uniforms.

Guard Nichols instructs the other guards to assist McCarthy still locked in The Kid's cell in the isolation area. Guards race to the isolation area. The guards finds a wincing and dying Guard McCarthy in the Kid's Cell.

A guard that races back concerned about McCarthy's condition. Utter pandemonium, with an unheard of and unprecedented situation ensues in the death house.

He ran across the Death House Exercise yard to a wall approximately 20 feet high and places a long bench upside down against it. The under support crosses serve as a ladder. He was up and over in no time and into the general rec yard of Sing Sing Prison.

As he runs across the Baseball field in the prison's main yard, Sing Sing's Siren "Big Ben" begins to blast. The Kid has but has iron fence around 12 feet high, that stands between him and freedom. The Kid scales the final fence completely undeterred by the pitch black back drop and a barrage of machine gun, automatic rifle fire, and handgrenades. In no time he is on the other side of the fence and on the rocky free shores of the Hudson River. The Kid makes it past the rocks and a sky of raining machine gun bullets, automatic rifle rounds, buckshot, and hand grenades The Kid wastes little time diving into the Hudson River as "Big Ben" continues to wail. [Squire, Amos Osborne. Sing Sing Doctor, Madison, Wis.:Doubleday, Doran & Company, 1935] [First Hand Account, Inmate Joseph Y. Norton, True Crime Detective Monthly][Hearn, Legal Executions in the State of New York]

In the still darkness of the night, he swam in the Hudson's chilled waters. Disoriented from the effects of the unforgiving frigid waters,  he wound up swimming to the south side of the prison, instead of the north side. At the North Side of the prison, a fresh set of clothes lay waiting for him. And close-by, the pick-up point where the getaway car was anticipating his arrival.

After viewing his surroundings he noticed a lit up structures sitting atop a dark hillside. Without the car in sight, he had no choice but to walk towards the two structures. He was soaking wet in his underwear, freezing without a way to go. 

The first was the home of Mrs. Romaine of Spring Street. He rings the bell. A utterly frightened Mrs. Romaine orders him to go away. He began to kick at the door insisting she let him in. [New York Times, June 23, 1916] 

The Prison Siren still blasting and alerting the entire town of Ossining of an escape. 

A car with The Kid's facilitators was waiting outside the prison's cell #15. After the siren had blasted for a short while, and with no sign of Oresto, they must of decided it was best to take off. Assumingly to a safer place further away from the prison. The car is heard taking off outside of Cell #15. [First Hand Account, Inmate Joseph Y. Norton, True Crime Detective Monthly]

The unmistakable sound of Big Ben's whistle notified every neighboring village, town, and city of the escape. Local police were gathering at the station to form a posse when they were notified it was a condemned murderer on the loose. The Westchester County Sheriff notified law enforcement from all surrounding cities to join forces and help comb the Ossining countryside. All were supplied with lanterns and shotguns to hunt down the escaped killer. [The NY Press, "Shillitani, Slayer, Shoots 2 Keepers, Escapes Sing Sing",  June 22, 1916]

All roadways patrolled, any passerbys questioned and the town was establishing a fortification the likes of never seen before. The New York Central train lines were notified, and the tracks vigilantly watched.

As the scheduled date of Death approached, The Kid continued to rant and rave in his cell. Warden Kirchwey was very concerned about the sanity of The Kid. The Warden wrote not once, but many times concerned about the issue. The only man in the building that could legally assess such a thing, and stop the execution that was quickly approaching was Chief Physician Dr. Amos Squire. Dr. Squire replied to the Warden in the same manner to each letter, "In my opinion Shillitoni is feigning insanity." [Squire, Amos Osborne. Sing Sing Doctor, Madison, Wis.:Doubleday, Doran & Company, 1935]

After Doc Squire's assessment, the notion of The Kid's insanity was no longer an option. The wheels of justice were in motion and there was no stopping them. There was nothing that could stop his date with death now.

But it would not, and could not, stop the determination of The Kid. The Kid knew, The Doc stood between him and the easiest route to evading death, and he did not come through. An assessment that would come to haunt him.

One morning with the execution within the shadows of time, The Doc was making his rounds The Kid had "...exceptionally violent demonstration...began to swear at me." The Kid shrieked, "You'll get yours in twenty-four hours." Doc replies, "Shillitoni, this is about the first really crazy statement you have made since you have been with us." [Squire, Amos Osborne. Sing Sing Doctor, Madison, Wis.:Doubleday, Doran & Company, 1935]

The family including Oresto himself, hatched an elaborate well thought out plan to save "the Kid." His brother Johnny had obtained a court order to see Oresto days before the execution date.

On June 21, 1916, Oresto's brother Johnny, and Johnny's wife arrive into the Sing Sing Convict Visitation area. There's guards everywhere. Two at check-in. They conduct a thorough and extensive pat down of Johnny for weapons or contraband. Johnny's wife is not pat down as not to offend or violate her femininity by a male guard. At the time there were no female guards, to perform a pat-down. Two guards are within earshot of the visitation "cages." These were special cells set-up with steel mesh that stood between the inmate and his visitors. Visitors were strictly forbidden to get any closer than the four foot line that separates the visitors from the visitation cell. [New York Tribune, June 30, 1916]

They were scheduled two hours to to say their last good-byes from 3pm-5pm. It was 3pm, their time to see Oresto. [Boston Globe, "Escaped from Death House", June 22, 1916] Johnny, and his wife Teresa, walk through the Death House corridor and step up to the four foot line chalked in front of the visitation cage. What happens next is still a mystery to this day. They would spend 2 hours, until 5pm, visiting with him. [Boston Globe, "Escaped from Death House", June 22, 1916]

A reporter from the Globe visited tracked down Johnny and his wife at 241 Mulberry Street, and questioned them about the escape. Johnny explained that they were no closer than four feet away, and separated by a tight screen wire, and a keeper sat between them all the time. [Boston Globe, "Escaped from Death House", June 22, 1916]

Theory 1 - Warden Kirchwey's Theory: Warden Kirchwey explained to New York Reporters that the most plausible theory was when Shillitoni's relatives were received into the prison, Shillitoni was moved to the mesh screened visitation cell. Guard Messerole was the Guard assigned to the Death Cell at the time of the visitation. The visitors had to pass The Kid's regular cell to get to the visitation cell. While Guard Messerole was leading The Kid's Guests to the visitation cell they threw the revolver and cartridges into the cell through the bars. Kirchwey believed the revolver was smuggled into the Death House by the woman visitor because women visitors were not searched by any of the all male guard staff. [New York Tribune, June 30, 1916] The Kid comes back to his cell only to find a special delivery package for him, One revolver, and a box of cartridges.

Theory 2 - Dr. Amos Squire's Theory: Between the visitation cells where condemned men receive visitors and the place visitors stand, is a heavy steel mesh screen that may have missing chinks in the screen, either on the side or the bottom by inmates doing. The New York Evening Post on June 22, 1916, reported there was an open space of about 2 inches wide between the bottom screen and the floor. However, in Dr. Squire's estimation the only way The Kid could of gotten the weapon was by a guard not being alert enough to see the weapon and cartridges being passed around or underneath an opening in the mesh screen. The guard would have not noticed the weapon on his person when walking back to his normal death house cell. [Squire, Amos Osborne. Sing Sing Doctor, Madison, Wis.:Doubleday, Doran & Company, 1935][Watertown Daily Times, June 22, 1916] For this theory to have come to fruition the guard on duty would have to have been distracted both at the time during visitation and the walk back to the cell. Less likely, and more of a chance of the plan being foiled.

Theory 3 - Governor Whitman's Theory: A convict approximately eight months prior had sent a tip-off to the governor's office. His Secretary William E. Orr went to Sing Sing to perform a complete search of the Sing Sing Cell Blocks. It was whispered that the weapon would have been found if they had continued on to search where the men worked in the prison, specifically the Bakery. [New York Times, June 23, 1916] The Kid would have had to coordinated with another to acquire the weapon. Less likely than the others, but yet still plausible. 

In any event, I believe as the Warden did, and the Kid now had a weapon and a box of cartridges inside what was billed at the time the most escape proof place on the planet. 

Escape from the Death House
oresto-escape-hospital.jpg
Gangster Original Stands over Hospital Nurse

Oresto makes his way up the dark hillside and sees The Ossining General Hospital. He quickly enters the Hospital dripping wet, practically naked, and brandishing a revolver.
 
He calmly rings the night bell for the attendant on duty. When the night attendant, Ms. Elaine appeared, The Kid said, "Might you have some clothes for friendless and poor man. A room for the night would nice, also." Ms. Elaine "Oh you must have some dry clothes. Wait here, and I'll them for you. "Oresto replied, "Yes, be quick about it".  

Ms. Elaine was fully aware of the situation that stood before her. She composed herself and quickly devised a plan to stall the escaped convict that was easily within his killing range. Some accounts had him sitting with his legs crossed, still practically naked- dripping wet in his underwear, and casually flipping through a newspaper while he waited for clothes and a pair of shoes.

She went upstairs and returned with 1 shoe for The Kid, "What good is one shoe?" he exploded. Ms. Elaine in her calming voice "That's alright, that's alright. I am going to find you another one somewhere-you get into this one quickly while I'm hunting for another one."  [pg 165-166, Squire, Amos Osborne. Sing Sing Doctor].

"Get Movin, I ain't got all night." Oresto barked at the seemingly compliant nurse. She brought clothes one item at a time. First a shirt, thensocks, and then a jacket. [The American Weekly, May 4, 1952]

"I gotta have pants!" Oresto's voice now becoming a menacing growl. [The American Weekly, May 4, 1952]

 

While the Kid is now lacing up his one shoe, Ms Elaine went to the hospital telephone and called the prison, "I think the escaped prisoner you're looking for is downstairs in the hospital. I'll try and hold him until you get here." She would go on with further delays pretending she had to sneak in and get articles of clothing from sleeping patients rooms.

With one shoe laced up, The Kid went back to reading his newspaper patiently, revolver on table by his side, and Sing Sing's Siren blaring in the background. In the nick of time, before The Kid was ready to blow his top, Prison guards armed with shotguns and Local Police surrounded the hospital. The Kid knowing that his goose was cooked, feigned madness once again and asked for his room key politely as if he was staying in a hotel. [Squire, Amos Osborne. Sing Sing Doctor]

The Kid was brought back to a padded death house in utter chaos. Doctor Squire was attending to the wounded guards and then had to examine the Kid. Immediately upon the Doc entering the cell, The Kid congenially greets him, "You are sure one lucky guy, Doc" (pg 167, Squire, Amos Osborne. Sing Sing Doctor). The Kid went on to tell Doc Squire that he had been expecting him to show up as usual that night and that if the Doc had he would have killed him. This The Kid goes on to explain,  for the Doctor not declaring him insane. [The Evening Post June 22, 1916]

The Kid stunned and amazed Dr. Squire with his frankness. "The Kid", Dr Squire quipped even "grinned at me from behind the bars." After the shock wore off Dr. Squire, The Kid went on to confess that he regretted killing McCarthy, and that he was ready to die for that. But, The Kid still insisted he was innocent for the crime which he had been convicted.

"I was sacrificed for the killing of the two police officers and Rizzo, just so three other police officers could get promoted." The Kid goes, "They fooled me. They promised me they would let me go. and told me they were only arresting me to make a showing because the newspapers had said so much about the case."

Confession about how he got the gun: He said the revolver and the cartridges were given to him about a year prior by a man in the condemned cells and he kept it hidden all this time.

Dr. Squire believed this to be a deception to keep his visiting sister-in-law out of trouble. [Squire, Amos Osborne. Sing Sing Doctor, Madison, Wis.:Doubleday, Doran & Company, 1935]

There were only two successful escapes from Sing Sings old Death House. Two inmates over–powered two guards and wrestled away their weapons. They demanded the keys at gunpoint and successfully got past all doors out to the yard. Scaled the prison wall and headed towards a moored small boat in the Hudson River.

Hours later, downriver the boat was found floating bottom up. Both men were found shortly thereafter washed along the river bank. Both men had mortal bullet wounds rumored to be from shots fired by guards. Officially their deaths were never solved. And the other was the Kid. The only inmate to ever make it down river alive.

Sing Sing’s death house was billed as the world’s most escape proof prison. Headlines read “THE PAPER BOX KID SHOOTS GUARDS, ESCAPES” The Kid took advantage of a guard's kindness and used a lot of ingenuity and agility. His bouts of feigned insanity didn’t get him out of his date with the electric chair, it did get him transferred to his own private cell area.

One would ask, and rightly so, how is it that this phenomenal escape story, a once in a lifetime event occur, without spectacular infamy and wide-spread news coverage? The answer may lie in the fact that the newspapershad a bigger news story to report.

The headlines that splashed across the U.S. the next morning read- "War has Begun!". United States loses 98 soldiers on the Mexican border. [The American Weekly, May 4, 1952]


Death Chamber as it appeared in 1915
deathchamber.jpg
Sing Sing Prison

Chapter 24: Final Words at The Final Dance - Confession of a Gangster Original 

"At the end of the day, we're all goin' to die in jail." -Vincent Basciano
"Death is but an instant, Life a Long Torment." -Saurin
Warden Kirchwey is noticeably nervous the night before the Kid's Execution and calls for Father Cashin.

Father Cashin indicated the Kid is at peace with the way things are. Laying his thoughts before the Warden, would bring calm to the head of the prison. The Kid this time, strongly believed that he now lives in hell, and will be rescued and helped by God's Love.  

It was the night before the Kid’s execution. Tradition warranted ordering whatever he wanted for his last meal. Prison officials got The Kid’s final request.

The other inmates on death row started to make a raucous as the aroma of the fine eats permeated the halls.

The next morning after a long night of no sleep, the Kid was led out for a bath, and was given a haircut and a shave. He was able to dress in his own sharp clothing and given a pair of felt slippers. This was the routine that preceded an electrocution at the time. 

The Kid was put in a new cell. His cell was now the longest distance from the Green Door. It was said to be roughly 40 feet or so from the chamber, but it seemed ten times as long. The walk makes a man think, during the longest walk of his life. The inmates watch the walk, and suffer the pain of their eventual fate, over and over again. And on some days, the death parade happened more than once.

The Kid knows the times near, as the cast of his execution gather around his cell. The Kid's 'stay of execution' stamped DENIED lay on his bed. Next to it lay the official "Warrant of Execution" (Official name for Death Warrant)issued by the Court of General Sessions of The County of New York. He stares at his 'Death Warrant' with the days date. The Life Movies in his mind begin roll. His family, Mother and Father pass by in slow motion. His brothers one by one go by a little faster. His business' and associates are rolling by in a collage. It was time. His movies would come to an abrupt end.

Warden Kirchwey notifies
oresto-execution-kirchwey-w.jpg
Governor Whitman of Oresto's Execution

On June 30, 1916, The bars to his cell open. The usual two guards has been doubled to Four Guards to wait for him to exit his cell. The Kid is looking sharp for his big day. With his hair slicked, a top of the line suit, and bow tie he struts out his cell like he's out on the town. Father Cashin leads The Kid down the corridor past the other death row inmates. Four guards escort him two in front and two behind. They walk slowly down the corridor,notoriously called "the last mile" that leads to the notorious Green Door.

Father Cashin has Bible in hand, open to the well known, well respected, verses such as Psalms 23:4, Romans 8:38-39 and John 14:1-4. Father Cashin, head down, reads slowly and methodically, "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me: thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me." Father could have also flipped to Romans 8:38-39. "For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God." One last flip may have read John 14:-4, as they slowly and steadily approach the green door. "Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; In the Father’s house are many rooms. A place is prepared for you, And you will know the way." 

As he stepped closer to his own death, white curtains lined the corridor to block the view from the condemned men's cells. As he got ever closer the doorway of death he could hear the inmates singing Holy Songs. Prayers  could be heard barely blurting through. Others uttered good wishes and encouragement in English and Italian. The Shouts often heard at the time were "Buona Fortuna!" "do it again Kid!" "See you on the other side".

An eternity seemed to pass by in what was in actuality a very short walk. The walk to the green door has come to it's end. There is a slight pause before the guards open the gateway to death, prisoners well wishes became louder and more animated. Some wished the Kid well, some out of respect, some out of camaraderie, and some just out of fear. [Springfield Daily-News, June 30, 1916].

The Kid quiet and composed replied to the well wishes with, "Good-bye, and God Bless you all."

As promised, before walking through death's door, he turned to Deputy Warden Spencer Miller Jr. and told him that he obtained the gun which he used to escape from a previous death row inmate- one Vincenzo Capanello, whom was put to death on Feb. 21, 1915. [New York Times, July 1, 1916]

They enter through the Green door at 5:51am, and Oresto takes his first step into the Chamber of Death.

No wild rampages under the pretense of insanity. He walked in complete control of his mind and his body.

They walk into a dark, dingy and cold room that is filled with the victim’s loved ones sitting in church-like pews. There was a huge sign red that read 'SILENCE' and in small type underneath it. "Any violation a person will be removed with no exception."  The Kid is heavily guarded for fear of a second outbreak, and preparations were made to control him if he became violent or tried to break away. Two guards preceded him into the chamber and two followed with Father Cashin at his side. [The Evening Telegram-New York, June 30, 1916]

The room is packed with press from every New York newspaper, extra guards, and several patrolmen stood in the back at this standing room only event. Normally Sing Sing regulations only allowed a maximum of 12 witnesses to the electrocution, but this case was different, after killing two cops, a prison guard, and several others, there is standing room only.

Chief Sing Sing Physician, Dr Squire goes on to say,  "He played his last scene here on earth before one of the largest audiences ever assembled in a Sing Sing Execution chamber." [Squire, Amos Osborne. Sing Sing Doctor, Madison, Wis.:Doubleday, Doran & Company, 1935]

 

Osborne speaks Reform at Sing Sing
osborne_sing_sing_1916_web.jpg
July 16, 1916 after Oresto's Execution

Chapter 25: The Aftermath - Prison Reform

The Gangster Original's Escape prompted sweeping reforms at Sing Sing Prison and the contruction of a new state of the art Facility. The life of one of the most well respected, and liked Guards, Mr. Daniel J. McCarthy did not go in vain. New York Officials unanimously voted to build a better state of the art facility to better protect guards and make living conditions safer and better for all inmates. Plans were underway in May of 1917. [Annual Report of the Superintendent of Prisons of the State of New York, 1917] The new Sing Sing Death House facility was completed 1922 and with tremendous success. The entire time of it's operation 1922 to it's closure in 1969, there were no escapes at all.

The escape also prompted changes in the protocol for examining inmates for mental insanity and staffed the prison with psychologists. Arrangements were made in early 1917 to institute a complete psychiatric service, under the auspices of the National Committee for Mental Hygiene and a Head of Psychiatric services was selected. In connection with the foregoing, a complete upgrade of the medical staff was conducted for their words was "unparalleled medical service." [Annual Report of the Superintendent of Prisons of the State of New York, 1917]

Female guards were assigned to Sing Sing Prison in order to search female visitors for contraband.

The Kid was executed in front of the largest ever audience in the recorded history of Sing Sing's Death House.

Dr Amos O. Squire, who assessed The Kid for insanity, "he certainly feigned insanity. He was sane enough to perfect his plan to escape the death house. He was full of rage...unlike all the idle threats I received before him and all those after him, his threats to me were not idle...he really intended to kill me! Shillitoni did his utmost to convince me of his insanity. His rages were the most violent I've seen in my 11 years as Chief Physician at the prison. Inflicting and enduring inhuman levels of pain to himself. He would bang his head against the bars until his looked like a bloody pulp."

While blood is profusely dripping from his head he would then start ripping handfuls of hair out of his head and handing them to me without a grimace or sign of pain. He began to make me second guess my feigning insanity assessment regularly. How could any man inflict such pain on himself without hesitation or in such a manner? To me it was humanly impossible. But, Shillitoni was not your every day human. He was abnormally immune to pain and his psyche was such that anything he was determined to do would over-ride human nature. In considerating all the notorious, bad, and tough men that came through our institution, Shillitoni had to be one of the most violent, aggressive, and passionate.

He certainly carried the strongest ego to survive amongst any of the men that ever came through the Death House.

Dr Squire was put back by the Kid's congenial and casual attitude towards killing another man. He gave thanks and praise that he didn't end up on his lengthy list of unfortunate victims.

Days after Oreste's Shillitoni's execution, William Jennings Bryan, Former U.S. Secretary of State, along with the returning Warden Osborne, appeared at Sing Sing to address the inmates. Accompanied by marching band, flags, banners and much fanfare. His purpose was to calm and begin reforms at the prison. Mr. Bryan addressed all the inmates with a plan. His address: "Plans and Specifications for Leading a Useful Life". Stressing the physical, mental, and moral nature of man.

On June 25, 1916, Thomas Mott Osborne defended his administrations stance on guards carrying weapons. In an address before 3,000 in New Brunswick, NJ he declared he had been the victim of political persecution. Adversaries claimed unarming the guards was his doing and Guard McCarthy's was on his hands. [New York Tribune, June 26, 1916]

On July 6, 1916, Warden Kirchwey resigned. Thomas Mott Osborne was reinstated as Warden on July 16, 1916 in an effort to bring stability to the prison. [Informational Annual 1917, New York: Cumulative Digest]

World's most infamous prison, builds New State of the Art Death House as a direct result of the Gangster Original's daring escape from the supposed 'escape proof' Sing Sing Death House. Only one other time was there a break-out of the old death house at Sing Sing. In 1893, two men, Thomas Pallister and Frank Rohl, broke out as a team. They stole a row boat off the shores but never made it to shore as guards shooting from the prison got them both. Neither man ever made it outside of the prison area alive. Only The Kid accomplished that.

Dr. Squire saw a silver lining in the event. " Shillitoni's desperate effort to escape execution had one beneficial result." (Of course it was only one in the Doctor's eyes.) "It focused attention on the fact that the Chief Physician at the prison was burdened with the duty of deciding whether or not a man facing execution was sane, and upon the fact thst thid responsibility was really too great for any one man. "...this case started a movement put into effect in 1919." "The law invests this authority in a commission of alienists."

Dr Amos Squire concluded: that the downfall of men like Oresto Shillitani, "The Paper Box Kid", was the lack of restraint of our normal impulses. Hate, Jealousy, passion, aggressiveness, greed, ruthlessness- these and all other egoistic instincts are no different in the criminal and the common man. It is the consideration for the rights of others that differentiates them. Some people are born stone deaf and yet others are born ethically or morally deaf.

Police Commissioner E.P. Mulrooney on Criminals: "The average young criminal of this day and age is filled with EGO...his first request after his arrest is for those lurid newspapers that make him out a hero. The disagreeable prospect of taking a hot squat in the electric chair ...is of no urgent concern to him at the moment, so long as he can gloat over seeing his likeness sharing space with pictures of Babe Ruth, La Guardia...or Roosevelt. he is not the only who fails to distinguish between notoriety and fame, or neglects the to take into account the vast divergence between the goals of those who land upon the front page." [The Syracuse Herald, "Oresto Shillitani Walks Calmly to Chair in Sing Sing." June 30, 1916.]


 

Epilogue - The Family Scillitano
 
The Scillitano Brothers 

Saverio Scillitano "Sammy Shields" : (Oresto's Brother)

AKAs: Samuel Shillitani, Sammy Shields, Sam Shillitoni, Sam Shieldiani, Sam Shillanti, [AKAs per FBI Memorandum Jan 6, 1958 (see Timeline) He is known to the New York Police Department as B#43737]

Born: Saverio Scillitano, January 3, 1899, 241 Mulberry Street, New York City, NY. [New York City Dept. of Records and Information Services, Municipal Archives]

Lived: 241 Mulberry St. FEB 22, 1907 [NY House of Refuge Inmate case history Oresto Shillitani], 1915 [1915 NY State Census], 1930 [1930 US Census] (c.1907-c.1930), 10 Monroe St.[1940 US Census] Knickerbocker Village, 319 W107th St.[1945 NYC Directory], 65 Penn St., Long Beach (Family Photos and Films), and a "Cottager" at 69 Jackson Street, Saratoga Springs (Family Photos and Films)[The Saratogian, August 2, 1954]. The Woodward Hotel at the corner of Broadway and 55th

Hang-Outs: The Copacabana, New York City [Family Photos](Owned and operated by Frank Costello) [Reppetto, Thomas. American Mafia. New York, NY: Henry Holt 2004] Copacabana, Miami Beach, The Riviera in New Jersey (owned and operated by Willie Moretti)[Family Photos] [Reppetto, Thomas. American Mafia. New York, NY: Henry Holt 2004], The Golden Palms, New York City (Owned and operated by Samuel Shillitani).[Family Photos]

Associates: Willie Moretti, Tommy Lucchese, Salvatore Shillitani, **Frank Garofalo (aka Frankie Bananas), **Mike Miranda, **Carmine Galante, Jack Amiel, Armand Chankelian. 

*U.S. Senate Special Committee to Investigate Organized Crime, Questioning of Tommy Luchese. **FBI Memorandum Dated January 6, 1958.SUBJECT: Appalachin Round UP. RE: SAM SHILLITANI aka SAM SHIELDS, aka Sam Shillanti, aka, Sam Shillitoni, aka, Sam Shieldiani. 
Arrest: February 15, 1917, Sam Shieldiani, Felonious Assault.
Sentence: Case Discharged [FBI Memorandum Dated January 6, 1958]
Arrest: September 10, 1923 Felonious Assault with weapon (gun).
Sentence: Case Dismissed [FBI Memorandum Dated January 6, 1958]
Arrest: June 16, 1933 Felonious Assault. Arrested and Charged.
Sentence: Indictment Dismissed [FBI Memorandum Dated January 6, 1958]
Arrest: May 10, 1944 Bookmaking.
Sentence: Case Dismissed. [The Sun, January 25, 1945]

Timeline

1899 3 Jan: Birth. 241 Mulberry St., New York, New York, United States

1910 1 Jun: Residence. 241 Mulberry St., Manhattan Ward 14, New York, New York USA. Age: 11. Relation to Head of House: Son. 1910 US Census

1913 20 May: Arrested. 241 Mulberry St., Manhattan Ward 14, New York, New York USA. Age: 14."Arrest Scillintani Boy". New York Times, May 21, 1913. Children's Court . Put on Probation May 25, 1913.

1915 1 Jun: Residence. 241 Mulberry St,, New York, New York, United States. Age: 16; Relationship: Son. Occupation: Truck Driver; 1915 NY State Census.

1917 15 Feb: Arrested. New York City, New York, USA. Age: 18. Felonious Assault. DISCHARGED. FBI Memorandum Dated January 6, 1958.

1922 12 Oct: Shot. 235 Mulberry St., New York City, New York, USA. Age: 23. "Cousins Shot Near Old Murder Spot". His Cousin of the same name was shot in the back. The Evening Telegram, Oct 12, 1922.

1923 10 Sep: Arrested. New York City, New York, USA. Age: 24. Felonious Assault with a Firearm. CHARGES DISMISSED. FBI Memorandum Dated January 6, 1958.

1925 01 Jun: Residence. 241 Mulberry St., New York, New York, United States. Age: 26; Relationship: Son; Occupation: Salesman; 1925 NY State Census.

1927 28 May: Marriage to Nicolena R Cioffi. Manhattan, New York, USA. Age: 28 New York, New York, Marriage Indexes 1866-1937. Cert# 16966.

1930 01 Jun: Residence. 241 Mulberry St., New York, New York United States. Age: 30; Realationship: Son; Occupation: Garage Manager; 1930 US Census.

1930Divorce Nicolena R Cioffi. New York, New York, USA. Age: 31.

1931 01 Jan: Relationship Partner Virgie Biondi. New York, New York, USA. Age: 32.

1933 16 Jun: Arrested. New York, New York, USA. Age: 34. Assault. CHARGES DISMISSED. B#43737. FBI Memorandum Dated January 6, 1958.

1934 15 Jan: Indicted. New York, New York, USA. Age: 35. Felonious Assault. CHARGES DISMISSED. B#43737. FBI Memorandum Dated January 6, 1958.

1935 1945Co-Owner World Laundry Service. 227 Mulberry St., New York City, New York, USA. Age: 36. Social Security Number Application. Business Name where Employed: World Laundry Service 12/5/1936

1936 02 Dec: Application Social Security Number. Form SS-5 Treasury Dept., Samuel Shillitani 10 Monroe St., NY, NY. World Laundry Service. 089-01-6148.

1936 1945Residence Summer. 65 W. Penn St., Long Beach, New York USA. Age: 37. Films, Photos, Sammy's Niece. c1935-c1945. Armand Chankelian.

1940 01 Apr: Residence. 10 Monroe St., Knickerbocker Village,, New York City, New York, USA. Age: 41. Marital Status: Married; Relation: Head; Occupation: Propietor Restaurant; 1940 US Census.

1940 1945Owner Golden Palms Restaurant. 1692 Broadway, New York City, New York USA. Age: 41. Luchese (aka Tommy Brown) Testimony to the United States Senate Special Committee to Investigate Crime otherwise known as the Kefauver Committee after Senator Estes Kefauver. At the Golden Palms "Moretti gives Money to Luchese then gives money to Shillitani." NY Times Nov 22, 1952

1944 01 Nov: Arrested. New York City, New York, USA. Age: 45. Bookmaking. CHARGES DISMISSED. Court Orders Phones Restored

1945 25 Jan: Arrested. New York City, New York, USA. Age: 46. Court orders Phones Restored to Sammy Shillitani. NY Sun Jan 25, 1945. New York Post, Jan 25, 1945.

1945 28 Jan: La Guardia Radio Show. New York City, New York, USA. Age: 46. La Guardia Rant Sammy Shillitani

1945 01 Jun: Residence. 319 W. 107th St., New York City, New York, USA Age: 46

1945 1957Co-Owner Alfredos Restaurant. 1692 Broadway, New York City, New York USA. Age: 46. per Resume of his Nephew John Scillitani (Alfredo's Son)

1950 circa: Residence. 210 W 55th St. The Woodward Hotel, New York City, New York USA. Age: 51. per Virgie Shillitani's Niece and Family Photos.

1954 02 Aug: Residence Summer: 69 Jackson St., Saratoga Springs, Saratoga, New York, USA. Age: 55. "Regular Cottager" The Saratogan, August 2, 1954.

1954 1977Co-Owner Ravel Perfume Corp NY. 23rd St. (?), New York City, New York, USA. Age: 55. Family Knowledge, Virge's Niece. Corporate Seal (1954)

1957 2000Residence. 7553 Hispanola Ave., Miami Beach, Florida, USA. Age: 58. U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989, Family Photos, Family Knowledge.

1958 6 Jan: FBI MEMO RE Apalachin Round-up. Apalachin, Tioga, New York, USA. Age: 59. FBI Memo Regarding Report Sam Shields being at meeting. Then later retracted as mistaken identity.

2000 30 Aug: Death. 7553 Hispanola Ave, North Bay Village, FL, 33141-4119. AGE 101 years old. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-Current.

2000 04 Sep: Burial. North Miami, Miami-Dade, Florida, USA. Southern Memorial Park, Entombment, Death Cert.]

 

Biographies of The Associates of Sammy Shields

According to a FBI Memorandum written in 1958, Sammy Shields Associated withthe likes of Frank Garofalo, Carmine Galante, and Mike Miranda. These were some of the most respected and toughest guys the mafia had ever seen. Their stories are below. [FBI Memorandum Dated January 6, 1958 RE: Sammy Shillitani.

Jack Joseph Amiel

Owner of 1951 Kentucky Derby Winner- Count Turf and a partner in Jack Dempsey's restaurant in Times Square. He also had a number of other successful race horses, including Mr. Turf. He was a wealthy restaurant owner and ran a commercial real-estate business in the early 1940's.

Armand Chankalian

Nov 14, 1952, New York Journal American: reflected the NY State Crime Commission was Investigating ties between Tommy Luchese and Armand Chankalian. He was Administartive Assistant to United States Attorney Myles J. Lane and resigned February 3, 1953. [New York Herald Tribune, Feb 4, 1953] He had the Title of Administrative Assistant since 1945 [FBI Memo RE: Armand Chankalian, May 13, 1965 NY FBI Office]

Francesco Garofalo 

aka "Frank Carroll", Frank Garofalo,  was the powerful "deputy" of the Bonanno family in New York , from 1931 to until he retired in 1957. Francesco Garofalo was born in Castellammare del Golfo , in the province of Trapani , in 1891. He became a "man of honor"  in the Magaddinos and Buccellato mafia clan of Castellammare. He emigrated to New York in 1910.

A key figure in the Family Castellammarese of Brooklyn, and at the start of Prohibition (1920s) he was in charge of smuggling of alcohol into the US and New York City. 

In 1931, Joe Bonanno, head of his own crime family, becomes his friend and partner and he was appointed to position of "vice".  

In 1943 Garofalo ordered the murder of Carlo Tresca , journalist, anarchist and antifascist.

Garofalo also commissioned the murder of one of his trusted men Carmine Galante. Starting in the late 1940s, Garofalo was in charge of trafficking heroin from Sicily to the United States in the Bonanno family. And at that time had achieved a complete monopoly on the heroin coming into New York. 

Garofalo has had numerous law firms in New York , which in Colorado , and California , including the "High Grade Packing" in California .

In 1956 , he and his wife decided to return to his native Sicily.

Garofalo is well described in the official documents of the FBI, and the Bureau of Narcotics in 1958 : "Present at the meeting mafia Binghampton in 1956, the subject is one of the most important bosses of the United States, and Sicily. "When he was younger he was a dangerous assassin."

Mafia associates: Santo Sorge, John Bonventre, Carmine Galante, Joe Bonanno, Evola, Tom Lucchese, Joseph Di Palermo, Frank Coppola, Lucky Luciano, Sammy Shields.

 

Carmine Galante 

also known as "Lilo" and "Cigar" (February 21, 1910 – July 12, 1979) was a mobster and acting boss of the Bonanno crime family.

Camillo Carmine Galante was born on February 21, 1910, in a tenement building in the East Harlem section of Manhattan. His parents were Vincenzo "James" Galante and Vincenza Russo. Galante emigrated to New York City in 1906 from Castellammare del Golfo, Sicily.

Carmine Galante had two brothers, Samuel and Peter Galante, and two sisters, Josephine and Angelina Galante.

Carmine Galante married Helen Marulli, by whom he had three children; James Galante, Camille Galante, and Angela Galante. For the last 20 years of his life, Galante lived with another woman Ann Acquavella. They had two children together. 

He was the uncle to Bonanno crime family capo James Carmine Galante.

Galante stood around 5½ feet and weighed approximately 160 pounds. While in prison in 1931, doctors diagnosed Galante as having a psychopathic personality.

Galante owned the Rosina Costume Company in Brooklyn, New York and was associated with the Abco Vending Company of West New York, New Jersey.

At the age of 10, Galante was sent to reform school due to his criminal activities. He soon formed a juvenile street gang on New York's Lower East Side. By the age of 15, Galante had dropped out of seventh grade. As a teenager, Galante became a Mafia associate during the Prohibition era, becoming a leading enforcer by the end of the decade. During this period, Galante also worked as a fish sorter and at an artificial flower shop.

On December 12, 1925, the 15 year-old Galante pleaded guilty to assault charges. On December 22, 1926, Galante was sentenced to at least two-and-a-half years in state prison.

In 1930, NYPD officer Joseph Meenahan caught Galante and other gang members attempting to hijack a truck in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. In the ensuing gun battle, Galante wounded Meenahan and a six-year-old bystander, both survived. On February 8, 1931, after pleading guilty to attempted robbery Galante was sentenced to 12 and a half years in state prison. On May 1, 1939, Galante was released from prison on parole.

By 1940, Galante was carrying out "hits" for Vito Genovese, the official underboss of the Luciano crime family. Galante had an underworld reputation for viciousness and was suspected by the New York Police Department (NYPD) of involvement in over eighty murders.

In 1943, Galante allegedly murdered Carlo Tresca, the publisher of an anti-fascist newspaper in New York. Genovese, living in exile in Italy, offered to kill Tresca as a favor to Italian President Benito Mussolini. Genovese allegedly gave the murder contract to Galante. On January 11, 1943, Galante allegedly shot and killed Tresca as he stepped outside his newspaper office in Manhattan, then got in a car and drove away.[6] Although Galante was arrested as a suspect, no one was ever charged in the murder. After the Tresca murder, Galante was sent back to prison on a parole violation. On December 21, 1944, Galante was released from prison.

On February 10, 1945, Galante married Helena Marulli in New York.

Galante went from being chauffeur of Bonanno family boss, Joseph Bonanno, to caporegime and then underboss. He was said to have been loyal to Bonanno and often spoke of him with great admiration. They also shared a common enemy, Carlo Gambino of the Anastasia crime family.

In 1953, Bonanno sent Galante to Montreal, Quebec to supervise the family drug business there. The Bonannos were importing huge amounts of heroin by ship into Montreal and then sending it into the United States. In 1957, due to Galante's strong-arm extortion tactics, the Canadian Government deported him back to the United States. In October 1957, Bonanno and Galante held a hotel meeting in Palermo, Sicily on plans to import heroin into the United States. Attendees included exiled boss Lucky Luciano and other American mobsters, with a Sicilian Mafia delegation led by mobster Giuseppe Genco Russo. As part of the agreement, Sicilian mobsters would come to the U.S. to distribute the narcotics. Galante brought many young men, known as Zips, from his family home of Castellammare del Golfo, Trapani, to work as bodyguards, contract killers and drug traffickers. These Sicilian criminals had Galante's total trust and confidence.

In 1958, after being indicted on drug conspiracy charges, Galante went into hiding. On June 3, 1959, New Jersey State Police officers arrested Galante after stopping his car on the Garden State Parkway close to New York City. Federal agents had recently discovered that Galante was hiding in a house on Pelican Island off the South Jersey shore. After posting $100,000 bail, he was released. On May 18, 1960, Galante was indicted on a second set of narcotics charges; he surrendered voluntarily.

Galante's first narcotics trial started on November 21, 1960. From the beginning, the first trial was characterized by jurors and alternates dropping out and coercive courtroom displays by the defendants. On May 15, 1961, the judge declared a mistrial. The jury foreman had fallen down some stairs at his house and was unable to continue the trial due to injury. Galante was sentenced to 20 days in jail due to contempt of court.[12] On July 10, 1962, after being convicted in his second narcotics trial, Galante was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison.

In 1964, Joseph Bonanno and his ally, Profaci crime family boss Joseph Magliocco, unsuccessfully plotted to murder three rival members of the Mafia Commission. When the plot was discovered, the Commission ordered Bonanno to retire. Over the succeeding 10 years, Bonanno tried to install his son Salvatore Bonanno as boss while the Commission tried to run the family with a series of ineffectual bosses.

In January 1974, Galante was released from prison on parole. A few days after his release from prison, Galante allegedly ordered the bombing of the doors to the mausoleum of his enemy Frank Costello, who had died in 1973.

In November 1974, the Commission designated Philip "Rusty" Rastelli as the official boss of the Bonanno family.[8] However, Rastelli was soon sent to prison and Galante seized effective control of the family. As a former underboss, Galante considered himself the rightful successor to Joseph Bonanno, a man he had always remained loyal to.

During the late 1970s, Galante allegedly organized the murders of at least eight members of the Gambino family, with whom he had an intense rivalry, in order to take over a massive drug-trafficking operation.

On March 3, 1978, Galante's parole was revoked by the United States Parole Commission and he was sent back to prison. Galante had allegedly violated parole by associating with other Bonanno mobsters.[16] However, on February 27, 1979, a judge ruled that the government had illegally revoked Galante's parole and ordered his immediate release from prison.[15] By this stage, Galante was bald, bespectacled and had a stooped walk.

The New York crime families were alarmed at Galante's brazen attempt at taking over the narcotics market. Galante also refused to share any drug profits with the other families. Although Galante was aware that he had many enemies, he said, "No one will ever kill me, they wouldn't dare."[17] Genovese crime family boss Frank Tieri began contacting Cosa Nostra leaders to build a consensus for Galante's murder, even obtaining approval from the exiled Joseph Bonanno. They received a boost when Rastelli, the official boss, sought Commission approval to kill Galante as an illegitimate usurper. In 1979, the Mafia Commission ordered Galante's execution.

On July 12, 1979, Carmine Galante was assassinated just as he finished eating lunch on an open patio at Joe and Mary's Italian-American Restaurant at 205 Knickerbocker Avenue in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Galante was dining with Leonard Coppola, a Bonanno capo, and restaurant owner/cousin Giuseppe Turano, a Bonanno soldier. Also sitting at the table were Galante's Sicilian bodyguards, Baldassare Amato and Cesare Bonventre. At 2:45 pm, three ski-masked men entered the restaurant, walked into the patio, and opened fire with shotguns and handguns. Galante, Turano, and Coppola were killed instantly. Galante's death picture showed a cigar still in his mouth. Amato and Bonventre, who did nothing to protect Galante, were left unharmed. The gunmen then ran out of the restaurant. 

 

The Apalachin Round up: Apalachin, NY

[FBI Memorandum- FROM: James P. Kelley and Sherman W. Willao; SUBJECT: Apalachin Round up. RE: SAM SHILLITANI aka SAM SHIELDS, January 6, 1958]

SHILLITANI was alleged by Informant to be present at the round up. The informant believed under the name Louis SANTOS from Havana, Cuba. FBI operatives found that Louis SANTOS is Santo Trafficante. If Shillitani was there, how did he escape clean? What name did he use?

An FBI investigation uncovered that Shillitani (Sam) is known to have operated crap games in New York City with Frank Garofalo under his alias Shields. He admitted to knowing Carmine Galante whom is a close friend of Joseph Barbara. Also friends with Barabara is Joseph DiPalermo aka "Joe Beck" a notorious Narcotics Peddler who is missing along with Galante after the raid.

The Apalachin Meeting was a historic summit of the American Mafia held at the home of mobster Joseph "Joe the Barber" Barbara in Apalachin, New York on November 14, 1957. Of an estimated 100 Mafiosi members from the United States, Canada and Italy are thought to have been at this meeting only 58 detained and indicted [See addendum #7 for list]. The informant identified Sam Shillitani as being there but got his alias mixed up. Was he there?

See and hear Mayor Firella La Guardia's response to Magistrate Eder's and Magistrate Raphael P Koenigs rulings. Justice Eder describes Mr. Sam Shillitani as "a respectable individual". And Shillitani was found to be innocent of bookmaking charges by Magistrate Koenig May 10, 1944.

Justice Eder granted an order for the Police Commissioner to restore phone service to Mr. Shillitani January 24, 1945. "Neither the Police Commissioner nor the Police Department has any jurisdiction or authority over the matter of furnishing, discontinuing or restoring telephone service to the public." [New York Sun, Jan 25, New York Times]

Mayor La Guardia's Response in The New York Times, January 26, 1945

"Shillitani is very fortunate...He Must Be a Very Fine White, Innocent Baby."

The same New York Times reporter asked Police Commissioner Valentine how the decision will alter police procedurer in gambling raids...His acknowledgement of the question with no response spoke volumes for his frustration with the ruling and one Mr. Samuel Shillitani.

 

Mayor Fiorello La Guardia during his popular radio show: Talk to the People "Patience and Fortitude"  -January 28, 1945

"Say, do you have trouble getting a telephone? There are hundreds of thousands of families and business men trying to get telephones...It is hard to get a telephone these days. Well...maybe it is because you do not belong to the right family - you are not engaged in gambling, no member of your family has committed murder, you haven't sufficiently abused the Police Commissioner and the Mayor. "

"So if you want a telephone, get some member of your family to commit murder, open a gambling place, abuse the Police Commissioner, and then you will get it."

"I suppose you read in the newspapers of the decision of the Supreme Court here in New York, ordering the Telephone Company to restore telephone service to an American citizen, entitled to the telephone, by the name of Shillitani."

"Yes, and the Police Commissioner was abused, and the rights of this very fine upright citizen was defended. You know, I wish I had been there. Let me tell you, Shillitani is known as alias Sammy Shields, a notorious, cheap, tinhorn gambler. Chief Inspector Murphy himself raided the crap games of this tinhorn gambler, several times within the last few years."

"His brother John...was raided in Astoria only a few days ago, where he was conducting a large crap game. Oh wait, I will tell you some more about this fine family. His brother, Orestes, brother of Shillitani...murdered two fine patrolmen, Patrolman Teare and Patrolman Heaney — a few years ago on Mulberry Street. A fine family."

"Orestes Shillitani was sentenced to the electric chair. He could not even behave in Sing Sing. He shot a keeper in Sing Sing and escaped but was apprehended, brought back and placed in the electric chair and electrocuted."

"So don't you see, that, if you have the right kind of a family, it is easy to get a telephone. Do you wonder that it requires Patience and Fortitude for this job."

 

HEAR Mayor La Guardia's "Talk to the People" Radio Show on January 28, 1945

 

Before He Died (94 yrs old), to niece's husband:

"I have a gun in my Pocket...You Know Why? You stole MY MONEY. You're Goin to come with me and you're gonna check for my secret stash money."

SAMMY: Now put your hand under the table. Is the box there? Huh?

BOBBI's HUSBAND: Yes Uncle Sam, it's here.

SAM: Where? SHOW ME!

BOBBI's HUSBAND: It is right here.

SAMMY: Oh God. Oh God I'm sorry. I couldn't feel it under there. I thought... [As told by Virgies Niece Bobbi Di Maria]

About Al Capone, to his Niece:

"I knew Al Capone. I knew him when he was a nobody. Just a bouncer. He asked me to go to Chicago with him. I wouldn't go to that place." [as told to his niece]

Regarding Guys and Dolls Play/Movie:

"That's not how it went. I know. It was at a wake and we paid the lady to carry the wake on for hours so we could keep our crap game going in the basement."[as told to his niece]

Regarding Running Liquor During Prohibition:

"They were getting guys all the time. They never got me. I had Mechanics Putting it all under the floorboards and they never figured it out. eh eh" [as told to niece]

News Articles from the time...

  • "Cousins Shot Near Old Murder Spot". The Evening Telegram, Oct 12, 1922.
  • "Two Cousins Shot". Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Oct 12, 1922  
  • "Arrest Scillintani Boy". New York Times, May 21, 1913.
  • "Brother of Shillitoni Arrested as a Thief". New York Tribune, May 21, 1913.
  • "Three Precincts Chase Boys". New York Sun, May 21, 1913. 
Sam "Sammy Shields" Shillitani - The Real Teflon Man. He lived a life of crime all his life (until 101) and after 4 arrests never convicted. And at The Apalachin Event (not proven by likely) 58 of the top mobsters were detained and indicted while he slipped out the back door. That's as slick as they come. He may also be the longest living Mobster of all-time.
 

Nicolena Shillitani "Lena" : (Sammy Shields 1st Wife, Oresto's Sister in Law)

AKAs: Lena Cioffi, Lena Shillitani, Lena Shillitain, Lena R Cioffi, Lina Cioffi

1904 05 Dec: Birth. New York City, NY, USA U.S., [Social Security Death Index, 1935-]

1915 01 Jun: Residence. 247 Mulberry Street, New York City, NY, USA (Age: 10). [1915 NY State Census]

1920 01 Jun: Residence. 261 Mulberry Street, New York City, NY, USA (Age: 16). [1920 US Federal Census]

1927 28 May: Marriage to Samuel Shillitani. New York City, NY, USA (Age: 22). New York, NY, [Marriage Indexes 1866-1937 Cert# 16966]

1930 01 Jun: Residence. 265 La Fayette St., New York City, NY, USA (Age: 26). Marital Status: Married; Relation to Head of House: Daughter. [1930 US Federal Census.]

1931 01 Aug: Arrested. New York City, NY, USA (Age: 26). Smuggling an Alien into The Country. [Albany Evening News, February 11, 1932]

1932 04 Jan: Trial. Schenectady, Schenectady, New York, USA (Age: 27). Federal Court Smuggling an Alien. [Albany Evening News, February 11, 1932.]

1932 05 Jan: Sentenced. Schenectady, Schenectady, New York, USA (Age: 27). Conspiracy to violate immigration laws. [Schenectady Gazette, January 5, 1932]

1932 11 Feb: Jail. Albany, New York, USA (Age: 27)Smuggling an Alien into The Country. [Albany Evening News, Febrary 11, 1932]

1933 01 Jun: Arrested. Brooklyn, New York USA. (Age: 28) Grand Larceny. [Brooklyn Daily Eagle, October 3, 1950]

1940 01 Mar: Judgement Against. New York City, NY USA (Age: 35). National City Bank vs Nicolina Shillitani, Joseph J Cioffi, Francesco Cioffi, Moe Pagano. [New York Times, March 1, 1940.]

1940 01 Apr: Residence. 25 Prospect St., Babylon, Suffolk, New York, USA (Age: 35). Marital Status: Divorced; Relation to Head of House: Head. [1940 US Federal Census]

1940 18 Apr: Judgement Against. New York City, NY, USA (Age: 35). $3524.90; Credit Equipment Corp. [New York Times, April 18, 1940]

1950 30 Sep: Arrested. 542 60th St., Brooklyn NY USA (Age: 45). Forgeries for over $100,000.Dist Attys Office Hunting for her over 3 years. Lena R Schillitani asst. Dietician at Greenich Hospital. Larceny Charges in 1933. Connected to Bugsy Siegal, and Murder Inc. [Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Oct 3, 1950.]

2004 11 Feb: Death (Age: 99)(U.S. Consulate), Italy. [U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-Current] 

Giovanbatista  Scillitano "Johnny Shields": (Oresto's Older Brother)

AKAs: John Shillitani, Johnny Shields, Johnny Sciallentano, John Shieldiana, John Shillanti.

Lived: 241 Mulberry St. 1907 [NY House of Refuge Inmate case history Oresto Shillitani], 1915 NY Census, 1920 US Census], 238 Pearle St. 6A [1930, 1940 US Census]

Timeline

1883 01 Jun: Birth. Foggia, Puglia, Italy WW I Draft Registration Card

1895 03 Dec: Arrival. Giovan Batitista Sullitone. New York City, NY USA (Age 12). Departing Naples. Ship Manifest - The California.

1903 29 Apr: Marriage to Lena Weber. New York City, NY USA (Age 19) Father: Michael Shillitani Mother: Angelina Verzzeco. Spouse's Father: Conrad Weber Spouse's Mother's: Annie Stevens.

1907 14 May: Arrested. New York City, NY USA (Age: 23) Cigar Store Robbery. RELEASED. [The Sun May 15, 1907]

1910 01 Jun. Residence. 241 Mulberry St., Manhattan Ward 14, New York, NY, USA(Age: 27). Pool Room Owner: Marital Status: Single; Relation to Head of House: Son. [1910 US Federal Census]

1913 14 Jun: Arranged Treaty. 123rd St. & Morningside Ave, New York City, NY USA (Age 30). "Brother Arranged Treaty" [The Washington Post, June 15, 1913]

1915 01 Jun: Residence. 241 Mulberry St., Manhattan Ward 14, New York, NY, USA (Age 32). Real Estate. Age: 31; Relationship: Son

1916 21 Jun: Allegedly Smuggled Gun into Sing Sing Death House. Sing Sing Prison Ossining, New York USA (Age 33) Johnny and Wife Teresa visited Oresto Day before Escape. It was alleged Johnny had Teresa Hide gun in her dress to Smuggle into Death House. [Albany Evening Journal, June 22, 1916]

1918 23 Feb: "East Side Band Leader shot by detectives". 226 Mulberry Street., New York City, NY USA (Age 34). Johnny's Restaurant. Big Jack Zelig, Charles Torti, Frank Caputo. [The Evening Telegram - New York, February 23, 1918.] Owner Restaurant

1918 25 Jun: Marriage to Theresa DelFino. New York City, NY USA. (Age: 35) Cert # 2480

1918 12 Sep: WW I Draft Registration. New York City, NY USA (Age: 35). WW I Draft Registration Card.

Prohibition ERA: On October 28, 1919, Congress passed the Volstead Act (National Prohibition Act) and the sale of alcohol was prohibited on Jan. 17, 1920.  

1920 01 Jun: Residence. 241 Mulberry Street, Manhattan Assembly District 2, New York, NY USA (Age 37) Driver. Wife Theresa, Son Oresto and Daughter Angelina. Marital Status: Married; Relation to Head of House: Head Age: Fruit Merchant.

1920 11 Nov: Arraigned. New York City, NY USA (Age 37) Arraigned before US Commissioner November 11, 1920. Judgement- Conviction for knowingly receiving stolen goods. JUDGEMENT REVERSED.

1922 10 May: Naturalization Declined. New York City NY, USA (Age 38) [New York County Supreme Court Naturalization Petition Index, 1907-24: Page 62]

1922 26 Jul: Fruit Merchant. New York, NY USA & Mendicino and Sonoma Counties CA. (Age 39) "Packing and Quality bring more orders". John Shillitani of NYC handles great quantities of grapes each year. [Ukiah Republican Press, July 26, 1922]

1922 17 Aug: Passport Issued. Washington DC USA. (Age 39) Pass# 278357 WASH DC 8-17-1922

1922 05 Oct: Petition (#2) For Naturalization. 241 Mulberry Street, New York City, NY USA (Age 39). [New York County Supreme Court Naturalization Petition Index, 1907-24. PAGE 11. John Shillitani Declaration Volume: 328 Declaration Page: 166

1924 22 Nov: Departure. Genoa, Italy. Reserved. DID NOT SAIL. (Age 41). Manifest "The Rex".

1925 01 Jun: Residence. 2917 W 1st St., Brooklyn, Kings, NY, USA (Age 42) Fruit Merchant. Wife Theresa, Daughters Angelina, and Marie, and Son Oresto. Relationship: Head

1926 13 Nov: Departure. Napoli, Italy (Age 43). SS Dulio. Pass# 278357 WASH DC 8-17-1922. 

1926 23 Nov: Arrival. New York City NY, USA (Age 43). SS Dulio. 241 Mulberry St.

1930 01 Jun: Residence. 2706 W 3rd St., Brooklyn, Kings, NY, USA (Age 47). Wholesale Fruit Merchant. Wife Theresa, Daughters Angelina, Marie, Dorothy, and Son Oresto. Marital Status: Married; Relation: Head of House.

1931 03 Aug: Shoots Longshoreman. 238 Pearle St., Brooklyn, Kings, NY, USA (Age 48) "Longshoreman shot in Brawl on Pearle St". [The Standard Union, August 3, 1931]

1932 12 Nov: Departure. Napoli, Italy. (Age 49). SS Augustus. Traveling with Michele.

1932 22 Nov: Arrival. New York City, NY USA (Age 49) SS Augustus. Traveling with Michele.

Prohibition Era Ends:  On December 5, 1933, ratification of the Twenty-first Amendment repealed the Eighteenth Amendment (Prohibition).

1934 05 Dec: Departure. Napoli, Italy. (Age 51). SS Conte Di Savoia. Traveling with Michele.

1934 12 Dec: Arrival. New York City NY, USA (Age 51). SS Conte Di Savoia. Traveling with Michele.

1936 18 Jun: Marriage to Esther Kovacs. New York City NY, USA (Age 53). [New York, New York, Marriage Indexes 1866-1937]

1937 01 Apr: Departure. Napoli, Italy. (Age 53) SS Rex.

1937 08 Apr: Arrival. New York City, NY USA (Age 53) SS Rex.

1940 01 Apr: Residence. 238 Pearle St., Brooklyn, Kings, NY, USA (Age 56) Restaurant Owner. Wife Ester. Daughters Joan and Brenda. Marital Status: Married; Relation to Head of House: Head

1942 01 Jul: WW II Draft Registration. 238 Pearle St., Brooklyn, Kings, NY, USA (Age 59). World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942

1945 23 Jan: Arrested. Astoria, Queens, New York, USA (Age 61) "39 Arrested in Dawn Raid on Dice Game". Floating Dice Game raided by Chief Inspector John J Connell at 32-42 33rd Street Astoria. Booked with Anthony Russo, (Genovese Crime Family) as game Keepers. [The Long Island Daily Press, January 23, 1945]

1946 29 Oct: Death. Brooklyn, Kings, NY USA (Age 63) John Shillitani, Certificate Number: 20810 

Cases Cited: Shillitani vs United States Circuit Court of Appeals, Second Circuit January 18, 1922 No. 128
Indicted for actions Sept. 11, 1920-Oct. 28, 1920
Arraigned before US Commissioner November 11, 1920.
Judgement of Conviction for knowing receiving stolen goods. 
Judgement Reversed. 

  • "Found Crooks Picture". The Sun, May 15, 1907
  • "East Side Band Leader shot by detectives". Big Jack Zelig, Charles Torti, Frank Caputo. 226 Mulberry Restaurant. The Evening Telegram - New York, February 23, 1918.
  • "Packing and Quality bring more orders". John Shillitani of NYC handles great quantities of grapes each year. Ukiah Republican Press, July 26, 1922.
  • "Longshoreman shot in Brawl on Pearle St". The Standard Union, August 3, 1931.
  • "39 Arrested in Dawn Raid on Dice Game". The Long Island Daily Press, January 23, 1945. Floating Dice Game raided by Chief Inspector John J Connell at 32-42 33rd Street Astoria. Booked with Anthony Russo as game Keepers.

Alfredo Scillitano "Freddy Shields": (Oresto's Youngest Brother)

AKAs: Alfred Shillitani, Freddy Shields, Freddy Shilanti, Alfred Scillitani, Alfredo, Philip.

Places he lived, 241 Mulberry St.  1907 [NY House of Refuge Inmate case history Oresto Shillitani], 1915 [1915 NY State Census], 1930 [1930 US Census] (c.1907-c.1930), 40 Monroe St.(1940) Knickerbocker Village, 319 W107th St. (1945), 65 Penn St., Long Beach, NY, 350 First Ave. Peter Cooper Village.

Timeline

1901 27 Apr: Birth. Alfredo Scillitano. 241 Mulberry St., New York City, NY USA. New York City, Births, 1891-1902. Certificate Number: 17504

1903 07 Oct: Departure. Naples, OCT 7, 1903, SS Liguria. Angelina, Alfredo, Giovanna Melfitano. Age: 2

1903 02 Oct: Arrival. New York City, NY USA. Age: 2. SS Liguria. Angelina, Alfredo, Giovanna Melfitano.

1915 01 Jun: Residence. 241 Mulberry St, New York City, NY USA. Age: 14. School; Relation to Head of House: Son. New York, State Census, 1915.

1919 12 Aug: Arrested. New York City, NY USA.  Age: 18. "War on Reckless Drivers". New York Times, Aug 12, 1919.

1922 23 Apr: Marriage to Maratonia (Antoinette) Caggiano. New York City, NY USA. Age: 20. New York, New York, Marriage Indexes 1866-1937 (Manhattan) Cert# 12706.

1925 01 Jun: Residence. 241 Mulberry St., New York City, NY USA. Age: 24. Real Estate. Age: 24; Relationship: Son. New York, State Census, 1925.

1930 01 Jun: Residence. 241 Mulberry St., New York City, NY USA. Age: 29. Real Estate. Wife Antoinette, Sons Michael, John, and Sam. Marital Status: Married; Relation to Head of House: Head. US Federal Census.

1932 21 Oct: Departure. Naples, Italy. SS ROMA. Age: 31

1932 30 Oct: Arrival. New York City, NY USA. SS ROMA. Age: 31

1940 01 Apr: Residence. 40 Monroe St., New York City, NY USA. Age: 38. Manager Restaurant. Knickerbocker Village. Age: 34; Marital Status: Married

1940 – 1945: Co-Owner Golden Palms Restaurant, 1692 Broadway, New York City, NY USA. Age: 39. with Sammy. Per conversation with Sammy's Niece Bobbi. Sammy: Money and Idea Guy.  Alfredo: Operator, Bookkeeper

1942 01 Jan: Residence. 40 Monroe St., Manhattan, New York, USA. Age: 41. Manhattan, New York, City Directory, 1942

1944 01 Jan: Residence. 319 W 107th St., Manhattan, New York, USA. Age: 43 Manhattan, New York, City Directory, 1944

1945 01 Jan: Residence. 319 W 107th St., Manhattan, New York, USA. Age: 44. Manhattan, New York, City Directory, 1945

1945 – 1956: Owner Alfredo's Restaurant. 1692 Broadway, New York City, NY USA. Age: 44. Italian Restaurant. Son John was General Manager. Dates of Operation per Resume son John Scillitani (1924)

1954 – 1976: Owner Ravel Corporation NY. 23rd st (?), New York City, NY USA. Age: 56. Owner of Perfume Distributor. Shipments from France. Closed 1977 per Resume of Son John Scillitani. Opened 1954 per corporate seal.

1960 – 1976: Residence. 350 1st Ave., Manhattan, New York, USA. Age: 59. Manhattan, New York, City Directory, 1960. Peter Cooper Village 10010-4902

1976 13 Jul: Death. New York City, NY USA. Age: 75. Bellevue Hospital. Bronchopneumonia with Abscess. Usual Occupation: Executive. Bureau of Vital Records NY, Cert# 156-76-112711.
 
"Motorist Accuses Motorist". New York Tribune, Aug 12, 1919.
"War on Reckless Drivers". New York Times, Aug 12, 1919.

Momma and Pappa Scillitano 

Michele "Michael" Shillitani: (Oresto's Father)

AKAs: Michele Shillitani, Michele Scillitani, Michael Shillitani, Michael Scillitani, Michael Scillitano.

By all accounts he was a wealthy and powerful man.

Lived: 241 Mulberry Street FEB 22, 1907 [NY House of Refuge Inmate case history Oresto Shillitani], 1915 [1915 NY State Census], 1930 [1930 US Census] [1907-1930+]

"This crime was committed in the heart of the Italian Colony in this city. It was committed where this defendant's father (Michele) is a man of great influence, a man of power; this defendant's father, gentlemen, as has been testified in this case, is a man of wealth and the owner of considerable tenement property in the Italian Neighborhood."

[Assistant District Attorney Wasservogel Closing Address to the Jury in Behalf of the People. COURT OF THE GENERAL SESSIONS, County of New York. The People against Oresto Shilitano. Case #1844]

Timeline

1855 24 Nov: Birth. Civile Foggia, Foggia, Italy Italia, Nati e Battesimi, 1806-1900 index.

1855 25 Nov: Baptism. Civile Foggia, Foggia, Italy. Nati e Battesimi, 1806-1900 index.

1895 03 Dec: Arrival. New York City, NY USA. Age: 40. Departure Naples, Italy Michele Sullitone. Shoemaker. The California Manifest.

1909 07 Jan: Lender. Thompson Street North of Prince Street. Age: 53. "Mortgages Recorded" Michele Scillitani to Hoffman Miller. 23,000. New York Herald, January 9, 

1910 01 Jun: Residence. 241 Mulberry St, Manhattan Ward 14, New York, NY USA. Age: 55. Real Estate Agent. Marital Status: Married; Relation to Head of House: Self; 

1913 14 May: Arrested. 241 Mulberry St., New York, NY USA. Age: 57. The Evening World News, 1st Page, "Gunmen's Father Arrested as Aid in Triple Murder" May 14, 1914.

1913 26 May: Indicted. 241 Mulberry St, Manhattan Ward 14, New York, NY USA. Age: 57. Indicted for murder in the First Degree for Son Oresto's Triple Homicide. NY Tribune May 27, 1913.

1914 23 May: Building Owner. 139 Thompson Street, New York City, NY USA. Age: 58. Real Estate Record and Building's Guide NYC, May 23, 1914, p.228

1914 30 May: Building Owner. 240 Mulberry Street, New York City, NY USA. Age: 58. Trial Transcripts Case# 1844 People vs Oresto Shilitoni. p105.

1915 20 Feb: Building Owner. 168 Thompson Street, New York City, NY USA. Age: 59. Real Estate Record and Builder's Guide, Feb 20, 1915 p. 75. Co-Owner Giuseppe Loffredo (181 Mott St.). Lease to Alfred Loffredo.

1915 01 Jun: Residence. 241 Mulberry St, New York City, NY, USA. Age: 59. Painter. Age: 56; Relationship: Head (NOTE: John Di Stefano & Cosimo Di Stefano Living at 241 Mulberry St.) 

1915 12 Jun: Upgrade Building. 168 Thompson Street, New York City, NY USA. Age: 59 Add Fireproof Ceiling and partition walls for Store. Michele Scillitano Owner. Real Estate Record and Builder's Guide, June 12, 1915 p. 1030

1916 30 Jun: Son Oresto Dies in Electric Chair. Sing Sing Prison Ossining, New York USA. Age: 60. Quadruple Homicide. Including Guard at Sing Sing.

1920 06 Nov: Business & Building Owner. World Wet Wash Laundry, 223-229 Mulberry Street, New York City, NY, USA. Age: 64. "Conveyances", Real Estate Record and Builders Guide , November 6, 1920. 711-717 E 11th St Realty TO World Wet Wash Laundry Co. Sect 2. Pg 1.

1922 30 Sep: Building Owner. 245 Mulberry Street, New York City, NY, USA. Age: 66. Real Estate Record and Building Guide, September 30, 1922. p. 446. Plans Filed. Add Show Windows and New Entrance

1923 10 Dec: Departure. Napoli, Italy. Age: 68. SS Dulio Manifest. Traveling with Angelina Verzicco, Michele 2, Gaetana Di Giorgio. Visiting Relative Valesio Gaetano.  

1923 19 Dec: Arrival. New York City, NY USA. Age: 68. SS Dulio Manifest. Traveling with Angelina Verzicco, Michele 2, Gaetana Di Giorgio. 

1924 21 Feb: Property Transfer. 241 Mulberry St., New York City, NY, USA. Age: 68. "Tenement House Deals", New York Times, February 21, 1924. Transfer from client of G. Tuoti & Co. to Lordi Corporation.

1925 01 Jun: Residence. 241 Mulberry St., New York City, NY, USA. Age: 69; Relation to Head of House: head

1926 13 Nov: Departure. Napoli, Italy. Age: 70. SS Dulio. Permit# 157401 issued WASH DC 5-22-1926. Traveling with Angelina Verzicco. 

1926 23 Nov: Arrival. New York, NY, USA. Age: 70. SS Dulio. Permit# 157401 issued WASH DC 5-22-1926. Traveling with Angelina Verzicco. 

1927 12 Dec: Departure. Napoli, Italy. Age: 72. SS Conte Biancamano. VISA# 299358 WASH DC., 1927.

1927 22 Dec: Arrival. New York, NY, USA. Age: 72. SS Conte Biancamano. VISA# 299358 WASH DC., 1927.

1928 26 Nov: Departure. Napoli, Italy. Age: 73. SS M/N Saturnia. Naturalization: Pass# 626137, WASH DC 8-14-1928

1928 07 Dec: Arrival. New York City, NY, USA. Age: 73. SS M/N Saturnia. Naturalization: Pass# 626137, WASH DC 8-14-1928

1930 01 Jun: Residence. 241 Mulberry St, Manhattan, New York, USA. Real Estate Owner. Age: 74; Marital Status: Married; Relation to Head of House: Head

1932 12 Nov: Departure. Napoli, Italy. Age: 76. SS Augustus. Pass# N509 issued Naples 11-10-1932. (465398) traveling with Johnny.

1932 22 Nov: Arrival. New York City, NY, USA. Age: 76. SS Augustus. Pass# N509 issued Naples 11-10-1932. (465398) traveling with Johnny.

1934 22 Nov: Departure. Genoa, Italy. Reserved. DID NOT SAIL. Age: 78. 

1934 05 Dec: Departure. Napoli, Italy. Age: 79. Naples Dec 5, 1934. SS Conte Di Savoia Traveling with Johnny.

1934 12 Dec: Arrival. New York, NY, USA. Age: 79. SS Conte Di Savoia Traveling with Johnny. Age: 78

1935 11 Mar: Shots Fired. 241 Mulberry Street, New York City, NY, USA. "Shot Fells Girl 15 in Mulberry St.", New York Times, March 11, 1935. Shots were fired at someone entering or leaving cafe.

 

Angelina Verzicco Shillitani: (Oresto's Mother)

AKAs: Angelina Verduco, Anxelina Verzico, Angiola Verzicco.

1861 23 Feb: Birth. Foggia, Puglia, Italy, Italy, Births and Baptisms, 1806-1900

1895 03 Dec: Arrival. New York City, New York, USA. Age: 34. Departure: Napoli, Italy, SS California. 797 Passengers. with Family.

1903 07 Oct: Departure. Napoli, Italy. Aboard SS Liguria. With Alfredo, Giovanna Melfitano. Age: 42

1903 22 Oct: Arrival. New York City, New York, USA. Age: 42. SS Liguria. With Alfredo, Giovanna Melfitano. 

1910 01 Jun: Residence. 241 Mulberry St., New York City, New York, USA. Age: 49. Marital Status: Married; Relation to Head of House: Wife

1915 01 Jun: Residence. 241 Mulberry St., New York City, New York, USA. Age: 54.

1917 17 Aug: Sentenced. 241 Mulberry St., New York City, New York, USA. Age 56.

1923 10 Dec: Departure. Napoli, Italy. Dec 10, 1923, SS Duilio. Age: 62. 

1923 19 Dec: Arrival. New York City, New York, USA. SS Duilio. Age: 62

1925 01 Jun: Residence. 241 Mulberry St., New York City, New York, USA. Age: 64. Relationship: Wife. New York, State Census, 1925

1926 13 Nov: Departure. Napoli, Italy, SS Duilio, Permit# 157240. Age: 65

1926 23 Nov: Arrival. New York City, New York, USA. SS Duilio. Age: 65

1930 01 Jun: Residence. 241 Mulberry St., Manhattan, New York, New York USA. Age: 69; Marital Status: Married; Relation to Head of House: Wife

1932 25 Nov: Death. 211 Mulberry St. Manhattan, New York, New York USA. Age: 71. "Scillitanti Funeral Today", Huge Funeral, Lower East Side. Dinners given outto less Fortunate. 100+ Plus Automobiles. NY Times, November 25, 1932. Brought back from Italy.

1932 25 Nov: Funeral. 211 Mulberry St. Manhattan, New York, New York USA. Age: 71 "800 Mourn Mrs. Scillitani" Mother of Charity. Municipal Court Justices Joseph Raimo and Lester Lazarus, Aldermen Albert Marinelli, Democratic DistrictLeader Assemblyman Millard E Theodore and other Political Leaders attended. St Patrick's. Calvary Cemetery. NY Times, November 26, 1932.) 

 

Rose Verzicco: (Oresto's Aunt)

 

Oresto's Good Cousin Salvatore 

Salvatore Shillitani "Solly Shields" or "Sally Shields" (Oresto's Cousin)

AKAs: Sally Shields, Solly Shields, Sal Russo, Salvatore Shillitani

1906 01 Nov: Birth. Salvato Scilitano; Manhattan, New York, USA Certificate Number: 57936

1916 13 Sep: Departure. Naples, Italy. Duca Di Genova. Age: 9 (with family)

1916 28 Sep: Arrival. New York, New York. Duca Di Genova. Age: 9 Years 19 Months (with Family)

1925 01 Jun: Residence 2403 Hoffman St. Bronx, New York, USA. Age: 18. Butcher

1926 00 000: Sentenced Attempted Robbery. Bronx, New York, USA. 2 years 3 months to 10 years. NY Times October 2, 1963

1928 00 000: Paroled Sing Sing. Bronx, New York, USA. Age: 22. NY Times October 2, 1963

1928 00 000: Convicted Larceny. Bronx, New York, USA. Age: 22. Sent to Sing Sing for Violation of Parole

1929 00 000: Paroled Sing Sing. Bronx, New York, USA. Age: 23. NY Times October 2, 1963

1929 00 000: Attempted Extortion Dismissed. Age: 23. Bronx, New York, USA. Under The Name of Sal Russo. Back to Sing Sing for Violation of Parole

1930 00 000: Inducted into The Mafia. New York City, New York, USA. Age: 24. Joe Bonanno's Crew. At the same time as Joe Valachi, and another tight buddy, Frank Calluce in 1930.

1932 28 Jan: Killed Benedeto Bellini. New York City, New York, USA. V. At Mace and Paulding Avenues. NYTimes, May 26, 1932

1932 28 Apr: Convicted Manslaughter. Bronx, New York, USA. Age: 25. Guilty Bronx County Court, Manslaughter in the Killing of Benedetto Bellini at Mace and Paulding Avenues, Bronx NY. NY Times, October 2, 1963. Served 14 years. NY Times Apr 28, 1932.

1940 01 Apr: Residence Attica State Prison, Attica, New York, USA. Age: 33. Marital Status: Single

1945 00 000: Released Attica State Prison. Bronx, New York, USA. Age: 39. NY Times October 2, 1963

1946 03 Sep: Social Security Application. New York City, New York USA. Age: 39.Employer: Bonded Auto Sales, 53rd St. & Broadway, New York City, NY USA

1947 00 000: French Connection Drug Ring. Marseilles - Paris - Corsica - USA. Age: 41. According to FBN, this is when Drug-Ring Began. NY Times, Dec 21, 1951

1948 01 Jun: Residence. 331 E. 88th St., New York, New York, USA. Age: 42

1951 01 Jan: Residence. 27 E 124th St., Manhattan NY, USA. Age: 44. NY Times, Sept 22, 1952

1951 28 Jul: Arrested - Narcotics $100,000 Bail. New York City, New York USA. Age: 44."Foreign Dope Handlers Held" Evening World Herald, Omaha, Sat, 1951. "Taken in Dope Ring" Total of 12 men and 1 women arrested. Federal Agents broke up $10,000,000 a year illegal narcotics ring. NY Times, July 30, 1951. Sentebced to 15 years.

1951 30 Jul: Linked Directly to Lucky Luciano. New York City, New York USA. Age: 44. Utica Daily Press, July 30, 1951

1951 00 Nov: Convicted Counterfeiting & Narcotics. New York City, New York USA. Age: 45. Selling Counterfeit Money to Finance the Import of Narcotics. Convicted with Joseph Orsini and Miss Marcelle Ansellen.

1951 20 Dec: Sentenced Counterfeiting & Narcotics. Washington DC USA. Age: 45. "Woman; 2 Men Get Crime-Ring Terms", NY Times, Dec 21, 1951

1954 29 Aug: Notorious E 107th St. Mobster. New York City, New York USA. Age: 47. The American Weekly August 1954

1963 02 Oct: Valachi Senate Hearing. Washington DC USA. Age: 56. Joseph Valachi Testifies to Senate Committe. Implicates Sal Shillitani and many more Mafia Members. The Boston Herald, October 3, 1963

1965 06 Jan: Bonanno Crime Family. New York City, New York, USA. Age: 58. Alleged Member of The Bonanno Crime Family. "1,500 in 5 Crime Families Identified", NY Times, January 6, 1965

1965 00 000: Landmark Case "Contempt". Washington DC, USA. Age: 59. United States v. Shillitani, 345 F.2d 290 (1965) No. 412.

1966 06 Jun: Convicted Contempt. Washington DC, USA. Age: 59 Classification Number:83.31-1194: Sumpreme Court Ruling Contempt of Court. Associated Press, Name Card Index to AP Stories, 1905-1990.

1967 23 Dec: Luchese Crime Family. New York City, New York USA. Age: 61. "Cat-and-Mouse Game: U.S. and Luchese Mafia Gang's Leaders" FBI & US Attorney Morganthau.

1971 25 Jul: Senate Investigations Committee. Washington DC USA. Age: 64. Securities Exchange Fraud. Mutual Funds. The Lowell Sun (Lowell, Massachusetts) July 25, 1971, Page 1

1990 09 Sep: Death. Dade, Florida, USA. Age: 83. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-Current about Salvatore Shillitani Name: Salvatore Shillitani SSN: 134-22-2090. Born: 21 Nov 1906 Died: 9 Sep 1990 State (Year) SSN 134-22-2090 issued: New York (Before 1951) Age at Death: 83

Agents of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and the United States Secret Service said Shillitani (Salvatore) was a member of a narcotics and counterfeit money ring whose illicit traffic was placed at low figure of $10,000,000 a year. [New York Times, Nov. 22, 1952]

Sentenced: 20-40 years. Manslaughter. 1932. Served: 14 years.

Sentenced: 15 years. Counterfeiting and Narcotics Transactions. 1951

Arrest: 30 years. Narcotics Smuggling. OCT, 1963

Associates: Paul Mondoloni, Antoine D'Agostino, John Ormento Underboss, Civello (Dallas, Pearle Street Mafia), Sam Giancanna (Chicago).

Lived: 27 E. 124th Street, NYC 1952. [New York Times, September 22, 1952]

US Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy began an all out assault on the mafia by attacking their main sources of income 1) Narcotics & 2) Gambling. The October 1963 Arrest of Salvatore Shillitani meant threatening the heroin supply source of the Marseilles-Montreal-Chicage-Dallas-New Orleans Narcotics Smuggling Corridor. From the beginning RFK brought heavy assault on the Lucchese Family.

It was RFK's Organized Crime Task Force and JFK's war on crime that caused many assassination conspiracy theorists to claim that Oswald did not act alone. One drug bust alone was said to be worth 53 million dollars and cost the mob over 300 million in street value. Definitely the kind of money the mob would kill anybody for. It was said that the timing was impeccable, being just a few months from the the party's nomination in which the then VP was to be replaced on the ticket. Rumors circulated that LBJ was soft on crime and maybe even friendly towards the same mobsters RFK & JFK wanted out of business. [North, Mark. Betrayal in Dallas: LBJ, the Pearl Street Mafia, and the murder of the President. New York NY: Skyhorse Publishing, 2011]

Along with Shillitani, Narcotics Agents arrested Frank Costello, Carlos Marcello. They controlled an estimated 80% of the drug trafficking in Chicago.

Cases Cited: United States v. Shillitani, 345 F.2d 290 (1965) CONTEMPT
No. 412, Shillitani v. United States.

Shillitani appeared under subpoena before a grand jury investigating possible violations of the federal narcotics laws. On three occasions he refused to answerquestions, invoking his privilege against self-incrimination. At the Government's request, the District Judge then granted him immunity under the Narcotic Control Act of 1956, 18 U. S. C. § 1406 (1964 ed.), and ordered him to answer certain questions. When called before the grand jury again, Shillitani persisted in his refusal. Thereafter, in a proceeding under Rule 42 (b) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure,1 the District Court found him guilty of criminal contempt. No jury trial was requested. Shillitani was sentenced to prison for two years "or until the further order of this Court. Should . . . Mr. Shillitani answer those questions before the expiration of said sentence, or the discharge of the said grand jury, whichever may first occur, the further order of this Court may be made terminating the sentence of imprisonment." The Court of Appeals affirmed, rejecting Shillitani's constitutional objection to the imposition of a two-year sentence without indictment or trial by jury on the basis that "the contempt proceedings preceded any compliance" and the "sentence contained apurge clause." It further construed the sentence as giving Shillitani an unqualified right to be released if and when he obeyed the order to testify. 345 F. 2d, at 294. 

Oresto's Uncle, Auntie, and Other Cousins...

 

Michele #2 Shillitani: (Cousin to Oresto's Father)

Born: 31 OCT, 1859. Civile, Foggia, Italy [Italia, Nati e Battesimi, 1806-1900 index]

Arrivals: DEC 15, 1891 (Gaetana Giorgio); MAY 14, 1910 (Gaetana Giorgio, Anna Shillitano, Lorenzo Shillitano, Giuseppe Shillitano, Salvatore Shillitano; SEP 28, 1916 (Gaetana Giorgio, Anna Scillitani, Lorenzo Scillitani, Giuseppe Scillitani, Salvatore Scillitani; DEC 19, 1923 (Michele Scillitani, Angelina Verzicco, Gaetana Di Giorgio); OCT 6, 1926 (Gaetana Di Giorgio); DEC 9, 1930 (Gaetana Giorgio)

Lived: 329 E. 11th St. NYC (1905 NY Census, 1910 US census), 2408 Hoffman St. NYC 1923 (DEC 19, 1923 manifest ellis island), 2408 Hoffman St. (1925 NY Census), Newark, NJ 1941 Directory, 27-29 E. 124th Street NYC (1905-1952 ?) 

Saverio #2 Sam Shields Shillitani: (Oresto's Cousin)

  • Samuel Shillintoni & Joseph Sabatino (July 23, 1918) Arrested on a robbery charge. Trial # 2495
  • Vincenzo Inzeni (July 29, 1918) Arrested on the same charge. Trial # 2497
  • "Gangster Admits Robbery". New York Tribune, July 31, 1918.
  • "Shillitoni Gang Convicted". New York Sun, July 31, 1918.
  • "Two Robbers Sentenced". New York Sun, Aug 3, 1918
  • "Leader of Robber Band Sentenced to 20 Years". New York Herald, Aug 3, 1918.

Giuseppe Scillitano "Joseph Shields": (Oresto's Cousin)

 

Helen Scillitani (Joseph Shields Wife, Oresto's Sister in Law)

 

Lorenzo Scillitano (Oresto's Cousin)


 

Golden Palms Restaurant
golden-palms-matchcover-web.jpg
Meeting Place for the Underworld

The Shillitani Establishments

The Golden Palms Restaurant: A meeting place for the Underworld: 1692 Broadway at The Corner of 53rd St., New York City (1945); NY STATE CRIME COMMISSION to Thomas Lucchese (Mr. Lucchese, unbeknownst to everyone in the committee was already the head of the Lucchese/Gagliano Family. He already testified he knew Sal Shillitani in 1946.): Q-How about Sal Shillitani? A- What about him? Q-Did you ever give Moretti (Willie Moretti) money to give to Shillitani A-No Q-How many times did you meet Shillitani? A- Can't really say, I don't remember. Q- Did you meet Shillitani often in the Golden Palms, owned by members of the Shillitani family? A- Can't really say, I don't remember. [Testimony, Thomas Lucchese, New York State Crime Commission, New York Times, Nov. 22, 1952]

Knickerbocker Auto Wholesale: 1692 Broadway at The Corner of 53rd St., New York City (1934)

Alfredo's Restaurant: 1692 Broadway at The Corner of 53rd St., New York City (1952)

Bonded Auto Sales: 53rd St., Possibly Same building at 1692 Broadway.

John's Restaurant: 226 Mulberry St., 238 Pearle St.

Ravel Perfume Corporation: New York, New York USA, Incorporated 1954

World Laundry Corporation: 227 Mulberry St.

Long Beach: 64 Penn St., Long Beach, NY

Saratoga: "right across from the college"

Gambling: Permanent Floating Craps Games, Mulberry Street, Policy Horse Racing, Book Making,

I lost a million and a half on the horses...And the funny part is...if someone handed me another million I'd put it right in the nose of some horse that looked good to me. -Al Capone

Saloons, Pool Rooms, Cafe's

The Scillitano Addresses - Where they Lived, What they Owned

New York City: 

  • 350 1st Ave., New York City; c.1970- July 13, 1976; [Alfred J. Shillitani Certificate of Death]
  • 240-242 E. 11th Street, Owned. Rosina Scillitani, [Ellis Island Manifest Sept. 20, 1916]
  • 329 E. 11th Street, New York City; Michele #2 and Family. [1905, 1910 Census]
  • 319 W. 107th St., New York City; May 12, 1944 - c. 1946 [Listed as mailing address Veterans Administration]
  • 27-29 E. 124th St., New York City
  • 224 W. 25th St., New York City (Johnny 1913)
  • 774 E. 165th St., New York City (Joseph Schillitani, 1945)
  • 2408 Hoffman Street, New York City, [Ellis Island Manifest, Dec. 19, 1923]
  • 10 Monroe St., New York City; c.1935 - c.1946: Sammy and Viginia Shillitani [1940 Census]
  • 40 Monroe St., New York City; c.1935 - c.1946: Alfredo Shillitani, Antoinette, Mike, John, Samuel [1940 census] [Listed as home address Veterans Administration]
  • 248 Mulberry St., New York City; Owned.  [Testimony of Witness- Michele is his Landlord, People Against Oresto Shilitano; Trial #1844 pg 292]
  • 245 Mulberry St., New York City; Owned.
  • 243 Mulberry St., New York City; Owned c. OCT 1904 - 1915: lost in Bankruptcy possibly from legal fees Oresto Trial. [Testimony of Witness- Michele is his Landlord, People Against Oresto Shilitano; Trial #1844]
  • 241 Mulberry St., New York City; On or Before JAN 3, 1899- c.1938: Owned and Lived. 6 Story Tenement house. Michele Shillitani, Angelina, Rosa Verzicco, Oresto, Sammmy, Freddy, Antoinette, and children. 1st Floor all 4 rooms. Alleged Wine making operation in basement during prohibition. Labels, Bottles, and Vats are good indications. [Manhattan Transfers, New York Times, November 28, 1940; Michele to Alfredo][Birth Cert, Saverio Scillitano, January, 3 1899. 241 Mulberry St.]
  • 240 Mulberry St., New York City; Owned. [Testimony of Witness- Michele is his Landlord, People Against Oresto Shilitano; Trial #1844]
  • 221 Mulberry St., New York City; Owned.
  • 223 Mulberry St., New York City; Owned.
  • 225 Mulberry St., New York City; Owned.
  • 227 Mulberry St., New York City; Owned. World Laundry Cleaners - In back is Numbers, and Gambling Parlor.
  • 168 Thompson St., New York City; Owned. [Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 95, no. 2449: February 20, 1915]
  • 139 Thompson St., New York City; Owned. 5 Story Tenement House [Manhattan Transfers, New York Times, November 17, 1945]
  • Woodward Hotel, Long Term Apartments

Long Beach, NY:

  • 65 W. Penn St., Long Beach, NY;  Owned. c.1946- Oct 15, 1948 [Change of Address Veterans Administration]

Saratoga Springs, NY:

  • 69 Jackson Street, Saratoga Springs, NY - A regular "cottager" during racing season. [The Saratogian, August 2, 1954]

America's first gambling resort city. Home of big time illegal casinos. It is said this is where Meyer Lansky and Lucky Luciano graduated from craps to casinos. Frank Costello brought the class of the Copa and Adonis the operators. Frank Erickson was NY's largest bookmaker. Frank Tierney was the front man who got all the paperwork and licenses necessary. 1930's-1950's

  1. The Chicago Club - commanded by Lucky Luciano himself was a card room and a horse parlor. Run by Gus Deneatteo and Martin Burns. Lucky Luciano was the first to come and Meyer Lansky and Frank Costello would follow.
  2. Piping Rock Club - opened by Meyer Lansky.
  3. The Arrowhead Inn - was also a casino that was run by the Mob. J.A. OK Coakly, and Lefty Clark, Joe Adonis and Charles Manny were put in charge. Each in their own areas of expertise.
  4. The Meadowlark entertained the less than desirable crowd. Doc Farone was a stakeholder in several of the casinos. Riley's Lake House was run by James Siro. It was a glorious town for gambling and the Mob.

[Casino Chip News, Volume 22 Number 3 39][Lacey, Robert. Little Man Meyer Lansky and The Gangster Life]

Florida:

  • 7553 Hispanola Avenue, FL, c1960 - 2000

Hallandale Clubs:

Colonial Inn run by Meyer Lansky's brother Jake. Partnership was call Miller and Lansky. Ike Miller. The "It" Club was a side club of Millers.

The Colonial Inn - Set up by Ben Marden in the early 1940's. George Sadlo, Wertheimer, and Ruben Mathews were partners with Jimmy Blue Eyes, Frank Erickson, Joe Adonis and Lucky. And of course Meyer. [Lacey, Robert. Little Man Meyer Lansky and The Gangster Life]

The Plantation Farm -


The SS California
SS-CALIFORNIA-1872-web.jpg
The Journey To America 1895

Addendum 1 - Five Great, Quick, & Easy Genealogical Sites
  1. FamilySearch.org - Great Site provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, that goes back to the country of Origin. Free
  2. Ancestry.com - Great for Organizing your Search. *Free. *Worth upgrade for minimal monthly fee
  3. EllisIsland.org - Ellis Island Arrival Manifests. **Free **Worth small donation to become member
  4. Chroniclingamerica.loc.gov - Online Newspapers Across the US 1836-1922. Part of The Library of Congress. Free
  5. Google - a) Search  b) Books  c) Images : With Searches, if name or item is common try using " ". Having an ancestor come up inside google books may be a sign there's a famous or infamous person in your blood lines. Images are also a jackpot if you are lucky enough to have one of your ancestors show up here.

There are also hundreds of other really great sites for your journey. Focus on sources close to your roots and localities of known relatives.

 

Addendum 2 - Michelangelo Scillitano

Michelangelo Scillitano, "Italy, Marriages, 1809-1900" index

 

Name: Michelangelo Scillitano
Birth Date: 1783
Birthplace: Palme, Calabria Ultra, Italy
Age: 38
Spouse's Name: Maria Giacinta Spadaccino
Spouse's Birth Date: 1803
Spouse's Birthplace: Foggia, Capitanata, Italy
Spouse's Age: 18
Event Date: 07 Jun 1821
Event Place: Foggia, Foggia, Italy
Father's Name: Giambattista Scillitano
Mother's Name: Maria Rosa Grio
Spouse's Father's Name: Francesco Spadaccino
Spouse's Mother's Name: Costansa Fraticello

 

Indexing Project (Batch) Number: M84343-7
System Origin: Italy-EASy
GS Film number: 1178443
Reference ID: Roll 425 bk 1 p62
Citing this Record: "Italia, Matrimoni, 1809-1900," index, FamilySearch (
https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XKSD-VY5 :
accessed 17 Jul 2013), Michelangelo Scillitano and Maria Giacinta Spadaccino, 07 Jun 1821.
Courtesy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

 


Addendum 3 - The Many Names of Oreste Scillitano

 

Born Oreste Scillitano, known by the family as Oresto Shillitani, known on the streets (and NYPD) as Oresto Shillitoni, known to the NYC Courts as Oresto Shilitano, and known to Sing Sing Prison as both Oresto Shillitoni (#59254) and Oresto Shilitano (#64301).

  1. Oresto Shillitani: NY House of Refuge admission log, October 26, 1904, The Evening World, May 10, 1916
  2. Oresto Shillitoni: Sing Sing Prison inmate #59254, May 08, 1909 (The name he commonly went by on the streets)
  3. Oresto Shilitano: Sing Sing Prison inmate #64301, March 06, 1914
  4. Oresto Shilitano: New York City Court of General Sessions, Case #1844, February 24, 1914
  5. Cresto Sciallentano: New York Times, May 6, 1913
  6. Oresto Schillitoni: Washington Herald, June 15, 1913
  7. Cresto Shillitoni: New York Times, March 3, 1914,
  8. Oreste Shillitani: The Boston Globe, June 22, 1916
  9. Oreste Sullitone: Ellis Island Manifest, SS California, Dec 03, 1895
  10. Oresto Shillanti: The Evening Ledger-Philadelphia, June 30, 1916
  11. Oresto Shieldiana: Middletown Daily Times-Press, May 7, 1913
  12. Oreste Sullitone: Ellis Island Manifest, Dec 03, 1895
  13. Orests Scillitano: The New York Catholic Protectory, 1903 enrollment. p1198
 

Addendum 4 - The California (1872)
 
BUILT: A. Stephen & Sons Ltd, Glasgow, Scotland, 1872.
WEIGHT: 3287 gross tons;
SIZE: 362 feet long; 41 feet wide. 
SPEED: 13 knots. 
CAPACITY: 930 passengers - 150 first class, 80 second class, 700 third class
OWNED & OPERATED: Anchor Line, British flag, in 1872 and named California (1872).
 
One funnel, Three Masts, Two decks, iron bull. Naples to New York service. Last voyage to New York started Feb 16, 1904
 
Ship History
Built for Anchor Line under a British Flag. Service: Glasgow to Moville, Ireland to New York, Naples to New York. Scrapped December, 1904. [Ellis Island Foundation]
 

Addendum 5 - Mulberry Street , Oresto's Block - 1913
ODD Numbers were on West Side of Mulberry and Even Numbers on East Side of Mulberry.

260-264 Mulberry Street - Old St. Patrick's Cathedral
263 Mulberry Street - Old St. Patrick's Cemetery
247 Mulberry Street - Funeral Parlor, Neapolitan Gangster Theodore Palumbo (1910-1924)
245 Mulberry Street - Print Shop. Low-Rent Tenement Owned by Shillitanis.
243 Mulberry Street - Vitacco's Grocery Store. Tenement, Owned by Shillitanis. Witness Nellie DiCarlo is tenant/witness
242 Mulberry Street - Drug Store. Tenement
241 Mulberry Street - Genano's Bakery - Tenement, Owned by Shillitanis. 6 Story tenement. Michele's wine and labels
240 Mulberry Street - Butcher, Tenement, Owned by Shillitanis.
239 Mulberry Street - Empty Store. Tenement.
238 Mulberry Street - Saloon. 5 Story Tenement
237 Mulberry Street - Alley
236 Mulberry Street - Latone & Guidetti Funeral Parlor. A very busy place 1913
235 Mulberry Street - Pool Room. Grand Opening Peratto's Café. Tenement, Owned by Shillitanis. [Middletown Daily Times-Press May 15, 1913]
233 Mulberry Street - Cafe. Saloon. Tenement, Owned by Shillitanis. Oreste was here before storming next door to challenge Rizzo. 
232 Mulberry Street - Florist. 3 Story Tenement. Little Italy home of Dellacroce 1914-1960. Gambino Underboss
229 Mulberry Street - Grocery Store & Lunchroom. 4 story tenement/back house, Owned by Shillitanis. murders/disappearances
227 Mulberry Street - World Laundry Service, Owned by Shillitanis. Family members show they're employed here.
223 Mulberry Street - 2 Story Brick House
205 Mulberry Street - 12th Precinct, New York City Police Department
203 Mulberry Street - House of Detention, New York City Police Department 
108 Mulberry Street - Saloon, Gambling Operations, Enrico Alfano, Joseph Di Marco
[Nellie DeCarlo's Testimony; People Against Oreste Shilitano, Trial #1844]
 
Other Significant Mulberry St. Addresses - After 1913
276 Mulberry Street - Home to Peter DeFeo, Ross Trucking Company, Home to Peter DeFeo. 1920-1960. Genovese Capo.
247 Mulberry Street - Gottis (1970's - 1980's) Headquarters, Ravenite Club. Gottis Headquarters. Am man named Urgo 1913.
221 Mulberry Street - Genovese Social Club through 1980s. Restaurant. 6 Story Tenement. Scarface Charlie Isola gunfight with cops. arrested. Later called The Knotty Pine Social Club. Boss Alphonse Frank "Funzi" Tieri and Peter DeFeo.
219 Mulberry Street - Ross Trucking Company. Genovese - DeFeo business
215 Mulberry Street - Cuomo Cheese Corp. Genovese Secret Meeting Place
190 Mulberry Street - Original Headquarters to the Five Points Gang
166 Mulberry Street - Home to Bendetto Cinquegrana, Genovese Family
163 Mulberry Street - Benito's Restaurant, Genovese Family Gathering Place
140 Mulberry Street - Pietro di Biagio, Genovese Boss grew up here
129 Mulberry Street - Umberto's Clam House. Also home to Matthew Ianniello Acting Boss Genovese Family
Mulberry Street & Kenmare Street - The Curb Exchange. A Major Liquor Exchange during Prohibition.
 

Addendum 6 - The Street Gangs of New York  (1900-1919)
  1. 10th Avenue Gang: Ike. First gang to rob a train in NY.
  2. 19th Street Gang: "Little Mike"
  3. 106th Street Gang: Affiliated with Gambino Crime Family.
  4. 107th Street Gang: Founded by Giuseppe Morello and eventually morphed into the Morello crime familyTommy "Tommy Brown" Lucchese along with Charlie "Lucky" Luciano, formed the 107th Street gang. The 107th Street gang was affiliated with the family boss Gaetano "Tom" Reina in the Bronx and East Harlem.
  5. 112th Street Gang: Affiliated with the Lucchese and Genovese Crime Families.
  6. 116th Street Gang: So-called Mafia prototypes. Genovese like recruiting from this gang.
  7. Black Hand (Mano Nera):
  8. Bowery Boys:
  9. "Chick Tricker" Gang: Frank "Chick" Tricker was an early New York gangster who served as one of its last leaders alongside Jack Sirocco. A longtime member of the Eastmans, Tricker had made a name for himself as a well known Bowery and Park Row saloonkeeper.Tricker became a prominent member under Eastman leader "Big" Jack Zelig, who was awarded control of one of the three factions of the Eastman gang. By 1910, Tricker had headed his own offshoot of the gang, headquartered in the Maryland Cafe on West Twenty-eighth Street near Broadway. In 1911, Tricker and Sirocco decided to assume control of the Eastmans when Big Jack Zelig was arrested. Zelig was released due to his political connections in Tammany Hall. A later attempt to murder Zelig failed when, after being informed by Ike the Plug, Zelig lured Eastman member and assassin Jules Morell into his club where was killed. By 1912, Tricker and Sirocco were using Little Rock's pool room, at 396 Broome Street, as their headquarters and entered into the strike breaking business. John Rizzo was allegedly a member.
  10. Five Points Gang: Paul Kelley, Johnny Torrio, Al Capone, Jimmy DeStefano.
  11. Frank Salvatore:
  12. Gas House Gang:
  13. Gopher Gang: Lead by the famous casino/gambling guru Owney Madden
  14. Hudson Dusters:
  15. Humpty Jackson Gang: Headquarters in a cemetery. between 1st & 2nd avenues. From 12th to 13th Streets.
  16. Jack Sirocco Gang:
  17. Jimmy Curley Gang - "Gold Mine Jimmy's Gang" : James Cariggio
  18. Joe Baker:
  19. Juniors: Al Capone, Jimmy DeStefano
  20. James Street Boys: Johnny Torrio allied with 5 points 1904-1908
  21. Junior Forty Thieves:
  22. Kenmare Street Gang: An organization of gunman recruited from the old Jimmy Kelley, Louis Poggi, "Chick" Tricker, and Jack Sirocco Gangs which were broken up by police. The gang was the first to see opportunities in the strike breaking line of work and furnished nearly all the professional gunmen who act as guards at factories. Chick Tricker another former prize fighter has a gang of his own in greenwich village went into the strike breaking business recently. He was shot dead on April 13, 1913, at a factory in E. 59th st. allegedly by members of the Kenmare Street Gang. [The World, May 5, 1913]
  23. Lennox Avenue Gang: Four members are executed for Herman Rosenthal's murder. "Gyp the Blood", Frank P, "Lefty Louis", "Jack Rose". Key witnesses during the Becker trial.
  24. Frankie Ioele's "Frankie Yale" Brooklyn Mob: Soldiers & Hitmen - Frankie Ioele, Batista Balsamo, Willie "Two Knife" Alteri, George "Gino" Ballari, Bonasera, Joe "Rackets" Capolla, Vincent "Jimmy Sham Brown" Caponi, Anthony "Little Augie Pisano" Carfano, Vincent "Jimmy" Crissali, Anthony Desso, Miguel "Mickey" DiMessio, Anthony "Mr. T" Ercole, Joey "Squats" Esposito, Phil Mangano, Vincent Mangano, Giuseppe "Momo" Municharo, Jimmy "Nap" Napoli, Johnny "Bath Beach" Oddo, Benedetto "Crazy Benny" Pazzo, Salvatore "Sammy" Pollacio, Joe Profaci; Associates - Fiuri "Fury" Agoglia, Slyvestor "Silvie" Agoglia, Gido Bianco, Alphonse "Al Brown" Capone, Frank Capone, Ralph Capone, Vincent "Jimmy Files" DeAmato, Joseph "Frenchie Collins", Carlino, Rocc Fischeti, Charlie Fischetti, Giuseppe Florina "Speranza", Johnny "Silk Stockings" Guisttra, Rocco Morganti, Frank Nitto, Tullio "Crater Face" Piccone, Joey "Big Beef" Polusi, Anthony "Tony Spring" Romeo, Vincent "Jimmy" Santoro, Constantino Scanavino, Jack "Stick em Up" Stabile.
  25. Marginals: Tanner Smith
  26. Navy Street Gang: Allesandro Vollero, Leopoldo Lauritano, Rocco Valente, Nick Sassi, Alphonso Sgroia, Frank Fevrola, Antonio Paretti, Johnny Esposito, Anthony Notarro,
  27. Rockaway Boys (1950): Gotti's Gang.
  28. Thompson Street Gang:
  29. White Hand Gang:
  30. Whyos: Mike McGloin, "Red Rocks"
  31. Yakey Yakes: "Yakey Yakes" Brady. Out of Business: c.1904
 

Addendum 7 - The Apalachian Round-Up
 
The Detained and Indicted Mafiosi:

1.Joseph "The Barber" Barbara
2.Rosario "Russell" Bufalino
3.Dominick Alaimo Caporegime
4.Angelo J. Sciandra
5.Ignatius Cannone
6.Anthony "The Gov" Guarnieri
7.James "Dave" Ostico
8.Pasquale "Patsy" Turrigiano
9.Emanuel "Manny" Zicari
10.Salvatore "Vicious" Trivalino
11.Pasquale "Patsy" Monachino
12.Pasquale "Patsy" Sciortino
13.Bartolo "Bart" Guccia
14.Giovanni "John" Bonventre
15.Anthony "Tony" Riela
16.Natale "Joe Diamonds" Evola
17.Vito "Don Vito" Genovese
18.Gerardo "Jerry" Catena, Underboss
19.Michele "Big Mike" Miranda, Consigliere
20.Salvatore "Charles" Chiri
21.Carlo "Don Carlo" Gambino
22.Joseph "Staten Island Joe" Riccobono 
23.Paul "Big Paul" Castellano
24.Carmine "The Doctor" Lombardozzi
25.Armand "Tommy" Rava
26.Vincent "Nunzio" Rao
27.Giovanni "Big John" Ormento
28.Joseph "Joe Palisades" Rosato
29.Joseph "Don Peppino" Profaci
30.Joseph "Fat Joe/Joe Malyak" Magliocco
31.Salvatore "Sam" Tornabe
32.Frank Majuri
33.Louis "Fat Lou" LaRasso 
34.John C. Montana Buffalo crime family
35.Antonino "Nino" Magaddino
36.Rosario "Roy" Carlisi
37.James "Jimmy" LaDuca
38.Samuel "Sam" Lagattuta
39.Dominick D'Agostino
40.Constenze "Stanley" Valenti
41.Frank Valenti Underboss
42.Joseph Falcone
43.Salvatore Falcone
44.Rosario "Roy" Mancuso
45.Michael "Mike" Genovese
46.Gabriel "Kelly" Mannarino
47.Joseph "Joe" Ida
48.Dominick Olivetto
49.John Scalish
50.John DeMarco
51.Frank "The Cheeseman" Cucchiara
52.Frank Zito
53.Santo Trafficante Jr.
54.Joseph "Joe" Civello
55.John Francis Colletti 
56.James "Black Jim" Colletti
57.Frank DeSimone
58.Simone Scozzari

[Reavil, Gil. Mafia Summit. New York NY: St. Martin's Press, 1967]


Addendum 8 - The Witnesses & House of Detention

 

  1. Frank Chieffo
  2. John "Swift" Verno
  3. James Morelli
  4. Gennaro Sellitto
  5. Nellie DeCarlo - Margaret T. Goodwin, Female officer that held Nellie in protection before the trial at her personal residence.]

 


Addendum 9 - The Shooting and Investigation

 

New York City Police Department

  1. Police Commissioner: Rhinelander Waldo
  2. Deputy Police Commissioner: George S. Dougherty
  3. Lieutenant of Detectives (Italian Squad): Dominick Riley
  4. Officers Killed in Action: Officer William Heaney (1st Patrolman), Officer Charles Teare (2nd Patrolman).
  5. Inspector Joseph Faurot
  6. Detective Felix De Martini
  7. Detective John Fogarty - Spoke to Nellie.
  8. Leo Gambardella -
  9. Joseph Digilio- accused by Nellie De Carlo of slapping her in the face and threatening to kill her if she didn't say she saw Oresto kill Rizzo. "If you don't say what we tell you, we will kill you."[Appeals]
  10. Coroner Feinberg [NY Tribune, May 15, 1913]

 


Addendum 10 - The Trial

 

District Attorney's Office of New York County

  1. Charles S. Whitman - District Attorney (41st Governor of New York 1915-1918)
  2. Isodor Wasservogel - Assistant District Attorney and Prosecuting Attorney (Elected to the Supreme Court bench in 1920)
  3. Deacon Murphy - Deputy Assistant District Attorney

The Defense Team of Attorneys

Firm: Goldsmith, Koenig, & Sittenfeld

  1. Samuel S. Koenig (Secretary of State of New York 1909-1910)
  2. Goldsmith
  3. Sittenfeld
  4. Ogden L. Mills (State Senator 17th Dist. 1917; Chairman of Affairs of the City of New York 1917)
  5. Frank Aranow

 

Witnesses on Behalf of The People

Frank Chieffo - 242 Mott St., Part of the "James Brandie Association", knew Oresto since he was a little boy. I lived in the same house as him. I was with Rizzo. Rizzo was in the saloon at 233 Mulberry St., then went to the pool hall at 235 Mulberry. Rizzo was wearing a shirt with black derby...no coat. I heard a shot, I saw Rizzo fall to the ground and I saw Oresto running up the street towards Prince street. They were about 6 feet away from eachother. He saw Officer Heaney across the street pulling on doors to make sure stores that were closed locked up. When the shot went off Officer Heaney tied the leather strap on his club around his hand and ran across the street. When Heaney was a bout five feet from Oresto a shot was fired and Heaney went down. Then a crowd came out and I couldn't see a thing.

Nellie De Carlo: Went to bed about 11:30pm.

James Morelli: 351 The Bowery. Chauffuer. I helped carry Rizzo's body into the hall at 235 Mulberry St.

Gennaro Sellitto: Oresto was 30 feet from Rizzo when the shots were fired. Teare was shot and then fell after two or three paces.

John "Swift" Verno: 285 Mott St., Real Estate Eckerson Co. Convicted Burglary 1909. Elmira

Witnesses on the Behalf of The Defense

Raphael Pepe: 248 Mulberry is owned by Michael Shillitani. YES 15 years. 1914. Michele owned it c1899. Then recanted that Michael Shillitani is the Landlord.

William DeCarlo:

 


Addendum 11 -  Wardens and Staff. Death House, Sing Sing Prison (1913-1916)

 

Wardens*:

  1. James M. Clancy (July 1913– April 1914) 
  2. Thomas Mott Osborne (Dec 1914– Dec 1915)
  3. George Washington Kirchwey (Dec 1915- July 1916)
  4. Thomas Mott Osborne (July 1916)

*Other short-lived and/or acting wardens included: James Connaughton (warden) (June 1913) acting warden; Thomas McCormick (June 1914); George Standish Weed* (October 1914) acting warden 

Prison Guards 

  1. Frederick Dorner - Guard Captain and Principal Keeper (PK)
  2. Guard Daniel McCarthy - Killed during Escape entering cell with bucket.
  3. Guard Ernest Bullard - Guard Shot in arm during Escape.
  4. Guard Charles Nichols - runs from Kid and Sounds Alarm while shot in the leg. 

Chief Physician

  1. Dr. Amos Squire - Death House Doctor. Doctor that seems to enjoy autopsy dissection

Chaplain

  1. Father Wiliam J. Cashin - Sing Sing's beloved Catholic Chaplain

 


Addendum 12  - The In-Laws

"It's great to have both sides of the family get together"

Caggiano: aka Coggiano, Cogiano, Cagiano, Martino, Russo

Gaetano Coggiano: "Sold Forged Papers of Naturalization" Arrested with Bruno[New York Times, May 20, 1903 - lived @ 128 Baxter Street]

James Caggiano: aka James Cogiano, James Martino, James Russo. 1)  "3 Caught Demanding Bootlegging Tribute" James also charged with carrying a weapon. [New York Times, July 24, 1931 - lived @ 330 Broome Street]. 2) "Detective Kills Man After Theft of Coat" arrested with Louis Sandano "both  former reform school inmates" [New York Times, December 20, 1940 - arrested on Mott St. said he lived @ 159 Prince St.] Sandano was shot in the head while reaching in his pocket and died instantly. 3) "Boys Held as Safe Robbers" [New York Times, September 24, 1934 - lived @ 224 Lafayette Street , 18 yrs old]. 4)  "Counterfeiters Guilty" Arrested with James De Sapio, Joseph Catrone,  John Chicarella, James Russo (James Caggiano), Joseph Catrone. [New York Times, July 30, 1930]

Anthony Caggiano: 1) "Pollice Take Gang For Blowing Safes" [New York Times, December 30, 1912 - lived @ Elton & 159th]. 2) "Board Fast Auto Which Hits Priest" Arrested with Frank Barbone  both of 655 Morris Ave. and Thomas Amino 279 E 153rd. [New York Times, April 16, 1913]. 3) "Raid Reveals Rum at $18 a Half Pint" [New York Times, August 16, 1921]

Rocco Caggiano:

Joseph Coggiano: Arrested with Peter Stoco" Stool Pigeons Accused of Bribery" [New York Times, August 20, 1895]

Michael Coggiano: 1) "Counterfeiters Guilty" Arrested with James De Sapio, Joseph Catrone,  John Chicarella, James Russo (James Caggiano), Joseph Catrone. [New York Times, July 30, 1930]. 2)  "Indict 22 For Liquor Aboard a City Scow" Arrested with Frank Bruno, Joseph Barese, Sam Cohen, Thomas Davis, Joseph Deluca, Irving Friedman, Charles Kellis, Joseph Marino, John Murhy, James Roth, Peter Russo (Peter Caggiano),  Michael Russo (Michael Caggiano), John Reid, John Salvatore, John Tito, George White, Sam Harris, John Wishnon, Edward Smith and Joseph Katz.  [New York Times, August 23, 1930].  3) "Shot going to Trial as Counterfeiter" [New York Times, July 22, 1930] James De Sapio (suspected squealer) was shot. Others in the ring are : Joseph Arnone, Joseph Catrone, Philip Villiano.

Peter Caggiano: "Counterfeiters Guilty" Arrested with James De Sapio, Joseph Catrone,  John Chicarella, James Russo (James Caggiano), Joseph Catrone. [New York Times, July 30, 1930]. "Indict 22 For Liquor Aboard a City Scow" Arrested with Frank Bruno, Joseph Barese, Sam Cohen, Thomas Davis, Joseph Deluca, Irving Friedman, Charles Kellis, Joseph Marino, John Murhy, James Roth, Peter Russo (Peter Caggiano),  Michael Russo (Michael Caggiano), John Reid, John Salvatore, John Tito, George White, Sam Harris, John Wishnon, Edward Smith and Joseph Katz.  [New York Times, August 23, 1930]

Wiiliam Caggiano (Russo): Brother of Joseph (20yrs old). Sentenced ten years [New York Times, September 27, 1930]

 


Addendum 13 - The Commission Leadership
 

1931–1936 — Charles "Lucky" Luciano— arrested in 1936 and then deported in 1946.
1936–1951 — Vincent Mangano — disappeared in April 1951
1951–1957 — Disputed leadership
1951–1957 — Joseph Bonanno — led the Conservative faction along with Joseph Profaci and Stefano Magaddino
1951–1957 — Frank Costello — led the Liberal faction along with Albert Anastasia and Tommy Lucchese
1957–1959 — Vito Genovese — led the Liberal faction along with Tommy Lucchese and Carlo Gambino. He was imprisoned in 1959 and died on February 14, 1969.
1959–1976 — Carlo Gambino — allied with Tommy Lucchese and retired Frank Costello. He died on October 15, 1976

The original bosses of the Five Families weren't formed until 1931. The Founding Heads of the Original Five families and their corresponding Modern Family in parentheses are: being Joe Bonanno (Bonanno), Lucky Luciano (Genovese), Vincent Mangano (Gambino), Joe Profaci (Colombo) and Tommy Gagliano (Luchese).
New York mobster Thomas Gagliano, goes into semi-retirement and leaves day to day activities of the Family to Acting Boss Thomas Lucchese 1951

 


Addendum 14 - Italian and Italian Descent Secret Societies

These enterprises evolved over the course of 3,000 years during numerous periods of invasion and exploitation by numerous conquering armies. Italians became more clannish and began to rely on familial ties for safety, protection, justice, and survival.

An underground secret society formed initially as resistance fighters against the invaders and to exact frontier vigilante justice against oppression. A member was known as a “Man Of Honor,” respected and admired as he protected family, friends and countrymen.

These secret societies eventually grew into the Organized Criminal Societies we know today. Since the 1900s, thousands of Italian organized crime figures have come into this country. Many who fled here in the late 1800s and the early 1900s have melded together what we know today as La Cosa Nostra (American Mafia). [Cosmopolitan Magazine, Volume LI, August 1911, The Terror of the Camorra]

Top Gangsters in America all born in Sicily??

Al Capone: Born in Brooklyn

John Gotti: Born in the Bronx

Frank Costello: Born in Calabria ."The Prime Minister" of the Mafia

Vito Genovese: Born in Naples (vicinity) "Don Vito" Head of the Five Families.

Sicilian Mafia (Sicilian Secret Society)

The Sicilian Mafia formed in the mid-1800s to unify the Sicilian peasants against their enemies. In Sicily, the word Mafia tends to mean “manly.” The Sicilian Mafia is infamous for its aggressive assaults on Italian law enforcement officials. In Sicily the term “Excellent Cadaver” is used to distinguish the assassination of prominent government officials from the common criminals and ordinary citizens killed by the Mafia. High-ranking victims include police commissioners, mayors, judges, police colonels and generals, and Parliament members.

Sicilian Mafia in America (American Mafia)

Giuseppe Esposito was the first known Sicilian Mafia member to emigrate to the U.S. He and six other Sicilians fled to New York after murdering the chancellor and a vice chancellor of a Sicilian province and 11 wealthy landowners. He was arrested in New Orleans in 1881 and extradited to Italy. New Orleans was also the site of the first major Mafia incident in this country. On October 15, 1890, New Orleans Police Superintendent David Hennessey was murdered execution-style. Hundreds of Sicilians were arrested, and 19 were eventually indicted for the murder. An acquittal generated rumors of widespread bribery and intimidated witnesses. Outraged citizens of New Orleans organized a lynch mob and killed 11 of the 19 defendants. Two were hanged, nine were shot, and the remaining eight escaped.

They are also known to collaborate with other international organized crime groups from all over the world, especially in drug trafficking.

Since the 1880s, thousands of Italian organized crime figures have come into this country. The early pioneers (1880-1910) were those that entered The New York Metropolitan area during tough times. These were the gangster originals' that lived tough lives, were tough guys, and waged brutal street warfare.

From 1900-1920 (pre-prohibition) many of these groups already had business' in gambling, drug trafficking, political corruption, labor racketeering, murder, bombings, and weapons trafficking well before the better known and self-proclaimed pioneers of the business. These guys started early, ages 9-11 years old and were hard as nails by the time they were a teenager.

During prohibition the mobster money was easy but the stakes were high.

La Cosa Nostra (American Secret Society - Merging of Organizations)

Many who fled here in the early 1920s helped establish what is known today as La Cosa Nostra (American Mafia). They began to pose major threats to American society when they entered into the drug trafficking and counterfeiting business'.

La Cosa Nostra, literally translated into English, means “this thing of ours.” It is a nationwide alliance linked by blood ties or through conspiracy—dedicated to making money and protecting its members.

Although it is commonly confused as a Sicilian organization, many members and leaders are and have been from the Italian peninsula.

La Cosa Nostra, or the LCN as it is known by the FBI, consists of different “families” or groups that are generally arranged geographically and engaged in significant and organized racketeering activity. It is also known as the Mafia, a term used to describe other organized crime groups. The LCN is and has been most active in the New York metropolitan area. It has members in other major cities and is involved in international crimes. Although La Cosa Nostra has its roots in Italian organized crime, it has been a separate organization for many years. Today, La Cosa Nostra cooperates in various criminal activities with different criminal groups that are headquartered in Italy. [FBI files, About Italian Organized Crime]

These groups didn’t limit themselves to drug running, though. They’re also involved in illegal gambling, political corruption, extortion, kidnapping, fraud, infiltration of legitimate businesses, murders, bombings, and weapons trafficking. Industry experts in Italy now estimate that their worldwide criminal activity is worth more than $100 billion annually.

The American Mafia has evolved over the years as various gangs assumed—and lost—dominance over the years: the Black Hand gangs around 1900; the Five Points Gang in the 1910s and ‘20s in New York City.

The Black Hand

The Black Hand was an off-shoot of rogue mafia members and other criminals that extorted money from citizens through the use of fires, bombs and murder. Although at times the Camorra was to blame for such a scourge to America, it was actually a leader in the Mafia, Lupo the Wolf,  that was conducting the major portion of the operation. Their only purpose was to induce payment from citizens through extortion letters signed by "The Black Hand".  It was looked down upon by Gangsters and Citizens alike.

’Ndrangheta (Calabrian Secret Society or Fibbia)

The word “’Ndrangheta” comes from the Greek meaning courage or loyalty. The FBI believes the ’Ndrangheta formed sometime in the 1860s when a group of Sicilians was banished from the island by the Italian government. They settled in Calabria and formed small criminal groups.

There are about 160 ’Ndrangheta cells with roughly 6,000 members. They specialize in kidnapping and political corruption, but also engage in drug trafficking, murder, bombings, counterfeiting, gambling, frauds, thefts, labor racketeering, loansharking, and alien smuggling. Cells are connected family groups based on blood relationships and marriages. In the U.S., there are an estimated 100-200 members and associates, primarily in New York and Florida.

The Scillitano family has a significant history with this organization. The Morgante-Scillitano clan it seems has a deep rooted and bloody feud with another N'Drangheta clan the Bruzzise-Parrello clan. The feud was so costly to both clans in life and incarceration that it had it's own name...Feud Barritteri.


John Gaetano Oresto Scillitani
dad-birth-certificate-web.jpg
241 Mulberry Street

Addendum 15 - Notes with Dad

It happened in a time before my Father, but in the very same tenement on Mulberry St. that my father grew up in. The family's secrecy about everything is astounding. Upon discovering this story I immediately called my Father to find out more about our family. I was responded to "I don't know what you're talking about?". Writer, "Dad, are you kidding me? You lived in the same building, He was your Uncle and you never heard of him?" Dad, "No. I never heard of Him. They must of kept it quiet with us." Writer, "So there's nothing you can remember?" Dad, "Yes. Nothing." Writer, "OK."

After getting off the phone I didn't know what to think. Is my Dad trying to hide this from us? Was my dad sheltered from this or is he clueless? I mean after all his uncle was executed 8 years before my Dad's birth. After two seconds of not so intense thoughts, I used my deductive reasoning. There are many things my Dad is, but there are two things he's certainly not...clueless and sheltered. So the research continued. Low and behold, the grandfather (Michale) he lived with on Mulberry St. his whole childhood is described in Top New York Newspapers and by Judges and District Attorneys (through trial transcripts) as a "very wealthy and powerful man on Mulberry St." Then the absolute kicker and best fact I found comes. I pull our family's birth certificates and Ellis Island records. Well low and behold my own Father's middle on his birth certificate is "Gaetano Oresto". For 40 some years I was a 'Junior' to his name. My middle name is Joseph. And as told to me, the same middle name as him.

Time for call number two. "Dad how come you never told you middle name was "Oresto"?. This whole time I thought it was Joseph?" Dad, "I don't know what you're talking about son, it is Joseph." Writer, "I sent for your birth certificate and it says Oreste." Dad, "Are you sure that's mycertificate." Writer, "Hold on." I go to get the birth certificate. I read it him over the phone, "John Gaetano Oresto Scillitani" born May 24, 1924 in New York City. Mother: Antoinette Scillitani, Father: Alfred Scillitani. Is that you (rhetorically)? "Hummm. Isn't that something. I never knew that." Writer, "That's all I get? There's nothing else to tell me?" Dad, "No...I didn't know."

I thought to myself, man this is really getting frustrating. "OK, Dad, Michale, the Grandfather you lived with you whole childhood on Mulberry Street, is referred to as a 'wealthy and powerful man on Mulberry Street'. Any info on him?" Dad, "well...I do remember there was always a lot things going on in all his buildings." Although this was the farthest thing from specific information it was finally something. I was finally getting somewhere. Writer, "Like what?" Dad, "Well there were always people going in and of the alleys of his buildings." I waited while he was thinking. Dad, "Oh I remember starting around 11 (1935) during the days they used to pay me to be in the car and watch for cops." Writer, "Are you kidding me? You were doing that and you never told me any of that?" Dad, "I just remembered."

Writer, "So what happened when you saw a cop?" Dad, "Well I'd have to walk quickly to the alley I was in charge of, and once out of sight from the street, run as fast as I can down the alley and tell a guy in the alley the cops are coming."

Dad, "They used to pay me to drive the car to do things too." Writer, "At 11?" Dad, "yes and older." Writer "How did hell do you see over the wheel?" Dad laughing, "I couldn't. They used to get really pissed at me when I hit stuff. The other thing I remember was that my father and his brothers had the nicest cars on all of Mulberry street and no one was allowed to park where they parked their cars." Writer, "On Mulberry? The public street?" Dad, "Yes."

OK Dad how did Michale and his sons have card games, lottery, fake document print shops, saloons, and wine businesses basically walking distance from 226 Elizabeth St where the Original King of The Sicilian Mafia lives?" Dad, "Because Michale and the whole family were real tough guys. They were real tough alright. They weren't scared of anything or scared of anybody. Most of them were meaner and tougher than the Sicilian guys." Writer, "Seriously? The Sicilian guy's Father is a founder of the Sicilian Mafia in Corleone, Sicily. The son is noted to being particularly ruthless, basically running all of New York's Mafia. He's killed all kinds of people for all kinds of reasons. Especially if they were running lucrative businesses he wanted to run." Dad, "Son, I'm telling you those Sicilian guys wouldn't mess them. Not a chance." Writer, "That makes sense while the Sicilians were basically taking over everything in NYC they left to messing with Mulberry Street alone."


Addendum 16 - Death House Fellow Inmates, Oresto 1914-1916
Selected List -
  • Frank Cirofici, Harry Horowitz, Joseph "Whitey Lewis" Sidemschner, and Louis  "Lefty" Rosenberg - executed 13 April 1914.
  • Pietro Rebacci 
  • Giuseppe DeGioia
  • Michael Sarzano
  • Vincenzo Campanelli
  • Giuseppe Gino
  • Vincenzo Buoninsegno
  • Joseph Ferri
  • Lieutenant Charles Becker -  Highest level Cop Executed in the History of The U.S.
  • Antonio 'Salem' Salemne
  • Pasquale Vendetti
  • Giuseppe Marendi
  • Father Hans Schmidt - First Priest Executed in the History of the U.S.
  • Roy Champlain  - After the noise and smell of cutting through his carbonized brain, Oresto started a raucous in the Death House. Sawing sounds, puncturing, piercing and smashing.
  • Giovanni Supe
  • Antonio Impolluzzo - Murdered Gaetano LoMonte, leader of a Morello/Terranova clan on Oct. 13, 1915

Addendum 17 - List of Executed Inmates New York State; 1914 - 1917
Forty-eight in three years. All were executed under while Charles S. Whitman was District Attorney or while Governor of New York.
  1. Francis Mulchfeldt - 19 January 1914
  2. Frank Cirofici  - 13 April 1914
  3. Harry Horowitz -  13 April 1914
  4. Joseph Sidemschner - 13 April 1914 "Whitey Lewis"
  5. Louis Rosenberg - 13 April 1914 "Lefty"
  6. Pietro Rebacci - 22 June 1914
  7. George Coyer - 31 August 1914
  8. Giuseppe DeGioia - 31 August 1914
  9. William Bressen - 2 September 1914
  10. Joseph McKenna - 2 September 1914
  11. Michael Sarzano - 9 December 1914
  12. Lee Dock - 5 February 1915
  13. Eng Hing - 5 February 1915
  14. Vincenzo Campanelli - 26 February 1915
  15. Robert Kane - 26 February 1915
  16. Oscar Vogt - 26 February 1915
  17. Giuseppe Gino - 22 March 1915
  18. Vincenzo Buoninsegno - 31 May 1915
  19. Joseph Ferri - 30 June 1915
  20. David Dunn -  2 July 1915
  21. Charles Becker - 30 July 1915 *First Police Officer Executed in the History of New York State
  22. Samuel Haynes - 30 July 1915
  23. Karol Draniewicz - 27 August 1915
  24. William Perry - 3 September 1915
  25. Lewis Roach - 3 September 1915
  26. Antonio Salemne - 3 September 1915
  27. Thomas Tarpey - 3 September 1915
  28. Pasquale Vendetti - 3 September 1915
  29. Worthy Tolley - 17 December 1915
  30. Ludwig Marquardt - 17 December 1915
  31. Antonio Pontón - 7 January 1916
  32. Giuseppe Marendi - 4 February 1916
  33. Father Hans B. Schmidt - 18 February 1916  *First Catholic Priest Executed in the History of U.S.
  34. Walter Watson -  3 March 1916
  35. Charles Sprague - 1 May 1916
  36. Roy Champlain - 2 June 1916
  37. Giovanni Supe - 2 June 1916
  38. Oresto Shillitani - 30 June 1916
  39. Bradford, Allen - 4 August 1916
  40. Jan Trybus  - 1 September 1916
  41. Thomas Bambrick - 7 October 1916
  42. Charles Kumrow  - 19 December 1916
  43. Stanley Millstein - 19 December 1916
  44. Antonio Impoluzzo - 17 May 1917
  45. Arthur Waite - 24 May 1917
  46. Arthur Waldenen - 12 July 1917
  47. Joseph Mulholland - 30 August 1917
  48. Alex Shuster -  30 August 1917

Addendum 18 - Manhunt & Escape

An unprecedented Manhunt for "The Kid" ensued after he killed three people, including two New York City Patrolmen and a Gangster. [The Washington Herald, May 6, 1913]. A complete shutdown of all ways out of New York City was ordered. When bridges and rails were re-opened no one could leave Manhattan without proper identification, jamming up every mode of transportation in the city for an unprecedented six weeks. For six weeks, hundreds and hundreds, of patrolmen, detectives, and reserves came up with nothing. Not one person would give up his whereabouts, for fear of death.

After days of frustration, U.S. Soldiers were even brought in to help. Nothing. With an over-whelming 1000 plus law enforcement and government employees on the trail, they could only come up with a 100 or so look-alike suspects. When "The Paper Box Kid" decided to save his father from prosecution, he turned himself in. For these crimes the courts of New York sentenced him to death. [Washington Post, May 28, 1915] The grueling manhunt came to an end only when the gangster original decided it would. By turning himself in, he walked into a sure fate of death, saving his father from living the rest of his life in jail.

The Kid started early, a real young up and coming Italian Gunfighter. the industrious Kid runs several business' by the time he is 15. By the time he is 21, he is one of the most feared gangsters in the N.Y.C. and runs many business' up and down Mulberry Street.

All gangsters had codes and rules to follow, but the code of Respect...reigned supreme to all others. A gangster's survival depended on it. Without respect on the streets you were either an organ grinder, a peanut vendor, or a dead gangster. Disrespect of a gangster's territory, family, or person, carried the death sentence in all realms of the gangster justice system. Every gangster knew the code and it's ramifications.

Cops in New York City would make their rounds walking to the code of "kill your own and we leave you alone". The cops were happy to see another dead gangster, and the gangsters were happy to "off" a rival without having to worry about a long stint in prison. These unwritten codes, with gangsters and cops alike, governed the streets of the big city for decades. 

Separation from these codes, left two fine police officers and one brazen gang leader dead on Mulberry Street. The Gangster Original followed the rules and codes he lived by, and took care of things the only way he knew. On this day, his life, and quite possibly the territories of the American Mafia, would change forever.

Gangster Original was the only one to survive an escape in the death house's 185 year history, he was recaptured, and "The Paper Box Kid" was executed by electric chair as witnessed by a standing room only crowd in The Death Chamber. [Squire, Amos Osborne. Sing Sing Doctor, Madison, Wis.: Doubleday, Doran & Company, 1935]

His Escape was the catalyst of prison reforms that prevented escapes in the death house for the remainder of it's operation (successful or not) from 1916 - 1969 (Death House closure). [Squire, Amos Osborne. Sing Sing Doctor, Madison, Wis.: Doubleday, Doran & Company, 1935] The only other escape in the history of The Death House at Sing Sing, was by Frank Rohl and Thomas Pallister. In 1893, they got shot in their escape raft and never made it alive to the free shores of the river. [Number 1500, Life in Sing Sing, Indianapolis, IN: Bobbs-Merrill Co., 1904][Lawes, Lewis. Life and Death in Sing Sing, 1929]

Although the alma mater of Sing Sing Prison includes some of the most notorious, infamous, devious and crafty Gangsters, whom drafted, drawn, and plotted hundreds and hundreds of escape plans...None were ever able to escape to Death House and make it to free shores. The annals of history will show it was only "The Paper Box Kid" that accomplished this feat. [Lawes, Lewis. Life and Death in Sing Sing, 1929]

Addendum 19

The Electric Chair

Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse were fierce competitors. Westinghouse proclaimed AC current was best for America while Edison contested DC was the way to go for the US of A.

Edison waged war against the AC notion and systematically thought of ways to discredit it's usage. Ironically Edison built an electric chair to portray the lethal dangers of AC current. Publicly electrocuting stray and unwanted animals to illustrate the perils of utilizing AC current. 

The electric chairs first use was in Buffalo, NY. in Aug 6, 1890.

 

ADDENDUM 20

Fiorella La Guardia

La Guardia grew up on an Army base and his father was bandmaster. A flyer in WWI, and interpreter at Ellis Island. He later became a lawyer and fought for the garment workers 192-1913. He spoke 5 different languages. [Eisemean, From Many Lands] 


Bibliography

Court Transcripts: County of New York, The State of New York, The United States

County of New York, Court of General Sessions
The People vs Oresto Shilitano (215 N.Y. 715), Trial #1844
People v Antonio Impuluzzo, 4 January 1916 (in-process)
People v Alessandrio Vollero, (226 NY 587) (1919)
People v Antonio Giordano, 31 March 1919  (in-process)
People v Angelo Giordano, (231 NY 633) (1921) (in-process)
People v Pellegrino Morano, (232 NY 569)  (1922) (in-process)
People v Aniellio Paretti, (234 NY 98) (1922) (in-process)
People v Frank Fevrola, (235 NY 536) (1923) (in-process)

State of New York. Court of Appeals
The People v. Oresto Shilitano: (218 N.Y. 161) Trial #2101

US Circuit Court for the District of New York

FBI Files
Anti-Racketeering Program: Tony Salerno
Anti-Racketeering Top Hoodlum Program: Alfonse Capone, Carmine Galante, Carlo Gambino
FBI FOIA, Shillitani Files, Sammy, Salvatore
FBI Memorandum, FROM: James P. Kelley and Sherman W. Willao; SUBJECT: Apalachin Round up. RE: Sam Shillitani aka "Sam Shields", January 6, 1958
Mafia Monograph
Top Echelon Criminal Informant Program: Thomas Eboli
US Secret Service: William Flynn - Dailies
 
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Acts of notaries Palmi, 1601-1900, vols. 709
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Italia, Matrimoni index.

Libraries
Burbank Central Library, Burbank, CA
Harvard Law Library
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Herbert Hoover Presidential Library, West Branch, IA
Jonathan Von Linden, Cultural Education Center, Albany NY
LA Law Library, Los Angeles, CA
Library of The University of Wisconsin
Library of The University of Michigan
Lloyd Sealy Library, John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Los Angeles Central Library, Los Angeles, CA
Library of Congress

New York City Municipal Records & Related Collections
Annual Report of The Police Department of New York City 1913, 1914, 1915.
Division of Old Records, Surrogates Court, Manhattan, Certificate of Incorporation & Probate Records.
New York City Department of Records and Information Services, Municipal Archives - Birth, Death, Marriage 
Roosevelt Papers, Subject - Police Administration while Police Commissioner of New York City

New York Prisons, Reformatories & Related Collections
Annual Report of The Prison Association of New York: Volume 70, 1914
Annual Report of the Superintendent of State Prisons of the State of New York: 1912-1917

New York Catholic Protectory
37th Annual Report to The Legislature of the State of New York. 1900
41st Annual Report to The Legislature of the State of New York. 1904

New York House of Refuge, Randall's Island
Inmate case histories Series Number: A2064. 1904-1905 Volume 62, 29819-30308 28; 1905-1907 Volume 63, 30309-30774 29.
Rules and Regulations Adopted by the Board of Managers for the House of Refuge, Society for The Reformation of Juvenile Delinquents in the City of New York. 1897 
Sing Sing Prison
B0143. Inmate admission registers, 1865-1971. R 76 cu. ft. (148 volumes).;  B1240. Log of inmate escapes, 1911-1919. .3 cu. ft. (1 volume);  B0147. Admission registers for prisoners to be executed, 1891-1946. R .5 cu. ft. (2 volumes);  B1244. Log of actions relating to inmates scheduled for execution, 1915-1967 R .4 cu. ft. (2 volumes)
Lewis Lawes Collection: X101 - Sing Sing Publications, Sing Sing Bulletin Vol 19 1-12, 1917-1918; VI General Scrap Books; Supplementary Collection 1-3  - IV. Scrap Books. (in-process)
New York State Archives & Related Collections 
Annual Report of the Attorney General of The State of New York; For the years ending, 1912-1918.
Documents of The Senate of The State of New York; Volume 13, For The Year Ending 1905.
Documents of the Senate of the State of New York- 138th Session, 1915.
New York State Census Schedules, 1905, 1915, 1925
Public Papers of Charles Seymour Whitman, Governor, State of New York. 1915-1918.
The State Department Reports of the State of New York; Volume 17, Issues 97-102

New York State Crime Commission
Annual Report of The Chief Clerk of the District Attorney's Office, County of New York
Private Hearings, Thomas Lucchese, August 29, 1951 (excerpts, New York Times, November 22, 1952)
Public Hearings No. 5, pursuant to the Governor's Executive Orders of March 29, 1951 and November 13, 1952
Report to the Governor, The Attorney General and Legislature of the State of New York 1913

Newspaper Sources
Albany Times, May 5, 1913 – July 31, 1916
Brooklyn Daily Eagle May 5, 1913 - July 31, 1916
Chronicle, The May 5, 1913 - July 31, 1916
Daily Sentinel, The May 5, 1913 - July 31, 1916
Evening Call, The May 5, 1913 – July 31, 1916
Evening Telegram, The May 5, 1913 – July 31, 1916
Evening World, The, The World News, Press Publishing, May 5, 1913 - July 31, 1916
Gazette Times, The May 5, 1913 – July 31, 1916
New York Herald, May 5, 1913 – July 31, 1916
New York Post, The May 5, 1913 – July 31, 1916
New York Press, The May 5, 1913 – July 31, 1916
New York Times, The May 5, 1913 – July 31, 1916
New York Tribune, The May 5, 1913 – July 31, 1916
Sun, The May 5, 1913 – July 31, 1916
Syracuse Herald, The May 5, 1913 - July 31, 1916
Washington Post, ProQuest Historical Newspapers The Washington Post (1877-1922), May 5, 1913 - July 31, 1916
World News, The May 5, 1913 – July 31, 1916

Organizations
The Statue of Liberty - Ellis Island Foundation.
Ossining Historical Society - Ossining Historical Society Museum, 196 Croton Avenue, Ossining, NY 10562 (914) 941-0001. Saratoga Spring Preservation Foundation

Periodicals
Annals of America, Volume 12, 1895-1904. Encyclopedia Britanica
Casino Chip News, Volume 22 Number 3 39
Cosmopolitan Magazine, Volume LI, August 1911, The Terror of the Camorra
Cosmopolitan Magazine, Volume LVI, February 1914, Whitman: Peerless Prosecutor
Everybody's Magazine, The Black Hand. September, 1908
In Italy Today, Italy City Guide, Scilla Italy.
Informer. Lucchese Crime Family Membership 1910s-1940s. Riet, Critchley, Turner, April 2013
Informer. A lifetime of tangling with the law: Salvatore ‘Sally Shields’ Shillitani. Riet, Critchley, Turner, April 2013
McClure's Magazine, Imported Crime, The Story of the Camorra in America. May, 1912
New Republic, "Are Convicts Human?" January 15,1916
Pearson's Magazine, The Passing of The Black Hand Society. March, 1907
Popular Science, August 1932
The Contemporary Review, Italian Secret Societies. Volume LIX June, 1891
True Crime Detective Monthly, The Gangs of New York Part III, April 2003

Published Works
Asbury, Herbert. The Gangs of New York, New York NY: Vintage Books, 1928
Bacon, Corinne. Prison Reform. New York, NY: The H.W. Wilson Co., 1917
Baedeker, Karl. Handbook for Travelers, Southern Italy. Baedeker Publisher, 1896
Balsamo, William & John. Young Al Capone. New York, NY: Sky Horse Publishing, 2011
Bergreen, Laurence. Capone The Man and the Era. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 1994
Blumenthal, Karen. Bootleg, Murder, Moonshine, and the Lawless Years. New York, NY: Roaring Brook Press, 2011
Blumenthal, Ralph. Miracle at Sing Sing, New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press, 2004.
Bonanno, Bill. Bound by Honor. New York, NY: Armeda Ltd., 1999
Borsella, Cristogianni. On Persecution Identity & Activism: Aspects of the Italian American Experience, Wellesley, MA: Dante University Press, 1979
Brandon, Craig. The Electric Chair, An Unnatural American History, Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 1999
Brian, Denis. Sing Sing, The Inside Story of a Notorious Prison, New York, NY: Prometheus Books, 2005
Brian, Denis. Murderers Die, New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press, 1986
Burns, Rick & Sanders, James. New York- an Illustrated History, New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2008
Cheli, Guy. Sing Sing Prison, Images of America, Mount Pleasant, N.C.: Arcadia Publishing, 2003.
Christianson, Scott. Condemned, New York, NY: New York University Press, 2000
Connoly, Theodore. New York Criminal Reports (Volume 34), New York NY: W.C. Little Co., 1917
Conover, Ted. Newjack, New York, NY: Random House, 2000
Critchley, David. The Origin of Organized Crime in America, New York, NY: Routledge, 2009
Dash, Mike. The First Family, New York, NY: Random House, 2009
Dash, Mike. Satan's Circus, New York, NY: Random House, 2007
Davis, John H. Mafia Dynasty. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 1993
DeStefano, Anthony. Mob Killer. New York, NY: Kensington Publishing, 2011
Dickie, John. Mafia Brotherhoods. Great Britain: Sceptre, 2011
Downey, Patrick. Gangster City: The History of the NY Underworld 1900-1935. Fort Lee, NJ: Barricade Books, 2004
Eiseman, Alberta. From Many Lands, New York, NY: Murray Printing, 1970
Fallis, Greg. Just the facts Ma'am. Cincinnati, OH: Writers Digest Books, 1998
Ferrara, Eric. Gangsters, Murderers and Weirdos of New York City’s Lower East Side, Charleston, SC: The History Press.2009
Feder, Sid & Joesten, Joachim. The Luciano Story, New York, NY: Da Capo Press, 1954
Fido, Martin. The Chronicle of Crime, The Most Infamous Crimes of Modern History, London, UK: SevenOaks, 2003
Forgione, Louis. The Men of Silence. New York NY: EP Dutton & Co. 1928
Fox, Stephen. Blood and Power. New York, NY: William Morrow & Co., 1989
Freedman, Russell. Immigrant Kids, New York, NY: Puffin Books, 1995
Gado, Mark. Killer Priest, Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2006
Gage, Nicholas. Mafia, USA. Chicago, IL: Playboy Press, 1972
Hearn, Daniel Allan. Legal executions in New York State: a comprehensive reference, 1639-1963. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 1997 (Courtesy of National University)
Hill, Jeff. Defining Moments of Prohibition. Detroit, MI: Omnigraphics, 2004
Homberger, Eric. The Timeline History of New York City. New York, NY: Palgrave Mac Millan, 2003
Hopkinson, Deborah. Shutting out The Sky, New York, NY: Orchard Books, 2003
Iezzi, Vincent M. Coffee with Nonna, Cincinnati, OH: St. Anthony Messenger Press, 2002
Kelly, Chin, & Schatzberg. Handbook of Organized Crime in the United States. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1994
Kipfer, Barbara Ann & Chapman, Robert L.  American Slang, New York, NY: HarperCollins, 2008
Lacey, Robert. Little Man Meyer Lansky and The Gangster Life. Boston, MA: Little, Brown, & Co., 1991
Lawes, Lewis E. Invisible Stripes, New York, NY: Farrar & Rinehart Inc., 1938
Lawes, Lewis E. Meet the Murderer, New York, NY: Harper & Bros., 1940
Lawes, Lewis E. Strange Stories from Sing Sing, New York, NY: Privately Published. 1934
Lawes, Lewis E. Twenty Thousand Years in Sing Sing, New York, NY: R. Long and R.R. Smith, 1932
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Longrigg, Clare. Boss of Bosses. New York, NY: Thomas Dunne, 2008
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McIllwain, Jeffery Scott. Organizing Crime in Chinatown 1890-1910. North Carolina: McFarland & Co., 2004
Moldea, Dan E. The Killing of Robert F. Kennedy. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Co., 1995
Moore, Robin. The French Connection. Boston, MA: Little, Brown and Co., 1969
Nelli, Humbert S. The Business of Crime. Chicago, IL: Oxford University Press, 1976
North, Mark. Betrayal in Dallas: LBJ, the Pearl Street Mafia, and the murder of the President. New York NY: Skyhorse Publishing, 2011
Norton, EC. The House: 1916. Oakton, VA: Ravenyard Publishing, 1999
Number 1500. Life in Sing Sing. Indianapolis, IN: Bobbs-Merrill Co., 1904
Osborne, Thomas Mott. Prisons and Common Sense, New York, NY: J.B. Lippincott 1924
Osborne, Thomas Mott. Society and Prisons, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press 1916
Osborne, Thomas Mott. Within Prison Walls. New York, NY: D. Appleton & Co., 1914
Paoli, Letizia. Mafia Brotherhoods. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2003
Pitkin & Cordasco, The Black Hand. Totowa, NJ: Littlefield, Adams & Co., 1977
Raab, Selwyn. Five Families. New York, NY: Thomas Dunne, 2005
Reavil, Gil. Mafia Summit. New York, NY: St. Martin's Press, 1967.
Reppetto, Thomas. American Mafia. New York, NY: Henry Holt, 2004
Riis, Jacob A. How the Other Half Lives. New York, NY: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1890
Riis, Jacob A. Out of Mulberry Street. New York, NY: The Century Co. 1898
Santore, John. Modern Naples: A Documented History. New York, NY: Italica Press, 2001
Saviano, Roberto. Gomorrah. New York, NY: Farrat, Straus, and Giroux, 2007
Scarpaci, Vincenza. The Journey of the Italians in America, Singapore: Pelican Publishing, 2010
Sifakis, Carl. MobSpeak, New York, NY: Checkmark Books, 2003
Sifakis, Carl. The Mafia Encyclopedia, New York, NY: Checkmark Books, 2005
Snedden, David S. Administration & Educational Work of American Juvenile Reform Schools. New York, NY: Columbia University, 1907
Squire, Amos Osborne. Sing Sing Doctor, Madison, Wis.: Publisher Doubleday, Doran & Company, inc., 1935
Thompson & Raymond. Gang Rule in New York. Camden, NJ: Haddon Craftsmen Inc., 1940
Train, Arthur. Courts, Criminals, and The Camorra. Miami, FL: Hardpress Publishing, 1912
Williams, Mary E. The Death Penalty, Opposing Viewpoints. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven Press, 2002
Willoughby, Richard, Early Street Gangs and Gangsters of New York City: 1800-1919, San Bernardino, CA: CreateSpace Platform, 2012
Real Estate Records
Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 93, no. 2390(Jan. 3 1914)- no. 2415(June 27 1914) (139 Thompson St.)
Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 95, no. 2449(February 20, 1915) (168 thompson st, with giuseppe loffredo 181 mott st.)

US Archives - Hearings, Manuscripts, Reports and Special Collections
Ellis Island Passenger Arrivals, 1892-1936. EllisIsland.org
National Criminal Justice Reference Service: Grand Jury Examination of The Recalcitrant Witness: Contempt and Perjury, Lecture Kenneth Conboy, 1981
Report of the Warren Commission
The Assissination of President Kennedy, New York, NY, published by the New York Times, October, 1964
U.S. Federal Census Schedules
1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940

US Senate Special Committee to Investigate Crime
Hearings before the Select Committee on Improper Activities in the Labor or Management Field 85th Congress, 2nd Session, June 30, July 1-3, 1958
Reports of The Industrial Commission on Immigration and Education, 1901 "The Padrone System"
U.S. Senate Special Committee to Investigate Organized Crime in Interstate Commerce. 81ST Congress Senate Report 2dn Session No. 2370 (Kefauver Committee) 1950-1951
 
Websites
Lloyd Sealy Library - John Jay College
NYPDAngels.com
Onewal.com -The American Mafia
Tribune:Paroled Gunman Killed Policemen and Gangster" Monday, May 5, 1913; "Shillitani Doomed" Wednesday  May 10, 1916; "Shillitani Raving Mad  Guard Dying After His Escape" Thursday, June 22, 1916; "Friends Had Auto Waiting to Aid in Plot" Friday, June 23, 1916;
New York Times, The: May 5, 1913 - July 31, 1916. "Kenmare Street Gang Plant Fake Bombs to Get Revolvers", June 23, 1913; "Shillitoni Shoots Guards Then Escapes", June 22, 1916;
Washington Post, ProQuest Historical Newspapers The Washington Post (1877-1922). "Accused of Killing Three, Man New York Police Could Not Find Calmly Yields" Jun 15, 1913;[wp2] "Lied on Stand- Amazing Effort is Made To Save Man From Death Chamber" March 12, 1915';[wp1] "Story of the Crime Charged to Shillitani" March 28, 1915;[wp3] "Has Secret Sinister Threat of an Implacable Vengeance Struck Terror in The Hearts of These Murder Witnesses?" March 28, 1915;


IMPORTANT PEOPLE, PLACES, THINGS TO RESEARCH:

PEOPLE:

  • Adonis, Joe, Born: November 22, 1902 in Montemarano IT. Died: November 26, 1971. Giuseppe Antonio Doto. Joey A. Joey DiMeo. Enforcer for Frankie Yale. Father Michele, Mother Maria Doto.
  • Alo, Vincent, "Jimmy Blue Eyes". Born: May 26, 1904 NY, NY. Died: March 9, 2001. Genovese crime family. Associate of Lansky in Florida.
  • Anastasia, Albert. Umberto. Born: September 26, 1902 Tropea, Calabria. Died: October 25, 1957. Ruthless and feared. Gambino Crime Family. Parents Raffaello Anastasio and Louisa Nomina de Filippo. Bothers: Anthony, Gerardo, Salvatore. Married to Elsa Barnesi. Associates with Lucky, Joe Adonis, Vito Genovese, and Frank Costello.
  • Asbury, Herbert. Best Selling Author Big City Gang Chronicles
  • Becker, Charles.
  • Biondi, Joseph, Born: April 16, 1897 Barcelona Pozzo, Sicily. Died: June 10, 1966. Real Estate off ice Long Beach. Auto Dealership in Flatbush. Underboss Gambino Family possible relation to Sammy Shields' wife Virge Biondo?
  • Biondi, John Joseph, Soldier Gambino
  • Bloch, Moe
  • Bonanno, Giuseppe Carlo, Born: January 18, 1905 Castellammare Del Golfo Sicily. Died: May 11, 2002.  Sicily "Joe Bananas". Head Heroine Trafficker NY.
  • Bonaventre, John
  • Caggiano, Michael Possible relation to Antoinette/Catherine.
  • Capone, Alfonse
  • Careva, John, Boss Five Points Gang, Arrested on Mulberry St. 1904
  • Carfano, Anthony, Little Augie Pistano
  • Cashin, Father William. Priest at Sing Sing Death House
  • Castiglia, Francesco "Frank Costello" the prime minister, lead Lucky Luciano family, Gambling Enterprises. Against Narcotics. Calabrian. Copacabana was hangout
  • Chieffo, Frank. at the shooting member of 324 E. 14th Street club.
  • Coppola, Frank 
  • Coppola, Mike, Trigger Mike
  • Coll, Vincent, Mad Dog, Hired gun
  • Colosimo, Diamond Jim. Calabrian. Said to be in Camorra.
  • Corallo, Charlie
  • Costabile, Giuseppe. Calabrian
  • Cuocolo, Gennaro. Coco? Cuco? Neapolitan.
  • D'Aquila, Salvatore. Big Man for MAfia c. 1910
  • DeBellis, John, Johnny D
  • DeFeo, Peter, Genovese, 276 Mulberry St. Genovese Capo
  • DelGaudio, Gaetano Born: Died: November 30, 1916.
  • DelGaudio, Nicolo Born: Died: October 1914 East River and 114th st. Barber on E. 104th St. Allies with Allesandro Vollero.
  • DellaCroce, Aniello, 232 Mulberry St., Gambino underboss. Born: March 15, 1914 NY NY. Died: December 2, 1985. Great Uncle of John and Angelo Ruggiero. Father: Francesco Veneto IT. Mother Antoinette.
  • DeMarco, Joseph. Ran gambling establishments and restaurants on lower Mulberry Street. Survived two assassination attempts.
  • DeSalvio, Giovanni
  • DiGiorgio, Joseph
  • DiGiorgio, Vito, Capo Gentile. Born March 19, 1880 Palermo, Sicily. Died: May 13, 1922. Survived two Shootings. Father Filippo Di Giorgio. Mother Giuseppa. California Mafia Boss. Friend and cousin to Giuseppe Morello. Relation Michele #2's wife Gaetana Giorgio? Shot May 13. 1916.
  • DioGuardio, John, Frankie, Thomas, Johnny Dio, Lucchese
  • DioGuardio, Tommy, Tommy D, Dio Brothers
  • DiPietra, Carli- 21 Monroe St., 1962, Genovese Family
  • DiSalvo, James. "Jimmy Kelly" 
  • DePriemo, Guiseppe brother in law of barrel victim Madonia
  • Doto, Giuseppe, "Joe Adonis"
  • Dragna, Jack (Jake), Anthony Rizzottii,
  • Eboli, Thomas Vito, Tommy Ryan, Genovese Acting Boss, 177 Thompson St.,
  • Embarrato, Alfred Joseph- Al Walker, Bonanno Capo, 122 Madison St. 1925
  • Eppolito, Louis
  • Erricini, Enrico "Alfano" leader of the Camorra
  • Esposito, Giuseppe
  • Esposito, John "Lefty".
  • Evola, Natale- JOE DIAMONDs, Bonanno Family Boss, 12 Prince St. 1930 Heroin
  • Ferrara, Antonio. Camorra. 195 Grand Street.
  • Galante, Carmine
  • Gallo, Joey
  • Galluci. Giosue. Naples 1864.
  • Galluci, Caspare
  • Garofalo, Frank associate of Willie Moretti. Bonanno associate.
  • Genovese, Vito "Don Vito", OK with Narcotics.
  • Gentile, Nicole, "Nick" "Zu Cola" Cola Associates of Garofalo. Associates with Joe Biondo [FBI file] BORN:6-12-1895 other sources Dec 6, 1895. Siculiana, Agrigenti Sicily.
  • Giannini, Eugenio
  • Gigante, Carmine, Chin, Genovese Family Boss, 181 Thompson St., 238 Thompson St
  • Giordano, Amgelo. 167 Hester St.
  • Hoover Herbert. FBI Director,
  • Impoluzzo, Antonio. In Death House with Oresto for Murder of Gaetano LoMonte. A leader of Morello Mafia Clan. 
  • Judge Eder
  • Justice Aurelio
  • Kefauver, Estes. US Senate Committee. Kefauver Committee.
  • Kitty, Tommy Lucchese's wife
  • Lauritano, Leopoldo
  • Lisi, Anthony- Bonanno Family, 97 Madison St.
  • Lombardi, Charles "Three Fingered Charlie"
  • Lucania, Salvatore "Charles Lucky Luciano" Sicilian Born 1897. Against Narcotics.
  • Lucchese, Gaetano, Tommy. Born 1899. Palermo, Sicily Alliance with Gambino and Genovese families.
  • Magaddino, Stefano. Bonanno's cousin. Head man in Buffalo. Gaspar.
  • Magistrate Thomas A. Aurelio. Costello's Judge.
  • Magistrate Raphael P. Koenig, Sammy Not Guilty Fine Man.
  • Mangano, Vincent
  • Maranzano, Salvatore "Boss of Bosses" until Luciano had him assassinated.
  • Marden, Ben Owner operator Riviera (in NJ), and The Colonial Inn (Hallandale)
  • Mari, Frank - Farnkie T, T, Frank Russo. Bonanno Family, 20 Monroe St., Knickerbocker Village NYT March 29, 1970. Sandwich Shops on Rutgers and Cherry St. Calabrian.
  • Masseria, Giuseppe. Giuseppe "Joe the Boss" Masseria
  • Mauro, Vincent
  • Mayor Fiorello La Guradia.
  • Mayor Jimmy Walker, (Mayor 1926-1932)
  • Mayor William O'Dwyer, (Mayor 1946-1950)
  • Mayor William J. Gaynor, (Mayor 1910-1913) Supreme Court Justice 1893-1909
  • Mineo, Alfred. Manfredi, Manfre
  • Miranda, Mike
  • Mirra, Anthony, Mirro, 106 & 115 Madison St., Bonanno Family
  • Morano, Pelligrino, Camorra Leader
  • Morelli, James. at the shooting
  • Morelli, Joe- Gambino
  • Moretti, Willie, gave money to Tommy Lucchese to give to Sammy Shillitani
  • Musilino, Giuseppe The Jesse James of The Calabrians.
  • Parretti, Anielo. CAmorra
  • Parretti, Tony. Camorra
  • Pepe, Alfonso. "Ralph Daniello" Camorra snitch.
  • Police Captain Dominick Riley,
  • Police Commissioner Valentine, Raided Sammy's Phones. Hoodlum hating Commissioner, Break their Heads. [Reppetto, Thomas. American Mafia. New York, NY: Henry Holt 2004]
  • Police Commissioner Waldo.
  • Police Deputy Commissioner George S. Dougherty.
  • Rao, Joseph
  • Resinzano, Frank- Pardini, Bonanno Family, 236 Cherry St. 
  • Ricci, Andrea. Camorra Navy Street Leader.
  • Riccio, Domenico. Abbinante. Calabria
  • Ruggiero, Benjamin- Lefty Guns, Lefty  Two Guns; Bonanno Crime Family, LIVED AT 10 MONROE St. after 1930 (Ferrarra, The Manhattan Mafia Guide)
  • Santucci, Girolamo, Bobby Doyle
  • Scalise, Frank, Don Cheech
  • Scalise Joseph
  • Schiro, Nicholas
  • Schmidt, Hans
  • Sgroia, Alfonso. Camorra
  • Sirocco, Jack- Five Points Gang. Early member of the five points gang. Defected to rival Monk Eastman. Manager of the Pearl House dance hall boss of Johnny Torrio and James Street Gang. Sirocco's gang was feuding with Benny Feins gangas strike breakers. Benny protected the union and Sirocco the breakers.
  • Squillante, Vincent "king of the garbage collection racket." Government
  • informant Joe Valachi claimed that Squillante
  • participated in the 1957 slaying of Anastasia underboss
  • Frank "Don Cheech" Scalise.
  • Stopelli, John- John the Bug; Bonanno Crime Family, LIVED at 143 Thompson Street 1910; 153 Madison St 1950s (Ferarra, The Manhattan Mafia Guide)
  • Strollo, Anthony, Tony Bender, Genovese, 177 Thompson St.
  • Torrio, Johnny 
  • Tourine, Charles- Charlie the Blade; 40 Central Park South 1940s-1970s, LIVED in Miami FL 1970-1980
  • Tricker, Frank "Chick" leader of gang associated with strike breaking and shooting
  • Tuminaro, Anthony- Little Angie, viscious killer, Lucchese Family, 38 Hamilton, 152 Madison, 234 Cherry St, 24 Rutgers St.
  • US Secret Service Chief, William J Flynn
  • US Secret Service Operative, Larry Richey (Ricci)
  • Vaccarelli, Paulo, Paul Kelley, Five Points Gang, 1901-1905 Allied with "Big Tim" Sullivan State Senator Tammany Hall. 1903 Voter Suppression Squads.
  • Valenti, Rocco,
  • Verrazano, Giuseppe, da' Verrazano
  • Vollero, Alessandro, Navy Street Gang Leader
  • Whitman, Charles, S. District Attorney NY, Governor NY
  • Zelig, Big Jack

 

 

PLACES:

BARBER SHOP:

The Waldorff- Frank Costello, Big Jim O'Connell, Tommy Lucchese.

SOCIAL CLUBS: 

ALTO KNIGHTS SOCIAL CLUB (1926-1950) Lucky Luciano- RAVENITE SOCIAL CLUB 1950s-?: 247 Mulberry St, Gambino Family Headquarters

KNOTTY PINE SOCIAL CLUB (? - 1980s), Genovese Family, 221 Mulberry St.

HAWAIIAN MOONLIGHTERS CLUB, (ANDREA DORIA SOCIAL CLUB) Gambino headquarters, Joseph Butch Corrao, 141 Mulberry St.

CUOMO CHEESE CORP., Genovese Secret Meeting Place, Peter DeFeo, 215 Mulberry St.

Da NICO RESTAURANT, Bonanno Family Headquarters (1990s), 164 Mulberry St.

CELANO'S GARDEN, Lucky Luciano (1930s), 36 Kenmare St.

LIITLE NAPLES / NEW BRIGHTON SOCIAL CLUB, 57 Great Jones

LOMBARDI'S RESTAURANT, 53 Spring St., Genovese Family, Peter DeFeo Hangout

PAUL KELLEY ASSOCIATION, 190 Mulberrry St., Five Points Gang Headquarters.

FIVE POINTS SOCIAL CLUB (1902), 126 White St.

HOLIDAY BAR, Bonanno Family Hang-out, 116 Madison St

ROMAN GARDENS (1929) Bronx, Magistrate Albert Vitale Toast

THOMPSON STREET SOCIAL CLUB, 21 Prince St. Genovese Members only Club.



Conclusion:

All my pre-conceived notions about the mafia were shattered

And then there was this group called the Camorra. What was the Camorra, where did it operate and what happened to it? All I ever hear and all I ever see is about the mafia. Well, come to find out the Camorra in it's dramatic battle with the American Mafia came to win it's battle. But...it lost the war.

What I thought what was the Mafia, was actually La Cosa Nostra, which was though o be just another name for the mafia. It is not. La Cosa Nostra is the American Mafia. It is a mixture of Italian born American Citizens and Americans with Italian descent. After all, the most infamous of all mobsters, was not Sicilian. Al Capone was of Neapolitan descent, but he was American. Born right here in Brooklyn, NY in the good old USA.

The second most noted Mobster was "Lucky Luciano". He was Sicilian. But he was brought up as a child here in the USA. The list goes on and on. Capone's face. Sfregio. The Camorran mark of disgrace he earned during a conversation with a member's girlfriend.

Frank Costello, Frank Garofalo. Vito Genovese (Neapolitan), Vincent The Chin Gigante.

Author to Reader: 1) how the book came into being; 2)Why it came into being; 3) Credibility of Author. 4) Build credibility for the author and the book. 5) Should be important selling tool for the book. 6) Why they wrote the book; 7) How they came to writing it. 8)Show the reader why they are worth reading. 

In a time before La Cosa Nostra, gangs ruled the streets of New York City. A little-known gangster set off one of the greatest manhunts in the history of New York City. This story chronicles the crimes, trials and tribulations of Oresto Shillitoni aka "The Paper Box Kid", aka "Harry Shields".

He killed two New York City Policemen, killed one Death House Guard and shot and wounded another. He feigned insanity to challenge his execution by pulling clumps of

A ground-breaking account of a little-known story is truly a fascinating look into the underworld pre-mafia days. The goal was to offer this unique gangster's story to all.

The so called mile walk to the electric chair (affectionately named “Old Sparky”) must have been an incredibly cold and harsh awakening for The Kid who’s life, dreams, and family was cut tremendously short by this tragic event.

But to earn the Mile Walk, one must be guilty of taking a life oneself, and so the vicious circle goes. Life for a life.

The Kid was convicted on all 3 counts of murder, by a group of his peers that had no witness testimony, and no weapon to inspect.

As brutal as this seems, there were many young Italian Americans that sat in this chair before him and many more were to sit in the chair after him.

The Kid’s story inspired a US Secretary of State. Three days after his death, The Secretary of State addressed the Sing Sing inmates to initiate “Plans for Leading a Useful Life”. It was a program developed to help guide prisoners to useful life away from crime.

The Kid’s Story began prison reform, changed the way the prison system analyzed and handled insane prisoners, and changed the law regarding witness recantation and retrials.

Oresto Shillitoni and his family were just a few of the millions of Southern Italians that crossed the Atlantic on large steamships from Europe to America. Oresto's true life story was discovered during a casual ancestry search. My brothers and I began searching through our family tree and found some unbelievable articles about our relatives. It so happens that this amazing and unique story is about my great grandfather and his son (our great uncle) Oresto.


  

Mulberry St. - Downtown:  3 Padrones- 1) Michale Shillitani (Neapolitan)(Kenmare Street Gang) 1898-1918, Upper Mulberry St. (Kenmare St. North to Houston) 2) Joe DiMarco (Neapolitan) 1913-1916, Lower Mulberry (Kenmare St. South to Canal) 3) Guiseppe Verizzano Lower Mulberry (Kenmare St. South to Canal)(Sicilian) 1910-1915.

East & West Harlem: 3 Padrones- 1) Giouse Gallucci (Neapolitan) 1910-1915; 3) LoMonte Brothers Tom & Fortunato (Sicilian), 1911-1915 4) Nikola Terranova (Sicilian) 1915-1916 5) Ignazio Lupo Saitta (Sicilian) 1902-1910 6) Salvatore "Toto" D'Aquila (Sicilian) 1912-1928 2) Guiseppe Morello (Sicilian) 1902-1910;

Brooklyn & Coney Island: 4 Padrones- 1) Alessandro Vollero (Neapolitan) (Navy Street Gang) 1909-1917; 2) Leopoldo Lauritano (Neapolitan)(Navy Street Gang) 1909-1917; 3) "Don" Pelligrino Morano (Neapolitan), 1905-1917; 4) Andrea Ricci

Other Potential Padrones - Del Gaudio Brothers, Rocco Valenti

The Mulberry factions were the most insulated from snitches and notoriety, as their main enforcers and leaders in all crime categories were only blood relatives.


Real Life Characters  

Oreste Scillitani: aka "The Paper Box Kid", "The Kid", Harry Shields, Henry Shields, John Shields, Oreste, Oresto, Aresto. Shillitani, Shillitoni, Shillitoni, Shilitoni, Shilitano, Shillitano, Schillitoni, Scillitano, Scilitano, Scillitani, Shilanti, Shellante, Sciallentano, Scialentano, Scillintani, Schilliteni, Sullitone, Schillitani, Schilitani, Schilitano, Schillitano. The first to escape The Old Death House since 1893. From 1893 to 1916 (23 yrs). The First to Escape from the new death house. The only to escape and get off the grounds and to land outside the penitentiary alive.

Michele Shillitani: aka Michael Shillitoni, Owner of " (227 (World Laundry Service), 235 (pool hall), 237, 239, 241 (large tenement), 243 (Grocery Store with tenement above) Mulberry street. 245 Mulberry (low rent flop house). Father Oreste "The Paper Box Kid" Shillitoni.

Death Row Inmates - Those who died before him: Lieutenant Charles Becker (47 yrs old) "The Killer Cop", Father Hans Schmidt (33)"The Killer Priest"; The 5 Crime of Passion Inmates Executed on The Same Day Sept 9, 1915: 1. Antonio 'Salem' Salemne (26), 2. Pasquale Venditti (47), 3. Louis Roach (40), 4. William Perry (27), 5. Thomas Tarpey (42); Guiseppe Marendi (28)(another gangster from Kings), Eng Hing (20), Ludwig Marquardt (51), Vincenzo Campenelli (36); Those who died after him: Antonio Impolluzo (27), Hymen Stransky (38), Thomas O'Neil (26), Joseph Mulholland (29), Alexander Goldstein (25), Arthur Waite (29) 

Request For Pardon: Governor (Denying Pardon) Charles S. Whitman 1915-1918 (the same prosecutor on Gangster Original's case).

Saint Patrick's Cathedral - Father Gill.

Important Dates:

1892 - Ellis Island Immigration Station opened. Michale enters U.S.;

1895 - Electric streetlights begin to be installed on the streets of N.Y.C., Opium use is high in City;

1900 - Al Capone joins Five Points Gang; Blacks attacked in Hell's Kitchen Riots.

1901 - Theodore Roosevelt is President of U.S.A. after McKinley Assassination.

1907 - gas powered buses and metered taxis begin to replace horse and buggy. Detective Petrosino arrests Enrico Alfano at 108 Mulberry St.

1908 - Messina-Reggio Earthquake hits Southern Italy causing 100,000 deaths.  

1908 - Model T Ford first begins to appear in N.Y.C.

1909 - Detective Petrosino murdered in Italy while investigating mob connections of Alfano;

1912 - Titanic due to dock in N.Y. Sinks; Eliminating Police Corruption #1 priority of politicians (Lieutenant Becker arrested),

1912 - Five Italian Immigrants were electrocuted at Sing Sing for a crime they didn't commit or plan for. Riots ensued. 

1913 - Woolworth Building completed (largest building in the world), John P. Mitchell Mayor; 1st Movie Palace built, The Regent Theater.

1913 - Official warring between Camorra and Mafia causes 60 Italian Immigrant deaths in 6 months in NYC 

1914 - World War I Begins in Europe. US gears up for war 1915-1916 and enters war 1917.

July 1913, Assistant DA Murphy and Deputy Police Commissioner Dougherty began to attack the Italian ring of policy shop proprietors. Over 40 arrests were made around Mulberry Bend and upper Harlem. Galluci runs the Numbers lottery.

November 1917, the Grand Jury handed out twelve indictments against the killing of Joseph DeMarco and Charles Lombardi. Five indictments had already been handed out against the murder of Salvatore DeMarco, and another four in the case of ‘Chuck’ Nazzaro. Since the beginning of Daniello’s confessions the police had been watching New York’s ports to make sure no gang members escaped conviction.

Bridges and Transport Hubs: Madison Avenue Bridge open 1910; Third Avenue Bridge open 1898; Willis Avenue Bridge open 1901; Queensboro Bridge open 1908; Brooklyn Bridge open 1883; Manhatten Bridge open 1901; Williamsburg Bridge open 1903; Holland Tunnel open 1910, 1911 - PENN Station opens;

The Shillitani (Crime) Family

Oresto "The Paper Box Kid" Shillitani

Saverio "Sammy Shields" Shillitani - Oresto's Younger Brother.

Giovanni Batista "Johnny Shields" Shillitani - Oresto's Older Brother.

Salvatore "Sally Shields" Shillitani - Oresto's Cousin.

Saverio (2) Shillitani - Oresto's Cousin (Salvatore's Brother). Shot October 12, 1922.

Lorenzo "Larry Shields" Shillitani - Oresto's Cousin (Salvatore's Brother). Arrested Burglary 1924, 1925, 1926.

Nicolena "Lena" Shillitani - Sammy Shields wife. Dated Bugsy Siegal before they were married. Alien smuggling 1927 and swindling 1950.

Angelina Shillitani - Oresto's Mother. Convicted selling Heroin August 16, 1917.

Rose Verzicco - Oresto's Aunt. (Angelina's Sister). Convicted selling Heroin August 16, 1917.

Exploratory Sources
Annual Reports of the Chief of The Secret Service Division 1892-1912
FBI - Carlos Tresca Report
FBI -
Herbert Hoover Presidential Library, 210 Parkside Dr  West Branch, IA 52358 (319) 643-5301
Lawrence Richey Papers
Reports of the Chief Secret Service Division (Dailies) 1901-1918
National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland. Secret Service papers sent.
New York Municipal Archives- District Attorney files, Record of Cases, Certificates of birth.
 
CLINTON PRISON: B0097. Inmate case files, 1894-1978. R 2,612 cu. ft.
New  York County Clerk, Division of old records
New York Police Department Photo Collection, Office of the chief medical examiner death records 1918-1946
New York Times: "Black Hand", Jan 8, 1911; "Policemen beaten" Jul 24, 1901; "Battle in a pool room", Oct 5, 1902; "Eight Sicilians held barrel murder". Apr 23,1903.
US Circuit Court for the southern district of New York 1790-1912
William J Flynn: Dailies Flynn, Flynn's Weekly,
 
Italian Sources
Archivio Central Decco Strato Roma
Archivio di Stato di Reggio Calabria
Archivio di Stato di Foggia
Archivio Storico Diocesano: Diocesi di Foggia-Bovino
Archivio Storico Diocesano: Diocesi di REGGIO CALABRIA–BOVA
Atti di Nascita
Atti di Matrimonio
Atti di Morte
Chiesa Dell'Immaculata (pre-1300)
Chiesa Dello Spirito Santo (1752)
Chiesa di San Guiseppe al Corto (1641)
Chiesa di San Rocco (1370s)
Chieso di Santa Maria di Porto Salvo (1730)
Italia Matrimoni
Italia Nati E Battesimi
Libro dei Baptizatorum
Liber Battezzati
Regione Foggia Atti di Matrimonio
Michelangelo Scillitano and Maria Giacinta Spadaccino
Date: 07 JUN 1821
M84343-7
System Origin:  Italy-EASy
GS Film number:  1178443
Reference ID:  Roll 425 bk 1 p62

 


Gangsters and Mobsters of New York: 1890 - 1919

Gangster Original Downloadable Articles

New York Times 5-9-1913 - May be 2 Slayers. Two Pistols Sciallentano

New York Times 6-23-1913 - Kenmare Street Gang Gun Permits Oresto

New York Times 6-22-1916 - Shillitoni Shoots Guards Then Escapes

New York Times 6-29-1916 - Governor Refuses Stay on Shillitoni

Washington Post 6-15-1913 - Man NYPD Couldn't Find

Washington Post 3-12-1915 - Amazing Effort to Save Shillitani Witness Recant

Washington Post 3-15-1915 - The Shillitani Story

Encompassing Genres: Creative Non-Fiction, Novel-like Non-Fiction, Dramatic Non-Fiction, Historical Non-Fiction, Biographical Non-Fiction, Organized Crime Non-Fiction, Ancestry Non-Fiction, Italian-American Non-Fiction.

Gangster Original is a ground-breaking account of a one-of-a-kind gangster in a particularly crime-ridden and corrupt time in American history. A rare look at the underworld after the countless gangs roamed the five points of New York and before the highfalutin mobsters pranced about during the great prohibition era. It is uncovered for the first time. It is unique, rare, and untold...until now.

Steamships were chugging across the Atlantic, packing-in millions of Italian emigrants tighter than the canned sardines heading to the same place...New York City. Mulberry Street js where the great Italian Immigration all started. The street Gangster Original and his family made their headquarters before a host of who's who of American Gangsters would come to follow.

It was a time politicians labeled as the Progressive Era, though it was ironically, and clearly, a regressing time in the great city's past. Herbert Asbury would proclaim "There were more gangs in New York than at any other period in the history of the Metropolis"  and  the streets were rampant with gangsters out to prove themselves. The things real gangsters guarded with their lives was family, territory, and most importantly Respect.

It only took one act of disrespect for Gangster Original, the True Story of Oresto Scillitano, to leave a trail of two dead cops, one dead prison guard, a dead gang leader, a country-wide manhunt, and an unprecedented escape from Sing Sing Prison's Death House.

The murders and mayhem on Mulberry Street sparked a countrywide manhunt, and jammed all ways out of the world’s largest city. Hundreds of detectives and hundreds of patrolmen were working overtime without pay to capture the gangster original that murdered two of their fine brethren. For six straight weeks they filled holding cells with nothing but Gangster Original look-alikes, all rightly so, claiming their innocence. When the Gangster Original decided to turn himself in to save his father’s life, the Manhunt was over, and the great city of New York was no longer paralyzed. 

The Gangster Original was tried, convicted, and sentenced to Death. The reaction of friends and family was sheer devastation. His poor mother collapsed, and was held up so she didn't fall face first on the courtroom floor. Only one person in the room...was Laughing and Strutting about. Only one person...had the nerve to sneer on his way out of the courtroom and whistle his way down the court house corridors. True to his reputation, The Gangster Original was bad, not just to the bone, but all the way down through to his marrow. Completely unaffected by his sentence, and laughing right into the face of his sure death.

In the 185 year history of Sing Sing Prison’s Death House, one, and only one inmate would ever escape and make it to free shores alive. Some of the most notorious, infamous, and devious gangsters of all time, had spent every waking moment in their ever shrinking lives planning a great escape. But The annals of history will go on to show- Only the Gangster Original, with unwavering determination, was ingenious and capable enough to over-come such impossible odds.

The Gangster Original was recaptured and on June 30, 1916, at the age of 25 years old, “Oresto Shilitano”, aka "Harry Shields", aka "The Paper Box Kid", took his last steps through the infamous “Green Door” and was executed by electric chair in The Death House at New York State’s Sing Sing Prison.

Gangster Original's true story is more dramatic than most well-plotted novels. It is packed with rich and referenced historical information that opens one's eyes up to a world never seen  before. His biographical blue print, even his mere familial existence, was unearthed reviving long lost and forgotten family documents, news articles, archives, and trial transcripts. 

Comments:

"It would be hard to create any fictionalized character with a richer, deeper, and more unique persona than Oresto."

"His true story is more dramatic than most well-plotted novels."

"Packed with amazing information that opens one's eyes to a world never seen  before."

"All the wonder of a novel within a newly discovered piece of history in Organized Crime."

"Fascinating and Terrifying at the Same Time."

 

Potential Themes to explore-

Immanence reflects what mankind throws at it. Creating it's own Wrath or Pleasure. A man truly reaps what he sows. Decisions Decide a Man's Destiny. Some with Gestation, some without. Man's Authority, when it contradicts the laws of God and Nature is a Great Destructive Evil. Transcendence is forgiving, loving, redeeming.

Decisions Decide a Man's Destiny. Intentions, Desires, and Motives Forge his Fate.

Criminal conduct can be traced largely to early environmental and/or home influences that were negligent, faulty, improper and/or evil. -Dr. Squire.  

© Gangster Original 2012-2013
All rights reserved
Please get in touch with any comments or reactions to the site. Thanks-  johnscillitani@yahoo.com