Archive for Mafia

12 June 1941 – Harry Strauss

Posted in Death penalty, Electric chair with tags , , , , , , on June 12 by Old Sparky

Harry StraussIn a serious cull of the gangs terrorising New York neighbourhoods, Harry Strauss was hauled in and executed for numerous murders.

For his was a life devoted to death and crime. Strauss was known to his mates as ‘Pep’ or ‘Pittsburgh Phil’ and he was famed for murdering as many as 30 victims as a key member of the sinister Murder Inc. This was a team of Mafia hitmen, tasked with doing all the dirty work – from contract killings to instigating vicious reprisals on rival gangs.

Murderous ways

Strauss is said to have employed various methods to exact his ends – from shooting and stabbing, to the more depraved death by ice pick (a la Catherine Tramell in ‘Basic Instinct’) or by burying victims alive (think Joe Pesci in ‘Casino’).

He was finally hauled in after one of the former hitmen on the team turned supergrass and ratted on the others. The whole operation was blown wide open and, with the downfall of the likes of Lepke Buchalter, it was only a matter of time before the others followed suit.

So, Strauss’ rancid reign of terror was shorted when he was sat on Old Sparky at Sing Sing, aged just 32.

Also on this day

12 June 1941 – Martin Goldstein
12 June 1987 – Jimmy L Glass

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12 June 1941 – Martin Goldstein

Posted in Death penalty, Electric chair with tags , , , , , , on June 12 by Old Sparky

Martin Goldstein‘I’d like to pee up your leg’. Those were the delightful and profound words of Martin Goldstein after the New York judge asked him to comment before he was sentenced.

Such was the toilet humour of the unsavoury gang member and one of the lead hitmen in Murder Inc, that it was hardly surprising the jury found against the hardened criminal.

‘Bugsy’ as he was known, had originally led the notorious Mafia gang, but he deferred to the likes of Lepke Buchalter who later took the reins. But the gang’s cover was blown after a fellow hitman spilled the murderous beans in return for a reprieve. The grass blew the lid on the whole tawdry operation and out crawled all the low-lifes embroiled in the crime-ridden set-up.

Of course, Goldstein was one such depraved individual – he was found guilty of murder and saw out his days at Sing Sing before having a fatal date with Old Sparky, aged about 36.

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4 March 1944 – Louis ‘Lepke’ Buchalter

Posted in Electric chair with tags , , , , , , on March 4 by Old Sparky

Louis ‘Lepke’ BuchalterRuthless racketeer and murderous mobster Louis ‘Lepke’ Buchalter was sent to the chair and fried today in 1944.

Buchalter made his name on the violent streets of 1930s’ New York. He was probably one of the highest profile catches the police made, during a time when gangsters literally dripped their lawlessness all over town.


Lepke was the pet name his mum had given him, but there was nothing warm and cuddly about this man. He was an out and out thug, who had two prison sentences under his belt by the time he was 22. He had a bunch of henchmen under his thumb too, who’d been collectively christened Murder Inc by the press. And that’s exactly what they’d do – carry out a plethora of contract killings on his every whim.


Drugs, murder, protection rackets, you name it, Buchalter was into it, and that’s what made him a big name in the organised crime world. But, ultimately, the law was to get the better of him. The ring was blown open when members of his henchmen started popping their clogs. One by one they were arrested and executed at Sing Sing.

Buchalter was already on the run for drugs charges and finally he was caught and had up on murder charges too, alongside two fellow mob men, Emanuel ‘Mendy’ Weiss, and Louis Capone. The charges stuck and they were sent down for their crimes.

The trio met their end one after the other on this day in 1944, as they each took turns to sit in the hot seat. Buchalter was 47 years old.

Also on this day

4 March 1944 – Emanuel Weiss and Louis Capone
4 March 303 – Adrian of Nicodemia

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4 March 1944 – Emanuel Weiss and Louis Capone

Posted in Electric chair with tags , , , , , , on March 4 by Old Sparky

Emanuel WeissHenchmen Emanuel ‘Mendy’ Weiss and Louise Capone were sent to the electric chair for doing the Jewish Mafia’s dirty work on the streets of New York.

Weiss men

Accomplished hit man, Weiss, 37, (pictured) was a key member of Murder Inc alongside Capone, roughly 47. They’d carry out contract killings on behalf of their gangster bosses, of which Louis ‘Lepke’ Buchalter was one.

It was under Buchalter that Weiss started out. Along with Louis Capone (who was, by the way, unrelated to Al), the two became dependable assassins, who’d be on hand to bump people off on the merest whim of their lawless lords.

The two of them were finally hauled up for killing another mobster, Joseph Rosen, who’d threatened to expose the whole rotten lot.

Job lot

It turned out the prosecution didn’t need Rosen after all. Ex-mob men were forming an orderly queue to expose their former colleagues and bosses. And it was the compelling evidence they provided that ensured Weiss, Capone and Buchalter were sent down. The pair, along with their boss Buchalter, were sentenced to be executed in the electric chair at Sing Sing and they were put to death one after the other.

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19 February 1942 – Francesco “Frank” Abbandando

Posted in Electric chair with tags , , , , , , on February 19 by Old Sparky

Francesco “Frank” AbbandandoBrooklyn gangster Francesco ‘Dasher’ Abbandando was sent to the electric chair for devoting his life to murder and tyranny on the streets of New York.

Sicilian-born Abbandando was a mob hit man, who was instrumental in organising gambling and extortion rackets, along with loan sharking in New York.


His family had emigrated to New York and in his teenage years he’d shown Mob tendencies. He was into forcing shops to pay money over to him to prevent him from setting light to their premises.

As he grew up, he became embroiled in more and more Mob activities when he joined the Ocean Hill gang. Along the way, he gained his nickname, because he was so fast. The speed at which he tenaciously chased one escaping victim ensured he was christened ‘Dasher’.

The ice pick man cometh

But it was his reputation as a member of The Combination, or Murder Inc (as it became known in the press) that made Abbandando notorious. In the ‘30s, he was to target opposing gangs and competitors. One particularly horrific murder involved a loan shark – George Rudnick. He was strangled, hacked with an ice pick and a meat cleaver, before having his skull crushed by a garage door.


It was for this murder that Abbandando was caught and sent to trial. But he was convinced he was above the law, because he was sure his bosses would fix everything and get him off. Sadly for him, his bravado was misplaced. The Mob failed to come good, so Abbandando was found guilty of murder and sent down. The sentence was death.

The mobster was electrocuted at Sing Sing in New York, aged 31. His mate, indeed his mentor and partner in crime, Harry ‘Happy’ Malone shared death as in life – he was also executed on this day.

Also on this day

19 February 1951 – Jean Lee
19 February 1942 – Harry ‘Happy’ Malone
19 February 1999 – Wilford Berry Jnr
19 February 2002 – John William Byrd Jnr

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19 February 1942 – Harry ‘Happy’ Malone

Posted in Electric chair with tags , , , , , , on February 19 by Old Sparky

Happy Harry MaloneThe electric chair went into overdrive today in 1942, wiping out members of the mob in New York.

Two members of The Collection were sent to their death on the electric chair today in 1942.

Harry ‘Happy’ Malone made his name as a New York mobster and a particularly ruthless hit man. He’d bump people off on the whims of his bosses as part of The Collection gang, which was active in the 1930s – or Murder, Inc. as the press had christened them.
And why was he ‘Happy’? Well, it wasn’t for his charm or good naturedness, that’s for sure. Malone was never known to smile and he had a permanent grimace.

Let’s face it, he had nothing to smile about. Malone had been found guilty of murder, after he other members of Murder, Inc. were had up for killing George Rudnick in a gruesomely savage hit.

Job lot

It was a bad day for the Mob. They lost two key players in their hit team in one fell swoop. Malone was one of two people to be fried on the electric chair at Sing Sing on this day in 1942 for murdering George Rudnick, and was roughly 34 when he died. The other was his protegé Francesco “Frank” Abbandando. Their deaths marked the beginning of the end for The Collection.

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