Thirty-eight year old Bill Kirkillis was a former Chicago hoodlum who
had moved to Massillon, Ohio, and had become known as the "King of
Columbia Heights," a section of that city. On this date back in 1931,
Kirkillis was exiting an apartment and heading for his car when a gunman
opened fire on him. One of the four shots plowed into his right side
and made it to his hear, killing him.
been recently released from the workhouse where he did a stint for
stabbing a man. He had also been picked up on suspicion of killing
another. However, police believe that Kirkillis was bumped off for
tipping off Federal Prohibition agents about speakeasies belonging to
Police had been searching the Cincinnati area for all around bad man
Jack Parker. Parker, 35, operated out of the city of Hamilton, Ohio, and
was known as a bank robber, gunman and killer. Police wanted him in
connection with the murder of a man in a Kentucky roadhouse.
the murder, Parker had been hiding out in a fishing camp. On this day
in 1928 some visitors picked him up at his hideout and took him for a
ride, literally. The following day his body was found in a shallow pool
of water at the bottom of an embankment. Police reasoned that he had
been riding in the back seat of the car when the person in the front
passenger seat turned, and shot him in the face four times. He was then
dragged from the car and rolled down the embankment. Cincinnati gunman
Robert Zwick was subsequently credited with the killing.
On this date in 1932, two Detroit gangsters, Sam and Andrew Farrera. were doing
some business in Toledo, Ohio when some local gangsters decided that they
didn’t need any Motor City hoodlums muscling in. The Farreras, and another guy, were parked in their cousin's driveway when a
car load of rivals pulled up and opened fire. The windshield of the Ferraras’
car shattered, sending glass into Sam’s eyes. His vision impaired, Sam managed
to slip from the car and dive through a basement window. His brother caught a
bullet in the hand.
After the first barrage, the attackers pulled
around the corner and one of them, John Incorvaia, alias Engoria, 33, jumped from
the auto and returned to the house with an automatic pistol. Not bothering to
knock, Incorvaia rushed into the house and opened fire. Moments later he
dropped dead with two bullet wounds, one of which pierced his head. Mabel Candela, a cousin
of the Ferreras, confessed to the shooting saying that she fired in
the morning of May 12, 1928 sixty-year old Gaetano Acci-who was known to Chicago police by some other names, including; “the Wolf: ,“King of the Blackmailers” and
“The Muscler"-was seen leaving his home at 1066 Polk Street and getting into a sedan
with four other men.
that day he and his cohorts were spotted miles away in the town of
Rockford, Illinois. The
following morning, eighty-nine years ago today, a motorist traveling
along a quiet stretch of road outside the town of Harvard, Illinois,
discovered Acci's body and alerted authorities. Turns out that the "King
of the Blackmailers" had extorted four bullets from someone's gun.
Two went to his head, and two to his body.
Acci was known to prey on Italian residents of Chicago's west side. On his corpse were found six letters addressed to different
people demanding money. According to police, a week prior to his death, they had set a
trap for him and planned to kill him when he stopped to pick up a faux payment package,
but he never showed up. Subsequently the underworld save them the trouble.
Harry Hyter was a gangland sort dating back to at least the early 1920s
when he was involved with a bootleg gang operating out of Gary, Indiana.
His record also consisted of a handful of arrests for robbery. By the
early Thirties he was known as a “hanger-on” of the Capone gang and was a
ranking Capone gunman, Sam Hunt.
On this date back in 1931, somebody(ies), for some reason, firedbullets into Hyter’s head and chest. His body
was then driven out to an area called “Jaranowski’s woods” and dumped. While
searching his body, police found a number of cards listing amounts of gallons
so figured that Hyter was still actively engaged in bootlegging.
A little after midnight on this date back in 1931, Luigi Piazza pulled
into a gas station near Greensburg, Pennsylvania. Greensburg is a small
town in western PA outside of the city of Jeanette. At this time
Jeanette, located in Westmoreland County, was home to numerous glass
factories and a large portion of it's fifteen thousand inhabitants
supplied much of America with it's glass. It was Piazza's job to supply
these inhabitants with alcohol.
As Piazza sat in his car listening to the gas pump ding, I like to
imagine him thinking to himself, "Gee wiz, there has never been a
gangster bumped off with a Tommy gun in all of Westmoreland County.
Being a bootlegger here sure beats doing it in Chicago."
Obviously we don't know what Piazza was thinking at the time but while
he was thinking whatever it was that he thought, a large touring sedan
pulled into the station and parked next to him with the back window
curtains closed. After it came to a stop the curtains parted and the
muzzle of a Thompson machine-gun, said to be the first ever used in
Westmoreland County, came forth. As the station attendant continued to
pump petrol into Piazza's car,the gunman pumped a number of rounds into
Mission completed, the sedan pulled away as Piazza slumped to the floor
of his car. An ambulance was called and the bootlegger was rushed to the
hospital where he died later in the day.
I need to read this cover story to find out if the welder kidnapped the woman in his full garb and somehow made his way back to the structure without being caught, or did he change into his welding gear after he got her back? And I'd also like to know the back story on how the hero doesn't feel pain. He's getting torched, yet, judging by his look, he just got cut off in traffic. I think a good title for this story would be Murder on the Girder
Carmelo Fresina was a St. Louis gang leader involved in
bootlegging and extortion. He was looking at some bootlegging trials and told his wife, prior
to leaving their house at 9 p.m. on the night of May 7, 1931, that he
was going away for a few days to “fix those liquor cases against me.” Thirteen
hours later an Illinois State Highway patrolman found him reposing in the
tonneau of his car.
At some point during the night of May 7 or the early morning of
May 8, Fresina was sitting in the front seat of his car when somebody in the
rear fired two bullets into his head. In no condition to drive himself to his final
resting spot, Fresina was removed to the floor of the back seat and his
assassin(s) drove the car to Edwardsville, Illinois and left it on the side of a road.
A few years previously he and a few cohorts were involved in a bit of
underworld chicanery that resulted in shooting. One of the bullets
Fresina’s posterior (though painful, he fared better than his
ended up dead) and since that time, it was said, that wherever he went
he carried a pillow with him to sit on. As a result, the local police
his mob as the Pillow Gang.
The Pillow Gang, which operated out of St. Louis and was headed by
Fresina, should not be confused with the “My Pillow Gang” currently operating
out of Minnesota. Headed by this guy:
Author of: On The Spot: Gangland Murders in Prohibition New York City 1930-1933, Hollywood on the Spot: Crimes Against the Early Movie Stars, Legs Diamond: Gangster. Gangster City: The History of the New York Underworld 1900-1935. Notorious New Yorkers: Two Gun Crowley. Notorious New Yorkers: The Bobbed Haired Bandit. Notorious New Yorkers: Vivian Gordon.