"He must have done something. They don't kill you for nothing." - Chicago Gangster Ted Newberry. Rubbed out January 7, 1933

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Big sleep for the leader of the Pillow Gang

Carmelo Fresina was the leader of what the St. Louis police had dubbed the Pillow gang. Why the Pillow gang? A few years previous Fresina was involved in a shootout and received a wound in the back side. Since then he took to carrying a pillow around to cushion himself when sitting.

Fresina was involved in extortion and bootlegging. He had some rum running trials approaching and on the evening of May 7, 1931, told his wife that he was leaving for a few days to "Fix those liquor cases against me."

The following morning a sedan was found on a roadside in Edwardsville, Illinois. On the rear floor was Fresina with two bullets in back of his head.

Carmelo Fresina

Monday, May 6, 2019

Big bang for Big Sam

Big Sam Oteri was a Boston gangster who was scratched from the "Cradle of Liberty's" underworld on this date back in 1933. It was about 1 A.M. when a card game between Oteri and some of his cronies broke up.

Oteri, who had previoulsly been arrested for bootlegging and suspicion of murder, walked out with Frank Castelone, the brother of Oteri's late partner Charles Castelone who was killed the previous July, and as the men parted a car pulled up and three quick shots from a shotgun lit up the night.

Hit by over two dozen pellets, Oteri fell to the ground as Castelone ran away. A cop found Oteri on the sidewalk and rushed him to the hospital where he died less than an hour later.

Big Sam Oteri

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Little Augie out

The body of Denver gangster Little Augie Marino was found five and a half miles out of town on this date back in 1933. The twenty-three year old gunman was last seen about week earlier when he left his home. His mother stated however that he frequently left home for days at a time so she wasn't concerned that he hadn't been back.

Marino, said to have been involved, at different times with both the Roma gang and the Smaldone gang, had been on the spot for a while. It was reported that, at the time of his death, he was still on crutches from wounds he received in a gunfight the previous December. Another attempt at his life was made earlier to that. Police guessed that the murder may have been in retaliation for the February killing of Joseph Roma.

Marino had been shot twice in the head and then, after his body had been pulled from the car, another shot was pumped into his chest.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Piggy back one-way ride

Five hours after his partner, John Piggy Weller, was buried, St. Louis gangster Louis Mandel was rubbed out by either Weller's friends or the same gang that took out his partner. It was believed that the former was the most likely reason.

A witness stated that he was doing some work when he heard a series of shots, though it was dark he stated that he saw two cars. One had one guy, the other a handful. He watched as the car containing the group turn around and then stop, he saw a gun step from the sedan and fire a number of shots into the ground.

After the cars vacated, the witness approached the road, wondering why a man would fire into the ground. Reaching the spot, the witness found the body of Mandel. He had been shot six times in the head and another ten in the body. Though he had heard the initial shots, the witness failed to see Mandel's body tossed from the car.

Mandel had been arrested about one hundred times including a handful of times for murder.

 Louis Mandel

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Omaha Stakes are High

Gene Livingston was the booze baron of Omaha, Nebraska. He got his start by bringing in booze from St. Joseph, Missouri when Prohibition started but by the end of the 1920s he was operating stills in the commercial of district of Omaha.

After law enforcement got around to closing his stills, Livingston started a policy operation in a number of pool halls, paying better odds than his competitors. This could possibly be the reason he was rubbed out on May 1, 1930.

Livingston knew was put on the spot. A few months previously, on February 13, he was driving when a car pulled up along side him and peppered his car with a shotgun. He managed to pull over and get out and run.

Then end came in the Omaha apartment of Margaret Mack, which doubled as a speakeasy.. Livingston and his bodyguard,  Bob Glasgow, had stopped in earlier for a drink and returned at about 4 A.M. "I'm pretty drunk and I'd like to stay here all night." Livingston told Mack. A few minutes later he stepped into the kitchen and there were a number of shots.

Glasgow ran into the kitchen and he was hit a number of times as well. His boss had been hit five times in the belly, possibly by a shotgun blast.

What exactly happened in the kitchen wasn't determined. It was thought that Livingston was shot from a window. But another version has it that the shots came from inside the apartment. No one involved bothered to straightened out the story.

Though wounded, Glasgow took his boss to the hospital where Livingston died a half hour later.

Gene Livingston