Giuseppe DeMarco

by Jon Black

Alias: Joe DeMarco

Born: 1885

Nationality: Italian

Died: 20th July, 1916

Where: 54 James Street

Cause: Shot

Killer: Giuseppe Verazzano

Joseph DeMarco was a Harlem gang­ster with known con­nec­tions in the gam­bling world. Described in records as ‘5ft6, medi­um build, very dark com­plex­ion, wears a blue suit with a scarf pin made of a sap­phire sur­round­ed with diamonds.’

He was orig­i­nal­ly an ally of the Morello fam­i­ly, this was shown when they worked togeth­er to plan a mur­der in July 1912. DeMarco had pre­vi­ous­ly killed a doc­tor in New York for becom­ing involved with his girl­friend, an Italian actress. He then worked with Nick Terranova and Fortunato Lomonte to plan the girls murder. 

In 1912 the Secret Service learnt of con­ver­sa­tions between Nick Terranova and DeMarco to kid­nap Captain Flynn’s chil­dren, a plan that was aimed at secur­ing the release of Giuseppe Morello from prison.

His rela­tion­ship with the Morello gang fad­ed after he had arranged the killing of a ‘De Martini’ on E108th Street. DeMarco attempt­ed to kill Nick Terranova in Harlem, but his effort failed. Two sep­a­rate attempts were then made on his own life: he had been walk­ing past 112th St and 1st Av in April 1913, when he was shot in the neck from behind a fence. DeMarco almost died from his wounds but sur­geons in Harlem Hospital were able to save his life. The sec­ond attempt, in July 1914, was made when he was being shaved in a bar­bers on E106th near 3rd Av, when two men fired at him with sawn off shot­guns. More than a dozen slugs entered his body, but he lat­er recovered.

DeMarco left Harlem and moved down­town. In November 1915, he opened a restau­rant at 163 W 49th Street, and lat­er opened sev­er­al gam­bling rooms in Mulberry Street and one locat­ed at 54 James Street.

On June 24th, 1916 a meet­ing took place at Coney Island between the Sicilian Morello gang, the Neapolitan Navy Street gang and the Neapolitan Coney Island gang. The idea of the meet­ing was to dis­cuss the expan­sion of gam­bling dens in low­er Manhattan. Nick Terranova and Steve LaSalle explained that DeMarco would have to be killed before they could expand in the area. The Brooklyn gang also had an inter­est in killing DeMarco as he had recent­ly tak­en over one their games on Mullberry Street.

On the morn­ing of July 20th, 1916, the Navy St gun­men made their way to the entrance of the James St gam­bling house. Nick Sassi, an employ­ee of Demarco’s but also friend of the Navy St gang, got the gun­men inside. Joe DeMarco and Charles Lombardi were inside, they were sat next to each oth­er play­ing cards with sev­er­al oth­er men. DeMarco was shot dead and the gun­men escaped.

After he was killed, two women arrived at the morgue, both claim­ing to be his wife. Maria Ann Landri, from Mulberry Street, claimed they were maried in 1914. Whilst, Frances Sinonetti, from Harlem, claimed they mar­ried in 1907, hav­ing two chil­dren togeth­er. Sinonetti was giv­en the claim to the body.

Salvatore DeMarco, broth­er to the slain Joseph DeMarco, was found dead in a clump of weeds in a lot in Washington Avenue, near William St, Astoria. His body was dis­cov­ered on Friday 13th October 1916. His skull had been smashed some­time before the body was dropped, and his throat was cut once he had been dumped. He had been liv­ing above his broth­ers restau­rant at 163 W 49th Street, how­ev­er he had sold the restau­rant at auc­tion on October 11th a few days before his mur­der. Newspapers claimed that he was about to tell the police all he knew about his broth­ers killers and the lat­est shoot­ings, and this was the rea­son for his vio­lent death.

Giuseppe DeMarco (DC)