Vincenzo Terranova

by Jon Black

Alias: Vincent Terranova

Born: 1890

Nationality: Sicilian

Died: May 8, 1922

Where: East 116th Street

Cause: Shot


In 1892, Vincent Terranova arrived in New York from Corleone with his family including his mother, father, four sisters, and his brothers Ciro and Nicola. They were joining their brother Giuseppe, who had arrived six months earlier.

The family stayed in New York for around a year, but suffered from the lack of available work. They travelled to Louisiana, the father and Giuseppe worked for about a year planting sugar cane before moving on to Bryan, Texas. The family worked in Texas as cotton pickers, but left after two years when the family was hit with Malaria. In 1896, they arrived back in New York.

Vincent, and brother Ciro, went to a New York school and helped out at the family plastering business. In April 1903, the ‘Barrel Murder’ case began. After the trial had finished in June 1903, the whole Morello family were searched and hounded on a regular basis. One night, Terranova was travelling home from work with his brother Ciro, nephew Charlie, and Nick Sylvester when they were all arrested and kept overnight.

In 1908, Terranova was arrested in connection with the murder of Diamond Sam Sicca, but was never charged.

Terranova was under indictment in 1910, for being in possession of counterfeit bills, the same bills that led to his brother-in-law, Giuseppe, being imprisoned.

In 1912, Terranova was sentenced to ten days on Blackwell’s Island in the East River for assaulting a policeman.

Terranova was arrested in 1922, for violation of the Sullivan Law. He was killed later that year on May 8th, on East 116th Street. He was fired upon from a vehicle, he was reported to have returned pistol fire on one knee, before throwing his gun and falling dead. He was identified by his widow who had heard the shooting. Terranova was described after his killing as having made a considerable amount of money through bootlegging. When he was shot he was described as wearing a check suit, silk shirt, brown shoes, silk underwear and wore two rings, one a diamond cluster.

Vincent Terranova killing