The Struggle for Control

by Jon Black

19101918. A long running battle between New York’s gangs to control the city’s lucrative rackets.

Giosue Gallucci & East Harlem

The scene in East Harlem, since the incar­cer­a­tion of the Morello lead­er­ship in 1910, was a volatile one. Sicilian immi­grants were still strong in num­bers on E107th Street, where­as Neapolitan gangs were liv­ing close by along E109th Street. Much of the fight­ing between the­se two groups, and fur­ther Neapolitan groups in Brooklyn, was a strug­gle to con­trol the city’s rack­ets of drugs, gam­bling, food, and basic util­i­ties.

A Neopolitan named Giosue Gallucci was based at 318 E109th. The build­ing was a three storey brick house, a bak­ery shop on the ground floor and apart­ments sit­u­at­ed above. Gallucci had emi­grat­ed from Naples in 1891, and had since built var­i­ous busi­ness­es based around Harlem. Gallucci was described in police records as ‘The Mayor of Little Italy’, he held strict con­trol over oth­er the pol­i­cy games in the area, nobody ran num­bers with­out pay­ing trib­ute to Gallucci. He used his image and wealth to become polit­i­cal­ly pow­er­ful, and was not­ed to be ‘very active’ dur­ing polit­i­cal cam­paigns.

DA notes on Giosue Gallucci

Antonio Zaraca, a prize fight­er, known as ‘Young Sharkey’, had been work­ing as a body­guard to the pow­er­ful Gallucci. On September 2nd, 1912, he was shot and killed in a café belong­ing to Giuseppe Jacko at 336 E109th. Zaraca had been play­ing cards with Jacko when an onlook­er drew a pis­tol and shot him. Passing police­man William Carrol heard the shoot­ing, he called for assis­tance and detained all four­teen men found inside the café. The feared Harlem gang­ster Aniello ‘Zopo’ Prisco, who had been arrest­ed in con­nec­tion with killing Pasquarella Spinelli in the ‘mur­der sta­bles’, was tak­en to court but even­tu­al­ly acquit­ted.

It had been a busy year for Aniello Prisco, he had been arrest­ed in con­nec­tion with four mur­ders, but each time his case came to court he was acquit­ted, usu­al­ly due to miss­ing wit­ness­es. On December 15th, 1912, Prisco him­self was shot and killed at the age of 37. A meet­ing had been arranged between Giosue Gallucci and Prisco at a bar­ber shop belong­ing to the Neapolitan Del Gaudio broth­ers on E104th Street. However when the meet­ing drew close, Gallucci feigned ill­ness and sent one of his men, Capalongo, with a mes­sage that Prisco would have to trav­el to see Gallucci at his bak­ery on E109th. 

Prisco agreed and trav­elled to E109th, he was killed by two bul­lets to the head from Gallucci’s nephew John Russomano. Gallucci told the police that Prisco had been shot in self defence, and that Prisco had been try­ing to black­mail him at the time of the killing. John Russomano was lat­er released free of charge.

A few months lat­er, Russomano and Capalongo were shot while stand­ing in the door­way of Russomano’s home, 329 E109th Street. Capalongo died instant­ly, Russomano was shot in the arm, break­ing the bone. Giosue Gallucci, had seen the shoot­ing and called the police, the block was sur­round­ed but the killers had got away. Russomano lat­er told police that he had not heard the shots, the police sus­pect­ed the killers had used silencers to help them escape eas­i­ly. Although no one was arrest­ed for the killing, it was thought that the shoot­ing was arranged by Amadio Buonomo, who had been a part­ner of the late Aniello ‘Zopo’ Prisco.

In April 1913, The New York Herald, which had been fol­low­ing the New York feud close­ly print­ed a con­ver­sa­tion between one of its reporters and Amadio Buonomo (broth­er of ‘Chicago Joe’ Buonomo — a known gang­ster and pimp):

They are after me very strong. I have been warned not go East of 3rd Av. They have open­ly accused me of hir­ing men to kill Russomano and the­se men killed Russomano’s guard. I have not been at my cof­fee saloon (331 E114th) for two weeks. I very sel­dom leave my flat, and then I am close­ly guard­ed. The men who are to kill me are always near the house. I see them, but with my guard they are afraid to attack me

Buonomo died on April 9th, 1913. He was attacked on Saturday 5th April near Jefferson Park. Buonomo, who was well know for wear­ing a pro­tec­tive chain mail vest that he pur­chased in China town, left his home on 1,758 Madison Av on the Saturday morn­ing for a walk. He had left his chain mail vest at home. Three men approached him and shot him at close range. At Harlem Hospital he was quot­ed as say­ing:

I knew they would get me, but my friends will get them and this feud will go on until all of them are wiped out of exis­tence. The killed my friend Prisco, the crip­ple …’.

An anony­mous let­ter to the DA claimed that Buonomo was mur­dered by Giosue Gallucci’s order, with police intel­li­gence putting ‘Diamond’ Joe ‘Pepe’ Viserti as the killer. 

Following the recent spate of killings, bomb­ings and black-mail­ings, 2nd Deputy Police Commissioner Dougherty and Assistant DA Deacon Murphy ordered a clean up of the New York gangs. Over forty Italians were arrest­ed in late July 1913. Most were charged with aid­ing and abet­ting pol­i­cy shops and some were charged under the Sullivan law. Giosue Gallucci was arrest­ed along with his nephew John Russomano and Joseph ‘Chuck’ Nazzaro of 339 E108th, all were charged with car­ry­ing con­cealed weapons. 

Gallucci and Russomano both post­ed bail, but Nazzaro was left behind and jailed for ten months. Russomano man­aged to delay his tri­al until March 27th, 1914, when the General Sessions court would find him guilty and send him to Sing Sing for sev­en years. The real rea­son of the arrests was spec­u­lat­ed to be to try and smash Galucci’s vice ring. Gallucci was well known for his deal­ings with pros­ti­tu­tion and was nick­named in the press as ‘King of the White Slavers’.

The Neapolitan Del Gaudio broth­ers were involved in gam­bling in East Harlem, but also had con­nec­tions with the Brooklyn based Navy Street gang. Nicola Del Gaudio, broth­er to Gaetano and own­er of a bar­ber shop on E104th, was killed in October 1914. He had been lured down to the East River and 114th Street. As he passed an emp­ty lot he was killed with a shot­gun fired from behind a fence. The killing was attrib­ut­ed to the pow­er­ful Giosue Gallucci, after Del Gaudio had become dis­pleased with his share of the East Harlem graft and demand­ed more. However, lat­er dur­ing the tri­al of Allesandro Vollero it was not­ed that Vollero want­ed the Morello gang killed for their part in the Del Gaudio mur­der.

Following the killing, Nicola’s broth­er, Gaetano Del Gaudio, acquired a body­guard named George Esposito, who had pre­vi­ous­ly been a body­guard to Gallucci.

Around the begin­ning of May 1915, Joseph ‘Chuck’ Nazzaro, the man arrest­ed with Gallucci for car­ry­ing a gun in 1913, was released. To help him raise some mon­ey a ‘rack­et’ was held on his return. Joe Nazzaro sold his café in E108th Street to Carmine Mollica, short­ly after the sale Mollica was ambushed and killed. Nazzaro was arrest­ed but lat­er released.

Several attempts had been made on his life, but Giosue Gallucci was final­ly killed on May 17th 1915. Gallucci, and his son Luca, left the fam­i­ly bak­ery and walked over to the cof­fee shop Gallucci had recent­ly pur­chased. Four men entered the shop and began shoot­ing. Giosue was hit in the neck and stom­ach, his son Luca was shot in the stom­ach. Fifteen men were in the cof­fee shop at the time, most­ly friends of Gallucci, some returned fire but the shoot­ers escaped. More than sev­en shots were fired in total. 

When the police arrived they arrest­ed every­one in the cof­fee shop, they then found Luca, who had man­aged to stag­ger back across to the fam­i­ly home. Luca died the fol­low­ing evening in hos­pi­tal. His funer­al was given three days lat­er, 800 car­riages left the ‘Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel’, 22 car­riages were for flow­ers alone. The pre­ces­sion went along E115th Street head­ing for the ceme­tery, car­ry­ing the $500 coffin. That evening Giosue Gallucci died in hos­pi­tal. He had still been on $10,000 bail for car­ry­ing a con­cealed weapon, a case that dat­ed back to 1913 and had not yet reached court, a fact that many attrib­ut­ed to his polit­i­cal con­nec­tions.

The killing of Gallucci was for­mu­lat­ed by the Morello fam­i­ly and Brooklyn Neopolitan gangs, part­ly in revenge for the killing of Prisco and Buonomo, a nephew of the Coney Island boss, Pelligrino Morano. But most­ly in an attempt to take con­trol of his busi­ness empire. The sup­posed killers were Joe ‘Chuck’ Nazzarro, Andrea Ricci and Tony Romano. The lucra­tive gam­bling rack­ets left behind by Gallucci were now free for the tak­ing, and they soon passed over to the Morello gang.

The Gangs of New York

The five largest Italian gangs in New York around this time were the Sicilian Morello gang in Harlem, the Neapolitan Navy Street gang head­ed by Leopoldo Lauritano and Allesandro Vollero, the Neapolitan Coney Island gang head­ed by Pelligrino Morano. A Sicilian gang lead by Cola Schiro in Brooklyn, main­ly com­prised of Castellammare Del Golfo immi­grants. Another Brooklyn gang was head­ed by Manfredi Mineo, and the final gang was based in Harlem, in the same ter­ri­to­ry as the Morellos, head­ed by a Salvatore ‘Toto’ D’Aquila.

The writ­ings of Nicola Gentile, describe D’Aquila as more feared than respect­ed, exceed­ing­ly fero­cious, crafty and ambi­tious. Gentile went on to note that since Morello’s 25 year sen­tence ’ his posi­tion had been entrust­ed by The General Assembly to Toto D’Aquila’. Amongst the Italian gangs of New York, D’Aquila was now con­sid­ered the boss.

Salvatore Clementi, a Secret Service infor­mant, explained the sit­u­a­tion.

there are four gangs, that three of them are work­ing togeth­er: the Manfredi gang, the gang head­ed by Nicola Schiro, both of Brooklyn, and the Lomonti gang of Harlem; that the fourth gang, led by D’Aquila of Harlem, is opposed by the oth­er three gangs; that men have been shot on account of the feud between the­se gangs in all prob­a­bil­i­ty; that no doubt there will be more shoot­ing soon.

With Giuseppe Morello behind bars, and his case for appeal reject­ed, lead­er­ship of the Morello gang need­ed to be resolved. The Terranova broth­ers, Ciro, Vincent and Nicholas were aged 23, 25 and 21, respec­tive­ly, at the time of the 1911 appeal hear­ing. Other pos­si­ble can­di­dates were the Lomonte broth­ers, Fortunato and Tomasso, cousins of Giuseppe Morello. They held a hay and feed busi­ness at 2103 1st Avenue, on the junc­tion of E108th Street and also had con­nec­tions with Giosue Gallucci.

Fortunato Lomonte was killed on May 23rd 1914. He left his busi­ness premis­es on the Saturday morn­ing and was walk­ing along E108th Street when he was shot in the back with three bul­lets. The killer had appeared from the hall­way of a ten­e­ment, then escaped by return­ing to the hall­way and vault­ing a fence at the rear of the build­ing. Lomonte’s friends drove him to Harlem Hospital where he was revived. Detective John Cassetti pushed Lomonte for the killers name, but Lomonte refused to name his killer before he fell uncon­scious and died.

According to Nicola Gentile, the killers were Umberto Valenti and Accursio Dimino, sent by ‘Toto’ D’Aquila who was look­ing to remove the pow­er of Lomonte. Gentile described Lomonte as hav­ing ‘the absolute pre­dom­i­nance in the quar­ter around 106th Street’, but the killing may have also been for the recent killing of D’Aquila’s friend Giuseppe Fontana, a long time Morello asso­ciate who had defect­ed from the weak­en­ing gang.

Tomasso Lomonte, Fortunato’s broth­er, was shot and killed a year lat­er. The news­pa­pers report­ed Tomasso giv­ing the fol­low­ing state­ment to Acting
Capt. Jones of the Third Branch Detective Bureau before his death:

I don’t know who got my broth­er and the boss [Gallucci], but I am not tak­ing any chances.

Sicilians & Neapolitans

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 had 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.

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. Pelligrino Morano, from Coney Island, began talk­ing about the lucra­tive Italian zicchinet­ta card games. Nick Terranova, now head­ing the Morello fam­i­ly, and Steve LaSalle explained that Joe 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.

Around three weeks lat­er Nick Terranova, Steve LaSalle, Ciro Terranova and Giuseppe Verizzano trav­elled to Navy Street to dis­cuss the plan to kill DeMarco. Verizzano, who worked with DeMarco, was intro­duced as the man who would be able to help kill him. The Morellos were too well known for them to use their own gun­men. So togeth­er they cre­at­ed a plan where Verizzano would get the Navy Street gun­men in to the James Street gam­bling den, where he would then secret­ly iden­ti­fy DeMarco as the man to be shot.

John ‘The Painter’ Fetto was orig­i­nal­ly cho­sen as the gun­man for the job, but he was slow to arrive at James Street at the cor­rect time, DeMarco had already left the build­ing. The gangs then planned the killing for a sec­ond time.

On the morn­ing of July 20th 1916, Louis the Wop, Nick Sassi, Steve LaSalle and Ciro Terranova all trav­elled from Harlem to the Navy Street café. They were wor­ried that a friend of DeMarco, called Joe ‘Chuck’ Nazzaro, might be present at James Street which would cause a prob­lem for the gun­men. So Leopoldo Lauritano arranged for Lefty Esposito, anoth­er Navy Street gun­man, to go along on the job.

That after­noon, the Navy Street gun­men, Pagano, Esposito and Fetto, made their way to a saloon on Elizabeth Street to await their sig­nal to move. At around five o’clock, Verizzano arrived at the saloon and noti­fied them that Demarco had arrived at James Street. Nick Sassi, an employ­ee of Demarco, but also friend of the Navy Street gang, got the gun­men inside. They made their way through a kitchen and in to a back room. Joe DeMarco and Charles Lombardi were sat next to each oth­er play­ing cards with sev­er­al oth­er men, numer­ous spec­ta­tors sat around watch­ing the card game. 

Verizzano sat down oppo­site DeMarco to help iden­ti­fy him to the gun­men who were now stand­ing watch­ing the game. Nick Sassi and Rocco Valenti from Navy Street wait­ed out­side to help aid their escape. Esposito and Pagano mis­read the sig­nals from Verizzano and shot and killed Charles Lombardi by mis­take, but Verizzano man­aged to kill DeMarco him­self. The gun­men made their escape through the bed­room win­dow into Oliver Street.

That evening Nick, Ciro and Vincent Terranova, Steve LaSalle and Verizzano all trav­elled to Navy Street. They con­grat­u­lat­ed Lauritano on the news that DeMarco had final­ly been killed, and gave him $50 to pass on to the Navy Street gun­men.

After the removal of DeMarco, the Camorra devised a plan to kill the Morellos. Even though the two gangs had worked alongside each oth­er for some­time, Morano want­ed them dead. Morano had been run­ning a pol­i­cy game in Harlem, the realm of the Morello fam­i­ly, but could not make it pay enough to cov­er the trib­ute that the Morellos demand­ed, anoth­er fac­tor was the killing of Nicola Del Gaudio, in 1914, had angered Allesandro Vollero. The Neopolitans believed they could tak­en over the Harlem rack­ets if they could elim­i­nate the Morello gang. They hatched a plan where they would try and lure the entire Morello lead­er­ship down to Brooklyn and ambush them.

On September 7th 1916, Nicholas Terranova and Eugene Ubriaco trav­elled down­town to meet with the Navy Street gang. Ralph Daniello served the men drinks before Pagano arrived to take them to a cof­fee house where Lauritano and Morano were wait­ing. The men walked togeth­er towards Myrtle Avenue when they were ambushed at the junc­tion of Johnson Street and Hudson Avenue. Nicholas Terranova was shot dead by Tom Pagano, and Ubriaco was slain by Thomas Carillo and Lefty Esposito. 

After the police arrived they searched Morello’s body, and found a bank book for New York Produce Exchange Bank, Harlem, show­ing a bal­ance of $1,865. Detectives from the Sixth Branch bureau then arrived, includ­ing Michael Mealli, who had been under the pay of the Navy Street gang. Mealli arrest­ed Rocco Valente, after he had been found in a local pool hall with a load­ed pis­tol. Later that evening Ciro Terranova was called to iden­ti­fy his broth­ers body. The Neapolitans were dis­ap­point­ed that more mem­bers of the Morello gang had not trav­elled down from Harlem, Steve LaSalle had been under arrest at the time of the ambush, oth­er­wise he would have been anoth­er like­ly casu­al­ty of the attack.

Allesandro Vollero was arrest­ed the fol­low­ing day and put in police line­up. Witnesses to the mur­der were asked to iden­ti­fy him but he was released nine­teen days lat­er.

Giuseppe Verrazano, who already had his own card games in Kenmare St, began to con­tem­plate open­ing a new gam­bling house, this news did not sit well with the Navy Street gang who began to plot his death. One day Verizzano spot­ted Lorenzo Liccari, from the Coney Island gang, sit­ting inside Frank Ferrara’s café on Grand Street. He began to sneak around the side of the café to kill Liccari, but he was spot­ted before he man­aged to shoot.

On October 5th 1916, Andrea Ricci sur­ren­dered him­self to the police for ques­tion­ing, but this was also to provide him­self with an ali­bi for the events about to occur the fol­low­ing day.

On October 6th 1916, Charles Giordano from Staten Island, a pol­i­cy man, saloon own­er and friend of the Neapolitans made plans for the killing of Verizzano. Alphonso Sgroia, Mike Notaro, Ralph Daniello and John Mancini trav­elled to Manhattan where Giordano locat­ed Verizzano in the Italian Gardens restau­rant in the Occidental Hotel, Broome Street. Sgroia and Notaro stood by the door shoot­ing into the estab­lish­ment. Verizzano was hit and killed. The Navy Street gun­men escaped, one into the Bowery and one into Broome Street.

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.

The Morello gang and the Brooklyn Camorra were at all out war. The Camorra hatched var­i­ous plans to wipe out the remains of the Morello lead­er­ship, but they were either foiled or were nev­er com­plet­ed, how­ev­er four asso­ciates of the Morello gang were mur­dered by the Camorra in Philadelphia.

The Navy Street gang pros­pered by tak­ing over the Morello busi­ness­es for a short peri­od. This was proved lat­er in 1918 by a Harlem gam­bler, who tes­ti­fied that for a short peri­od he had to trav­el to Brooklyn each week to have his books checked. The Camorra tried to move in on the arti­choke busi­ness, but the whole­sale deal­ers refused to give in to their threats, even­tu­al­ly a deal was struck where a ‘tax’ of twen­ty five dol­lars was paid on every car load of arti­chokes that were deliv­ered. Coal and ice mer­chants also proved hard to threat­en, and the Camorra’s busi­ness gains were not as large as they had expect­ed.

George Esposito, body­guard to Gaetano Del Gaudio was killed whilst he walked down E108th Street on 8th November, 1916. Later that mon­th, at 3am November 30th Gaetano Del Gaudio was shot and killed. He had been serv­ing cof­fee to two men in his restau­rant at 2031 1st Av, when he was blast­ed by a shot­gun that been placed again­st the his restau­rant win­dow. He was tak­en to the Flower Hospital where he claimed to know the iden­ti­ty of his killer, but refused to name him.

Anthony ‘The Shoemaker’ Paretti told the Navy Street gang that he had seen DeMarco’s old friend Joseph ‘Chuck’ Nazzaro talk­ing to the Morello gang. As a result of this, Nazzaro was shot and killed in Yonkers, on March 16th 1917. Fevrola, Sgroia, and the Paretti broth­ers, all from the Navy Street gang, lured Nazzaro out to Yonkers under the pre­tence of killing Fevrola for giv­ing the police infor­ma­tion about the gang. The men then shot Nazzaro and left his body on the trol­ley tracks.

In May 1917, a very impor­tant event took place that would begin the break­down and unrav­el­ing of the long feud between the Morellos and the Camorra. Ralph ‘The Barber’ Daniello, a mem­ber of the Navy Street gang, had been in court charged with rob­bery and abduc­tion, he was released before elop­ing to Reno with his new love, Ms Amelia Valve from Prospect Street, South Brooklyn. He sent let­ters to his for­mer Camorra gang ask­ing for mon­ey to be sent to him, but his requests were ignored. The police even­tu­al­ly tracked Daniello down in Reno and brought him back to Brooklyn. 

Indictments were brought again­st Daniello on the charge of mur­der, grand lar­ce­ny and per­jury. He began to tell the police every­thing he knew about the Navy Street crew and the recent mur­ders in New York. When the police realised the extent of Daniello’s con­fes­sions he was sent to the office of DA Edward Swann. 

For the next ten days, Daniello told his sto­ry of the mur­ders span­ning the last ten years. He went on to con­fess to his gangs involve­ment in the killings of both the DeMarco broth­ers, Nicholas Terranova and the ‘Chuck’ Nazzaro killing in Yonkers.

On November 27th, Daniello was arraigned with John Esposito, Allesandro Vollero and Alphonso Sgroia, and oth­er mem­bers of the Navy Street gang who had been arrest­ed based on infor­ma­tion from Daniello’s con­fes­sions. Also arraigned as mate­ri­al wit­ness­es were Ciro Terranova, Vincent Terranova and Nicholas Arra, all were held on $15,000 bail.

According to the tes­ti­mony by Daniello, Sicilians and Neapolitans were formed loose­ly in three main bands and con­trolled the rack­ets across New York. The bands were based in Harlem, down­town Mulberry bend and the last band cov­er­ing Brooklyn and Coney Island. 

On November 30th 1917, the Grand Jury under Judge Nott hand­ed out twelve indict­ments again­st the killing of Joseph DeMarco and Charles Lombardi. Five indict­ments had already been hand­ed out again­st the mur­der of Salvatore DeMarco, and anoth­er four in the case of ‘Chuck’ Nazzaro. Since the begin­ning of Daniello’s con­fes­sions the police had been watch­ing New York’s ports to make sure no gang mem­bers escaped con­vic­tion.

Edward Swann sent Henry Renaud, head of homi­cide, off to Chicago to arrest some of the indict­ed. Swann also began work­ing with Harry Lewis, the Kings County DA, to secure fur­ther con­vic­tions in Brooklyn. The tri­als that fol­lowed in 1918 com­plete­ly smashed the Navy Street gang, the pro­tec­tion that they enjoyed was demol­ished from the tes­ti­monies of their own men. It was the end of the Camorra in New York and the sway of pow­er fell back to the Mafia.

The Trials

Rocco Valenti was arrest­ed on January 26th 1918, in Troy New York for com­plic­i­ty in the DeMarco/Lombardi killing. He was jailed for ten months, before being dis­charged in November 1918. He lat­er appeared in court to tes­ti­fy in the appeal of Charles Giordano in March 1919.

Allesandro Vollero, was tried for first degree mur­der in on February 15th 1918, in the case of Nicholas Terranova and Eugene Ubriaco. Ralph Daniello tes­ti­fied again­st Vollero, and stat­ed that the gang paid mon­ey to a Detective named Michael Mealli. Mealli was reduced in rank and assigned to patrol duty. Judge Kapper was tak­en ill on February 18th, caus­ing a mis­tri­al to be declared. Vollero was retried on March 4th and was sen­tenced to life at Sing Sing pris­on.

Pelligrino Morano, lead­er of the Coney Island fac­tion, was con­vict­ed of mur­der in the sec­ond degree, and sen­tenced to Sing Sing from twen­ty years to life.

Leopoldo Lauritano, received a twen­ty one year sen­tence for manslaugh­ter in 1918. On 12th January 1926, after serv­ing only sev­en and a half years, Lauritano was paroled from Sing Sing. He was imme­di­ate­ly rear­rest­ed under an indict­ment that had been served in 1918 in con­nec­tion with the mur­der of Verizzano. On Thursday 14th, Judge Selah B. Strong, dis­charged Lauritano on a writ of habeas cor­pus. An action that caused an open argu­ment between the Kings County DA, Charles Dodd, and Judge Strong. 

Lauritano returned to court in February 1927, he was tried at the Brooklyn Supreme Court under Judge James Cropsey. He was charged with per­jury dur­ing the tri­al of Anthony Paretti, where he had stat­ed he did not know the defen­dant or his asso­ciates. The ADA, James Cuff, man­aged to pro­duce a pho­to of Lauritano in the Navy Street café with fel­low gang mem­bers, thus prov­ing his tes­ti­mony false. Lauritano received five years in Sing Sing.

Charles Giordano, the saloon keep­er from Tompkinsville S.I. was put on tri­al on April 27th, 1918. He was charged with plot­ting the killing of Giuseppe Verrazano in October 1916. Antonio Notaro and Ralph Daniello, from the Navy Street gang, tes­ti­fied again­st Giordano. Notaro was quot­ed as say­ing ‘Giordano told us that Verizzano had to be killed that night. When I said that I did not want to kill a man with­out orders from my boss, Giordano said he would do the job him­self but that I would die the next day for refus­ing, then I changed my mind’.

Alphonso Sgroia, from the Navy Street gang, was sen­tenced on June 17th 1918, he received twelve years in Dannemora for manslaugh­ter in the case of Nicholas Terranova. Sgroia went on to tes­ti­fy again­st his fel­low gun­men Paretti and Fevrola, he was reward­ed with a short­er sen­tence and depor­ta­tion to Italy.

John Esposito and Antonio Notaro were sen­tenced in June 1918, from 6 to 10 years each in the case of Nicholas Terranova and Eugene Ubriaco.

Ciro Terranova was tried for com­plic­i­ty in June 1918, in con­nec­tion with the DeMarco/Lombardi killing. Johnny Esposito, the killer of Lombardi, tes­ti­fied again­st Terranova, but he was acquit­ted due to lack of cor­rob­o­ra­tion when it was ten­u­ous­ly proved that Esposito and Terranova were part of the same gang.

Ralph Daniello was moved to a dif­fer­ent pris­on due the abuse he received after he tes­ti­fied at the tri­al of Vollero, he also received a sus­pend­ed sen­tence in view of his tes­ti­mony. His free­dom was short lived when he was lat­er arrest­ed for assault­ing a man in Coney Island, Daniello claimed he had shot the vic­tim think­ing that he had been sent from the Navy Street gang on a vendet­ta. Daniello was sen­tenced to five years in pris­on. After his release in 1925 he was shot in his saloon, near Metuchen, New Jersey.

Frank Fevrola, on April 18th 1921, was tried for the mur­der of Joe ‘Chuck’ Nazzaro in 1917. Judge Tompkins found Fevrola guilty and sen­tenced him to the death house at Sing Sing. His con­vic­tion was large­ly due to his wife’s tes­ti­mony again­st him. On April 14th 1922, a notice was served on DA Weeks, that a motion would be made to grant a retri­al on the case of Fevrola. His wife had with­drawn all her pre­vi­ous state­ments made again­st him, say­ing she had been threat­ened and bribed by the police. DA Weeks tried to oppose the retri­al by rub­bish­ing Tessie Fevrola’s new affi­davit. On May 23rd 1922, Justice Tompkins denied any motion for a retri­al. On May 29th 1923, lawyer Thomas O’Neil made a last min­ute attempt to save Fevrola from exe­cu­tion. His request for a retri­al was again put before Supreme Court Justice Tompkins. On Thursday 28th June 1923, with sev­en hours left until his exe­cu­tion and in a state of col­lapse, Fevrola received a reprieve, spar­ing his life until October 7th. The death sen­tence was even­tu­al­ly com­mut­ed.

Aniellio Paretti of 23 Sherman Av, Brooklyn, was tried for the mur­der of Joe ‘Chuck’ Nazzaro in 1917. In November 1921, Aniellio was sen­tenced to the death house in Sing Sing. His lawyer imme­di­ate­ly appealed again­st the deci­sion, and on January 3rd 1923 the Court of Appeals ordered a retri­al. DA Weeks then had the indict­ment dropped, and Paretti was a free man. He was released from Sing Sing in July 1923.

Anthony Paretti, of 23 Skillman Av, Brooklyn, was sen­tenced to Sing Sing death house for his part in the slay­ing of Nicholas Terranova and Eugene Ubriaco. Paretti orig­i­nal­ly fled to Italy to escape cap­ture. He returned to New York in March 1926, think­ing that most of the wit­ness­es again­st him would be gone. However, he was tried and con­vict­ed of mur­der in the first degree. His broth­er Aniellio Paretti, who had been released from Sing Sing in July 1923, came to vis­it sev­er­al times. On the six weeks lead­ing up to his exe­cu­tion, Warden Lawes ordered the pris­on front guard­ed 24 hours a day, rather than the usu­al 16 hours. On February 9th, 1927 Paretti was exam­ined, declared sane and fit for exe­cu­tion. He was report­ed to be exert­ing pow­er­ful pres­sure upon politi­cians to get his sen­tence com­mut­ed to life impris­on­ment. On the day of exe­cu­tion, the usu­al elec­tro­car­dio­gram was not given due to lack of arrange­ments. He was elec­tro­cut­ed at the age of 35 on 17th February 1927. One of the last men to vis­it Paretti before his death was a young Vito Genovese.