Giuseppe DeMarco

Sketch of DeMarco killing
Sketch of DeMarco killing

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.