Vincenzo Terranova

by Jon Black

Alias: Vincent Terranova

Born: 1890

Nationality: Sicilian

Died: May 81922

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