Terry Johnston from Cedar Hill Tennessee asked about the St. Louis crime family. I responded privately but so you guys know, the KC family had little to do with St. louis. They were tied in with Detroit and Cleveland. The La Cosa Nostra or Brogata groups was never very strong. In St. Louis there was a strong Syrian and Lebanese ethnic crime family who worked with Anthony “Tony G” Giordano, the last know Sicilian Mafia boss. Detroit based crime writer, Scott Bernstein of the Gangster Report has written on the St. Louis family. Giordano had worked with “Horseshoe Jimmy” James Michaels as the boss of the Lebanese/Syrian faction. After Giordano died of natural causes in 1980, Before the end of that year an upstart faction of brothers under Horseshoe Jimmy killed him with a car bomb. This bomb exploded as Horseshoe Jimmy drove on Interstate 55. This set of a mob war inside the Syrian/Lebanese and Italian factions in St. Louis. The Leisure brothers, Paul and Anthony J. Leisure and their cousin, David Leisure, of LN & P Inc., owned a vehicle towing company in south St. Louis. Anthony Leisure is a business agent of Local 110 of the Laborers union. They believed that Horseshoe Jimmy had something to do with the killing of their older brother several years ago. Plus, they wanted more of the various pieces of action and union jobs. Anthony Leisure started calling himself the boss after that murder. The Leisure family would meet with Giordano’s successor, John Vitale and it was agreed the Syrian faction controlled by the Leisures would control Local 110 of the laborers Union. David Leisure was convicted of planting the bomb on Horseshoe Jimmy Michaels and was sentenced to die in Missouri. He was executed on September 1, 1999. This Syrian faction has since keeping a low profile.
In 2014, Anthino “Nino” Perrino the modern boss of the small St. Louis faction dies of natural causes and it was thought his brother Jack Perrino might take over. This small mob family is probably down to a few guys who are part of the Detroit family.
Tyler McGarity from Lansing Michigan suggested we add Cocaine Blues by Johnny Cash to our crime song of the week list. Funny story about this song and why I did not remember this one I don’t know. My brother and I once drunkenly serenaded an entire bus load of people going to a KC Chiefs game singing this song.
Maximilian O’Connor from Sweden loves the podcast and he requested a story on Nucky Johnson from Atlantic City. This is the Steve Buscemi character on the HBO show Boardwalk. He was the political and crime boss of Atlantic City during prohibition. Supposedly he hosted a famous meeting of all the major crime bosses to work out territories for illegal liquor distribution in the 1929.
George from Texas. In response to a comment that I did not know what I was talking about when I described Jimmy Duardi as a big man, a listener claimed Jimmy Duardi was a little guy. George states, “Jimmy was tall..6’1″ or so. I think everyone has pointed that out. The loudest most imposing figure that I have ever known to this day. He was also very much before his time with health and nutrition. Worked out every day…extremely strong and intimidating hand shake. Gary I am interested in speaking to you further about your point of view. I grew up seeing him every day from about 1980 till his death.” George and I talked and he is the real deal. He left KC and became a legitimate successful businessman and lived a straight life. He has written a book about his life of crime and we will let you know when it is available.
Listener David Ford listened to the Berdella series and he wonders why the police would not use a search warrant when Berdella victim Jerry Howell’s, father, Paul Howell found the remains of a dead dog inside the trash bags. I explained that if they had any idea of what was really going on, they would have stretched the probable cause and gotten a warrant, but at the time all they knew was that Jerry Howell was missing and his father suspected Berdella and that Berdella did know Jerry Howell.
Noah Seidenberg from Chicago loves the podcast and was very interested in the Capone stories. He sent me a personal photo of Al Capone walking in the court during his trial.
Another listener response, Andrew Aycock responded to the Ken Eto hit. Remember, he was shot in the head and the bullets failed to penetrate. Mr. Aycock suggests they loaded the cartridges with less powder to keep the noise down. He has done this in inside shooting competitions to reduce the sound and he found that sometimes too much humidity caused the powder to not burn properly to the point that the wad from the shell would be stuck in the barrel and must be cleared before we could continue. Frank Culotta once talked about how Chicago gangsters had talked about reducing the powder to reduce the sound during a hit.
Listener responses to The Story of Mad Sam DeStefano –
Our friend Red Wemette states he may be one of the few persons who ever went into the basement of Mad Sam and came out alive and unscathed.
Robert Ferguson commented on the blog that he remembers that Mad Sam lived across the street of my grandfather on Gladys ave Chicago il
Another listener whose name I cannot find, sorry stated that I mentioned that Mad Sam and his brother Mario DeStefano started as members of the 42 Gang. This listener commented the name of this gang was named after a famous fairy Tale known as Ali Baba and the 40 thieves. Only, they said they had 42 thieves, more than Ali Baba
To start with, Mad Sam was murdered in 1973, a week before his murder someone entered his home in either a first murder attempt or to case the layout. Mad Sam reported to the Chicago PD that someone entered his home with a key, turned off an elaborate alarm using a secret switch. He said he surprised the burglars and they drove away in small dark car. He did not report any loss. I think he had a loss but could not report it. He lived at 1656 N. Sayre Ave on Chicago’s west side. We know Mad Sam’s efforts to learn the identities of the suspects in this burglary would have been horrendous. He was known for doing things like tying a naked man to a red hot radiator, hung victims on meat hooks and laughed while he beat victims in their genitals and other vulnerable areas for long periods of time and other creative torture methods.
The police at the time knew Mad Sam had a long list of enemies. But, in any mob murders cases, look for any co-defendants in a pending case.
In this case, Mad Sam, his brother, Mario, and Tony Spilotro were awaiting trial in the 1963 murder of a juice collector named Leo Foreman, who was found in the trunk of a car at 5208 W. Gladys. Av. Foreman was a 42-year-old reputed loan- shark figure had been beaten, stabbed and shot. Outfit bosses were nervous about Mad Sam’s demeanor. Understandable, he was crazy at best and the autopsy revealed he was suffering from severe malnutrition.
The day of the murder, DeStefano’s bodyguard, Joseph Valicento, had left the mobster’s West Side home at 1656 N. Sayre Av. about 9:40 a. m. with DeStefano’s wife, Anita. Valicento had driven her to visit her mother. DeStefano was found dead about 11:15 a. m. that morning. His body was sprawled on the garage floor with multiple shotgun wounds in the chest and left arm. We reported before that Tony and Mario tricked Mad Sam into believing they knew the location of the witness in their upcoming murder trial and encountered him in his garage when they shot him.
According to several underworld informants, Sam had had hinted that he may have turned state’s evidence to get a lighter sentence.
We learned that the case Mad Sam had pending was looking good for the prosecution. In 1973, an Outfit hitman and juice loan collector for Mad Sam named Charles Crimaldi, was granted immunity from prosecution for his testimony in the Foreman murder. Back in 1963, evidence technicians vacuumed Foreman’s clothing and discovered several paint and wood chips embedded in the fabric. The chips were placed in a bottle, sealed, and put on a shelf.
Crimaldi told a grand jury that De Stefano had lured Foreman, who owed him $1,000.00, to his Sayre Avenue home. When Foreman got there, he was met by Sam and Mario, who pulled their guns and drove him to the Mario’s home at 1304 S. Cicero Av., Cicero, Crimaldi said. There he was beaten by Sam De Stefano with a baseball bat, shot, and stabbed. As Foreman lay bleeding and dying, he pleaded with DeStefano to spare him, Crimaldi said, but Sam answered, “I told you I’d get you.”
IN 1970 Mario DeStenfano sold his house on S. Cicero Ave and investigators had been waiting for this since 1963. They obtained search warrants, entered the home, and went over the basement floor with their equipment. Paint and wood chips, as well as blood specks, matched those that had been found on Foreman’s body and kept for ten years in the sealed bottle. Based on that evidence and Crimaldi’s testimony, indictments were returned against, Mad Sam DeStefano, Mario DeStefano, and Tony Spilotro.
Mario DeStefano was eventually convicted in the Foreman murder and sentenced to 20-to-40 years in prison. Spilotro was acquitted. Police considered Mario DeStefano and Spilotro to be suspects in Sam DeStefano’s murder, but the two men were never charged. On July 9, 1975, Mario DeStefano’s sentence in the Foreman murder was overturned by the Illinois Appellate Court. While awaiting retrial, DeStefano died on August 12, 1975, of a heart attack.
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