Murder in McHenry – Paul Scharff – Part 2

In Part 2, our special guest, Paul Scharff tells about his first contact with the McHenry County Sheriff’s Investigator. Paul learns they have never looked at Larry “Lurch” Neumann. When Paul first contacts the Sheriff’s investigator, they try to discourage him by intimating he may learn information about his fatherDenny Griffin┬áthat he does not want to hear. They had put this off as a killing by a jealous lover of the bar maid killed at the same time. He talks to Frank Culotta and finds out that Neumann is a real psychopath that killed for money as well as fun. Culotta tells him the story of how Neumann got a phone call from his ex-wife and was very angry when he hung up. Cuoltta asked him about the call and Nuemann said this bar owner in Chicago had thrown his wife out of the bar. Neumann said he had to go back and kill the guy because this was disrespectful to him. ┬áCulotta and Neumann were part of a burglary gang headed up by Chicago Outfit member, Tony Spilotro. Culotta knew the boss, Spilotro, would not approve of a revenge killing. This is the kind of unnecessary murder that can bring heat on the Outfit. Culotta sends a guy back to Chicago with Neumann on his next trip home in an attempt to prevent this killing. For unknown reasons, Neumann was still able to kill Ron Scharff and get back to Las Vegas.

Frank Culotta, Larry Neumann and other members of Spilotro’s Hole in the Wall Gang were set up by the Las Vegas F.B.I. and the Las Vegas Metro Intelligence Unit on July 4, 1981. Spilotro’s gang was dubbed the Hole in the Wall Gang because they cut usually cut a hole in the wall or roof of jewelry store to steal diamond and gold jewelry. They used this entry method to escape the usual window and door burglary alarms. Only one month, almost to the day, after Neumann killed Ron Scharff, F.B.I., Agents Emment Michaels and Dennis Arnoldy along with Metro Police Intelligence Commander Kent Clifford and his squad waited for the Hole in the Wall gang. On July 4, 1981, the officers watched as the gang cut a hole in the roof of Bertha’s Gifts at 896 East Sahara, Las Vegas. Once the gang was inside, they surrounded the building and arrested everyone. This was the end of this gang.

The gang members posted bail and Spilotro ordered him to kill Frank Culotta and another gang member. Culotta learned of this plot and entered the Witness Protection program. His testimony would help put Neumann in prison for life on another unrelated killing. Culotta would testify against Spilotro in both Las Vegas and Chicago. He was not convicted on either case, but the Chicago judge hearing that case would be convicted of bribery charges a few years later.




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