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1891 Lynch Mob secrets from an aging New Orleans newspaperman By Thomas Hunt and Martha Macheca Sheldon

Sirs: I have read in the past many versions of the now famous Mafia affair, most of which were incorrect. I have never written anything about it, as I knew many of the squad were alive and would resent it, but now that most of us are dead and I am 68, there is little chance of trouble. All of the names I am giving have been published at some time or other; all of the facts are on record in New Orleans. So began a letter from George Parke to the editors of several of the accused who had not yet been tried were Truth magazine in November, 1936. Parke was a former killed within the prison walls the next morning. New Orleanian writing from Farmhaven, Mississippi. The Along with trial defendants Macheca, Bagnetto, Polizzi, infamous Crescent City lynchings were forty-five years in Monastero, Scaffidi and Antonio Marchesi, untried pristhe past, but Parke clearly remained haunted by his oners Rocco Geraci, James Caruso, Frank Romero, loreto involvement. Comitis and Charles Traina were slain. (Curiously, acquitParke’s letter outlined the history of ted defendant Charles Matranga, wideNew Orleans’ late 19th Century strugly regarded as the leader of the local gles with the Mafia and described the Mafia, and Matranga’s top aide Bastiano October 1890 assassination of local Incardona were unharmed.) Police Chief David Hennessy. Parke acknowledged that he was a Hennessy had been engaged in a crumember of a preselected execution team sade against the criminal society dating that entered the prison under cover of a from his 1881 arrest of Sicilian fugitive lynch mob and killed eleven defenseless Giuseppe Esposito. A grand jury invesmen. A twenty-three-year-old New tigating the assassination returned Orleans newspaperman in 1891, he murder indictments against nineteen recalled being enlisted into the execuItalian Americans in mid-November. tion squad by vigilante leaders conThe defendants were said to comprise a vinced that the Hennessy assassination Sicily-linked criminal society known as trial jury had been bribed and intent on the Mafia. Prosecutors separated the correcting that jury’s not guilty verdicts. defendants into two groups. The first Though Parke went along with the New Orleans Police Chief David Hennessy group, comprised of nine defendants, vigilantes, he apparently was not confiwas brought to trial in February of 1891. dent in the virtue of their cause. Following the killing of On March 13, a jury found none of the nine defendants the nine men inside Parish Prison, many called for guilty. The jury acquitted six, Joseph P. Macheca, Charles Dominick O’Malley, who long opposed Hennessy and Matranga, Bastiano Incardona, Antonio Marchesi, Asperi was suspected of bribing the assassination trial jury, to Marchesi and Antonio Bagnetto, and was hopelessly meet the same fate. Parke secretly provided O’Malley deadlocked on the remaining three, Manuel Polizzi, Pietro with a safe refuge for two weeks, until it was deemed safe Monastero and Antonio Scaffidi. Due to a legal technical- for him to surrender to city officials. ity, all the defendants remained incarcerated in New “His brother-in-law James Coney, resided next Orleans’ old Parish Prison overnight. Crescent City resi- door and thus could communicate all the news to dents were outraged by the verdicts, and a vigilante group him as the days passed,” wrote Parke. “–Years later, was quickly organized. Most of the trial defendants and as owner of the Evening Item and a prominent publisher, 2014 FAll EDITION 49

Tampa Mafia 2014 Fall Edition  

Tampa First Mafia Boss Miami Beach Mafiosi Gangster Fatty Walsh DC's Most Notorious Gambler Arturo Fuente's Casa Cuba The Mob Lounge

Tampa Mafia 2014 Fall Edition  

Tampa First Mafia Boss Miami Beach Mafiosi Gangster Fatty Walsh DC's Most Notorious Gambler Arturo Fuente's Casa Cuba The Mob Lounge

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