Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Lufthansa Heist Revisited

Krugman Pays the Price

Martin Krugman was the next to go if the information from Hill is accurate. Hill claims Burke wanted him to set Krugman up to be killed the Tuesday night following the robbery. Hill was to talk Krugman into going to the Riviera Motel under the guise of meeting some girls. There DeSimone and Sepe would murder him in the parking lot. Hill and his wife Karen were close friends of Krugman and his wife Fran. He was not in favor of the hit and looked for excuses to keep the annoying bookmaker alive. A few hours before the planned murder, much to the relief of Hill, Burke turned to him and said, "Forget about tonight."

Later that night, while Hill and Krugman were drinking together, the bookmaker revealed that his "end" of the robbery was to be $500,000. With this revelation, it suddenly dawned on Hill, "Now I know why Jimmy wanted to whack Marty. It's a matter of half a million bucks. No way Jimmy was going to deny himself half a million dollars because of Marty Krugman. If Jimmy killed Marty, Jimmy would get Marty's half a mill."

Krugman's reprieve would be a short one. When Edwards' body was found Krugman believed he was killed over a drug deal that had gone bad. Krugman wouldn't stop complaining about when was he going to get his share. Hill recalls Krugman's death wish:

Marty was bound to be next. He was breaking Jimmy's balls. He was breaking my balls. He was crying that he needed his money to pay the loan sharks. He wanted to know why he had to pay the interest every week.

"I told him to take it easy. I told him he'd get the money. But Marty didn't want to pay the interest. By this time it was already January, and he was hanging around Robert's every day. You couldn't get rid of the guy. He was getting worse and worse. He was where he wasn't supposed to be.

"And by now there was constant surveillance on everybody. There were cars parked around the clock outside the bar. The feds were down the block. The heat was getting worse and worse. And still Marty kept coming around.

Just before Christmas, Burke had given Krugman $50,000. Krugman told Hill that he had turned over $40,000 of it to Louis Werner because the Lufthansa supervisor "was busting his chops for his share."

There is a bit of confusion in Hill's recounting of events at this point. According to Hill, DeSimone met his demise before Krugman disappeared, thus making it impossible for Tommy to plunge an ice pick into the back of Krugman's head as was depicted in Goodfellas. However, according to Volkman and Cummings and reports in the New York Times, DeSimone wasn't reported missing until mid-January, which is clearly after the January 6 date which Hill claims is when Fran Krugman called his home because Marty had not returned home the previous night.

Hill states that right after New Year's 1979, the "heat" was so heavy at Robert's Lounge that "everybody moved to a new place Vinnie Asaro opened on Rockaway Boulevard." Hill claims Krugman bugged him there about the disappearance of DeSimone and the murder of Edwards wanting to know if they were connected? Hill calmly states, "And that's where they whacked him out."

Following several frantic telephone calls from Fran Krugman, Hill told her he would look for Marty. In Wiseguy he relates:

I drove over to Vinnie's [Asaro] fence company, and I saw Jimmy's [Burke's] car parked outside. I walked in and said that Fran had just called me. Jimmy was sitting there. Vinnie was sitting next to him. Jimmy said, 'He's gone.' Just like that. I looked at him. I shook my head. He said, 'Go pick up your wife and go over there. Tell her that he's probably with a girlfriend. Give her a story.