Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Murder, Inc.


Lepke's execution signaled the end of the halcyon days of Murder, Inc. The murder troop had been decimated by prosecutions and Lepke's war of extermination, and alternatives had to be found to enforce Syndicate policy. Albert Anastasia, who had miraculously escaped both the mob purge and the law, continued to act as Lord High Executioner for several years, but in the end, he too, would face mob justice.

In the late 1950s, the first generation Syndicate boys were in decline. Joe Adonis had been deported, as had Lucky Luciano. Frank Costello had been forced into retirement by Vito Genovese, leaving Anastasia in charge of the Vincent Mangano crime family. True to form, Vito Genovese wanted to be capo di tutti capo of the New York families and saw Anastasia as standing in his way. Don Vito worked a deal with Mangano underboss Carlo Gambino in which Gambino would take over the Mangano family when Anastasia was gone.

Albert Anastasia dead
Albert Anastasia dead

On October 25, 1957, Anastasia walked into the Park Sheraton Hotel in New York, sat down in a barber chair and closed his eyes. Two men, reportedly Carlo Gambino and Joe Biondi entered the barbershop, told the barber to get lost and proceeded to open fire on Albert A. Anastasia, a bull of a man, leapt from the chair, but the gunmen kept firing. He died on the floor of the barbershop in a classic mob rubout.

With Albert A.'s slaying, the face of mob activities changed forever. No longer would there be a national enforcement arm of the Syndicate. The mob had evolved into a more business-like enterprise, with less unification and more internal strife.

There are those who would argue that this was always the case with organized crime, and who doubt the romantic notion of a stable of killers sitting around waiting for orders from a national board of directors. They say mobsters only killed when necessary for the course of business. That may be the case. But for a ten-year period after the ascension of Lucky Luciano, there did exist a small band of killers who reveled in their work, who took pleasure in killing for business, who saw the gun as a means to further commerce. These were the killers of Murder, Inc.


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