this day in crime history: march 4, 1944

On this date in 1944, it was the big adiós for Louis “Lepke” Buchalter and two of his henchmen. Lepke Buchalter and Albert “Mad Hatter” Anastasia ran the stable of killers that the media of the day tagged “Murder, Incorporated.” Buchalter, along with Murder, Inc. members Emanuel “Mendy” Weiss and Louis Capone (no relation to big Al), was convicted and sentenced to death for the killing of Brooklyn candy store owner Joseph Rosen. All three men were executed within minutes of each other in the electric chair at Sing Sing prison.

Further reading:

AmericanMafia.com – The Last Days of Lepke Buchalter, et al

Wikipedia – Murder, Inc.

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5 thoughts on “this day in crime history: march 4, 1944

  1. John D.:
    Ah, for the good old days of swift justice (a shocking thing to admit to today…lol)
    And during WARTIME at that…

    Good call.

    Stay safe out there.

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  2. Lepke didn’t pull the trigger, and he wasn’t even there when the hit was done. Why was he executed, then?
    Well, he set it up. The hit was on a guy named Rosen, and the contract was put out by a rival union boss named Sid Hillman. By the time Lepke was tried, Sid Hillman was FDR’s labor czar and the second most powerful man in the United States. Lepke offered to talk, but the authorities were afraid of what he might say. Too bad for Lepke.
    (Not that he didn’t deserve it, but still . . .)

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    • Authorities weren’t the only ones who wanted Lepke gone. His friend Albert Anastasia was happy to see him go too. Albert talked Lepke into surrendering with assurances that he would beat the rap. He didn’t. And guess who benefited from Lepke’s “retirement”?

      The funny thing is that Lepke’s conviction may have been based on perjured testimony. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never doubted that he was guilty. But I’ve always found it hard to believe that star witness Abe Reles was present to overhear the plotting of all those murders in which he played no role (making him a non-accomplice witness). Reles lied his ass off to save his own skin. In the end, it didn’t do him any good.

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