Saturday, 7 February 2009


124 Thompson Street at corner of Prince Street

On March 16th., 1932, Gerard Vernotico was found strangled to death on the roof of this building, along with another victim who unwittingly happened upon the crime in progress. The hit was ordered by - or perhaps committed by - mob boss Vito Genovese (below) who fancied Vernotico's wife. To show due respect in the truest traditions of his Italian upbringing, Genovese waited a whole twelve days before he married Anna Petillo Vernotico. Bit of a downer, however, for Vito was that some years later she would testify against him - still you can't win them all can you?

Genovese was born in Rosiglino, Italy in 1897, moving to the United States in 1913. By the late 1920's he was a member of the Lucky Luciano gang. About to be arrested for murder, he returned to Italy in 1937 where he soon became a close friend of Benito Mussolini.

After the Second World War, Genovese was brought back to the United States and charged with murder. However, the main witness against him, Peter La Tempa, was murdered while in protective custody and the authorities were forced to release him. After arranging the murder of several gang leaders, including Albert Anastasia in 1957, Vito established himself as the most important criminal boss in the New York area.

In 1958, Genovese was arrested by the police and charged with smuggling and distributing drugs. The following year he was found guilty and sentenced to 15 years imprisonment. Vito Genovese died of a heart attack in the Springfield prison hospital, on 14th February 1969 - a bit of an old romantic after all!

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