On this date in 1942, mobsters Frank Abbandando and Harry Maione were electrocuted in New York’s Sing Sing prison for murder.
Dozens of corpses were left in their trail, and it was long odds that the spectacularly mangled body of a minor loan shark and suspected police informant killed in 1937 would be the one to haunt them. But when the government brought the heat against Murder, Inc., a collaborator in that hit turned state’s evidence and testified against Abbandando and Maione.
Pep has an ice pick. Happer has meat cleaver. It is the kind you chop with, you know, butcher cleaver. Abby grabs Rudnick by the feet and drags him over to the car. Pep and Happy grab it by the head. They put it in the car. Somebody says “It don’t fit.” Just as they push the body in it gives a little cough or something. With that, Pep starts with the ice pick and starts punching away at Whitey. Maione says “Let me hit the bastard one for luck.” And he hits him with the cleaver some place on the head.
Convicting mobsters was no mean feat — after all, they tended to whack informants — and the arrogant Abbandando in particular was shocked that his powerful connections didn’t manage to rig the trial.
But he and Maione were not altogether bereft of underworld consolation in their hour of need.
Three months before they were electrocuted, the stool pigeon in their trial “fell” to his death from a New York hotel room. It was just hours before he was to testify against Cosa Nostra boss Albert Anastasia, who would escape his fortuitously weakened prosecutors and eventually take over Murder, Inc., in its mid-1940’s twilight.