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Alberto Anselmi and Giovanni Scalise

The Killer twins

Albert Anselmi                      John Scalise
( Courtesy Mr. David Otis Miller)

Alberto Anselmi was born July 15, 1883 in Marsala, province of Trapani, Sicily.
He was the son of Giovanni Anselmi and Francesca Billadello Anselmi.
Anselmi illegally entered the U.S. around September 1924.
An arrest warrant was put out for him in 1927 by Italian authorities for attempted murder and for associating with a band of outlaws.
23 year old John Scalise came over to America via his aunt Antonia Magnalorde who lived in Chicago.
Scalise also had troubles with the law in Castelvertrano.
Both towns had problems with the mafia ,so a young dictator named Benito Mussolini,had begun a campaign to cleanup Italy of the menacing scourge called the mafia.This underworld organization was sucking the life and revenue of it's people and government.

Being Sicilians, both find employment with the gangs at Taylor street.This is known as little Sicily. The Gennas ran the roost at the time on Taylor street. Making and peddling rotgut booze, they are in constant battle with the Northsiders, run by the formidable Dean O'Banion. Scalise and Amselmi make an odd couple at that. Scalise has one eye that deviates from the other. Anselmi is almost twice Scalise's age. They both share a common trade, as both are cold blooded Sicilian killers.

The Gennas employ all kinds of countrymen for making, distributing alchohol.
Many homemade stills cooking for the Gennas blow and kill the peasant fabricator. All this to bring in some extra income. If the still didn't kill ya, then drinking the stuff might.The was no quality control at all.
Scalise and Anselmi, a year after arriving in America, are about to make it big in the newspapers.

They have been fingered as being part of the hit team on Dean O'Banion who was killed after a double cross with Torrio.
Never Identified without a doubt, as other names of possible hit men are often mentioned. Names like Frankie Yale, Carmen Vacco, Pete Pizzo, one of the Gennas and Salvatore Ammatuna.
It's all assumed as O'Banion's killers were never caught, but the fact was Angelo Genna and Salvatore Ammatuna were gunned down by the Northsiders in 1925.

On June 13,1925, Salise and Anselmi and Mike Genna are being driven around by another unknown hood in a big flashy automobile. They had moments earlier been in a shootout with the Northsiders and had injured Moran and Drucci.

Police also out on the cruise got wind of the gangfight, immediately identify Mike "The devil" Genna, and begin to follow the gangster car. Police also think they identify a fourth man in the car at the wheel. This man was possibly identified as Samuel Amatuna  "the Beau Brummel" of gangland. (No charges are ever brought against Amatuna in what is about to transpire below).

Scalise and Anselmi unbeknownst to either Amatuna or Genna, are slowly turning over to the other more successful gangs.

Michiele "Mike The Devil" Genna

At 47 Street and Western Ave., the policeman saw Genna and the boys going at a good speed and figured they were up to a booze deal for sure.
The driver of the gangster car becomes aware of the pursuit and guns the engine. The police also press on the gas. By this moment, Mike is talking loudly in Sicilian and giving instruction for what is about to go down.
He tells Anselmi and Scalise to grab the weapons that are on the floor of the car.They consisted of two repeating shotguns and four sawed off shotguns.
In reality, Mike probably had no idea that Anselmi and Scalise were originally there to take him out.

They were tired of Amatuna,the Genna gang and were receiving interesting offers elsewhere.

The police following them were Policemen Charles B. Walsh,Harold F. Olsen, Michael J. Conway and Willam Sweeney.
The gangster car was now going 73 miles an hour at 59th street when a truck swerved in front of them causing Genna driver to hit the brakes causing a spin, and slam his car into a lamp post.

Police get out exclaiming "Hey what's the idea?" "Why all the speed when we were ringing the gong?"

The Genna party answers their questions with a volley of gunshots from a repeating shotgun.
Policeman Olsen is hit in the jaw by the slugs and crumples to the floor. Patrolman Walsh is the next hit in the chest by buckshot.
Sweeney and Conway return fire at Genna Anselmi and Scalise. Mike Genna's gun jams.

Genna,the unknown driver,Scalise and Anselmi make a run for it .The unknown fourth hood is gone. Genna ,Scalise and Anselmi run into an alley running north and south between Western and Artesian ave. Scalise and Anselmi turn into a passageway of a house at 6941 Artesian ave.
Genna tired of running, faces Sweeney, levels his shotgun, presses the trigger and "Click", no explosion. Sweeney returns fire and fatally hits Genna in the leg, causing him to stumble after his companions. Genna jumps through the basement window of a nearby home.

5941 Artesian. Mike Genna went through the basement window after the shootout with police at 59th and Western.
(Photo courtesy of Mr. Randy Miller)

Sweeney follows and two policeman, (one retired) joins Sweeney.
They enter the basement and fire towards Genna lying on the floor. In his hands, he has a blue steel spanish .38. He fires before falling back. He has a severed artery in the leg from the first bullet by Sweeney. Before he dies, Mike Genna kicks the ambulance driver sent to take him to Englewood hospital in the face exclaiming "Take that you son of a bitch."

Scalise, Anselmi and Mike Genna's recovered arsenal being examined after the gunfight.

Born in Marsala Sicily, his death certifcate claims him to be an olive oil and Cheese importer living at 856 Blue Island avenue. He was dating a former Sherman hotel manicurist by the name of Germaine Triest (2619 North Halstead). Mike was listed as not married, yet in 1937, Rose Genna (his sister), has his death certificate corrected and states that Mike Genna was married to Margaret Genna.
Rose was the one who claimed her brother's body at the morgue.

Police Officers Olsen and Walsh die from their wounds. Anselmi and Scalise have ducked in a store, but are later captured by police.
Anselmi and Scalise are roughed up to the hilt by police who are angered at the murders of their lost brethren.Slain police officer Harold Olsen's brother (John Olsen) also a policeman, goes to the station and wants to kill his brother's murderer. He is talked out of it.

Even in court and on trial, these guys don't look like angels.

Three trials, first headed by McSwiggin the hanging prosecutor, are achieved to try and hang or imprison Anselmi and Scalise.

During the trials, we see Anselmi talking with his hands through an interpreter. He doesn't speak english at all.
John Scalise speaks english, but in a broken manner.
All claim that they would never have shot if they knew they were policemen.Then Scalise puts the blame on dead Mike Genna as being the one who fired first.
The first trial was for the murder of policeman Olsen, for that they were sentenced to 14 years for manslaughter.

During their time in prison,Scalise and Anselmi fear for their lives. They are beaten up and Scalise is almost poisoned. He finds the food tastes a little off and tells the guard.They send the food to be analyzed by a chemist and discover cyanide, enough to kill a couple of men in his spaghetti and beans.  

In the second trial for the murder of policeman Walsh they were acquitted.

The Supreme court later orders a new trial on the killing of Policeman Olsen. Scalise and Anselmi are both found not guilty and are immediately set free.
Their lawyer's defense was in essence that " If a policeman tries to kill you, you can in turn kill him in self defense."

Orazio "The Scourge" Tropea
A once Genna gangster who preyed on fellow sicilians.

For their defense fund, many of their sicilian countrymen in Chicago are squeezed for money to help out Anselmi and Scalise. The black hand had taken hold of the benevolent society. A one time Genna gangster who has now turned over to the Lombardo camp is paid to go out and squeeze rich sicilians for money. Orazio Tropea is given orders and he follows through, whether it be intimidation or murder.
Some say Orazio will do anything to stay in the country and not be deported back to Italy. Promises of strings pulled if he will execute orders. In the following days at the start of 1926, a couple of well to do Sicilian businessmen are killed for refusing to kick in the dough. One such example was Henry J. Spingola who was shot to death in his car on January 10,1926.

Henry J. Spingola killed on January 10,1926.

Spingola, a self made wealthy businessman was approached by the Anslmi /Scalise defence fund recruiters to pony up some dough. Feeling the squeeze, Spingola reluctantly gave $10,000. Spingola had worked hard all his life,was a soldier in the great war, passed his bar exam by working hard in the day for his dad and studying hard all night to become a lawyer and had political aspirations. Even though he never practised law, Spingola was proud of his achievements and so were his parents and family. He had owned several businesses such as his Automobile garage on South Morgan.
Many claimed he was a bootlegger because his father had once supplied wine and beer for the people of Taylor street before Prohibition.The only real and definite gangster connection was his sister Lucille marrying one of the infamous Gennas. LucilleSpingola was married to Angelo Genna. He, his brothers, along with Scalise and Anselmi were known to have kept their cars often at the Spingola garage.

Orazio Tropea will be himself killed on February 15,1926. The Sicilian community will give out a huge sigh of relief.

1920's coin medal from the Spingola garage.
(Mario Gomes Collection)

Henry Spingola at Mt. Carmel. A wealthy lawyer and brother in law of the Gennas. Killed for refusing to repeatedly give money for the Anselmi and Scalise's defense fund.
(Photo courtesy of Mr. Josh Perry)

Inside view of Mausoleum.
(Photo courtesy of Mr. Josh Perry)

In March 1929, Scalise is picked up along with Jack McGurn for the St. Valentine massacre, but is later released due to lack of evidence. The boys now think they are totally invincible.

Albert Anselmi and John Scalise become smug and arrogant after their many acquittals. So much so that the duo, along with fellow sicilan Joe Giunta are conspiring to take over Capone's thrown as kings of Chicago. In this photo, we see that Albert Anselmi (left) is much shorter than he was thought to have been. Albert Anselmi was 5' 5"and weighed 195 pounds, while Scalise was 5' 10" and weighed 225 pounds.

Scalise and Anselmi are now Capone big boys.They enjoy the trappings of wealth, women and high living.
Hymie Weiss once demanded through Tony Lombardo for Capone to hand them over, wanting them killed for their possible involvement for the shootout in front of the Standard Oil building. Capone protecting them, even at the cost of peace states "I wouldn't do that to a yellow dog!"
Capone shows his loyalty to John and Albert. The problem is, he expects the same in return.
John and Albert now hang around with another Sicilian who has now taken interest in the throne of Unione leader.
Joseph Giunta, a Tony Lombardo follower, has taken interest Pasqualino LoLordo's empty seat.
Lombardo and LoLordo are both killed after short lived Sicilian leader stints.

Anselmi and Scalise are conniving with Giunta and possibly the Joe Aiello camp to take over Chicago gangland.
They have already been making side deals and extort businessmen for money.
Scalise has over $250,000 saved. He has also snubbed a Cleveland Sicilian meeting.

The Capone combine, with it's eyes and ears everywhere, do not take long to find out.
Capone and his trusted Frank Rio play an act of arguing in front of Anselmi and Scalise.
They both later try to convince Rio that he should come over to their team.
This act of infidelity is related immediately to Capone.

A banquet is set up in honor of the Sicilians and for others who are in ****attendance.
Sort of the academy awards for gangsters.^^^^ Feasting on food and copious amounts of booze, the trio feel at ease.

The mood soon turns sour. A fake argument arises to which Scalise and Anselmi try to calm things down. They then quickly realize that they are now the subject of the arguing.
Anselmi, Scalise and Giunta are suddenly held at gun point by Capone muscle. They are sworn at, spit on and shoved around.
Terrified, they feign innocence while falling to their knees. Each is shot several times point blank in the face, chest, arms and legs, all with .38 special rounds.
Scalise's pinky finger is completely shot off while trying to shield his face from the bullets.


****There is no evidence that Al Capone himself was ever at this reunion or that he took part in the killing festivities. Capone was being scrutinized by Chicago authorities and was preparing for his trip to Atlantic City. Also, Capone, by that time, was no longer dabbling in any of the heavy work. He let his minions do the killing and cleanup. If blamed, he could use the angle that this killing was merely a Sicilian hit having nothing to do with him or his organization.

^^^^ The autopsies revealed that all three had their stomachs filled with food before being killed.

Batter Up! Not!
It was whispered in gangland circles that Al Capone himself had a personal hand in the beating death of Anselmi, Scalise and Guinta. While none of that Hollywood fantasy of a Capone beating ever happened, the autopsies did show broken bones and bruises. These were from bullets and not from being manhandled before death with bats or fists. The only thing Al was good at beating with bats was other teams at baseball! SEE Early Years  
(Wax museum figure of Al Capone from now defunct Criminals Hall of Fame, Niagara Falls, Ontario. It's now in my collection).
(Mario Gomes Collection)


Their bodies are loaded up in two cars and driven with all speed to Douglas Park in Hammond. Two Hammond policemen (Louis Tebedo and Charles Plant) were enroute to bring prisoners that evening when they notice the cars speeding towards Chicago. They decide after delivering their prisoners to return to the area and investigate.
They find the three dead Sicilians gangsters at 139th and Baltimore.

Douglass Park, near where John Scalisi , Alberto Anselmi and Joseph Giunta's bodies where found.
Today it is known as Pulaski Park.
( Info and photos courtesy of Mr. Larry Raeder)

There are conflicting reports as the exact location. Here is a map from google that shows pretty much the area where they were found. Anselmi and Giunta were found in a coupe type car and Scalise was dragged by the ankles and tossed near a ditch by the side of the road.
According to a Hammond death registration, Anselmi's body was found near 139th and Baltimore. Today's Pulaski Park at the upper left was once named Douglass Park.

Death registration for Anselmi.
(Mario Gomes Collection)

Looking from South from 138th street. Gives you a general feel for the area.
(Photo courtesy of A.J.B)

X marks their death spots. Location of bodies mentioned. Insets are wrong as Anselmi is on the right The story also mistakenly reports their deaths as a revenge for the St. Valentine's day massacre.
(Photo courtesy of A.J.B)

Looking towards the south eastern direction.
(Photo courtesy of A.J.B)

Looking west from this area.
(Photo courtesy of A.J.B)

The Chicago headlines for May 8,1929. Anselmi's name is misspelled. Newspapers at first erroneously reported that Bugs Moran was behind the killings.
(Mario Gomes collection)

Other headline relating the murders.
(Mario Gomes collection)

Anselmi and Giunta are placed in the backseat of an expensive coupe car.This car was originally stolen from a Mr. Mann Bullis (1400 Lakeshore Drive) on April 17,1929. The license plates were stolen from a car owned by a justice of the peace in Berwyn.
The back seat is removed to accomodate their lifeless heaps.They are covered by a brown blanket.

Anselmi and Giunta's Bodies were covered with a blanket in this car.
( Demoines Tribune May 9, 1929).

John Scalise's body is tossed 50 to 75 feet from the car, at the end of the street near a ditch. In the slain gangster's pockets, the police find business cards. One from a Dr. J.A.Jerger  (30 N. Michigan Avenue) who had performed a hernia operation on Jim Genna and treated Lombardo for a hernia. Lombardo complimented the doctor and asked for some cards to distribute to friends.
The other card had the words Joe Black - HUMB 0513
This phone proved to ring at Nell's beauty shop (1249 North Ashland Avenue).
Joe Black, whose real name was Joseph Zych, was guard at the county jail.
Two other phone numbers of hotels were located on them. None proved connected to this crime.

All their pockets are turned inside out and yet Giunta, still had his diamond pinky ring. So robbery was immediately ruled out.

Scalise's body thrown out of the vehicle and landed where the detective is pointing. His being separated from the other two victims seems to point out he may have been the instigator in the plot to overthrow Capone.
( Daily News 1929).

Coroner Herman Bundesen, Assistant State's Attorney Walker Butler, Deputy Police Commissioner John Stege, and the Hammond policeman who found the bodies, Louis Tebodo.
(Mario Gomes collection)

Albert Anselmi's body being taken from Neidow's Hammond morgue. From here, he will go to the Chicago funeral parlor.
(Chicago American)

Joseph" Hoptoad" Giunta.
 His real name was spelled Giunta, but newspapers and crime magazines went with the misspelled Americanized Guinta.
He was noted in gang circles as "Hoptoad" and the "Dancing torpedo" because of his love for dance.
(Mario Gomes collection)

After the police investigation, all three embalmed bodies were turned over to their respective undertakers. Anselmi's remains was sent to Piegare and Alfredo undertaking parlor at 942 West Taylor Street.There he lay in a silver bronze casket, satin lined, and decorated with a crucifix carved out of ivory. The birth date stamped on it read; 1883.

At Neidow's morgue. Left to right; Joseph "Hoptoad" Giunta, Alberto Anselmi and John Scalise.
Note photo taken at this angle which shows Scalise's swollen and mangled jaw from being shot at close range. The executors seemed more concentrated on Scalise. This may indicate he was the main instigator in the plot to overthrow Capone.
(Mario Gomes collection)

Closeup of Scalise's broken jaw caused by .38 special bullets and not a beating.
(Info Mario Gomes)

Scalise's body was sent to Rago Brothers undertaking situated at 624 N. Western Avenue.
Their bodies were both placed in their respective undertakers chapels for viewing by fellow Sicilians. Many commented how well the morticians had covered all evidence of facial bullet wounds.

Scalise and Anselmi, together even in death. Note Scalise's shot off pinky finger. It was shot while he was covering his face, trying to shield a bullet hole near the right temple. The missing finger piece is laid beside his injured hand. Anselmi has bullet wounds to the shoulder, arms and chest. Scalise also had a burn mark at the back of his right hand.
(Mario Gomes Collection)

E.S. Jones performed the autopsies on all three. No evidence of a beating by baseball bats or clubs were found on the three bodies.
All the broken bones found on the bodies were caused by bullets, specifically from .38 specials.
(Lincoln Star, May 8,1929)

Scalise and Anselmi's body were to be shipped back home to Sicily.
Scalise's aunt, Antonia Magnalorde, of 916 South Winchester Avenue took care of the arrangements to send Giovanni home to Castelvertrano.
Anselmi's brother made arrangements for Alberto to be shipped back to Marsala.

Alberto Anselmi's mausoleum at Cimitero Comunale di Marsala, Sicily.
(Photo by kind courtesy of Mr. Francesco Bonomo Ombra)

Originally put in the gray crypt, the body is now in the pink mausoleum.
(Photo by kind courtesy of Mr. Francesco Bonomo Ombra)

Joseph Giunta's body in the morgue. Giunta is 5' 10" and weighs 175 pounds.
Giunta is killed by mutiple gunshot wounds to the right side of his face, head, chest and back.
(Mario Gomes Collection)

Joseph Giunta's body was prepped and sent to his home at 1756 Lockwood for viewing.
The Sicilian head was adorned in full evening attire with highly polished dancing pumps.
His suit had the works, diamond stick pins and all. Giunta's was in a ten thousand dollar bronze casket with a glass cover for viewing. His funeral is without church rites. His body is interred at Mt. Carmel cemetary.

Giunta's grave
(Photo Courtesy of Mr. Bill Emblom)

Black and white view of whole monument.
(Photo courtesy of A.J.B)

Close up of Giunta monument.
(Photo courtesy of A.J.B)

A special thank-you to Penny and to my trusty Chicago source and saviour, researcher Margaret Regan.
First Posted June 2009